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.357 load in .38 Case

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Hungry1, Nov 18, 2012.

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  1. harvester

    harvester Member

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    Quite simply it is a very bad and possibly dangerous thing to do.
     
  2. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    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:
     
  3. Strongbad

    Strongbad Member

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    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.
     
  4. HiVelocity

    HiVelocity Member

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  5. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    .38-44 loads can be used in ANY .357Mag.


    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.
     
  6. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    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. ;)
     
  7. ChooChoo

    ChooChoo Member

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    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?
     
  8. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Member

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  9. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  10. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I did find 6.0gr Unique among .38-44 data.
     
  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     

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  13. ChooChoo

    ChooChoo Member

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    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.
     
  14. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    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:
     
  15. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Member

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    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. :)
     
  16. Magnum Shooter

    Magnum Shooter Member

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