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Thread: Newbie Frustration/Cast Bullet Questions

  1. #1
    Member jrt34's Avatar
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    Default Newbie Frustration/Cast Bullet Questions

    Folks,

    I'm very new to handloading and am approching the hobby from a very cautious perspective. After several months of study I decided to load 38 specials for target shooting through a .357 mag. I've inherated RCBS equipment and so going with loads from the Speer manual seemed a natural choice. I wanted to start with lead swc's because the jacketed bullet loads in the manual are DNR loads and I want to start slow and work up. I cannot purchase these bullets in Anchorage to save my life!

    Frustrated, I ended up in Great Northern a couple weeks ago where a gentlmen gave me a screaming deal on some lead cast bullets (165 grain 38 cal # 357446). and sold me a Lyman Reloading manual. The Lyman manual lists lead cast bullets but not the exact ones I bought.

    Wanting to load my first rounds "by the book" I ended up switching gears and finding some 44 spcl Speer bullets in town that will work (Ill shoot my first batch through my 44 mag this weekend).

    Now I've got several hundred cast bullest on my shelf waiting to be loaded. My question is this, can I use published data for any 165 grain 38 cal bullet? If not, can someone point me to some data for this specific bullet?

    Sorry for the length of the post, any help would be appreciated.

    - JRT

  2. #2
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Default

    Find yourself a copy of the Lyman Cast bullet Handbook. You can find the loading information and answers to question you will have there. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Default

    jrt34,

    Al's right the Lyman Cast bullet Handbook will give you the info you need.

    That 357446 cast SWC is a standard 38 spcl bullet and is loaded at 900 fps with 5.0 grs of unique. Those components have bben around a while, I think that is the first bullet I ever loaded in a 38 spcl. Load anywhere from 3.5 to 5.0 grains of Unique or 4.5 to 5.5 grains of SR4756, or 3.5 to 4.5 grains of W231.

    These are all great well established. Remember always load 38 spcl pressure loads in 38 spcl cases, even though you are shooting in a 357. The guy at GNG's steered you right.

    I have loaded a similar bullet for about 40 years and that is the Lyman 358429 Keith style bullet with 5.0 of Unique.

    You didn't mention the powder you intend to use, do you have some powder now? If not the above powders are good I would also include Blue Dot for the 38 spcl plinkers. Loading range for that powder would be about 5.5 to 7.5 grains. I use CCI -500 primers for all loads.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  4. #4
    Member jrt34's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Murhpy

    Thanks for the info and Ill pick that manual up for sure. I thought I mentiond Bullseye powder, but if not, thats what I was planning on using. Sounds like Unique is pretty popular as well?

  5. #5

    Default

    Bullseye is tops for lower velocity target or "midrange" loads, but it builds pressure much too quickly for use in chasing top velocities. Unique is terrific, versatile enough for everything from fairly light loads to near top velocities. You have to go to even slower powders than Unique to get the last 10% or so of velocity possible with the 357 mag case, but then those slow powders are almost useless for lighter loads.

    Unique is probably the "universal" powder choice for cast bullet loads in the 38 and 35, as well as for moderate velocity loads in larger cases like the 44 special and 45 Long Colt. A can goes a long ways, and I wouldn't be caught without it.

  6. #6

    Default 165 gr. bullets

    jrt34,

    As I mentioned to you when I sold you the 165 grain swcs for the .38/,357, with the lead swc bullet at 165 grain instead of 158, if you load the starter loads, that 7 grains weight difference in a lead bullet will not cause you any grief at all. With a max load for a 158 gr. bullet or with a jacketed bullet it could cause problems. There are many good starter loads that would work fine for you.

  7. #7
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default 38 loads

    jrt34,
    No great worries about the 165s vs the 158s. Being conservative in reloading is or should be the 1st Commandment- so you're off to the right start! When dealing with the lower velocity cast bullet loads associated with the fast pistol powders like Bullseye you kinda have to put the large capacity rifle reloading talk out of your mind. I know a lot of the rifle cartridge talk is usually in 1/2 gr. or 1 gr. increments. Just watch the Ps and Qs on exact powder measure and pay attention to the 1/10 gr. increments as listed in the manuals. Other than BULLSEYE, which is one of the best target/low velocity powders for cast bullet pistol loading, you might also consider IMR TRAILBOSS. This relatively new powder is extremely bulky yet has many of the burn characteristics of powders like BULLSEYE. By being bulky it is much more difficult to "double charge" a case.... never a good thing and always a possibility when loading small quantities of fast powders. TRAILBOSS data can be found on the IMR website. While some or more progressive/slower pistol powders will give the highest velocities within the cartridge pressure limits they are best reserved for full pressure/high velocity loads- not necessarily the best for plinking, practice or target work. Also, minimum loads of the slower powders can be very dirty burning, may not be the best in some cast bullet loads and may give less than the best results in consistent velocity and accuracy. UNIQUE is somewhat of a compromise between the two types of powders and applications. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Member nrc's Avatar
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    Default unique / 38 or 357

    +1 for Unique as a powder for the 38/357 for target level loads.
    5gr with either the 148gr BBWC or 158gr WC have worked well for me.

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