Found a great deal on .357 brass, can it be trimmed to .38spl?


December 11, 2010, 11:12 AM
I found .357 O/F nickled brass for $13 per 250 + flat rate S&H, can fit like 2800 in a box for the same flat rate. He has over 200,000, I was thinking I can trim/re-size them back to .38 special and use them for my mid range loads on the cheap. I have an electric trimmer set that makes the work easy. Although my re-sizing is manual on a Lee Challanger set up perm for the sizing/decap.

What are your thoughts?

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December 11, 2010, 11:22 AM
It can be trimmed, but may 1) leave small nickel shards sticking out, and 2) may need reaming.

Some thoughts:
• 38 Spcl brass is not that uncommon
• A trip to your local indoor range may net you the same price in the correct brass
• Someone here may want to swap you 250 "357" for 300 "38Spcl"

The later seems like a lot less work and a much bigger bang, without all the possibility for headaches. AND, you make a 357 shooter very happy.

December 11, 2010, 11:36 AM
Found a great deal on .357 brass, can it be trimmed to .38spl?
Case walls may be* to thick on brass, keeping the loaded round from chambering. The expander die will open brass to let you seat a bullet, but the finished diameter should be no bigger than .379" Thats a whole lot of trimming.

December 11, 2010, 11:39 AM
Good thinking there, I can always turn the 357 shooter onto the source rather then have double S&H for each of us. Sadly my range sells their brass after shooting and crushes them after decapping and sold for scrap metal (brass, nickled brass, steel and aluminum). They do not want the liability of a law suit for reloading or selling them for reloaders<eye roll>. Yes, not uncommon, but someone always outbids me or on the I'll take it before me.

I would clean the brass after trim/resize. I do not think the flare is enough to chip the nickle but in my trimming process I can set a chamfer rather than a flare to be done in the same process.

December 11, 2010, 11:45 AM
Hmmmm My dies handle both 357 and 38 with no difference in the OD, the wall thickness will make the ID a tad smaller but I shoot mild mid range 38. The trim/chamfer would be for OACL to .38 specs.

I have time, I am just looking to save actual reloading $$$$

December 11, 2010, 12:04 PM
If my 357 neck splits aren't bad I'll trim & chamfer them to 38 SPL length. They are heavier than standard 38 cases though. For 38 loads I'd stay under the max listed powder charge by .2-.3 gr. But that's just me talkin' - YMMV.

December 11, 2010, 12:08 PM
It is a metric buttload of trimming, and the OD could possibly end up not fitting some tight chambers as the brass will be thicker where you seat the bullet. Back off Max charges .1 or maybe even .2 Grs, or if you see signs of trouble. Being Nickle wouldn't bother me, except that it is tougher on cutters.

Lots of cheap once fired .38 available. Your call. :)

December 11, 2010, 12:12 PM
Sounds like a good reason to purchase that Python you've always wanted.

December 11, 2010, 12:42 PM
LOL Win1892, I like your thinking. If it were just me, I would go .357, but my wife also shoots my 38 and she likes mild mid range loads.... I am just looking for them on the cheap. As long as I get to shoot, I do not care what load I am shooting so I might as well load for her.

I can have the lead bullets sized correctly for the 38 specs on the 357 case, my forcing cone and barrel are tight anyways on the 38. Midstates will size and lube as needed and they are dang near half the price of other bullet mfgs.

I never seem to find the cheap 38 brass, someone always gets it before me.

December 11, 2010, 12:45 PM
I would go .357, but my wife also shoots my 38 and she likes mild mid range loads.Buy a .357. Load .357 cases to .38 levels for her and whatever power level you like for you. That solves that. Now all you need to know is which .357. ;)

December 11, 2010, 01:24 PM
So where's this great deal on 357 brass? Every time I find one it's gone.

December 11, 2010, 01:41 PM
I'll swap you even and pay frt. for both of us if you like. I shoot a lot of nickeed brass in my .357Mag with low powered target loads. I enjoy both .357 and .38 Spl. but I make sure to use only .357 brass in my .357 loads- no .38 Spl. brass in my .357s At that price I could use 2000.

December 11, 2010, 07:02 PM
I love a happy ending. :)

December 11, 2010, 09:11 PM
Me too! I'm hoping it is forthcoming.

December 11, 2010, 09:44 PM
Kimber: I do not own the brass yet, I wanted to know if it is ok to do first. Kimber I will send you the addy for the deal. I am more than willing to pay you for the .38 at a fair price to you and I. They are deprimed but not cleaned or resized. They come from a City Owned Police range. They deprime for safety and the primer hole is checked by a laser to make sure they are deprimed.

Walkalong: I own a .357, it is way too heavy for my wife and daughter, so she shoots my 3" Mod 36-2 round butt with Pachmyer grips. She really enjoys that gun and the mild loads I make for her. My daughter and her will go through 200-300 rounds while I am tinkering with my other pistols in my stall. I just wanted to know if the 357 brass can be made into 38, like I said, I have time and just wanted to save reload $$$.

Howland: LOL Me too, that is why I am HUSH on the addy til I either get mine or decide not to. I will let the cat out of the bag soon either way in this thread.

Hondo 60
December 12, 2010, 01:23 AM
I'd be most concerned about the headstamp saying "357 Mag"
while it's actually sized for .38 spl.

I wouldn't want the headache of trying to remember which is which.

December 12, 2010, 02:04 AM
Since you own a .357 Magnum why not do what Walkalong suggested. Load the .357 Magnum brass to .38 Special levels? That will also speed up cleaning by eliminating the carbon ring left by .38 special brass in a .357 Magnum cylinder.

It's very easy to down load .357 Magnum brass to .38 Special levels, it's done all the time...

BTW, would you mind sharing your source? In most parts of the country used .357 Magnum brass is hard to come by while .38 Special brass is plentiful.

December 12, 2010, 06:04 AM
The headstamp is the only problem I see with it. The case walls aren't going to be that big of a deal that far up the case. It is still in the same area a bullet would be in most older 357mag loads anyway, crimping over the end of the last driving band, M28/M27 fashion.

Having headstamps that say 357Mag that would fit in a chamber rated for a 38spl is not what I would want laying around. One mistake later on with a hot load in a case that can be shot in a revolver not suited for that power, no thanks.

What if one of those rounds get into the gun your wife and daughter were shooting?

No, not when they are counting on me to give them safe loads to shoot, nope.

Do what you feel is safe for you and yours. You will have to live with the results.

And please, don't think that it can't happen. I'm sure someone else has already done it.

p.s. What will you be training your little girl to do anyway? Put ammunition in a firearm that says it is supposed to be fired in something else? Buy the 357Mag and get some 38spl too.

Steve Marshall
December 12, 2010, 06:36 AM
There will be no dimensional issues with trimmed down .357 brass. But perceptional issues abound. On a different tack, if you'll do a search, I'm fairly certain you can find a source that will be close on the price for 38 spl. brass. Example: I went to and they were selling 250 rounds of 38 Spl. brass for $15, saving all the labor of trimming/deburring for virtually the same price. And no mix-up.

Steve Marshall
December 12, 2010, 06:40 AM
I just went to the sell section and the first ad I saw was for 38 Spl. brass @ 4
cents each.

December 12, 2010, 11:39 AM
Skip & Hondo: of all the answers, yours was the most compelling and I agree. OK I am not going to do the 357's trimmed to 38's. That was a sound and well thought out reply and I appreciate the kick in the butt and a heads up. Yes, I want to teach my daughter correctly. Next year she starts a reloading class (10 classes in all, hosted by the reloading group at my Gander Mountain) and will have her own reload bench. She will most likely want it all PINK and POWDER Blue :) (she has a pink 10/22 and a pink .410 and a powder blue Savage Mk II in .17 wmrf.) if she ever asked for a Pink M4, I will send her off to a re-thinking camp in Alaska somewhere LOL. YES I know they exist, I just cannot take a PINK M4 in my house, makes me shiver just thinking of it.

Steve: in all of my searches, I never heard of I am headed that way now to see what they have. GLARES with squinted eyes that Steve found brass in the sell section.......loads blowgun with tranq darts...... Usually by the time I get there, super secret PM's are passed back and forth and all the brass is gone like magic.

Archangel: My wife and daughter (both are a very small framed and dainty women unlike me, I am a wide butt bull moose in a crytal shop) cannot handle the weight of my 357's, she must shoot the 36-2 with a 3" barrel and they both do very very well with it. I do not want either of them to bulk up like a Female Russian Shot Putter to handle the larger guns I have.

December 12, 2010, 11:44 AM
super secret PM's are passed back and forth and all the brass is gone like magic. Once fired .357 had been hard to find and overpriced for a while now. I have seen it not only advertised, but sold, for more than Starline sells it for new. :mad:

I ordered 500 from Starline when it was out of stock. I still received it in less than a month, before the "expected availability" date. :)

December 12, 2010, 04:11 PM
Glad I could be of some assistance. I try REAL hard to make my posts informative and at times a bit quippy. It gets to be challenging being so literary-ily challenged! ;)

Be safe, have fun, enjoy your family.

December 12, 2010, 07:30 PM
I got to thinking, my daughter uses a very similar firearm to your wife and daughter!
Ours is just stainless!

The most important thing is that they keep shooting! Buy the pink AR if you have to! :D

December 12, 2010, 08:41 PM
SO, where is this cheap .357 brass?

December 12, 2010, 11:35 PM
Skip: yes, close. Mine does not have an under lug and is a vintage 36-2 (1964) 3" with a plain barrel, fixed sights and of course it is blue. LOL if she wants a pink M4, she will have to wait til she is 18 (she is 17 now) and she needs to pay for it herself :) My wife just bought a pink NAA Mini Revolver in .22lr 1 5/8" barrel. They are having a ball with it.

You are right though, in reality I do not stop the pink and powder blue guns they like, it gets them shooting and doing family fun projects. My daughter is very interested in reloading for the M4 she is going to get. So I bought her a Lee Anniversary set and some extra stuff. She just has to wait to take the classes from Gander until she is 18 (their rules not mine). She helps me by decapping/resizing all the 38 brass we shoot, she also tends the tumbler. My son is over in the AFG war right now, he said send him the pink M4, he will scare the crap outta the tribals there LOL. My youngest daughter (9) is shooting BB/Pellet guns right now. Not quite old enough for real guns, maybe next year she gets a Chipmunk .22 rifle, more likely than not, the Barbie Mattel version in Fushcia <eye roll>.

December 13, 2010, 04:45 AM
OK, this is the third request..

Where is the cheap .357 Magnum brass with 200,000 pieces available??

Oh, and one more thing, where can I find this cheap brass????????????? :banghead:

December 13, 2010, 10:59 AM
The loaded rounds diameter of a cut down 357 Federal case compared to a Federal 38 special, both in nickel, are almost the same diameter. The 357 cut down is about .0015" larger. This is well under the the maximum of .379". All brass may not be the same and this is a test only with 1 case. :scrutiny:

December 13, 2010, 11:52 AM
Patience patience Archangel LOL... a few folks got it via PM's and I am giving them a chance to grab some before the masses do as I noticed the one commercial request here :) Us Po folks first, then the masses.

243win: I decided against using the 357 trimmed to 38 due to headstamp safty, but cool that you are looking into it.

December 13, 2010, 12:45 PM
Patience patience Archangel LOL... a few folks got it via PM's and I am giving them a chance to grab some before the masses do as I noticed the one commercial request here :) Us Po folks first, then the masses.

You haven't seen my checkbook.

December 13, 2010, 05:44 PM
243win: I decided against using the 357 trimmed to 38 due to headstamp safty, but cool that you are looking into it.
You haven't commented on the several suggestions to load .38 Special level loads in the .357 Magnum brass. Do you think that would work for you when shooting your Magnum. I know you already said you wife prefers shooting the M36 so that's out on that end but what about you?

December 13, 2010, 06:14 PM
Right now there's a good deal on .38 Special brass on this forum.
The price is right to at only $60/1000 so that should solve your .38 Special brass shortage. Also, the seller is a trusted source. (one of the Mods! LOL)

December 13, 2010, 06:35 PM
If you are referring to me as the commercial post then you should know that I don't sell brass. I only sell bullets. I just want more .357 brass because all I can get around here is .38.

December 13, 2010, 06:41 PM
He was watching too. He picked some up there after 3PM today.

KosmicKrunch, whether you need more or not please keep my offer in mind and I'm still interested in the nickeled .357 regardless. Thanks, Don

December 13, 2010, 07:33 PM
Don't see why it wouldn't work. While I've never done the .357 to .38 cutdown I did once buy some .357 Maximum brass back during the ammo shortage days when .357 was unobtainable and used a drill and lee trimmer to cut it down to .357. Worked fine with no issues either loading or firing. Checked all dimensions with calipers and micrometers on the finished product and everything mic'ed out.

December 13, 2010, 08:38 PM
Arch, ty for the heads up. I grabbed some up earlier today (first time I have ever been on time to get it from here). I rarely shoot my .357 as I am trying to train in CAS using a S&W 1926 M&P with Pachmyers .38special with 158 gr LSWC Kieth style sharp edge over 4.7 of Universal due to my arthritis. It is just an easier gun frame wise for me to shoot.

The 357's I have is an S&W N frame (1980's), Dan Wesson (1980's) and/or the Colt Python (1970's). They are just all too big for me to shoot anymore, most likely will sell them sometime this winter.

Kimber: I have that deal from you in my pocket for sure, will know weds and I will let you know. I am in a weird and deep winter storm right now in Sandusky Ohio. This is the first time I have ever seen it snow UPwards (snow going straight up) for hours, so I have been concentrating on that. I shovle for 3 hours and come in and puter for 1 hour and so on and so on.

Sniper: wow max to mag....I think the same concept of using wrong brass for a load is a safety HAZ. I have now been convinced it is not a good idea.

Howlnmad: LOL trust me, I know what a thin check book looks like, I have a 17 year old daughter and a wife that really likes Candle-lite stuff way way too much. I will post here soon on the source.

December 13, 2010, 11:03 PM
I'd like 500 of them nickle brass also/thanks

December 23, 2010, 05:16 PM
So what's the word, good sir?

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