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Old June 24, 2002, 11:18 AM   #1
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When does A 38 Load become A 357 Load??

I use to shoot 38 Specals in my 357s for many years, I would order bullets for both 38/357 mag. I spent almost twice as much time making 38 target loads and 357 target and hot loads.
Then One day I got a good deal on a bunch of 357 brass and decided to try making all my loads using 357 brass.

I had heard that my accuracy would not be as good with lighter 38 loads, plus there was the possability of a low powder explosion, so I was told.
Well that was about a year ago and I still am using 357 brass for all my loads.
My loads are just as accurate, if not more so, and my cylinders do not build up with residue like it did when I was shooting 38s. all in all I have found this to be a big plus. I can have 148 Gr DEWC with 3.4Gr of bullseye or a 125Gr JHP with 14.5Gr of blue dot.

I have read some posts lately regarding 38 loads in 357 brass.
and thought I would throw in this post.

IYO when does a 38 become a 357!

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained
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Old June 24, 2002, 11:49 AM   #2
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I have subscribed to your theory for years. If you handload, why buy two different brass for the same gun ?

A .38 load becomes a .357 load when it is loaded in a .357 case.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old June 24, 2002, 11:50 AM   #3
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I do not own any 38 revolvers, but have several 357's. I have never used 38 brass, all my loads are made up in 357 cases. I have found that if I add about 0.5gr to any given 38 load, it will match that velocity in 357 cases. I have never had a problem with a light charge of Bullseye or W-231 detonating. It seems to me that the stories of light loads exploding are probably the result of double charged cases. It is very easy to double charge with fast burning powders, whereas the slow burning powders nearly fill the case with a single charge.
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Old June 24, 2002, 02:17 PM   #4
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Agree with all the above.

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Old June 24, 2002, 05:23 PM   #5
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When it's about 1/10" longer than the .38 Spl case.

"Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round...

Neural Misfires
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Old June 24, 2002, 06:15 PM   #6
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When does A 38 Load become A 357 Load

With the manufacturers down grading the 357 to
+p or +p+ 38 Special, I would say the difference is in your +p and +p+ designation 38 Special ammo.

I would not have a "J" frame S&W in 357.
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Old June 24, 2002, 09:54 PM   #7
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You need to be careful of load density. There have been lots of guns blown up with light loads. If you are going to load 38 type ammo with 357 cases use a slower/bulkier powder. If you use a small amount of a hotter powder you can end up with a lot of space left in the case and lose control of the burn. Basically with too much airspace you can get too much of the poweder going at once and an overpressure situation results. Shoot LISTED loads only and you will be fine. DO NOT shoot loads lighter than listed, it is just as dangerous as going heavier.
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Old June 25, 2002, 10:26 AM   #8
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I load all my .38's in .357 cases. I just tested some DEWC loads, and I got best accuracy with 2.8gr Bullseye, though I might try going higher.

In my thinking, it becomes a .357 load when it passes the listed max for .38+P

As far as detonation, what I've read indicates it's only a possibility with powders that are on the slow end in that application. I would be worried about heavily down-loading 2400 or 296, but not Bullseye, 231, 700X, etc. The .357 case has only a tiny bit more capacity than the .38, and the physics just don't add up to that creating any kind of danger.
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Old June 25, 2002, 08:21 PM   #9
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FWIW, in a 2.8gr Bullseye load for a 38Spec, the powder is completely ignited before the bullet hits the forcing cone and pressure is down hill from that point on. No danger whatsoever for kabooms or what have you. There is greater danger on wadcutters that are improperly crimped. Slide one back into the case about .2" and the pressures soar to 100,000psi plus. Can't be too lackadaisical can we.
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