Rants and question on different brands of brass


December 16, 2004, 12:41 AM
I just recieved my last xmas gift from my girlfriend, it's a Lee deluxe pistol die set in .357 mag. I opened it up and then realized the load data was all for .38 Special :cuss:
About how much more powder does .357 typically use?
How many rounds are yall getting out of 1 lb of powder?
I'll be getting myself a loading manual soon instead of sending lee a buck for their minimal info.

My other question is how much does brass vary from manufacturer to manufacturer?
Lets say I loaded 10 rounds of .308 with Federal brass and 10 rounds with the exact same charge and bullet but with Winchester brass.
If I shot a 4 round group with the Fed, then a 4 shot group with the Win, then another 4 shot group consisting of 2 Fed and 2 Win would I see any difference in group size?

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Smokey Joe
December 16, 2004, 01:39 AM
is what you want. Reccommend Lyman's 48th edition if you only get one. Having more than one lets you compare and research more, and no one book can cover all the possible combinations of cartridge, primer, powder, and bullet.

Yes the brass varies from one maker to the next. Military brass is said to have heavier walls, therefore less room inside, therefore higher pressure, than comparable civilian cases. I believe that Winchester brass is reputed to have the most roomy cases. The other makers vary, in between.

In reloading a set of rounds, stick with one manufacturer. Treat each case exactly the same as all the others, as to cleaning, trimming to length, etc. You want everything about your reloads to be as uniform as possible--that's what lets reloaders make better ammo than they can buy.

I keep lots of cases together from the time I assemble the lot until the time--normally years later--when the entire lot gets scrapped.

December 16, 2004, 06:49 AM
Smokey Joe has spoken the truth.
As for how much more powder the 357 magnum requires vs 38 special, it has been my experience that with powders ranging from Bullseye to Unique, the 357 needs about 0.5 grains more than 38 Special to achieve 38 Special velocity. This is due to the longer magnum case and therefore, larger powder capacity of the longer case. As for primers, you only need magnum primers for slow burning powders like H-110, W-296, IMR-4227. Some like magnum primers with 2400 and Blue Dot, others don't and this is the grey cut off area for magnum primers. Any powder that burns at a faster rate than 2400 or Blue Dot just needs regular primers.

50 Shooter
December 16, 2004, 10:41 AM
Just remember there's 7000grs to a pound of powder, just divide that by how many grains your loading with. Should be accurate to within a few rounds.

Master Blaster
December 16, 2004, 11:01 AM
Warning Will Robinson, Reloading manual needed. Speer 13 and Lyman 49 are good.

You can also get data off of the powder manufacturers websites, and bullet makers will also provide data if you call them.

YOU DO HAVE A SCALE right??????? If not get a scale, dont count on using Lee's dippers to eyeball powder charges.

December 16, 2004, 11:17 AM
No, I don't have a scale yet.
That's why I was a lil upset about not getting the .357mag data that comes with the dies.
I've been using the dippers, which I understand are minimal loads anyway.

Today I'm driving to a nicer gun store and am gonna pick up a scale, loading manual, and other supplies.

December 16, 2004, 11:27 AM
I have Lymans' 48th Edition ("the bible").
The thing that worries me about all of the editions is, everyone's has different min/max loads.
Usually, I compare the bible with the powder manufacturers loads on line. So far, so good. Actually, I would go with the powder manufactureres information. I bought a beam scale when I first started. Now, I want to get an electronic scale because, it's more accurate. For example, if you use
H-110 powder for your .357, it's suggested on the bottle that you don't decrease it more that 3%. With a beam scale, you can't get that accurate, rather you're stuck rounding stuff off.

Good luck!

December 16, 2004, 01:34 PM
Get a scale and a couple of manuals. Can never have too many manuals. The powder companies almost ALL produce freebies with enough info to get you started. I have on hand a LEE manual, the 49th Lyman and a Nosler edition, plus powder company pamphelets from Alliant, Winchester, IMR, Hodgdon, and I think there is a Vihta-Vouri around here somewhere as well. Others will be added eventually, probably a full Hodgdon edition (love Hodgdon powders) and a Sierra manual, and maybe an updated Nosler when one becomes available.

Smokey Joe
December 16, 2004, 08:36 PM
Bandit01--I must respectfully disagree re the accuracy of beam scales vs. electronic. Both types of scale are advertised as being accurate to 1/10 of a grain (0.1 gr.) That being said, with my beam scale I can eyeball the difference between one 0.1 grain and halfway to the next, so in effect I can get the accuracy down to roughly 0.05 grain. An electronic tells you in grains and tenths what it has, and that's that; you can't use any eyeballing in between the readings.

Admittedly, doing this takes a careful eye, a steady hand, and a room with no drafts. But one needs these to do any precision weighing.

If you can come up with an electronic that can consistently weigh to 0.05 gr, I'd like to know so's I can purchase one. Never seen an ad for one that offered any better than 0.1 grain accuracy.

IMHO, there are times when the beam scale is more useful (as in weighing powder charges, that all have to be the same) and times when the electronic is more useful (as in weighing a series of things that may NOT be the same). So a really well-equipped reloader should have a good one of each.

December 16, 2004, 10:48 PM
I went out and bought a Hornady balance.

I remember in high school chem class we learned to read what the tripple beam balances said and then estimate how far between the tenths of grams the marker was to get another significant digit of precision.

On another note, I was weighing some 115gr 9mm and 158 gr 357 bullets, all of them weighed less than their advertised weight by 1-3 grains. is this normal?

December 16, 2004, 10:53 PM
it's normal for people to have their balance-beam scales on tables that aren't level, producing 1-3 TENTHs of a grain high or low :)

1-3 grains is a bit much, i'd say.

December 16, 2004, 11:02 PM
I put a small level on the scale just to check.
Most bullets were within 1 whole grain, a few of the 9mm were as much as 3 grains less. All of them were too light.

Its possible I just need to practice wiht the scale more.

How much can I count on the bullets to weigh their advertised weights?

December 17, 2004, 12:01 AM
Lead bullets are notorious for being a few grains +-,but jacketed are usually very close to 'advertised' weight.Did you zero the scale before weighing.Zero it every time you use it.One would think having it level would do the trick,but I'd zero it anyway.the sligthest little thing can throw it off zero,whether lever or not.ie:the wight of the pan could vary from one scale to another.
don't forget to wear safety glasses when loading,and ear plugs are not a bad idea either.
The one place you can screw up BIGTIME is the powder charge.Inspect every case to be sure i'ts not more full than the others.Idon' know of any pistol that will hold up to a double charge.
Enjoy the hobby,and ask all the questons you want.

December 17, 2004, 12:27 AM
Why the need for earplugs?

Is the risk of busting a primer really that great?

December 17, 2004, 12:43 AM
Don't forget to zero out your scale.....Put it on 0, and adjust the leg til it reads zero......I have two scales, and they help big time, comparing the two... a RCBS and a cheapie Lee....I guess I am carefull, some say anal, but I always have safe loads that go bang....
Don't forget to work up a load...with pistol cal's, I start at the starting load, and work up .1 grain, til max, 5 each, take it to the range, and see how they group and feel, while checking for backed out primers, bulges in the case, hard extraction, etc....

December 17, 2004, 11:35 AM
the risk of primers going off is kinda remote,but does happen.If a hundred go off at once for some reason in a turret or progressive setup,i'ts plenty loud.Or so I've been told.Not interested in finding out for myself.

December 17, 2004, 02:10 PM
I'll have to back Smokie Joe on this one.The beam scale is every bit as accurate as the electronic scale and with practice and attention to detail much more so as he points out. Right along with checking your zero,keep your knife edges(pivot points) of your balance beam clean.A little dust can foul you up if you let it accumulate.
Now that you have your beam scale get a kinetic or other type of bullet removal tool and educate yourself on just how consistent your favorite factory ammunition really is. I've found premium rifle ammo to be .1-.3 gr.off on the powder charge and .1-1.3 gr. off on bullet weight;that's not bad at all-you say but @ $18-$29 for 20 cartridges it should be! Your bargain basement off the shelf ammo is another story altogether.

December 18, 2004, 07:14 PM
it's normal for people to have their balance-beam scales on tables that aren't level, producing 1-3 TENTHs of a grain high or low

Those are probably the people who normally don't check what their powder measure is throwing with a scale anyway. If they cared about the sort of "details" that scales are used for, they would be making sure the thing was zeroed before they used it. :uhoh:

December 18, 2004, 07:46 PM
Idon' know of any pistol that will hold up to a double charge.

Careful there are a group of loads that fall into this category. I don't use these powder types on my Dillion progressive press for exactly that reason.

Red Dot, Bullseye, Solo 1000, 700X, even Win 231 are all possible of double charges in the wrong application. Read your manual, know your case capacities. Be safe, not sorry.

When you get a reloading manual read the first couple of chapters carefully, at lot of safety and general background information in every manual I ever saw. Definately worth the time.

December 19, 2004, 07:08 PM
Getcha a set of check weights. No messing with level. Linearity is good. Balance beam scales are just as accurate as electronic scales and not nearly as finicky.

Consider check weights as a safety item just like glasses and plugs. When I first started reloading I did the level routine on my balance scale. I thought the loads were a bit stout. Bought check weights and saw I was throwing powder a good bit more than I thought. Not dangerous, but close to it.

December 20, 2004, 01:18 AM
I thought about getting check weights before even posting this thread.

Where might I locally find a low cost set?

Dave R
December 20, 2004, 11:34 AM
A low-cost alternative to a set of check weights it just a small collection of bullets near the weights you load for.

I have a 25gr (.17cal) bullet, and a 45 gr bullet. Those are right in the center of the range of powder weights I use for .223 and .308.

I realize the bullets may not be quite as precise as check weights, but the important thing it to load the same amount of of powder each time, right?

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