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Experiences with .357/45 G.W.M / .357/45 GWM / .357/45 L.A.R Grizzly


Grizzly45
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I’ve stumbled across a barrel for a LAR/L.A.R. Grizzly in their proprietary .357/45 GWM cartridge developed sometime in the 80’s/90s.


There is close to no information out there on this cartridge, and as I have now partially decoded it, I thought I’d share my experiences.


I’m writing in English, as I expect this information will be of value to approximately 4 people on planet Earth, and the other 3 might not speak Norwegian.

 

The cartridge is a bottle-necked cartridge based on the .308 Win rifle case chopped down to 33mm length and necked to take a .357 bullet.
It’s quite similar to the .357 AMP / Automag, but with slightly different dimensions, especially in neck diameter. The .357 AMP would be a much better choice, as information & dies for that caliber are quite abundant (compared to the .357/45 GWM), but of course you’d have to shoot it in an Automag, and not the epic L.A.R Grizzly.

 

The Grizzly is a 1911 scaled up to take the .45 Winchester Magnum cartridge, and was at various times & Marks offered in .357 Mag, 10mm, .357/45 GWM, .44 Mag and .45 Win Mag. It’s a quite large and robust pistol, and shares quite some parts commonality with a standard 1911. On a personal note – I sold my 1911, since the dainty little grip was just annoying even with a rounded mainspring housing & extra large grip. The Grizzly fits my hand perfectly, your mileage may vary.

 

The .357/45 GWM feeds from the same magazines as the .45 WM, and also uses the same ejector & recoil spring. Other caliber conversions may or will require a dedicated magazine, ejector and recoil spring, in addition to the barrel, of course.

 

There are three obvious candidates for donor cases: .45 Win Mag, .44 Automag and .308 Winchester rifle cartridges necked and chopped.

 

The .45 WM is a no-go, as the cases after forming are 2,7mm too short, giving very little bullet hold. The .44 Automag was promising for a while, but I’ve ended up forming, chopping and inside case-reaming .308 cases. There are three reasons for dropping the .44 Automag:
1)    They’re hard to get in a stable supply. My local pusher had 100, and that’s all. Starline are currently not producing, but may in the future.
2)    Another reason is that the case tapers more than a .308/ .45WM / .357/45 GWM, so the first firing pops the case out quite a bit.
3)    And: I had hoped that I could used .44 WM without reaming the inside case necks, thus saving a step, but due to the very tight dimensions of the .347/45 throat, they would not fit un-reamed. And when I tried to carefully ream the insides, it seems like the reamer grinds off a little bit too much, leaving the shells very thin in the neck, with weak bullet hold as a result.

 

I’m sure there is a combination of reamer size, technique and other factors that will allow a .44 AMP to hold on to the bullets without getting too thick in the neck to chamber, but I didn’t find it this time around. I used a Forster .355 inside neck reamer, and tried with .357 jacketed bullets and .358 lead bullets. Didn’t work out for me. Might for you. I realize that I'm losing case volume by going for the rifle case, but the other factors outweigh this consideration for me.

 

My barrel, btw, is .3575 about, so I figure a .357 jacketed or .358 lead is about right, at least it’s proven relatively accurate so far.

 

Since all I had was a barrel & no info, the first step was trying to find some dies. My first attempt was based on the .358 Winchester rifle dies, carefully chopped to size with an angle grinder. This worked, sort of, since the cartridge headspaces on the case shoulder. The shoulder angle of a .358 Win rifle cartridge is way shallower than the .357/45, but the actual should angle is not critical, as long as the shoulder starts in the right place. I got some fired-formed brass out of this method, made a chamber cast, and was ready to order some custom dies. That’s when I got a response from CH4D, saying they had .357/45 GWM die sets in store @USD 140. Naturally I jumped on this, as custom dies are expensive, and take forever.

 

Now, about those CH4D dies… They work, sort of. But I suspect they’re actually .357 AMP dies relabeled.
The sizing die didn’t push the shoulder back far enough, so I had to grind off a bit at the bottom to get it to bottom out properly with the shoulder in the right place.
The expander seems to expand a bit too much, and with my “need more bullet hold” issue, I replaced this with a Lee expander from a .38 Special set, set in a universal charging die + a few washers to get things to work.
The seater / crimp die was also less optimal, as the seater stem was way too long, and even backed all the way out, it would have pushed the bullet into the case. Heaven knows where they found that seater stem.
The seater die has been replaced with a .45 ACP Hornady die, but the crimper works adequately. That is – a bit more of a neck crimp would have been nice, but screwed in far enough it crimps the cases, with a sort of a semi taper/roll crimp. I’m kinda looking for a .358 something neck collet crimping die, as the one I have seems a little rough on the cases.

 

In another life I’d spring for the custom dies, but the CH4D dies are usable, if you have some other spare stuff lying around.

 

The .308 cases are simply lubed, pushed through the sizing die without the de-capping pin in place. This forms a looong .357 neck on the case. Then a miniature rotary saw from eBay chops it down to about 34-35mm.
Next step is the Forster Case Trimmer, with both the trimmer head and a .355 inside neck reamer in place. I’ve found that a .355 reamer is the better choice, and it needs to be heavily lubed.
I douse the reamer down with 10-40 motor oil, and ensure that the reamer cuts nice long brass curls from the inside of the neck. Unlubed, it tends to chew & chatter, and I believe this is part of the reason for the “no bullet hold” problem described above.
When the reamer just churns and chatters down the neck, I guess it is abrading the inside of the neck & making a hole bigger than .355. When I get the nice little brass curls as I cut, the necks seem to hold the bullets fully. The cases need a second trip through the sizing die, with the decapping pin in place, to get into proper shape & lose the spent primer. Then a thorough cleaning, of course, that lube needs to go.

 

That’s about it. I’m using .357 AMP loading data, mixed a bit with QuickLoad & “Gordons reloading tool”. The case volume of the 357/45 GWM is slightly larger than the .357 AMP it seems. I’m still in the early days of developing loads, but I’ve tried a 158gr SWC at 1650 f/s for a PF of 260, that’s quite interesting, and I didn’t get any indications I was over any line. That said – max load are kinda hard on the shells – they spin & hit the slide top on their way out. 158gr @ 1350f/s, PF 210 is much nicer on the hands & cases 😊 I have a few experimental loads calculated, but not loaded, that looks to give ~2000-2100 f/s with lighter bullets.

 

I’m using Federal Rifle primers, Large Pistol work just as well, but don’t feed as reliably in my primer gizmo. I’m using VV N340 for the “nice” loads, this is quite close to HS-6. For the maxish, 1 meter fireball loads, I’m using N110, pretty close to H110.

 

Wolff still makes recoil springs & magazine spring for the .45 Win Mag, and the .357/45 uses the same springs, that was a welcome increase in reliability. The recoil spring is 27lbs, so a strong grip is adviced.

 

2020-10-27 12.20.26.jpg

.308, .308 formed, a .45 Win Mag formed, as you can see a bit on the short side. A fired case, and a loaded case, based on the .358 rifle dies, hence the weak shoulder.

 

2020-11-05 13.17.49.jpg

Four loaded for fireforming, and you can see the weak .358 shoulder.

 

2021-02-07 20.40.27.jpg

A fired case, a formed, chopped & formed case based on a .308 case and the more correct dies. Loaded cartridge, showing crimp

 

2021-02-07 20.41.58.jpg

A fomed & chopped case, a trimmed & formed case, a fired case. All .308 win based.

2027488175_2021-02-0820_37_38.jpg.944ea25a9684cc6d812fd52562cea2c0.jpg

Very rough scetch. The diameters are easy to get right with a micrometer. The lenghts are difficult.

 

 

Edited by Grizzly45
Edit: Added picture captions & fixed the drawings
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Nerding hard here - here's some more info, that'll hopefully be of interest to someone sometime.

 

Here's RCBS' original data for the cartridge (1)

grizzly loadsy.jpg

 

 

Here's RCBS' original data for the cartridge (2)

Grizzly357b_zpsk1tbhpoz.jpg

 

Load data. With my limited experience, these results seem to match my own. These seem to have been shot in an actual Grizzly, not a 10" test barrel.

Grizzly357d_zpsvo2ioqwe.jpg

 

Da big boy himself.

H1193-L95549142.jpg

 

Comparison of a .357 Mag, .357/45 GWM and a 9x19 (9mm, 9mm Luger)

2021-02-15 21.15.05.jpg

Edited by Grizzly45
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  • 4 months later...

Interesting stuff; I’m looking into a rimmed version for use in a contender barrel, think 45colt as the starting point.  I’m a neophyte wrt this and looking for comments on: 1. Will reaming be required if I use a 9mm barrel?  2. Does the 357/45 fire formed brass have the same base diameter as the 45winMag (0.480inches)?   Note: I have found that forming 45LC brass to a round with 308 base dimensions results in what looks like a belted and rimmed case.   I understand that can be addressed but if I don’t have to.  .  .  .

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If you're reaming a chamber anyway, choosing the 357 AMP would be easier, as chamber reamers, shells, dies etc are available.

If you're forming cases from a .45 Colt, the necks probably won't need inside reaming, the primary reason for needing the reaming is that the cases are formed from rifle cases, and that the throat of the chamber is very tight.

If you ream the chamber a little looser in the neck, you can get away with thicker cases.

If you're using a Contender, I would consider a .357 barrel, as the availability of suitable bullets are better than .355

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Thank you.  .   .   I’m a scrounge (my bride might say scroungy) and I have contender barrels in 9mm and 357, and 357AMT, 357/45 WM, and 38/45 Clerke dies.   I need to play a bit to see what will work.   As to bullets, I agree mostly with your comments but am intrigued by the possibilities that 350 Legend (in whose mind?) bullets present.  I think they are .355 or .356 diameter.  
 

I had been interested in a rimmed 7.92x33 (8mm Kurtz) round for a contender barrel but forming the case without a base forming die or “turning” results in a pseudo belt.  I could probably use 44-40 brass but esoterically want to use 45LC.    The 8mm option also requires a barrel and I have the 357/9mm options covered.  
 

I appreciate valid critical comments even if they hurt my feelings.  I’ll post more as things develop. 

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Since you have the barrels, the next challenge is the dies. The neck size & shoulder taper is different between the 357 AMP and 357/45 GWM, i don't know where the 38/45 Clerke sits in there. My guess would be chambering problems, as the Clerke forms the neck way further down on the case.
Easiest way to goal: 357 AMP, start with .357 AMP dies and .44 AMP cases, form, trim, and you're good to go.

357/45 is doable, but not optimal, as I suspect the dies I got are not quite there. A set of properly shaped dies would help a lot..

Starting with a .45 Colt you'll need a custom chamber reamer, custom dies, the whole 9 yards.
And with the US in a panic, there's a multi month / year lead time on custom reamers & dies.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi I also have a few grizzlys and just lucked up on a 357/45 gwm. I see that ch 4d offers dies and forming dies. I also see you say they don't work very well. I wish i could find the original dies. It's a shame.  I also see on YouTube about sizing the brass and reloading a bullet 357/45 gwm with the ch 4d dies. Thanks for the input Tim

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My problem is that I have zero dies to even make a fire formed brass to order custom dies. Which company would you trust to make the custom dies here in America? I'm thinking I should left that 357/45 gwm on the counter..I have two other grizzly one in 357 mag. Which is my favorite of the three. So I will need fire formed brass to have custom dies made?  UPDATE: He  stated that he had to take 40-42 thousands of the bottom of the sizing die to make the shoulder go back to where it should be to make it right with the ch4d dies, hope that helps I just got off the phone with him he also says that it came with the wrong reamer it needs to .355 reamer. . https://youtu.be/ZO_Z4VaE8nY

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1 hour ago, Grizzly Shooter said:

..

A lot to unravel here :)
 

First of all - the guy on youtube is using the CH4D dies, plus a set of RCBS forming dies that haven't been manufactured since the 80'ies.

That makes me about 100% sure that he bought the barrel & dies in the 80'ies, and forgot them for 40 years. In the video he's simply parroting the article above, without attribution, though with some screenshots :)

 

The fact that his dies were too long, too ,makes me believe that CH4D never got these dies right. I just took a belt sander to the bottom of mine in small steps until a formed case "plunked" nice into the chamber.

 

I can't find the case expander die, so apparently I dropped that early on for some reason. I'm using a hack with a Lee universal charger die & a neck expander from a .357 Mag set.

 

The seater has a seater stem that's about 20mm (4/5th of an inch ish) too long. I've chopped it off, working on making a suitable dimple to push in the bullets. In the mean time, I'm simply using a .45 ACP seating die.

 

The crimper is OK, it could touch more of the neck than just the mouth, but it's OK.

 

So - CH4D - OKish, needs a bit of work :) If they still have them, you can hack it, too. 

 

Note that the guy on youtube stops a few steps short of seating & crimping, probably because he discovered that the .355 bullets dropped clear into the cases. I'm using .357 FMJ's in mine, the bore is .3575.

 

You can make a chamber cast, and I can send you a few formed & sized cases. Fill them 70% with TrailBoss, use a mallet to push some .357's into the case, feed them manually (to avoid unseating the bullets on the feed ramp), and presto - you have 3 fired cases.

 

When I went looking for custom dies, they mostly said "come back in a few years, we're busy". Might have changed?
 

 

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2 hours ago, Grizzly45 said:

A lot to unravel here :)
 

First of all - the guy on youtube is using the CH4D dies, plus a set of RCBS forming dies that haven't been manufactured since the 80'ies.

That makes me about 100% sure that he bought the barrel & dies in the 80'ies, and forgot them for 40 years. In the video he's simply parroting the article above, without attribution, though with some screenshots :)

 

The fact that his dies were too long, too ,makes me believe that CH4D never got these dies right. I just took a belt sander to the bottom of mine in small steps until a formed case "plunked" nice into the chamber.

 

I can't find the case expander die, so apparently I dropped that early on for some reason. I'm using a hack with a Lee universal charger die & a neck expander from a .357 Mag set.

 

The seater has a seater stem that's about 20mm (4/5th of an inch ish) too long. I've chopped it off, working on making a suitable dimple to push in the bullets. In the mean time, I'm simply using a .45 ACP seating die.

 

The crimper is OK, it could touch more of the neck than just the mouth, but it's OK.

 

So - CH4D - OKish, needs a bit of work :) If they still have them, you can hack it, too. 

 

Note that the guy on youtube stops a few steps short of seating & crimping, probably because he discovered that the .355 bullets dropped clear into the cases. I'm using .357 FMJ's in mine, the bore is .3575.

 

You can make a chamber cast, and I can send you a few formed & sized cases. Fill them 70% with TrailBoss, use a mallet to push some .357's into the case, feed them manually (to avoid unseating the bullets on the feed ramp), and presto - you have 3 fired cases.

 

When I went looking for custom dies, they mostly said "come back in a few years, we're busy". Might have changed?
 

 

He said those where the only dies he had for them. I called and talked to him about it. He said they are still on the shelf there at CH4D. I guess it will be my only option so thanks for all the input. Give him a call his number is listed in the replys on one of the replies. I thank both of you for the insight on getting something that will work for now much appreciated. Do go with a ..355 reamer?

Again thanks for both of you guys knowledge on this round I've never had a wild cat before .

Ps if I need those cases from you I'll be sending you a money order to cover the cost.

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1 hour ago, Grizzly Shooter said:

He said those where the only dies he had for them. I called and talked to him about it. He said they are still on the shelf there at CH4D. I guess it will be my only option so thanks for all the input. Give him a call his number is listed in the replys on one of the replies. I thank both of you for the insight on getting something that will work for now much appreciated. Do go with a ..355 reamer?

Again thanks for both of you guys knowledge on this round I've never had a wild cat before .

Ps if I need those cases from you I'll be sending you a money order to cover the cost.

It's the closest thing we've got. Bit of sanding and creativity, you'll be right as rain.
I have a Forster trimmer/reamer, chose the .355. The RCBS is 356. But I'm having issues with thin, not thick, case necks. So .355 is fine.

I form the cases (lubed) on the sizing die without the de-capper. Chop to a bit above desired length (34-35mm).

De-burr, size again. Expand case necks slightly. Ream & trim to 33mm. Size again.

 

Now you have shells that can be cleaned, belled, primed & the rest.

Remember a good crimp - the feed ramp is steep, you don't want the bullets being smashed back into the case, reducing the case volume & create over-pressure. 

.357's are good, jacketed FMJs. That feed ramp is hard on soft bullets, even plated bullets get banged enough to deform the nose.

I've tried JHPs, RN FP, TC - the only ones that survive the trip up the feed ramp consistently are the FMJ RNs.

 

This might be different with lighter springs & loads, but a 170gr bullet at 1600 fps (970 ft/lbs) is where the fun is :)

Smacked a 110gr out at 2068 fps, not bad for a 6,5" barrel :) (a bit on the warm side, that load)

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So it seems ch4d is so busy they don't answer there phone and there email is turned off. Jezz, hire some more people or something. . I think i might go with this company, Custom Reloading Dies - Whidden Gunworks But im first going to call Redding first i think they are the best. i order the .355 forster last night. Do you use it with a drill are the brass trimmer?

To seat the bullet im just going to use a press with a block of wood. I have been reloading for about 32 years so im pretty good. I hope i can get some brass from Jefferey that guy in the video, he seems like a great person. He also has the 9mm Mag for the grizzly, now that would be fun. He said he cant find mags for it. Any thoughts on that or ideals on getting such a thing. I would think you could mod. a 357 mag, like they do with the 45wm with a block in the back to do the 45acp. He said he payed 1000$ for the barrel, ive never seen a barrel or nothing for the 9mm mag. Ive had one of my grizzly since i was 23 now im 53 yikes...Time flys..

Thanks

Tim

P.S. Can you share some of that 357 amp data for reloading? So what did you use to get that 110 up with that much heat? (H110) also that 170 gr? Thats smoking down the range brother! 😃i I had to have my 357 mag barrel throated by Clarks Custom Guns im a local to them boys alone with Jerry Miculek im always going out there to hang out with them Boyz. I tell you one thing Jerry is one bad M.F.... Im hoping he will do some videos on my Grizzlys..=) BTW thats two Americans down since you wrote this post in English, Only one more to go..LMAO!

 

 

Edited by Grizzly Shooter
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19 hours ago, Grizzly Shooter said:

So it seems ch4d is so busy they don't answer there phone and there email is turned off. Jezz, hire some more people or something. . I think i might go with this company, Custom Reloading Dies - Whidden Gunworks But im first going to call Redding first i think they are the best. i order the .355 forster last night. Do you use it with a drill are the brass trimmer?

To seat the bullet im just going to use a press with a block of wood. I have been reloading for about 32 years so im pretty good. I hope i can get some brass from Jefferey that guy in the video, he seems like a great person. He also has the 9mm Mag for the grizzly, now that would be fun. He said he cant find mags for it. Any thoughts on that or ideals on getting such a thing. I would think you could mod. a 357 mag, like they do with the 45wm with a block in the back to do the 45acp. He said he payed 1000$ for the barrel, ive never seen a barrel or nothing for the 9mm mag. Ive had one of my grizzly since i was 23 now im 53 yikes...Time flys..

Thanks

Tim

P.S. Can you share some of that 357 amp data for reloading? So what did you use to get that 110 up with that much heat? (H110) also that 170 gr? Thats smoking down the range brother! 😃i I had to have my 357 mag barrel throated by Clarks Custom Guns im a local to them boys alone with Jerry Miculek im always going out there to hang out with them Boyz. I tell you one thing Jerry is one bad M.F.... Im hoping he will do some videos on my Grizzlys..=) BTW thats two Americans down since you wrote this post in English, Only one more to go..LMAO!

 

 

Hi, yes I use a drill on the "Forster Classic" - it's a tough job getting through. I use motor oil to lube the cutter liberally.

 

The 9mm Mag magazines have internal ribs in the sides of the magazine. I seem to remember that the 9mm Mag is the same length as the 45 Win mag?

 

I use 19,0gr Vihtavuori N110 for 170gr Sierra RN FMJ and get 1616 fps with 40,6mm OAL. It's probably not max, but is quite a handful. Since this is a wildcat - you know better than taking my word for that data, you must test your way yourself.

About the 110gr - turns out it was a 105gr, and I used 20,0gr Vihtavuori N105 for 2068 fps. This is possibly overpressure, and I only fired two. Better results should be possible with N110, Li'l Gun and similar. I sort of just wanted to check the box "> 2000fps from a pistol" :)

With moderate loads the shells eject 45 degrees up to the right. When the shells embed themselves in the ceiling straight above your head, you know you're sniffing the read line..

 

High pressure loads are also hard on the shells, I suspect they smack into the slide on their way out, some case necks get dented so badly the case is a write-off

 

Edited by Grizzly45
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So I finally got to order the dies from Ch4D. I had to order two sets of dies just like Jeffrey had in the video. They have the trim reamer die set also. After talking to them awhile they said the reamer suppose to be a .351. I asked them to make sure because the two guys I know making this round got a .357-.359 from your die sets. I more than likely will get the .359 like you guys did . Here is some more load data got from Jeffrey.IMG_20220201_092542_01.jpg.015ff311425af17cfa7c92a1d1499b65.jpgIMG_20220201_092535_01.jpg.171a7ce0e9b7199958d98a95608b97a1.jpg

 

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Trim & reamer is good. As said, .355 works OK for me, depends a bit on which cases I use as donor. The RCBS were 356. 351 is way off, as is .357/8.

 

Be careful about mails from "Dave" at CH4d - just got a spam/phish from someone who has broken into their mailbox, with a link to a veeery iffy download. Take care - use the phone to confirm before clicking.

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6 hours ago, Grizzly45 said:

Trim & reamer is good. As said, .355 works OK for me, depends a bit on which cases I use as donor. The RCBS were 356. 351 is way off, as is .357/8.

 

Be careful about mails from "Dave" at CH4d - just got a spam/phish from someone who has broken into their mailbox, with a link to a veeery iffy download. Take care - use the phone to confirm before clicking.

Thanks for the heads up. So one last question before i get brass, im thinking buying once fired cases from gunbroker, Commerial (range brass). Or should i buy new brass? So in your experience with brand 308 brass is there one that is more favorable, I know in pistol brass that Fed is more stronger and is where Win, Rem, and speer is more of a weaker brass. I also know that .556/223 is a completely different animal when compared to inner thickness  of the brass leaving less compacity in volume in the chamber.  Its more than likely thicker on the 7.62 NATO brass also. Any experience's with those?

 

I will post my finding at a later date on more data experience's when i get setup.. Here is my fav. bullet to play with a 357 mag. Now will be 357/45 GWM :)

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1018301458?pid=392055

 

Also, they have 38 specials that don't have a cannelure groove. (Why in the World they wouldn't have a cannelure groove is beyond me?). Like you stated that its a hard trip up that ramp to make the chamber i would imagine.  I might play around on creating a crimp groove. I'm a dental Tech so i have three nice lathes. They did have 90/100 grain when in stock, they come and go very fast. Lehigh is the best bullet this old man has ever seen, a true smart bullet. They do have 120 with no cannelure  groove, They do state not recommended for the 357 Mag not really sure why they don't have a Extreme Defense round for the 357 Mag. because even the 140 is only mod. with a round 20-30 degree cut with no crimp groove it feeds fine in my 357 Mag grizzly. Like you where saying maybe getting a .358 rifle neck die might be the best option. I lied i got alot of questions? :) Who knows my dies might be ok. (yeah right.) :(

 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1020626726?pid=683900

 

I've been casting bullets as long as reloading and have a few molds to try out, very rare old molds also. i use hi-tek coating on everything now. I have a lot of linotype/wheel weights/lead/solder/tin to make some really hard cast rounds. What a improvement instead of nasty wax lubes. I've had that stuff up to 2200fps with no leading of the barrel. Best thing since Women lolz. (some people would disagree!!). :) If you cast bullets i already know the best mold will be this mold. They have the 2 cavity also. Thats what i have.

 

Lee 6-Cavity Bullet Mold 358-150-1R 38 Special 357 Mag 38 Colt New (midwayusa.com)

 

I'm still going to take the 357/45 GWM barrel and have it throated and polished. 

 

So i figured you would jump on that other set of dies from CH4D at those prices?

 

Speaking about Lehigh i got a 9mm 68GR. smoking 1700fps, 90 Gr. doing 1475fps/1525fps out of a S&W M&P. (those 68Gr. are nick named little demons for a reason,). They have a load chart on Lehighs website. Truck gun. FYI. Of course with adjustable sites its all tricked like Jerry's comp. weapon really impressive for a 9mm. Got a 40S&W 135Gr. Holser HP doing 1575fps with longshot. STI 2011. 5 inch. ill post some eye candy later if interested. Just food for thought.

 

 https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1018300681?pid=905559

 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1018300681?pid=905559

 

Lehigh videos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Grizzly Shooter
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Hi

I use Norma brass, have also used Federal & Winchester, once fired range pickup.

There are wall thickness differences, I'm not sure which thickness is better. Internal volume is quite similar, if you want more you have to get .44 AMP Mag brass.

 

Regarding bullets: The major obstacle for the bullets is the ramp in the frame of the gun, I believe. I haven't touched that, as the same ramp is of course used across all calibers. And it's a bit rough on the bullets in 357/45. In 45 Win Mag and .45 ACP I can feed SWC's and FPs without the issue, so I'm leaving the frame ramp alone. I have fresh springs in the magazines, and a fresh 27 lb recoil spring - that's all I can do with the gun.

 

I find that even plated flat nose bullets and hard cast TC (hi-tec'ed :)) get bumped pretty hard, as in a chunk of lead getting chewed off..

 

So those Xtreme bullets might get hung up on the ramp, or get chewed.

 

So I've settled for RN FMJ - they don't get hung up, and fly nicely up the ramp without getting mauled.

 

If you're going to try cast, RN is the best bet, and a quite hard alloy. The TC's shown over are north of 20 Brinell and get chewed - at least some of them. I could get 4 in a group and the 5th flying off to the side. RNs would perhaps fare better.

 

I'm guessing that the difference between the 45's and the 357/45 is the angle as they're hitting the ramp, the 357/45s are going in a more nose down approach, due to the taper of the shells.

Edited by Grizzly45
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  • 2 months later...

Hi Grizzly45,

 

thanks for sharing your information in English!

 

It is really one of the best sources for this rare caliber in the web you can find or at least that I have found 😉

 

A few weeks ago I purchased a Grizzly .45 Win Mag with 6,5” barrel which came with four 6,5” conversion kits including a 357/45 GWM kit 🤩

So now I am looking forward to shoot this barrel and need to fabricate some ammo for it.


The previous owner seems to have shot this barrel with formed .45 Win Mag cases. Along the gun came round about a hundred shot cases formed to 357/45 GMW. Looking on the condition of the barrel, I guess that might be the only shots fired from it.

As I understand because the 45 WinMag cases are too short for crimping the bullet will not stay in place while the cartridge is fed to the chamber. So I am looking for cases in the correct length.

 

When looking for base cases did you consider to use 7,92x33 kurz cases from the STGW 44?

The case is very similar. Rim is just a little bit smaller than the .308 Win the shoulder a bit flatter and it's position about 1mm further to the front. After calibration I think we would end with a case length of 32-32,5mm with an unfired case.

My hope would be that after expanding the neck to 9mm I could spare myself the reaming.

 

Luckily with the gun came a 357/45 GMW die set (RCBS) so the important tool for making the cases I do have.👍
A matching expander should be to be found in one of my other die sets.

So create cases by just expanding the neck and then do a full length calibration of the case.

 

What do you think about this idea?

 

Would be great to get an opinion to my idea from you or somebodys else paying attention to this thread 🙂

 

Cheers

de50ae

 

2022-04-20_21h18_36.png

Edited by de50ae
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Posted (edited)

Hi @de50ae

I'm truly glad you're finding this helpful. By now we're up to the estimated 4 people on planet Earth interested in this caliber, great :)

 

And I think your idea is wonderful. 7,92x33 should form nicely to a shell with the proper neck thickness. I can't make up my mind if the reformed case will be slightly shorter or longer than 33mm, but in any case I think the length is be way more than close enough.

The minuscule rim diameter difference should not be of consequence.

 

Brilliant! :) Very happy when we can build on each others work & ideas :)

 

(Btw - I have some once fired  .50 AE cases (50 ish I think) I'll trade for some 7,92x33 Kurtz cases with Boxer pimers :))

I want to try this :)

 

(And I'm seriously jealous about those RCBS dies AND the 4 barrels..)

Edited by Grizzly45
Edit: Added a PS
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Great you see potential in the 7,92x33 too! 🙂

 

I expect the case getting shorter because the 7,92x33 has 34° neck angle the 357/45  40°.

But the difference should be minor and from my experience bottle neck cases get substanically longer after the first firing anyway.

After that the length should be fine, might even need trimming.

Ideal would be to use cases already fired once in a rifle...

 

I think we could use a regular .357 / 9mm RCBS expander die.

Just did a quick and dirty trial with a .308 Win case which I after expanding did put partly in the 357 / 45 GMW FL die.

The expander did widen the neck about 6-7mm cylindrically till it opened the mouth for seating.

I think that should be enough.

Further widening could be may be done by seating the bullet.

One thing I discovered which is not so good... the neck respectively the mouth is not 100% straight anymore..

 

If the length of the formed and calibrated 7,92x33 is < 33mm how about seating a light and short 90grs 9mm bullet and do a little fire forming?

After that the case should be fine.

Then FL calibration evantually some minor trimming and the case should be ready to go 😎

2022-04-22_02h09_36.png

Edited by de50ae
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I believe we need a rifle-type neck expander button.

Your RCBS sizing/depriming die should have an expander button on the primer ejector pin.

With careful lubing of the case inside & out, and the button placed at a point where the neck has some support - that should work.

Could you check if that is included? You should be able to create a faux simile with an 8x57, well lubed, and not pushed too far.. :)

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Yes that was my first thought too.

But strangely the RCBS 357/45 die has no expander.

Just a nut holding the decapping as it would be usual for standard pistol calibers.

 

2022-04-22_23h25_44.png.9d098cea5c6a58094564a739ce6c5356.png

 

But that should be an easy fix.

The .35  Whelen decap unit should fit to the die.

https://www.rcbs.com/spare-parts-and-extras/decap-units-and-pins/replacement-parts/decap-unit--.35-whelen/16-9823.html

.35 Whelen is .358 so it could be a little bit too large but that easily can be grinded down.

 

Think I am gonna order this part.

You're right that should achieve better results than forcing the .357 Mag expander into the case.

 

Does your CH4d die have an expander?

Edited by de50ae
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Posted (edited)

I think we may be on to something.. 
The right cartridge is based on 8mm Kurtz, the left one is from the long process with .308 cases.

The Kurtz-based cartridge chambers and headspaces OK, apparently, but it's a bit "loose" in the chamber. Will load up a few with come cheap bullets and a bit of N32C to fireform. Probably not able to test before Wednesday, we'll see. 

Thanks for the tip :)

By the way - I used the neck expander ball from a .358 Win die set.

And the case ended up at 32.6mm, no problems there.

20220425_112546.jpg

Edited by Grizzly45
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Posted (edited)

Behold :) 

Possibly the worlds first ever 357/45 Kurtz. Sincere thanks to @de50ae for the brilliance to think of the idea :)

Made with a combination of RCBS .358 Win & CH4D dies.

170 grs Sierra FMJ, a full .38 Special case of N32C (No idea of the weight, but way below any threshold).

Should fireform the cases nicely, but won't eject, thus saving me some case chasing :)

Looking forward to the reload

 

 

20220426_205954 1.jpg

Edited by Grizzly45
Picture in fron of text
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Impressive how quickly you've realized the idea 👍😎

Cartridges look great 👍

 

Still putting the things togehter for my order, gonna order a few things more I currently need...

 

My dealer has PPU cases in stock, are your's from PPU too?

 

Did the bullets have a tight seat after the case has been expanded by the .358 Win expander or only after being calibrated by the CH4D die?

I have made the experience before with the .30 Luger RCBS dies that the expander was to big and I've had loose bullets...

RCBS is offering decapping units in .355 (for the .357 SIG) and one in .358 (for the 35 Whelen probably the same for your .358 Win too)

Because of the .30 Luger experience I tend to buy the .355 one...🤔

May be even keep it constantly attached to the RCBS FL die...

Or is it better to separate the steps?

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, de50ae said:

Impressive how quickly you've realized the idea 👍😎

Cartridges look great 👍

 

Still putting the things togehter for my order, gonna order a few things more I currently need...

 

My dealer has PPU cases in stock, are your's from PPU too?

 

Did the bullets have a tight seat after the case has been expanded by the .358 Win expander or only after being calibrated by the CH4D die?

I have made the experience before with the .30 Luger RCBS dies that the expander was to big and I've had loose bullets...

RCBS is offering decapping units in .355 (for the .357 SIG) and one in .358 (for the 35 Whelen probably the same for your .358 Win too)

Because of the .30 Luger experience I tend to buy the .355 one...🤔

May be even keep it constantly attached to the RCBS FL die...

Or is it better to separate the steps?

 

 

I fireformed 10 today, and can report a 90% success. Actually close to 99,9%, this was fun :)

 

The cases are from "GRAF", and judging from the look of the package, have been in stock a few years.
 

I simply expanded the cases with the .358 dies, and seated a bullet. The bullet hold was good, and although the case was a loose fit in the chamber, the headspace was "incidentally" correct, although the start of the shoulder and shoulder angle are different. So making ammo for fireforming is just "expand, prime, add powder, seat bullet, crimp, bang".
 

The expander button was originally .358, but I believe i have ground it down a bit.

After firing they looked great, and I've dummyloaded a fired case.

Size in the CH4d (without an expander button), seat bullet & add crimp - worked well.


I've noticed that the bullet starts really tight, and becomes easier to push as we go down the case, but since we end in a nice crimp, I think we're good.

 

The missing % was from the load of N32C. I used a .38 special case as measure, and loaded a full measure into each case. Unfortunately, this was enough to partially open the action, but not enough to eject. So the first shell was smashed into the chamber wall as the slide returned and was smashed.

 

Possible remedies,while fireforming:

1) Increase load to make action cycle

2) Reduce load to ensure it doesn't open at all

3) replace the 27 lbs spring for .45 Mag / .357/45 with the one from .45 ACP to make the action cycle

4) manually slow down the slide for each shot with your thumb from the other hand.

 

I chose 4) to get 9 nicely formed cases. My thumb is not sure if that was the best option, so I'll probably go for 1) in the future :)

 

In all - we have a winner. Thank you so much for sharing your idea and building on our common knowledge :)
 

The cases from 7,92x33 behave at least as well as the formed .308's.

We have to fireform first time, but that is SO much easier than the forming, sawing, trimming & reaming.

 

Thanks :)

Edited by Grizzly45
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Possibly the last update for a while, from here on in, I think it might be mostly shooting this thing, not fighting it.

 

I expanded 90 cases of 7,92x33 Kurtz on a chopped down .358 Win die.

Primed with Federal Large Rifle, and Magtech Large Pistol when i ran out of the Federal.

Added a .32 S&W Long caseful of N32C, seated a Frontier 158gr FP, crimped.

Did not size in a .357/45 sizer, the cases headspace perfectly even though the shoulder is the wrong angle and in the wrong place.

 

Went to fireform.

Ended up swapping the spring for a .45 ACP spring, and then single loading a cartridge at a time.

The reason for the single loading is that the 7,92x33 Kurtz is way more tapered than a .357/45 GWM, so the cases tend to dip into the feedramp before having been fireformed. So trying to load from a magazine gets tired, fast.

 

The .45 ACP spring is still strong enough to hold back that dash of N32C, and believe me, when yanking back the slide to eject the case, you want the ~14 lbs .45 ACP spring to fight back, not the 27 lbs .357/45 spring.

 

I'm now in the posession of 99 fireformed, washed .357/45 GWM Kurtz cases - next step is some reloading, then actual shooting :)

 

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Sounds great 👍

I am currently waiting for the decapping unit.

I haven't got a delivery date yet...

 

Will see how the PPU cases behave...

Some people say they are not good.

Hope they don't crack quickly if so some annealing might help.

 

I did a little reading about fire forming...

Some people tell not to use reduced loads with fast powders, they advice to use min loads of the actual load data for the calibre.

So to spare me the trouble with manual loading each round I tend to widen the case do a full calibration and then load it with a mild load of N110.
Is there any argument against this idea?

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A quick update - this wasn't as easy as I hoped. 

The process for a fireformed case is:

Size (calibrate) and decap, expand neck with rifle type expander, then powder, seating and crimp.

 

I tried seating without expanding or expand with a pistol-type expander. That didn't work, the case neck buckled. Even though the crimp straightens the neck, the remaining bulges still stop the round from chambering well.

I mucked about for hours yesterday to find the best expansion and the correct level of crimp. 
Will test-shoot today.

Powder charge for fireforming - I have no opinion. What i've read that you should use a mild load, that's all.

 

The reason for the single loading is that the cases taper too much, so the cartridges hit the loading ramp too low when I tried to feed them from the magazine.
Sizing/calibration after expansion does not fix this, as the case is too slender, not too thick. They pop out to their intended minimal taper in the fireform.

 

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Did you have the issue with buckled necks with the .308 based cases too or is this new with the kurz cases?

Can you post a picture of round like this with a buckle please?

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Posted (edited)

Hi, this isn't over. Today's test shooting was a bad show :(
I'll get back to that, let me answer your questions first.

This problem of buckled cases did not occur with the .308 cases, since there I had problems with getting ENOUGH hold on the bullets.

The Kurtz is grabbing on for dear life, which is a good thing.

When I seat a flat base bullet, at a point in the seater die when the case neck is not fully supported, the bullets tend to kink.

I stopped half way on one of them, and it looked like a tongue in cheek thing. I pressed home and crimped, but it won't chamber.

So - the rifle style expander button is a must. Considering adding a bit of trumpet, too

 

Attached is a photo of:

A 308 win cartridge for reference.

A Kurtz that won't chamber

A Kurtz that "plonks" into the chamber

A Kurtz that had a bad time at the feed ramp

A Kurtz that the extractor caught

A fired Kurtz.

 

20220502-3148.jpg

Edit: I just spotted something in my own picture. The Fired & formed cases are way different than the fired cases.

Look at the shoulder, the shoulder angle & the length of the neck. F**ck. I knew those CH4D dies were iffy. F**k

 

Then about today..

 

I had loaded 40 cartridges with a moderate load, 8,6 gr N340, for a factor of about 200-210 with a 170gr bullet, to be easy on my hands & shoulders.

This was too little oomph against the 27lbs recoil spring, and several cases were caught on the extractor and followed the slide back to smack into the chamber wall. It seemed like the extractor was holding a death grip on the case, and the ejection didn't work.

I switched to a weaker spring, this let the cases eject fine, but this spring didn't have enough power to force the cartidges up the feed ramp.
The taper of the 357/45 is probably larger than the .45 win mag, and they tend to go nose first into the frame ramp and get stuck unless there's a huge force driving them.
 

So:

Feed ramp not optimal

Need lots of bang to have the extractor lose its death grip on the case and let the ejector do its work.

 

Have no idea why a THINNER rim should produce that death grip. Isn't smaller diameter, too?

I don't get it. The Kurtz is actually closer to the .45 Win Mag (that I assume the GWM is built from) than the .308 is.

 

image.png.d31f9f7600b89746a65571c11d210a0e.png

I'll need a break from this project for a while, while I ponder..

Edited by Grizzly45
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  • 1 month later...

Hey guys, I've been so busy, really with no time to experiment yet. i did order the trim die and form die. which is really a 357 amp reformer. great i bought crap dies. Its all that's available, so kind of stuck like a chuck. Speaking of chucks i believe the reason the extractor is holding so hard is the fact that the dia. and the thickness of the rim is causing the extractor to dive deeper than normal. Its crabbing to much of the shoulder of the rim i think the only cure would be to get a grizzly 44 mag extractor. or a gunsmith taking down the extractor to not crab so much of the rim.(the shoulder of the ch4d dies looks like a weatherby shoulder and the correct is a 30/30 shoulder two different animals). It could be also that the crappy ch4d dies that are amp dies is over expanding the brass to much to a 357/45gwm chamber causing a hard release of the brass not sure!! (but when my 50 bmg brass has a pinch in the shoulder i have to use a rod to get it out the chamber) They say, the 44 is the original extractor that can be cut into any caliber. I've read so much on this caliber, from what i been told/reading that the magic brass is the 44 auto mag/rem 308 brass. it seems the rem brass will have more chamber vol. than other 308's.. I'm not sure, i will be doing some experiments in the near future. de50ae what a brilliant ideal..:) Also star line has 44 auto mag in stock. i got 500 to try out star line makes some really Awesome brass. also i see they have 9mm mag brass in stock. so i was bidding on a Lar Grizzly 9mm mag kit a little while ago on Gun broker. i keep bidding and bidding and this guy had bottomless pockets. i shot Jefferey a link to it. He called me and said, you know who out bidded you right? i said no, he said that was Grizzly45 that just beat ya ass up BOY LMAO!!  I did want it to brother, so how do you like it? You a DAWG!!! 🤣 I got bitten by a PIT BULL! 🤪  STOPTHE BLEEDING Medic!!

 

 

P.S. i ordered the wrong reamer twice for dia. reason, i finally found the correct one for the 357amp ream die from ch4d. i was going to go your way with the forster setup. but i think drilling down will be so much easier than sideways. not to mention the trim die with a file so much easier. here is what i found.  .3550" 6-Flute Carbide Straight Flute Reamer MF02031115 | eBay  (the ch4d dies cost 67$ a piece the ream die is more i think? they sell you the incorrect reamer for more money wtfh .358 reamer.),. also, if your Forster has a worn shaft it might explain the reason of no bullet hold/thin neck walls on 44 auto mag. i will find out soon just my 2 cents. 🙃

Edited by Grizzly Shooter
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On 5/2/2022 at 3:58 PM, de50ae said:

Hmmmm that doesn't sound so good....

In about 2 weeks I should have the PPU cases.

Will see if I'll have the same troubles...

you might be on to something there. every and i mean every ppu brass I've ever resized takes more pressure and more lube to resize this might be a interesting brass to experiment with. because i think most of what we are at war with is the brand of the brass..... they are  all different to some degree!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Infact de50ae i will send you some 44 auto mag brass to you so we can experience more on this 44 auto mag conclusion. Since you have me and Grizzly45 so jealous of your rcbs dies ya DAWG!!! but i would order that rimmer i found on ebay too just so it will be more interesting. .3550" 6-Flute Carbide Straight Flute Reamer MF02031115 | eBay its really a cheap price for a nice reamer. In other words if you buy the reamer i will send you some free brass to get this out of the equation. it would be nice of you. but i will send brass regardless if you do or don't . Because you have the correct dies and me and 45 is so curious.. LOL!!! I think the ball is in your court to this post because you have the correct dies. with 45 and me we have over expanding brass in a completely different cal. the 357amp. it may be the reason also for thin neck walls and low bullet tension over expanding brass..(the brass over expands causing thinner necks is what I'm thinking it makes a lot of sense!!). Agree?

 

Edited by Grizzly Shooter
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On 5/2/2022 at 2:53 PM, Grizzly45 said:

Hi, this isn't over. Today's test shooting was a bad show :(
I'll get back to that, let me answer your questions first.

This problem of buckled cases did not occur with the .308 cases, since there I had problems with getting ENOUGH hold on the bullets.

The Kurtz is grabbing on for dear life, which is a good thing.

When I seat a flat base bullet, at a point in the seater die when the case neck is not fully supported, the bullets tend to kink.

I stopped half way on one of them, and it looked like a tongue in cheek thing. I pressed home and crimped, but it won't chamber.

So - the rifle style expander button is a must. Considering adding a bit of trumpet, too

 

Attached is a photo of:

A 308 win cartridge for reference.

A Kurtz that won't chamber

A Kurtz that "plonks" into the chamber

A Kurtz that had a bad time at the feed ramp

A Kurtz that the extractor caught

A fired Kurtz.

 

20220502-3148.jpg

Edit: I just spotted something in my own picture. The Fired & formed cases are way different than the fired cases.

Look at the shoulder, the shoulder angle & the length of the neck. F**ck. I knew those CH4D dies were iffy. F**k

 

Then about today..

 

I had loaded 40 cartridges with a moderate load, 8,6 gr N340, for a factor of about 200-210 with a 170gr bullet, to be easy on my hands & shoulders.

This was too little oomph against the 27lbs recoil spring, and several cases were caught on the extractor and followed the slide back to smack into the chamber wall. It seemed like the extractor was holding a death grip on the case, and the ejection didn't work.

I switched to a weaker spring, this let the cases eject fine, but this spring didn't have enough power to force the cartidges up the feed ramp.
The taper of the 357/45 is probably larger than the .45 win mag, and they tend to go nose first into the frame ramp and get stuck unless there's a huge force driving them.
 

So:

Feed ramp not optimal

Need lots of bang to have the extractor lose its death grip on the case and let the ejector do its work.

 

Have no idea why a THINNER rim should produce that death grip. Isn't smaller diameter, too?

I don't get it. The Kurtz is actually closer to the .45 Win Mag (that I assume the GWM is built from) than the .308 is.

 

image.png.d31f9f7600b89746a65571c11d210a0e.png

I'll need a break from this project for a while, while I ponder..

from what i see brother, is me and your are screwed . we will never truly achieve  accurate groups with out rbs or custom dies....really sucks! Thoses pics shows it all! F**K

Edited by Grizzly Shooter
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10 hours ago, Grizzly Shooter said:

you might be on to something there. every and i mean every ppu brass I've ever resized takes more pressure and more lube to resize this might be a interesting brass to experiment with. because i think most of what we are at war with is the brand of the brass..... they are  all different to some degree!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Infact de50ae i will send you some 44 auto mag brass to you so we can experience more on this 44 auto mag conclusion. Since you have me and Grizzly45 so jealous of your rcbs dies ya DAWG!!! but i would order that rimmer i found on ebay too just so it will be more interesting. .3550" 6-Flute Carbide Straight Flute Reamer MF02031115 | eBay its really a cheap price for a nice reamer. In other words if you buy the reamer i will send you some free brass to get this out of the equation. it would be nice of you. but i will send brass regardless if you do or don't . Because you have the correct dies and me and 45 is so curious.. LOL!!! I think the ball is in your court to this post because you have the correct dies. with 45 and me we have over expanding brass in a completely different cal. the 357amp. it may be the reason also for thin neck walls and low bullet tension over expanding brass..(the brass over expands causing thinner necks is what I'm thinking it makes a lot of sense!!). Agree?

 

 

Still waiting for my decapping unit...

So I haven't tried the PPU cases yet

 

Read a few weeks ago that the Automag pistol is in production again and Starline is making the brass for it.

So that could be a good source for cases.

 

Can the .44 Automag case be used for 357/45 GWM without reaming?

Because I don't have the necessary vice and machine to ream the cases.
I am happy to do a trial with the .44 AMP cases but I am located in Germany and as I understand you are located in the US I guess it will be not possible to get the brass to me.

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