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Old May 25, 2022, 04:07 PM   #1
gns4me
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Another .38/.357 case Q?

If i take "X" .357 load and use the same load in a 38 case , MAINTAINING the 357 COL , will it mimic the 357 load? This is the assumption that it will maintain the same volume in the case under the Bullet. Also it will be shot in a 357 revolver.
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Old May 25, 2022, 04:13 PM   #2
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Too me the answer is no, if you seated the bullet to make them the same overall length you have more of the projectile gripping inside the case Of the 357 which would change pressure etc , etc

Flip slide aswell, If you seated the bullet farther out on the 38 special case to make it the same COL as a 357 there less grip on the bullet less pressure.
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Old May 25, 2022, 04:19 PM   #3
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No ^^^ what he said and there's also the difference of case thickness. I personally wouldn't load 357 charge in a 38 case.
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Old May 25, 2022, 05:39 PM   #4
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No. You will have less bullet in the case, thus less neck tension. Also it will most likely not line up with the crimp groove or cannelure, making it hard to crimp further increasing the problem. Likely resulting in poor or incomplete powder burn and low or erratic velocity. The 38spl brass is also thinner in places. While in theory it should hold, It would probably be fairly hard on the brass.
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Old May 25, 2022, 07:27 PM   #5
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some numbers;

.357 Magnum, max case length 1.290"
.38 Special max case length 1.155"

Difference = 0.135"

.357 max loaded length with bullet 1.590"
.38 Special max length with bullet 1.550"

difference = 0.040"

you can do the math, but it might help visualize things by laying out a .357 and .38 cases and bullets next to each other. case bases on the same line, bullets next to the case in the spot that gives you the overall length you want and see how much of the bullet would be in the case and what the apparent case powder space is.
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Old May 25, 2022, 07:44 PM   #6
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This is the reason bullets with two crimp grooves exist; one for 38 Special and one for 357 Magnum. Same with double cannelure or double crimp groove bullet's for 44s for Special and Magnum. The Magnum cases are longer, but the maximum COL (needed for maximum powder capacity) is not as much longer as the cases are (indeed, with the 44 pairing, the Magnum COL is actually 0.005” shorter), so you need the two grooves if the same bullet is to make maximum COL with a roll crimp in both cartridges.
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Old May 25, 2022, 08:56 PM   #7
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To the op,

Is there a underlining reason to your question ? I think most of us on here would want to understand this endeavor?
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Old May 25, 2022, 09:38 PM   #8
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I'm going to run an actual side-by side (cast) test this weekend in a `94
I'll be roll-crimping into wherever the mid-range 357 load demands I set the same OAL in the 38SP.

I'm going to predict not much chronograph difference in the end result.
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Old May 26, 2022, 09:38 AM   #9
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Yes there is an underlying Q? its a lack of available .357 brass and an abundance of .38 spec brass. I want to load RMR TC "happy face" bullets to test some powder. These have no cannular so it will roll crimped wherever i call COL That being the reason I thought that I may be able to adjust bullet out to match the COL of .357 mag round and use .38 brass Have enough bullet to seat in case and still make .357 COL. My thought is chamber will hold pressure as if I were using .357 Brass.

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Old May 26, 2022, 09:40 AM   #10
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I know all about the difference in case length and i personally dont think that the neck tension is that big of an issue with roll crimp but I always am open to discussion when I'm into unknown areas

Last edited by gns4me; May 26, 2022 at 09:47 AM.
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Old May 26, 2022, 09:53 AM   #11
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Let US all how that side by side comparison goes Unfortitionally I wont be able to test mine for a few weeks 1 1/2 hr away from range that I use. I will also post my results when i get them
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Old May 26, 2022, 09:54 AM   #12
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Skeeter Skelton loaded and promoted high velocity .38s with Lyman 358156 seated to the bottom crimp groove.
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Old May 26, 2022, 09:57 AM   #13
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Is there that big of a difference in case strength between the two cases? {.38 & .357}
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Old May 26, 2022, 10:05 AM   #14
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No. Same Manufacture/process.
Only difference is length.
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Old May 26, 2022, 10:15 AM   #15
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Are we talking about starting 357 charges or loads pushing the limits of 357?

I think any changes in neck tension due to the bullet sticking out further will mean the pressure is less using .38 Special cases. If .38 Special brass is thinner this also means the volume is larger and the pressure is lower.

If I were doing this I'd to stick to powders that do well in .38 Special and .357. Using powders that only work with higher pressure .357 loads might be inducing some of the issues mentioned.
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Old May 26, 2022, 10:56 AM   #16
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I just have one question. Say this works, if you don’t have any available.357 brass to load anyway, why the big hurry to work up a load? I’d suggest just back ordering brass from Starline since it’s available for back order. You might get it faster than you think.
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Old May 26, 2022, 11:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddog81 View Post
Are we talking about starting 357 charges or loads pushing the limits of 357?

I think any changes in neck tension due to the bullet sticking out further will mean the pressure is less using .38 Special cases. If .38 Special brass is thinner this also means the volume is larger and the pressure is lower.

If I were doing this I'd to stick to powders that do well in .38 Special and .357. Using powders that only work with higher pressure .357 loads might be inducing some of the issues mentioned.
Starting to mid range loads
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Old May 26, 2022, 11:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetinteriorguy View Post
I just have one question. Say this works, if you don’t have any available.357 brass to load anyway, why the big hurry to work up a load? I’d suggest just back ordering brass from Starline since it’s available for back order. You might get it faster than you think.
Agreed but then again its knowledgeable experience at work. Like Keith and Skelton would use what they had..
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Old May 26, 2022, 01:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
its a lack of available .357 brass and an abundance of .38 spec brass.
Can you get .357 Mag ammunition?

if so, buy a couple boxes, shoot them, and there's your brass to use while you wait for backorders to be filled.
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Old May 26, 2022, 01:20 PM   #20
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Both Lyman and NOE make bullet moulds that cast SWC's that has a gas check and two (2) crimp grooves ... a lower crimp groove and upper crimp groove .
Lyman # 358156 is 155 gr. and the NOE # 360-165-SWC GC is 165 grs.

Now the reason for the two crimp grooves ... when 357 magnum cases were so hard to find and 38 special were all over the range floor ... if you wanted to put a 357 load in a 38 special brass case you used the lower crimp groove ...it gave the same internal capacity as when using a 357 mag. case .

Now... If you have 357 magnum brass ... load it to 357 mag levels and seat to and crimp bullet in the upper crimp groove .... Pretty Cool Idea !

Skeeter Skelton used to do this ... as soon as I read his article I went right out and bought the Lyman mould and a box of gas checks ... that was 1971 and I don't think I have ever loaded that bullet in a 357 case ...they have all been in 38 special cases with 7.0 grs. Unique ... fired of course in 357 magnum revolver .
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Old May 26, 2022, 01:26 PM   #21
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I don't think this is a big scary deal and I think it will go as hoped/planned.

Could you see different results with a good chrono? YES, however let's also admit that you can find lots of differing results based on all the factors that so many handloaders routinely ignore a lot of the time. That includes using mixed headstamp brass, inconsistencies with the press lever, variances in bullets depending on manufacturer, variances in powder handling equipment, variances in how well and consistently you are able to send shots over the chrono and how well it will read them.

One point worth mentioning:

A fat, black Sharpie permanent marker will put a swipe on the case head fast and easy. To make it the easiest, put all 50 rounds in to an ammo box and then just make five long swipes across case heads with your Sharpie marker.

You really want some obvious mark on your .38 Special headstamp brass warning anyone (mostly you, but certainly your heirs...) that these rounds aren't normal .38 Special.

Some old revolver from 1902 will thank you for the effort.
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Old May 26, 2022, 03:57 PM   #22
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I agree that Skeeter Skelton did the but I don.t think it was a full .357 Mag. charge. It was more likely a load based on the old 38/44 S&W, the forerunner to the .357 magnum. I ave one of the old S&W 38/44 Outdoorsman revolvers but haven't run a full power 38/44 load in years in deference to that older gun. I'm trying to from memory here but IIRC, the preferred load was something like 11.5 to maybe 12.0 of #2400 powder. As I recall, it was pretty snappy in in that "N" frame 38 Spl. Probably be in the Plus P Plus level regarding pressure. When I had one in the late 1950s it was adequate enough to kill a Black Bear that became a serious problem. Took two shots. I made the mistake of selling that gun and regretted it for a long time. I took years before I found a replacement and I'll hang on to that one until I cross the great divide. The bullet I always used was the Lyman #358156 with gas check. It worked back then and it works now.
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Old May 26, 2022, 05:17 PM   #23
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The answer will depend on the brass. If you go back far enough in time (the early 1930s), the original 357 loads were developed in heavy 38 Special revolvers using 38 Special brass. But in the intervening years, some things have changed:

First, don't use any modern 38 Special case for this that says "wadcutter" on the head. These cases have walls that are thinner than standard down near the web in order to avoid squeezing hollow base wadcutter bullets when they are deeply seated to flush with the case mouth. It will be weaker back near the head. Enough to matter? I don't really know, but, personally, I just wouldn't be tempted to try.

Then comes the separate question about the strength of the brass and head in standard 357 and 38 Special cases. This is another thing that can have changed over time. Old 38 Special cases can be found that are both lighter (semi-balloon head) and heavier than modern brass. It's tough to reliably discern the difference in strength by eyeball, though, as different manufacturers now use different alloys, ranging from 60:40 brass to 80:20 brass now. If the manufacturer is one you know, like Starline, you can probably call and ask if there is any difference in head thickness between the way they make these two cartridge cases. There may be. Brass and other copper alloys are, relatively speaking, more expensive than they once were. For that reason, some manufacturers will possibly have altered their dies to save a couple of extra grains of brass here and there. You know how modern efficiency experts are.

Make your own test:

Method 1: Weigh samples from your 38 and 357 brass that still have spent primers in them plugging the primer pocket. Fill them with water level with the mouth with no meniscus, no bubbles inside, and no droplets or condensation on the outside, and weigh them again. The difference in the two weights for each case is what is termed their case water overflow capacity (even though we are keeping the meniscus flat and not actually overflowing them). You will have to measure the lengths of the two cases. In principle, at a diameter of 0.357 inches and with 0.135" of extra length, if the heads of the cases are identical in internal profile, the 357 Magnum case will hold an additional 6.835 grains of water or 0.05063 grains for each additional 0.001" of length. If, however, the added weight of the water in the 357 case is less than this, then the brass is thicker somewhere inside, and sticking to 38 Special +P loads probably makes more sense.

Method 2: Trim one of your 357 cases down to the length of one of your 38 Special cases. If they then weigh the same, you are good to go. If the 357 case is heavier, you are not.

Note that for the above methods to be valid, the 38 Special and 357 Magnum cases should be the same brand both to have them made of the same alloy and because some manufacturers may make the heads the same and others not. Remington famously makes thinner case walls near the mouths of some of their handgun cartridge brass, so that if you trimmed a Remington 357 case and compared it to a Winchester 38 Special case, you might get a false indication of a thicker head, and vice versa.
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Old May 26, 2022, 08:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
it will be shot in a 357 revolver.
I'm just curious specifically what model of revolver, and bbl length.
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Old May 27, 2022, 01:51 AM   #25
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I seriously doubt you will overstress a properly made .357 Magnum revolver by putting a .357 load in a .38 Special case.

The .357 was created using .38 special brass in the S&W N frame revolver. The longer magnum case was created for production ammuntion, to prevent its use in .38 Special guns which could be overstressed by the high pressure load.

It wasn't done to make the case longer to hold more powder, though it also does that.

If the gun was built for .357, putting a .357 load in .38 brass won't break it. HOWEVER, shooting that load in a .38 Special revolver might.

The .38 Special (aka .38 S&W Special - which is a completely different cartridge than the .38 S&W) was created with black powder, and there are still guns around that were made during the black powder era. The pressure level of the .357 Magnum can damage or even destroy those guns, with consequent risk to the shooter.

I've always felt that putting .357 loads in .38 brass was an accident waiting to happen. If you own a .38 a brief moment of inattention can put your gun and you at risk. And, if there is even the remotest chance that someone else has or will have access to that ammo, (not knowing what it really is) you're putting them at potential risk as well.

The most common scenarios suggested are your shooting buddy or your kids grab some ammo from the "wrong box" (the magnum stuff in .38 brass) and shoot it in a .38. Or your heirs do...

Either way, could be bad for them.

.357 brass isn't "unobtainium" there's a lot of it out there, even if current supply & delivery issues mean you can't get the brand new stuff you want today you can get it. I think being a bit patient is better than potentially creating a boobytrap for yourself, or someone else.
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