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Old October 22, 2012, 06:17 AM   #1
jwrowland77
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Reloading: Revolver vs Semi-Auto

I currently reload for my 9mm Semi-Auto and will soon be reloading for a .357 mag revolver. The revolver is my dads an he is wanting me to reload some .38 and .357 for him.

What are the main differences that I need to be aware of for reloading for a revolver?

I know I'll have to keep the OAL shorter or right the length of the cylinder.

Any and all help is much appreciated.
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:25 AM   #2
buck460XVR
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Bullets meant for revolvers have a cannelure to roll crimp into as opposed to the taper crimp used on uncannelured bullets used in pistols. OAL is determined by the cannelure. IOW, you set the OAL to roll crimp into the center of the cannelure. Unless you are using very heavy bullets for the caliber you are using, OAL is not generally a factor. Some Bullets have two cannelures and you use the one closest to the manual specs. The exception to this would be plated bullets than do not have a cannelure. Then you load and crimp the same as for pistols.
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:51 AM   #3
jwrowland77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buck460XVR View Post
The exception to this would be plated bullets than do not have a cannelure. Then you load and crimp the same as for pistols.
I'm assuming by this statement, that you can use plated bullets. However, can you use jacketed bullets, or do they even make jacketed bullets for the .357 mag revolver?
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:28 AM   #4
TheTinMan
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Sure there are Jacketed bullets for .38 & .357 Mag. Most have a lead tip and/or hollow point.

Lead bullets are 1/2 the cost BUT need to be hard enough for the speed you are shooting for. Penn makes great projectiles IMHO.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:40 AM   #5
jwrowland77
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It looks like I need to read up on lead bullets then. I'm sure lead would be a lot cheaper to load for plinking for my dad, than HP would be.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:47 AM   #6
Misssissippi Dave
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I use Montana Gold bullets for .38 and .357 mag. They are jacketed hollow points. They are pretty easy to set. You don't need much flair to seat them similar to 9 mm. You do use a roll crimp. I use standard primers for .38 special and mag primers for the magnum loads. For .38 special I'm using the same bullet (Montana Gold 158 gr. JHP) as I do for .357. I use a different powder WST at 4.0 gr. Both are clean burning and the .38 is very clean burning. I shoot these in a Dan Wesson with 4" barrel.

Lead bullets are cheaper. You do need to pay a little more attention to the flair used and the crimp with lead. Also loading lead can have some of the lube start to mess with your OAL until you clean your die out from time to time. Jacketed bullets don't give me as much of a problem. Rather easy to load them. I also don't have to worry as much about over crimp with jacketed as I would with plated. Jacketed bullets are just more forgiving. I also don't worry about leading because I used an under sized bullet as I would with lead.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old October 22, 2012, 02:06 PM   #7
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Lead bullets need to be properly fitted, and hardness is NOT an issue unless shooting .357 Mag in carbine.
Lead bullets should be a very snug fit in the cylinder's throats, or very slightly larger.
Almost all lead bullets need to be at least 0.001" larger than the barrel's groove diameter--and, no, your revolver may NOT have a 0.357" groove diameter.
I would NOT shoot thin plated bullets in my revolvers. Unless you only shoot very light loads (650-750fps), you will need a roll crimp. A roll crimp will cut through the plating and the damaged plating can allow the bullet to lead the barrel and there is a chance that a piece of the plating can be left in the barrel.
I shoot only lead bullets in all my revolvers, but if I didn't want to shoot lead, I would be ordering bullets from Montana Gold.
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Old October 22, 2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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I don't think I was very clear. The 4.0 grains of WST is just for the .38 specials. I use 10.2 grains of AA7 for the mag. loads. 10.5 grains is the max for this powder. I perfer an accurate load to high speed. I wouldn't get that much more speed by adding .3 grains of powder so I'm happy where I am.
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Old October 22, 2012, 05:58 PM   #9
jwrowland77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misssissippi Dave View Post
I don't think I was very clear. The 4.0 grains of WST is just for the .38 specials. I use 10.2 grains of AA7 for the mag. loads. 10.5 grains is the max for this powder. I perfer an accurate load to high speed. I wouldn't get that much more speed by adding .3 grains of powder so I'm happy where I am.
It's all good...I would have checked my manuals before I did anything.
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:09 PM   #10
federali
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Versatile caliber

The .357 Magnum, like the .44 Magnum revolver, has the advantage of being able to be downloaded. Mid-range loads are more pleasant to shoot and I would ask why you would need full-house loads for informal plinking or practice? I've had a Model 65 since the mid-80s and I don't think I've run a dozen .357 Mag. loads through it as there's no need for me to do so.

My carry and home defense guns are 9mm and .45 ACP. For these, I shoot both lead and plated bullets (but no lead bullets in my Glocks) for practice and factory loads for social encounters of the worst kind.
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:44 PM   #11
Misssissippi Dave
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I have gone hunting with a .357 mag in the past. It did the job pretty well with 158 grain soft point or 158 grain HP depending on what I was hunting. I still like to shoot them occasionally. The mag load I loading with is very accurate in my pistol. Using less powder than 10 grains of AA7, I started to see the groups opening up a little and more so at the minimum load. Since it is the most accurate at the upper end I will just keep the load there. A 4" barrel will not get you the level of speed you would get with a 8" or greater length barrel. AA7 does produce a fair amount of flash. I shoot the mag loads first at the range and finish with the specials. After the mag loads the specials with a fast burning powder feel like a .22 to me.
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Old October 22, 2012, 06:46 PM   #12
jwrowland77
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Well my dads gun is like a Dirty Harry gun. Lol. It's got a huge barrel. LOL. I'm going to try out Unique first most likely, since that's what I have on hand.
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Old October 23, 2012, 12:38 PM   #13
buck460XVR
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Quote:
I'm assuming by this statement, that you can use plated bullets. However, can you use jacketed bullets, or do they even make jacketed bullets for the .357 mag revolver?
Of course they make jacketed bullets for the .357. I actually suggest those new to reloading revolver ammo start with jacketed bullets as they are the easiest for beginners to have success with. Once one gets the flaring, seating and crimping down for jacketed, lead bullets will be easier. While leading can occur in pistols, just the way revolvers work, makes it a tad harder to keep them from leading. Until you know the actual size of your bore and throats(all of them), getting the right size bullet is just a guess. Also when shooting both .38s and .357s in the same gun, one needs to pay attention to the chambers after firing the shorter .38s to make sure there is not carbon build up that will affect chambering and extraction of the longer .357 cases. Excess carbon build up can also lead to excess pressures.
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