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Reloading .38 special


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Anyone reloading .38 special or .357 magnum for underlever rifle? What is the cost per round, assuming reuse/already having the brass? 

Edited by Apivorus
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Just now, Apivorus said:

I do. Typo, thanks.

 

When I applied for a .375 magnum rifle my certificate came back marked one .375 magnum bolt action and 150 rounds .357 magnum ammunition. The girl in the firearms office couldn’t be made to understand over the phone so I took the cert. to HQ and showed her. Even then I had to point the mistake out twice! She said, “it’s because we authorise so much .357 ammunition for the target shooters, I just typed it as usual.”  Normally, I would have told her it was just incompetence, but I spared her that because she was about 22 and gorgeous.

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Less than 10p per round if you cast your own bullets.

Say a light target load of Unique, 5 grains = 1,400 shots from a 1lb tub at £40 = 3p

Primers £40 per 1,000 = 4p

A home cast bullet - Range lead at scrap value £1 per Kg. (about 90 x 158gn bullets)

A Lee bullet mould .357, double cavity with handles = Henry Krank £23.40

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Remember West Mids Police Firearms Training Dept loading training rounds for the 38 Special.  It all stopped abruptly when an overcharge load put the top strap of a revolver into the underground range roof. Fortunately the guy firing it was not hurt but he needed a strong cuppa tea afterwards I can tell you.  Whatever always be VERY precise when loading these little cases as like loading 410, you can go into dangerous territory very easily. 

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On 08/07/2021 at 14:46, London Best said:

You mean .357 magnum.

NO! 38 Spl works well in my Marlin and the supposed ring build up in the chamber is nonsense.

I use a 148 gr cast boolit driven by 3.2 gr of fast pistol powder (Howitzer Zero in my case - left over from the pistol days).

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you may want to research into a true pistol powder like ba10.

i read up alot about it and its burnrate is very fast. probably faster than bullseye and is made to compete in the faster burnrate powders for pistols like .38spl, it burns clean and its burnrate is as fast as alliant extralite.  it meters better than any other powder i have ever used. (its designed for high volume loaders.)

there is data for it (official)

have a butchers. i put about 4 different (12gauge) loads through proof. it is amazing. (silly economy too).

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 09/07/2021 at 17:59, dodgyrog said:

NO! 38 Spl works well in my Marlin and the supposed ring build up in the chamber is nonsense.

I've seen a few people have trouble using .357 rounds after shooting .38s in their Marlins. I stick to .357s.

My costs are similar to 1066's although I tend to buy lead bullets which are around £40 per 500 so that's another 8p a round.

Prices are constantly going up, a pot of suitable powder is closer to £50 now, and so is 1,000 primers.

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9 hours ago, Windswept said:

I've seen a few people have trouble using .357 rounds after shooting .38s in their Marlins. I stick to .357s.

My costs are similar to 1066's although I tend to buy lead bullets which are around £40 per 500 so that's another 8p a round.

Prices are constantly going up, a pot of suitable powder is closer to £50 now, and so is 1,000 primers.

Can I ask what sort of problems? 

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16 minutes ago, Scully said:

Can I ask what sort of problems? 

Extraction problems mainly, although I think people complain the action isn't that smooth. It'll depend on what powder/load is shot in a .38 and how well the chamber is cleaned. When 38s are used dirt builds up in the last few mm of the chamber over time.

I'm talking about people who shoot 100s of rounds and are not that thorough with cleaning. The latest problem I've seen was a ring of brass being left in the chamber from the end of a .357 case!

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In practice because of the way it was designed any lever action centrefire rifle usually works best with the longest length cartridge of those that it is capable of chambering and firing. So in a .38 Special/.357 Magnum that'd be the .357 Magnum cartridge and in a .44 Special/.44 Magnum that'd be the .44 Magnum cartridge.

There are various reasons to do not only with how the lifter works that conveys the cartridge from the magazine to the barrel but also the issue of fouling in front of the .38 Special case in the rifle's .357 Magnum chamber.

As to loading, yes, powders like Bullseye or HP38 can be used and work well. But as you are shooting a rifle not a revolver the longer barrel will be ideal for slower burning powders such as Herco and or Unique. I'm "old school" so can't really reference to 2021's European powders. Sorry!

 

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20 hours ago, enfieldspares said:

.

As to loading, yes, powders like Bullseye or HP38 can be used and work well. But as you are shooting a rifle not a revolver the longer barrel will be ideal for slower burning powders such as Herco and or Unique. 

 

This /\

plus it cuts down on leading

Edited by Vince Green
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Leading isn't really a problem with light loads, especially as bought lead bullets tend to be hardcast, around 20 BHN.

Most gallery rifle shooters I know will use a small charge of a fast pistol powder such as Vihtavuori N310, N320 etc. Typical speeds around 800-900 fps from a Marlin U/L. (Note, most load data you'll find will be for revolvers so will show a slower speed).

You do need to be careful when loading when using small charges though as there's plenty of room in the case for accidental double or worse charges!

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6 hours ago, Windswept said:

Leading isn't really a problem with light loads, especially as bought lead bullets tend to be hardcast, around 20 BHN.

Most gallery rifle shooters I know will use a small charge of a fast pistol powder such as Vihtavuori N310, N320 etc. Typical speeds around 800-900 fps from a Marlin U/L. (Note, most load data you'll find will be for revolvers so will show a slower speed).

You do need to be careful when loading when using small charges though as there's plenty of room in the case for accidental double or worse charges!

Yes but thats hardly using the rifle to its true potential.

Try shooting foxes with 14.5 grns of 2400  and a 158 grn jacketed soft point at 1600 fps and you will realise you have a whole different rifle. A wolf in sheep's clothing. Its a damn good target load at 100 yds too, even 200 yds on a still day.

Not legal in the UK for deer but thats a common deer load in the USA. Braver souls than me shoot bears with it

Fast burning powders are OK for plinking ranges but once you go out to 50 or 100 yds you find that much slower powders hold the accuracy when the fast burning powders fall apart. Unique, Herco, N340 rule at these ranges.

Lead bullets too have their limits. Most (all?) serious shooters double lube their bullets. This has happened since pistol days and before

All this talk of chamber rings in rifles using .38 special loads is like a trip down memory lane. rediscovering old knowledge from the pistol days . Fast burning powders don't only burn fast they burn hotter. Hot enough to strip raw molten lead from the base of lead bullets and deposit it on the chamber wall or the bore   Slower burning powders are much gentler but generally use 50% or more powder charge .

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9 hours ago, Vince Green said:

Yes but thats hardly using the rifle to its true potential.

I quite agree. I do use mine to it's full potential occasionally but the costs will be much higher. More powder, a jacketed bullet and you're normally advised to use new brass.

I assume @Apivorus is asking about gallery rifle loads, so light charges under 50m, often under 25m.

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On 22/07/2021 at 22:00, Vince Green said:

Yes but thats hardly using the rifle to its true potential.

Try shooting foxes with 14.5 grns of 2400  and a 158 grn jacketed soft point at 1600 fps and you will realise you have a whole different rifle. A wolf in sheep's clothing. Its a damn good target load at 100 yds too, even 200 yds on a still day.

Not legal in the UK for deer but thats a common deer load in the USA. Braver souls than me shoot bears with it

Fast burning powders are OK for plinking ranges but once you go out to 50 or 100 yds you find that much slower powders hold the accuracy when the fast burning powders fall apart. Unique, Herco, N340 rule at these ranges.

Lead bullets too have their limits. Most (all?) serious shooters double lube their bullets. This has happened since pistol days and before

All this talk of chamber rings in rifles using .38 special loads is like a trip down memory lane. rediscovering old knowledge from the pistol days . Fast burning powders don't only burn fast they burn hotter. Hot enough to strip raw molten lead from the base of lead bullets and deposit it on the chamber wall or the bore   Slower burning powders are much gentler but generally use 50% or more powder charge .

I used to use 2400 in my .357 S&W 586 and 14 grns was a really exciting load to shoot. No fear of a double charge though and was more of a hard shove than a violent recoil. I've just bought a tub to try in the Winchester legacy and I'm looking forward to seeing how it shoots out to 100 yds. 

I did try to get my .357 conditioned for a follow up rifle for deer but my firearms dept' wouldn't wear it, so I'm wondering if they would consider it as a woodland fox rifle as it would certainly be better than a .223 or a .243 in thick cover.

 

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On 22/07/2021 at 22:00, Vince Green said:

Yes but thats hardly using the rifle to its true potential.

Try shooting foxes with 14.5 grns of 2400  and a 158 grn jacketed soft point at 1600 fps and you will realise you have a whole different rifle. A wolf in sheep's clothing. Its a damn good target load at 100 yds too, even 200 yds on a still day.

Not legal in the UK for deer but thats a common deer load in the USA. Braver souls than me shoot bears with it

 

Well now not strictly 100% accurate. Remember that the law recently changed to allow a lower power for ammunition used to shoot some of the smaller species of deer here in the UK.

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1 hour ago, enfieldspares said:

Well now not strictly 100% accurate. Remember that the law recently changed to allow a lower power for ammunition used to shoot some of the smaller species of deer here in the UK.

There's no way you are going to get a .357 to shoot 1000 ft lbs of muzzle energy, which is the minimum even for muntjac 

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1 hour ago, Graham M said:

There's no way you are going to get a .357 to shoot 1000 ft lbs of muzzle energy, which is the minimum even for muntjac 

It is possible in a rifle. There's data out there for 170/180gr going at 1650+ fps. You'd be right on the limit though and I wouldn't want to put them through my rifle.

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Found this on the web-

Quote

With an 18 inch barrel, the 140 Grain Hornady FTX travels at 1,850 feet per second with 1,064 pounds of energy at the muzzle. Velocity and energy slow to 1,458 and 660 at 100 yards, respectively.

So yes it IS possible but would any firearms dept' believe it or actually allow it. After all we are at their mercy most of the time 

 

 

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