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Old 02-18-2021, 07:30 PM
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Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another?  
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Default Why would you choose a bullet weight over another?

I've been reloading .357 and 38 special for a couple of years now and I've been happy with .357-158gr SWC and 38 special-148gr WC. I like to make the tightest groups possible on paper.
But I wonder. There are so many choices of bullets, Lyman 49th has examples going from 90gr to 180gr. Why would you choose a bullet over another?
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:35 PM
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Variety is the spice of life! Different slugs for different needs. For me anyways.
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:43 PM
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I ditto your first choices. I only deviate when I see a convenient bargain. But again to re assess my optimum load to a new component is not so convenient after all.
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Old 02-18-2021, 07:57 PM
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I use 158 gr. SWC for .357 and .38 Spec. For lighter I use 115 gr. FP .32-20 and for heavier 240 gr. SWC .44. Larry
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:04 PM
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Because your 148gr WCs, while perfect for paper punching, would be woefully inadequate for someone who wanted to hunt, thus, the heavier 180gr. offerings

Your example of 357/38 is perfectly staged for the question at hand since it offers such a wide variety of weights and loads for different purposes.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:06 PM
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I have so many reasons to choose particular bullets weights and style, but if you are asking me to pick the one single reason that motivates me most often...

It’s whatever I found a great buy on, and bought in as much bulk as I could muster!
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
I have so many reasons to choose particular bullets weights and style, but if you are asking me to pick the one single reason that motivates me most often...

Itís whatever I found a great buy on, and bought in as much bulk as I could muster!
Same, whether it be Berry's from Cabelas or whatever. Now days it's whatever you can find. Not being a hunter, I'm not picky.

Hard to tell if this is a rhetorical question or if OP actually wants to know what other people are using.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:40 PM
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Different weights for a different purpose. Heavier bullet for longer ranges and more knock down kinetic energy. Lighter weight bullet for higher velocity and shock power for self defense. There are numerous reasons. When it gets to rifles the # of reasons grows bigger.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:44 PM
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I only use cast bullets in handguns regardless of the cartridge but a recommendation here would apply to jacketed bullets as well. Unless there is an accuracy problem or point of impact problem that can't be corrected otherwise, I use the bullet weight that the cartridge was originally intended for. In .38 Special and .357 Magnum, for example, that's around 160 grains. I've tried heavier and lighter bullets and have yet to find a real need for them.
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Old 02-18-2021, 08:55 PM
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When you say best group=<target shooting=what size group can you bench on the average at 25 yards with 10 shots with the 148? Is it a bevel or flat base and what gun are you shooting those with? Maybe we can steer you in the right direction with a little info <IF> you need help. Target shooting is tricky. My shooting buddy and I paper shoot twice a week weather permitting. We swap out on who wins.

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Old 02-18-2021, 09:07 PM
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Handguns with fixed sights are designed to optimise for a given bullet weight--158 gr. for 38 Spl, 230 gr. for .45 ACP--- and will shoot higher or lower with other weight projectiles. This is probably one reason why adjustable sights are so popular on hunting and target handguns.

At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it, LOL!
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:08 PM
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Here is A reason: 9mm For Example I normally Load 124 Grain Bullets Reason they shoot to Point of Aim 115grain bullets don't My 9mm has fixed sights
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Old 02-19-2021, 12:41 AM
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Even though the 148 gr bullet is good for target shooting........

some even load lighter weight bullets to get even lighter recoil
if needed or they might also get good accuracy in their weapons
with a bullet that even cost less than the larger 148 gr. bullet.

A 125 gr. lead at 533 to 600 fps or a even lighter 110 gr, JHP at770 to 866 fps,
make for some great target loads, for most shooters that own a 38 special.
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Old 02-19-2021, 04:03 AM
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I have other answers for this question (specific to 38/357) also:

I shoot a ton of plated, but I donít use plated in full magnum loads. Because of that, I also stock FMJ 130ís, and JSPís in 125/158 grain weight. And I love to feed tons of 125ís to my Coonan because the blast and fireball is pure pleasure and also because I love to save my 158ís for my L and N-frames.

I use a cast and powder coated 180 grain in my Ruger 77/357 because the rifle enjoys them.

I only use the swaged HBWC for my Model 52ís because thatís what they were designed around and they work so well. I tend to use cast SWC or DEWC for my PPC revolvers because their barrels were designed specifically for a lead bullet.
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Joe View Post
Handguns with fixed sights are designed to optimise for a given bullet weight--158 gr. for 38 Spl, 230 gr. for .45 ACP--- and will shoot higher or lower with other weight projectiles. This is probably one reason why adjustable sights are so popular on hunting and target handguns.

At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it, LOL!
To follow up on what Father Joe said. I adjust elevation on fixed sighted guns by changing bullet weights. Heavier strikes higher.

Ed
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:48 PM
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To follow up on what Father Joe said. I adjust elevation on fixed sighted guns by changing bullet weights. Heavier strikes higher.

Ed
I agree. In 32S&w Long I once tried some 116 grain cast swc's. Due to dwell time I could not lower my rear sight enough to compensate. Therefore I stick to 98-100 grain swc's.
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:59 PM
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I stick with the bullet weight of the original cartridge design. 230 gr for 45 ACP, 158 for .357, 124 for 9mm, etc. That's for the range, hunting is a different story. Those will usually be the least expensive bullets unless you have special needs like SD or hunting. Sights are usually regulated for the original bullet weight.
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:10 PM
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The Lyman 358429 (170 grains) with a normal (not Keith) charge of Unique powder in a .38 Special case is awesome in a Model 94 Trapper or a 5” Model 10.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by CWS&W View Post
I've been reloading .357 and 38 special for a couple of years now and I've been happy with .357-158gr SWC and 38 special-148gr WC. I like to make the tightest groups possible on paper.
But I wonder. There are so many choices of bullets, Lyman 49th has examples going from 90gr to 180gr. Why would you choose a bullet over another?
The simple answer for me is I don't choose what bullet to shoot.. I let the pistol decide!!

With both my M-29 and the M-500 the gun would let me know REAL quick if it didn't like a particular round! Neither seemed to like anything by Federal but the M-29 picked out 240gr JHP Remington rounds while the 500 likes a 350gr JHP Hornady or 350gr SN Berry's Plated boolet for TP which I load to roughly the Winchester Reduced Recoil 350gr spec's...

How do the guns tell me what they like?? Recoil and Accuracy!

And with Big Bore Revolvers, I tend to listen to them...
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:22 AM
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My best answer is the "powder" you are using:
  • Powder Burn Rate
  • VMD -Volume Measured Density, volume of 1gr powder per CC
  • Useful Case Capacity - I like powders that use more of the case capacity, in order to minimize the chance of accidental double loads

I tend to buy powder in larger quantities (for me at least), +16lb at a time when I can, per selected powder. For instance my VV N-105 works well for heavier bullets (think +158gr .357).

Got lucky and discovered N-105 also works very well with 147xtp 9mm too! As a matter of fact, N-105 is listed as the fastest top rated powder for 147XTPs (Lee Modern Reloading).

As for my .38 and .38+P needs, I use Hodgdon HS6. Also well matched VMD for .38 brass with 125-135 GS & GDots to 158XTPs.

So,... in a perfect World, us reloaders could change powders and bullets all of the time and at will. But in today's World we must stockpile supplies well in advance, and in generous quantities.

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Old 02-20-2021, 09:35 AM
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Heavy bullets would be a waste of material and money for putting holes in paper, in my opinion. Also, if you bring a bucket of rounds with you to the range for paperwork, 125's and 200's is it little easier on the back than 158's and 240's.
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:21 AM
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I'm a paper puncher like yourself, so my main concern is accuracy, nice neat holes, and cost.

But I'm not averse to straying, either out of necessity or curiosity. During the last shortage I got caught short of bullets. I was about to break out the casting equipment when I ran into some 125gr LRN.

When I bought them the only powder they had in stock was 700-X. I had a fair stash of powder but since it had been 30+ years since I last tried 700-X I said what the heck, I'll get a can.

Turns out those 125gr LRN (polycoated from SNS casting) and 4.0 gr of 700-X is as accurate as anything I've shot in .38 Special, and I've shot a lot of .38 Special. I didn't get my nice neat holes, but eh, no big deal. On the plus side they are also cheaper than the 148/158.

So every once in a while try something new. Sometimes I learn something when I do that.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:40 PM
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Heavy bullets would be a waste of material and money for putting holes in paper, in my opinion. Also, if you bring a bucket of rounds with you to the range for paperwork, 125's and 200's is it little easier on the back than 158's and 240's.
I've never seen anyone lug a bucket of 45 ACP or .357 to the firing line. That must be a lot of ammo.

A few hundred rds is about all I shoot in one session. True, bullet cost is less, about 0.01/rd where I shop. Powder and primer cost is about the same. Not enough to cause me any great financial hardship.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:15 PM
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Heavy bullets would be a waste of material and money for putting holes in paper, in my opinion.
Seriously, it really is all about what you seek in your shooting. Some handguns absolutely will shoot a particular bullet style, weight or construction more accurately than it will some other kind. If your goal was to put holes in paper and you really place a priority in how small that group will be or in how close you can put them all in the center, it makes genuine sense to select the bullet that helps you in that endeavor. When I take a Model 52 to the range, I use a soft swaged hollow base 148 grain bullet in the ammo that I'm using. Could I use a cheap 125gr plated slug that costs less? I'll bet I could make a 52 operate around such a bullet, but I don't wish to do that, because the HBWC is going to perform for me, removing the doubt and leaving the rest to my skill.

Quote:
Also, if you bring a bucket of rounds with you to the range for paperwork, 125's and 200's is it little easier on the back than 158's and 240's.
This one is too funny to let it sit.

If you had such a heavy, long, grueling range day planned that you were going to shoot ONE THOUSAND ROUNDS of .38 Special, and you shot only 158 grain ammo, that would be a very heavy bucket to carry.

So two weeks later, when it is time to do exactly the same range day over again and your bucket is jam packed with ONE THOUSAND more rounds of .38 Special but this time you decided to spare your aching back and you instead loaded 125 grain bullets...

...your effort saved you 4.71 pounds.
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:46 PM
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Most of my EDCs are short barrel revolvers and I tend to shoot 125 gr whatever I come across because 125 gr shoot at POA. I get more muzzle rise with heavier bullets which is expected. Even my Lc9s shoots lighter bullets to POA and I only have what I will call one standard size 9mm semiauto for carry and it shoots better with 147 gr.

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Old 02-21-2021, 05:39 PM
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The reason I was asking is because though I have been loading the ďtraditional ď loads, such as 45ACP 200gr SWC/bullseye, 38sp 148gr WC/bullseye, I like to experiment with different bullets or powders and I needed an idea of which direction to go.
This might also explains why I havenít been very happy with my 9mm loads.

I appreciate all your input. So I copied and pasted a comments that were relevant to me:

- I use the bullet weight that the cartridge was originally intended for. In .38 Special and .357 Magnum, for example, that's around 160 grains.

- Handguns with fixed sights are designed to optimise for a given bullet weight--158 gr. for 38 Spl, 230 gr. for .45 ACP--- and will shoot higher or lower with other weight projectiles.

- 9mm For Example I normally Load 124 Grain Bullets Reason they shoot to Point of Aim. 115grain bullets don't. My 9mm has fixed sights

- To follow up on what Father Joe said. I adjust elevation on fixed sighted guns by changing bullet weights. Heavier strikes higher.

- Sights are usually regulated for the original bullet weight

- Heavy bullets would be a waste of material and money for putting holes in paper, in my opinion.

- I'm a paper puncher like yourself, so my main concern is accuracy, nice neat holes, and cost... Turns out those 125gr LRN (polycoated from SNS casting) and 4.0 gr of 700-X is as accurate as anything I've shot in .38 Special, and I've shot a lot of .38 Special. I didn't get my nice neat holes, but eh, no big deal. On the plus side they are also cheaper than the 148/158.

- Even though the 148 gr bullet is good for target shooting........
some even load lighter weight bullets to get even lighter recoil
if needed or they might also get good accuracy in their weapons
with a bullet that even cost less than the larger 148 gr. bullet.
A 125 gr. lead at 533 to 600 fps or a even lighter 110 gr, JHP at770 to 866 fps,
make for some great target loads, for most shooters that own a 38 special.

-Could I use a cheap 125gr plated slug that costs less? I'll bet I could make a 52 operate around such a bullet, but I don't wish to do that, because the HBWC is going to perform for me, removing the doubt and leaving the rest to my skill.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Seriously, it really is all about what you seek in your shooting. Some handguns absolutely will shoot a particular bullet style, weight or construction more accurately than it will some other kind. If your goal was to put holes in paper and you really place a priority in how small that group will be or in how close you can put them all in the center, it makes genuine sense to select the bullet that helps you in that endeavor. When I take a Model 52 to the range, I use a soft swaged hollow base 148 grain bullet in the ammo that I'm using. Could I use a cheap 125gr plated slug that costs less? I'll bet I could make a 52 operate around such a bullet, but I don't wish to do that, because the HBWC is going to perform for me, removing the doubt and leaving the rest to my skill.


This one is too funny to let it sit.

If you had such a heavy, long, grueling range day planned that you were going to shoot ONE THOUSAND ROUNDS of .38 Special, and you shot only 158 grain ammo, that would be a very heavy bucket to carry.

So two weeks later, when it is time to do exactly the same range day over again and your bucket is jam packed with ONE THOUSAND more rounds of .38 Special but this time you decided to spare your aching back and you instead loaded 125 grain bullets...

...your effort saved you 4.71 pounds.
19 lbs or 14 lbs. Makes no difference. That much ammo will wear a man down.
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:25 PM
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Cost more than a new pickup truck maybe.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:32 AM
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Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but, at least for rifles....I believe that different barrel twist rates will have an effect on what bullet weight will work best in that particular rifle.
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Old 02-24-2021, 03:50 PM
CWS&W CWS&W is offline
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Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another?  
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Originally Posted by G-Mac View Post
Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but, at least for rifles....I believe that different barrel twist rates will have an effect on what bullet weight will work best in that particular rifle.
Yes, this is a good one.
I forgot: is it faster twist rate for lighter bullet or the other way around?
Does any body have a rule of thumb or a chart?
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  #31  
Old 02-24-2021, 04:04 PM
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AManWearingAHat AManWearingAHat is offline
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Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another?  
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All depends, some barrels shoot some weights better than others. For me, I know my Hi Powers prefer 124 grain stuff. One has fully adjustable sights so if I work hard enough I could get any bullet weight to shoot well. I stick to the 124 grain stuff for commonality between the two. The other one has only windage adjustment. My semi-fixed sights are calibrated for 124 grain ammo on the top of the blade and 115gn ammo behind the dot on the front sight. Target work I shoot 124 grain for a more precise sight picture, competition and carry I shoot 115 because the dot is faster to pick up.

My Glock factory sights tend to shoot 115's to POA/POI.

For me with .38 Special / .357 revolvers as an example, my bullet weight change tends to come with the nose profile I want. I shoot 158 grain SWC for pure target work and nice holes. I shoot 140gn HBWC out of my Model 14 because its THE load for it. I shoot 140 and 125 grain truncated cone ammunition in action sports because the nose geometry facilitates very easy loading with speed loaders where a SWC or anything with a shoulder will get hung up. A truncated cone also helps you more than a traditional round nose in finding the cylinder with the speed loaders. I pick between the two based on whether I'm shooting a fixed or adjustable sight gun. 140gn load shoots closer to the fixed sights of my model 10, which was probably zeroed for 158 grain lead round nose. Adjustable sights Ill shoot the 125's for lower recoil impulse.

Frankly it's also just fun to experiment sometimes. Because of my work with a bunch of different bullet weights, I have a ton of loads in my book that I know work well in my guns. Helps when component availability is spotty like our current situation.

Rifles, especially long range rifles are a WHOLE different animal when it comes to selecting bullet weight. Once I work up a good load for a rifle with good chrono numbers I almost never deviate from it unless something major changes.

Last edited by AManWearingAHat; 02-24-2021 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:16 PM
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LostintheOzone LostintheOzone is offline
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Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another? Why would you choose a bullet weight over another?  
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Originally Posted by CWS&W View Post
Yes, this is a good one.
I forgot: is it faster twist rate for lighter bullet or the other way around?
Does any body have a rule of thumb or a chart?
Using a 5.56x45 as an example, the heavier bullets require more twist. The original twist rate for the 55 gr. bullet was 1/12 or one revolution in 12". A heavier bullet like 72 gr would work better with 1/7 twist.
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Last edited by LostintheOzone; 02-24-2021 at 07:17 PM.
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