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.38 Special vs .357 web thickness comparison

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Galil5.56, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    In an earlier thread where it was stated that someone cut back a brand of .357 brass to .38 Special length of the same brand, and it weighed the same. I wrote:

    "Perhaps they now make .38 Special and .357 brass with the same web thickness for whatever reason? I seem to remember an article in Handloader Digest or some sort of digest from many years ago where they had an article about Skelton, his guns, loads, and a cross section cut-away of 38 vs .357 mag brass demonstrating the thicker web of .357 at the time."

    Well, from what I remembered I found out what book it was (Handloader's Digest 8th Edition 1978), ordered it and it came today. Sure enough, what I was looking for was there, and this picture clearly shows that at least in earlier years, .357 mag webs were a hell of a lot thicker:


    At least it makes for interesting reading, and only strengthens my belief that if you load .38 Special cases, you stick to .38 Special pressures.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this. I've been saying that all along, and Walkalong showed it with his sectioned cases. I really don't understand why anyone would want to push their luck by loading .38 Special cases to .357 Magnum levels, when .357 brass is so plentiful? It just defies reason, as far as I'm concerned.

    I also wrote in that earlier post that it doesn't matter as much as some people think what two cases weigh. What matters is where the brass is thick, and where it's thin.

    Hope this helps.

  3. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I agree, with .357 brass being so available why take chances?
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Impressive memory Galil5.56

    Great pic. Thanks for sharing.
  5. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Walkalong, and welcome.

    I was so happy to find that book on ebay, and it came in perfect condition!

    That book was a 12 year old kids inspiration for reloading who's parent's didn't know a grease gun from a machine gun. I completely immersed myself in it, along with a few others. Shortly after I got a Lee Load-All, and the spark became a firestorm. All these years later, and I still have more fingers and toes than I have bought boxes of factory ammo. Reading this book was like seeing an old friend you haven't seen in 25 years, and it all comes rushing back.
  6. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    The 270 Win is SAAMI registered at average peak 65,000 psi.
    The 270 Win brass will sustain ~62,000 psi in multiple realoadings.

    The 38 sp is SAAMI registered at average peak 17,000 psi
    The 38 sp brass will sustain ~87,000 psi in multiple reloadings.

    The 357 mag is SAAMI registered at average peak 35,000 psi
    The 357 mag brass will sustain ~87,000 psi in multiple reloadings.

    Here is the reason why 357 mag average peak pressures got reduced:

    John Bercovitz worked with me in the debunking the Sierra pistol load book statement that the CZ52 pistol is strong.
  7. hoptob

    hoptob Well-Known Member

    For one, it is always rewarding to reproduce famous loads from the past. Not very rational -- but, heck, if Phil and Skeeter could do it 60 years ago, why can't I do it today? As far as luck goes, there is plenty of speculations but I yet have to see reports about catastrophic failures caused by higher pressure 38 special loads.

    Another more rational reason is that many people already own steel and alloy frame 38 special snub nose revolvers. Chief specials, Dick specials, Agents, Cobras, and on and on. They are rated for 38 special as it was known at the time the guns were made. Since then caliber limit went down but that did not change the guns. Take Colt DS for example. Manual says that the gun is rated for all 38 special loadings of the day -- including HV and 38/44. Today these loads are not available commercially, so it's a reloading proposition.


    Finally, even if one wants to replace old trusty with a new 357 mag snub, he has to choose between very light and very expensive revolvers like M&P 340/360 and rather substantial 640/SP101. Not much is available to fill the gap between 12 and 24 oz. -- which is unfortunate.

    I wish someone would come up with an intermediate caliber, something like mild 357 mag, 38 spl +P+, or old 38/44. Caliber like that would nicely fill the gap between 38+P and 357 magnum and allow for practical and safe SD snubbies. Oh well...


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