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173 gr keith

8363 Views 17 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Frank V
ran another batch of these today for the 14-4.173 gr swc 358429 with the square lube grooves.range report soon.this bullet was very accurate in the ruger BH.

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This is one of the truly great bullets of all time and a long favorite of mine.

Elmer Keith was having a very good day when he designed this slug.

I have shot literally many tens of thousands of these cast from the Lyman 358429 Mold. I probably have 10,000 in the basement right now.

My favorite recipes:

7.0 grns of Unique in a .357 Magnum Case
5.0 grns of Unique in a .38 Spl. Case.

I have won matches with these loads.

About the only legitimate complaint about this design is that in shorter cylindered N-Frame Smith Magnums such as the 27, 28 you must crimp over the front driving band. If you use the crimp groove the resulting round is too long for the cylinder. This due to the original intended use being the .38-44 round. In K- Magnums, no such issue is encountered.

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where would be a good starting point with my 14-4 smith??.I will be just plinking with it.
What Sebago Son said.

Don't start here, but I've probably run 10,000 rounds of that very bullet ahead of 5.0gr. Unique (Hercules and Alliant) through the M-15 I bought back in 1966. I've been scolded several times for recommending that a shooter work up to this load on a couple of other forums, because of the new lawyered-up load charts. This load doesn't show any indication of high pressure or even +P flattened primers in my revolver. I've gone considerably higher, but don't recommend that.

I'd probably start at somewhere between 4.0-4.5gr Unique just to make certain everything is OK.

:D thanks 4.5 unique sounds good.its only for punching paper.

I love this place ;)
I've been casting that mold for about 2 years. I use 3.9 grains of Bullseye with a Winny magnum primer. The best all around plinking round I load... :D

I love this bullet, but I learned something new about it last week. If you have one of the 50th anniversary Blackhawks, be sure to crimp in that crimping groove. I had a couple of rounds that I'd seated a touch high in 357 cases, not more than a couple of thousandths, and they scraped the forcing cone enough to tie up the cylinder. Back on the press, i pushed the bullet down that tiny bit, and they work great. (14.0 of 2400 gives 1300 fps in my 4 5/8ths Blackhawk. Another grain of powder only gained 37 fps, so I'm shooting the lighter load.) This was not a problem in my wife's 2 1/2" 66.
I haven't shot this bullet but I do cast one similar. It is an H&G #290BB. It is similar to the H&G #51 that was modified by Phil Sharpe. Mine casts right at 162gr.

Here is a picture after casting:

Here are some loaded in 357mag. cases:
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good looking bullets :D .mine are 173 grs without lube with my alloy.range report soon.
Hey Pete,
What mold do you have? I forgot to ask earlier.
a older lyman 358429 dc mold.
I love reading old accounts and articles about shooting and reloading for these guns we like so much. I never know what useful things I might re-learn.

The 358429 bullet being too long for .357 cases in N-frame cylinders when crimped in the proper groove has already been mentioned, but that didn't stop the early experimenters.

When S&W introduced the .357 Magnum to shooters, gun cranks immediately began to check out the long-range potential of the new revolver and cartridge. Old American Rifleman mags of that era are filled with chatter about this, and E.K. was prominent in publishing a few articles with photos on this subject. Maj. Doug Wesson went on an extended western big game hunt to showcase S&W's newest Pride and Joy. There is a whole chapter in Ed McGivern's book, Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting on the subject of long range revolver shooting. There are even photos of man-sized targets shot at ranges up to 600yards! Absolutely amazing how precise a revolver can be at that range!

What I didn't find out until recent years was that these amazing 400-500-600 yard shots were mostly done with handloads using .38 Special cases - not with the .357 cases. At that time, the only .357" bullet capable of accuracy at that distance was Elmer Keith's 358429 design - all others weren't nearly so perfectly matched to this bore and twist at those distances and would begin to "keyhole" beyond 200 yards.

These fellows knew that they could crimp over the driving band and have it fit, but for some reason, these rounds did not offer up the same long-range results. They even trimmed .357 cases to a length that would just barely allow this bullet to fit in the cylinder, but got results that were just as good with plain ol' .38 Special brass and +P+++ charges of powder.

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"Its just a semi wadcutter", how many times have you read or heard that?
The answer is no, not really.
The main difference between the 2 bullets is the center of gravity. Take a typical 158 grain SWC, and the 358429 bullet. Sit them upright, nose up, on a table top. With an imaginary line crossing through the center point horizontally, the center of gravity of the 158 grain bullet is below that line, in the Keith bullet it is above it, in the nose. So in horizontal trajectory the Keith is weight forward while the 158 is not. This is one of the most important keys to the superior accuracy of the Keith bullet, at any range but especially the 400-600 yard shots. Same as his 41, 44, and 45 caliber designs.
I don't have a 358429 on hand for comparison, but here is an example of 358477 - Ideal/Lyman's clone of the various ammo manufacturers design which would fit in the .357 Magnum's cylinder. This one drops out at 155gr. with wheelweight alloy.

You can readily see how much shorter the nose is than the Keith-designed bullet. This bullet design was never as accurate, but outsold the better design because of its length.

Note the rounded bottoms of the lube grooves on this example. E.K. specifically instructed Lyman/Ideal to cut the lube grooves in his designs with square bottoms - to hold more lube and to help prevent collapse of the bullet with high pressure loads. Lyman/Ideal ignored this for decades because they felt that the rounded cuts would aid the bullets to drop free from the mould. Once again, time has proven ol' Elmer correct.

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xtimberman said:
Once again, time has proven ol' Elmer correct.

I have a copy of "Sixguns by Keith" that I bought in the early 1970s. Throughout the book, there are marginal notes where I pointed out EK's mistakes. As years have passed, and I've learned more, guess what? He was right every time.
parson45 said:
I have a copy of "Sixguns by Keith" that I bought in the early 1970s. Throughout the book, there are marginal notes.....
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only fellow who does that. All of my most-used books - reference or not - are filled with my penciled scratchings of notes, thoughts, and diagrams. My NIB/safe queen-collector buddies swoon in horror to see my markings in scarce hard-to-find books! What's the point of having them if you can't use them?

A very nice bullet. We can thank Elmer Keith for several very good bullet designs. Frank
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