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Old September 29, 2012, 09:01 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: January 7, 2012
Location: Auburn, AL.
Posts: 2,123

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?
I use 1.280 and 1.155 as my case lengths.
.38sp brass is available everywhere (1x fired) for cheap. And .357 brass is harder to find (1x fired). But Starline is affordable ($15/100 new from Midway) and I personally don't stock but a couple hundred. Midway brass link And you can also buy direct from Starline, but I don't know if there is a min qty or not. I shoot a .357 and I use both lengths of brass in it. Some of the old cowboy bullets (notably, the Keith 358429) won't fit in some .357 chambers (too long in .357 brass) and must be loaded in .38 brass.

2. Is there a special slug you like to use?
I like 150-158 grain. (nose style choices vary as much as people's favorite color) But there are many ways to test them out before you buy a mold (or 12). Many people sell cast bullets for that caliber, and quite a few offer them in qtys of 100, so you don't have to commit to 500 (or more) to see if you like that one. For example... I use this guy- one option and he has boxes of 100 for $12.50 (free shipping)
There are lots of retailers of cast bullets. Here's a list of a bunch more guys (by no means a complete list... just one I had handy) bullet manufacturers

3. When loaded with black powder, do the cartridges retain their smokeless designation
This is where I can't help. I only use smokeless in .357 rounds. I don't mind cleaning my 1860s, but I don't like taking the .357 apart.
Happy shooting!
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