What bullet should I use for CAS in .38/.357

What bullet should I use for CAS in .38/.357

This is a discussion on What bullet should I use for CAS in .38/.357 within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I will hopefully buy a set of Ruger New Vaquero (SASS edition) in .38/.357 pretty soon to use in Cowboy Action Shooting. I have heard ...

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Thread: What bullet should I use for CAS in .38/.357

  1. #1
    Member Array mandalitten's Avatar
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    What bullet should I use for CAS in .38/.357

    I will hopefully buy a set of Ruger New Vaquero (SASS edition) in .38/.357 pretty soon to use in Cowboy Action Shooting. I have heard people recommend using .357 cases loaded down to .38 Special loads instead of the .38 cases. Does anyone have a "good" bullet they can recommend for CAS in this caliber? I am looking for both weight and type. I will probably cast my own bullet using wheel weights and/or a mixture of lead and tin. I'd like to use a lighter bullet while at the same time keep the velocity down.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Round flatnose lead bullet in 158 grain, over 5.2 grains of Unique in 38 spl cases.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  3. #3
    Member Array mandalitten's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. Why do you prefer .38 cases over .357?

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    You are shooting for speed and accuracy, so the power is not needed, and the heavy 38 bullet with that load will give you quick follow up, heavy bullet has a good thump, and the powder will burn more consistantly , thereby giving better accuracy because it will burn more consistantly in the 38 spl case due to filling up more of the case. That same load can be loaded in the 357 case, but the burn rate will be more erradict due to more empty space in case. What you want is consistant accuracy and speed.
    bigdog44 likes this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  5. #5
    Member Array mandalitten's Avatar
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    That makes sense, but since I haven't reloaded .38/.357 yet I wasn't sure how much an issue it would be with a larger case. Some people say there is extra cleaning of the cylinder when using shorter cases, what is your experience with this?

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mandalitten View Post
    That makes sense, but since I haven't reloaded .38/.357 yet I wasn't sure how much an issue it would be with a larger case. Some people say there is extra cleaning of the cylinder when using shorter cases, what is your experience with this?
    The inside of the cylinder will get residue "rings" either way. The special case rings will be just a little further inside, no big deal. You should use your bore brush and a little solvent in the charging holes anyway, and it will take care of that. Its really a non issue. Unique powder is known to be dirtier than most, but it is so versatile and burns well that the trade off is worth it. Of course any powder will leave residue.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    mandalitten,
    You could also try Trail Boss or TiteGroup for powder. Both are non-position sensitive. Trail Boss is made "fat" to take up a lot of room. TiteGroup is of normal density, but is made to be non-position sensitive so a little in a big case is no problem. Light loads in 45LC or 44Mag cases fire the same whether pointed at the ground, or straight up prior to shooting (Don't ever shoot straight up). I use Tite Group as my normal fast pistol powder, and usually load light loads in .357 cases when not shooting a .38. You can also go on up to near Magnum levels if desired, and it shoots clean as well.
    Trail Boss was specifically designed for CAS, but I have not had a reason to use it yet, as Tite Group covers any scenario I have encountered.

    Good luck,
    Terry

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    I recommend nothing smaller than 20mm for Close Air Support... :)
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    OPFOR,
    I like your thinking!

    mandalitten,
    Try Missouri Bullet for a selection of Cowboy Action bullets
    Missouri Bullet Company

    You could get an idea of what you like for weight and type before you buy bullet molds.
    Terry
    Last edited by Exsimguy1; April 3rd, 2011 at 11:15 PM. Reason: Additional reasoning

  10. #10
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    Array bmcgilvray's Avatar
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    For a light load in a .357 Magnum I'd try 3.0 grains of Bulls-Eye under a 158 grain round nose bullet. I've not chronographed it but it should deliver about 700-725 fps for a mild shooting load appropriate for the game.

    While there is nothing wrong with the practice, I never shoot .38 Special ammunition in .357 Magnum chambered revolvers, preferring to use .357 Magnum cases for all loads.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Mandalitten,

    All the above advice is good. It was given by people who probably have a combined reloading experience of 70 + years, yet we have all found things that we like. Guns have a personality all their own. We may have the exact same gun, yet both will shoot the same load differently.
    So try a few of these, and maybe a few in the manuel, and you will come up with something that works for you.
    bigdog44 likes this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  12. #12
    Member Array mandalitten's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good advice!

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    Member Array shaner's Avatar
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    a friend i shoot with in cass , he uses 90 gr bullets with i think 2 gr of bullseye ? and has won a lot of matches

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