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Thread: 358156 and the .38 Special- How Do You Load It?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    358156 and the .38 Special- How Do You Load It?

    Short? Long? Loads? Velocities?

    I'm working with a couple of S&W Model 10's and am looking for experience.

    Thanks!

    35W
    "Only accurate rifles are interesting." -Col. Townsend Whelen.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    At standard pressures suitable for the S&W Model 10 you don't need the GC. At 1.46" minimum OAL 4 grains of Bullseye or 5 grains of Unique is a full-charge load. You can increase the charge up to 0.4 grain with either powder for +P, according to Lyman, but I would not shoot alot of +P in a Model 10 older than the -5 change if you want the gun to last.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The S&W model 10 is a 38 special so for 38 special loads , in 38 special cases , seat the bullet so the crimp is in the top crimp groove . Use standard loads and +P loads only if the model 10 is rated for them . I always use a gas check with that boolit .

    The lower crimp groove in that boolit was intended for loading 357 magnum loads and fired in 357 magnum revolvers but allowed the use of easily obtainable 38 special cases . Obtaining 357 magnum cases is no longer a problem so lets don't go there . The magnum loads is where the gas check came in handy .

    Load 38 special loads, in 38 special cases and use the top crimp groove to crimp in .
    Try loads without gas checks...I've never had a load shoot worse when I checked it...the groups usually got better . Give each way a try .
    Gary
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input guys!

    I did some research and found basically what y'all have told me; the lower crimp groove is for loading .357 loads in .38 Special cases.

    I'll probably keep a few +P loads around for SD carry, but my other .38's are fed either 3.2 grs. of Clays or 5.0 grs. of Unique, so this one will be fed the same.

    I have no intention of battering my K-frame 10's, but didn't S&W use the K-frame for some .357's? I'm fairly new to S&W's so I'm not real sure about this.

    35W
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  5. #5
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    I dehorned my Lyman and shoot it plainbased. I use standard data and it shoots well but is inferior in accuracy to my 358477. I have a NOE RG mold with a flat, hp and dimple pin that shoots well in a Rossi 92 that won't chamber fully 357's. It is loaded to 357 specs, loaded long and the primers are painted with red nail polish as a warning. It will not chamber in my standard 38's.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    I have the hp version of that bullet. When lubed and a gc installed it weighs +/- 154gr. I crimp that bullet in the top crimp groove in 38spl cases and use 6.2gr of power pistol for a snubnosed ca undercover.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I despise a gas check on a revolver bullet.
    If you want to keep the mold and skip the gas check, you can take the path that MT Gianni took and remove the GC band from the mold.
    Or you can skip the installation of the GC on the bullet.
    OR, you can get another mold.

    I'm with Outpost75 in regards to treating a model 10 well. For my entire adult life I've always had at least one S&W K-frame in my possession, often several at a time. They are great guns and there's no need to beat them up.

    To address this from the OP, "I have no intention of battering my K-frame 10's, but didn't S&W use the K-frame for some .357's? I'm fairly new to S&W's so I'm not real sure about this."

    Glad you don't want to batter your Model 10.
    Yes, S&W did base several magnum revolvers on the K-frame platform, specifically the models 13, 19, 65 & 66.
    There were even a few pre model 13 guns that were built as a 357 mag model 10.

    However, just because S&W used the K-frame as a platform for some .357 magnum guns, doesn't mean all K-frames are equally as strong. Nor does it mean it was ultimately a good idea to build magnums on a K-frame. And then there's the general discussion surrounding S&W K-frame magnums. That horse has been beat to death many times over on this forum.

    The S&W K-frame is an iconic American firearm and has been with us for well over 100 years (about 120 years now)
    There's been some evolution but the M&P DNA is still in there.
    As a platform for the 38 Special the S&W K-frame is an amazing tool.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest r View Post
    I have the hp version of that bullet. When lubed and a gc installed it weighs +/- 154gr. I crimp that bullet in the top crimp groove in 38spl cases and use 6.2gr of power pistol for a snubnosed ca undercover.
    That should duplicate the Buffalo Bore 158 +P.

    I witnessed a test of the BB load. It produced a classic mushroom and about 18” of penetration in gel after 4 layers of denim.

  9. #9
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    Just my unworthy opinion, but the 358156 and 358429 have never given me an abundance of accuracy at .38 spec. velocities but loaded in .38 cases to skeeter and elmer specs I do quite well with a model 28 and a rifle chambered for the .357. So in my humble but superior opinion the 358156 is great revolver bullet but may not be best for your needs. If unsatisfactory for your needs I would suggest buying HBWCs or casting wadcutters and going from there. Also, a full wadcutter as a defense round is not without merit.

  10. #10
    I forgot what the question was, but I shoot a S&W 15 with a Lee 125 RF over 4 grs of green dot. mixed HS with cci spp. Good shooting round, POA= POI.
    What was the question again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Boogieman's Avatar
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    S&W built some K frames in 9mm, How did they hold up?
    The 3 people a man must be able to trust completely are his gunsmith his doctor & his preacher ..,his gunsmith for his short term health ,his doctor for long term health ,and his preacher incase one of the others mess up.

  12. #12
    Mine favorite for the last couple of decades has been 4.0 gr of W231...loaded short.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by walnut1704 View Post
    Mine favorite for the last couple of decades has been 4.0 gr of W231...loaded short.
    +1 150gr rcbs over 4.0 gr W231 shoots great in my Smiths.

  14. #14
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    Back in the early '70s the LEA I worked for and was the firearms/tactics instructor for used M15 S&Ws [essentially same as the M10 but with adjustable sights]. The LEA wanted to transition to +P 38 SPL ammunition (Remington 125 JHP or Winchester 158 LSWCHP). Talking with S&W technicians back then said the M15/M10s could be shot with a steady diet of +P ammunition without any problems.....and so they did. My own 5" M15 I bought from the department when we transitioned to 4" M15s has had thousands of factory +P loads [the two factory loads mentioned and my own of the 358156 or 358477 loaded over 5.5 gr Unique] and has yet to shoot loose.

    The pressure just isn't there with +P loads, especially factory +P loads. The SAAMI MAP for standard 38 SPL is 17,000 psi and for +P is 20,000 psi. Most factory (a lot of them) 38 SPLs run 15,000 to 17,000 psi. The measured pressure (Contender test barrel and Oehler M43 PBL) of the Remington 125 JHP +P was 16,400. The measured psi of the "FBI load" Winchester 158 LSWCHP +P was 17,900. I found the 5.5 gr Unique load under the 358156 HP cast of 40-1 alloy, GC'd and seated to the 1st crimp groove ran the same velocity but at 19,300 psi....still under the SAAMI MAP.

    I have used the 358156 for many years and have developed the habit that standard 38 SPL loads (usually 3.5 gr Bullseye) are crimped in the 1st crimp groove. However, I don't use the 358156 for standard 38 SPL loads anymore but use, instead, the Lee TL358-158-SWC because I cast them with a 6 cavity mould. The Lee's are seated to the first lube groove and loaded over 3.5 gr Bullseye also. My +P loads (5.5 gr Unique) with the 358156 are also seated to the 1st crimp groove and are HP's so they are easily ID'd. I was loading the 358477s over 4 gr BE but haven't for a while and probably won't simply because the Lee TLs are working out so well.

    Back to the 358156; I do load them (cast of 16-1 alloy) out to the 2nd lube groove for use in my 357 magnum revolvers. I load them over 13.0 gr 2400. That load is my "38/44" level load and it runs 28,000 psi +/-. The bullets seated out make it easily identifiable and the boxes I put them in are easily ID'd (red MTM 50 round boxes) and well marked. Truthfully I seldom load those 38/44 loads anymore in 38 SPL cases any more preferring to use the 356156 cast of 16-1 alloy loaded over 14 gr 2400 in W-W 357 magnum cases with the 358156 seated to and crimped in the 1st crimp groove......but then that's not the 38 SPL.

    The 358156 is an excellent bullet for use in the 38 SPL. Some prefer to use them sans the GC and even criticize the use of the GC altogether. I've found the 358156 with the GC allows the use of very soft alloys (down to 40-1 in "hardness") and giving superior accuracy. I found, back when I was shooting PPC and had a nice M10 "Power" custom PPC revolver that the 359156 cast of 40-1 alloy, lubed with Javelina and loaded over 2.7 gr Bullseye gave better accuracy at 50 yards than dis any target WC load including factory...... [Ransom Rest tested]. These days with my M15 with 5" S&W "target" barrel when I want the very best and most accurate load I use the 358156 bullet loaded over 3.5 gr Bullseye seated to and crimped in the 1st crimp groove.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 01-26-2020 at 12:07 PM.
    Larry Gibson

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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    I've shot a lot of 358156's since 1972...heck it was my first mold, bought to feed my buddy's and my Ruger 3-screws with 4-5/8" bbl's. We shot 'em cast with plain lead, or wheel weights, gas checks or not, didn't size them as I recall and lubed via pan and Lyman's "cake cutter). We had a lot of fun but never got really great accuracy. We tried Bullseye and Unique..pretty much the only powders available at the Trap House gunshop in Spokane WA. My notes from back then are long gone but I do recall, we went through a lot of powder...For the most part we used magnum brass in all of our loads. Our sole reference, IIRC, was a late '60's Lyman manual and Townsend Whelen's, "Why not Load Your Own".

    Since then, I've tried a variety of the older powders...mostly BE, but also 4756, 7625, Unique and relying on 2400 for the hotter prescriptions. For most of my revolvers, 0.358"-0.359" sizing works well, but for the Marlin 1894 CS, 0.359+" is better. The carbine with a 2.5x Leupold Alaskan scope mounted, will put 3 shots into an inch and a half at 100 yds with carefully selected bullets, weighed and GC'd and backed by 13.5 gr of 2400...this is a magnum brass load BTW.

    Today, I tried Outpost's suggested load of 4.0 gr of Bullseye, with my ACWW+2% alloyed 358156 castings without the GC. Lubed with White Label 50-50, they were sized 0.358", matching the throats on a Smith M60 and a '92 vintage Smith M36-6. These were put up in .38 Special Starline brass, with no particular attempt to hand pick the bullets, and were moderately crimped in the top groove (i.e. giving the shortest OAL).

    Both guns, cases & primers (WSP's) showed no signs of excess pressure and the results were just short of amazing...10 yd, 5-shot groups were right at 1/2" and all were shot from my Weaver, unsupported, two-handed stance. BTW, this load is fully, 1/2 grain (0.5) heavier than I've tried in the past. I checked with Lyman's 49th manual and 4.0 grains of BE is the max load for standard pressures.

    My eyes can do no better, unsupported and with iron sights, and I plan to try them out at 25 yds from a sitting, back rested perch when the wx cooperates. Over the years, I've also shot a lot of Larry's 3.5 gr/Bullseye loads, both with and without GC's, but never had groups like these today. Admittedly, these were just two cylinders' full per gun, but the results are very encouraging...and better yet, I didn't have to fiddle around with annealing & seating GC's. Hallelujah!

    I've also got a pair of M19's (4" & 6") in the safe, along with a M66-2, a M27-2 and a sole Ruger FTBH with 4-5/8" bbl. They'll provide plenty of experimental work over the next several months.

    Thanx guys for a great thread and some very useful new information, Rod
    Last edited by Rodfac; 01-29-2020 at 09:17 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    38 special
    NOE 360-160-WC-PB
    this is NOE's version of the discontinued Lyman #358432 160gr. wadcutter
    Try it if you are looking for accuracy in a 38 special revolver .... this one is a winner !
    Certified Cajun
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Also have been shooting the 358156 since 1970... Didn't cast at all from about 1981 till about 2012 and now back into it again.

    Bought two of the MP molds...an aluminum six cavity solid with no gas check and a 4 cavity brass gas check with all the pins. A friend has an original Lyman so we have all the bases covered.

    Just started loading the bullets for a S&W 1952 Heavy Duty and a 1952 pre-27. First tests have been with 6.0 grains of Unique with solids, both with and without a gas check. Shells just drop right out. Have also run the loads in a S&W 60-10 and Ruger GP-100.

    The plain base bullets will be continued to be run with 6.0 of Unique but the GC versions are going to be tested with AAC-9 and 2400. There is data for both on LoadData.com for 38-44 with this bullet running into the 1200s...

    Not planning on using this bullet for standard and +P .38 Special reloads...only +P+/.38-44 loading. Only have a couple of .38 Special revolvers and reloads for them will be an entirely different bullet so there are no mixups...

    Bob

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35 Whelen View Post

    I have no intention of battering my K-frame 10's, but didn't S&W use the K-frame for some .357's? I'm fairly new to S&W's so I'm not real sure about this.

    35W
    Yes but NEVER shoot magnum class loads in a .38. Period. The guns are not the same.

    The current K-frame magnums are probably much sturdier, but in the past were not very durable with heavy use of magnum ammo,which is why S&W came up with the L-frame.

    As others mentioned, make sure you’re M-10 is a later one. The +P specification did not exist until 1974. If it’s a 10-5 or later, you’re probably OK.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Groo's Avatar
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    Groo here
    We may know but the new readers may not understand the "first crimp groove-second crimp groove" statement.
    The 38 spec was 1.550 inches and fit the then 38 "short" cylinders.
    When the 357 came out the Max.col 1.590 inches [almost the same] and was chambered in the same length cylinder [ M-13 M-28 etc.]
    As the aol is same, the bullet needes to be deeper in the case.
    The "Keith " SWC and similar were made for 38spec guns and cases but when used in the 357 case needed crimped OVER the front [nose end] driving band to fit.[ Newer guns have a longer cylinder and in most cases will hold the same bullet in a mag case crimped in the crimp groove.
    Bullets for 38spec/357 [and 44 spec/44 mag] with 2 crimp grooves account for the difference in case length.
    The first crimp groove [ nearest to the base] is for 38spec cases and the second groove nearest to the nose is for 357..
    To make things worse ,,, the second groove "can be used " in a magnum case "IF" the gun is a "long" cylinder gun like a ruger blackhawk...

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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