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Thread: .38/.357 Magnum brass differences, et cetera ?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

    stubshaft's Avatar
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    I love Unique but hate the way it meters in a measure. Years ago I switched to AA#5 which gives me similar load densities and velocities with much better metering.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

    The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy

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    I've been using 6.0 grains of Universal under 150-160 grain lead anything in my 357 Mags. It goes at or just above 1000fps from a 6" barrel revolver.

    Nice load. Accurate, with enough ooomph to tell it's a 357, but no ear-splitting crack, or uncivilized behavior.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

  3. #23

    additional comment on Skelton .357 load

    I began shooting the .357 when Skelton was still alive. I loaded 13.5 grains of Hercules 2400 in .38 Special cases with a Lyman 358156 gas check linotype bullet, using the _lower_ crimping groove as per Skelton's guidance to provide additional case capacity. Obviously one would not want to use such a load in a .38 Special weapon, but the high seated bullet offered a clear safety check. This load shot better in my Models 19 and 28 S&W revolvers than I could hold.

    As I became more affluent, I began using this same load in .357 cases. I could tell no difference.

    I might mention that after two decades of virtually exclusive use of this load in both .38 and .357 brass, the Model 19's cylinder axis pin became stretched, battered, or whatever to where the cylinder became difficult to close. I had the pin replaced and switched to Skelton's load of 11.0 grains 2400 with the aforementioned bullet. Another two decades have since passed, with no further issues.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master robertbank's Avatar
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    I ran 6 gr Unique under the Lyman 358430 201 gr bullet for 1,031fps avg with a Standard Deviation of 8 using my 4.2" GP-100. Very accurate.

    Bob
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=#ff0000]Je suis Charlie

    "If the human population held hands around the equator, a significant portion of them would drown"

  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy
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    Didn't know Skelton ever mentioned an 11 gr. load. Was it with .38 brass and 358156 bullet? Did he mention velocity or such?

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    my go to load has been 6gr. unique with the 358429 bullet in .38 cases. I loaded that for police depts. they had .357 guns but the city fathers would not let them use mag ammo. I used .38 brass for myself because I could buy 3-4 hundred .38 cases for the price of 100 .357mag. as time went on .357 brass got cheaper and more plentiful. but then .38 got cheaper so I still use .38 most of the time.

  7. #27
    Boolit Buddy
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    Come fall, or whenever it cools off, I'm casting up a big batch of Lee 158 RF's for my .38 and a couple of Pard's .357's. I'll be using .357 brass.

    My plan was to drop 6 grains of Universal (or Unique, whichever I have the most) for 950-1000fps out of a 4" barrel (one is a 4" 19 and the other is an older 4" Dan Wesson). I sort of SWAGGED that load from gun rags and the fact that 9.0 grains of Universal gives right on 1000fps out of my .45 Colt with a 270SAA out of a 5-1/2" barrel. Brian Pierce says this load churns up 20,000PSI or so in a .45 Colt so I figured the 6.0 grain load would run around the same pressure.

    Now the weird part, when I cross referenced my guess with real world data, Hogdon lists 6.2 grains as max for 1247fps out of a 10" barrel (I guess they tailored their data to all the TC contender guys) at 33,400CUP. Alliant lists 6.0 grains Unique as MAX at 1034fps out of a 6" barrel (they don't list pressure). Both list these loads with a 158 Cast Semi Wad Cutter.

    I was thinking 6.0 grains of Unique or Universal in .357 Brass with either a 158SWC or a Lee 158RF would have been a real "easy on the gun +P.38" type of load, but according to the manuals, these are fire breathing top end .357 loads!

    What's the deal?

  8. #28
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by salvadore View Post
    I am or was a big Skeeter fan and don't remember a 13.5 load for .357 brass but do know the classic Skeeter load of 13.5 2400 a 358156 in .38 cases. I recently bought some .357 cases for the first time in 40 years for a Miroku 92 although .38 cases work fine. So I still use a modified Skeeter load and a modified Keith load for my heavy cartridges. Everything else also goes into .38 cases with BE and and 148gr wadcutters. I Don't see a reason for .357 brass.
    One reason is it makes it easier to clean your cylinder when you use 357 brass as it fills the holes.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by sniper View Post
    Given: You can fire .38 Special ammunition in a 357 Magnum, but not the reverse.

    Many of the "old timey" gun writers, notably a fellow by the name of Skeeter Skelton, who was a Border Patrol Officer, back when they weren't paid much. He was on the pistol team, and could get all the fired .38 Special brass he wanted....free! That's why he used it, but for his Heavy Loads, he recommended and used "expen$ive" 357 Magnum brass. I even loaded up a few of his "Medium" load...13.5 gr. 2400/158 gr. swc...One range session was enough, thank you very much! I was younger then.

    I use 357 brass exclusively, but am now trying to load .38 Spl +P level "FBI equivalent" rounds in my 357 revolvers, with velocity from 900-1,000 fps. That's lively enough for me, as I age towards 80. I have heard the old saw;" For 357, take the top load from a .38 special manual., add 5-10%", and FEAR NOT!

    My once standard IPSC and everything load was 357 brass, CCI standard Pistol primer, home cast 150gr SWC (RCBS mold) sized .357, 5.5 gr. Unique, chrono'd 860 fps. Nice to shoot, accurate.

    In my research, I have found opinions from "shoot 'em like it says in the manual", to "add .01-.03 grain to compensate for the extra space",going from .38 Spl. to Magnum brass.(?)

    At present, I have Unique, Universal, Trail Boss and a little 2400, which I won't replace when it is gone. I'm looking for a powder of the same or greater case-filling bulk as Unique and Universal, and I am thinking about Herco, AA#5, HS-6 or maybe Blue dot, using 125-135 gr cast, plated and JHP, 148-150 gr Wadcutters, and 158-165 gr. cast and "J Word" boolits. Low flash would be good. Buy one of each? Not possible on a fixed income, and, at ~ $30 a can, If I buy mistakenly, it will get expen$ive!

    O.K., so now, to the questions...
    1. I'm not worried about overpressure in my 357, sooo...6gr. Unique being below the start load for .357, that should be a safe and reasonable load for 150-160 gr. lead boolits, do you think? Personal experiences with any of the above powders, or maybe something I haven't considered?

    2. I read once that ball powder, as in HS-6, will erode a forcing cone faster than flake....true?

    3. If I use Small Pistol Magnum primers, or Winchester SP, which are said to be sufficient for hard-to-ignite powders, too, how will it change the dynamics of the load, if at all? Will a change of primers increase/decrease accuracy or pressures?

    Thanks for letting me ramble!
    Just looking at the load and pressure differences in 357 vs 38 varieties shows you how tame 38 is vs 357.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master

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    Accurate arms #5 , 6.1 grains , 357 magnum Starline case, 155 grain SWC GC (Lyman 358156) sized .358 , in my 1971 Ruger Blackhawk , 15 shots went into a group 3/4 inch wide and 1 inch high . 25 yards .
    You might want to give AA #5 a good look see.....It's a new powder to me but at the moment ...I'm Impressed with it ! I've been loading Unique for 50 years....but in the 357 mag. this AA #5 might give Unique a run .
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  11. #31
    Boolit Master


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    I was thinking 6.0 grains of Unique or Universal in .357 Brass with either a 158SWC or a Lee 158RF would have been a real "easy on the gun +P.38" type of load, but according to the manuals, these are fire breathing top end .357 loads!

    What's the deal?
    An older 2005 ALLIANT Manual lists a 158 swc 6.8 Unique/1295/33,900 psi as max so your 6.0 load will be very easy on the gun. With 34KPSI loads now being max for .357's IMO the max are not hard on good .357's.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C. S. Lewis

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    Maynard, I don't use .357 brass, but do kee the chambers clean on all my revolvers.

  13. #33
    Boolit Buddy Groo's Avatar
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    Groo here
    What many miss is the 38 spec and the 357mag were the same length cylinder and neer the same length oal.
    Keith designed the "Keith boolet" to fill the cylinder [they were the shorter ones] and allow more powder room.
    If you check the oal you will find the 357mag and the 38 with the keith boolet are the same.
    So the "Keith load " and the 357 load are not that far off.....
    If you want heavy "magnum" 38 loads be sure to pick a boolet that seats far out of the case.
    Usually found with 2 crimp groove cast boolets.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy
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    I posted this a while back but this looks like it might fit here. The load is 6 grains of Unique, standard CCI small pistol and a LEE 158 SWC GC with Lee tumble lube in a 357 case. I fired a cylinder from three Security Sixes across the Chrony. I might play with other loads but this is my standard load till I find something better.Also tried in a Taurus 605 with a 2" barrel, it was 820 fps and quite a handful so I cut that one back.

    2 3/4" 924 fps

    4" 948 fps

    6" 985fps

    Dave

  15. #35
    Boolit Buddy
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    I put a new shorter front sight on the miroku 92 and am taking some Skeeter loads and will try my usual six oclock hold, maybe I'll get a better group. Will try some 358429s too. Would like to try some jacketed 357s but like to clean the barrel first. Maybe drag the chronograph out.

  16. #36
    Boolit Buddy
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    BTW, does anyone know what the pressure is for the Skeeter load? I've heard around 30,000cup, but think it may be somewhat higher.

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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