.38 Spl loads in .357 brass?


Sleeping Dog
September 28, 2005, 12:24 PM
I have a bunch of 357 brass, and want .38 Spl rounds. Can I just load the .38 bullet/powder amounts in the longer case? If so, should I make the OAL for 357, or for 38 (pushed a little further into the case)?

Any dangers here that I'm not seeing?


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Brian Williams
September 28, 2005, 01:02 PM
For 38 spec load levels in a 357 case add (GOCNRAT)???


146-148 grain LWC (Lead Wad Cutter)
38 spec
Universal 3.8 gr. 940
Universal 4.0 gr. 989

158 grain LSWC or LRN (Semi-Wad, Rnd. Nose or flat point)
38 spec
231 4.5 gr. 830 (published MAX)
357 mag
231 6.1 gr. 1,075



Brian Williams
September 28, 2005, 01:06 PM
Do NOT push the Bullet further into the case

then you are asking for trouble.

September 28, 2005, 01:37 PM
"...just load the .38 bullet/powder amounts in the longer case..." Yep. Regular .38 loads work just fine in .357 cases. Saves you the extra cleaning of the cylinders too. We're all assuming you're using a .357 revolver and want reduced loads though. No using .357 cases in a .38 Special revolver. Too long.
OAL for the .357 case. Unless you're using WC's. Then it doesn't matter. 2.5 to 2.7 of Bullseye with a 148 grain WC.

Sleeping Dog
September 28, 2005, 03:08 PM
Thanks, all.

And, I hear you loud and clear, Brian. All that big red ink. OAL will be for .357, not pushed in for .38spl.

And yes, the pistol is chambered (if that's what it's called on a revolver) for .357 mag.


Brian Williams
September 28, 2005, 04:59 PM
S&W calls them charge holes but each hole has a chamber.

September 28, 2005, 05:26 PM
2.5gr of 700X is my bullseye load for .38spec 148gr wadcutter. To shoot to the same point I use 3.0 gr of 700X and a 148gr wadcutter. Quantrill

The Bushmaster
September 28, 2005, 07:41 PM
A .38 special is a .38 special....a .357 magnum is a .357 magnum...Never the twain shall meet. For crying out loud...Load .357 magnum as a magnum and load .38 special as a .38 special. Don't reinvent the wheel and don't change the rules of safety. I guess my biggest question is WHY!!???!! :banghead:

Hey Brian Williams...I always thaought that was CRS (Can't remember Sh**). But I like yours too. :D

Randy in Arizona
September 29, 2005, 12:58 AM

Maybe he just wants a light load. :)

Just because you may drive a Lamborghini, you may not want to go 185 MPH going to the corner deli. :what:

YMMV :scrutiny:

The Bushmaster
September 29, 2005, 01:16 AM
Randy...I have been loading for quite a while now and I have never seen a load for making a .357 magnum into a .38 special. There must be a reason. He wants a light .357 magnum then load 13.5 grains of 2400 under a 110 or 125 grain JHP. To put a under light powder charge in a large case could be disasterous. Anything from a squib to a finger remover depending on the powder used.

I have an idea for him...Light load??? Buy a .22 rifle or handgun that shoots .22 shorts.....He could buy a .38 special.... ;)

If I owned a Lamborghini I wouldn't drive it to a deli. I'd send my man servant. :D

September 29, 2005, 09:17 AM
I light load my .357 Mag rounds for CAS. I also use my .357's for hunting and load hot for them. 1 gun with multiple uses and loads.

If you use Cowboy action loads for .357 mag you end up with a round that is around 800-1000 FPS.

Following is loading data- use at your own risk- from Hodgkins basic reloaders manual

Hodgkins starting Cowboy loads for .357 are:

158 grn LSWC
Universal 4.0 grn 890 FPS
HP38 3.4 grn 796 FPS
Titegroup 3.5 grn 893 FPS
Clays 3.2 grn 867 FPS

September 29, 2005, 10:21 AM
It happens all the time, regardless of who can't get their heads around it :rolleyes:

The larger case volume of the 357 means you need to add a bit of powder to get the same pressure and velocity. It's obviously not a BIG difference in case volume, but it is significant. For the same projectile, I find an increase of about 10% in the powder charge usually gets you quite close to a duplicate load. Don't switch to magnum primers just 'cause you're using a mag case; any powder for a 38/faux38 load will ignite just fine with standards.

Ol` Joe
September 29, 2005, 11:03 AM
Starting 357 mag loads of faster powders such as WW231, Bullseye, ect should put you in a similar velocity range as normal 38spcl loadings. The 38 runs at ~800-1000fps depending on bullet wgt and isn`t hard to copy. The cowboy loads, as suggested above, would be an excellent way of getting what you want.

September 29, 2005, 11:19 AM
I guess my biggest question is WHY!!???!!
Bullseye shooters do it all the time...beats trying to clean out the 38 burn ring in each chamber.
FWIW...2.5 - 2.7 of V310, 2.7 - 2.9 of BE

Brian Williams
September 29, 2005, 02:54 PM
For some "cat sneeze" loadsED's pages (http://guns.connect.fi/gow/ed.html)

September 29, 2005, 04:29 PM
Accuracy could also be a consideration here. The closer the bullet is to the forcing cone the less likely the chance for a cocked bullet. When I first started shooting PPC, I found that my scores were marginally higher using .357mag cases than with the .38spec. cases. Quantrill

Sleeping Dog
September 29, 2005, 05:53 PM
If I owned a Lamborghini I wouldn't drive it to a deli. I'd send my man servant.

Why? Well, mostly because I have a pile of .357 brass, and cast lead .38SPL bullets. And I don't want to trim the brass to other-than-.357 length. The powder stain in that last tenth of an inch of cylinder was a minor consideration. I didn't even consider that longer brass might help accuracy. I have a feeling the pistol is more accurate than the shooter.

I'm not looking for "cat sneeze" rounds, just something mild as a normal .38SPL, for target plinking, practice. But I like the term "cat sneeze". I make "cat sneeze" 6.5x55 for the wife to shoot with her Swede Mauser - 130 gr lead bullet on top of 10gr of Win231 - a stealth round.

If I owned a Lamborghini, I'd drive it to the deli, very fast. I'd send my man servant to pick up .38SPL and .357 factory ammo at the store. He can carefully drive the Bentley. He'd pick up an ammo brand that I couldn't pronounce anyway. I wouldn't need to go to the range. I'd just shoot crystal goblets off the heads of the garden statuary. :D


Standing Wolf
September 29, 2005, 10:01 PM
I've been loading .38 special target loads in .357 magnum cartridge cases three decades now. I've never encountered a single problem with it.

Randy in Arizona
September 29, 2005, 10:45 PM
I am at work just now and only have what is on the internet for loading data available.

BUT, IIRC several of my loading books have light loads for lead bullets in 357s.

Unique, Bullseye and several other fast powders will work fine down to very moderate velocities.

Master Blaster
September 30, 2005, 09:29 AM
6.0 grains of unique, 5.0 grains of titegroup, 4.8 grains of 231, all behind a 158 LSWC are my favorite down loaded .357 target loads. I have gone as low as 4.0 grains of titegroup, and 231 but I get better accuracy with the slightly higher velocity loads.

A brisker midrange load? 7.7 grains of unique behind a 158 Semijacketed Hollow point, is an excellent defensive snubby load in .357 magnum.

I have loaded and fired several thousand of these down loaded .357 rounds with no problem at all.

CAS loads are availible from many powder manufacturers for the .357 mag cartridge and are quite safe.

Remember CHECK A LOADING MANUAL dont just use my loads.

Sleeping Dog
September 30, 2005, 12:38 PM
6.0 grains of unique, 5.0 grains of titegroup, 4.8 grains of 231, all behind a 158 LSWC are my favorite
I tried that, but after putting the 6g of unique and the 5g of titegroup, there wasn't enough room in the case for the 4.8g of 231 unless I really smash the bullet on top. :D (kidding, M-B)

Thanks to all, I have a bunch of "recipes" to compare with loading book data and try out. This should keep me busy for a while, loading and shooting.


Ohen Cepel
September 30, 2005, 12:46 PM
Great info! I was just thinking about doing the same thing.

Buying a Python and want to shoot it a good bit. However, don't want to beat it and me to death. Also, didn't want to have to deal with the ring that the .38's leave behind in the cylinder.

I think it's a great way to go myself.

Thanks for the info.

Sharps Shooter
September 30, 2005, 02:56 PM
"... 6g of unique and 5g of titegroup, there wasn't enough room in the case for 4.8g of 231..." :D
Darn it Sleeping Dog! You made coffee go up my nose! :D

The Bushmaster
September 30, 2005, 08:39 PM
As long as you caught it and didn't let it go to waste. Sharps shooter... :D

September 30, 2005, 09:59 PM
"...the ring that the .38's leave behind..." Said ring is lube from the bullet. Using .357 cases makes it go away.
"...never seen a load for making a .357 magnum into a .38 special..." You don't and aren't. You're just using .357 cases loaded to .38 specs. The same as you can load .44 mag cases to .44 Spec velocities. No big deal.

The Bushmaster
September 30, 2005, 10:40 PM
Oh Dam*!! I just can't leave it alone. The ring seen in the chamber of a .357 magnum, or any other revolver, is caused by the crimp slamming against the chamber wall. If you use .38 special cases in a .357 magnum and shoot enough of them you will eventually have a ring deep enough to jam a .357 magnum case as it expands into the ring.

There. I'm happy now... :D

October 1, 2005, 04:25 PM
How many rounds before I see this Bushmaster? 50,000+? Maybe I should start to be worried...

The Bushmaster
October 1, 2005, 06:15 PM
I don't know how many it will take you Hobie, but I took around 5,000 rounds of .357 magnum in my Colt SAA to realize that I didn't want to use .38 specials in it. My crimp wear ring is very evident. I have no idea how many rounds that I have put through it sense I noticed this, but it's many. The Colt is around 40 years old and still going. But, you just go right ahead. :evil:

If you want to shoot .38 specials...Buy a .38 special....I have three .357 magnums and three .38 specials. Works for me. 'course what do I know... :D

Sleeping Dog
October 1, 2005, 08:07 PM
6.0 grains of unique, 5.0 grains of titegroup, 4.8 grains of 231, all behind a 158 LSWC are my favorite
I got to the range today, tried the 6.0g of unique with 158 lead round-nose. It was pretty accurate, like the store-bought stuff it grouped better than my 1911. No chrony, but it seemed a little hotter than the store-bought 38spl (winchester white box fmj fn).

The Unique powder was from a few cans I "inherited" that may be pretty old. It was packaged under the "Hercules" brand, not Alliant. Maybe there were some corporate mergers etc over the years? Anyway, the powder shot nice and seemed to meter accurately.

I'll try the 231 next, since I have some of that handy. It's newer powder, too, that I bought from a store, not "inherited" from who-knows-where.


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