38 Special Rifle Loads

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by gsewell, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. gsewell

    gsewell New Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    I am thinking about buying a new rifle that is setup for 357 Mag/38 Special. I have looked through all of my reloading manuals and all that I can come up with are rifle loads designed for the 357 Mag. I can get brass for 357, but I have a lot of 38 Special brass. Any ideas on loads?

  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    My idea is to get the 357 brass and load'em up! Are you hunting, CAS or just plinking with it?
  3. res45

    res45 Member

    Sep 21, 2007
    38 Spec.+P loads should work fine,test a few before you load up a bunch,clean the chamber before you load any .357 cases in the rifle to remove the carbon or lead fouling buildup at the end of the chamber.

    Also mark your case around the primer with a sharpie so you know there rifle rds. You wouldn't want to get some +P 38 ammo mixed up in a non+P handgun. If you use cast bullets RN or RNFP will feed the best.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    If you just want to shoot 38s in your gun, go for it. I do, all the time. Same load as I use in my pistols. The reason there are no loads for 38 in the "rifle" section of loading manuals is because there are very few rifles chambered for 38. You may notice they have 44 magnum loads in the rifle section, but no 44 Special loads. Same thing.

    I wouldn't load anything special for the rifle. Having different ammo for the rifle and pistol takes away the advantage of having both guns chambered for the same ammo.

    If you want to shoot hot loads in the rifle, get 357 brass.
  5. budman46

    budman46 New Member

    Nov 3, 2008

    years ago, when .357 brass was very scarce, i copied the late skeeter skelton's method of loading the .38 spec. casing to about 90% of .357 specs and seating the bullet to the same overall length as a .357 round.

    in my "almost" .357 load i use .38 brass, lee's 158 gr round-nosed, flat-point cast bullet and 6.5 gr of ww-231, which gives me 1000 fps (chrono'd) and excellent accuracy from a 6" revolver, but anyone's cast bullet design should do well at similar velocities; feeding from a lever-action rifle should be smooth.


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