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What mold for 357 lever?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by chris in va, Jan 30, 2021.

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  1. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    I’ve read countless threads and articles about 357 cast bullets in lever guns. From what I gather the Rossi has a 1-30” twist so either a 125gr at lower speeds or 158’s at around 1500fps.

    This is where I’m stuck. If I wanted one mold for 38 special or 357 mag velocities, there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium that will be accurate at 100 yards.

    Molds got super expensive all the sudden. I can only go with one, which should I look at? BTW I will be powdercoating these like I do with my 9mm and 45’s.
     
  2. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    What are you trying to do??? I shoot 158 and 180. The rcbs 180 sil is great for steel siloette. I see no reason to shoot lead lighter than 158, but that's me.
     
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  3. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Some have reported the 158’s keyhole at lower velocities, but not the 125’s. I’m just trying to find a happy medium.
     
  4. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Same here. I like the 180 WFN.
    I just got the Lee 200 grain to try.
    I used to like light bullets. Then I grew up and learned velocity isn't everything.
     
  5. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    How 'bout a 135?
     
  6. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    If I'm planning on killing something a 140 xtp sure does the job but that's not lead. I dont have a mold for a 140 but might be a more reasonable choice for your needs
     
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  7. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Do they make a 140 in a RF profile? Haven't seen one yet.
     
  8. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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  9. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Even With that lazy rifling, I would still think you would be OK with a 158grn moving along at reasonable velocity... pushed by something like Unique or slower.
     
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  10. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    I have Universal, Titegroup, 4227 and 3031. Seems the Universal is a good one, so you're saying the 158 will work decently at around 1200fps?
     
  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    The shoulder of a semi-wadcutter hangs up a bit in my 357 Magnum Marlin 1894C. A little cycling of the lever gets the cartridge to align with the chamber and it chambers. Fine for plinking but can delay a follow up shot if speed is needed.

    Besides, my Marlin has the micro-groove rifling and it does not like lead bullets so jacketed is about all I shoot in it.
     
  12. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I have a Rossi with the 24 barrel. I mostly shoot 38 special out of it and the most accurate load is based on this mold 360-138 RF "MAX" (arsenalmolds.com). I haven't loaded it to 357 velocities, so no idea what it would do. On the high end I did play with a 357 load based on a 158 grain JHP and lil gun. Don't own a chrono, but the published results for such loadings are screaming high velocities (2000 FPS). They were very accurate, so I think you should be find with anything from a 125 to 158 grain bullet. Given what Lee molds are going for now, order from one of the higher end mold makers. I ordered from Arsenal 3 weeks ago when they were advertising a 6 week backlog, but it was shipped a week and a half after my order.
     
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  13. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I totally agree at the current prices a quality mold is the better option.
     
  14. Alaskamike

    Alaskamike Member

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    My Rossi 92 loves the RCBS 38-150-KT and is accurate regardless of whether it's a max load of 296 in a .357 mag case, or a light load of 231 in a .38 case.

    I also recently picked up this mold:
    https://www.mp-molds.com/product/359-hammer-solid-mold-multi-choice/

    It casts a 170 grain solid or a 158 grain hollowpoint bullet. I cast the 170s exclusively for my Rossi 92, and it's extremely accurate as well. In fact, it probably does better at 100+ yards than the RCBS bullet does, despite the Rossi's slow twist.
     
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  15. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    That’s good to know, I was looking at a straight wall version as I powdercoat.
     
  16. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    I've never heard of that slow of a twist (1:30) in 38/357 caliber.
     
  17. Armorer 101

    Armorer 101 Member

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    Slug your barrel before you even start. Size the bullets to grove or no more than .001 over. You can use case lube to size powder coated. Use a taper crimp die for cast. I get good results in my 94C Marlin with the 162 RCBS and 200 RCBS, powder coated and H-110, #9 or 296. My bullets are 23 bn by design and vary by .3 gr. I shoot them in a 35 Whelen, 358 MGP, 357 Super Mag rifle and a 357 Mag lever gun.
     
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If buying a mold would break the bank for me, I would try out cast bullets before hand, then buy a mold for the bullet that works best.

    I’d likely send an email to https://mattsbullets.com/ and see if I could buy a sample assortment in the caliber/weight range that interested me.
     
  19. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    Stop reading and start casting, loading and shooting. If there's a problem, then worry about it.

    I bought a 20" Rossi .357 several years ago with no idea of what the twist was. Since then I've fired everything from 125 gr. bullets at 900 fps to 180 gr. at 1700 fps. They all worked fine. you don't say what you want to do with the bullets you'll cast, but if it's just general shooting, I'd unhesitantly get something in the 150-160 gr. range in a SWC.

    I personally use two, a Lyman 358477 (~152 gr. SWC) and an H&G #51 (~158 gr. SWC), both plain base. For a utility load I use 6.0 grs. of Unique and the 358477, running them 1000 fps from my revolvers and 1200 fps from the Rossi. I haven't grouped them much from the Rossi, but they shoot very well from my revolvers-

    K5WWxXsm.jpg

    For hunting I use a custom hollowpoint mold from MP. the bullets weigh around 165 with the large HP and 180 with the solid nose. Plenty accurate and works well on game. This one was dug out of a hog I shot-

    bBJR7dvm.jpg

    Another tried and true .38/.357 mold is the Lyman 358429. NOE has several of this mold in stock. Mine casts them at 173 grs. in solid form and 160-ish in HP.

    PMa0X7Tl.jpg

    Some rifles don't feed them well though because of their length, but they work in my Rossi.

    A final suggestion would be to watch the Cast Boolit Swappin' and Sellin' site religiously. A fella can find some real good deals there.

    35W
     
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  20. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    Ditto on my marlins choking on anything with a lip. Semi -wadcutters are super out. But my marlin 1894c with microgroove shoots very well using a .359 or .360 cast bullet.

    My rossi I could tune to run 38's, or 357's, but not both. It still want a fan of lipped profiles, but handled them better than the marlins.
     
  21. Analogkid

    Analogkid Member

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    Weird.. I run a 158gr lee swc in both 38 and 357 for my Rossi 92 16" barrel. Runs like a champ in them both. I powder coat them and use the last lube grove as crimp groove for both the cartridges. When I bought my 44 mag rossi I went with the same design in 44 the tl430-240swc It runs great in 44 sp and 44mag in the 44 magnum 92. My club has a 100 yard gong that get's rung on a regular basis with both of these rifles.

    76619255_10158413968578974_5918707981792313344_o.jpg
     
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  22. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I think I've never tried anything but semi-wadcutters cast bullets in my 1894C. I have an MP 125 grain RF mold, an NOE 150 grain FN mold and a Lyman 158 grain RF mold each of which would feed well. I'll have to see how they work in the Marlin.

    My 1894C does not scatter lead bullets like a shotgun, but it did not group as well as with jacketed bullets.

    I also have a 357 Magnum Miroku Winchester 1873 which would benefit from cast bullets.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Maybe I should try some powder coated bullets. It has been a couple decades since I played with different bullets in the 1894C.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
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  23. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    for plinking, I like the LEE 6 CAV 358-125 RF ( or SNS 130gr in red)

    Vn0RzSE.jpg

    for heavier, the LEE 358-158 is a nice one.

    COk0Pdl.jpg
    Gvb4GPP.jpg

    and of course, you can't go wrong with the classic NOE 360-176-SWC-V4 ELMER KIETH goodness

    fiUudmE.jpg

    6wGfQdi.jpg


    2Vzhuqx.jpg
     
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  24. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I use that 125grn lee mold. It drops between .359 and .360 and shoots well in my guns. I size the same bullet to .358 and shoot it in my 9mm's.
     
  25. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Every rifle will be different. My Marlin 1894 in .41 has no problem with any profile bullet, it does get picky about length. I had some very nice 220grn Keith bullets with the long ogive (like in Whelen's bottom photo...) and they absolutely would not feed without 'muzzle'ing up' and giving the lever a little love jiggle. My MicroGroove barrel shoots anything fine, including cast bullets... which is about 98% of what it gets... to include cheapo commercially cast bullets. Granted, I measured my bore... so I know my bullets are sized for MY bore. I've shot my .41 out to 600yds and beyond, with a reasonable expectation of accuracy.

    I would actually second the suggestion to buy a variety of bullets... then see if they feed and cycle well. I was surprised when I had feeding problems with that Keith bullet, heretofore I never had issues with any bullet I ran... including SWC's and WFN cast.

    I'm not a big fan of TiteGroup with cast bullets, and 3031 is a rifle powder. Universal would be a good midrange powder, but if you want the most efficiency from the rifle barrel... IMR or H4227! It's what I use in my Marlin.
     
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