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Old January 3, 2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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What .38/357 loads do you use?

I have been shooting Remington .38 special +P 125 HP's at the range but on a lark I tried buffalo bore 180's. What a difference between 300 lb/foot and 800 lbs/foot!
It was exciting, but after 20 rounds or so the novelty was wearing off pretty quick. What do you guys like to shoot?
What are the advantages of one load or brand over another?

looking forward to your feedback.
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Old January 3, 2013, 12:40 PM   #2
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Depends on what I am shooting it out of. I like the heavy stuff in .357 (or .38 +p) out of my Ruger Blackhawk. Try the 200 gr. Double Taps. Those can be rough. I have a Ruger LCR in .38 Special +p, but I typically only use standard pressure rounds out of it.
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Old January 3, 2013, 01:19 PM   #3
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I reload 3 loads for .357M:

- a middle of the road .357M load using Unique powder and 158gr Berry's plated bullets for range and plinkin.
- an upper end load using 158gr XTP HP's and BlueDot powder for what ever comes my way.
- a max load using 180gr XTP-HP's and BlueDot for deer.

I'm not a recoil junkie by any means but none of the above loads are at all abusive. The 180 load used to smack my knuckle pretty good on the trigger guard before I switched grips but now, pussycat. If I need lighter and go lighter and don't even bother with .38sp loads.
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Old January 3, 2013, 01:32 PM   #4
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When carrying my 4" GP-100, I use Winchester 110 grain JHPs. Meanwhile, 125s are more than enough [in my opinion] without the +p.
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Old January 3, 2013, 01:38 PM   #5
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I carry 125 JSP's for defense and load up 158 LSWC's for range use under a few grains of Titegroup. For hunting I load 158 LSWC's over a max charge of 2400.
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Old January 3, 2013, 01:48 PM   #6
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I have three standard .357 loads.
140 LFP over 3.5 grains Clays/Trail Boss - very light.
158 LSWC/HP over 5.5 grains Universal - Similar to the 'FBI load' in .38 spl, maybe a bit hotter.
158 JHP over 14 grains 2400 - a full power load.
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Old January 3, 2013, 02:44 PM   #7
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I have one load that I've settled on for both my .357s:

5.0g of Red Dot under 158g SWC for around 1000fps.

I did find 13.5g of 2400 under 158g SWC for 1263fps accurate as well... But no need for it.

If I need to go up in 'power' I have .44s and .45s for that.
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Old January 3, 2013, 07:42 PM   #8
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In my L and N frames I shoot 158Gr. LSWCGC's ahead of 14.5 grains of Herco 2400.
In my K frames I generally shoot the Federal 158Gr FBI load, or Federal 147Gr +P+ 38 special ammo.
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Old January 3, 2013, 10:12 PM   #9
Super Sneaky Steve
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This is where I do the most experimentation. I have lots of pet loads, but in bulk I load a Berry's 158 round nose bullet over 4.0 gr of Bullseye. for my .38's.

My heavy .38 loads are a LSWC over 6.0 gr of Power Pistol.

8.0 of Power Pistol makes a great medium Magnum load.

For big boomers it's an XTP with some H110. I've got 100 rounds with a 180 gr bullet loaded and ready for testing in my rifle. They are very accurate out of my GP100 and don't kick very much either.

If anyone would like my spreadsheet send me a PM with your email.
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Old January 3, 2013, 10:18 PM   #10
Deaf Smith
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For handloads I use 158gr LSWC at 850 fps or so for practice.

For defense I use Buffalo Bore 158gr LSWHP .38s (1100 fps from my .357 Speed Six) and hunting a handload equivalent to that.

I rarely shoot hot magnum loads in my .357s as my 'big' field gun is a 629-1 4 inch .44 magnum. The .357s, even my 3 inch GP-100 don't get the magnum treatment.

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Old January 4, 2013, 02:33 AM   #11
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Looks like there's a couple fellas here who need a reloading setup.
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Old January 4, 2013, 03:09 AM   #12
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Gold dot Short Barrel in both.
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:35 AM   #13
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180gr hollowpoints .357
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Old January 4, 2013, 06:03 AM   #14
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Duty/SD: Corbon DPX 125gr .357
Hunting: Buffalo Bore 180gr
Range: Reloads-Oregon silvercast 125gr backed by 6.0gr Unique
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:10 PM   #15
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I shoot a lot of .357 mag ( and I reload everything ) ....and in my K, L and N frame S&W revolvers ...or my Freedom Arms large frame...I shoot the same round ...

158 gr JHP Montana Gold
6.1 grains of Hodgdon Universal ( about 1100 fps )

Not a particularly hot load...but fun to shoot in all of my guns.
I load the same bullet for .38 spl....
4.2 grains Hodgdon Universal ( about 725 fps ) ....mostly for the grandkids to shoot in my .357 mag revolvers.
If I carry one of my 4" K frame S&W's I carry it with 158 gr HydraShok ammo.

Last edited by BigJimP; January 4, 2013 at 12:20 PM.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:18 PM   #16
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I carry 110gr Federal JHP Low Recoil rounds in my Smith 637 ... I also have a Taurus 617, a 7-shot steel .357 I use as a house gun ... it's loaded with Hornady +p Critical Defense .38s ...
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:20 PM   #17
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Well I am not a reloader. Shoot factory ammo only and reloaded ammo from the range I shoot at. For my 357 magnums I use 158 gr full jacket reloads at the range and occasionally I buy CCI blazer 158 gr 357 magnums from Turners. I do shoot 38 specials too and use the reloads at the range. This round is a 158 gr full jacket. I am not into shooting the light grain 125 357mag "flame throwers". I don't like abusing good revolvers.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:26 PM   #18
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.357 mag is a really easy cartridge to reload...and savings are really significant...with, even using a premium bullet like Montana reloads are under $ 8 for a box of 50 ....

retail ammo in my area for .357 mag $ 24 - $ 28 a box....

Reloading makes it a lot more fun take 4 or 5 boxes to the range and have some fun !! Not that everyone should reload - you need attention to detail, some room to dedicate to it, etc...but its sure an easy way to stretch your ammo budget.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:28 PM   #19
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A couple of .357 loads that I like:
  • 158 grain cast bullet + 8.0 grains of Herco.
  • 148 grain cast wadcutter + 4.5 grains of Red Dot.
  • If I want something more powerful than the Herco load, I use AA#7 powder but I don't remember how much; about 10 or 11 grains. I don't shoot those very often.
  • And if that's still not juicy enough, I switch to a .41 Mag or a .45 Colt.
I've also shot some 125 grain JHP's using 9.5 grains of WSF, and that was a good load except I don't really like shooting j-bullets.
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:31 PM   #20
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I shoot home cast 158 grain lead semi wad cutters. I load them with Trail Boss to the area of around 750 FPS. They do all I need, or want them do, and do so cleanly. No soot. Clean up involves cleaning of the carbon from burned bullet lube.
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Old January 4, 2013, 06:45 PM   #21
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I shoot the same bullet in 38Spl. and 357Mag, Oregon Trail 158 gr. hard cast LSWC. In 38Spl. I use 4.6 grs. of Unique. In 357Mag I use 6.8 grs. of Unique for mild and 14.8 grs. of 2400 for wild. I have not own a gun that these loads were not good to great shooters in.
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Old January 5, 2013, 06:12 PM   #22
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I shoot reloads. Montana Gold 158 grain JHP in both. 3.8 to 4.0 grains of WST for specials and 10.2 grains of AA7 and a magnum primer for .357. The mag primer isn't needed with AA7 powder. It just happened to be the primer I used working up the load. I like it so I have no reason to switch to a standard primer. Also I have a fair supply of small magnum pistol primers on hand. If I do shoot factory ammo most of the time it is what ever the range has or Wal-Mart. I do prefer my .357 loads and the rubber grips on my pistol make them pleasant to shoot.
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Old January 5, 2013, 06:34 PM   #23
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My primary .38/357 loads are:

.38 Special - 125gr lead TC (from Missouri Bullet Co), 4.5gr W231, Winchester primers, whatever I have for cases. Both of my S&Ws shoot this better than the standard 158gr LSWC.

.357 Magnum - 158gr Nosler JHP, 13.0gr 2400, Winchester primer, R-P cases. Does about 1100-fps out of my 4" guns. It's a magnum load without the capital M. I might up this some on the next batch to get a better burn out of the 2400; it leaves some unburned grains of powder at this level.

Honorable mention: for night stand use, I load up the 125gr Remington Golden Saber .357 Magnums.
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Old January 5, 2013, 06:46 PM   #24
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.357: Remington 158gr JHP bulk bullets over 10.0gr. Blue Dot. For some reason, these bullets are extremely accurate. Just a good overall utility load for the .357 Magnum.
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Old January 5, 2013, 07:11 PM   #25
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For .357 I like 158g XTP over 15 grains of H 110

For lots of boom and flash 125g XTP with 9.2 grains Power Pistol (357)

For range 38 Special 158 LSWC with 2.8 grains Clays
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