cylinder residue, 38 vs 357 ??


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oldfool
September 23, 2010, 09:26 AM
not meant to be a "contentious' topic, just curiosity

this being so very frequently stated, i.e, 38sp leaving ring buildup in your 357 cylinders... it seems to be universally accepted verbatim, but I have never experienced it myself, wondering why not

I have owned and shot some (same) 357s for decades, but never did shoot a heavy diet of 357s, have fired countless rounds of el cheapo white box 38sp range fodder thru 'em, and occasionally will shoot up a box of 38+P, and once in a rare while some 357s

Just never have had any issues with aforementioned ring buildup in cylinder chambers. I do clean my guns before leaving range, or at least same day (whether one shot fired or a few hundred). Have never had any issues with longer cartridges sticking or ejecting or whatever. It is very rare that my cylinders are touched by a brass brush, just solvent and patches... always left mirror clean & shiny, no special effort, and all rounds always drop in and drop out effortlessly

I know it can happen. it obviously does happen for some.
Maybe related to handloading and/or cast bullets ?
(most range fodder these days is jacketed or coated anyway, perhaps due to indoor range lead issues, I dunno, but I never had any issues whenever shooting factory RNL either)
Maybe related to round count cartridge X vs Y in-between cleanings ?

just honest curiousity...
Is this a very real phenomena for you, or is it one of those things we presume to be an issue simply by merit of being so oft mentioned ?

thanks

PS
same can be said of my 357 carbines, always clean 'em routinely, never had an issue switching to longer cartridges, even same range session, though I hardly ever do >100 rounds per session, most often only 50 in some one cartridge vs mix-n-match
(understood, I am prone to err on the side of caution on such things, and recommend that everyone else should also, not sayin' any different)

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SaxonPig
September 23, 2010, 10:02 AM
I've never been hit by a drunk driver. Just lucky, I guess.

Seriously, who knows why your gun is fine with 38s while others will gum up quickly? Could be the way the chamber is sized, or the type of powder in the ammo, or the type of bullets, etc.

MrBorland
September 23, 2010, 10:27 AM
Maybe related to round count cartridge X vs Y in-between cleanings ?

...That

Could be the way the chamber is sized, or the type of powder in the ammo, or the type of bullets

...That

, etc.


...and that.

I've not had trouble, either. I'm no clean freak about my guns, but I do swab out the cylinder regularly.

Walkalong
September 23, 2010, 10:27 AM
Some loads are cleaner than others, and since you clean after shooting every time, it doesn't get a chance to build up in your guns. Many folks don't clean every time.

springfield30-06
September 23, 2010, 10:37 AM
since you clean after shooting every time, it doesn't get a chance to build up in your guns. Many folks don't clean every time.

I believe that this is the the biggest reason why you have never experienced it. I personally haven't experienced it on my .357's either, but I rarely go through any more than 400 rounds of .38's and 100 .357's before I clean it.

I have experienced while firing other people's guns. I do not know how many rounds had been fired before cleaning the cylinders, but I suspect many more than 500 rounds. Both were used guns and I know for a fact neither had the cylinders cleaned out before firing with the new owner.

foghornl
September 23, 2010, 01:51 PM
Some loads are 'dirtier' than others...f'rinstance, I shot some .38Spl cowboy loads that were so smoky I coulda sworn they were loaded w/blackpowder.

I pull
ed apart a couple of them to check; no BP, but those loads were VERY soft lead with a lot of lube.

Old Shooter
September 23, 2010, 02:05 PM
Cleaning is the key to your success. The dreaded "ring" never gets a chance to build up and therefore you don't have the problems some shooters experience.

I shoot about the same mixture of 38 vs 357 as you do, I also clean my guns after every session and I haven't had any extraction problems either.

I wonder what the secret to fixing the extraction problems might be??? :)

Fishslayer
September 23, 2010, 04:27 PM
Whoever owned my '64 M28-2 must have:
A. Fired a LOT of .38sp
and
B. NEVER cleaned the chambers

First time I ran any "real" magnum handloads I got a little freaked by the sticking cases. Thought I'd screwed up. Turns out it was the carbon ring. After a LOT of scrubbing, no more problem.

Waywatcher
September 23, 2010, 04:50 PM
I use chore-boy wrapped around a brush just like I do for lead in the bore and the rings come right out. The best commercial product I found for getting rid of the rings was using a .38 Rifle Tornado brush from Hoppes; that thing cleans the rings out well too. Also, a .40 cal brush is decent.

I've never had a problem ever with .357 brass sticking, but I do tend to clean every couple range trips.

dashootist
September 23, 2010, 08:28 PM
My solution: own a 38spl revolver as well as a 357, and use only the caliber designed for the gun.

gwnorth
September 23, 2010, 08:50 PM
I've never had an issue with it either. And like you, I also always clean my revolvers within a day at most of being shot. So nothing ever accumulates. That, and after cleaning I lightly oil my cylinders too, just as you'd lightly oil a barrel before putting a gun away. Any excess gets wiped out before being loaded and shot again, but I think it makes the cleaning all that much easier and helps ensure that nothing really gets baked on hard to the steel.

Cosmoline
September 23, 2010, 09:07 PM
The tightness of the cylinder is also a big factor. Some revolvers are just made with more generous tolerances. Bad for accuracy, but good for reducing sticky chambers.

duns
September 23, 2010, 09:20 PM
I've not had any issues either. I typically shoot 5 x 357's each session along with around 50 38 Spl. I clean after each (or maybe second) range visit. Suspect it's either a problem for those who don't clean very often or else a theoretical problem that rarely arises in practice.

wanderinwalker
September 23, 2010, 10:26 PM
Well, I can say the ring in the cylinder is true in my case. My S&W 19 gets a pretty solid ring after a few dozen .38s. I also use lead bullets exclusively in my .38 loads. My solution is to do my .357 shooting first on a range trip, then switch to .38s and clean when I get home.

Luckily, I avoid this in my .44 Magnum by using the Magnum cases for 95-98% of my loads. But for the cost of new brass and all of the free .38 brass I've accumulated, I'll just keep cleaning the chambers.

chg
September 23, 2010, 11:05 PM
I've never experienced chamber ringing using my own cast bullets in the .38 but have with handloads using commercial swedged lead bullets. Can't say if it was the lube or the softer alloy used in the commercial bullets but it does happen. I clean up after every shooting session so it's never accumulated or even become troublesome, just a little "sticky" when chambering the longer .357s

buck460XVR
September 24, 2010, 02:56 PM
I too assume your diligent cleaning regimen is the reason you have avoided this dreaded affliction......or it could be just luck of the draw. Either way, I bet close examination after shooting several hundred rounds and before cleaning will show a ring of some kind, regardless of how slight. Is it a problem? Nope as you have found out.......simple cleaning takes care of it. Why so many make such a big deal outta it is beyond me.

rcmodel
September 24, 2010, 03:01 PM
You have been way more lucky then most.
Or you just aren't seeing the hard carbon rings.

I just shot 24 rounds of Remington factory .38 Spl 158 grain lead in my Model 66 .357 last weekend.
That's four shots in each chamber with factory ammo.

And I had to use a bronze bore brush on a drill to get the carbon rings completely out of the cylinder when I got home.

rc

Sport45
September 25, 2010, 12:56 AM
My solution: own a 38spl revolver as well as a 357, and use only the caliber designed for the gun.

But .357mag and .38 special ARE the same caliber. ;)

And .357mag revolvers are designed to fire either.

You knew that, of course.

oldfool
September 25, 2010, 02:30 AM
"Or you just aren't seeing the hard carbon rings."

yup, you right, rc, (no big surprise, that)..
just had to look close enough, I just pulled 'em out and had to "see it" after your post
Inattentive, I guess, just never had good enough reason to really look for it, but there are "carbon rings" in there, in both of 'em

vintage specific mebbe, I dunno, sloppy bores mebbe, but if so, I can live with it
they way they both still lockup and shoot, got no good reason to care
about a year ago, mounted a 3 moa red dot on 'em, "just to see" as they say..
cheated with the grip butt planted on a sandbag, of course (crappy hands, fuzzy eyes), one not-real-ragged hole @ 15 yards, 6 shot groups half the size of and well centered in 1" shoot-n-see dots...won't win any medals, no, but better than I ever could do off-hand... "what's not to love about this", I said... last time I did that off-hand w/ open irons was so long ago, T-rex was more feared than Grizz...
(well, the balance of a k-frame w/ that silly stuff setting on top of it, that's not to love, been there, saw that, did that, and took it back off)

my favored two (only two I ever shoot any 357s out of anyway, k-frames being my woobie thing)
model 66-2 - bought NIB about '83/'84, price $309, "to die for", been shot a lot in the ~25 years since, but not hurt a bit
model 66-3 - vintage ~1986/90 mebbe, bought used but not abused, mebbe 4 years ago, cop gun is my guess, somebody left it in leather for too long, but they sure didn't hurt it none by shootin' it too much, price $330
can't tell 'em apart off-hand or off a sandbag

but, yes, they are both "ringed", and I never have put a brush thru the -3 cylinder, and cannot remember last time I ever put a brush thru the-2 cylinder

so... had to pull some 357s out of the box tonite (cheapo Remington 125gr JSP, not Super-Vel, you know), and drop 'em in.. and they do, drop in clean, one at a time or speedloader six at a time... and if you turn the guns up at ~30 degrees (not 45, not vertical), they fall right out too... haven't shot anything hotter than 38+P in 'em in quite a while, but now I am going to have to do some 357s this weekend, just to see if fired casings drop as expected.. I do have some 158s buried somewhere in that box
(what I get for speaking out of turn, I reckon) :o

sniper5
September 25, 2010, 10:30 AM
I shoot .357 only in my revolver. My wife shoots .38 only in hers. Same model (Ruger GP161). I load Berry's plated and clean often. You can't tell the difference in the cylinders.

YMMV

oldfool
September 25, 2010, 12:55 PM
well, all I am really seeing in mine is just carbon blacking at the counterbore depth of max length casing, at transition to lesser bullet OD than casing OD, that's all
not unlike the concentric carbon black rings on the front cylinder face, not gummy or hardened residue like that prone to accumulate under top strap at forcing cone if not kept clean, just "stain", shows the gun has been put to proper use, that's all.. (all of which can be removed, just not worth the effort)

rcmodel
September 25, 2010, 01:33 PM
now I am going to have to do some 357s this weekend, just to see if fired casings drop as expected.. The problem isn't that the rounds won't chamber easily or extract. They will, until it gets really bad bad.

The problem is that the fouling reduces the diameter of the chamber right at the point the .357 bullet is crimped into the case mouth.

Even some .38 fouling ring can keep the .357 case mouth / crimp from expanding fully when the round fires, which increases the cases grip on the bullet.

That in turn raises chamber pressure.

It might not matter in a Ruger Blackhawk, but I feel it matters a great deal in K-Frame .357 S&W's. They need all the help they can get when it comes to handling high pressure loads!!

rc

oldfool
September 25, 2010, 05:01 PM
better explanation than any other I ever heard before
thanks, rc

moxie
September 25, 2010, 08:49 PM
oldfool,
Your experience is one more example of why I believe what I was taught, "Never let the sun set on a dirty gun." Many of the so-called problems we hear about on the internet would disappear if guns were cleaned properly.

I, too, shoot gobs of .38s, factory and reloads, lead and jacketed, with no problems whatsoever when I get around to firing .357s. They chamber and eject/extract normally. Most empties just fall out. Smooth as silk. One gun in particular, a Security Six, has over 30K rounds on it in over 20 years, and it's flawless.

dashootist
September 26, 2010, 02:00 AM
But .357mag and .38 special ARE the same caliber.
And .357mag revolvers are designed to fire either.


I don't agree. The barrel on my revolver only has "357" on it. The manufacturer's box only states 357. No where does the manufacturer suggest 38spl. We use 38spl in 357 revolver at our own risk.

Sport45
September 26, 2010, 03:01 AM
From S&W's Safety and Instruction manual for Modern Revolvers (http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson2/upload/other/S&W_Revolver_Manual.pdf):

Locate the cartridge designation marked on the firearm. This information indicates the correct ammunition that must be used in this firearm. (Fig. 1).

You are responsible for selecting ammunition that meets industry standards and is appropriate in type and caliber for this firearm. Never use a cartridge not specifically designated for use in your firearm. The wrong type of ammunition may exceed the capability of your firearm and may damage or even rupture your firearm.

Never mix ammunition.

• Additional ammunition calibers can be fired from the
following list of select calibers.
Caliber on Barrel Can also Fire
.500 S&W MAG -----.500 Special
.460 S&W MAG ----- .45 Colt, .454 Casull
.45 Colt ----- .45 Schofield, .45 S&W
.45 S&W ----- .45 Schofield
.45 ACP ----- .45 Auto Rim (in revolvers only)
.44 Magnum ----- .44 Special
.357 Magnum ----- .38 Special, .38 Special +P
.22LR ----- .22L, .22 Short (in revolvers only)

A little further into the manual:

• Always start your shooting experience with the lowest bullet
velocity and lowest bullet weight available for your firearm.

Some examples are as follows:
- Use .38 S&W Special in place of .357 Magnum® loads.
- Use .44 Special in place of .44 Magnum® loads.
- Use “mid-range” or “target” loads rather than loads designated “high power”.

In fact the only 38 caliber ammunition they specifically warn against are +P+ loads and magnum loadings of less than 120gr.

From the Ruger GP100 Instruction Manual (http://www.ruger.com/products/_manuals/gp100.pdf):

RUGER® GP100® revolvers will chamber the .357 Magnum, .38 Special +P, .38 Special +P+, and the .38 Special cartridge. Ruger revolvers are designed for use with cartridges of the correct caliber which are manufactured in accordance with the U.S. Industry Standards. Be certain to use proper cartridges of the correct caliber.

It is certainly safe and acceptable to shoot .38 special in a .357mag revolver. The only risk lies in letting the chambers get fouled.

S&Wfan
September 26, 2010, 03:02 AM
I shot a ton of light handloaded .38 Special in my K-frames during my competition years . . . and I'm talking big quantities of ammo. Most was light loads of "dirty" Alliant Unique power with lubed soft lead wadcutters, lead SWC and LRN bullets. I also shot these revolvers in .357 a lot too.

Cleaning every day? Are you kidding? LOL

But, when things got a little sticky I'd run a solvent brush down the barrel and cylinder holes a few times and rag the holes out real good too and the problem went away.

It is a ZERO issue to the occasional plinker using factory ammo and repeating urban legends from others who repeated the same unfounded urban legends too . . . and it is also a non-issue to the really active shooter/reloader/competitor too. Once the gun starts to gum up it just means it is time to say "hello" to Mr. Brush again.

788Ham
September 26, 2010, 07:37 PM
I read, on a non-remembered website, about using "Flitz" metal cleaner for removing the burnt residue on the forcing cone side of the cylinder. This stuff works like a champ on my 629 SS revolver, puts the shine back on the firearm before oiling and storing. I imagine it'll work on those revolvers that are shot and put away until "another time". LOL One could put a dab on a larger than normal cleaning pad, could even chuck the rod in a drill if you wanted to, and scrub the daylights out of the cylinder, run a bronze brush in and out and wipe it off. Can be used on blued revolver too, I imagine, they get dirty too.

moxie
September 28, 2010, 10:41 AM
Just for the heck of it:

.38 Special is not a caliber, it is a cartridge designation.

.357 Magnum is not a caliber, it is a cartridge designation.

"Caliber" is a measure of the diameter of a bullet, where one caliber = one inch. Therefore a .50 caliber machine gun bullet is one half inch in diameter.

The .38 Special and .357 Magnum "cartridges" are both .357 caliber, or .357". The difference is in case length. The .357 Magnum round was developed from the .38 Special round and the .357 is only .135" longer than the .38. This was done to prevent the more powerful .357 magnum rounds from being fired out of older guns chambered for the .38 Special. .38 Special cartridges may be fired from guns marked .357 Magnum, but not the reverse.

A similar situation exists with the .44 Special and the .44 Magnum. It gets really wierd here as both are actually .429 caliber with the magnum case being slightly longer. Throw in the older .44 Russian. Same caliber. Case even shorter than the special.

And there are many other examples. The problem is that the development of firearms cartridges developed over a long period of time in different places. There was no single person controlling the whole thing.

People sometimes/often misuse the terms caliber and cartridge (as well as others).

Hope this helps.

DickM
September 28, 2010, 02:30 PM
Therefore a .50 caliber machine gun bullet is one half inch in diameter.

.510, actually. (Sorry, couldn't resist. :))

moxie
September 28, 2010, 02:56 PM
DickM is right. I was trying to illustrate the concept of caliber in a clear way and got trapped by the same problems I tried to illustrate later on.

Hondo 60
September 28, 2010, 07:15 PM
I haven't seen this issue in a single trip to the range, and I clean my guns after each trip. I'm guessing this is something that builds over time(?).

I've shot hundreds of .38 spls in the 66-2 & near a hundred in my SP101 (fairly new). I don't know if them being stainless makes a difference?

.45FMJoe
September 29, 2010, 05:28 PM
I don't agree. The barrel on my revolver only has "357" on it. The manufacturer's box only states 357. No where does the manufacturer suggest 38spl. We use 38spl in 357 revolver at our own risk.
This is flat out incorrect. Research the .38 Special and .357 Magnum cartridge history.

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