Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

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JamesH
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Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#1 Post by JamesH » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:29 pm

I haven't loaded for .38 special yet, but I was looking at bullets today and the cheapest ones were cast hollow base SWCs at .358". All the more expensive ones were jacketed and .357". I'm more interested in the cast SWC type because I'm only going to be punching holes in paper at the range with this gun/load. And they're cheaper... $25.99/250. I'm guessing that the jacketed bullets aren't as malleable as cast lead when contacting the lands, and this has something to do with the different diameters.

So, are these different diameters pretty much interchangeable when reloading? I'm shooting an older (1967) S&W model 14.

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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#2 Post by SubRosa » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:04 pm

+ or - .001" on a lead bullet doesn't matter one whit, IMO.

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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#3 Post by Marlene » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:40 am

+ .001" or .002" or even .003" is good for lead bullets. It makes for a tighter seal in the bore, which prevents gas blowing by the bullet which causes leading. -.001" or more is a problem for the same reason, so stay away from .356" bullets made for 9mm. You're right about lead bullets being more malleable.
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#4 Post by eelj » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:17 pm

For shooting lead bullets the optimum is for the cylinder throats to be wider than the bore and the bullets sized for a snug fit in the throats. You can determine that just by pushing the bullets through the cylinder and if it requires them to be pushed through you are good to go. With reasonable velocities you should not experience any leading. By the way I mean pushed through not tapped or hammered.

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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#5 Post by JamesH » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:12 pm

Great, thanks all.

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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#6 Post by DanielJ » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:44 pm

I am using cast bullets from Indiana Bullet Company - http://www.indianabulletco.com. His prices are around $33.00 for 500 of 158 grain SWC.
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#7 Post by harriss » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:02 pm

There are different alloys some of which can be as hard as jacketed bullets. Some people take wheel weights which has antimony in it. Wheel weights are very similar to Lyman #2. Then some people may add more antimony which makes the bullet even harder. Also rule of thumb for cast bullets is use a fast powder like Unique or IMR 700-X or 800-X. Slower powders like H110 or W296 will melt the base of the bullet if there is no gas check.
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#8 Post by Marlene » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:28 pm

harriss wrote:Slower powders like H110 or W296 will melt the base of the bullet if there is no gas check.
No, not really. Barrel leading is complicated issue and the problem can certainly be exacerbated by the hotter loads usually associated with slower powders, but a meaningful amount of bullet base melting has never been shown to be the cause of the phenomenon. This can get really esoteric really fast, and I have no interest re-writing any of the excellent treatises on the subject, but if readers here would like to know more, I direct you to Mr Fryxell http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm whose link was kindly deposited in a sticky at the top of the reloading section by the benevolent eelj. The specific chapter on leading is found here http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm Another excellent source on the subject is here https://www.scribd.com/doc/49162427/Cas ... and-expert
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#9 Post by eelj » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:28 pm

There a lot of different theories on what causes leading and what a gas check actually does. They all agree that it doesn't protect the base from hot gases. I like to think that the copper check grabs and holds the rifling so the bullet doesn't skid, skidding breaks the seal a little bit allowing gas to lick up the sides of the bullet and if you are using a commercial bullet with the commercial lube that is as hard as a crayon you will get leading. I only have one gun that accumulates any leading and thats because it gets a pile of WW296 that drives a 325 gr plain base bullet at the same velocity as a full bore 240 gr 44mag. The leading is minor and only at the very end of the barrel and doesn't affect the accuracy of my shooting.

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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#10 Post by SpaceRanger42 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:07 pm

I have been looking into this recently as well. My HRA BB is VERY particular with OAL so I have been a bit more concerned with the length of the bullet rather than the diameter.
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#11 Post by Marlene » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:45 pm

eelj wrote:The leading is minor and only at the very end of the barrel and doesn't affect the accuracy of my shooting.
From what I've been learning with .38-55, that might be a lube issue. I forget what you're using?
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#12 Post by eelj » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:04 am

Marlene wrote:
eelj wrote:The leading is minor and only at the very end of the barrel and doesn't affect the accuracy of my shooting.
From what I've been learning with .38-55, that might be a lube issue. I forget what you're using?
I use BAC for the mild and the red for the hot. http://www.lsstuff.com/lube/ I believe he might also make a special formula for lubeing black powder cartridge.

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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#13 Post by Marlene » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:51 pm

Have you tried the white with the heavies? Leading any different? Not so much that I think the white would be better but to see if lube impacts the issue.
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Re: Reloading 38 special: .358 vs .357 bullets

#14 Post by eelj » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:59 pm

Marlene wrote:Have you tried the white with the heavies? Leading any different? Not so much that I think the white would be better but to see if lube impacts the issue.
All I have used is either BAC or Carnuba Red. Never tried anything else. I use the red for all of my mag velocity pistol ammo and also for 30-06 30-30 243 and 222 ammo and although I have not pushed the envelope I have found that from recovered bullets that it some of it makes it all the way out of the barrel. I have both sticks plus I bought a block that I use for pan lubing. Once again no leading. Of course whether that is due to the size of the bullets or the lube is beyond me.

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