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Old March 14, 2018, 12:26 AM   #1
Bobert1850
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Just looking into reloading

Hi everyone. Just bought a .357 and was watching some videos on reloading. I'm looking to possibly load some rounds for just fun shooting. I have a box of 38 special half gone already and was wondering about some really light loads. From searching around I found "cat sneeze" loads and most of them call for a 158 grain bullet with a small load of fast powder. Now my question is what about a lighter bullet like say 95 grain? And I also read a post about someone cutting the brass down to short colt size and loading them as a short colt round. What if I cut some down and made a cat sneeze short colt?
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Old March 14, 2018, 05:05 AM   #2
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If you have never handloaded before and these are your early goals... get yourself some kind of a tool to knock out stuck bullets and avoid plated and jacketed like the plague because both are a nightmare to knock out of a bore. Most recommend a brass rod for the job of knocking bullets out. Some will suggest a wood dowel, others will tell you that it will splinter, making the problem worse.

Ultra-light loads work some times in some places. In revolvers, with the cylinder-to-forcing cone flash gap, you have a place where precious gas can escape like a bleeder valve, that pressure is much needed to move the bullet down the bore and out.
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Old March 14, 2018, 07:25 AM   #3
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Bobert1850,

Forget about cutting the brass down and just stick with published load data. Think about it; after you've cut your .38 Special brass down, how are you going to apply the crimp with your .38 Special seating die? Answer: You ain't.

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Old March 14, 2018, 07:56 AM   #4
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You can create some really lite loads with the standard brass and wad cutters.
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Old March 14, 2018, 09:01 AM   #5
Bobert1850
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Ussr, I was going to use short colt data. Bit my main question is why is the super light/ quieter loading calling for the heavier bullet? I want as little mass as possible moving threw the air so misses and ricochets[?] Are less of a concern.

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Old March 14, 2018, 09:39 AM   #6
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Bobert1850,

A miss is a miss, whether you use a heavy or light bullet. And ricochets are the least of your worries with the low velocity lead bullet load you are talking about. DukeConnor makes an excellent suggestion in using wadcutter bullets. They are lighter than the normal 158gr .38 Special bullet, and by seating deeply in the case they reduce the powder charge weight down, which appears to be what you are trying to do.

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Old March 14, 2018, 09:57 AM   #7
Bobert1850
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I think all the loads I saw did use the wad cutters. I was just wondering if you could use something even lighter with less powder and a shorter case to increase pressures with a shorter case volume. I'm not trying to think outside the box or anything bc I'm sure someone has thought of this before, I just want to know why it don't work like I'm thinking.

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Old March 14, 2018, 10:08 AM   #8
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There are a lot of good reasons to get into reloading but yours aren't. Not to start out with anyway. You really need experience before you start trying some of your ideas, not that they are bad or dangerous but just not ideal for a beginner. You will learn things like light weight bullets usually affect accuracy and as others have said low powder results can really be troublesome.If you want low recoil with minimal ricochet, buy a .22.
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Old March 14, 2018, 10:20 AM   #9
Bobert1850
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jag2 View Post
There are a lot of good reasons to get into reloading but yours aren't. Not to start out with anyway. You really need experience before you start trying some of your ideas, not that they are bad or dangerous but just not ideal for a beginner. You will learn things like light weight bullets usually affect accuracy and as others have said low powder results can really be troublesome.If you want low recoil with minimal ricochet, buy a .22.
I have no plans on trying anything like this for a long time. Just asking so I can learn. I'm the kind of person that needs to know the why and how with everything.

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Old March 14, 2018, 11:01 AM   #10
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Get a copy of The ABCs of Reloading. There are other "how to" texts but this is most often recommended to new reloaders. This one text will show how to reload, the equipment needed, and explain components. A very good start. I would not recommend any youtube videos about bullet casting or reloading. As a new reloader you don't know what is real info or what is BS, which I've seen a good bit of.

Some say they want to reload to save money, but while that may be true for some, most reloaders will tell you it jes ain't so, but you will shoot more. I have no idea what my reloads cost as my components' cost would be difficult to figger since I have powder purchased on sale from 1999, primers form 2006, and have no idea what I paid. I started reloading out of curiosity; as I emptied the cylinder of my 38 Special I thought "I wonder if I could reuse these?". In '69, way pre web, I purchased a Lee Loader and have been reloading off and on since (but fairly steady since 1988) and, IMO a major purchase(s) is reloading manuals. Most have good "how to" sections and charts and general info along with load data. A general/generic manual like a Lyman 50th Edition, a manual from a major powder manufacturer, and a manual from a bullet manufacturer will cover a great deal of info., most of what you'll need to get started.

I would highly suggest sticking with load data right from your reloading manuals, and ignore data from any forum expert, range rat, "they said", gun counter clerk, or gun shop guru. Get data from published manuals and if necessary powder manufacturers' web sites. You can easily find safe, light loads without going to extremes or doing any unwise modifications to your cases/cartridges.

Go slow. Double check everything. Most important, have fun...
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Old March 14, 2018, 12:06 PM   #11
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The .38 Short Colt is not based on the .38 Special or .357. Rim diameter's 5 thou bigger. Neither Colt has anything to do with the .38 Special or .357.
.38 Special target loads(nothing to do with the case length either) work just fine in .357 cases. The classic .38 Special target load is a 148 grain WC(wad cutter) with 2.5 to 2.8 grains of Bullseye. No crimp. Little to no felt recoil either.
Like mikld says, start with a copy of The ABC's of Reloading. About $30 at your local gun shop or Amazon. Then a Lyman manual. Mostly because it's more versatile than a bullet or powder maker's book. Read the reference chapters in it.
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Old March 14, 2018, 12:23 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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The Lyman manual shows .38 Special loads down to a 90 grain bullet at 675 fps.
Don't make stuff up when you can look it up.

The old NRA Handloading compilation had procedures - not "recipes" - for very light loads.

ICORE shooters commonly load .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, and even .38 "Mid." But this is for fast reloads; their loads must make power factor 120.

Quote:
Neither Colt has anything to do with the .38 Special or .357.
Anything? Maybe something, else why does my old catalog say:
"Colt Shooting Master; Ammunition: .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, .38 Colt Special, .38 S&W Special, etc. in .38 caliber model."?
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Old March 14, 2018, 01:13 PM   #13
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I keyed in on "Just for fun shooting" and IMMEDIATE thought was:...just get a good and fun .22

Reloading for only one gun you might shoot occasionally "just for fun" imply to me NOT a lot of rounds per month/year...if wrong assumption move on...

If true -------reloading to me is work and nerve wracking...I only do it cuz for some calibers I shoot a LOT it makes sense...cost wise, accuracy wise

NOT going out of my way to try and discourage a potential new re-loader/hand loader.... Just want to offer the notion that:

First... 357 and EXTREME lite kitty loads are troublesome to load for reliability and can be dangerous...I would just get low speed 38 for cheap and go have FUN

BUT if the OP has a variety of hand guns and rifles and is sincerely desiring to hand-load/re-load... a few different calibers

Welcome aboard to a life long passion that can be aggravating, scary (at first) and very rewarding...Hey !! " I MADE these bullets and they shoot better than anything I can buy a Walmart!"

When I started-- FORTUNATELY asking forum questions and was able to set up my ammo factory with good equipment, good advise, good books and manuals, and make 45 Colt a LOT cheaper than I could buy it....as skills progressed I was able to make BETTER (more accurate) than factory ammo

The best advice I got a decade back was learn FIRST in single stage press (or several)
almost all the good progressive, hand gun caliber, high round per hour presses...have a steep learning curve and are not easy to set up initially with NO base knowledge of each step or stage

In my case I had a RCBS Rock Crusher press already and added three more Lee Presses...one as a KIT..( lots of needed additional tools like powder measure)

One set of 45 Colt dies

off to the races for under $300

I would like to afford a fast factory set up.... but with my 4 station bench I can produce a respectable amount of ammo in SOME calibers cheaper than buy it...

ONE serious recommendation to the OP.... if YOU suspect some day you will reload/ hand load

Look up your favorite calibers, pick a bullet you prefer, find what Powder and primers are optimum for that caliber design ----and stock up NOW on the components......

Brass can be your own once fired and a lot of sources for new or range police brass...

BUT this note is simply added as, over the last decade, we have seen shortages and lack of availability for primers and powders.....Properly stored primers and powders last a LONG time
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Old March 14, 2018, 03:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
The Lyman manual shows .38 Special loads down to a 90 grain bullet at 675 fps.
Don't make stuff up when you can look it up.
The above post is correct Some of the published starting loads are ridiculously light and have low recoil. There is no need to reinvent the wheel before you've even reloaded your first round. If you need something less powerful than a .38 Special doing 700 FPS you might as well stick with a .22 lr.
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Old March 14, 2018, 04:27 PM   #15
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"What if I cut some down and made a cat sneeze short colt?"

Please do not do this!

I suggest the Lyman 50th reloading manual. Read the manual. Then decide what components you want to use and buy components. Reload following instructions in the manual. Have fun!
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Old March 14, 2018, 05:00 PM   #16
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The main issue, for me anyways, would be if you cut the brass down as you mention, the mouth of the case will be thicker. After you stuff a bullet in it you prolly won't be able to chamber it unless you have over size chambers in the cylinder, which I would not bet on.
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Old March 14, 2018, 05:52 PM   #17
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As you can see, reloading is a bit more complex than you might have imagined. All the advise given by the members to your OP is sound and should be taken into consideration.

With that said get a loading manual and read the first section twice before making any assumptions on the process. Understand the tools needed to complete a standard load first. Understand the firearm your loading for and how the firing proses applies to your loading process. Wheel guns, bolt guns, auto loaders... all have different characteristics you will need to take into consideration when loading a completed round.

As too the "cat sneeze" loads and why the heavy bullet - #1 are you using a suppressor? #2 what is the desired affect on bullet impact? #3 are you just looking for reduced recoil? #4 why reinvent the wheel when their is 100 yrs of data to pull from? #5...

you have much reading to do to answer these questions you have.
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Old March 14, 2018, 07:36 PM   #18
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Don't do it!

There is no going back. You will eventually set up your press for every caliber you have and have too much fun putting your own bullets together. You may even find your reloads are more accurate than anything you can buy.

Stock up on your components so you can save some money. Save Money??? WOW.
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Old March 14, 2018, 07:50 PM   #19
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I tell you what, I think you would be well served with a cast lead bullet under 125 grains and Trail Boss powder. The low recoil of that powder is astonishing to me and because it's very difficult to doublecharge with that powder, you will be very safe with it and there's no concerns in not having enough powder in the case.

Trail Boss has become my favorite powder to reload with. Unique is #2, Bullseye I'm not fond of.

I'll also say I don't advocate a beginner reloading wadcutters where over 80% of the bullet is in the case. Lots of potential for overpressure and it's personally something I don't do for that reason and because I don't use wadcutters for plinking, they have a different use and I train with them for that use.

I'll also point out post #8, Jag2, makes a good point. You shouldn't get into reloading just for kicks, most especially with a common cartridge like 38/.357 or 9mm.

Personally, I got into reloading for three reasons:

1. I could make uncommon loads that I could not buy anywhere. Two .45 round balls for .45 Colt. Subsonic .32 H&R loads from a Henry rifle to get as close to .22 LR power as possible.

2. To reduce cost with uncommon cartridges. .32 and .45 Colt if you must know.

3. I'm not beholden to panics, ammo manufacturers, politically motivated taxes and regulations, etc.
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Old March 15, 2018, 11:14 AM   #20
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As AzShooter mentioned, it can get complicated/addicting. I have found I most often shoot so I can reload. I like all aspects of reloading from load research to accumulating components through all the required steps to shooting and recording/reviewing results. It started out of curiosity in 1969 and today is a major hobby in itself...

For me, I don't have a better pass time for a rainy day than being in my shop, listening to some George Jones or Doo Wop, and reloading...
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Old March 15, 2018, 12:06 PM   #21
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You should check out the loads for "Cowboy" 38 Special. There can be special considerations for use in a lever rifle, but the pistols are often fed 105 gr lead bullets with the goal of staying on target while cycling the guns as fast as possible. Hodgdon's website has the Cowboy section with 38 Special bullets going down to 90 gr. They also have loads for Short Colt and Long Colt, but trying to make your own brass at this stage is probably a bad idea.
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Old March 16, 2018, 11:05 AM   #22
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Excellent advice above.
If you are just getting started and want to try some lower velocity .357 loads, I’ve always had good luck with bullseye powder. Even for .45acp, I used bullseye for light target loads.

It seems you’re interested in super light loads. You could research “wax bullets”... some of the cowboy competition fellas use them. I’ve never used them myself.

I have shot tin foil spitballs, just fooling around using primer only. I don’t recommend it, of course. They went “pop” and flew sorta in the direction pointed.
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Old March 16, 2018, 11:44 AM   #23
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I am a fan of Red Dot for light loads. It is an amazingly versatile powder.
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Old March 16, 2018, 11:31 PM   #24
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Quote:
Bobert1850 wrote:
I'm the kind of person that needs to know the why and how with everything.
I understand the excitement and novelty of a new gun and a new caliber, but what you're talking about in your original post is akin to running before you have learned to stand.

Buy a reloading manual. Many people like Lee's ABCs of Modern Reloading, others prefer the Lyman manual, while I like the Hornady Handbook. For this purpose, they're all the same. Find the section near the front that talks about "how to reload".

Read it.

No, Study it. There will be a test.

That test comes when you start making these little pipe bombs that we call cartridges and you end up with the title "Sharpshooter" or "Lefty".

Once you have studied the manual, then start looking for the reqloaidn equipment that you want. Buy it and get familiar with it before you buy any components. When you're familiar with the equipment, buy components and then follow the directions in the manual to load in accord with published data.

When you've been doing that for a few years, then you'll have enough experience to know whether you're ready to start making wildcat rounds.
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Old March 18, 2018, 06:13 AM   #25
jetinteriorguy
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Seriously, get some 148 gr hollow base wadcutters, add 2.8 gr of Bullseye in .38 special brass and have fun. It's really just that simple. Just use good loading discipline and avoid a double charge and your good to go. KISS principle applies.
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