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Posted: 4/18/2016 11:01:45 PM EDT
I've done some searching and I'm finding a mix of answers. However, the consensus seems to be it's okay to light load a 357 case, but many people are doing this with lead bullets. What I'm wondering is how light can I go with a jacketed bullet? Would any 38 special recipe work in a 357 case?

I'm using CFE Pistol powder. According to Hodgdon's website,

38 special with a 158 gr XTP bullet is:

4.6 gr (min) and 5.0 gr (max).

+P load is 5.4 gr.

357 loads are 6.1 (min) and 6.9 (max).

So, could I load as low as say 5.0 gr in a 357 case?
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 11:07:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 11:22:07 PM EDT
I just went through this. You're going to want a fast powder to keep things clean.



I ended up with 3.5gr TiteGroup with a 138gr. Bayou Wadcutter. A tad bit faster than Dryflash's load (which I loosely based it on), but still light enough to be extremely enjoyable to shoot.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 12:04:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 12:59:04 AM EDT
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Quoted:

Use 357 loads in 357 cases, don't just use 38 data.
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Okay, but why? This is contrary to most of what I'm finding. Granted, web forums aren't exactly overrun with experts, but the preponderance of evidence seems to suggest it's okay. Maybe not with magnum powders, but with many powders load data has changed over the years. Using H110, for example, the starting load in Lyman 48th was 16.3gr but Hodgdon's site now has the min at 15gr.

I can see how the min 38 special load in a 357 brass could be somewhat lower pressure than in 38 brass and could be an issue, but a max 38 special load in 357 brass seams reasonable, but that's what I'm trying to figure out - what's "reasonable" for the powder I have.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 1:01:10 AM EDT


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Quoted:
  As much as I like and use TiteGroup and Clays, I can't better old school Bullseye.


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Quoted:





Quoted:


I just went through this. You're going to want a fast powder to keep things clean.





I ended up with 3.5gr TiteGroup with a 138gr. Bayou Wadcutter. A tad bit faster than Dryflash's load (which I loosely based it on), but still light enough to be extremely enjoyable to shoot.





  As much as I like and use TiteGroup and Clays, I can't better old school Bullseye.







 
I agree. The switch to TiteGroup was due to availability. I'm down to 4lbs of Bullseye that I'm saving for my 45ACP 200gr SWCs.


 



OP, can you find any lead data for CFE? You could start towards the higher end of lead data.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 7:19:09 AM EDT
If you use 38spl data with .357 cases you are not doing anything meaningful. The pressure will be different as will the velocity so why even bother?

If you compare data you will find a good deal of it is comparable and there really is no shortage of light load data for the .357

If you simply just start using 38spl data with jacketed bullets for light loads in .357 brass I think you will be heading towards a bullet being stuck in the barrel.

In a revolver a stuck bullet can easily be not detected if you are not paying 100% attention. If this happens and you fire another round the consequences are not good.

Motor
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 9:45:17 AM EDT
I wouldn't play with jacketed bullets on the edge of sticking in the barrel.   Lead I might but then again, I wouldn't be down on the ragged edge of exiting.   If you have a chronograph you might be able to see some erratic velocity spreads before you stick one while working "down"
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:39:00 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 12:26:35 PM EDT
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Quoted:
I wouldn't play with jacketed bullets on the edge of sticking in the barrel.   Lead I might but then again, I wouldn't be down on the ragged edge of exiting.   If you have a chronograph you might be able to see some erratic velocity spreads before you stick one while working "down"
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I wouldn't play with jacketed bullets on the edge of sticking in the barrel.   Lead I might but then again, I wouldn't be down on the ragged edge of exiting.   If you have a chronograph you might be able to see some erratic velocity spreads before you stick one while working "down"


I appreciate the feedback, but I'm having a hard time understanding why a load for 38 would suddenly be so anaemic as to stick in the barrel if loaded in 357 brass. I scanned around a dozen similar threads and while not total agreement, most people are saying it's okay just don't go "too low". This thread, for example. As I mentioned, I wasn't planning to load at the minimum for 38 but the maximum. In this case, 5.0 of CFE Pistol.

Mainly, I'm just trying to understand how much the case size difference impacts pressure. This is one quote I found which sort of makes sense to me.

All smokeless powders burn rather slowly at normal pressures (that is, one atmosphere, or 14.7 psi). These powders burn considerably faster when pressures go up into the thousands of psi. These powders have a performance "envelope" at which the burn behaves in a predictable, stable and consistent manner. If you try to run a powder at lower than its optimal pressure, you can get odd behaviors, like detonation, pressure spikes, bullets that stick partway down the barrel while the burn continues and pressure builds up again (effectively against a barrel obstruction). Not everyone believes in detonation, but there is no argument that light charges of slow powders, especially in voluminous cases is an iffy proposition, best avoided.

Fast powders are more forgiving of lighter-than-minimum loads. The main danger there is if you load so light that you have a bullet that does not leave the barrel. That sets you up for an obstructed barrel and all the disaster that goes with that.

But think about this: If you take a .357 Magnum cartridge and set the bullet deep enough that the overall length is 38 special length, you effectively have a 38 special in your chamber and can use the same load data a 38 special uses.

Or, you could increase the 38 special load data proportional to the increase of the interior volume of the case (under the bullet) and get similar performance as if you loaded 38 special brass. I do this all the time. From http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-768888.html
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 1:46:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:58:55 PM EDT
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Good luck.
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Thanks. I loaded up 25 rounds with 5.4 gr of CFE Pistol as that was the 38 +p load for 158 gr XTP. Going to test them tomorrow.
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