The secret to successfully reloading 357 SIG

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    Otis2
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    The secret to successfully reloading 357 SIG

    Post by Otis2 on Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:29 am

    I have discovered the 357 SIG round in the past couple of years, it is my favorite handgun defense round at this time, along with 9mm.  At the time of purchase, the only 357 SIG die set I could find was by Redding, it is a fine set, I have no qualms about it at all.  I can't speak to other 357 SIG dies, but I wouldn't have hesitated picking up a set by RCBS or Hornady.  The Redding is a carbide set, my preference in my pistol caliber dies.

    When I first started reloading, the mistake I made was bullet selection.  I use X-treme 9mm plated bullets and thought these would be fine.  I had a very hard time getting a good crimp on the bullet, every time I would chamber a round, the bullet would budge back a bit.  I never did measure how much setback was occurring with each time it was chambered, but I can say the setback was visually obvious.  Certainly not a comfortable situation.  Reading through the fora (proper form for forum in plural?) about this issue, one theme that kept repeating was the Lee Factory Crimp Die.  Not too expensive, I thought I'd give it a go.  Seemed to work just fine after a couple hundred rounds loaded, so it became standard for my 357 SIG routine.

    Then, by pure happenstance, I stumbled upon 357 SIG nirvana - the Montana Gold bullet developed specifically for 357 SIG.  

    http://montanagoldbullet.com/index.php/357sig-125gr-fmj.html

    They have offerings in both JHP and FMJ, I have only used the FMJ variant as factory loads are my only choice for any carry round. The beauty of the Montana Gold offering, and what separates them from all others, is the shape of the bullet.  If you look at the link I posted above, you will see a picture of several of the bullets.  Take a look at the ogive of the bullet, it is a bit on the short side.  This leaves a longer cylindrical shape of the bullet on which to crimp.  I crimped up a few into cases with no powder or primers, dummy rounds, if you will, to cycle and check for set back.  Hmm . . .  No discernible setback on these test rounds, that including several cycles through one of my Glocks, and I wasn't riding the slide home, but rather slamming it as hard as possible.  Just for yucks, I removed the factory crimp die while using the Redding die set, again, empty cases with no powder or primer, expecting the worst.  I cycled the dummies about 5 times each, not a single instance of setback in any of the samples.  The factory crimp die has remained in the box ever since.

    The secret, IMHO, to successful loading of the 357 SIG round lies in that single discovery, using the Montana Gold bullet specific to the 357 SIG round.  I have now loaded successfully a few thousand rounds of 357 SIG and am not looking back.  In fact, with now loading 380 ACP, 357 SIG and 45 ACP primarily, I have a hard time justifying reloading 9mm anymore.  Yes, I can save money with that round as well, but no where near as much as the other three primary calibers I reload.  I'm now on a 38 Special bender as I have the Threat Centered Revolver class with kombucha boy coming up and want to have a couple thousand rounds on hand for that weekend.  

    The recipe I have come up with for the 357 SIG is as follows (please, this is only an open sharing of information, please do your own research and build up your own load for your personal safety):

    125 gr Montana Gold 357 SIG FMJ bullet
    6.6 gr Unique powder
    1.135" COL
    My reloading is not refined enough to be caliber specific, I have used SPP's by a few different manufacturers in my 357 SIG loadings.

    My 5 round average velocity for this recipe shot from my Glock 32 (4.01" barrel chambered in 357 SIG) is 1,175 fps.  Not the hottest round going, but not too shabby, certainly adequate for training and practice.

    I heartily recommend reloading the round.  I keep hearing how difficult it must be or, in fact, is.  I, too, had those same thoughts, that is until I found the MG bullets.  Now I view the round as no more difficult than a 9mm round in my RCBS Ammomaster progressive press.  I look forward to reports from new 357 SIG reloaders on how easy the round truly is to reload!
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    Devereaux
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    Re: The secret to successfully reloading 357 SIG

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:11 pm

    Well, got my shipment of Montana bullets. Haven't had the chance to even open them, as I was home only for a brief moment, but soon ...

    Now to get some dies and set up a head for my Dillon. Got a lot of work there, as I have to also set up a head for .300 BLK.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: The secret to successfully reloading 357 SIG

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:31 pm

    Dillon has shipped a quick replacement set (head, stand, powder measure) and an appropriate powder funnel. Unfortunately I will be off to work for at least a week, so won't be able to set it up and load some rounds.

    ?What other powder choices are there for the round. I load .40 with TiteGroup I believe and wonder if that would work in this also. Same case - kind of.

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