View Full Version : A Bit Heathen by Circumstance

December 7, 2009, 03:18 PM
I hate to do this, but I need to cross over into blasphemy and heathen-ness for a moment. I just got a new 1873 replica rifle chambered for .357 rounds. I've tested it with .38 Spl black powder Cowboy rounds and they work. That's what I'll use for matches.

However, I've got two problems. First of all, the outdoor range that lets me shoot black powder closes earlier now that it's darker ("winter hours") so I can't get there before they close on work days anymore. The local indoor ranges won't let me shoot Holy Black because of the smoke. The next few weekends are going to be insanely busy so I need the flexibility of being able to shoot on weeknights

Second, I've got several friends and family members who want to shoot with me and I want to take them to the range and check them out on my rifle *before* taking them to a match. That's a bunch of rounds that would end up being shot. At the local stores (Cabela's & Bass Pro) it looks like I can get heathen rounds for about 60% of what I'm paying for black powder Cowboy rounds.

My schedule and my wallet say it makes sense to train my family/friends on weeknights using the less expensive heathen rounds.

So the question is, if I have to use heathen rounds, what kind do I get? I don't know the difference between a "wadcutter", a "Metal Case" a "Jacketed Soft Point" a "Lead Round Nose," or any of the other types of .38 Spl ammunition. The only limitation my rifle manual mentions is that it will use any standard .38 Spl rounds except the "+P" ones, but I'm so new to shooting I don't know which rounds are standard and which ones are not.

Don't worry, I have no intention of completely backsliding away from Holy Black. However, to be completely honest I am willing to stray from The Holy Path on this occasion if that's what it takes to take my daughter and wife shooting over the next couple of weeks. After we pay for Christmas I'll start looking at bulk Holy Black Ammo purchases and eventually reloading my own ammo, but for the time being I've got to make do.

So what do you suggest - if I have to fall, what's the most cost effective yet least "bad for my rifle" method?

Uncle Buck
December 7, 2009, 04:48 PM
For plinking and training the family, I would go cheap. I would suspect the lead, flat nose bullets would be close to the cheapest. But even when you shoot the wad cutters or semi-wad cutters, you will end up with lead in the barrel and will need to ensure you clean the rifle afterwards.

People here will swear by this product or that product and we all have our reasons for doing so. I use a brass brush and hopps#9 and just work the heck out of it so I can remove the lead (Lead fouling). I have not noticed a buildup of lead on any of my rifles despite thousands of rounds being fired.

If for some reason you decide that you want to spend a little more money, or maybe they really are cheaper, go with the jacketed bullet. This will reduce the lead fouling, but you will still need to do the cleaning.

If you are going to be shooting black powder in matches, you will have to practice with it. I have seen guys that say the smoke caused them to miss the target (I love alibi shooting :D).

Either Way, I hope you continue to enjoy your new purchase.

December 7, 2009, 05:23 PM
Generally the cheapest rounds you can find will be regular 38's, +P's are specialty rounds and it will specify on the box and the price will be higher. I've used the cheap 38 ammo in my 357 for years and have not noticed any significant lead build-up. Most standard 38 ammo is only slightly more powerful than an equal b/p round.

old chuck
December 7, 2009, 05:31 PM
I had one of those and tried the flat nose bullets with no success at all.Went to the round nose and no more malfunctions.Go with the round nose if possibale

December 7, 2009, 09:46 PM
:confused::confused:Can't shoot .38+P rounds in a rifle chambered for .357Magnum?:confused::confused:

I thought .357 Magnum was the ultimate "+P" round.

You can solve the cost problem by investing in reloading equipment and rollin' yer own.

December 7, 2009, 11:37 PM
The rifle is chambered for .357 projectiles ('rounds'), not .357 magnum cartridges. The standard .38 Special bullet is .357-.358 inches in diameter.

December 8, 2009, 12:40 AM
As others have mentioned you will probably have feeding issues with the "wadcutter" (completely flat nose) rounds. Wadcutters have no bullet protruding from the case, so they are only good in revolvers. If you find semi-wadcutters they will probably feed okay, they do have a shoulder to ride on while feeding into a rifle.

FMJ (full metal jacket) LRN (lead round nose) JSP (jacketed soft point) should all feed with no problems. They all have the same basic profile except that the JSP will have a soft flat lead nose at the very point allowing for bullet expansion. The JSP has a profile like a hollow point except where the HP has an open cavity the JSP has a soft lead center.

Lead round nose (just lead, no copper jacket) will probably be cheapest if you can find them.

Also as mentioned +P rounds will be labeled as such, so if you just buy .38 spl you will be fine.

Reloading is a lot of fun and allows you much more flexibility than what the ammo manufactures will allow you. If you plan on shooting enough, reloading will payoff in the long run.

Smokeless can be fun, shooting a single action revolver or a lever action rifle is a lot of fun, no matter what type of powder is pushing the bullet down the bore.

December 8, 2009, 06:44 AM
The rifle is chambered for .357 projectiles ('rounds'), not .357 magnum cartridges. The standard .38 Special bullet is .357-.358 inches in diameter.

Yes, we all know that .38 special is really a .357 caliber but only guns chambered for .357 magnum use the number ".357" in its name.

Besides, I went to Uberti's website and their 1873 Winchester replica is indeed offered in .357 magnum, a round that develops way more pressure than .38special+p does. If it's chambered to accept .357 mag, it darn well better be built to withstand .357mag pressures or they will get sued out of business.

December 8, 2009, 07:07 AM
I hate to beat the point to death, but the OP did NOT specify .357 magnum. He said .357 rounds. He also did not specify the rifle was a Uberti. I chose to take him at his word, that he had a rifle chambered for a .357 round, not infer something he did not say, a Uberti chambered for .357 magnum. It's entirely possible that there exists in the world an 1873 replica chambered for a .38 Special cartridge (that is a .357" round), not a .357 magnum. I don't know all the guns in the world yet, but I'm trying.

Finally, the OP did exactly the right thing - he referred to the rifle's owner's manual for advice on what cartridge to use. With respect, that's probably a better idea than assuming .357 always means .357 magnum.

December 8, 2009, 07:10 AM
The local indoor ranges won't let me shoot Holy Black because of the smoke.

I'd like to open an indoor range some day just so I can hang sign over the door "No Smoke, No Shoot". :D

I'd say buy whatever is cheaper with the exception of wadcutters. Depending on the rifle, they may or may not feed correctly and I'd side with the fact that your chances of them not feeding are better than them feeding.

RN, SWC or HP's should work just fine and as stated, whatever is cheaper - save your brass!

As for those who commented on the +P .38spl ammo - this has nothing to do with operating pressure of a rifle chambered for the .357mag cartridge, it has to do with the shorter case and higher pressure loads that can ring the longer chamber and/or obtrude the bullet into the chamber area causing excessive pressure spikes that can result in catastrophic failure.

.38spl +P loads are for use in guns chambered only for .38spl and specifically rated for use with +P loads.

December 8, 2009, 07:15 AM

Uncle Buck
December 8, 2009, 08:34 AM
I forgot to mention that you should save your brass, but FL - Flinter beat me to it. You can sell your used brass and help offset the cost of some ammo. Unless you reload your own, then of course you already know why to save the brass.

I wish someone would give me a few hundred rounds of once fired brass. I am tired of buying the stuff.