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Old July 12, 2005, 08:12 AM   #1
RERICK
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38\357 bullet size/Priming tool

I see alot of different bullet sizes for 38\357 such as .356 .357 and also .358.What gives and how can I tell what I should use.
The guns I shoot in this cal. are S&W model 19 and The Colt agent airweight


And while I'm here anyone got any thoughts on priming tools?

Last edited by RERICK; July 12, 2005 at 08:32 PM.
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Old July 12, 2005, 08:32 AM   #2
HSMITH
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For jacketed bullets you want .357", for lead .358". .356" are for 38 Super jacketed and 9mm lead, and .355" are for 9mm jacketed.

Priming tools, most of them work decently. I have a Lee autoprime with the shell holder kit and an RCBS, the RCBS works a little smoother and is a little easier on the hand, but costs twice as much. I hardly ever use either one, and prime on the press instead.

I think this is a place where the more you spend the better off you will be, if you have the money go to the high end priming tools.
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Old July 12, 2005, 09:16 AM   #3
Mike Irwin
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While HSmith is correct in his assessment, functionally I've found absolutely no difference in using lead bullets that are .356, .357, .358, or .359 in either .38 Spl. or .357 Mag.

You'll find variations like that depending on the caster from whom you purchase your bullets.

More important in lead bullets is the hardness, but I know of no companies that put the brinell hardness on the boxes. It would be nice information to have.
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Old July 12, 2005, 09:53 AM   #4
beenthere
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Bullet size

Years ago the early Colt handguns in 38Spl. were reported to use a bullet a .356 dia. bullet more effectively. I don't know if that remains true today. I never found the difference if it really existed to be a problem in a practical sense. Perhaps the precision bullseye shooters were affected but not the police officer - civilian types.

I did find the .355 best in 38 Super in the brief time I owned one and the scarsity of available bullets 40 years ago prompted my getting rid of the gun. I've never loaded 9X19 to see if there is a difference.

Bullets .357 or .358 seem to work well in all of the 38/357 S&W, Ruger and Colt Trooper MKIII I used to own. Try different sizes in your guns to see what works best, but in lead reloads I suspect bullet weights might have a equal or more effect on accuracy.
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Old July 12, 2005, 09:54 AM   #5
Leftoverdj
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For priming tools, it boils down to a choice between the Lee AutoPrime and the AutoPrime II. My guess is that 90% of reloaders use the AutoPrime and I did myself for many years. The main drawbacks are that it uses special shellholders and the body is made of zinc and has to be replaced every 5-10 years. Not a big deal because a kit of the common shellholders is less than $20 and the tool is about $15.

I've switched to the press mounted AutoPrime II because it has a steel body and uses standard shellholders. It's also only about $15 with no extras to buy. Both of the AutoPrimes use an easy to load disk magazine that is far superior to anything using strips or tubes.

For bullet sizes, you can shoot .357 jacketed in anything with a chamber big enough. In lead you want .358 or .359 for your guns. Few of us, certainly not me, shoot a pistol well enough for accuracy testing, but a machine rest will show the difference real quick.
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Old July 12, 2005, 10:16 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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"the body is made of zinc and has to be replaced every 5-10 years."

I've had mine since 1981, and have primed probably 35,000 to 40,000 cartridges. I've never had to replace the body. Keep it lubricated and it will extend the life greatly.

The special shellholders are something of a pain in the butt, but I've got a storage unit with lots of small drawers in which I store them, so as long as I remember to put things away, I can normally find what I need.


I'm looking at getting the press mounted version for another reason, though... I'm getting arthritis in my hands, and long priming sessions are getting more and more painful these days.
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Old July 12, 2005, 10:57 AM   #7
Leftoverdj
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Mike, body life may depend on the cases and primers you use. I've used a lot of milsurp and primers go in hard even with the crimp removed. Eventually, the top rim of the AutoPrime cracks under pressure. I don't consider it a serious defect, just a natural consequence of long hard use.

You should be happy with the AutoPrime II. Only drawback I have found is that it's not portable. It'll sure be easier on your joints, though.
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Old July 12, 2005, 11:04 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
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Ok, that makes sense. I load virtually no military suplus, so I'm not that tough on it.

Midway has the Auto Prime II for about $13.

Grafs doesn't show it on their website.

I think I'm also going to get the cheapest C-press (probably Lee) that I can on which to mount it.
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Old July 12, 2005, 12:16 PM   #9
Leftoverdj
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Mike, that's what I do. I have the cheapest Lee mounted on a board I can C clamp anywhere and would not be without one. It's not much as a reloading press, but it's great for accessory uses. My main press is a Rockchucker, but it is heavy and clunky for priming, sizing bullets, etc. The little Reloader sees a lot of use.
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Old July 12, 2005, 03:56 PM   #10
RERICK
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priming tool

Well I decided on the aps hand tool and the srtip loader from rcbs.It cost a few bucks more but I think it was worth it.My local gun shop made me an offer that was too good to pass up.I tried it out and so far I love it.If it gets to the point where my joints ache too much I figure I can always sell it on EBAY and pick up the bench mounted model.As for bullets, meister cast bullets appear to be a good choice.I also picked up some of the new Speer Gold Dots in 135 and 147 grain.I can't wait to see how they perform.Any thoughts would be appreciated.As always thankyou to all that contributed their comments and experience.

Last edited by RERICK; July 12, 2005 at 08:31 PM.
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