.357 & FTX

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Jack D
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.357 & FTX

Postby Jack D » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:01 pm

I received a box of FTX as a gift, .357, 140 gr. spire point. Looking at the Hornady site, they say cases must be trimmed to 1.25", but not really explaining why except a mention to keep OAL to 1.59" and for proper operation in revolvers and lever guns.

Between my son and I we have 6, .357 mag's. four revolvers, all Rugers (2-GP100, SP101 and LCR) and two rifles, one Marlin and the other (mine) an H&R Handi. We both have loaded full length cases with this FTX bullet without any problems. I recently measured a bunch of cases and they ranged from .125" - .129" and the loaded cartridge with the FTX ranged from 1.59"-1.63". The 1.63" length fits, feeds and fires just fine in all.

Is there any other reason to trim cases to 1.25"? It seems to me that if it works, it's OK without trimming.

Because the bullet is seated deeply to get to the cannelure, the powder capacity is limited. I've been searching for the best powder for this bullet to get the most MV. The best published load I've found so far is for AA9 powder at a MV of 1650 (16" bbl length). Any other powder suggestions?
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Postby Bullseye » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:00 pm

Those are just general guidelines published on average chamber lengths, if your firearm has the chamber depth and can handle the load then there's no reason not to use the FTX at those values. Just be sure not to use them in other firearms that may not have the chamber depth for proper head spacing and throat depth.

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Postby Jack D » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:48 pm

Thanks, Bulleye. That's kind of what I was thinking.

That FTX really limits case capacity. Better ballistics, but less MV. Wonder how much of a trade off it is???? A full case load with the FTX might be about equal to the XTP in a max. load at normal hunting ranges in a rifle (all else being equal).
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Postby blue68f100 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:13 am

140 gr is an unusual weight. Normally when I want max capacity velocity out of a 357mag I turn to W296 powder. But I'm normally using a heavier bullet. This powder was designed for the 357 and 44 mag, and 410 shotgun loads. Another powder that can get good velocity out of is 2400. It's a little more forgiving than the W296. W296 requires the use of a Mag Primer and a Heavy Crimp for it to preform well.
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Postby Jack D » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:31 am

I loaded a box of 50 rounds FTX 140 gr. yesterday with 13.6 gr, IMR4227. I just happened to have that powder on hand. This is a full case without compressing. The case length's are trimmed to 1.281 using a Lee case trimmer making the COL 1.603. These are OK in my SP101.

The published Max. load for the XTP 140 gr. is 18 gr. of 4227. I'm thinking the reason for a pointed bullet is probably lost in a 3" barreled revolver, especially with a reduced load that is necessary to get the correct COL.

But in a single shot rifle???? What happens if I load the max for a 140 gr. XTP bullet and seat the FTX bullet the same depth as the XTP? Loading single shot wouldn't require seating to the cannelure.....no recoil or feeding problems to worry about. I could have a full magnum max. load with spire pointed bullet in my SS rifle.

Am I wrong?
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Postby blue68f100 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:23 am

I never load under the mfg recommended min starting load. If not published I drop back 10%. There is a reason most have a starting load. 1 is to make sure the bullet will not get stuck in the barrel and the other is some powders are moody. Meaning that they will have a pressure spike or may not burn completely. You should always work up your load looking for over pressure signs. There is nothing wrong with compressed loads at max charge seated to the recommended length. I know of many reloaders that just jump to max load on every thing. I atleast like to drop off a 0.5gr on rifle loads and 0.2gr on handgun loads. Just make sure it does not get into the rifling at the longer length. If the bullets has a cannulure I always let it set the OAL on hand guns.

This does not apply here since this is a pistol round but you need to look at what case the mfg used for there testing. Some of the mil cases are heavier wall which gives you a smaller volume.
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Postby Jack D » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:08 pm

My plan is to seat an FTX bullet as shallow as possible and still get a good hold. Then test the fit in the Handi's chamber. If it touches the rifling lands, I'll seat it deeper until it doesn't, then I'll start at around 17 gr. of IMR4227 then work up, slowly, watching for signs of excess pressure. If I remember correctly from my old rifle reloading days (long gone), those signs are; sticking brass cases, flattened primers, extruded primers, backed out primers or separated cases. Are these the same for handgun cartridges? Any others I may have forgotten? When I reach signs of excessive pressure, I'll back off 5% and consider this my maximum load for this rifle.

If I were to buy powder for this, I'd probably go with H110, but the IMR4227 is already in my reloading cabinet.
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Postby Jack D » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:20 pm

I seated a 140 gr. FTX bullet about 1/8"+ (maybe 5/32"). This gives COL of 1.875". I chamber it in my rifle and still no contact with the lands or any other interference. It chambers and extracts easily. I doubt I could go much shallower with a 140 gr. FTX and still get a good hold. However at this depth it is solid.

The photo shows a comparison with a case trimmed to 1.28" and FTX bullet seated to the cannelure for a COL of ~1.61" and a FTX bullet alongside to see the depth it is seated at.

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Postby Jack D » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:25 pm

I loaded and test fired three rounds FTX 140 gr. w/1.875 COL, primer CCI 500.

1st round IMR4227, 17.1 gr. No signs of excess pressure.

2nd round IMR4227, 18.5 gr. No signs of excess pressure.

3rd round IMR42276, 20 gr. Very slight flattening of primer. No other adverse signs noted. This load was slightly compressed.

All test cartridges were loaded in the same case. I did throw several charges and weigh them. They averaged 20 gr. with 20.1 max. and 19.8 min. in my LEE 1000 Turret loader. I did not weigh the actual test charge.

What do you think? Pressure OK??? Should I consider this maximum for this load in this rifle? Or should I back it off some.

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Postby bgreenea3 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:50 pm

what kind of velocity are you looking for out of it? just max velocity?
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Postby bgreenea3 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:05 pm

from hodgdon (pistol DATA)
Bullet........................Powder........COL ......MIN....Fps....................MAX
140 GR. HDY FTX IMR IMR 4227 1.600" 11.0 1176 29,900 PSI 13.0 1320 33,000 PSI
140 GR. HDY FTX Hodgdon Longshot 1.600" 5.5 1091 22,000 PSI 7.0 1358 33,800 PSI
140 GR. HDY FTX Hodgdon HS-6 1.600" 6.0 1046 22,500 PSI 7.7 1326 33,400 PSI
140 GR. HDY FTX Winchester AutoComp 1.600" 5.0 1038 22,500 PSI 6.3 1279 33,200 PSI
140 GR. HDY FTX Hodgdon Universal 1.600" 4.0 922 19,700 PSI 5.3 1205 34,200 PSI
140 GR. HDY FTX Hodgdon Titegroup 1.600" 3.5 895 20,700 PSI 5.0 1213 33,800 PSI
140 GR. HDY FTX IMR 700-X 1.600" 3.5 849 19,800 PSI 5.2 1205 31,900 PSI
140 GR.HDY FTX Hodgdon H110 .357" 1.600" 12.0 1405 27,800 PSI 14.5 1607 31,100 PSI
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Postby bgreenea3 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:08 pm

I wouldn't go to far outside of these loads to be safe. your rifle is probably strong enough but I wouldn't risk a case rupture... they suck :(
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Postby Jack D » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:55 am

What I want it the best performance my rifle can give me. Unlike a revolver or a lever gun, it doesn't have the same constrictions. The hornady loads are based on the constrictions of the vast majority of .357 magnum firearms on the market, so they are not customized for any particular firearm. The COL is critical in those firearms, but not in a single shot with a deep throat. The COL (1.875") in this load is clearly OK with this rifle.

I'm not doing anything that a person wouldn't have to do if they were working up loads for a wildcat cartridge. I reached my rifle's limits for this load and based on the results of my limited test firings, I'm certain it is safe. I've seen factory loads flatten primers more than this load and the case literally slid out of the chamber with no signs of sticking. Close inspection of the case shows no signs of stress.

Accuracy testing is next. I'm not looking for competition accuracy. If I can place a reasonable hit on a deer at 200 yds and drop him with one shot, I'll be happy. I think this load should do that....if accuracy is decent.

I don't have a chronograph, but if 18 gr. of IMR4227 have a MV of 1930 fps in a rifle, then 20 gr. of IMR 4227 will likely push that well over 2000 fps and that is pushing .30/30 speeds from a pistol cartridge.
Jack

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Ruger SR22P, CT laser

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Postby blue68f100 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:43 am

I don't see any indication of over pressure signs on that primer. I would set the bullet deeper though. A min should be the bullet's cross sections depth. With deep throat guns the length is not critical, since you can not get close enough to make any difference. You may get better accuracy results with the bullet loaded to the design depth, cannulure with a good roll crimp. This should give you a more consistent velocity and get the pressures up so the powder will preform better.

From Hodgdons site (Rifle data) they do not list that FTX bullet or IMR 4227 powder, just Hodgdons and the XTP. Comparing data between the XTP and FTX I'm not sure its the same outer jacket and core due to a large difference in load. They are using the same loads between rifle and pistol with Hodgdon and the XTP bullet.
Pistol Data:
140 GR. HDY FTX IMR IMR 4227 .357" 1.600" 11.0 1176 29,900 PSI 13.0 1320 33,000 PSI
140 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon H4227 .357" 1.590" 16.2 1541 33,100 CUP 18.0 1685 42,600 CUP

Rifle data:
140 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon H4227 .357" 1.590" 16.2 1798 33,100 CUP 18.0 1930 42,600 CUP

It shows a max load of 18gr (H4227) w/1.590"OAL which is loaded to the cannulure. They list the IMR powder with the lighter 125gr and lighter then no Hodgdons.

The H110/W296 will give you slightly higher velocity and surprising lower pressures at the top end. I would have not guessed that. This is one powder they tell you not to stray outside the recommended load range, because it does get moody, pressure spikes. This powder does require a Mag primer and heavy crimp for it to preform. Again XTP not FTX......
140 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon H110 .357" 1.590" 17.1 1836 28,400 CUP 19.0 1997 40,900 CUP

Pistol load data:

140 GR.HDY FTX Hodgdon H110 .357" 1.600" 12.0 1405 27,800 PSI 14.5 1607 31,100 PSI
140 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon H110 .357" 1.590" 17.1 1597 28,400 CUP 19.0 1762 40,900 CUP

In both cases the XTP and FTX have different load data meaning that the bullet construction is not the same. Most think the the FTX is just a XTP with a polymer tip, not the case. There is a difference in cores and maybe the jacket thickness/hardness too.

Too muddy the water some more .... Rifle Data....
The heavier bullets IMR and Hodgdons powder are identical.
158 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon H4227 .357" 1.580" 14.5 1578 34,600 CUP 16.0 1668 42,600 CUP
158 GR. HDY XTP IMR IMR 4227 .357" 1.580" 14.5 1578 34,600 CUP 16.0 1668 42,600 CUP

This is why they tell you to work up your load and have at least 2 references. Since you are working up your load, be safe since Hodgdons doesn't have data for your application that makes any sense.
David



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Postby bgreenea3 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:51 am

Primers are good indicators of pressure but case expansion near the base should be watched too as a good indicator, at least that's what I've read over the years from ken waters and others smarter than I am. The primer troy pictured looks like its starting to show some pressure signs of flowing around the firing pin to me maybe just a little. I wouldn't go any hotter.
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