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Thread: Best general purpose 357 round

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    sutherpride59's Avatar
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    Best general purpose 357 round

    So I just picked up a 357 for a very good price and now I need to get a mold. I don’t have a huge mold selection for my other calibers and I have none in 358. So my question is for a general purpose round what would be the best mold design. I would be shooting full power loads and probably gas check them with a plain base check so I know I would want a PB mold. Should I go SWC, flat nose, round nose, heavy, light, somewhere in the middle? Any suggestions on your favorite mold would be appreciated along with whatever input.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The Lee 158 RNFP is my go-to, whether pistol or carbine. 9.0 gr. of Blue Dot with a tumble-lubed boolit.
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    Boolit Master
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    Hensley & Gibbs #51. THE classic and ORIGINAL 357 160gr swc bullet designed in the 1930's when the 357 was new. lube groove wider than the Panama Canal. Drive them HARD.
    If you can find one (they show up on auction sites regularly) it is the perfect bullet.
    Collector and shooter of guns with selector switches and threaded barrels. Collector of suppressors, SBR's, AOW's and SBS's. Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

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    Boolit Master
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    There is no single GP Bullet if you want both a plain base AND a gas check. N.O.E. or ACCURATE molds, they will cut the same mold with 2 seperate bullet designs.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

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    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    In a handgun, gc are not really needed imo. I would go with a 150-160gr LSWC, run up to 1300fps w/ no gc required. Coated you may be able to exceed that a bit. The RCBS 150gr SWC is a really good design.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by centershot View Post
    The Lee 158 RNFP is my go-to, whether pistol or carbine. 9.0 gr. of Blue Dot with a tumble-lubed boolit.
    I own Lyman WC and SWC molds (cant remember exact numbers) but I think that Lee 358-158-RF is little bit more accurate so I've been using those lately. These also make great sub 9mm rounds provided you have a handgun that will chamber .357 rounds. Out of all my 9s only sig p320 can do that.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    There is no single GP Bullet if you want both a plain base AND a gas check. N.O.E. or ACCURATE molds, they will cut the same mold with 2 seperate bullet designs.
    Arsenal moulds will make plain base and gaschecked in the same mould also !

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    Quote Originally Posted by marek313 View Post
    I own Lyman WC and SWC molds (cant remember exact numbers) but I think that Lee 358-158-RF is little bit more accurate so I've been using those lately.
    I was thinking about the Lee 358-158-RF or the SWC. I may just do both and sell the one that I like least.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    The 158RF works good. If you stay under 800 FPS may have more fun for just paper targets. I have 15 357/38 pistols and 3 rifles. They are fun to shoot. I use 8 different bullets.

  10. #10
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    I will end up developing some target loads for this gun for fun but I really want to start with some full power loads first. That’s why I was thinking about using plain based gas checks.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    I mainly shoot paper out of 100,000 357/38 I have loaded about 100 full house round.

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    My current 'go-to' is the Arsenal 360-162 RNFP. I shoot this one in four .357 revolvers and a Rossi 92 levergun. It's a plain-base but, for the handguns, I've loaded it from 750 fps (in .38 Spl cases) to just over 1100 fps with excellent accuracy across the board. On the other hand, if you feel you need to go with a GC design, the ol' 358156...or one of its clones...is hard to top.

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    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sutherpride59 View Post
    I was thinking about the Lee 358-158-RF or the SWC. I may just do both and sell the one that I like least.
    The SWC you mention would be my choice. Tumble lube for general shooting and if you want to punch the go pedal to the floor then shake and bake powder coat will handle it without need for gas checks. Or at least PC will handle most anything you will want to shoot. Have a lever action .357 and the PB gas check starts to make sense. I believe I read that most 38's and 357's have POA that works well as POI with a 158 grain.

    Can't beat Lee for price of a serviceable piece of equipment but the NOE 4 cavity molds are a nice balance between size/weight, productivity, and cost. There are other good mold companies but I like the value of NOE molds.

    You might also want to look into a full WC mold Lyman makes a nice button nosed WC mold with a crimp groove that leaves a little lead sticking out, feeds easier. Has same case impingement as the SWC and RF bullet. Pretty close to same weight as the Lee 158 maybe 10 grains lighter.
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    Boolit Master
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    Lyman Keith 170
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    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    The Saeco #62358 Rnfp is my favorite 357 bullet. I use it to good effect in my Ruger 77/357, 357 Handi, Gp100 Revolver and the kids misc. 357"s and 38 spls. Very close to the same as the Lee, that being the less expensive way to go. Gp

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    another vote for the lee 158 round flat.

    i really like the projectile in my blackhawk and my handi rifle
    i propel it with unique
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    1] 358156 get an NOE 4 cavity two checked two plain.
    2] NOE 160 wfn plainbase
    3] NOE 180 pb
    You did not mention your gun. A Ruger Blackhawk can push a bullet past the point of needing a gc, a 2" Taurus never will. To slow it down for closer to 38 special velocities get a 358477. Your best target groups may come from a wadcutter in 357 brass with loads adjusted to the same velocity as a target 38. It is like a truck, an F350 will haul different loads than a 1/2 ton 4 cylinder, it's all in what you need it to do.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Sorry that’s a good point this is an N frame S&W 28-5 with a bull barrel target barrel.

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    Skeeter Skelton was a big advocate of the the .357 Mag. and he particularly liked the Lyman 358156 and the 358156 HP if you can find it. They are Ray Thompson gas check designs. I like these molds also. I have also had really good luck with the Lee 358-140-SWC. It has really shot well for me. I also have the Lee 358-158-RF which also works real well. My wife recently found an RCBS 38-150-SWC, Lyman .375 RB and a 5 gal bucket of Linotype at a yardsale for 10 bucks. I haven't had a chance to try the RCBS mold yet but am looking forward to it.

    Here's a link to a good article by Glen Fryxell.

    http://www.lasc.us/FryxellSkeetersBullets.htm
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check