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Old March 9, 2012, 02:36 PM   #1
charleym3
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357 loads in 38 Spec cases

I shoot a GP-100 in USPSA and IDPA. I'm shooting Montana Gold 125 gr hollow points over 6.7 grns of Titegroup in Federal 357 cases.
The question is can I put the same load into a 38 Special case. Certainly the gun will take it, but will the brass?
Safety: I don't own a 38 Special revolver so there is no chance of an ammo mix up.
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Old March 9, 2012, 02:53 PM   #2
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The brass doesn't care, it's the gun you have to worry about. When you shorten the cartridge with the same powder charge, the pressure goes up. Depending on the combinations, it can go up dramatically.

There's no chance of a mix-up while you've got your eye on the cartridges, but what if you get hit by a bus? Then 10 years later your kids find them.

If you want a .357 Magnum load that uses .38 Special brass and won't even chamber in a .38, use hard cast wadcutters (not SWC's) and seat them out to about 1.35" or 1.36" OAL. 7.0 grains of Herco with a 148 grain bullet is a good load.
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Old March 9, 2012, 02:55 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
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No, you cannot.

.38 Special cases have significantly less case capacity, which will serve to drive pressures on .357 spec. loads up, possibly past the point at which damage or injury could occur.

There are some high-end .38 Special loads (+P) that overlap with low-end .357 Magnum loads in some manuals. Those can go in either case because they are identical.

But, once you get solely into the realm of the .357 Magnum, you MUST use the proper components.
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Old March 9, 2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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In my opinion, this wouldn't be too much trouble for a well experienced reloader, with knowledge of case capacity vs pressure. But having reloaded for 20+ years I can think of no reason to do so. I reload .38 and .357 and have more .38 Special brass than .357, but my stock is upwards of 1500 .38s and 750-800 .357 cases, so brass isn't a concern. Plus .357 brass is easy to find, (a box of 100 Starline 357 cases is $15.99 at Midway) so I still think there is no reason to overload (?) .38 Special brass...

IMHO, if .38 Specials don't get it, and .357 is too much, put some +P .38 loads in .357 brass
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Old March 9, 2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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You won't know until you do a load workup for your pistol. Even then you would want to make sure they never got shot from someone elses pistol. This is well into the realm of "safe in my pistol" causing "instant dissassembly" of someone elses.

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Old March 9, 2012, 04:11 PM   #6
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Didn't the .357 magnum grow from guys like Elmer Kieth loading "over spec" loads in .38 special cases to be fired in their 38/44 S&W, and other heavy framed pistols?
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Old March 9, 2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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My thoughts were:

1. What happens if the round is loaded in a .38 Special instead of your .357? (alpha question out of pack)

2. Are you conversant enough in case capacity vs. pressure to attempt this?

3. Is there a shortage of .357 cases where you live?

4. Why?
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Old March 9, 2012, 04:34 PM   #8
Mike Irwin
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"In my opinion, this wouldn't be too much trouble for a well experienced reloader, with knowledge of case capacity vs pressure."

I've got nearly 40 years of experience in loading .38 and .357 and I won't do it.


'Didn't the .357 magnum grow from guys like Elmer Kieth loading "over spec" loads in .38 special cases to be fired in their 38/44 S&W, and other heavy framed pistols?'

Yes.

I don't know what powders Keith used, but I'm pretty sure that Phil Sharpe was usinging primarily SR and IMR powders, which have a known reputation for being VERY forgiving in terms of hot loading, something that is not nearly as true of modern ball powders.

The question is, though, why disinvent the wheel when those individuals spent a lot of time, and probably prematurely retired more than a few guns, inventing the wheel in the first place?


And, given that the OP says that he doesn't own a .38 Special, and would be firing them out of a .357 magnum, what possible benevfit could be derived from this?

Other than, of course, the potential for some very interesting pressure excursions that might crop up at any time.
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Old March 9, 2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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I have hear of a few guys that load the real heavy bullets for .357 mag in .38 spcl cases(190 grain). Though due to the longer bullet they will not chamber in a .38 spcl revolver. I would recoemend using .357 brass anyway. While it may be safe in your gun, think of what would happen if you dropped a couple of rounds at the range not knowing it. Someone finds it later on, and loads it into an old top break or weaker .38 spcl.
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Old March 9, 2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
I would recoemend using .357 brass anyway. While it may be safe in your gun, think of what would happen if you dropped a couple of rounds at the range not knowing it. Someone finds it later on, and loads it into an old top break or weaker .38 spcl.
+1 Things that can go wrong eventually do. It may not even be a stranger who gets the kaboom. It might be you.
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Old March 9, 2012, 05:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
The question is can I put the same load into a 38 Special case. Certainly the gun will take it, but will the brass?
Anytime you have less case volume you need to back off on the load 'and work back up'. The brass would take it just fine, so you can have .357 velocities from the .38 case, BUT, and I mean but, NOT with the same load you'd put in a .357 case. Here is where a chronograph is nice, so you are not 'testing' in the dark. Start low and work up...

In your case though I don't see the point. I'd just use .357 brass if all I had was .357 revolvers (which I do). I normally 'load down' the .357 to .38 level loads though. More fun to shoot that way and easier on the gun . And when you go DOWN, you can use .38 book loads in the .357 case no problem. Plus you avoid the dreaded .38spec 'ring' that can make it hard to extract .357 cases. If you have .38 cases and want to use them, just load 'em to .38+P levels (if that is what you are looking for) and that's that.

BTW, the only reason the .357 case is longer, was to prevent high pressure loads from being used in a .38 revolver. Same goes for .44Mag and .44Spec. We, as reloaders, should respect that.
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Old March 9, 2012, 05:40 PM   #12
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Charleym3:

Don't do it.

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Old March 9, 2012, 05:44 PM   #13
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The OP's question wasn't whether he "should" shoot .357 loads out of .38 special cases, but rather if he "could", more specifically "will the brass handle it"....

The answer to that question, I think, is yes. As to whether it's a good idea or not, well that's a different discussion.
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Old March 9, 2012, 08:20 PM   #14
charleym3
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This is why

I'm shooting in IDPA and USPSA. I've been shooting 45 ACP in a Redhawk 45colt that was milled for moon clips, but I have so much freebore that my accuracy is not what I need.
So I thought I'd try the same thing with the GP-100, mill it for moon clips and go major. I want to do it with shorter brass for the reloading edge.
I had thought about the reduction in case volume and was thinking that I would probably drop to 6 grns of Titegroup and work from there, up or down. I need 1350 fps with that weight bullet.
It could be that once the speed loaders are out of the picture, that I have more than enough clearance from the grip to drop the clip right in.
The smart thing to do here is get the milling done first and see if length is an issue.

Thank you all for the thoughts and cautions. I appreciate all the responses.

Reards,
Charley.
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Last edited by charleym3; March 10, 2012 at 02:06 PM.
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Old March 9, 2012, 08:28 PM   #15
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Have you considered going .38 Super?
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Old March 9, 2012, 08:38 PM   #16
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From all the posts all I can picture are, pictures of the gun being posted here where the top strap and cylinder are in pieces and the member is now being called "Lefty"
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Old March 9, 2012, 08:44 PM   #17
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I can see the shorter .38 cases being an advantage for quick reloading. Do you really need .357mag pressures for competition? I fnot, just load .38 or .38 +P in .38 cases and be done with it.
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Old March 9, 2012, 11:49 PM   #18
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So, now the question is, Could you/Should you ream a GP for 9x23 Winchester

The 9x23 Win gives you another quarter inch of room for reloading speed and you can ream your chambers to fit the cartridge at the same time as your are having your cylinder done for the moonclips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sport45
I can see the shorter .38 cases being an advantage for quick reloading. Do you really need .357mag pressures for competition? I fnot, just load .38 or .38 +P in .38 cases and be done with it.
He wants to make major power factor in a .357 diameter bullet PLUS have the reloading speed advantage of the shorter 38 Special cases in a moon clip.

And no chance of anyone accidentally chambering it in a 38 Special gun. If you are going to moonclip your GP, you might as well get the extra quarter-inch reduction.

And there will be no question about 1) accidentally chambering in a gun uncapable of handling it and 2) whether the brass can take the pressures.

Lost Sheep

Dimensions.

(Data from Wikipedia)
9x23 Winchester
Parent case 9x23 Super
Case type Rimless, straight
Bullet diameter 0.356 in (9.0 mm)
Neck diameter 0.381 in (9.7 mm)
Base diameter 0.392 in (10.0 mm)
Rim diameter 0.394 in (10.0 mm)
Case length 0.900 in (22.9 mm)
Primer type small pistol
*Some people use small rifle primers
Maximum CUP 40,000 CUP

.357 Magnum
Parent case .38 Special
Case type Rimmed, straight
Bullet diameter .357 in (9.1 mm)
Neck diameter .379 in (9.6 mm)
Base diameter .379 in (9.6 mm)
Rim diameter .440 in (11.2 mm)
Rim thickness .060 in (1.5 mm)
Case length 1.29 in (33 mm)
Overall length 1.59 in (40 mm)
Primer type Small pistol, magnum
Maximum pressure 35,000 psi (241 MPa) [1][2]

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 10, 2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old March 9, 2012, 11:58 PM   #19
IllinoisCoyoteHunter
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Quote:
The question is can I put the same load into a 38 Special case.
Well, if you have some powder, 38 special cases, primers, and bullets I don't see why not. Oh, I almost forgot, you will need a press and dies too.

If you have all these then yes YOU can. I never would.

Be careful.
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