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⚠️ Sierra Reloading Manual 5th Edition


"I took out a Chihuahua!"
Last week at the club I was putting a couple of the 1911s thru their paces & while firing the Colt 38 Super, I experienced some FTFs … stopped shooting & upon inspection discovered signs of primer flow - there was no case bulging, which surprised me as the Colt’s barrel isn’t fully supported.

Via the Sierra manual, whose max WSF charge is 8.1grs (1350 fps), I had worked up to 7.5 grains (125gr HAP/1300fps) before experiencing any issues. Upon returning home, I went directly to Hodgdon’s website & to my surprise discovered that their Max (WSF/124gr) Load is only 6.6 grains! After a few minutes spent perusing reloading sub-forums, I ran across a couple of, and I paraphrase: Beware of Sierra’s max charge listings, which seemingly are all over the place.

Fast forward to this past Tues. & I’m at the club again, this time with the 357 Magnums. First revolver up was my late-2nd cousin’s Chicago PD S&W 586. Again, (last fall) via the Sierra manual I had worked the 125 grain rounds up to a (Sierra) mid-range H110 18.4gr/1350 fps load (Sierra’s Max H110 is 19.8gr @ 1450fps). Not a recoil sensitive sort, I stopped shooting after only three rounds, due to the rather potent recoil. The spent cases ejected without issue & showed zero signs of excessive pressure, but still. Grabbed my phone & went to Hodgdon’s website … again, to my shock, Hodgdon listed their Max (125gr/357Mag) H110 charge @ 15.5 grains!

So, I say all that just to say be careful with Sierra’s higher-end load data listings … better yet, go directly to the powder manufacturer’s sites for load recipes.
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The Instigator
🤔 Ever get a book with an "errata" substitute page/sticker?

One of mine did, luckily it was for 400 Remchester or some oddball. But the thought is scary, we consider those books carved in stone / the final word. Brrrrr!

I always compare the data between a couple of different manuals or sources. More than once, I have found big discrepancies. I always start with the lowest.
Good advise here! I always check with the powder manufacturers data and then start at the low end.
Just checked Hodgdon data and they say starting load is 13 gr and max is 15.5, guess the 18+ gr is way too high.


The "Peter Hathaway Capstick" of small game
I used to believe that the loading manuals were the go to but after a few heavy loads that caused sticky bolt lift (and extractor swipe and a divot where the ejector sits on the case) I stepped away. I mean I’m crazy enough to go 20% over max in the search for a good node BUT! Those books just cannot anticipate stuff like brass condition, neck tension, primer cup harness, primer pocket condition, etc. I’m sure they are solid for new brass in perfect conditions but real would demands backing off at LEAST 10%. Add that I’m sure their pressure testing barrel has the profile of a baseball bat and the bolt face locks up like the hatch on a DSV and real world stuff is out the door! I like Sierra but playing with their bullets and checking charge weights against the powder manufacturers data is eye opening! Ignoring those variances could be eye closing… permanently!
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