The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 19, 2018, 05:24 AM   #1
JJ45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2015
Posts: 511
Lead bullets in .38 cases in 357 Revolvers, Advice.

My favorite reloads for my 357s are "mid-range" loads loading heavy Keith type SWCs (Lyman 358429) BRN 15 in .357 cases in front of Unique powder..

For those of you that load lead bullets in .38 cases for 357 revolvers. Is there a considerable increase in lead fouling in the chambers and around the forcing cone? This for 168-170 grain SWCs at about 900fps which I believe is a Plus-P load in a .38. Again the hardness is BRN 15.

I load for stainless Ruger Speed Six and Security Six revolvers if that matters and mostly Montana Bullet Works where I can choose between .356 and .360 diameters (I think)...any advice to limit fouling would be appreciated.
JJ45 is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 05:38 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 40,054
Debris will build up in the chambers and will normally have to be removed before you shoot .357 again, but it's nothing really to worry about.

As for the forcing cone, no, there shouldn't really be any appreciable difference between using .38 cases and .357 cases, all other factors being the same.

Limiting the fouling isn't going to bring you much joy in my experience, either. Either deal with it by regular cleaning (wire brushing the chamber steps, especially, or eliminate it by loading in .357 Mag. cases
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 09:34 AM   #3
Charlie_98
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 22, 2011
Location: McKinney, TX
Posts: 847
When I was shooting .357 a lot, I ran cast in .38SPC cases... once. After I got that mess cleaned out, I just loaded .357 cases exclusively. Unique is a reasonable powder to load lower velocity loads in bigger cases because it isn't position sensitive, but it may not burn very clean.

If you are getting your bullets from Montana, I would probably start with .358" bullets and see what that gets you, you may have to move to .359" if you get significant barrel leading.
__________________
Dennis

Wherever you go, there you are...
Charlie_98 is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 10:29 AM   #4
pete2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,795
Just clean the gun every 200 rounds or so and you won't have a problem with the .38 cases. I've shot thousands of .38s in .357 revolvers and not problem if you clean them. I did see a model 27 once from a coworker. He asked why it was so hard to load. The gun had never been cleaned. It was a couple years old and looked like it was a hundred and had spent half that time in a wet holster. You can mess up anything.
pete2 is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 11:13 AM   #5
mikld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2009
Location: Southern Oregon!
Posts: 2,698
I have used lead bullets in Special cases in my Magnum revolvers for many years (38/357 and 44 Special/Magnum). While there may be residue from the shorter cases I have not had any chambering problems with the longer cases. I would usually start a session with at least one box of Specials before switching to Magnums. I mostly used the same cast bullet in both calibers, sized to fit the gun and experienced no extra leading or cleaning problems. I have never gone more than one day after shooting that I not cleaned my guns, so build up does not occur...
__________________
My Anchor is holding fast!
I've learned how to stand on my own two knees...
mikld is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 12:16 PM   #6
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 10,501
"...a considerable increase in lead fouling..." Yep. It's lube gunk, not pure lead. Comes right out with no fuss at all using a .45 calibre brush. Usually just one swipe through the cylinders does it. Rarely an issue at all around the forcing cone, but that comes off with a brush too.
Bullet hardness and velocity is irrelevant. Like Mike says, the lube gunk ring isn't a big deal. It does go away by reloading .357 cases to .38 Special velocities(even 2.5 to 2.8 of Bullseye with 148 grain WC target loads.), but it's nothing to worry about.
__________________
Spelling and grammar count!
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 01:09 PM   #7
USSR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 14, 2017
Location: Finger Lakes Region of NY
Posts: 605
Quote:
My favorite reloads for my 357s are "mid-range" loads loading heavy Keith type SWCs (Lyman 358429) BRN 15 in .357 cases in front of Unique powder..

For those of you that load lead bullets in .38 cases for 357 revolvers. Is there a considerable increase in lead fouling in the chambers and around the forcing cone? This for 168-170 grain SWCs at about 900fps which I believe is a Plus-P load in a .38. Again the hardness is BRN 15.

I load for stainless Ruger Speed Six and Security Six revolvers if that matters and mostly Montana Bullet Works where I can choose between .356 and .360 diameters (I think)...any advice to limit fouling would be appreciated.
BHN of 15 in a .38 Special? Much too hard, and no doubt the bullets are too small for your throats. Take a look at the pic below.



The bullet on the right came out of a .38 Special +P load at 945fps, without any leading. BHN? About 7 or 8. The hands down worst cause of leading with lead bullets is the combination of too hard and too small bullets. Match your bullet size to your cylinder throats and match your BHN to your intended velocity/pressure level and your problem should go away.

Don
__________________
NRA Life Member
NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor
USSR is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 02:14 PM   #8
mikld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2009
Location: Southern Oregon!
Posts: 2,698
Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR View Post
BHN of 15 in a .38 Special? Much too hard, and no doubt the bullets are too small for your throats. Take a look at the pic below.



The bullet on the right came out of a .38 Special +P load at 945fps, without any leading. BHN? About 7 or 8. The hands down worst cause of leading with lead bullets is the combination of too hard and too small bullets. Match your bullet size to your cylinder throats and match your BHN to your intended velocity/pressure level and your problem should go away.

Don
I had an ongoing "discussion" with an old member on another forum (18,000+ posts), and I said the same as USSR, but he insists that leading comes from "bad guns and too soft alloy" among other insults. But he had the highest post count, is the resident guru/expert on all things casting/reloading/shooting, I just eventually let it go. I have cast bullets since about '90, starting with my 44 Magnums, and have never needed a BHN over Lyman's #2, 15 BHN, and that was only for a 9mm load and a couple rifles...
__________________
My Anchor is holding fast!
I've learned how to stand on my own two knees...
mikld is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 02:31 PM   #9
JJ45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2015
Posts: 511
Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR View Post
BHN of 15 in a .38 Special? Much too hard, and no doubt the bullets are too small for your throats. Take a look at the pic below.



The bullet on the right came out of a .38 Special +P load at 945fps, without any leading. BHN? About 7 or 8. The hands down worst cause of leading with lead bullets is the combination of too hard and too small bullets. Match your bullet size to your cylinder throats and match your BHN to your intended velocity/pressure level and your problem should go away.

Don
I don't have a problem ,YET....I have loaded that Lyman 358429, sized .358 and 15 hardness for years in my Rugers. This at from about 850 to 950 chronographed FPS and with NO leading problems at all. either chambers or forcing cone.

BUT these were loaded in the longer .357 case. I have accèss to a quantity of .38 cases and remembered once hearing that the shorter case might cause leading problems. I thought maybe just stick with the longer case but why waste the .38s? Thats the reason for my question
JJ45 is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 05:23 PM   #10
LE-28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 24, 2012
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 629
Quote:
BUT these were loaded in the longer .357 case. I have accèss to a quantity of .38 cases and remembered once hearing that the shorter case might cause leading problems. I thought maybe just stick with the longer case but why waste the .38s? Thats the reason for my question
You don't have to waste the 38 spl cases, load them and shoot them.

You do have to clean out the chambers in the cylinder every so often because you are shooting a case that is to short for the chamber.

That is just a fact of life. Most of us call the ring in the cylinder a carbon ring from the case being to short. It doesn't matter what the composition of this material is, it has to be cleaned out.

BUT, I have never heard of leading in a cylinder unless the throats are to small for the caliber of bullet and it is stripping lead off the bullet and trying to swedge it down to a smaller size.
Lead colored crap all over the end of the cylinder? Again, you have to live it or shoot plated or jacketed bullets the rest of you life.

Even then you will get carbon burn all over the end of the cylinder.

It is just a fact of life with revolvers.
LE-28 is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 06:01 PM   #11
gwpercle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2012
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Posts: 829
I've been shooting 38 special in a Ruger Blackhawk 357 for 50 years now , clean the chambers with a brass brush or bore snake...you're shooting lead so do the barrel too , after every range trip...no build up !
In the 60's 38 special cases could be picked up by the bucket full at the range . 357 magnum were few and far between. Lyman Mould #358156 was invented so you could load 357 magnum loads in 38 special cases .
After 50 years shooting I broke down and bought 100 Starline 357 magnum cases just to try.....then I remembered something ... when ejecting empties , the 38 cases clear the chambers a lot easier than the longer 357 magnums....ARRRRGH !

Build up is not a problem with a little cleaning, I see this stated as a horrible problem and don't know where it comes from....I guess if you never clean your gun you would someday have a problem.
Gary
gwpercle is offline  
Old October 19, 2018, 09:04 PM   #12
Drm50
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2014
Posts: 610
I have a bucket of S&W revolvers. 99% of my shooting is done with cast wad
cutters, sized and lubed in 450 press. My bullets are 20:1 lead-tin, fairly soft.
It does cut down the fouling to use correct brass for the gun. Unique is powder
I use, except in 45acp M25. I use Bullseye in them. These WC are all in 700-
800 fps. I get very little mess in chambers and forcing cone area is more lube
residue than lead. I have loaded 38sp cases for 357 and 44sp for 44mg and not
only were messier, but not as accurate. I made a batch of 357 WC loads with
Red Dot. Very accurate but dirtiest load I ever came up with.
Drm50 is offline  
Old October 20, 2018, 10:30 AM   #13
mikld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2009
Location: Southern Oregon!
Posts: 2,698
If you use 38 Special data in 38 Special brass and 357 data in 357 brass, all is fine. If you use 38 Special data in 357 brass. pressures and velocity will be lower than listed. If you use 357 data in 38 Special brass pressures and velocities will be higher than listed, due to case capacity. Tried both; wanted light loads in 357 brass, experimented with 38 Spec. data, velocities measured quite a bit lower than listed for 38 Spec. brass. Just an "I wanna know" experiment...
__________________
My Anchor is holding fast!
I've learned how to stand on my own two knees...
mikld is offline  
Old October 22, 2018, 08:42 AM   #14
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 40,054
"I made a batch of 357 WC loads with Red Dot. Very accurate but dirtiest load I ever came up with."

I've used a lot of Red Dot over the years, mostly in 12 gauge.

I tried loading some .38 Special with lead bullets back in the 1980s.

Two things were quickly apparent...

It was the most accurate load I had ever shot out of that gun.

It was unbelievably filthy. 50 rounds put more crud on the gun than 200 of my normal loads using 231 and the same bullet.

I liked the accuracy, but I couldn't get past how dirty they were, so I dropped Red Dot as a handgun powder.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old October 22, 2018, 07:09 PM   #15
Dufus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,524
It ain't lead fouling in the throat. All that is either bullet lube or carbon, and maybe both.

I shot a bunch like that one time. The build up in the throats prevented even forcing a 357 round in the chamber.

Now, I load 38 for 38 revolvers, and 357s for 357 revolvers. No biggie for me.

I have never ran into the dirty Red Dot problem and I have loads for almost everything using it. Shotgun, rifle, and handgun.
Dufus is offline  
Old October 23, 2018, 01:36 AM   #16
Drm50
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2014
Posts: 610
I did Red Dot in 357 target loads too. Had same results very accurate and dirty.
Was shooting out of 4" Python and outside of gun looked like it had been lamp
blacked and I was dirty clear to my elbow.
Drm50 is offline  
Old October 25, 2018, 04:15 PM   #17
wv109323
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2012
Posts: 13
You will need to clean the chambers more carefully shooting the .38 apec. cases. Lead bulet's need to be .001 over bore size to prevent leading,that is usually .358 but mat be different.
Use a .358 bullet as a pin gauge to check the throats of chambers. If chambers are smaller than .358 the bullet will be sized down when it passes through the throat You will have an undersized bullet going down the barrel if it is .358. An undersized bullet will cause leading.
Lead hardness has little to do,with leading at the velocities you expect.
wv109323 is offline  
Old October 26, 2018, 09:29 AM   #18
hdbiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 19, 2012
Posts: 175
90% of my .357 revolvers are shot with .38 158 grain lead SWC's over 3.5 grains of Bullseye . hdbiker
hdbiker is offline  
Old October 26, 2018, 09:51 AM   #19
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 15,177
I shot a lot of .38 wadcutters and semiwadcutters in a Python for PPC. A good cleaning left it ready for Magnums.
Light .38 loads in Magnum brass seem to be an Internet Invention although there used to be regular print gunzine articles on "moderate magnums" taking the place of .38-44 HV.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old November 13, 2018, 08:42 AM   #20
Wallyl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2011
Posts: 162
Mike,

I loaded up some .357 Mag loads using the Lee 148 WC bullet and Promo. Very accurate, but dirty. I also used TITEWAD powder; it too was very accurate and on the dirty side. I keep a microfiber cloth and just wipe the pistol down after so many cylinderfulls. It takes a few seconds and the pistol is / looks clean.
Wallyl is offline  
Old November 13, 2018, 08:56 AM   #21
Real Gun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2004
Location: SC
Posts: 2,602
If you find data for both 38+p and minimum 357 Magnum that uses the same powder, you are likely to find a gap that can be worked for light 357. Bullseye is a good example, where you can split the difference and use the midpoint charge for starters, basically 4 grains versus 6, so you use 5 in the in the example of 120-125 grain lead. Reference Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook.
__________________
Not an expert, just a reporter.
Real Gun is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:23 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12006 seconds with 10 queries