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I'm entering new territory for me, so I figured I would shake the bushes to learn of some real world experiences before I head down the rabbit hole.

Rifle: Martini cadet, .357 Magnum, 26" barrel

My goal is to employ it for (relatively) close range deer in "straight wall cartridge" districts. Out of all my molds I have but one .357 158 SWC design for gas checks. I can comfortably reach 1500fps no sweat, and push it to 1600-1650 in a pinch. It performs best with 4227 and H-110.

My question(s): Is it a reasonable scenario for under 100 yard deer killing? Would I be better off acquiring a 170 gas check SWC mold, and sacrificing a little velocity? (I'm leaning in that direction.) I'm contemplating an alloy of clip-on wheelweights+tin, or 1-10 or 1-20 tin-lead.

Anybody feed a .357 rifle with Li'l Gun powder?


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After seeing how a 158 will penetrate out of a 6.5” revolver at 1000fps I cannot imagine you gaining much by going to a 170swc. I think you’ll see plenty of penetration for deer with either.

I might even be inclined to try some out of my 358156HP mold since you might have enough speed for some fairly violent expansion.

I know when I had a 44 magnum rifle as well as some testing with and old Cramer HP mold for my 45/70 that a HP cast of WW/Tin would behave in a Nosler partition fashion. Rapid violent expansion, then the nose shears off leaving the base to penetrate and exit.

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I would have no hesitation using that combo on deer at that range or even a little beyond. I know it's apples to oranges but took a 75 lb doe with a 125 gr hp
from a 6 in revolver. 1 shot DRT at about 30 yds through the neck. Wouldn't be surprised if you got a pass through if broad side without hitting heavy bone.

I shoot a Rossi 92 carbine with 158 gr jacketed using 16.5 gr of Lil gun. for me it's been a good combo in my rifle.

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Have you considered a bullet design with a wider meplat?


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Something else to consider if you're using compressed loads: Seat a reversed gas check on top of the powder and seat the bullet on top of that.


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Still a novice caster here but I have read that "short nosed" bullets lose some of their accuracy after 50 yards and that "long nosed" bullets perform better at 50 yard and beyond ranges. So if you were leaning towards the 170 grains, consider mathman's question regarding bullet design.


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Originally Posted by mathman
Something else to consider if you're using compressed loads: Seat a reversed gas check on top of the powder and seat the bullet on top of that.

Hmmm. Totally necessary with a gas checked bullet? I've done that trick with plain based bullets a couple times though.


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Yeah, if I have a 170 grain mold cut it'll definitely employ a wider meplat for maximum splat. Perhaps even make it a three cavity mold and have one of the cavities hollow pointed. Accurate mold's # 36-168J or 36-168SG is mighty tempting.


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Originally Posted by gnoahhh
Originally Posted by mathman
Something else to consider if you're using compressed loads: Seat a reversed gas check on top of the powder and seat the bullet on top of that.

Hmmm. Totally necessary with a gas checked bullet? I've done that trick with plain based bullets a couple times though.

I meant with plain based bullets. You said you only had one SWC design for gas checks in your inventory, so I thought maybe you had others in plain base.


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Originally Posted by gnoahhh
Yeah, if I have a 170 grain mold cut it'll definitely employ a wider meplat for maximum splat. Perhaps even make it a three cavity mold and have one of the cavities hollow pointed. Accurate mold's # 36-168J or 36-168SG is mighty tempting.

Look at the meplats on the 36-165V and 36-170DL.


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Originally Posted by mathman
Originally Posted by gnoahhh
Yeah, if I have a 170 grain mold cut it'll definitely employ a wider meplat for maximum splat. Perhaps even make it a three cavity mold and have one of the cavities hollow pointed. Accurate mold's # 36-168J or 36-168SG is mighty tempting.

Look at the meplats on the 36-165V and 36-170DL.

165NG is tempting too. Still leaning towards a gas check, at these velocities a plain base is at the edge of creating leading issues, especially with a relatively soft alloy to guarantee expansion.


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That's why I thought of the reversed gas check trick.


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Quote
165NG is tempting too.

I missed that one when I looked earlier. Looks like just the ticket.


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Originally Posted by Ranger_Green
Still a novice caster here but I have read that "short nosed" bullets lose some of their accuracy after 50 yards and that "long nosed" bullets perform better at 50 yard and beyond ranges. So if you were leaning towards the 170 grains, consider mathman's question regarding bullet design.

Do you really think this is relevant when the stated use is 100 yds or less?

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Gary, been following your musings on this interesting rifle. My thoughts would be to go even as much as 180gr with this single shot and forget the gas check and powder coat. Much more flexible with soft alloys. I have such a mold of a RNFP. While it is not real smooth thru my Rossi 92 and Timber wolf pump it would be wonderful in your Martini. Just my thoughts.


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Hmmm. That's another interesting approach. The rabbit hole is getting deeper!

I ordered the 165NG mold. Could take a few weeks or a few months, pretty unpredictable depending on whether Tom is backed up or not.

I can't believe I never explored cartridges like this in a rifle. I guess, try as we might, we simply can't do everything!


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Gary,
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I've loaded 180gr FP bullets for my 357 mag rifle. They drop considerably at 100yds so you better know your drop table.


I like the 158gr SWC HP, it works great at distance and has enough at 100yds to get the job done.

Personally I wouldn't shoot past 100yds, but anything closer, you should get your knife ready.

Lil Gun works good but don't shoot long strings, like more than 5 shots as the barrel gets REALLY hot, as a result I've sort of steered clear of Lilgun for plinking and general shooting. I save it for my hunting loads, yes it gets a bit more velocity and that is why.


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Years ago I had a great load with Lil Gun and a 180gr XTP, or Nosler partition. I killed one fat doe with the 180gr xtp load in a Marlin 1894. The .357mag is a great round for hunting inside 100 yds

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My son shoots a 357 Maximum rifle with a 16" barrel. His hunting load is a 220gr LHP cast 20:1 (pure lead & tin) and 9.5 gr of Viht Tin Star for 1120fps. The bullet retains better than 90% of it's weight in wet newspaper and penetrates deer completely when shots are limited to behind the shoulder shots to the boiler room.

A 158gr SWC at 1500fps will do the same or even better due to the higher speed. I bet it would even break a shoulder with ease.

When we hunt deer with soft, expanding cast bullets we shoot for ribs. Harder, SWC bullets get shot into the shoulders to break them down mechanically.


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