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  #1  
Old 01-14-2011, 04:37 AM
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light loads in a 357, 38 vs 357 light loads in a 357, 38 vs 357 light loads in a 357, 38 vs 357 light loads in a 357, 38 vs 357 light loads in a 357, 38 vs 357  
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Default light loads in a 357, 38 vs 357

If I want to shoot some mild fodder in a 357 does it make more sense to light load 357 cases, as opposed to 38, or does it matter.

Thanks, Pete
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:01 AM
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You'll get all sorts of thoughts on this. Here are mine...

I do handload using .357 cases and have loads ranging from mild with cast lead bullets, to wild with jacketed bullets. I dont use .38 cases for reloading (though I do shoot a lot of factory .38's), only because I dont want to readjust my dies every time I switch.

There is nothing wrong with using light loads in .357 cases, and a lot of folks would recommend it just to avoid the crud ring that can build up in the chambers from shooting the shorter .38 cases. Personally, I have never felt like this was an issue -- but then I also clean my guns thoroughly every time I shoot them.

An arguement the other way might center around potential accuracy issues with light loads in .357 case compared to a similar load in a .38 case, because of load density and pressure variances. I'd suspect though, that the load and gun will both outshoot the average shooter either way.

FWIW, YMMV.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:16 AM
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that being said you should practice some with what you carry
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:22 AM
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I prefer light loads to be loaded into 357 cases. Both for the crud ring effect, and the fact that the bullet isn't jumping as far to reach the cone.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:13 AM
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I enjoy segregation when it comes to .38 Special and .357 Magnum and don't use .38 Special cases in my .357 Magnum revolvers. I don't think it is detrimental to shoot .38 Special ammunition in a .357 Magnum revolver if one cleans his firearms regularly.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:48 PM
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In addition to the above information, bullet jump is minimized with .357 cases.

I don't know how important it really is, but it makes a bit of sense that the less freedom the bullet has before the forcing cone the better.

5g of W231 in a magnum case under your favorite 160g bullet is a nice load.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:57 PM
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It does not matter which you do.

IDPA/SSR revolver shooters shoot tens of thousands of .38 Special in 66s and 686s because the shorter cases are quicker and easier for speed reloads.

1. The accuracy is the same.
2. Yes, you have to clean the carbon/lead ring out of the cylinder, which is quick and easy with a "Tornado" brush available from Brownells.
3. If you put .38 loads in a .357 case, all you have to worry about is sticking a bullet if using very light .38 target loads, so just stay off minimum loads.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:28 PM
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I run exclusively .38 loads through my .357's (and I have alot) when doing any target/plinking/steel work, primarily 158 gr. SWC and 148 gr. DEWC's. Only time the .357's get shot is for defensive practice/hunting/fun factor...

Have fun and be safe.
Nightshade2x
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:33 PM
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I've shot 100,000+ 38's out of my 586 with no problems. Accuracy is outstanding & like what was posted earlier. A tornado brush makes extremely short work of any crud/ring built up in the chambers.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:05 PM
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Default Thanks All.

That's what I needed to hear.

Pete
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
It does not matter which you do.

IDPA/SSR revolver shooters shoot tens of thousands of .38 Special in 66s and 686s because the shorter cases are quicker and easier for speed reloads.

1. The accuracy is the same.
2. Yes, you have to clean the carbon/lead ring out of the cylinder, which is quick and easy with a "Tornado" brush available from Brownells.
3. If you put .38 loads in a .357 case, all you have to worry about is sticking a bullet if using very light .38 target loads, so just stay off minimum loads.
#1 is exactly correct. The added bullet jump hurting accuracy is
theoretical only, and not observed in practice.

#3 There is more to worry about. Light loads can cause detination.
The theory is that powder level in the case is so low that when the
primer discharges, it blows over the powder charge and not through it,
leading to a radical pressure spike.

Therefore, I'd caution you to not load your .357 case at less
than 80% full, as you might do using .38 load data in a .357 case.

Joe
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:43 PM
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I hate cleaning the crud caused by shooting short cartridges out of my .357 cylinder, so I use .357 brass for everything, including my target loads.

I use the classic 2.8 gr Bullseye + 148 gr HBWC in .357 brass, works great and I don't have to scrub out my cylinder when I'm done.
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Old 01-16-2011, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock;135778429#3
There is more to worry about. Light loads can cause detination.
The theory is that powder level in the case is so low that when the
primer discharges, it blows over the powder charge and not through it,
leading to a radical pressure spike.

Therefore, I'd caution you to not load your .357 case at less
than 80% full, as you might do using .38 load data in a .357 case.
Joe
I did a lot of reading on that subject when I started reloading. Everything I found indicates this is more a problem with slow rifle powders in underfilled bottleneck cartridges.

I suppose a seriously light load of 2400 might cause a problem, but why would anybody do that?
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:41 AM
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...I also use 357 Mag cases and favorite practice round is 6.0 grs Unique under 158 gr cast SWC or Speer lead SWC.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:07 AM
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I've always light loaded 357 Magnum cases. The bullet jump thing is important in rifles, but revolvers already have a lot of bullet jump in their inherent design. The crud ring in the chambers is the biggest advantage to using Magnum length cases.

Simplicity of die adjustment might be an advantage to just using Magnum brass. Having to stock only Magnum brass might also be an advantage. My habit has been to use Magnum brass just a few times for full power loads, then retire them to reduced power load use.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:01 AM
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Except for the safety aspect , light 357 mag. loads being mistakenly fired in a 38 special revolver , you could light load 357 mag or load +P loads in 38 special cases ...just depends on how light / heavy we loading them and how many 38 specials you have !

In the past I have loaded 357 magnum loads in 38 special cases with the Lyman #358156 cast bullet crimped in the bullets lower crimp groove...it was designed to do this . The longer loaded round is easy to spot if you pay attention to things . I never tried to load any in a 38 special .

So it can be done...but should you do it...No , just buy 357 magnum brass and light load them .
You can load 38 special +P loads in 357 magnum cases and not have to worry about wrong ammo finding its way into a 38 special.

Gary
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:05 PM
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My Friend, The .357
by Skeeter Skelton

Shooting Times Magazine
June 1988 (Has light, medium and heavy load data)
My Friend, The .357
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:22 PM
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My lead SWC target loads are always loaded into 357 Magnum cases for use in 357 Magnum firearms

I have been doing that since the 1970s.



I do not even bother to keep 38 Special brass cleaned and sorted.

Some folks make a big deal about the crud ring, some folks say it is a myth, some folks say just scrub that cylinder real good and it won't be an issue.

For me if I never use 38 brass, then I never have to worry about real or myth, I never have to worry about if I scrubbed clean enough. With 357 Magnum all of that simply goes away
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigedp51 View Post
My Friend, The .357
by Skeeter Skelton

Shooting Times Magazine
June 1988 (Has light, medium and heavy load data)
My Friend, The .357
This is a very poignant article for me, since I am a fan of the Lyman 358156. I would suspect that Skeeter's medium and heavy 357 Magnum cast loads were digested more in K frame 6 shot Smiths and N frames. Presuming that the cylinder walls of a 686+ may be a bit thinner than those of a 6 shot K frame, how safe might these loads be in a 686+?

Sorry for hijacking this thread!
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:57 PM
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Not this discussion yet again!!!!

Randy
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:32 PM
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Default If you load .38 in .357 cases......

Unless the load is WAY TOO light, any load you shoot out of a .38 can be shot out of a .357 case. In cases that evolved from black powder days, that extra minutia of case volume in the .357 case makes practically no difference.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:42 PM
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IF you reload, it makes perfect sense. Why bother loading 38sp cases when you are already setup for 357mag? Just download the mag cases. I like things simple.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamecock View Post
#1 is exactly correct. The added bullet jump hurting accuracy is
theoretical only, and not observed in practice.

#3 There is more to worry about. Light loads can cause detination.
The theory is that powder level in the case is so low that when the
primer discharges, it blows over the powder charge and not through it,
leading to a radical pressure spike.

Therefore, I'd caution you to not load your .357 case at less
than 80% full, as you might do using .38 load data in a .357 case.

Joe
The light load detonation myth seems to still be alive. It has never been proven in a lab. Virtually all of those so called detonations could be traced back to dbl charges of uber fast powders like BE & TG.
80% full, seriously? Most of us load our magnum cases far lower volume than that for 1000s of rds & we are still here. Consider 6gr of something bulky like Unique doesn't even fill a 357smag case 50%, shoots jut fine.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:53 PM
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Default .38

Quote:
Originally Posted by beagleye View Post
That's what I needed to hear.

Pete
Ive found .38 Special brass to be way cheaper than .357 brass. You can reload 38 brass almost indefinitely and I've never saw a huge difference in accuracy. My Old Model Black Hawk .357 will Stack a .38 Special 158 gr SWC with a reasonable amount of Unique all day long
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Duke View Post
Ive found .38 Special brass to be way cheaper than .357 brass. You can reload 38 brass almost indefinitely and I've never saw a huge difference in accuracy. My Old Model Black Hawk .357 will Stack a .38 Special 158 gr SWC with a reasonable amount of Unique all day long
The cost diff 50y ago might have been way diff but today, almost the same price for new or once fired. If you have a bunch of 38sp & that is all you shoot out of your magnum cool. If you have a magnum to shoot magnums & midrange 357, might as well load your light stuff in 357mag brass too. It has an even greater life span with mild loads than 38sp.
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Old 06-10-2020, 04:37 PM
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I load everything in 357 brass. That's the decision I made when I started loading in the '60s. That said, my everyday carry ammo is Remington or Speer 38 spl. +P. And, I load my 357 cases to a good solid +p velocity, or maybe a skosh higher. Accurate and good enough for any reasonable purpose.
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Old 06-10-2020, 04:57 PM
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I'm another who does not use .38 Special cases in the .357 Magnum revolvers here.

3.0 grains of Bulls Eye under a 148 grain hollow base wadcutter seated flush makes a dandy powder puff .357 Magnum load for target use.
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Old 06-11-2020, 01:28 AM
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Well, I reload both... Why? Because half of my .356-3.58" S&W revolvers are J-frames.

IMHO, the 357 MAGNUM J-frames are certainly very desirable weapons, but many are most often carried with 38 Special +P loads (and usually factory?) anyway? Not claiming "all" are, but willing to opine "most". There is a real-world difference between a 2 1/2" Model 19 and any J-frame when hot 357 Magnum loads are fired!

As far as segregating ammo is concerned I find having some nickel cases makes it pretty easy to discern. I have accumulated a lot of mixed 38 Special brass that gets loaded primarilly for the range. Funny thing, I don't seem to lose much brass when shooting revolvers: semi-automatic brass almost always has a 10% loss factor.

Cheers!

P.S. I clean my guns 95% of the time upon returning from the range: revolvers, pistols, rifles as well. The 1 in 20 would typically be when I planned to return with the same gun in a very short period of time or when I only shot a limited number of test rounds, anticipating a return when more were reloaded.

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Old 06-11-2020, 06:04 AM
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Dad use to shoot his King modified 6 inch Colt New Service .357 as his centerfire target gun........... he was on the Dept Pistol Team reloaded his own .38 wadcutter target loads (cast his own bullets) and must have shot tens of thousands of rounds over his 20 years on the team. He shot "Master" (+640/700) so it must have worked OK

FWIW his brass was once fired .38 brass that an FBI friend brought back from a training facility in Va. (in 5gal buckets)

Duty loads in the 70s was factory....... "+P+ .38 Law Enforcement Only" ammo. Two of his three work guns were .38s. (2 & 4 inch)

Never heard of any issue.

I've shot both out of my K,L and N frame .357........ only recall the crud ring issue when I was shooting a lot of cheap 3rd party reloads.

Last edited by BAM-BAM; 06-11-2020 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:01 AM
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I used to avoid using 38s in 357s because of the carbon buildup. Then I found Bore Tech Carbon Remover. A wet patch let it sit for a few minutes then a quick scrub with another wet patch dry patch done. That stuff works like advertised.
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:06 AM
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I never really bothered with .38 cases bc I have no .38 Spl only guns. I have at least 800-1000 38 cases from range floor pick up over the years, but it turns out I'm too lazy to adjust my dies. Downloading .357 cases with fast powder has yet to fail me for target loads.
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Old 06-11-2020, 11:51 AM
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All my loads for my 686 go into. 357 cases. Simpler and works just fine.
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Old 06-11-2020, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by growr View Post
Not this discussion yet again!!!!

Randy
Just a minute now.............

it was only posted on Jan. 2011.

Give these guys a break.
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Old 06-11-2020, 03:15 PM
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I use mostly 38 brass because I have a lot more of it. If I had as much 357 brass I’d just use that. Hint hint if anyone has any excess 357 brass they want to sell.
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLT223 View Post
I have at least 800-1000 38 cases from range floor pick up over the years, but it turns out I'm too lazy to adjust my dies.
Redding makes spacers (link) so the switch takes about 90 seconds. I have a set for 38/357 and another for 44. Excellent.
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40 S&W M&P PRO with light loads TSQUARED Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols 2 02-04-2011 08:14 PM
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45 AR Light loads tommy F Reloading 6 11-17-2009 09:53 PM

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