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Old July 9, 2012, 01:25 PM   #1
Jbotto
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.38 Spl data in .357 brass

Did I hear correctly somewhere that you can safely use .38 Spl data in a .357 case to have nice and light .357 loads without having to readjust your dies down to the .38 Spl? I have a young friend who is interested in handgun shooting and would like to reload some very light loads rather than having her shoot my middle of the road .357's.
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Old July 9, 2012, 01:30 PM   #2
zxcvbob
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Yes you can. Just don't go below the minimum loads with jacketed bullets or you might stick one in the barrel. Not really a problem with lead bullets.

148 grain DEWC bullets are really good because you can use them anywhere from light target loads up to some pretty hot magnum loads, and they usually shoot to point-of-aim in most revolvers.
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Old July 9, 2012, 01:57 PM   #3
gorin
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You can also use .38 brass to load to .357 specs, but be VERY careful to mark and separate those rounds - you don't want to accidentally shoot them in a .38 revolver. If you ever load .38 brass to .357 specs, I'd suggest to shoot them right away in a .357 revolver and don't keep them stored - if something happens to you, you would not want your kids to shoot them in a .38 some day.

Edit to add - I guess I did not make it clear - .38 brass loaded to .357 specs should NEVER be shot in a .38 pistol.
The risk of mixing them with regular .38 rounds is too great and all precautions must be taken not to mix them.
I've tried it in a .357 revolver and it worked for me, I gradually worked the load up, checking for signs of over pressure. Please do not try it unless you know what you are doing.

Last edited by gorin; July 9, 2012 at 03:15 PM.
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Old July 9, 2012, 02:06 PM   #4
Salmoneye
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Quote:
You can also use .38 brass to load to .357 specs, but be VERY careful to mark and separate those rounds - you don't want to accidentally shoot them in a .38 revolver. If you ever do that, I'd suggest to shoot them right away and don't keep them stored - if something happens to you, you would not want your kids to shoot them in a .38 some day.
Please do not do this...

Even old .38/44 data does not come up to full on .357 Magnum levels...
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Old July 9, 2012, 02:29 PM   #5
ScottRiqui
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Quote:
Yes you can. Just don't go below the minimum loads with jacketed bullets or you might stick one in the barrel. Not really a problem with lead bullets.
With the extra case volume in the .357, pressures will be lower than with the identical load in a .38 Spl case. I don't know if it could make enough of a difference to cause a squib with a .38 Spl minimum load, though - just something to think about.
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Old July 9, 2012, 03:07 PM   #6
gorin
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I had to test some cast .38 at higher velocities. I did an extensive search on the subject and it appears that back in the day it was a common practice to use .38 brass and load it to .357 specs to shoot in .357 revolvers. After .357 brass became more common and cheap most everybody abandoned it because of the dangers involved, mostly with shooting them in a .38 revolver.

Being stupid and adventurous I loaded a bunch of .38 brass with 160 gr cast bullets with different charges of Bullseye - from 5.5 gr to 6.5 gr.
With 6.5 gr I got 1250ft from a 4" Ruger .357. It kicked like a mule but the brass did not show any signs of bulging, the primers were in normal condition, no signs of over pressure.
Of course I would not do it again, it is not pleasant and the chance of mixing the rounds and getting a kaboom is too big.
But in a pitch I know that I can load and shoot .357 loads in .38 brass. Just never shoot the rounds in a .38 revolver.

Last edited by gorin; July 9, 2012 at 03:19 PM.
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Old July 9, 2012, 04:41 PM   #7
jepp2
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Typically if you are going to use 38 Special load data, but load into a 357 Mag case, you need to increase the powder charge by 10% to accommodate the extra volume. This is not intended to be a substitute for using proper loading data, but good luck in finding data listed for 357 Mag cases at low to mid 38 Special velocities.
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Old July 9, 2012, 05:57 PM   #8
Jbotto
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Thanks everyone for the interesting replies. I will not be trying the .357 load in a .38spl case. This just doesn't seem to be in my best interest at all. I plan on using a Missouri Bullet Co 158 gr LSWC as that's what I have in stock right now. I'll be using Unique as well and will only do this load for 100 rounds or so, as I believe that after that, the new shooter I am helping will be able to handle my light .357's that I normally shoot. Thanks guys for the confirmation.
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Old July 9, 2012, 06:04 PM   #9
testuser
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I've done this before using Power Pistol. I added 10% to the .38 Special +P data, loaded it in .357 magnum cases and got .38 Special +P velocities.

Of course, I had load data for Power Pistol in .357 cases, so I knew what the maximum safe charge was in .357 magnum.
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Old July 9, 2012, 09:24 PM   #10
oldgranpa
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check this thread for my special .357mag reload...scroll down to find it...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=494980

but it's for .357mag cases only. Absolutely don't try it in a .38spec case.

Works OK in .357mag revolvers to prevent the carbon ring you get shooting .38special ammo in .357 revolver. And has the lower recoil of a 38 for range practice.

Comments welcome!

og
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:39 PM   #11
joneb
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You can safely load 357 magnum cases with upper end 38spl data. This does NOT mean you can down load 357 magnum to 38spl.

Here me now and listen to me later
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Old July 10, 2012, 10:48 AM   #12
oldgranpa
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true, which is what I'm doing. range for 38 loads is approx 3.5 to 6.4gr Unique, based on some data. So my 6.5gr is the "upper end". Range for .357 loads is approx 6.0 and up. So, again my 6.5gr load falls in the "ballpark".
I sure don't recommend less. There would be too much empty space in the .357case, with less than 6.4gr Unique and might result in a sort of squib.
Anybody try it?
og
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Old July 10, 2012, 11:18 AM   #13
WCW
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I’ve used HBWC’s in .357 brass for years, and they work perfectly for target shooting, and make for a nice soft load for beginners. The only thing I do differently with the .357 brass, is that I do not seat the wadcutters flush with the case mouth. I seat them out to the first cannelure on the bullet (Speer wadcutter) which is approximately .225 in. and use a very slight crimp. This lessens the jump to the forcing cone, and definitely shoots better in my revolver. You would of course have to increase the powder charge slightly from .38 special load data to duplicate those wadcutter velocities, but that wouldn’t be a problem if you just stick to using .357 brass. With these soft loads your .357 brass is going to last for a very long time too.
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Old July 10, 2012, 11:51 AM   #14
SL1
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That is how I load my .357 wadcutters, too. Except I use Hornady bulk HBWCs and a very slight taper crimp instead of a roll crimp.

When loading THOSE bullets in a .357 case with the nose sticking out of the case mouth by 1/8", the powder space under the bullet is increased by about 65%. So, you need to be careful that you don't stick a bullet in the barrel while working-up the load that you want for accuracy. I have found that I don't need to increase the charge weight by anything like 65% to get the reliability and accuracy that I want. Something like a 15%-to-20% increase seems to work best for me with Bullseye.

QuickLOAD indicates that seating flush in the .38 Special case with 2.7 grains of Bullseye gives about 12,000 psi, while my load with the bullet seated out in the .357 Magnum case is only about 9,500 psi. Still, I have never stuck a bullet in MY gun, so I like my load. However, YOUR RESULTS MAY VARY.

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