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Old December 21, 2000, 08:16 AM   #1
Master Blaster
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Before I started reloading I bought .38 specials to fire in my .357 mags I dont own a single .38. So when I started reloading I bought abunch of .38 spl cases and loaded .38.
They seem accurate in my .357 mags but now I am wondering if it would be better to simply load .357 cases to .38 spl velocities instead. Will I get better accuracy?? It will probably make the gun easier to clean if nothing else. Will reloading a .357 mag case with 4 grains titegroup and a regular small pistol primer cause any problems???
Anyone who has done this please let me know
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Old December 21, 2000, 09:30 AM   #2
E. BeauBeaux
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I also would like to know the answer to this.
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Old December 21, 2000, 10:09 AM   #3
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I have been doing the same thing, only in .44. I load .44 special power loads in the .44 magnum cases. I don't know that cleaning is any easier, but it eliminates the problem of stuck cases when firing magnums after specials in the same range session. Also, accuracy has not been affected at all. I still can't shoot the gun to its potential (S&W mod 29, 6-5/8" barrel).

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Old December 21, 2000, 11:50 AM   #4
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Firing .38 SPL Ammo in .357 Mags

I believe there's several reasons for this--

Long ago--in the 1930s--when the .357 first came out, it was indeed conceived as a stretched, overpressure .38 SPL, for law enforcement and hunting use. One of the charms of it was that non-handloaders could shoot the lower-powered .38 SPL loads for practice.

A lot of people wanted to shoot quite a bit but couldn't afford to own two revolvers so nearly identical. A great deal of organized handgun target competetion was done with .38 SPL as the "centerfire" caliber. Bullseye matches were--and are today, I think-- shot with three guns: Rimfire, Centerfire and Service, or .45. I really don't know what they do now, when the service caliber has changed to 9 mm. Anyway, the .357 Magnum revolver by S&W was a high grade, target type handgun that would shoot the super powerful ammo, but was also well fitted for match use.

And for many decades, law enforcement used .38 SPL as the standard and many organizations furnished ammo for qualifications and practice. Even the few outfits issuing .357 mags did his, and just issued full power loads for service carry, and a few for orientation in training.

With .38 SPL as the standard, ammo and empty brass was plentiful. And the round is FAR more pleasant to shoot than the magnums. I don't know of any ammo company that ever offered light target loads in the magnum cases--probably had something to do with marketing, and not wanting customers to buy the wrong ammo for the purpose, with the result that their product would thereby get a reputation for being "underpowered."

My first loading manual, a Lyman, published in mid 1960s, showed a lot of light loads for .357 cases, and illustrated some tiny groups fired with full wadcutters and those loads.

I've probably shot fifty to a hundred loads in .38 SPL brass in my mags for every full .357 Mag over the years. Has to do with a combination of the above factors.

By all means, use light loads in .357 brass--It will make the cleaning chore somewhat easier. There is also a school of thought that shooting the shorter cases in mag chambers leads to roughness in the forward 1/10 inch of the chamber. I've never been bothered by this, myownself. But, again, if you choose his school of thought, you are bound to the handload or custom load path, unless you just like to shoot heavy loads all the time.

I hope the above makes some sense--several interruptions while writing it. And no time to carefully edit it.
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Old December 21, 2000, 12:39 PM   #5
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The .357 was the logical progression from what many military and police saw as an under powered .38 special. I believe that Elmer Keith was a strong proponent of a more powerful cartridge that used the .357 bullet.

You can load .357 mag cases to lower velocities. Do not use 38spc. data. Use the data provided by many of the powder comanies for Cowboy Shooting loads. These loads are under 900 fps and will reflect the noise level and recoil of a milder 38 special. I do this all the time for my wife. I load .357 case to about 900 fps for her to practice with. If your carry ammo is going to be full house .357 loads, then slip some of those in your practice sessions also.

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Old December 22, 2000, 01:42 PM   #6
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What bullet weight and type (lead or jacketed) do you have in mind for that 4 gr load of Titegroup?
And is this for a revolver or a rifle in .357Mag/.38 special?

I ask because I loaded some (20 of them) W231 loads under a JSP that shot fine out of my revolvers, but 1 stuck in the barrel of my Marlin Cowboy II.
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