.357 load in .38 Case


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Hungry1
November 18, 2012, 11:55 AM
Hello, I have question.

I shoot Speer 158 gr SWCHP over 6 grains of Unique in .357 cases. I'm happy with the load.

What is the danger of putting that same amount of powder in a .38 case?

My Speer manual lists 5.2 as max for .38+P

Every once in a while, when shooting from a LCR, the recoil will knock the round out of the case and prevent the cylinder from turning. This could be eliminated by using the shorter .38 cases.

Thanks

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Chuck Perry
November 18, 2012, 12:14 PM
With the bullet seated identically in either case, the 38 will have less capacity than the 357. This will have the effect of higher operating pressure in the 38 case. There are some that will use 357 powder charges in 38 cases, but it's not something to be taken lightly.
If you' re only concerned about the problem you detailed in your post, you should be able to solve that by re-examining your reloading process. Better case tension and a firmer crimp should solve the bullet jump issue you're experiencing. I'd first look at how much you're belling your case mouth; too much will negatively effect your case tension. If you shoot a lot of cast, try a Lyman M die. This is an expander die made exclusively for loading cast. I use them on all my revolver loads.

beatledog7
November 18, 2012, 12:19 PM
You're missing a very important point--internal pressure. If the manual says 5.2gr is max for a +P, why would you consider upping that to 6.0gr? It might not hurt your revolver, but it will ply havoc with your brass.

If you're getting bullet jump in your .357s it's because you don't have enough neck tension and/or insufficient crimp. Failure to alleviate these issues with the .38SPL cases will not solve your problem, and you'll be in an overpressure situation to boot.

In short, don't do it.

mdi
November 18, 2012, 12:30 PM
You're missing a very important point--internal pressure. If the manual says 5.2gr is max for a +P, why would you consider upping that to 6.0gr? It might not hurt your revolver, but it will ply havoc with your brass.

If you're getting bullet jump in your .357s it's because you don't have enough neck tension and/or insufficient crimp. Failure to alleviate these issues with the .38SPL cases will not solve your problem, and you'll be in an overpressure situation to boot.

In short, don't do it.
Ditto
+1
Amen!

CraigC
November 18, 2012, 12:48 PM
It might not hurt your revolver, but it will ply havoc with your brass.
No it won't. :rolleyes:

I've used standard .38Spl brass for .38-44 loads in the 1300fps range 20 times without issue a single loss. I just stopped counting.

Hungry1
November 18, 2012, 12:49 PM
Okay. I figured it must be a over-pressure issue.

I'll address the neck tension.

Can anyone explain the advantage of the M-Die over the expander die in the RCBS set?

I do have a Lee expander die that I've used for cast rifle loads. Is one better than the other?

Thanks again.

jmorris
November 18, 2012, 12:56 PM
My old IDPA "minor" loads were over 38+p book loads, to make power factor. I only used them in 357 revolvers and kept good track of them.

The danger is having a 357 load in a case that can fit into a 38 revolver. Do that and you could be one of the folks starting a kaboom thread.

rsrocket1
November 18, 2012, 01:19 PM
Every once in a while, when shooting from a LCR, the recoil will knock the round out of the case and prevent the cylinder from turning. This could be eliminated by using the shorter .38 cases.

If your rounds are being knocked out by the recoil you might want to try working on your roll crimp technique. Yes, it takes some practice, but a good roll crimp without overdoing it should hold the bullet in place. Here is a thread with good pictures on roll crimps (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=469815). Yes, the OP is about 38 specials and the Lee FCD, but it progresses into a good thread on proper roll crimps.

As for loads with > 38+p pressures in a 357, I'd keep it below the recommended 5.2g Unique. I personally like 5.0g Unique under my cast 158g RNF bullets. It pushes the bullet into the mid 990 fps with a 4" barrel and makes you feel like you're really shooting something and not firing a starters' gun :)

Chuck Perry
November 18, 2012, 01:32 PM
http://www.lymanproducts.com/includes/img/lyman/dies/rifleDies_mdie.jpg

The image shows the M die in use. The M die first expands the case to just under caliber(image A). It then creates a very slight, squared off expansion (image B). It then slightly flares the case mouth (image C). When you have it set up just right, the bullets actually snap into place when you fit them into the case for seating. The M die promotes great case tension on the bullet, plus it really helps seat your bullets perfectly straight.

Walkalong
November 18, 2012, 01:52 PM
You need better neck tension, along with a good roll crimp (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=115026&stc=1&d=1265560315).

Your load would be dangerous if it found its way into a .38 Spl revolver, especially some older ones.

+1 for the M die. They are nice.

blarby
November 18, 2012, 02:02 PM
.357 load in .38 Case

Is generally a bad idea, if you have any 38 specials hangin around the house.

tightgroup tiger
November 18, 2012, 02:04 PM
You need better neck tension, along with a good roll crimp.


I'll say, neck tension comes from the resizing die. If you push the neck sizing die to far into the case you undo everything the resizing die just did.

First off start using your .357mag cases for .357mag loads again and back off the neck sizing die until you can't get a bullet to start or even to sit on the top of the case without falling sideways. Screw it in about a 1/4turn at a time until you can get a bullet to stick in the top of the case. This is where you will get the best neck tension. Don't try to physically flare out the case until it looks like a funnel, just enough to get the bullet to start without shaving copper. This will get the best neck tension your dies can produce.

You've heard us all say that we won't trust someone elses reloads, putting .357mag loads in a .38spl case is one of the reasons why. Not a good idea.

GLOOB
November 18, 2012, 02:17 PM
The 357 case is as long as it is because it was designed to take black powder. So yeah, you can load 38 special cases with 357 data, minus a tiny smidge. The danger comes if you accidentally put that round into a gun that isn't rated for 357.

Hungry1
November 18, 2012, 02:36 PM
The 357 case is as long as it is because it was designed to take black powder. So yeah, you can load 38 special cases with 357 data, minus a tiny smidge. The danger comes if you accidentally put that round into a gun that isn't rated for 357.
Thank you. That's what I was looking for.

I've decided against doing this though.

I'll work on the neck tension and carry factory ammo in the LCR. I'll keep the cast loads for range use until I can get the neck tension correct.

Thanks for all the responses. Some very helpful info. :)

CraigC
November 18, 2012, 02:52 PM
The 357 case is as long as it is because it was designed to take black powder.
Hold the phone there boss! The .357 is NOT long because it was designed for black powder. I don't know where this info comes from but it is absolutely untrue. The .357 debuted in 1935. It was developed with and designed for smokeless powder. Never was blackpowder ever a consideration, whatsoever.


Is generally a bad idea, if you have any 38 specials hangin around the house.
It is generally a fine idea if you have a .38-44HD or any .357 with a cylinder too short for the Keith bullet loaded in .357 cases. There are plenty of easy methods for insuring that they don't end up in inappropriate guns. No different than loading Ruger .45Colt's to 32,000psi when you have Colt SAA's in the house.

Lost Sheep
November 18, 2012, 05:38 PM
After you minimize the case mouth flare (to maximize the bullet retention provided by friction between the cartridge case and the bullet) and increase the crimp you can test the adequacy by doing this:

Load 9 rounds. Mark one with a felt-tip marker. Measure its overall length.

Load five

Fire one (unmarked) round.

Measure the marked round

Fire another (unmarked) round

Measure the marked round

Repeat until all 8 unmarked rounds have been fired.

Examine the measurements on the marked round.

If measurements 1 and 8 are the same, your bullet retention is adequate.

If measurements 1 and 8 are not the same, you could improve things a bit.

If 1 and 2 are not the same, but 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are the same your roll crimp is probably in the wrong place. The bullet is moving to where the roll crimp stops further movement and you are probably OK, but could do better. Make sure the roll crimp goes into the crimp groove and the lead meets the brass (inside the case mouth - hard to see, of course, but clean the lube off a bullet, seat and crimp and use a magnifying glass). Also, your friction retention is contributing little and could be improved substantially. If your bullets are properly sized, usually this involves moving to a thicker-walled brass or polishing down your case-mouth expander a little.

If 1, 2 and 3 are showing increases but 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are the same, then the same situation holds as above, but your friction retention is working somewhat. Just not enough. The cure is the same as above.

And so forth

If 1, 2 and 3 are the same but later measurements show lengthening, then start another thread, please. There will be a lot more questions.

If there is ever shortening between measurements 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and so forth, you have me stumped.:confused:

Note: It is better to depend on friction as much as possible for bullet tension. Roll crimping works the brass and makes it brittle, leading to cracking of the case mouths unless you anneal the brass periodically, which is barely worth it with handgun brass.

Aside: Your original assumption, that starting out with shorter brass would mitigate the problem, while dimensionally correct, does not address the underlying problem. It gives you an extra 1/8", true. But it does nothing for the crimp jumping.

Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep

Steve C
November 19, 2012, 01:59 AM
The .357 mag was made a bit longer so they wouldn't fit into .38 spl chambered revolvers and not because of any need for more volume. While it is a bad idea to load magnum pressures in .38 cases for the simple reason one could get used in a .38 spl pistol be it yours or somebody else its not exactly dangerous per se specially when used in a magnum handgun. Using .38 spl cases was common practice in days long ago when magnum brass was in short supply but its not something that's an issue today so its better to use magnum brass for magnum loads.

Regarding your specific load, 6.0grs of Unique behind a 158gr lead bullet is just barely under the old 6.1gr maximum Hornady data for the .38 spl published in 1973 before there was such a thing as +P. Instructions said to "use max loads in heavy frame revolvers only" in an era where people where expected to be able to read, understand and follow directions. This loads didn't blow up any .38's at that time and will not now but they'll ruin a light frame .38 quicker than more moderate loads. In a .357 mag they will certainly be safe. At that time I only owned .357 mags and shot 158gr lead SWC .38 spl loads using 5.5 to 6.0 gr of Unique without issue or worry. After all I was following the manual of that time.

If you want to experiment with jacketed bullets do your work up and don't just dump in max loads to start out. Use common sense and don't wind up compressing a load in .38 spl cases that wouldn't be compressed in .357 mag cases.

GLOOB
November 19, 2012, 02:56 AM
Hold the phone there boss! The .357 is NOT long because it was designed for black powder. I don't know where this info comes from but it is absolutely untrue. The .357 debuted in 1935. It was developed with and designed for smokeless powder. Never was blackpowder ever a consideration, whatsoever.
Yeah, ok. But the 38 special was. And then smokeless powder came around, and they figured out you could shoot a 38 special to higher speeds with the same case volume... as long as the gun was made stronger to contain the pressure.

So, as Steve pointed out, they made the case even more needlessly longer so it wouldn't fit in 38 special revolvers.

There are a few powders where you can get "an advantage" with the extra case volume. Like with super wimpy powders like Trailboss, or for really slow powders that maximize velocity out of a rifle. But for the most part, it's completely useless out of a pistol. That extra space just wastes a fraction of a grain more powder and creates more muzzle blast to do the same thing that could have been done out of a 38 special case. Or even shorter, for that matter.

CraigC
November 19, 2012, 01:21 PM
Hogwash! Keith's and Sharpe's heavy .38-44 loads at the time didn't go much over 1300fps and pressures were very high. Keith reported his loads tested at 42,000psi. Factory loads for the .357 with Hercules 2400 and Sharpe's bullet topped 1550fps. Remember, the factories were producing .38-44 ammo so if that were enough, they never would've introduced the .357Mag.


...or for really slow powders that maximize velocity out of a rifle.
The same powders yield the highest velocities regardless of barrel length. Powders are chosen for the cartridge and its pressure range, not barrel length. That means H110/296 or Lil Gun, revolver or rifle.

helotaxi
November 20, 2012, 08:54 AM
The same powders yield the highest velocities regardless of barrel length. Powders are chosen for the cartridge and its pressure range, not barrel length. That means H110/296 or Lil Gun, revolver or rifle.Ordinarily, I would heartily agree with you, but in the case of the .357 you can coax a little extra out of the round from a rifle with a slightly slower powder. A full case that makes max pressure is usually what defines the limit on the slowest powder that makes practical sense in a particular cartridge. A max load of H110 doesn't fill the case. A slightly slower powder can use that extra bit of case capacity to generate a slightly different pressure curve that peaks just a bit later in the bullet travel and keeps the pressure up. The difference is a slight reduction in velocity in a short barrel and a slight increase in a rifle barrel. The difference isn't huge, but it is there and is only made possible by the over-capacity nature of the .357 case.

jmorris
November 20, 2012, 09:54 AM
you can coax a little extra out of the round from a rifle with a slightly slower powderIts pretty easy to get 500 fps or more out of a carbine than a 4-6" revolver, shooting the same ammo using a powder like 2400, for example.

CraigC
November 20, 2012, 10:18 AM
What powders are we talking about here???

USSR
November 20, 2012, 10:25 AM
A max load of H110 doesn't fill the case. A slightly slower powder can use that extra bit of case capacity to generate a slightly different pressure curve that peaks just a bit later in the bullet travel and keeps the pressure up.

Yes, I'm curious as what specific powder we are talking about here?

Don

budman46
November 20, 2012, 01:32 PM
skeeter skelton (bart's dad) used 13.5 gr of 2400 with thompson's 158 gr, 358156 bullet in .38 spl cases. the bullet was loaded long so it wouldn't fit into a .38 spl cylinder without binding. velocity was approx 1100 fps.

i use the same powder charge with lee's 158 gr fp bullet loaded to the same length as a .357 mag.; velocity is 1100-1150 fps.

for you youngsters, skeeter did this because in the late 70's .357 brass was hard to come by unless you bought loaded ammo.

kelbro
November 20, 2012, 02:57 PM
skeeter skelton (bart's dad) used 13.5 gr of 2400 with thompson's 158 gr, 358156 bullet in .38 spl cases. the bullet was loaded long so it wouldn't fit into a .38 spl cylinder without binding. velocity was approx 1100 fps.

That's what I do. Load them to 357 length. You have a second crimp groove with the 358156 bullet.

harvester
November 20, 2012, 04:35 PM
Quite simply it is a very bad and possibly dangerous thing to do.

CraigC
November 20, 2012, 08:48 PM
Quite simply it is a very bad and possibly dangerous thing to do.
You could say that about taking out the trash or driving to work in the morning. With proper precautions and knowledge of what you are doing, it is no more or less dangerous than any other handloading/shooting activity. Folks have been doing this for nearly a century and I've never heard of one blowing themselves up. :rolleyes:

Strongbad
November 21, 2012, 09:54 AM
The 357 case is as long as it is because it was designed to take black powder. So yeah, you can load 38 special cases with 357 data, minus a tiny smidge. The danger comes if you accidentally put that round into a gun that isn't rated for 357.

Coming back to the original post, old as it may be. Your bullet issue has obviously been addressed (more crimp).

As to the 357 loads in a 38, back when they were experimenting with high pressure loads in the 38 they were doing it in big heavy revolvers. Guns made for the 44. Hence the 38/44 references others have mentioned. The LCR is NOT one of these revolvers. With modern metallurgy, it might be good enough, but it's a lightweight compact revolver, it is NOT in any shape form or fashion what they were testing hot 38 loads in back in the day.

As for the 357 cases, yes, they were made longer as not to be allowed to function in 38's, but the one thing I haven't seen mentioned anywhere in this thread is that they're THICKER! The 357 case was beefed up to run at the higher pressures. With the short barrel and light weight on the LCR, with those loads I'd imagine that it's pretty dramatic for a little pistol. It's no wonder your bullets are trying to move. If you take it back to standard loads, this is liable to go away on it's own.

HiVelocity
November 21, 2012, 10:24 AM
Hungry 1-

You might want to read this article:

http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/ByCaliber/High%20Speed%20.38%20Special%20Loads.pdf

Its an article exactly noting what you're doing, its a good article and load data I've tried and used successfully.

HV

CraigC
November 21, 2012, 10:28 AM
The LCR is NOT one of these revolvers.
.38-44 loads can be used in ANY .357Mag.


I haven't seen mentioned anywhere in this thread is that they're THICKER!
Unnecessarily so. I mentioned in my very first post that I had used standard .38 brass for .38-44 loads and stopped counting at 20 loadings. Brass is not a problem. Folks say the same thing about .45Colt brass, yet they're constantly loaded to 55,000psi in custom five-shot Rugers and FA's. Pure myth.

CZ57
November 21, 2012, 10:50 PM
.38-44 loads can be used in ANY .357Mag.

That is correct, the only problem is that you won't find any .38-44 brass.

A number of years ago I undertook some experiments like this but I trimmed .357 Magnum brass to .38 Special length for two reasons. 1. Your cases are still headstamped .357 Magnum for identification. 2. I was interested in reproducing a CorBon .38 Special +P load that used a 115 gr. 9mm JHP. I couldn't get adequate case neck tension using a .38 Special case. I had an abundance of Remington 124 gr. 9mm JHP's. I found that by trimming the .357 Magnum cases it would provide adequate case neck tension and I used my REDDING 9mm Taper Crimp die for crimping. Some of this was out of necessity as my shooting partner had a .357 Magnum Taurus Tracker that didn't eject full length 125 gr. JHP .357 Magnum defense loads. And for S&W revolvers with short ejection rods.

My loads worked extremely well. But, PLEASE NOTE that they were only fired in .357 Magnum revolvers. I got decent accuracy with the Remington 124 gr. 9mm JHP and after we shot them up, I just continued on with .357" 125 gr. JHP bullets. No more extraction issues. For powders, I avoided those typically associated with reloading .357 Magnum except for some where I used Blue Dot. Most often I used V-V 3N37, AA#7 and while it was available, Vectan SP-2. We got very good velocity from 3" barrels and shorter. Low flash, faster use of speed loaders and no extraction issues. IMO, they were very good defense loads and were comparable to .38-44 loads. In the absence of data, I went 10% below recommended START charges for the .357 Magnum.

Unfortunately, I never had any of these loads pressure tested. My aim was to keep them at or below 35,000 PSI, the equivalent of standard pressure 9mm. I have never tried it myself but I know of others that told me they had fired .38 Super +P loads through .357 Magnum revolvers if they fit the chambers as the .38 Super +P is semi-rimmed and has a pressure rating of 36,500 PSI. If I were carrying a short barreled .357 Magnum today, I'd probably continue to use what I called the .357 Short Magnum but I'd load them only in trimmed .357 Magnum cases for easy identification to avoid the possibility that they could find their way into .38 Special revolvers and to be able to get adequate case neck tension if I used the Remington 124 gr. 9mm JHP as I still buy them. ;)

ChooChoo
November 22, 2012, 01:35 AM
I haven't seen mentioned anywhere in this thread is that they're THICKER!

I looked in an old NRA publication and the dimensions of the .38Spl is the same as the .357Mag. except for length.

Is the metalurgy different in these two cases?

Hungry1
November 22, 2012, 06:02 AM
Hungry 1-

You might want to read this article:

http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/ByCaliber/High%20Speed%20.38%20Special%20Loads.pdf

Its an article exactly noting what you're doing, its a good article and load data I've tried and used successfully.

HV
Interesting article HiVelocity, Thanks

1911Tuner
November 22, 2012, 06:28 AM
Before this degrades into a mega-argument, let's back up and look at the OP's load data.

To wit:

"6 Grains of Unique/158 grain SWCHP."

A pretty mild .357 load. I've used it with cast bullets. Nice and accurate, with more authority than a +P .38 without overstating the case. It's nowhere near maximum .357 Magnum pressures.

6 Grains of Unique with the same bullet in a .38 Special case will drive pressures up...no question...but they still wouldn't hit SAAMI maximum .357 Magnum pressures.

Hot-loading plentiful .38 Special brass back when .357 brass was less prolific was pretty common, as long as the handloader understood the case capacity/pressure issue and reduced his powder charge to compensate.

As CraigC noted, .38 Special brass will take it. Other than the length, .38 brass is identical to .357 brass, with only the slight variations from one manufacturer to another...which isn't enough to make a practical difference. .38-44 brass differed only in the headstamp, and that was in order to identify it.

One does have to use a system to identify the heavily loaded .38 Ammunition to prevent it being fired in .38 Special revolvers...especially in small or medium-framed .38 revolvers...but that's about it. A dab of Sharpie marker on the rims, or designating one headstamp for that lot and no other is the usual method. Storing in clearly-marked boxes and leaving the .38 revolvers at home is another good one. Personally, I'd prefer all three because our old friend Murphy is alive, well, and active...and he never sleeps.

CraigC
November 22, 2012, 08:40 AM
I did find 6.0gr Unique among .38-44 data.

cfullgraf
November 22, 2012, 09:11 AM
...our old friend Murphy is alive, well, and active...and he never sleeps.

This is why I do not "hot rod" any ammunition regardless how safe it is to use in its intended purpose.

It is the unintended purpose that scares me.

Just one of my idiosyncrasies and preferences.

Walkalong
November 22, 2012, 11:43 AM
Same here, with one exception, I used to load some Ruger Only .45 Colt. It was very clearly marked on the ammo box, but it still could have ended up in the wrong gun if found loose. I thought about coloring the case heads with a red sharpie.

I also load some fairly hot .38 Super, but it is not so big a difference. More like +P .38 Super.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=175157&stc=1&d=1353602566

ChooChoo
November 22, 2012, 11:47 AM
Folks say the same thing about .45Colt brass, yet they're constantly loaded to 55,000psi in custom five-shot Rugers and FA's. Pure myth.

There are still some .45 Colt balloon-head cases still floating around. If you load a balloon-head case to 55,000 psi, you better pray the cylinder will stay together because the case won't.

CraigC
November 22, 2012, 12:04 PM
Oh please. Most shooters have never even seen a balloonhead case, I haven't. Anybody with a custom five-shot Ruger will absolutely be smart enough not to feed it one anyway. Brass is just a gasket, the cylinder doesn't care if the brass stays together or not. As usual, the uninformed safety police are out in full force.

Walkalong makes a good point. I've also always used either color coded or specially marked boxes for my Ruger only .45 loads. I own no .44Spl's that cannot handle the heavy Keith load. Fact is, there are lots of ways to keep ammo segregated. Be it extra long bullets that don't fit the cylinders of weaker guns, different head-stamps, brands of cases, marking the cases with a marker, etc.. I've NEVER heard of anyone blowing their Colt SAA or New Service with Ruger only loads that accidentally found their way into the wrong gun. As usual, it's always the people who have never done it who have all the answers. :rolleyes:

Hungry1
November 22, 2012, 02:38 PM
As usual, the uninformed safety police are out in full force.

As usual, it's always the people who have never done it who have all the answers. :rolleyes:

Lol There be Nannies about :p

It would appear that much if this discussion is for naught anyhow.

While checking on some .38+P loads, I found that there are charges above 6 gr of Unique listed in the Speer 14.

Leading may be an issue, but I'm losing velocity out of the LCR 1-7/8" barrel compared to the 6" test barrel anyway.

Thanks again to all that offered information. :)

Magnum Shooter
November 22, 2012, 05:11 PM
Oh please. Most shooters have never even seen a balloonhead case, I haven't.


I saw some in 38Spl just the other day. it's rare (and old) but still out there.

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