.38/.357 Bullet Recommendation

This is a discussion on .38/.357 Bullet Recommendation within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I am going to buy some dies and start loading for my SP101. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good bullet. I do ...

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Thread: .38/.357 Bullet Recommendation

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    .38/.357 Bullet Recommendation

    I am going to buy some dies and start loading for my SP101. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good bullet. I do not need a brand specifically, but more so the type.

    What are you using to make your reloads? I have mostly been using cast bullets and would like to keep it up. Saves a lot of money. Just not sure what grain would be best or what style.

    As a side note I am currently using titegroup for .45 acp, 9mm, and soon .38/.357. Can anyone else recommend another powder that would be suitable for these loads? Just looking to explore other options.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Unique powder is my favorite, Stick with lead bullets in the SWC style for 38spl and 357 mag, unless you are going to load to magnum velocities. Then use in good jacketed bullet.

    My preference for do-it-all is 38 spl 158 weight LSWC, over Unique powder. This is a do it all combo. For magnum loadings of either 125 or 158 weight jacketed bullets, I only use Hornady bullets sitting over healthy doses of 2400, although H1110aint no slouch.

    When using H110 or 2400, do not reduce more than recommended, and be sure and use small magnum pistol primers.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with Gman. I load .357s, no 38s, 125 to 145 good jacketed bullets (STHP, etc) over heavy 296, with magnum primers.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    I usually go for middle of the road. I know for .45 the load data is 4.8 to 5.4 and I load right around 5.1-5.2. That is to ensure that my 1911 cycles properly. With revolvers that shouldn't be much problem.

    Refresh my memory. When only showing maximum load data you reduce by 10% correct? My lee reloading manual shows starting loads so I haven't had to deal with reducing on my own.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Guantes, that 145 Silvet tip may be one of the best there ever was.

    Zepplin, get you a reloading manuel. It should give a high and low.
    Adhere to it. I usually start in the middle.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    10% between starting and top loads is about average.

    **Be aware that Blue Dot has a warning out an its use with 125gr .357 loads.

    "ATK Commercial Products
    900 Ehlen Drive Anoka, MN 55303
    ATK is a Fortune 500 aerospace, defense, security, and sporting products company

    July 25, 2008

    Dear Functional Wholesaler:

    Please distribute this letter to all of your customers immediately with instructions for them to do the following:
    • Post this letter in a highly visible area of their establishment
    • Distribute to their customers as soon as possible
    Alliant Powder Blue Dot® Product Safety Notice

    Alliant Powder® periodically reviews and tests their published reloading data to verify that recommended recipes have not changed over time.
    During the latest review Alliant Powder discovered that Alliant Powder’s Blue Dot® should not be used in the following applications:
    • Blue Dot® should NOT be used in the 357 Magnum load using the 125 grain projectile (Blue Dot® recipes with heavier bullet weights as specified in Alliant Powders Reloading Guide are acceptable for use).
    • Blue Dot® should NOT be used in the 41 Magnum cartridge (all bullet weights).
    Use of Blue Dot® in the above cases may cause a high pressure situation that could cause property damage and serious personal injury.

    We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause and appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
    Thank you for your cooperation and if you have any questions or concerns please contact me at Dick.Quesenberry@ATK.com or call me at 540-639-8503.

    Dick Quesenberry
    Alliant Powder
    Product Line Manager"
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    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    Sounds like I got a .38 load set. My manual shows info for both unique and titegroup. I will try out the 158gr. LSWC

    Should the lead semi wadcutters be avoided altogether in a .357 load? Or can I use them with a middle of the road charge?

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glockman10mm
    Guantes, that 145 Silvet tip may be one of the best there ever was.
    I agree.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppelin03 View Post
    Sounds like I got a .38 load set. My manual shows info for both unique and titegroup. I will try out the 158gr. LSWC

    Should the lead semi wadcutters be avoided altogether in a .357 load? Or can I use them with a middle of the road charge?
    Heavens no! Just dont hot rod the bullet. I have found that with Laser Cast bullets, you can push the 158 swc to velocities exceeding 1400fps (in an N frame revolver) without leading. But I only use those types of loads for special needs.

    If you do not have a chronograph, you need to get one. A reloading must have.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    Good to know. May just use jacketed for .357. I use .38 for range use. Can make some .357 to mimic defensive loads though.

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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Zeppelin03,
    Since you are familiar with, and also, have some, try some of the loads with Titegroup, and be pleasently surprised. Years ago I loaded a large lot of 125 grain HP 357 for a local PD. They were getting "tied up" (cylinder not latching closed) with 2400 powder grains in their revolvers, shooting long strings, so I loaded them to just shy of 1400fps with Winchester 231 (listed load). No more "tie ups" and excellent accuracy. No Mag primers, just WWSP. When Titegoup came out, I duplicated my old loads for velocity, and it works wonderfully in 9mm,45acp,38special,357,44mag, just as the WW 231 did. Clean, accurate, position insensitive, and will duplicate all but the most extreme velocities in most calibers, almost always, as or more accurate than the usual slow powder. Anyway, don't be afraid to try it. Hodgdons has most calibers listed with Data for Titegroup.

    Good luck,
    Terry
    Last edited by Exsimguy1; August 24th, 2011 at 08:26 PM. Reason: added description

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    I am a fan of the lead 158 grain SWC bullet for use in the 357 Magnum cartridge for both mild and wild applications. A mild load is 5.0 grains of Unique put up in .357 Magnum cases for approximately 930 fps from a 6-inch barrel. Wild is 15.0 grains of 2400 over the same style bullet, again in .357 Magnum cases for around 1400 fps from the same length barrel. The 2400 load certainly needs to be worked up in individual revolvers. Recoil is stiff but tolerable in K-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers. A coworker once borrowed a few cylinders-full at the range one afternoon to fire through his Colt Lawman and I noticed afterward that the primers exhibited cratering. The empties ejected normally though. A big ol' N-Frame Model 27 Smith & Wesson sees the most .357 Magnum duty around here.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    Mid-range powder: I like Unique and 231. Bullets: the vast majority of what I've used are 158 LSWC and 125 JHP (I've used some LWC and some plated and some 148 gr, but always tend to go back to the 2 I mention). I only use 357 mag cases, but everything seems to run just fine through my SP101 and much older Security Six. But the bottom line is, you have tons of powder and bullet weight/design flexibility in 357 loadings. Nothing wrong with experimenting with something new if you want, just be smart and safe.
    Chose a weapon that goes bang EVERY time!

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array zeppelin03's Avatar
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    I was looking at 158 gr LSWC on Missouri bullet companies website. They have one in .38 and another in .357. The only difference I see is the brinell strength. .357 is stronger. Any issue if I buy the .357 version and use it for .38 as well?

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    With the harder lead you will probably not get significant expansion at .38 special velocities. The softer lead you might have leading issues if you load it hot in .357.
    Unfortunately it is one of those things that just complicates life a bit.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

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