Advice on loading .38/.357

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by RoadE, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. RoadE

    RoadE New Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Northern California
    I've been reloading 9mm, 40 S&W & .45 ACP for a couple of years now. I just purchased a Ruger GP100 and so now want to start reloading for this gun. I'd like to reload both .38 sp & .357 rounds using the same bullet and powder and would appreciate some advice from someone experienced.

    I have generally purchased Berry's Bullets and have used them with success. Looking at their site and my Speers reloading manual I'm thinking about either 125 gr FP or 158 gr FP bullets to use in both calibers. In reviewing powders it looks like Power Pistol and Unique are listed for loads on both rounds. I currently use Bullseye for all my other reloads.

    These will be strictly plinking rounds btw.

    I don't usually post but I visit this forum quite a bit and have learned a ton!

    So what do you all think? Or is their a better combination you might suggest. Thanks.

  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Checking the Alliant powder loading pamphlet

    357 with a 158 lead SWC (you use lead data for Berry's bullets) 6.5 of Bullseye will give you 1300 fps, and 6.0 of Unique will also give 1300. Those are max loads.

    Looking at the 38 Special, 3.6 of Bullseys for 910, and 4.3 of Unique for 920. Again, max loads.

  3. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Unique is a great powder for 38/357 loads. If you're just plinking, get some Unique and work up some loads, you'll like it. A little cleaner than Bullseye and a very versatile powder.
  4. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    Unique works well in .357 loads, but for light .38 Special loads I favor the faster-burning Bullseye. Since you're likely to shoot more .38's than .357's, I agree with Alpo that Bullseye is better as a one-and-only powder.
  5. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    After reloading 9mm, .40, and .45, .38 and .357 should be a piece o' cake. I too would recommend Unique for both, but since you already have Bullseye, use that in the .38. Both cartridges are pretty forgiving as far as powders go. I've no experienc with plated bullets but I've shot a half ton of cast 158 gr. SWCs through my 38s and .357s...
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    My favorite range loads for my .357 are max .38 spec loads in .357 mag cases. with a 158 gr cast bullet.
  7. RoadE

    RoadE New Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Northern California
    Gentlemen, great advice by all. Unique seems to have a lot of fans, so I'll pick some some up and work up some loads for the .357. Got lots of Bullseye so it sounds like it will be my starting point for the .38.

    Like the idea of the max .38 load in the .357 case.

    As usual, I've learned a lot and appreciate the help. Gotta tumble some brass, order some bullets and get to work.

  8. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    I use Unique and a 158 gr. SWC lee cast that i make. I run 4.1 gr. of the Unique and i put them out at 100 yards with no problem. I worked the load for my K 38 S&W 14-3 Masterpice. But i do put a roll crimp on the 38 spl. that seems to let the powder burn better and i found the it puts the FPS at about 950 from the Laymans listing of 791 Fps. I have no exsesive chamber preashure that way. Hope that helps out!:)
  9. Orin

    Orin Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Florida, USA
    Only thing that bugs me about the Bullseye loads is the huge amount of empty space in the cases... I've had no trubbs but am still a little fearful re the possibilty of poor ignition when the gun is pointed down prior to shooting as is often the case. I'm staying with Unique. Pure theory but such matters if valid.
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    There isnt that much empty space in a .357 mag case with a 158 grain bullet seated to 1.6" maybe a 1/2" or so column with a .355" ID. Even a mild 5 gr charge of bullseye will fill that column half way at least.
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Those problems pose themselves moreso with cartidges like the .45 colt loaded with light bullets (for that caliber) and fast smokeless powders (like bullseye).
  12. RoadE

    RoadE New Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Northern California
    Another question fellas. I just went to Berry's site and they say that their plated bullets are not recommended for magnum velocities. So it sounds like I need a fmj bullet in 158 grns for my .357 loads, correct?

    Once again, suggestions/sources?

  13. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    "Magnum velocities" are 14, 15 hundred fps or faster. Are you gonna push 'em that fast? You won't with the powders mentioned.

    Why would you want to use a FMJ, anyway? It's a pretty crappy bullet design, that only exists because the Hague required it for military and older autoloaders required it to function. I can't think of any reason at all to use one in a 357 revolver.

    If you want to shoot 357s at "magnum velocities", get some JHP or JSP bullets.
  14. X Ring

    X Ring Active Member

    Mar 23, 2011
  15. twobit

    twobit Active Member

    Sep 15, 2010
    For a plinking round you can load both with trailboss.
    Unique is my other choice.
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