38 special/.357 questions

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by LesterPTelestrat, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. LesterPTelestrat

    LesterPTelestrat New Member

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    Hi all, I'm just starting to acquire the dies and supplies for reloading .38 special and .357 mag and have a couple of questions.

    What kind of crimping do you use? Is there a rule that all .357 should be roll crimped vs .38 special is ok to taper crimp? Preferences?

    How do you know when to use magnum primers for .357 mag. It appears after some cursory reviews of my Lee Reloading manual and my Lymans manual to see that none of the recipes specified magnum primers.

    Thanks for any insight you can share.
  2. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    The very first cartridge I ever loaded was .38 Specials and then I moved to .357s shortly afterward. I personally have always used a rolled crimp and just enough to hold the bullet securely. I bought a few boxes of magnum primers when I first started loading the .357s and I still have 2 1/2 boxes of them (after 30 or so years). I use standard primers for everything I load. Of course, when you buy certain brand of primers, they say for standard and magnum loads (I think they are Winchester).
  3. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    I roll crimp both of them. Usually just a moderate crimp, but that depends on the powder used for the 357, in particular, I like a heavier crimp with H110. I do think that when I start reloading for the 500SW, that I'll use a pretty heavy crimp also; the starting load is 39gn of H110 ! :eek:
  4. LesterPTelestrat

    LesterPTelestrat New Member

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    Thanks gents. I just got my dies in the mail. I'll be acquiring a case trimmer and some breech lock bushings as well as gathering more load data before I start. I love this forum.
  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    All I load is .357 mag... I set the roll crimp die to apply the maximum amount of crimp without ruining the case (adjust it tighter and tighter til it starts leaving a bright ring and then back off)... I also ony use magnum primers in the .357 whether im loading thumpers or target loads (keeps shelves simpler)... I have 300 starline cases that I started with 5 years ago in the .357, still have all of them and they have all only ever been trimmed once (on the second loading from new just to get them all consistent) I find pistol and revolver brass rarely, if ever, needs trimming, In fact i find them to shrink a little after a couple cycles. even the magnums like the .357 and the .44.
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    We need to bring sunblock to shoot that one eh???
  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    :D:D:D Yeah, I'm gettin excited to see what the 500 will do with the H110; it ought to be a big flashy boom ! Not sure if I'll have time to work up any loads for the 500 before April gets here though. I have a good amount of factory fodder that should keep us humbled. :D
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    the .44 makes big fire with 24 grs H110. I can imagine 40 grs from roughly the same amount of barrel...:D
  9. American Leader

    American Leader Active Member

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    I use regular primers, no magnums on both the .38 Sp. & .357 mag. and roll crimp both. Have never had any problems of anykind. Have done it this way for many years.
  10. Casey

    Casey New Member

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    If you are going to shoot the lighter loads in your .357 mag cylinders do yourself a favor and load them in mag cases. I shot 38 specials with lead bullets for league out of my .357 mag Smith and Ruger BlackHawk and it made for alotta scrubbing to get that ring of crud out of the cylinders after shooting mags again because of the .100" or so difference in length of the cases the specials would leave ahead of the case. My favorite load was Winchester Mag cases, CCI 500 primer, 148gr Double ended Wadcutter, with 3.4grs of 231 powder. Very accurate in either gun for league.
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Active Member

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    LesterPTelestrat:

    There is a sticky on crimping at the top of this part of the forum:

    http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=76154

    When you buy a die set the crimp function is performed by the seating die. Unless you know better, use the crimp type provided. The manufacturer provides the appropriate crimp for each caliber in that die. Other crimps require an additional die.

    LDBennett
  12. LesterPTelestrat

    LesterPTelestrat New Member

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    Hi LD, I've read the sticky 3 or 4 times. Good stuff, thank you. In looking at the different types of factory ammo I just bought; 1 box of 50 each; .38 special 130 grn MC (looks like FMJ), 158 grn LRN, 125 grn JHP +P and .357 Magnum 125 grn JSP. Only the MC cartridges are taper crimped, all others are roll crimped. I just purchased the Lee deluxe 4 die set for .38 special/.357 magnum. I'm not yet sure if the Crimp die is intended to perform a taper or Roll crimp or both. I realize that I can use the bullet seating die to crimp however I like the fact that the Lee Factory crimp die post sizes. I may call Lee unless anyone here knows what the crimp die in this set does?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  13. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    It does the roll crimp. Thats the exact die set I use..
  14. LesterPTelestrat

    LesterPTelestrat New Member

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    Sweet, thanks JLA.

    Where do you find your load data. I'm not finding much for 125 grn Jacketed soft points for WIN231 I can change powders if that'll help.
  15. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I dont have much for 231 either, but I do have 1 sweet recipe for 125 jacketed with H titegroup. Damn accurate too...

    I use 7.2 gr under a 125 hornady XTP in my S&W DCM, it'll shoot 1 holers at 25.

    They arent MAX hot, but they arent wimpy start charges either.
  16. LesterPTelestrat

    LesterPTelestrat New Member

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    I finally got to shoot my first 16 rounds of .357 today. I found recipes for 231 to be all over the place from various publishers, so I just picked one and stuck to the starting load recipe. 8.1 grains of 231 using magnum primers, 125 JSP bullets.

    I don't have a chrono so all I could do to gauge the load was compare it to some factory ammo using the same weight bullet.

    From what I could tell the minimum load I used was quite a bit more mild than the factory ammo. No signs of excessive pressure on the casings so I think I'll increase the load a little. I was getting nice grouping at about 50 feet.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011
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