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Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk #16272533 07/22/21
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Redleg172 Offline OP
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So I have a Blackhawk (4 5/8 bbl) in .357 and don't particularly like the cartridge. I mostly woods bum with it in the east and am looking for a load recommendation that would be a light .357 or heavy .38. I'm thinking a heavier (175g-ish) Keith style bullet at 800-900 fps would be about right. Mostly coyote sized and smaller within 50 yards.

Also, can I use my .38spcl recipe in .357 brass for a plinking round or does the longer case require more powder to keep the pressures and velocity up?

Thanks,


Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16272743 07/22/21
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I load most of my .357 cases with 38 sp loads. 4-4.5 gr of W231, or Universal, 158 gr cast. I buy the cast from Brazo in the 38 sp load hardness they have now days.I have shot thousands of rounds with these loads in my 686, Ruger BH,and Rossi 92.They run about 800-900 fps and a bit more in the Rossi.With the Universal, I get slightly better accuracy using a CCI SP magnum primer
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Serious.357 loads get 158 gr XTP.s and 13 -13.5 gr of 2400.

I would think that loading the 175 gr cast would defeat the purpose of having a light load, but using your 38 load behind that bullet will push your velocity up, if your 38 sp load isn't very hot and you were using a 158 gr in those loads.

Using a 38sp +p load with a 175gr cast is going to be fairly snappy so you wouldn't want to up the load powder wise without creeping up to it. I think a lighter load of 2400 would suit better if you are looking for more case volume, but I have never had an ignition or accuracy problem.

Last edited by saddlesore; 07/22/21.

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Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16272869 07/22/21
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Yes, a same powder charge/bullet will have less pressure in a 357 case versus a 38 special case.

I wouldn't use starting 38 loads in a 357 case, otherwise I'd not be concerned. I don't know what powders you have on hand?

I would avoid 2400 for light loads, it works much better at higher pressure. With the 170ish Keith, I go with something along the lines of 5gr of Unique in a 38 special case and 6grs in a 357 case.

Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16272965 07/22/21
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I haven't shot a .357 round in years and in all my pistols that are 357s, I shoot .38 spl. brass.. Unique is a favorite, and 2400.. I only have a bit of 231 but may use it up... If I want more power, I use a .44 or 45.. I don't like the crack of a hot .357 load.. Those loads do all I need done with a pistol in 357 caliber. I don't hunt big game with a pistol anymore, and big bears are up north.. Enjoy!!


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Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16273160 07/22/21
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12-12.5gr of 2400 in +P (or any Starline) brass with 158gr LaserCast works well. Standard primers.

Some 2400 data with magnum primers is probably still around, but tests from years ago proved it was erratic.


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Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16273292 07/22/21
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Redleg172 Offline OP
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Thanks. I have some Unique left (not enough) and a bunch of W231. I also found some decent looking 158 SWC to try. I may try some of the 158 SWC and some 173 Keith and see which I like better, although the 158 are a lot cheaper since they don't have a GC. Like WCH said, it's the crack of the 357 I hate, not the recoil, and a light 357 should do everything I need around here and get the pistol out of the safe.

Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16273322 07/22/21
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gregintenn Offline
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THE 38 Special Load

"Elmer Keith’s heavy .38 Special load — his #358429 Keith bullet of around 170 grs. over 13.5 grains of #2400 — "


Give er hell, Red! grin


Personally, I prefer a158 grain swaged hollow base wadcutter atop 2.8 grains of Bullseye.

Last edited by gregintenn; 07/22/21.
Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16273542 07/22/21
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Jim in Idaho Offline
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Originally Posted by Redleg172
Thanks. I have some Unique left (not enough) and a bunch of W231. I also found some decent looking 158 SWC to try. I may try some of the 158 SWC and some 173 Keith and see which I like better, although the 158 are a lot cheaper since they don't have a GC. Like WCH said, it's the crack of the 357 I hate, not the recoil, and a light 357 should do everything I need around here and get the pistol out of the safe.

You say you have a lot of 231, that's definitely a good way to go toward your goal here. Heavy bullets and fast powder will give you the least muzzle blast. Obviously you have to be careful with a fast burning powder since pressures could rise very quickly but that just takes a little common sense. Even the 158 grain bullets over 231 will reduce the noise level.

Getting back to the pressure, with 231 I'd recommend sticking with the .357 cases to give you a little more room in the combustion chamber. You might have to add a half grain over a .38 case to get to your desired velocity but starting the bullets closer to the throats can only help accuracy.

Looking over my notes it seems I only ever used 5.0 and 5.5 grains of 231 with 158 gr. cast bullets in the .357 Magnum. 5.0 grains gave 990 fps from a 6" barrel so you might want to start at about 4.0. 5.5 grains gave some leading but that was with store bought cast bullets that were likely too hard to properly obdurate.


Not what you asked but hey, this is the internet and no one stays on topic, wink , but if you want a nice mid-upper level load of about 1050 fps in that 4 5/8" barrel or over 1100 in a 6" barrel, 7.0 grains of True Blue with a 158 grain cast is a real load that works and isn't too "cracky". That 7.0 grain load has been consistently accurate to really, really accurate in every single .357 revolver I've tried it in. Lower it to 5.0 or 5.5 grains in .38 Special revolvers where it still consistently provides top level accuracy around 850-900 fps depending on barrel length.


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Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16276601 07/23/21
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In my 4” Model 19, when I load 2400 with a Lyman 358156 (solid or HP) in 357 cases I get about 1000 fps with 10 grs, 1100 fps with 11 grs and 1200 fps with 12 grs.

If you want to use 38 Special cases, load that bullet so it crimps into the lower crimping groove for an o/all length that is pretty close to the o/all length when it’s loaded in 357 cases. I used to use magnum primers but switched to standard primers a while back and got practically the same results. Superb accuracy regardless of the primer.

With the same bullets in 38 Special cases with 4.0 grs of Bullseye, a CCI 500 at 1.57” o/all I get just over 800 fps in my 3” model 60. They’re as accurate as I can hold.

In a 5” model 60 with 357 cases, the same bullets and primer, 5.0 grs of Unique gave 870 fps.


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Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16279547 07/24/21
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158gr LSWC's over 6.4grs of Unique in magnum brass is my every day load. I clocked it but can't remember the speed. 1100-1200fps I think.

A gun writer. Mike Venturino IIRC wrote up a 38-44 load as the same type bullet over 11+grs of 2400 in spl cases. Again IIRC. At any rate I tried it. It worked fine, but I think I like that powder better for heavy loads.

I've not yet tried heavy bullets like 175grs or more. I pack a bigger gun or put more heat behind the 158's if I expect a need. Someday I'll try something heavier.

IC-B

Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16280500 07/24/21
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For your intended use, coyotes and smaller, take a look at Rim Rock bullets 158 grain semi wadcutter gas check hollowpoint. It is cast very soft, bhn 5, so you will get expansion. I use 6 grains of Unique in magnum cases for a bit over 1000 fps. It is accurate, no sharp crack, light recoil in my N-frame Smith 327 ttr8.

Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: mannyspd1] #16286988 07/27/21
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Redleg172 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mannyspd1
For your intended use, coyotes and smaller, take a look at Rim Rock bullets 158 grain semi wadcutter gas check hollowpoint. It is cast very soft, bhn 5, so you will get expansion. I use 6 grains of Unique in magnum cases for a bit over 1000 fps. It is accurate, no sharp crack, light recoil in my N-frame Smith 327 ttr8.



that sounds like just the ticket. I will order a hundred and see how it goes.

Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16287000 07/27/21
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for years, i used 6 gr unique and 358429. works like a champ and gets what you want. you could use 231 also but reduce to 5 gr and work up. in the blackhawk, unless they've changed in the last 40 years, you can crimp the keith bullet in the proper crimping groove and not be too long for the blackhawk cyl.


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Re: Heavy .38 (38-44) load for .357 Blackhawk [Re: Redleg172] #16294448 07/29/21
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Originally Posted by Redleg172
So I have a Blackhawk (4 5/8 bbl) in .357 and don't particularly like the cartridge. I mostly woods bum with it in the east and am looking for a load recommendation that would be a light .357 or heavy .38. I'm thinking a heavier (175g-ish) Keith style bullet at 800-900 fps would be about right. Mostly coyote sized and smaller within 50 yards.

Also, can I use my .38spcl recipe in .357 brass for a plinking round or does the longer case require more powder to keep the pressures and velocity up?

Thanks,

I use special recipe loads all the time in magnum brass. It is a simple matter to seat the bullet to the same COAL as listed in the special data. Thus duplicating internal volume of "special" brass. 41 mag and 327.

The ogive may well end up inside the case, but that hurts nothing.

Example: I load 32 S&W data into 327 Hornady Mag brass, with the bullet seated to 32 Smith COAL.

I prefer this technique as I do not dirty my chambers with "special" brass.

Suggestion credited to our dearly departed Dr. Ken Howell.

Next project: 40 short and weak load data in the 10mm auto.


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