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Old September 29, 2012, 07:52 AM   #1
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 5,105
.38, .38 special, .357 what is your load like?

I am trying to zero in on my decision about an alternate caliber (alternate to .45 LC) to reload for my shooting.

I understand quite well that the designations in the title refer to smokeless loads and projectiles designed for smokeless powder.

Starting with case length it appears that there are three case lengths. 1.155 inches for .38 Special, 1.29 for .357, and .775 for .38.

I checked on availability and it appears that .38 brass is hard to find, but .38 Special and .357 (Which appears to be referred to as .38 Long Colt when addressing only the case. Or maybe I have that backwards.) is readily available.

I am thinking about a lever action rifle (I still can not bring myself to use the word "gun") and a revolver.

I am not a CAS shooter and so I don't care about range rules, event rules, or club rules.

So here goes my list of questions:

1. Am I correct about the cases? 1.29 and 1.155 is what is out there, what you guys like, and what I will likely be happy with?

2. Is there a special slug you like to use? I like Lee molds and they have a 158grain RNFP with two grooves. It is a dead ringer for the .45 LC mold I am using. They also have a three groove mold at 150 grains.

3. When loaded with black powder, do the cartridges retain their smokeless designation or do we call them something else? The .38, .38 LC, .357 designation seems to loose the distinctness of its meaning when we are changing bullet weight, bullet type and powder charge.

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