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Old January 9, 2007, 08:34 PM   #1
shooter chef
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.357 case reloadings

I shoot a S&W 686 revolver 6".
How many times do you think it is safe to reload a .357 full magnum case?

I have shot cases 5+ times from winchester cases and had no problems, but the remington (nickel?) I used split after 4 times.

Also, could there be any damage to my revolver WHEN the case splits as it is shot?
Guess it is just a "case" of how many times I should feel comfortable reloading for this caliber.
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Old January 10, 2007, 02:57 AM   #2
rnovi
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How many times do you think it is safe to reload a .357 full magnum case? Depends entirely on the load. Soft target or plinkers? Might get 20 reloads out of a case. Moderate powered loads? Might get 8 loads. Full power heavy mag loads? Might get only 2-3. Example: I have some .38 special and .45 acp target brass that has been reloaded 15+ times...


I have shot cases 5+ times from winchester cases and had no problems, but the remington (nickel?) I used split after 4 times. Nickel'ed cases are merely plated. Doubtful that the plating will have any negative effect on how long a case will last. Sounds more like your gun likes Winchester over Remington.

Also, could there be any damage to my revolver WHEN the case splits as it is shot? Posssibly, but not likely. Brass swells to fill the chamber. the swelling of the case effectively seals the chamber forcing all powder & gas expansion forward. A split case might cause a bit more powder spitting from between the cylinder gap but that should be about it. I have personally fired numerous rounds that have split cases with no ill effect on my GP100 (which has over 18,000 rounds put through it). However I will say that the vast majority of my rounds are .38 spec target loads and not full mag loads. Personally i wouldn't worry too much about split cases - errr, except to say that it's best to simply throw split cases away.


Guess it is just a "case" of how many times I should feel comfortable reloading for this caliber. Yep.


Here's what I do. I have three bins of brass for my .357.

Bin #1. Brand New Brass: used for high-powered load development. I'm talking about developing maximum pressure rounds for hunting and the like. This brass will be fired once and only once. Once fired, it gets transfered to bin #2.

Bin #2. Once-fired brass. I will shoot this brass from 3-5 times or so, paying attention to overall length. Once a case needs to be trimmed I transfer it to Bin 3. Bin 2 brass is perfectly useable and I load them to 90% levels - basically very warm loads, but a solid 10% below max pressures.

Bin #3. is "junk brass" - still servicable but I use it only for target work. Light loads of Clays or HP38. I shoot this stuff till it splits or I lose it.



BTW, I credit this method of cycling brass to WESHOOT - it was his idea and I think it a very good one.
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Old January 10, 2007, 09:14 AM   #3
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Nickel plated brass always splits faster than non-plated. its because when they anneal the brass the nickel gets harder. ( so I've read )
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Old January 10, 2007, 12:03 PM   #4
rnovi
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Perhaps, dunno though. I have .38 spec brass that's been reloaded so many times that the nickel plating is peeling off. They still reload and shoot just fine though.
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Old January 10, 2007, 12:06 PM   #5
Ben Shepherd
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Rnovi- Exactly.
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Old January 10, 2007, 04:20 PM   #6
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I'm close to Rnovi's method with the bins.

My bin #1 is my draw bin. When it's time to reload, I draw brass from that bin.

My bin #2 is my dump bin. When I come back from a day of shooting, I clean my cases and they go into bin #2.

Eventually, bin #1 is empty, and bin #2 is full. Bin #2 now becomes bin #1 and the cycle begins anew.

Since these bins are large, about a cubic foot each, it takes me months to go through one cycle.

And, I seem to always return from the range with more brass than I went there with. So there is bin #3 to catch the overflow. Bin #3 gets mixed with bin #2 before it becomes bin #1. At this rate, soon there will be bin #4.

A split case will likely be a rare bird these days.
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Old January 10, 2007, 04:45 PM   #7
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I avoid nickel plated. remington brass seems to split more even without plating
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Old January 11, 2007, 06:44 AM   #8
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Remington brass is thinner than most other brass. mic it and you'll see
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Old January 11, 2007, 09:45 PM   #9
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Depends on the brass. I've had lots of .357 brass, both Remington and Winchester, that have withstood 10-12 FULL power loads. I've also had lots of the same brass that are used up after 5 or 6.

Ya just gotta watch it for signs of fatigue.
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Old January 14, 2007, 05:44 PM   #10
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great answers here. I've found full loads splitting after just a few loadings with nickle generally letting go before brass. I've also watched what happens over the chronograph when cases split during firing. This was with federal .32 magnum cases that tend to split early and often and from neck to case head. The split cases in a string of recorded velocities showed no velocity disparity from the ones that didn't.
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