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can you make your 38 load powerful as 357 ?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by dekibg, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    In that case you are correct asking questions before buying equipment or starting to reload.

    At the top of the reloading corn there is a subforum with a TON of information. Take a look at all the threads, you will gain a lot of knowledge.
    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/reloading-library-of-wisdom.649184/
     
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  2. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    A certain unnamed idiot that shall remain my brother was asked a similar question only a different cartridge. (45 Colt to 44 mag I think.) His answer was that you could but in doing so remove the excuse to buy a new gun. He later told another friend if the guy actually tried it he could buy up all his firearms and reloading equipment from the widow.
     
  3. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    You could use 38spl cases to make 357 pressure loads if you wanted to. There's no difference between a standard 38spl cases and a 357 case. Do an internet search on skeeter skelton. You'll find he used 38spl cases to make 357 ammo. Skeeter used a bullet that had an upper and lower crimp groove. He would use the same powder charge and that bullet for both 38spl cases and 357 cases. The bullet would be seated and crimped in the top crimp groove with the 357 brass and the lower crimp groove for the 38spl brass.
    0A0Ga7O.jpg

    The bullet (top row far right) is the bullet skeeter skelton used. The bullet in the top row 2nd from left (green bullet) also has a top and bottom crimp groove. The difference in the case lengths between a 38spl and a 357 is .135". A chronograph would be a good thing to use if you plan on trying to turn 38spl brass into 357mag ammo. It's a seating depth/case capacity thing.
    uIUZpPE.jpg

    Myself I've done testing/leg work on this and it isn't hard to come up with loads using 38spl brass that will duplicate 357mag loads using the same bullet in both cases.

    I'm not saying it's a good thing to do or a bad thing to do. I'm just saying it's easy to do when using a chronograph.
     
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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, but it is a bad idea, all it takes is to get into the wrong gun and you can't guarantee you'll always have control of those reloads.
     
  5. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    The same could be said for "ruger only loads".
     
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  6. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Or "Marlin only" 45/70.

    If your going to step outside of SAAMI be sure to lable it well so others know.
     
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  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    In a way, yes, but I still think it is basically a bad idea as long as they make .357 Mag revolvers. :)
     
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  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    I'm not saying it's a good thing by any means but at the end of the day it's knowledge and a good thing to know.

    It ain't rocket science. Take a bullet like the lyman 358477 for example:
    Lyman say the oal is 1.510" when loaded in a 357mag case & the starting load using bullseye is .4.6gr. Load 10 rounds up using the 1.510"/4.6gr data and 357mag cases. Then do the same thing with 38spl cases, 1.510"/4.6gr, 10 rounds. Go out and shoot them over a chronograph in your firearm chambered in 357mag.

    My own preferences:
    I do know how to load hot loads getting the most out of low pressure calibers along with a couple mag calibers that I use. At the end of the day 99%+ of my shooting is with powders like clays, bullseye, American select, trailboss in either low pressure or standard pressure loads for the calibers I'm using/shooting.
     
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  10. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Sigh,

    You ever hear of the .38/44?

    The ONLY reason that .357 brass is longer than .38 brass is so that the higher powered cartridge can't be fired in guns that can't handle the pressure. It's the same for the .38 special and the .38 S&W. The special brass was lengthened to prevent the higher pressure load from making it into lower pressure revolvers.

    It's easy to get .357 performance from .38 cases. However the danger of one of those loaded cartridges getting into a .38 revolver that can't handle the pressure it to high to justify it.

    Keep the .38 loads in .38 brass and the .357 loads in .357 brass.
     
  11. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.
     
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  12. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    There can be good reasons to use the .38 Special case in a .357 revolver at .357 Magnum pressures. The advantage of the shorter case is more positive ejection. The fact is, even "full length" ejectors do not push the .357 brass all the way out of the chamber. There has to be inertia to complete the ejection. Those ejectors will push a .38 case all the way clear of the chamber mouth. For short-barreled snub-nosed guns with shortened ejector rods, the 357 case is actually hard to fully eject without very good technique and ideal conditions. The reason to load the .38 Special case to 357 pressure is to have sufficient velocity to effect both penetration and expansion of hollowpoints. .38 Special +P does not do that reliably from the shortest barrels.

    When I shot and carried a small snubnosed 357 revolver, I used these .38/44 cartridges for all the reasons I just explained. Good ballistics and good ejection. The .38 cartridges do not offer the former, and the 357 brass does not offer the latter in these guns. However, I came to realize the snub-nosed guns had no real advantage, and I stopped using them. See my explanation in the recent thread "Chunky Snubbies."

    With the longer ejector rod on a long-barreled revolvers, the 357 case ejects well-enough and it has some advantages over the .38 brass. For me, one of those advantages is not that it "doesn't fit in .38 special revolvers." I don't have any .38 Special revolvers, so I could care less. I also do not believe that this is the reason that 357 cases were lengthened. Factories were producing .38/44 ammunition and S&W continued to produce .38/44 guns from the early 30's well into the 1960's. This lack of downward compatibility was just something that some gun writer noticed and fixated on. Nobody is so stupid as to say the reason the .44 Magnum case is longer than .44 Special is so it cannot be loaded in a .44 Special gun. The obvious reason the 357 case is longer is so that both more powder can fit in the case, and longer, heavier bullets can fit in the case with still room for plenty of powder without exceeding the peak pressure limit. This becomes particularly evident when you start trying to load 180 grain or 200 grain bullets, or when you start wanting to load with heavily-deterred powders like H110 or Lil'Gun. In fact, the 357 case is not big enough, and so the 357 Maximum was created for this very purpose. Of course, there may be some people that also think the 357 Maximum was lengthened so it would not fit into .357 Magnum chambers. Yeah.
     
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  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Sorry, Tex, the .38-44 High Velocity is well short of the .357 Magnum, a claimed 158 at 1150 fps vs early Magnums with a 158 at 1510, albeit from an 8.75" barrel. Even in the 4" vented test barrel of today's lab, the Magnum is doing 1250 fps.

    And .38 Smith and Wesson is not in the "family tree" of .38 Smith and Wesson Special.


    The .357 Magnum case does not provide as much extra powder space as it looks like.
    SAAMI maximum OAL for Specials is 1.55", Magnums 1.59"; only .040" more room under the same bullet.
    So where did the rest of that .135" (Not 1/8", not 1/10") go?

    Well...
    The original .357 Magnum cylinder* is 1.62" long, including a recess for the .06" rim.
    A K38 cylinder is 1.56" long not including rim, add that 06" and you get 1.62" again.
    Same for a Python.
    The .38-44 Outdoorsman's N frame cylinder is a bit longer, 1.575", with "rear gauge" for the rim to 1.635".
    Elmer Keith pointed out that the Magnum gun would not accept his 173 gr SWC in Magnum brass, he either crimped over the front band or used Special brass.
    Of course factory loads and handloads with Sharpe pattern bullets were made to fit.
    Maybe the extra case length WAS mostly to guard against Magnumizing a Special.

    A Model 19's cylinder is 1.675" recessed and a flat M686 is 1.625+ .060" = 1.685" so there is now room for the long Keith.
     
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  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Yep, and you can make over pressure 357 mag ammunition too.

    As above, you could be making a booby trap for later, maybe for you someone you love. Not the best idea, a really bad one if the intent is to not use them in a 357 magnum or firearm designed for the pressures.
     
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  15. dekibg

    dekibg Member

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    let's say you are using same type of 115 grain bullet, how much powder you will use to load standard 9MM, standard 38 SPL and standard 357 ?
    what muzzle velocities will each one of those loads typically create with 115 grain bullets?
     
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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  17. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Ruger at one time made a GP100 in 38 special only. That’s probably the only 38 Special only revolver I would want to test out high pressure 38 Specials.
     
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  18. mcb

    mcb Member

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    What about the S&W 38/44 the original high pressure 38 Special revolver built on what would become the N-frame. The same frame for the model 27/28 in 357 mag or the 29 in 44 Mag?
     
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  19. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I have no experience with the .38 Long Colt and was not aware of that.
    You learn something new every day.
     
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  20. 1-12 INF (M)

    1-12 INF (M) Member

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    It's just too easy to lose track of the same caliber cartridges loaded to 'way different power levels rattling around the bottom of the range box or in your jeans pocket that are bound to find their way into the wrong gun. e.g. I shoot a lot of .45 Colt. For higher performance, I reach for the .44 Magnum. Want still more? .454 Casull.
     
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  21. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    The old 38/44's and 38 supervel were essentially what the OP's looking for.

    There's a few good reasons they fell out of favor. Gernading medium/small framed guns was one of them.

    Just buy a 357 Mag and be done with it.
     
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  22. Jim Rau

    Jim Rau Member

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    What he said!!;) When I was 'young, dumb, and numb' I tried to do that and ended up with a bulged chamber in my old S&W M10. The highest velocity/pressure loads for a 38 are very close to the lowest velocity/pressure loads of a 357, but no cigar!!!:)
     
  23. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I've read virtually everything Skeeter wrote and you might have overlooked one minor point. He loaded the 38 cases with 13 to 13.5 grains of 2400 and the 357 cases to 14.5. He only did this because at the time 357 cases were in short supply.
     
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  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    And he used the Lyman bullet with two crimp grooves to keep OAL and powder space about the same, too.
    And he only used Special brass for a few heavy loads before relegating it to standard or light loads.

    It is all interesting to discuss, but components for whatever you want to load are generally available and such shifts and adaptations are seldom necessary now.
    My usual .38 Special load is about like econoball, a 158 or 160 at 750 fps.
    I also load some wadcutters and a few +P hollowpoints; immediately obvious what I am picking up.

    If I want Magnum Power, I use Magnum brass.
    I do not load Magnum wadcutters, accuracy loss and fouling with Special ammo in Magnum chambers is not significant to me.
     
  25. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Texas10mm beat me to it; 38-44 was/is a "Super 38 Special". Early in my reloading, being a curious guy and way pre-web, I sectioned some 38 Special and 357 Magnum brass and compared. Only difference was the case length...
     
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