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cylinder residue, 38 vs 357 ??

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by oldfool, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. oldfool

    oldfool Senior Member

    Jul 18, 2009
    Thomasville, Georgia
    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 ?


    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)
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  2. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Senior Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    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.
  3. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Apr 13, 2007


    ...and that.

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

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    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.
  5. springfield30-06

    springfield30-06 Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    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.
  6. foghornl

    foghornl Mentor

    Dec 27, 2002
    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.
  7. Old Shooter
    • Contributing Member

    Old Shooter Participating Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    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??? :)
  8. Fishslayer

    Fishslayer Participating Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    People's Republik
    Whoever owned my '64 M28-2 must have:
    A. Fired a LOT of .38sp
    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.
  9. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Participating Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    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.
  10. dashootist

    dashootist Active Member

    Feb 8, 2010
    My solution: own a 38spl revolver as well as a 357, and use only the caliber designed for the gun.
  11. gwnorth

    gwnorth Active Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    North Carolina
    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.
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Elder

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    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.
  13. duns

    duns Active Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    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.
  14. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Participating Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    SW NH
    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.
  15. chg

    chg New Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    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
  16. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Mentor

    Feb 6, 2007
    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.
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    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.

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  18. Sport45

    Sport45 Senior Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Houston, TX
    But .357mag and .38 special ARE the same caliber. ;)

    And .357mag revolvers are designed to fire either.

    You knew that, of course.
  19. oldfool

    oldfool Senior Member

    Jul 18, 2009
    Thomasville, Georgia
    "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) :eek:
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  20. sniper5

    sniper5 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    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.


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