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357 mag loads with 148gr wadcutter

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Sourdough, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Sourdough

    Sourdough Member

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    I am on the slippery down slope of life and want to keep shooting but My hands tell me to use lighter loads. I have #2, red dot, and trail boss I can use under my 148gr wadcutters. Anyone have any suggestions? I have both 38 sp. and 357 cases. Thanks, sourdough1938
     
  2. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    I've never used Trail Boss, but from what I know about it, it seems like that might be a good plan. I use Unique for my light loads in both .38 and .357 and can get a fairly gentle experience. I bet somebody here will be along with a nice load for Trail Boss.
     
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  3. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    Go with 3.2 grains of Trailboss or Red Dot or Accurate #2. I've had new shooters use all three of these loads with .38 cases. Mild and accurate with wadcutter bullets.

    #2 will meter the best. Trailboss will fill the case more. Good luck.
     
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  4. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Member

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    I load 148 grain wc bullets in 357 mag cases with 4.8 grains Unique.

    I also load plated double base wad cutters in 357 mag with 5.5 grains Unique.

    Also, the now discontinued Midway LoadMap said the starting load for the (also now discontinued) 125gr plated Raniers bullets to be 5.7 Unique.

    I have used all the above and with my Pythons or N frame Smiths, any of the above are very mild. They are good for 25 yard plinking rounds.
     
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  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    #2 or Red Dot will both work. If you can't find an accurate load with WCs in .38 Spl or .357 Mag brass, it's not the powder.
     
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  6. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    I've always loaded 148 WCs in 38 special cases over 2.8 grs. of Bullseye. (That is the .5cc scoop in the Lee scoop set which is convenient.) The results have been good, the recoil is very light, and I like getting over 2,300 loads out of a pound of powder. Even when my wife's arthritis flares up, she can handle the recoil.

    I haven't tried the powders suggested above but have read about them and folks like the accuracy.

    Jeff
     
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  7. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    What gun are you shooting them in? What grips?

    I've never tried to develop a soft, light load. It seems to me, a fast powder makes for a fast recoil impulse, that is, a change of momentum over a shorter period of time. The pressure with something like Red Dot, Bullseye etc is going to spike quickly. If you're loading to low peak pressures, you'll get low velocities for the sharpness of recoil. I would try to find a powder that gives good velocity with a slow push rather than a sharp jab. That might be light loads of HP-38, Unique, Universal, or BE-86. If I was loading for this, I'd begin with starting loads of BE-86. In my experience, it's a wonderfully soft powder that's capable of good performance. I would also consider 125-grain bullets. I haven't thought about it enough or tried it to know if those would be better, but it seems logical.
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I prefer to use 357 Magnum cases in my 357 Magnum revolvers. But I have several 38 Special revolvers so I save my 38 Special cases for them.

    Wadcutter loads in 357 Magnum cases should be no problems but there are a few things to keep
    In mind.

    38 Special loads may need to be bumped a little when used in 357 Magnum cases. A tenth or two of grain might be enough. The reason is to prevent getting bullets stuck in the bore.

    Be cautious with bumping up loads with hollow base wadcutters. The risk is blowing off the skirt of the bullet if you drive it too hard. This is not an issue with solid wadcutters.

    You can use 38 Special cases and loads. You MAY need to clean the chambers more frequently to be able the chamber 357 Magnum cases.

    I load 158 grain SWC with Unique in 357 Magnum cases to about 900-950 fps in a four inch barrel. It is a nice, soft load but a bit more recoil than wadcutter loads in a similar revolver.
     
  9. rperyam

    rperyam Member

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    I've used 2.0 grains of Trail Boss in .38 Special brass using 148 grain wad cutters. My grandchildren love the load and very accurate.
     
  10. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    Red Dot is an excellent pistol powder for lighter loads/lead bullets IMHO. I am still working on the first (11oz can) of Trail Boss I bought to try out; It's okay I guess but I've never been real wowed by it. The loads using Red Dot just shoot better for me in .38sp up to .45 Colt
     
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  11. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I will add a word of warning with Trail Boss, if the aperture of your meter bar is less than .30" Trail Boss will bridge the hole giving a fraction of the intended charge.
     
  12. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    And yet heavier bullets over fast powder are a known low recoil approach to loading.

    I'll wager the burn happens too fast with either example of powder for a human to feel the difference directly.

    Humans can feel the acceleration of the bullet and all the ejecta mass from the load.
    A fast powder makes full pressure quickly, but has less overall gas, resulting in less recoil from less "rocket motor effect" from the ejecta at muzzle exit.
    Lighter bullets use more powder to run at the same speed, resulting in more recoil.

    Is there anyway to add weight to your revlover, @Sourdough ? New grips?

    Also have a look a mountain biking gloves. They have gel inserts in the palm to absorb rock and road vibrations. They may help you enjoy the range longer.
     
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  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yeah, this is wrong. Faster powders = lower gas volume = less recoil for a given bullet momentum. All the light target loads are based on fast powder for this reason.
     
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  14. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    Right now I am loading and shooting 148 grain Berry's Bullets hollow base wadcutters with Titegroup powder at about 830 fps out of .357 cases and I love how they shoot. I see no point in using .38 special cases for this use and having to clean the chambers I shoot a lot of Trail Boss in .41 mag but do not find it necessary for the wadcutters in .357. There is not much case to fill. I think I have better accuracy with the loads I am shooting now than I did with the Trail Boss. I do not know that for sure because it has been a couple of years ago. I have also used Universal for these bullets with good results.

    If you have to use what you have I suggest the Trail Boss and .357 cases. It does make a soft shooting load and is easy to load with. Maybe or maybe not guilt edge accuracy. Try 50 of them and see how it works.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  15. mdi

    mdi Member

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    FWIW; the Hodgdon website/load data shows 2.0-2.3 gr. Trailboss with a LHBWC starting at 625 fps from a 7.7" barrel. That sounds like a soft load and since you already have the powder, give the starting load a try. (I never use any load data I see on a forum, hear at any gun shop or see on a "pet loads" website)...
     
  16. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I see your point. Makes sense.
     
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  17. Mr_Flintstone

    Mr_Flintstone Member

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    And Trail Boss is a fast powder... Right there with Titegroup and Bullseye. I almost exclusively use Trail Boss for reduced loads. If Wadcutters ever get too heavy, you can always step down to 125 gr cast and Trail Boss. They are not much more than shooting a .22 even in .357 cases.
     
  18. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    I like the coated 148gr DEWC from Missouri Bullet. These can be loaded flush using either end, or (if your dies won't allow) in the first crimp groove which exposes about 0.10".
    https://missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=236&category=5&secondary=9

    ht_ppc2.jpg

    I got the best results from AA#2, but W231 (aka HP-38), Sport Pistol, Bullseye & Red Dot also gave very nice results. In a heavy pistol like the Ruger GP-100-6" these are like bunny farts and you can shoot these all day. I use only 38 Spcl brass. But watch out... not all 38 brass (roughly 3 out of every 50) will load a wad cutter without bulging. Simply cull out that brass for RN bullets.

    KCtWwA2.jpg
     
  19. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    Any of those powders will work very well. I prefer to use .357 cases with target loads in my .357 and load my 148gr. HBWC bullets on top of 2.9 or 3 grains of Bullseye. It seems that most .357 revolvers do well with a target load in that range... 2.6 to 3+ grains of a fast powder.
     
  20. TfflHndn

    TfflHndn Member

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    I like Red Dot a lot for wadcutter loads. I get higher velocity spreads and slightly larger groups using .357 cases than with .38spl cases. If max accuracy is not your goal, then the .357 cases will work fine, but will give you slightly lower velocity with the same powder load. Mine came out to about 15-20 f/s lower.
     
  21. IWAC

    IWAC Member

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    Brian Pearce of Guns and Ammo fame wrote a good book about handloading...can't for the life of me remember the title...but he says take a .38 special load and increase it 10% to adapt it for 357 Magnum use, to allow for the larger case. But....38 Spl. +p loads work very well, also.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  22. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    That's along the lines of what I, and I'm guessing many others, do... if my .38 Special 148gr. HBWC load uses 2.7 or 2.8 grains of Bullseye, I'll use 2.9 or 3 grains in a .357 case.
     
  23. IWAC

    IWAC Member

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    Couldn't hurt... 2.7 gr. Bullseye was for decades the "go to" load of .38 Special match competitors. When I first started handloading, I had communication with one of the NRA's gurus of reloading, and he said that a standard load of 3.5 gr. Bullseye would make a good "do everything load" for my Model 19. Soooo...probably any load between 2.7 and 3.5 will be perfectly adequate. :thumbup:
     
  24. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    This is one of the better reads on loading WC bullets. And it explains why you sometimes get bulged cases from WC bullets. You need to use cases designed for loading WC bullets that have a longer relief area in the case for the deeper seating of the longer bullet. At least now I know how to identify and separate my WC brass from standard 38 special brass.

    It also mentions that the old load of 2.7grs of Bullseye may need to be bumped up a bit because BE powder isn't as powerful as it once was. I don't know the nitro content in new BE powder but it used to be 50%.
     
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