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Thread: Ray Thompson & the 358156

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy John Van Gelder's Avatar
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    Ray Thompson & the 358156

    I am not exactly sure when this bullet was designed, it dates back to the early days of the .357 Magnum. A very useful bullet, with two crimp grooves so you can use the bullet seated to the top groove in .357 Magnum brass or use the same loads in .38 spl brass and crimp at the bottom groove.

    I have shot a lot of these over the last 50 years and without gas checks in standard .38 loads and with gas checks for high speed ,357 loads. This bullet works well with Hodgdons Lil' Gun powder, Hodgdon load data indicates 1577 fps with 18 gr, (158 gr, bullet) with only 25,800 cup. Their load data is referenced with a 10" pressure test barrel. In my 4" GP 100 I am getting an average of 1450 fps, using the Thompson GC bullet, which in my alloy weighs 155 gr., with the copper gas check.

    Good performance with a cast bullet in a 4" barrel.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    The 358156 is my favorite top end performer in the 38 SPL and the 357 Magnum. It also is a solid performer in my M91 Argie 35 Remington.

    I was under the impression the 358156 was designed for 38/44 level loads with 2400 with the bullet seated out to the 2nd crimp groove for use in 38 SPL cases(?).

    Been gonna cast some up to pressure test with them seated out in magnum cases with 2400 and H110. Be interesting to see what the increased case capacity does lowering pressure with "book" loads seated to the 1st crimp groove and how much improvement in velocity can be made while staying within SAAMI MAP.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 03-15-2019 at 05:02 PM.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    Back in the late 1960's 38 special brass littered the shooting ranges , free for the taking and I had picked up buckets .....but 357 magnum brass was hard to find.
    Skeeter Skelton wrote about casting the 358156 and loading it in 38 special brass to feed his 357 magnum revolvers .... I had just bought a new Ruger Blackhawk 357 , had 38 brass and promptly picked up this mould . Problem solved !
    I still have the gun and the single cavity mould and use both .
    I'm not going to tell you the load I shot in that Blackhawk ... lets just say it came from the brand new 1970 Speer Manual # 8 ! I'm very thankful the Ruger BH was built heck for stout !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  4. #4
    Subscribed.
    I love this boolit and cast and shoot more of it than any other.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


    Nueces's Avatar
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    I used this bullet, in the Lyman HP form, and loaded to Skeeter's 38/44 level, to take a Texas javelina.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    John, I have a single cavity mold for this bullet and loaded some today. I have a barrel leading S&W 686 and this seems to be the least expensive option also they shoot quite well. Still playing with loads to find something that the revolver, me and my arthritis all like.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    The 358156 was an early favorite and got a lot of play from Skeeter Skelton. Great bullet. In the early loading days is was shunned by casters a lot for the fact that it required a gas check which in those days cost as much as $5 a thousand. As a result it might have been more popular. Later on in life, I removed the gas check shank from mine and it performs just as well as a PB design. I always hated to shoot a bullet designed as a gas check design without the check. Now I shoot loads in the Blackhawks and Marlin .357 carbine. One of my favorites./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    I've shot this bullet since I was 10yrs old, THAT'S 55yrs today. In both .357Mag Cases & .38spl cases seated out, using the "Skeeter Load" . I've sent more thousands down the bbl of a 6 1/2" NM Blackhawk then I can count. The gas cutting stopped about 20,000 rds ago, and it's more accurate today then I can shoot. It's even gone done the bbl's of my BROWNING '92 & my MARLIN 1894CS by more thousands.

    I think It's the very Best Bullet for the .357Mag there is.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy tigweldit's Avatar
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    358156 w/gc + 2400 (Skeeter load) + WW brass (trimmed and roll crimped) + CCI 550 + Ruger SS Security Six 6" = 150 yards of great security. Been using this combo for many years with confidence. Other brass (Fed, Rem,Starline,+++) all have performed well for me. I just happen to have a big bucket WW .357's.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I used the 358156 in 9 mm heavy loads and worked great, wish I still had the mold.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by beagle View Post
    The 358156 was an early favorite and got a lot of play from Skeeter Skelton. Great bullet. In the early loading days is was shunned by casters a lot for the fact that it required a gas check which in those days cost as much as $5 a thousand. As a result it might have been more popular. Later on in life, I removed the gas check shank from mine and it performs just as well as a PB design. I always hated to shoot a bullet designed as a gas check design without the check. Now I shoot loads in the Blackhawks and Marlin .357 carbine. One of my favorites./beagle
    Friend Beagle said pretty much what I was thinking except that I haven’t seen the need to remove the GC groove... I’m more DGD (don’t give a ****) than OCD where I can’t see an immediate benefit. It’s also nice to have the option of adding the GC if I want to hot rod the load.if I were 30 years younger and loading as much as I did then, I’d probably have a 2- or 4 cavity PB mould custom cut while keeping the original GC mould as is... after all, it’s one of the first moulds I ever owned!
    Last edited by Minerat; 03-16-2019 at 08:42 PM.
    "It aint easy being green!"

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy John Van Gelder's Avatar
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    I have no idea of how old my mold is it is one I got from my father. He had been using it for quite a few years before giving it to me. Like Rex mine is a single cavity mold, not fast production but after 50+ years it still produces a good bullet.

    loon44.. I had thought about trying some of those gullets in the 9mm, the problem with loading long SWC bullets in the 9 is that the long bullet pushes far enough back into the case that they start to bulge the cases. My thought was by using this bullet without the GC the rebated base would alleviate that problem. I would like your thoughts on that.

    Someone mentioned the cost of gas checks, this bullet should be a lot more popular theses days with the number of tools there are to make your own gas checks out of beverage can aluminium.

    The 358156 in the hollow point form at rifle velocities seems like it would almost be too destructive, of "edibles"..

  13. #13
    I'll be the odd man out. I have never seen the 358156 be as accurate in anything as a properly designed RNFP bullet. Maybe it is just me. I gave both my SC and my DC 358156's to a fellow bullet caster. Never liked the design, why keep it right?

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy John Van Gelder's Avatar
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    As with all things results may vary.. I also have the 357446 bullet, I have read lots of negative comments about that bullet, but it has always worked well for me. I have many molds, and other than a little 115 grn SWC, that I just cant get to shoot well in any of my 9s, they all seem to work well for me. However I have a suspicion that I do not shoot well enough to tell if it is the bullet or the shooter..

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    TCFAN's Avatar
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    Let me be another vote in favor of the 358156.I have 2 double cavity and one single cavity hollow point Lyman molds and a NOE version of the 358156 in a 4 cavity hollow point mold.This is in my opinion a good boolit design and I like the fact that it is a gas check boolit.I do make my own gas checks...

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    +1 for the 358156 (and the RCBS 38-158 SWC). Either of these pushed at moderate to high velocity do a very good job in .357 mag.
    It ain't rocket science, it's boolit science.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    With its SWC design the 357156 loads easily with speedloaders into a revolver chamber, then prints well on the target with its square, full diameter shoulder. Its flat nose makes it good for hunting as well as self defense. If you want to drive it hard you can add the gas check, but honestly, at any but the highest pressures it does just as well without a GC. The weight is close enough to the old standard RN factory round it’s easy to load for use in fixed sight guns.

    If I were limited to just one bullet for 38s and 357s, this would be it.

    Froggie
    Last edited by Green Frog; 03-16-2019 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Correct autocorrect, add a thought
    "It aint easy being green!"

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    It is starting to get above freezing and our snow is gone so I took a hand full of these bullets loaded 12 grains of 2400, part in 357 cases and part in 38 special cases seated long. I couldn't tell much difference. My 686 seemed to like the 38 case a little better but maybe I was just concentrating harder with them. I stop at 12 grain because my arthritis hurts. I'm old but still have to remind myself to wait for a good sight picture and slowly squeeze the trigger, don't pull it. You'd think that would come second nature after a while. Still too cool to set up the Chrony and check speed, that will come later. My S&W 686 is a barrel leading SOB, the 358156 with checks take care of all that.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    Love the 358-156. I actually bought one when I didn't know what it was. I had an old ideal mold for my 32 WS and needed old style mold handles-- so I bid on a mold that had the right handles (gunbroker) and got the mold for $35. I only bought it for the handles, then discovered the mold was the 358-156. When I bought a 357 magnum later that yer I quickly discovered how good that bullet really is.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

    dondiego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    I've shot this bullet since I was 10yrs old, THAT'S 55yrs today. In both .357Mag Cases & .38spl cases seated out, using the "Skeeter Load" . I've sent more thousands down the bbl of a 6 1/2" NM Blackhawk then I can count. The gas cutting stopped about 20,000 rds ago, and it's more accurate today then I can shoot. It's even gone done the bbl's of my BROWNING '92 & my MARLIN 1894CS by more thousands.

    I think It's the very Best Bullet for the .357Mag there is.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY........ a day late, but I just got to this thread. Youngun'!

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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