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Old July 22, 2010, 05:48 PM   #1
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Bullets for a .357 lever-action rifle?

I have a Marlin 1894SS, a Ruger SP101, and a Ruger Vaquero all in .357 mag.

I already have the powder and the primers, and now I'm looking to buy a bulk 1000 pack of bullets. Lever-actions can be a little temperamental with different types of ammo, and that's my main concern.

What type of bullet and what grain? I heard somewhere that you can't use full wadcutters in some revolvers. Are semi-wadcutters a good choice?

I will be using the lever for deer hunting (deep brush, 80 yards or less), so I would prefer 158 grain or higher.

Thanks in advance!
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:09 PM   #2
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Best choice is a RNFP cast bullet, or a TC (truncated cone). SWC's usually won't feed well in a lever-action. You can also use JSP or JHP. 158, 160, 173, or 180 grains, take your choice.

148 grain DEWC's are probably OK in a .357 (they work in my Marlin) but will be too short when loaded in .38 Special cases.
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:28 PM   #3
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Exactly what I was looking for, thanks!
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:54 PM   #4
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I dont own a .357 rifle so i am probably talking out my pooper. I would go with a gascheck like Lyman's 358156 with gas check. My Marlin 94 with a gascheck bullet is a tackdriver
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Old July 22, 2010, 08:21 PM   #5
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Is this for hunting and self-defense? If so then a couple of these would be a great choice. Heat treated to 22 BHN and large meplat
If it's for punching paper there are better choices - i.e. less $$$ but for hunting or self-defense the are the best. Check the notes for the bullets that "feed through all lever actions."
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Old July 22, 2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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I shoot the same bullets in my Marlin 38/357 as I do in all my 38/357. That being 150 Cast SWCs (Lyman mold 358477). No problems encountered.
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Old July 22, 2010, 11:46 PM   #7
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For my backpack carry, I have several 357 S&W and a couple of Marlin 1894's.

I got the 1894's jsut for the sake of being able to carry one cartridge with a rifle and a revolver.

I have handloads that put out 1450 fps muzzle on the revolver. If I go camping with that cartidge, I use 158gr JHP.

Lead, I have loaded and used Cast Round Nose or semiwads out of hardened wheel weights. Round nose feed better in the lever gun.

BTW, I have never had a decent feed in my levers with wadcutters.
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Old July 23, 2010, 12:21 AM   #8
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Before I starting casting my own lead I bought from Dardas Bullets at If I remember correctly I only paid around $57 for 1k .38 cal 158 gr. RNFP lead bullets. You can't hardly cast your own for that if you had to buy the same lead he uses.
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Old July 25, 2010, 02:10 PM   #9
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I know from shooting 45acp, 45Colt, and 44mag rifles, that a long bearing surface helps accuracy. That means heavy bullets.
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