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Old June 17, 2012, 11:21 AM   #1
Jerry11826
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Cases .38 or .357

I shoot a lot of .38 Spec in my Ruger GP00. They are "powder puff" loads. 3.0 grns. BE under a 158 gr. Lee cast SWC.

I have read on several reloading forums and in gun mags, the .357 cases give slightly better accuracy than .38 Spec cases in 357 revolvers. I don't understand why.

Have a little "mad money" and thought I would give 357 cases a try.

Before I order, say 500 357 cases, from Starline, I was wondering if anyone on the forum found them to produce better accuracy.

Thanks,

Jerry
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Old June 17, 2012, 11:42 AM   #2
salvadore
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I don't know, but I have used .38 spec.brass for all of my .38 and .357 revolvers. I shoot the 35156 and 358429 mostly and they have given me excellent accuracy. I also shoot hollow base WC with 2.8gr of bullseye but have never compared group sizes between .38s and .357s, I guess I should do that. Be sure to let us know how the longer brass works out.
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Old June 17, 2012, 12:06 PM   #3
jcwit
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If nothing else you will elimate the ring in the chamber directly in front of the 38 Spec. case in the 357 chamber.
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Old June 17, 2012, 01:05 PM   #4
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I like to stick with magnum cases in my GP100 and F/A .357 and they haven't seen enough .38 spl to tell which brass is more accurate.
I know my NEF 357 Handi rifle shoots factory .38 spl's very, very well.

I load all my light loads in magnum brass. Bullets that seat deeply like wadcutters and SWC's always shoot well with light loads of Clays or medium loads with Universal.

Your 3.8 grains of BE under a 158 SWC should transfer well to magnum brass. Then you can bump it up a bit for performance.

I won't grantee improved accuracy, but I don't think you'll see a drop off with magnum brass.
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Old June 17, 2012, 02:45 PM   #5
g.willikers
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Using the longer .357 cases puts the bullets a little closer to the barrel, with less of a jump to get there.
And that's supposed to improve accuracy.
But there's so much else about reloading that can affect accuracy, the length of the case is probably not all that important.
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Old June 17, 2012, 03:01 PM   #6
GP100man
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Jerry ,first off let me say I don`t shoot good enuff to see any differences but be sure to clean the cyl good as 38spc. is .135" shorter & crude will build up in that part of the cyl . & cause problems pressure wise & ejection wise shooting 357 mag length rounds .

The reason salvadore has no problem is the 358156 & the 358429 have a long enuf bearing surface to reach the throat & case at the same time unlike shorter bullets (not supposed to say boolits over here) look at the Lee 105gr swc I bet that short bullet will give fits ,especially run very slow or fast !

Also wanted to add :as we add pressure on the 38cases the sides of bullets (lube grooves) are exposed to said pressures & affecting lubes in manners not good ,such as blowing it out of the grooves, burning it ,even contaminating it in some ways ???

A qwik/easy way to clean the dreaded crude ring is to let it soak a bit & take a empty 357 case & sharpen it to a knife edge with your chamfering tool then flaring it until it`s tite in the chambers push it until it`s seated flush .

I recommend doing this with the cyl/crane removed . As big & tuff as we think our revolvers (all brands) are the crane swung out of the frame is not !!
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Old June 17, 2012, 03:07 PM   #7
mmb713
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The day I started handloading was the day I stopped shooting 38s. If I want 38 level loads I load them in magnum cases. No more crud rings for me!
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Old June 17, 2012, 03:18 PM   #8
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The only .357 I've ever owned is my wife's very acurate 44 year old Blackhawk; loading the same charge in .38 cases gives us the same average accuracy as with .357 cases. And I've never noted any particular problem with a crud ring after shooting a large number of .38s. YMMV.
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Old June 17, 2012, 03:20 PM   #9
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Use the 357 brass so clean up is a little better, since your reloading anyway.
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Old June 17, 2012, 04:11 PM   #10
salvadore
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GP is right the two bullets I use mostly are long and don't travel unsupported like a shorter bullet. I use to say that I never had trouble loading .357s in chambers that had lotsa .38 brass shot in them, but finally realized I shoot so little .357 brass I probably wouldn't notice. If you hadn't grown up reading Skeeter Skelton articles and hadn't been given thousands of .38 pieces of brass you might not see where I'm coming from.
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Old June 17, 2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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No difference in my experience.

The cleaning difference might amount to one or two more passes with the chamber brush.

Personally I wouldn't spend money on the brass to shoot light loads. If you've got .38 use it, be happy.
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Old June 20, 2012, 06:10 AM   #12
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dispute this, beeatches

What matters most is what the gun in your hand prefers
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Old June 20, 2012, 01:55 PM   #13
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I have two .38 specials and five .357 mags. I figured it would be easier for me to load a bunch of .38's which I could shoot out of each gun. After thousands of rounds, the crud ring got to the point it was difficult to load the .357's when we shot them.

A lot of scrubbing later I got the crud rings out and now mainly shoot the .357's. I still shoot the .38's, but I usually try to keep them for only the .38's.

When I want a lower powered round for the .357, I will load them to the .38 Special levels.

Just my opinion and experience.
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Old June 20, 2012, 02:13 PM   #14
volgunner
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This thread caught my eye because I have a 686 and would like to get into reloading using 357 brass to avoid the "crud ring."

Is it true that you can safely put any 38 Special load into 357 brass?

Thanks for your help.
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Old June 20, 2012, 02:14 PM   #15
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I don't see a big difference in accuracy ...and I reload both ( using the same 158 gr bullet / Montana Gold ) - but to different specs in terms of powder and velocity ...but I just don't shoot much of the .38 spl ( its there more for the grandkids to shoot ).

My most accurate .357 mag ....is a Single Action Freedom Arms gun ..4 3/4" barrel ... and it'll punch out 1" groups all day long at 10 yds offhand ..with either the .38 spl or .357 mag .../ but it shoots so softly even with full power .357 mag loads in it ...that I shoot .357 mag in it almost all the time.
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Old June 20, 2012, 02:14 PM   #16
valleyforge.1777
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"After thousands of rounds, the crud ring got to the point it was difficult to load the .357's when we shot them."

Uncle Buck,
Can you provide more info? Did you clean thoroughly after each trip to the range, or did you rarely clean? Should not matter really how many rounds were shot if you clean well after each shooting outing. If you shoot and don't clean well, then sure, thousands of rounds later you will have too much crud. I shoot 38's all the time from 357 firearms and never had a crud problem but I clean carefully after each range trip. I'm wondering if I will inevitably wind up with a problem like what you describe, or if what you found was just the result of inadequate cleaning after each range trip. Can you shed some light?

thanks
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Old June 20, 2012, 06:14 PM   #17
GP100man
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The problem lies in shooting 38 & leaving the crud ring ,then stuffin 357 in the cyl. & the pressure seems to compact it into a hard inpenatrable crust.

I used to shoot both in the same session but I would at least dry brush the a bit.

Now I shoot 38s from 38s & 357s in 357s.

volgunner if you`ll look at the lead bullet loadings you`ll see that most are in the 38spec. range ,some will make a bit over 1,000 fps & some will take a lead bullet & shred it to peices if they don`t fit , but if your bullet fits the cyl throats & bore ya can push a 12-13bhn lead bullet to 1,200 with little problems.
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Old June 20, 2012, 07:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
The problem lies in shooting 38 & leaving the crud ring ,then stuffin 357 in the cyl. & the pressure seems to compact it into a hard inpenatrable crust.
Excellent observation GP. I was scratching my head about why my factory Hornady Critical Defense .357 mag cases were sticking in the cylinder so badly and then I realized it was because I had been shooting my old standby .38 special 148 HBWC rounds beforehand.

From now on it will be .357 mag first, then .38, or one or the other for any given session. Or, if I am going to be there for a while, dry brush the cylinder as you did.
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Old June 21, 2012, 09:59 AM   #19
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The .357's were/are cleaned after every firing. On just about any revolver you will notice a "Crud" ring, whether just a discoloration or an actual carbon buildup...

I have a rule with my guns that if you are the last one to shoot it, you clean it. My definition of clean is not the same as some others, so I guess it would be a subjective question as to whether they were thoroughly cleaned or not. (I would say no, they were not, because I did not clean them myself.)

What makes the rings so noticeable was when we went to load .357 cases in the .357. By taking an empty cartridge and forcing it in the cylinder, after allowing the cylinder to soak in bore cleaner, we were able to knock some of it out. I then took a brass brush, chucked in in my electric drill, and worked it back and forth inside the cylinder.

Mind you, the ring was fine as long as you fired .38 brass in the gun, but that little extra length of the .357 case was enough to make it hard to put rounds in.
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Old June 21, 2012, 11:37 AM   #20
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Theoretically the longer case, with the shorter bullet "jump" will be more accurate in a revolver. But, there are many more things that affect accuracy, and most people can't shoot to their gun's accuracy potential. I clean my 357s after each shooting (including running a brush through the cylinders) and ususlly only shoot 100 or so 38 Special loads (all with lead bullets) at a time, so I have not experienced the "crud ring" (but it is real, and I've seen it! ). I started loading 38s in '69 and prolly have 1,200+ pieces, and only 400-500 cases for 357, but I prefer to use .38 in .38 and .357 in .357. Hey works for me...
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