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.357 mag ammo in a rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Gary O, Feb 4, 2011.

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  1. Gary O

    Gary O Member

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    I will be keeping my Marlin lever gun in 357 mag as a home defense option. Since I get plenty of extra velocity from that 20 inch barrel I am looking for a milder self defense factory load to use. What say you? Please; no 38 Special loads; I have had it with trying to keep a 357 chamber clean after shooting 38's in one. Thanks...
     
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Depends. More barrel doesn't guarantee more velocity.

    You may or may not realize a velocity increase by firing .38 Special in a rifle, and...even if you do...it may or may not be enough of an increase to make a practical difference. It depends on the powder burn rate.

    Typically, commercial .357 ammunition is loaded with a fairly sizeable charge of slow powder, and .38 Special with a lighter charge of a faster powder. If the smaller charge of the faster powder runs out of steam several inches before the bullet breaks into the air, and the friction starts to overcome the driving force pushing it...you may even get lower velocity from the rifle than from a revolver.

    I was on hand once when a guy fired a full wadcutter, loaded with 2.7 grains of Bullseye through a 14-inch Contender .357 barrel, and the bullet was moving so slowly when it exited, that we literally watched it fall to the ground before it made the 25 yard line. The report was more like a "phoot" than a bang.

    If you can find any of Remington's 125-grain "Attenuated" .357 ammunition...advertised at 1280 fps...that may fit your requirements pretty well. You may have to order it, assuming that they even load it any more. Otherwise, I'm sure that there are some older lots still floating around in the pipeline. Start shopping. It's a pretty effective round fired from a 4-inch barrel...head and shoulders above any +P .38 125...and without all the fuss associated with the full-bore 125-grain offerings.

    The only way to know is to use a chronograph.
     
  3. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Yes it does depend, and the best way to judge it is as the fellow wrote..., by chronograph. However, IF your home .357 handgun is a snubnosed..., you will very likely get better velocity from the rifle. You might also check what the manufacturers say is their velocity and test platform...., if they are using a test barrel of 6" then you will probably get better performance from that round than a similar speed round from another maker from a 4" barrel tested batch. The idea is that to get that same or faster speed in the 4" barrel you need a faster burning powder, which although fast in a 4" handgun barrel, might be expended at say the 12" point in your rifle, and your bullet would actually slow down over the last 8" of travel. Best thing though is a chronograph, if it really matters. BG vs. a .357 @ 1350 fps from a handgun or BG vs. a .357 @ 1150 from a rifle (for an example) would pretty much mean the same thing in the confines of a house or apartment, right?

    LD
     
  4. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Indeed, pistol ammo is typically calibrated to pistol-length barrels. As a result, firing it out of a rifle may not give you any real benefit. You typically won't LOSE any velocity, unless the barrel is obscenely long, but you may not gain any appreciable amount, either. The main thing you usually gain is accuracy.
     
  5. gdesloge

    gdesloge Member

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    Maybe this will be helpful:

    http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/results.html

    The longest barrel length tested was 18", however you might be able to extrapolate a number for your use.

    A question: if you are using it for home defense, is cleaning the chamber really a problem?

    Best,

    gd
     
  6. Gary O

    Gary O Member

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    The article in Rifle magazine found an average of 400 FPS gain in a 20" rifle barrel over a 6" revolver barrel. That is a substantial increase to deal with?
     
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    You get a good bump in velocity with a longer barrel using either .38's or .357 mag.

    A .38 spl +P load of 4.7grs W231 behind a 158gr LSCW cast that averages 879 fps from a 4" S&W M66 ran at 1,101 fps from my IMI Timberwolf. A Remington 158gr JHP on top of 14.5 grs H110 averaged 1,232 from a Ruger 4-5/8" BH and 1,560 from the Timberwolf.

    If you use lighter bullets like 125gr JHP's you can over speed them from a rifle and have them rapidly fragment offering little penetration which if fine for varmints and smaller critters but not so good against a 200+ lb human. If you hand load a harder bullet like a Hornady XTP or a JSP of any brand should offer better SD performance. From a rifle you have enough velocity to get a JSP to upset (expand). If you don't hand load I believe Remington offers bulk packs of 125gr JSP's in the .357 mag and there are other choices of soft point loads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  8. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Your example of the target wadcutter load that barely made it out of the barrel is a fairly unique sort of story. Those are loads that are known to be low in power at the best of times. And then there's the chance that it may have been a bad load where there was less than 2.7 gns in it.

    I'm using 147 gn SWC over 3.6 gns of Bullseye in my cowboy guns including the rifle. It shoots fine with no signs of a "PHOOT!" low power shot. I can't see how .9 of a grain would make the difference between a rifle shot at around 600 or more fps (the rounds were doing about 800 fps out of my Model 10 revolver to one that dribbles to the ground in only 25 feet. Unless this repeated itself a lot I'd say it was a bad powder pour.
     
  9. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Gary O.....Are you looking for a factory load or a handload recipe? I shoot some pretty mild handloads in my .357 carbines, but I hesitate to shoot any jacketed reloads that don't produce over 1000 fps.

    7.5 grains of Unique under a 158 bulk Remmie SJHP shoots like a 22 mag outta my carbines and produces enough velocity that I don't stick a bullet. This round is also quite accurate.
     
  10. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    Now, I only read this once in some long-discarded article, so I apologize in advance if it's total BS -- but another thing to possibly consider is that specific bullets may have been designed to expand at specific velocities. Again, in this long-discarded article, the writer had some experiences where bullets driven at a certain velocity out of a handgun tended to disintegrate, with significantly less penetration, from a carbine.

    Take that FWIW. In any case, I tend to load my Winchester .357 carbine with the heavier slugs -- 158-grain and even 180-grain. I figure the extra barrel length will produce the desired velocity, and the heavier slug will produce the desired momentum.

    But either way, I'm sure a .357 out of a carbine will generate a major "ouchie."

    .
     
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Maybe. I dunno. We fired a few more with pretty much the same results, and didn't pull any apart to weigh the charges. All I did was report what I saw.
     
  12. dogngun

    dogngun Member

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    Used to own a Rossi lever rifle in .357 magnum...great shooter, and it had no problems with either .357 or .38 Spls. I think it would be a very effective defense gun. I'd go with a JSP over a hollow point, or at least a heavier hollow point, like a 158 grain.


    mark
     
  13. Gary A

    Gary A Member

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    1911 Tuner - you said
    Isn't the Remington Golden Saber 125 grain load the same? Isn't it still loaded?
     
  14. teumessian_fox

    teumessian_fox member

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    IIRC, if you're using a light weight bullet (125 grain?) and fast burning powder (Bullseye or Unique), a rifle barrel will actually slow the projectile down.

    But if you're using a heavy bullet like a 158 grain and slower powder (2400, maybe) you might be good to go.

    Either way, I wouldn't be reluctant to use either in a SD pinch.
     
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't know, Gary. Possibly the same advertised velocity. The one I've used and remember was loaded with the old-style scalloped JHP, which was an excellent bullet. I'm sure that the Golden Saber would also be very good at that velocity.
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Unless you're using mousephart loads, you will gain a significant amount of velocity in rifle-length barrels, regardless of powder. Even faster powders like Unique will see significant gains in velocity. Usually peaking in around 18" of barrel length. The .357 typically gains more than any other revolver cartridge, 700fps in some loadings. Two good examples are my most-used Unique loads. Both 10.0gr, under either a 240gr .44Mag or 180gr .38-40. The .44 load averages 1100fps from revolvers and 1450fps from a 20" rifle. The .38-40 load does 1200fps in a sixgun and 1550fps from a 24" rifle and that is not even an over-pressure load.
     
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    He's not in the market for handloads, Craig, and the only attenuated .357 commercial loading that I know of is the Remington 125/1280fps load that I mentioned. Everything else is full-bore...which means that the powder typically used will give a signifigant increase in velocity from a rifle barrel...but for home defense use, that may be a bit much. The other option is to use .38 +P JHP in the carbine..which will probably provide
    an honest 1200 fps without the blast and penetration of a .357 round.
     
  18. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Just something to think about: When the weather gets a little more conducive to load development, I'm planning to work up a .357 DEWC load for my Marlin. Start at full power and work my way *down* until I get something that doesn't lead. Using Power Pistol, AA#7, or 2400 I should be able to get about 1900 fps.

    Wadcutters ought to hit like a sledgehammer, and I can fit 2 extra rounds in the magazine. They feed better than SWC's.

    Check with Buffalo Bore or some other small ammo manufacturer and see if they'll load you some hard cast wadcutters at about 1.35" overall length to about .38 Super +P ballistics. (you can't load them flush with the end of the case or they won't feed)
     
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Just addressing several statements in this thread that there will be little if any velocity gain. Particularly with faster powders. Not offering loading data for any particular intended purpose.

    There have also been several false assumptions that you get higher velocities in shorter barrels from faster powders. This is also untrue. The powders that yield the highest velocities in handguns, of any barrel length, will also yield the highest velocities in rifles.

    As far as the practical application of that increased velocity for home defense, I don't see an issue. Since most jacketed bullets are designed to expand at handgun velocities, rifle velocities will simply result in more expansion, more tissue damage and a quicker end to the fight. Not necessarily overpenetration. I would opt for a bonded core design like the 158gr Gold Dot, as fast as it will go. Muzzle blast and noise from a pistol cartridge carbine is usually of little concern. Even the mighty .44Mag's report is very, very mild in relation to the .223 or .30-30. Belying its devastating effect on the other end.
     
  20. 32 Magnum

    32 Magnum Member

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    Check out the Ballistics by the Inch site - as previously suggested - lots of loads tested and CHRONGRAPHED - looks like 16" is about optimum for the .357mag velocity increase - no matter the bullet weight. CHECK it out.
    http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com
     
  21. DPris

    DPris Member

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    In some comparison testing I did several years ago, my .357 Marlin added about 500 FPS to some loads over my 4-inch Ruger revolver.
    Found that very interesting. :)
    Denis
     
  22. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    The one problem I see with the test is he tested too many different jacketed bullets without testing any cast lead bullets. The coefficient of friction and the lubricity of the lead makes a big difference in a long barrel -- although it doesn't make as big a difference with .357 Magnum as it does in a short cartridge like 9mm.
     
  23. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    handloading will get you "anything" you want, of course, but subject was (as others noted) factory loads
    also as noted, pretty much any factory handgun round gains speed out of a carbine vs. a revolver (maybe not target wadcutters or CAS/SASS loads, but I don't think that really has much to do with OP)
    not sure why OP is looking for milder out of a 357 carbine (357 is really mild felt recoil out of lever actions), but he is
    instead of looking for "special lite" factory made 357 cartridges, gosh, that's pretty much what 38+P is, and no shortage at all of 38+P factory rounds easy found
    the chamber cleaning thing ???
    way, way overhyped, be it handgun or carbine, with merely modest attention to practical common sense cleaning of gun
    it's not a bottleneck cartridge
    and Marlin 1894s and/or brazilian '92s can handle a whopping lot more stress than 357s will put on 'em
    maybe overthinking the "problem" ??

    especially, as was noted, if kept only as HD gun, suggesting that if full house 357s unwelcome, no big need to worry about whether chamber 'ring" fouling matters a whole lot or not, just load 38+P and be happy, no ??

    not meaning any that in contentious mode, but has anybody ever heard of a safety or gun malfunction issues from running a steady diet of 38+P ONLY thru a 357 carbine (or 38sp ONLY thru a 357 carbine, for that matter) ?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  24. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    uhh.. DT, sorry bout that
     
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