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Thread: Elmer Keith's other 357 bullet???

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy JAC43's Avatar
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    Elmer Keith's other 357 bullet???

    I was perusing old articles and came across the January 1969 edition of Guns and Ammo. Inside was an article titled 'Elmer Keith Picks His Favorite Loads'. I found this photo interesting because I've never seen a Keith 38 cal SWC with such a short nose and wide driving bands. Second bullet from the left. Certainly not a 358429.
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    Later in the article, Keith mentions a "recent" development of a short nosed bullet meant for use in the old short cylinder 357s so the crimp groove could be utilized.
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    I wasn't aware Keith designed a second 38 SWC. Was it ever offered by any mold maker? I looked thru the older H&G and SAECO catalogs but didn't see anything quite like this one.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Ideal # 358429 was the longer and weighed 170 grains .
    Ideal # 358431 came later , was shorter and weighed 160 grains .
    Ideal #358477 came later , is even shorter and weighs 150 grains .

    I'm not 100% sure of what came when date wise ... but all three Ideal moulds have the Elmer Keith SWC design a top driving band , deep crimp groove , single wide flat bottom lube groove between two more driving bands ... and that flat point SWC nose .
    Seems like Al "Swede" Nelson ( NOE Moulds) did some in depth looking into this subject ... the "Sticky" is listed at the beginning of this section .
    It's the third "sticky" from the top " Real" Keith Boolits !
    Gary
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    After doing some additional reading in Keith's book "Sixgun Cartridges & Loads" 1936 , in Chapter 3 Bullet Selection ...when discussing 38/357 boolits , and probably the 38-44 loads (because the 357 Magnum wasn't introduced until 1934-1935) he favored the 160 gr. SWC #358431 , in either solid point or hollow point depending on situation . He felt the 170 gr. was a little too heavy... but he probably had done little or no testing in the 357 Magnum revolvers at this time .
    Out of my revolvers I found the 170 gr. boolits not as accurate as the 160 gr. SWC in the 38 special . I was much disappointed in the 170 gr. SWC but I hadn't read his 1936 book at that time .
    And the most accurate boolit of all was a 160 gr. Wadcutter ...
    ...Ideal/Lyman #358432 .
    Something about the 160 gr. weight being "just right" in the 38 Special .
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 06-07-2021 at 06:42 PM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    There was also a hollow base version of the 358429 that weighed 160 grains. I've never understood just why Lyman made both a hollow point 358429 and the seemingly identical 358439.

    I do remember reading somewhere that Mr. Keith thought the 160 weight version of his bullet either through a hollow point or base, was better for most uses in a .38 Special. I'll have to see if I can find that article.

    Robert
    Last edited by Mk42gunner; 06-08-2021 at 07:30 PM. Reason: fixing mold numbers

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    Fellas, the Lyman 358431 was just the 358429 in hollow base form. I have an old one in a Lyman cardboard box, so marked. It does have a somewhat shorter nose than my similarly aged 358429HP, but I always thought that to be the result of the machinist's technique. The hollow base cast a lighter slug and provided a little more powder volume in the shorter 38 Special.

    I had not heard of Keith's later, shorter version. Interesting!

  6. #6
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    358429 was the 170 long nose, 358431 the hollow based, 358439 the hollow point, though to confuse matters there was also a 3358429 HP. 358477 was available in two weights 150 and 158 though what the difference was I have no idea.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The Hollow Base Keith SWC has always puzzled me ... why the hollow base ?
    I'm going to do some more reading in Keith's Loading book and see if I can find a reason for HB.
    Gary
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  8. #8
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    I think he wanted it to upset quickly in over sized throats and bores.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
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    There was even a hollow base version of the 429421, the 429422 IIRC, it was supposed to weigh 235 grains the same weight as a HP 421.

    Back to the .358". I think he wanted the length of the 358429, but the lighter weight for sight regulation, since most .38 Specials were fixed sight at the time.

    Robert

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mr. JAC 43- I have read that Keith article also and have wondered about the shorter-nosed version of the 358429 bullet. So far I have never seen any other reference to this bullet although it seems like it would solve the problem of using the 358429 in shorter cylinders like in the Model 27 S&W revolver. It would be great if one of the knowledgible folks on this forum had some information about this bullet to see if it ever was really produced or if it was a custom mold just for Mr. Keith.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy JAC43's Avatar
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    @Golfswithwolves
    Yeah I was surprised that no mold maker picked up Keith's idea and brought it to market. I suppose the 358156 was out at the time and it did fit the older 357's when seated to the top crimp groove. I measured the bullet in the photo with a screen measuring app. Those driving bands are .130"+! It seats pretty deep as well, something like .390", which is in the same neighborhood as the vaunted 358156. I drew it up in my copy of the TMT software and damned if it didn't predict 173 grains like the caption says! Pretty close I think. I'm not sure if I'll send it off to Accurate and have a mold made or not.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    I too had seen that article and had wondered why I'd never read any more about it.....
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
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    Gary D. Peek

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    In January 2019 Lyman re introduced the 358439 HP 155 gr SWC Elmer Keith bullet in dbl cavity mould. Before the planet shut down there was plans to have a gas check version of it in 2020 eventually Lyman was going to bring back one or two of Elmer Keith's old or obscure bullets each year according to the tech person I talked to at Lyman January 2019 I personally was and still am looking forward to the hollow base 38cal and 44cal and 45cal Keith bullet versions to be made.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    It appears that over the years someone listened to the problems and whines of us shooters. I have an abundance of .38/357 shooters around the place and for years the 358429 handled my needs although there were 358431, 358439s, 358429HPs in various configurations in the cabinet. Then I got a Marlin M1894 .357. Whoa! It was too long for the carbine to allow feeding. My Python barely tolerated it and the boy's M28 Smith balked. After getting along for years by trimming and deep seating, I went looking.
    In the cabinet was a RCBS 35-162-SWC that I'd obtained in a trade. Never used as it was a GC design. I cast up a bunch and they fed in the Marlin as well as all my guns, had a nice wide driving band and most of all shot well.
    This was during my mould modifying days so a .140" HP cavity was laid on one cavity. Since I don't like GCs in handguns, my machinist buddy hogged the GC shanks out with a mill to .360". Still they shot good. Then Pat Marlin came along with his PB gas checks and since I had a .35 version for the 9mm, I started GCing the RCBS with pop can checks.
    IMO, for my use, I had found the perfect .38/.357 bullet, It fed in the Marlin and fit the cylinders of everything I had and shot well.
    I don't know if anybody designing the 35-162 read Keith but he hit it right on the head and it fits and shoots well. Mine runs at 165 grains and some change and sure gives the 358429 a run for it's money./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I've only got one swc design in .38. That little Lee 105 grain. It's a great boolit with a stiff charge of fast powder.
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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