.38 in a .357 magnum case


April 22, 2008, 02:59 PM
Do you have to adjust your powder charge if you use the longer .357 magnum brass? If so, do I need more or less powder (I suppose more...) ?

I just started reloading, I'm sorry to bother you with my noob questions:o

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Smokey Joe
April 22, 2008, 03:11 PM
Silvanus--First of all, welcome to The Magnificent Obsession--Reloading!

And, BTW, the only stupid question is the one not asked.

Now, as to yr question, I do exactly that with my target loads. I shoot bullseye with my .357 S&W revolver, and rather than mess with having .38 cases around in addition to .357 cases, I load everything in .357 cases.

Theoretically, you'd need a small amount more powder in the .357 case to achieve the exact same bullet velocity as you'd get with a .38 case (all else being equal).

However with my bullseye wadcutter loads, for practice and competition, I just use the same load, a rather light one, and my S&W likes 'em just fine. The ammo is more accurate than I am.

For hunting, I use the same .357 cases, a much heavier bullet, and a slower-burning powder. The gun barks louder, recoils more, and of course hits deer harder. (And, FWIW, the cases last for a lot fewer reloading cycles!)

Bottom line: It depends on what you're loading for. For target and practice, which should be the vast majority of any handgunner's shooting, you load light target loads to the level yr handgun likes. Keeping within the parameters of a loading manual of course. Regardless of which cases you use.

So, while loading a .357 to .38 levels works just fine, of course you would NOT load a .38 case to .357 levels--you'd probably be endangering the .38 pistol in question, not to mention yr own fingers and eyes.

April 22, 2008, 03:24 PM
Thanks a lot for the fast answer :) What I'm loading right now is a "normal" .38 special load (4 grs of Accurate No.2) with a 158 grs FMJ FP bullet.

The gun I use them in is a S&W model 66 and model 19.

My first 50 rounds worked OK, but there was a bit of unburned powder in all the empty cases, so I have to adjust my load a little anyway.

April 22, 2008, 03:27 PM
Unless your load is extremely light, the small difference in case length will make no appreciable difference in performance.

There probably is some low-end where you will start to get squibs - but that's probably way lower than any load you will find in a reputable loading manual.

April 22, 2008, 03:43 PM
I would be very cautious with that load, especially if you move into .357 cases.

That is just a starting load with 158 grain jacketed bullets and would only give about 700 FPS.

It is very possible to stick a bullet in the bore with heavy jacketed bullets loaded that light.

If you notice, most every 158 grain Jacketed factory load for .38 Special is +P rated.

There is a very sound reason for that.
Too make sure the bullets get out of the barrel!


April 22, 2008, 03:58 PM
In the manual it says 4 grs is the max load. I used it because I only have .357 magnum revolvers anyway, so a max .38 load can not harm the gun in any way.

But thank you anyway, it's good to know that when I use another powder/load sometime.

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