Results 1 to 38 of 38

Thread: .38 special or .357 mag

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default .38 special or .357 mag

    so today I got 1000 160 grain lead SWC. now the question which casing to load them in? I have tons of both 38 and 357 brass so which do you recommend? I will be using either 2400 or unique powders thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    1,330

    Default

    Why not both?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default

    dont know guess I could load both up. what would the benefit be for a 160 grain bullet in a 38 they dont seem to have much speed at 38 pressure. 357 mag they have a little more zip to them. or is slow and heavy prefered? shooting 357/38 is new to me. the gun by the way is a H and R handi rifle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    1,330

    Default

    Well in my mind SWC are target bullets. Noting wrong with low power 38 Spec rounds with which to practice your marksmanship.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    377

    Default

    Hi Wyatt,

    Don't forget that you are loading LEAD bullets so velocity should be kept low enough with either round to keep from leaving lots of lead in the barrel. Consult your friendly loading manual for LEAD loads for either 38 or 357 cases. 2400 is usually only used for "full house" loads pushing higher velocities and pressures. Unique would be my choice of the 2 you mentioned. Shooting either one out of your Handi Rifle will give a velocity advantage over the same load in a revolver.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    538

    Default

    Lead bullets can be pushed to maximum velocities out of a rifle of this caliber. I do it all the time out of Win 94 in .357. Just make sure you use a good lube and size the bullets correctly to bore size. I've shot gas checked .225 Dia bullets out of mr AR-15 pushing 2300+ FPS with no problem at all, and the 357/38's will be a lot slower than that./ Dan
    Need help fixing a coleman camping appliance? Maybe I can help!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    377

    Default

    Hi Dan,

    Not wanting to argue. The OP has already purchased the bullets with no mention of gas checks. He made no mention of size of bullet in relation to HIS rifle bore size nor did he mention anything about sizing the bullets he already bought, nor did he mention knowing or potentally changing the lube, nor did he mention bullet hardness. While I would agree with you that for an experienced lead shooter knowing the intricate details and applying them to their specific situation, lead can be pushed to higher velocities successfully,but many don't know these details nor are they willing to invest in the time to learn and apply them to their particular situation.

    I was simply replying to what he stated (and didn't state) to be his situation.

    As always, everyone needs to decide for themselves. Some of us have learned the hard way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schuttig View Post
    Lead bullets can be pushed to maximum velocities out of a rifle of this caliber. I do it all the time out of Win 94 in .357. Just make sure you use a good lube and size the bullets correctly to bore size. I've shot gas checked .225 Dia bullets out of mr AR-15 pushing 2300+ FPS with no problem at all, and the 357/38's will be a lot slower than that./ Dan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    538

    Default

    I think, to be honest, proper sizing is the most important factor in preventing leading. More than alloy, type, lube ect. Just my 2 cents.../ Dan
    Need help fixing a coleman camping appliance? Maybe I can help!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    South Cental Michigan
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Hey Guys, sounds like, as usual, good advice from every particpant. My tiny input would offer that if infact both cartiges are used, that the actual inerchange of the two will leave a deffinate residue/buildup in the chamber if the short one is used first. Might want to clean the gun in between switching. Load my own for years and have loved every bit of it. Thanks Hijack

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default

    the bullets I bought seem to be .3585 I loaded a few in 357 mag cases and they seem to shoot good with no leading in the barrel, they are not gas checked but have a really heavy yellow unknown lube in the grooves. what is the average gain to be had in a rifle barrel over a pistol barrel. I shoot cast in my 303 brit and mosin regularly with no problems,cast bullets arent new just the caliber is new. I cast my own 140 grain semi waddcutters and they seem to do good as well. I just couldnt pass up on the 1000 as the price was cheaper than I could buy scrap lead to melt and cast with. Does anyone have a recommendation on good hunting bullets? I may use this rifle in my deer stand a few times.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    3,928

    Default

    11.7-12.5 2400 for .357 8.6 for .38
    3.8-4.5 Bullseye for .38

    Size and lube with Alox. Leading is not a problem.

    The .38 start to drop at 120yds.
    Out of the Marlin, sighted at 200yds, the .357 are dead on and accurate and the .38 are on at 100yds without altering the scope.

    You can get a ring from a large quantity of .38 that will prevent the .357 from chambering. Carry a brush or run a few FMJ through it to clear it out if the .357 get balky.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default

    what grain bullet are you using for the 357 200 yard zero and what grain for 38 100 yard zero? that sounds like a pair of loads to strive for as I have both a 100 yard target and 200 yard steel plate

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    wyatt,
    I'm kind of surprise, especially for this forum, that no one mentioned the fact that when you are shooting the 38's you have an extra 1/10" of bullet jump. For this reason and the one stated by Hijack and db, if given the choice I would use the .357 brass. In fact I do in my .357 Blackhawk. You can still load very light target loads in the 357 brass too.

    Hunting bullets: Go with a 160 JSP. Not hallow points unless the manufactured specifically states they are for deer sized game. The reason is regular HP bullets in .357 are designed for self protection and do not hold together well on deer sized game. Plus this conclusion was agreed upon by people (gun writers) hunting with handguns. At rifle velocity it is worce.

    Velocity: Just look in your loading manual. Many have data for both pistol and rifle in .357 mag You will be surprised by the increase the longer barrel will yield. The actual data is often very close to being the same. If you need I can PM you some. My powder of choice for jacketed magnum loads is W-296. H-110 is very similar. Some say the only difference between them today is the label.
    Motor
    Last edited by Motor; 02-16-2012 at 05:13 PM. Reason: stupid spell checker !!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    I would strongly recomend using .38 special cases for cast loads .. you don't need the capacity of the .357 mag cases and that extra capacity could cause problems

    a cautionary tale from http://www.reloadammo.com/liteload.htm



    (Comment on gun blowing up from reader. Date: 9-26-2007)

    Hello Mr. Smith

    I was reading your site, very nice I must say and full of good info, and came across something in you "FAQ's: And Answers from my e-mail pages (1-14) 1996" section. Here you said it was ok to use 38 spl loads in a 357. I thought I would share with you something that happened to a friend of mine while I was standing next to him on the firing line.

    He had new Star progressive reloading press. He wanted to use this fine contraption but didn't want to load for 357 so as to reduce recoil. He had been using 38 spl light loads. So he used this same loading in the 357 brass. I was standing next to him and heard a strange sounding report of the pistol. And his bullet strike was about four feet in front of us in the dirt. He is a very good shooter and I wondered why he had hit the dirt. I turned to look at him. His face was as white as a sheet. The top strap of his pistol was gone and the frame was bent so that the barrel was pointing at the ground in front of his. His 357 had detonated!

    Some ballistic labs claim this can't happen. Well I'm here to tell you that it can and does. We jawed about this for a long time and the only thing that came up that made any sense to me was this theory. With the light 38 spl load in the 357 case there was not enough powder to fill the case half full. This caused it to be spread across the side of the case while in the chamber and below the flash hole of the primer. When the primer fired flame from the primer ignited both ends of the powder. This caused two flame fronts inside the case. When they met in the middle of the case the pressure went way up and destroyed the pistol. It was put forth that he had accidentally thrown a double charge. But with the star reloading press this is not possible. It is possible to throw a no charge or a light charge if the powder measure is clogged but not a double charge.

    I though I would share this with you so you can warn others about using light 38 spl loads in the 357 brass.

    Thank you for your time
    Joseph Murphy

    (My Reply to this email)

    Yes, I certainly can believe it happened. I is OK to use .357 cases, but not with light loads. There is a strong warning about light loads that can explode on the first page and top paragraph of my web site . . . and that's light loads in regular cases. Certainly you'd think someone would know that light loads in an even larger case could be a problem. Using a light load with a low density powder that would be light in a .38 case, is a very, very bad idea in a .357 case. Your theory as to what actually happens inside the case is as valid as any others I have heard for when this event occurs.

    Yes, sometimes a double charge can do the same thing. And, with very light loads, a bullet can get lodged in the barrel and the next shot will blow up the gun. So that's two things in addition to the "light loads explosion" that can happen. Case position of the powder with light loads is another issue. I have found (read my web site about powder position in cases) that velocities can vary tremendously with a small amount of powder in cases that were tilted forward or backwards before firing, so that the powder was full against the primer or the lead bullet.

    Thanks for writing. Sorry your friend had to find out the hard way about small amounts of powder in large cases. I will share this with others.

    Regards,
    MDS





    I assume with a cast bullet you will be using light load data for 38 spl.. if you have good load data for .357 then I think you can ignore this post.. but if you use load data for 38 spl it is important to load it in a 38spl case.

    You may have carbon build up in a .357 chamber from shooting 38 spl , and if you do and don't throughly clean it out of the chamber area before loading .357 mag's in it it can make for a hard effort needed to chamber the .357 and it might constrict the mouth of a .357 causing a pressure spike. So you should watch for this after shooting more than a handful of 38 spl.
    Last edited by AmmoSgt; 02-16-2012 at 05:07 PM.
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Sorry Sgt,
    They wouldn't publish loads that would blow up your gun. Besides that. Have you ever looked into a 38 0r 357 case loaded with either 3.5 or 4.5 grains of bullseye? There is a h**l of a lot of room left. I don't buy the story at all period. It was a double charge that blew up that gun or a squib fallowed by another round. No one will convince me otherwise. If it was true all of us guys shooting Unique, 2400 and Bullseye in our rifles with cast bullets would have "detanations" all the freaking time !!
    Motor

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    Motor, please read the post again carefully... I clearly said if you are using 38 spl loads in 38 spl brass.. no problem.. the post is about using published light loads for 38 spl in .357 brass. I'm just the messenger... are you sure you want to discourage the posting of cautionary information on this forum? Or, as you seem to be doing, giving a personal garantee that nothing can go wrong using data for one cartridge in a different sized cartridge?

    I'm not so quick to say never.

    The info is there , take it or leave as you please.
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    538

    Default

    I got to agree with motor on this one... Take a look at all those old timers' that were made for black powder, ie; 45 Colt, 38-40 WCF, ect. Filled with smokeless powder like bullseye, it looks, well, empty. Hence why a double charge is hardly noticable.
    Need help fixing a coleman camping appliance? Maybe I can help!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default

    AmmoSgt, thanks for that info I hadnt thought of loading 38 data into 357 cases but now upon hearing that the idea will stay far from the reload bench. personally I have more 38's than 357 anyway so I would only load the 357s into full power magnums anyway I see no point in over working 357 brass shooting 38 loads. and by over working I am refering to the repeated flareing and crimping leading to cracks at the case mouth.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southeast Louisiana
    Posts
    15,033

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wyatt243 View Post
    what grain bullet are you using for the 357 200 yard zero and what grain for 38 100 yard zero? that sounds like a pair of loads to strive for as I have both a 100 yard target and 200 yard steel plate
    You're talking about handguns at a range of 200 or 100 yrds????
    If a man has nothing greater to believe in than himself, he is a very lonely man.

    I reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.

    And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by MEJ1990TM View Post
    Well, all right. Maybe just this once.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    3,928

    Default

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/172...rain-flat-nose

    These 158gr cast flat nose work just fine in .38 or .357
    Son will have to dig up the exact loading for each. Fiddling with the Marlin lever action, 4x scope, we just happened by accident to determine that sighting for the .357 at 200m matched the ballistic curve for .38 at 100m and there was no need to change zero on the scope for the difference. The .38 start to drop off at 150 and were considerably low at 200. .357 delivers a pretty good punch at 200.
    I have, a while back, managed to accurately bust clay pigeons at 200m with the .357 out of 4" Python. Considerable "hold over" for sight alignment but the bullet reached out with no problem.
    These bullets are cast from wheel weights, coated with Alox and run through a sizing die. No gas checks. Magnum primers in the .357.

    2400 is our preferred powder for .357 but you can work up Bullseye to a satisfactory and comparable load. 2400 burns a lot cleaner but Bullseye is cheaper.

    Do be extremely careful about reduced loads in .357 brass where the powder does not fill the case and take up all the air space.
    Leaving a lot of space, the powder can flatten out leaving space at the top. You can get detonation instead of burn. With extra space in the case, the entire length of the charge lights up in the case rather than the slower extended burn behind the bullet as it moves down the barrel. That sudden pressure spike can rupture case, cylinder.
    Use .38 for lighter loads and .357 for longer reach high power loads. Follow recommended loading data, which is proven and tested safe. While you can exceed maximum charges with compressed loads, and it's damned near impossible to over stuff or double charge a case, accuracy may suffer badly.

    Work your loads up from minimum to maximum in small batches and label accordingly, increasing 0.5gr each batch. Bench the gun and test each batch for best accuracy. You will likely find the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. Accuracy will start to deteriorate once you exceed the optimal load. Look for evidence of gas cutting, leading and excessive fouling. Examine cases for splits or cracks and check the primer to make sure it didn't back out or flatten excessively. Chrono each batch if you have a chronograph.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSt View Post
    Motor, please read the post again carefully... I clearly said if you are using 38 spl loads in 38 spl brass.. no problem.. the post is about using published light loads for 38 spl in .357 brass. I'm just the messenger... are you sure you want to discourage the posting of cautionary information on this forum? Or, as you seem to be doing, giving a personal guarantee that nothing can go wrong using data for one cartridge in a different sized cartridge?

    I'm not so quick to say never.

    The info is there , take it or leave as you please.
    Ok sgt, Maybe a little knee jerk but I gave no "personal guarantee" nor did I incourage unsafe loading practices, all I stated was the manual would not list a load that would damage your gun.
    I did read the post again carefully, and still disagree with it. There is one possibility that I see would be dangerous and that is a 38 spl load of W-296 or H-110 loaded in a 357 case. But again the book clearly warns against reducing the min charge with these powders.
    Here is another thing I disagree with: "Using a light load with a low density powder that would be light in a .38 case, is a very, very bad idea in a .357 case. If that read high density like what 296 is it would make more sense. Also I DO agree it would NOT be a good idea because it would be out of the manual's recomended range and would most likely cause a squibb.

    I also disagree with the blanket warning statemant "powder don't fill half the case". There are many published loads, most of which are for cast bullets that don't fill half the case. Again these are with low density powders like Bullseye, Unique, Clays etc. Basically your large flake fast burning powders.
    FALLOW YOUR MANUAL and nothing bad will happen................!!!
    Motor
    Last edited by Motor; 02-17-2012 at 05:29 PM.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by armyrat1970 View Post
    You're talking about handguns at a range of 200 or 100 yrds????
    I am talking about a handi rifle. I never said anything about handguns. and for 200 yards I am only talking about hitting a steel plate, not hunting or anything even remotely close. the power and energy would be far to low for an ethical shot on any animal.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    538

    Default

    The standard load for bullseye shooting for an eternity was a 148 gr WC over 2.7 grs bullseye in a 38 case. If excess case capacity was a problem I would think that there would have been plenty of explosions amongst the bazillions of these loads that were used for 80+ years.
    Need help fixing a coleman camping appliance? Maybe I can help!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schuttig View Post
    The standard load for bullseye shooting for an eternity was a 148 gr WC over 2.7 grs bullseye in a 38 case. If excess case capacity was a problem I would think that there would have been plenty of explosions amongst the bazillions of these loads that were used for 80+ years.
    Maybe that is why all the detonations using that load happen in .357 mag cases... just a guess.
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSgt View Post
    Maybe that is why all the detonations using that load happen in .357 mag cases... just a guess.
    Then what about 6gr Bullseye in a 7.62x54R?

  26. #26
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    538

    Default

    I got my money on A: bullet stuck in barrel, B: unnoticed double charge. I can't see any reason why such a thing would only happen in 357 cases. It would seem that if detonation was a worry, it would work on a formula that would determine percentage of empty space no matter what cartridge it was.
    Need help fixing a coleman camping appliance? Maybe I can help!

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Motor View Post
    Then what about 6gr Bullseye in a 7.62x54R?
    Let's remember I am just passing on the information from what I concider a reliable source.. if y'all have sources , anything really, that supports different opinion then it might help your side of this issue if you would share them. It 's not my intent to argue with anybody about this or any other safety rule.. I do not have the facilities ( or the spare guns to sacrifice) to independantly confirm this data ... but given all information so far presented .. I see nothing but opinion so far to contradict my information..

    Here is some concerning some rifle cartridges, but before I post it.. I have to ask, is 6 gr bullseye in a 7.62 x 54 a published load?

    Anyway the info ... which I might add is all inculded in the original links , if anybody bothered to read it ... Just my opinion , but when beliefs are so strong that new information will not even be read, or discussed, just cussed without apparent reading, you have to weight the naysayers opinions in that light.

    The info

    There has been much said about a chance of a gun blowing up with very light loads (usually of fast burning powders) in big cases.

    On the other hand, a much more common reason for an explosion is a double charge that can happen VERY easily with small charges in large cases. An excellent article discusses this as the most probable cause of many blow-ups. See "When Bad Things Happen To Good Guns" in the November 1996 edition of "GUNS" Magazine by Charles E. Petty. (p. 43)

    Here are several opinions. The first is from an internet mail message I read, and have paraphrased because the author did not want his name used on the comments. The second is from Charles J. Sharps Ph.D., whose Thompson Contender with a 45-70 barrel blew up. Next is an opinion from the "Cowboy Action Shooting" e-mail pages. The last opinion discusses SEE (Secondary Explosion Effect).



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Re: The Light Load Controversy


    People seem to be familiar with light load ruptures, but they are very difficult to reproduce. It lends some to believe it was from a double-charge accidently put into the case, but it does have references going back to the 1881 period of time.

    There is some agreement on the following: Very low density loads (meaning the ratio of powder volume to cartridge case volume) of very fast powders under varying environmental conditions can create up to 4X normal chamber pressures and may cause the light load rupture to occur. Ruptured barrels can be symptomatic of too much powder (double charge loads, etc.). Ruptured cylinders and dissappearing backstraps can be sypmptomatic of a light-load rupture.

    The use of low density charges with one of the top 10 fastest powders in the world at half the recommended factory charge weight may work in your gun, but it's risky.

    It may not work in someone else's gun. Therefore, no one should recommend very light loads, especially of fast burning powders to anyone. Stuck bullets is another matter. With very light loads and powder against the bullet, a very mild shot can stick a bullet in the barrel. The NEXT shot can have disasterous consequences, also leading to the cautions against very light loads of any type, but especially of fast burning powders at the other end of the case from the primer.

    There has been an article published in Trails End Magazine on this same subject (see Volume 1, No. 3 Oct/Nov 1995).


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    From: "Charles J. Sharps Ph.D" [email protected]
    Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996

    March 14, 1993


    A RELOADING DEBACLE
    by Charles J. Sharps Ph.D.


    Websters defines debacle as a breakup, or a sudden great disaster. Yesterday, detonation, secondary explosions, or just plain stupid reloading, signaled the breakup of my once beautiful SSK 475 JD Jones. As Webster writes, "it was a disaster."

    In my last story about the .475 I remarked on its being just plain brutal to shoot. So I went searching for less powerful loads that I could enjoy plinking with.

    Reading everything I could find about 45-70 (not an error) for loads which might be used in the larger .475, I decided I would try some 300 grain Barnes jacketed round noses and some IMR 3031 which is considered safe in a trapdoor Springfield.

    I ordered my bullets from some outfitter in Rhode Island, waited the usual nine days for UPS to deliver here in Oregon and sat down to reload. The 475 JD Jones uses 45-70 brass that is blown out into a straight case in order to utilize the .475 diameter bullets. There are two ways to fireform the 45-70 so that it fits the chamber of the .475. One way is to run the case up over the decapping rod far enough to seat a .475 bullet, use a mild load, and fire, but it is not very effective.

    The problem with this, is the case mouths are apt to come out longer on one side than the other, needing to be trimmed, requiring yet another step in the reloading process.

    The second way is to actually fireform. Looking around my reloading room I spied the thousands of rounds of 500 grain cast bullets in .458 diameter that have been cluttering up a corner, ever since I quit shooting cast bullets in my .450 Ackley Ruger Number 1.

    My idea was to load the 45-70 cases with a mild load of 2400, recommended in the Lyman Manual for trapdoor Springfield's, use the way undersized bullets to develop just enough pressure to fireform the cases and they should come out perfectly.

    No case mouths would need to squared or trimmed, thus eliminating another reloading step. Remember, I was looking for the easy way out. I was also being a bit of a tightwad, I did not want to send fancy (read as expensive) Barnes bullets I had just purchased, crashing downrange, just for fireforming, nor did I want to use my limited supply of .475 cast bullets.

    I have lead by the hundred weight and a .458 mold, what could be easier? I decided to load ten rounds. I dumped the powder into my hopper, set the scales, used Federal 215 large rifle magnum primers and the already mentioned bullets, and proceeded to reload. It was while I was filling the cases, that I had this niggling thought, that I should be using some dacron or over the powder wad. The niggling thought was, somewhere, I had read that small amounts of 2400 when used in cases with large volumes can be extremely explosive.

    But not this load after all it is recommended for Trapdoor Springfield's and they are not considered to be the worlds strongest actions.

    Carefully reloading my ten cases I went out with my son, brother-in-law and hunting partner to fireform my cases and to do some general plinking. Arriving at our shooting spot I took aim at aclay pigeon set up in the sand about 10 yards away. I was going to try and hit it with a .458 bullet traveling down a .475 bore. My first three shots were close but the pigeon remained unbroken.

    Examing the cases I was pleased to see my first three shots yielded three perfect cases. Just as I was set to fire my fourth round Jack hollered asking a question. Pointing the barrel straight down while releasing the hammer I turned to answer. I then raised my Contender and just knew that this time I was going to bust the pigeon.

    Pulling the trigger my Contender exploded. Reeling and dazed by the violent explosion, I just stood there stupidly looking at what was left.

    Swearing, not really understanding what had happened, I could see my barrel lodged into the ground just ahead of my feet. I tore my headphones of my ringing ears and yelled, "I just blew up my blankety-blank gun."

    Jack Fearell, my brother-in-law and fellow Contender aficionado standing almost 100 yards to my rear said, "are you all right?" and came running. About that time there was a clink as the back half of my Leupold scope hit the ground near him. Neither one of us knew at the time what it was but it made such a distinctive sound Jack said, "What was that?"

    We later discovered the scope piece and you can figure out how high it must have gone into the air before returning to earth.. Settling down, I started to take stock of what I had. The barrel, with its underlug missing, was at my feet. Its' breech a gaping maw of three fingers of bent and twisted Shilen steel. The 4x Leupold scope and TSOB were gone. The Pachmayr forend was still attached to the barrel and in my hand was the Contender frame, minus one side plate and the other badly distorted.

    Jack came running, again asking, are you okay? Another shooting partner, Orvel Bird checked out my hand and said, "what do you think happened, a double load of powder, a lodged bullet or what?" No, I thought, I saw the last bullet hit the ground and I checked all the cases after charging, it must have been detonation.

    Detonation is defined as a violent explosion caused by the powder igniting instantly or all at once, creating tremendous pressures. Remember all smokeless powders are designed to burn at a controlled rate. Looking at the barrel lying on the ground, I could tell there was something wrong with it but did not know what. Jack asked, "where is the scope and TSOB?" Realizing what was wrong with the barrel, the scope was missing. I, still in shock said, "well maybe we can find it and it will be okay."

    The reality of what had happened, was starting to sink in. My entire Contender was destroyed. Not damaged, but destroyed. I was probably the luckiest man alive, I had my hand(s) my head, my eyes, everything. Lucky in many ways. For instance, for accuracy, I usually shoot two handed, sometimes with my left hand on the forend, today it was different. I had just wanted to bang off ten rounds to get them fireformed and all I was doing was shooting dirt and a clay pigeon, one handed.

    Jack went back down the road where he and Orvel had heard something clink and found the back half of my scope. It looked like it had been run over by a tank. It was no longer round but flattened, but the eye glass was not broken. The TSOB had been torn in half with one ring still attached.

    Orvel, after examining the barrel and as a retired engineer figured that the front half had to have gone an equal distance to the front. It had. Jack found it after just a few minutes of looking. The rings had held, the scope and TSOB had been ripped into two, but the front bell was still attached.

    Remorse, started flooding my mind, what had I done to destroy a beautiful barrel and frame? Not only had it been owned by Joe Wright of TCA fame, but it was marked, barrel number two. Dollar signs kept flinging themselves about, as I loudly tallied up how much money I had invested and subsequently lost.

    Orvel brought things back into proper perspective when he again reminded me I was not hurt, and that fingers, hands, and eyes are priceless.

    We spent another half hour or so looking for missing parts. I found the 45-70 case, it had been ripped wide open and laid flat in the dirt. It had been a new nickeled case and powder discoloration demonstrated it had not been overloaded.

    The barrel lug which had also been blown off was found complete with hinge pin and the pin moved easily. The missing side plate was not far away.

    Examining the barrel and frame, I think what saved me from injury was the entire explosion went up, down, and sideways. There is nothing to demonstrate that it blew backward. The primer is still tight in the case and the case head shows no signs of pressure. The frame will still cock, and the trigger works, a tribute to the strength of Warren Center's design. With the exception of the scope, all missing parts were found within three feet to the front and sides of my feet.

    My hand was starting to hurt and it was time to return home, where the first thing I did was pull and weigh all the remaining cartridges. Nothing was overloaded.

    Sitting around later trying to figure out what I had done wrong, but still suspecting detonation, I decided I would call J. D. Jones of SSK Industries and ask what he thought had happened.

    Calling JD, I told him this story and he said, "Fast burning pistol powder, when put into a large case with lots of air will detonate. I can't prove it, but I have heard too many stories like yours for it not to be true. Your pointing it at the ground just before firing probably put all the powder up against the bullet."

    Talking with JD for quite some time put my mind at rest as to what had happened, but I was still at fault for not following my conscience.

    I knew from years of reading and reloading that mixing 2400 with large cases was not the intelligent thing to do. You can and will find this particular combination of powder and cases in two of today's current reloading manuals, (Lyman and Sierra). Before you use them, I suggest you remember this story.

    Remember the niggling I had in the back of my head at the beginning of this story? I should have listened. If I had, I would not be without my handloaders.

    NEVER, NEVER, mix fast burning pistol powders like 2400 with large volume cases without some sort of overpowder wad, for if you do, you too could experience a debacle.

    Charles J. Sharps Ph.D.
    [email protected]



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Here is another comment recently downloaded from CAS-City pages.
    Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 12:22:51
    From: One Horse [email protected]
    Subject: Re: Detonations

    This is an important thread because the more people try to use popcorn poppers { light loads} the more chance there is for more destructive events. Far be it for me to argue with FBI Ballistics but as a Ph.D. chemist with more than the average knowledge of explosives and such:
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    Part 2

    Here is another comment recently downloaded from CAS-City pages.
    Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 12:22:51
    From: One Horse [email protected]
    Subject: Re: Detonations

    This is an important thread because the more people try to use popcorn poppers { light loads} the more chance there is for more destructive events. Far be it for me to argue with FBI Ballistics but as a Ph.D. chemist with more than the average knowledge of explosives and such:

    1. There are studies that show that essentially all the powder in a typical pistol load combusts before the bullet leaps the gap into the forcing cone.

    2. The expansion that occurs is the expansion of the gases produced in the combustion not the expansion of the powder.

    The best argument for why detonation occurs rather than the simple burning and slow burning rate of smokeless propellant is that very light loads expose a larger surface to the primer jet, By analogy, granary explosions occur when finely divided dust is suspended in air-the effect is a detonation. If you have never seen a granary but saw "Outbreak", the sterilizing bomb in the beginning of the movie is a fuel aerosol bomb { once called Daisy Cutter}. The rapid combustion/explosion/detonation is the result of the high surface area of the aerosol fuel droplets {total area of all the droplets}. The effct is dramatic and large landing zones for helos can be created where no stumps are left but no crater is formed. The analogy is to a the high surface area of a flake or ball powder expose to ignition if it is spread as a thin layer over an entire case length. More powder gets burning sooner and ....

    One way to make a lab experiment fail is to load and keep the cartridges bullet up and then load so as to not spread the light charge over the length of the case? If the theory is correct, that is. There is a pertinent article in the last issue of The Cast Bullet - the Cast Bullet Association journal.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another view on the matter. SEE?

    From: "Norman Johnson"

    Dear Sir:

    I believe that your article warning of the dangers of SEE has inacuracies that will discourage some shooters from safe and satisfactory experimentation.

    SEE is an unexplained pressure excursion which has often blown up guns. It is associated with markedly reduced loads of very slow powders.

    Contrary to the ubiquitous old wives tale, detonation is NOT a consideration with fast powders such as Bullseye, no matter how light the charge is or how spacious the case.

    The phenomena of Secondary Explosion Effect (SEE) is known to occur only with the slow powders at very low loading densities. Precious little is known about the mechanics of the phenomenon and it is not even known if the expression, Secondary Explosion Effect, is accurate. SEE, despite best efforts of the leading powder companies, cannot be reproduced in the lab, at least in the literature that I have been able to find. Some of the powder companies now are putting notations in their manuals not to reduce CERTAIN loads below 80% loading density. One should note that such notations are for a very limited number of powders and cartridges, such as W-W 296 in the .44 Magnum. Actual documented SEE cases were at densities much less than 80% and with slow powders.

    Cast bullet shooters discovered SEE while experimenting with some of the very slow powders. However, they have been using moderate speed powders at much reduced loads since the days of Dr. Mann, with no untoward results. Only the very slow powders exhibit SEE, usually those that were developed for the .50 BMG and magnum rifles such as MR-8700, etc. Recent events posted by Charlie Sharps, "Charles J. Sharps Ph.D" indicates that any powder that is SLOW FOR THAT PARTICULAR APPLICATION, loaded to a significantly reduced powder density, might be suspect. His was a Hercules 2400, .45-70 Contender blowup.

    If SEE were a real danger with other than very slow powders, we would have MANY gun blow-ups. Think about it a minute. The .38 Special case uses only about 20 - 30% of its case volume when loaded with typical target loads. Anyone seen a .38 go high order from a (true) target load? Cast bullet shooters fire millions of rounds each year using VERY low loading densities in most cases.

    If that is not enough, the ultra-lite loads have been experimented with for a good many years, where a typical powder charge might be 2-3 grains of Bullseye, 700X, Unique, or any faster pistol powder in a .30-06 or .45-70 case. If SEE were a realizable phenomena for fast powders at greatly reduced loading densities, this would certainly have resulted in many blow-ups. These ultra-lite loads are not isolated uses as the NRA has written them of them over the years, at least as far back as 1967 (NRA Handloaders Guide, Pg. 154). Reloaders, unfortunately, ascribe some anomalies to conditions other than the actual causes. Several other things that can happen to increase pressures:

    1. Excessively thick case neck thickness due to reforming procedures or metal flow - causes over-diameter cartridge neck. Jamming the large cartridge neck into a tight chamber neck is a very good recipe for disaster.

    2. Build-up of residue in the neck area of the chamber which compounds 1, above. Cast bullet shooters have experienced this from lube build-up.

    3. Stretching of case length resulting from both firing and drawing the expander button back thorough the neck during resizing - causes the mouth of the case to jam into the corresponding chamber area and impede bullet release.

    4. Significant increase in local ambient temperature over that in which the load was developed. This can have more effect than the unwary may suspect.

    5. Changing to another lot or manufacturer of brass that has a smaller internal volume. This is usually a hazard only if maximum loads for the gun were developed using larger internal volume brass.

    6. Bullet seated to a greater overall length (OAL) so that bullet is forced into rifling when the action is closed. This is, of itself, not a hazard; many of my cartridges are prepared using this technique. However, if the load was developed with the bullet seated to normal factory load OAL, that same powder charge can be excessive when the bullet is seated so that it touches the lands.

    7. A change of bullet ogive so that the effect of 6 is realized even though cartridge OAL remains the same. I have found at least two boxes of .22 caliber bullets that had noticeably different ogives in the same box.

    8. Change to another lot of powder that is faster albeit of the same manufacturer and type.

    9. Excessive headspace (or too short cartridges) which can result in head separation and allow hot gasses and molten metal to blow back in the shooter's face. This is not necessarily a pressure excursion, but that is often blamed as the problem.

    10. Excessive powder charge. Reloaders are usually not willing to admit this possibility, but we all make mistakes. About 100 years ago, on the second box of .38 Specials that I ever loaded, the charges were so excessive that the web my poor wife's hand was split open. The gun held together and so has our marriage (five kids).

    Of these causes, I have found numbers 3 and 10 to be the most common cause of pressure excursions.

    SEE is a very real phenomena, but it is blamed many times when the shooter has, in fact, allowed one or more of the above conditions to occur. For those who care to investigate further, back issues of The Cast Bullet have a number of articles discussing same. Handloader has also treated the subject a few times.

    SEE is a real phenomena, but, I suspect, not as prevalent as rumors would indicate.

    Norm
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schuttig View Post
    I got my money on A: bullet stuck in barrel, B: unnoticed double charge. I can't see any reason why such a thing would only happen in 357 cases. It would seem that if detonation was a worry, it would work on a formula that would determine percentage of empty space no matter what cartridge it was.
    Dan, I agree but,
    There are warnings about some powders as I stated above that have shown to cause excessive pressure if loaded below certain volume. But these are high density ball powders and the warnings are clearly stated. You would not be loading a light load with these powders in the first place. Not in a 38, 357, or anything else. If you are, then you are already breaking the rules.

    The entire statement made by MDS is very subjective to say the least. Gimme a break ("I is OK to use .357 cases, but not with light loads.") That is just BS. Every loading manual ever published has light loads listed for the .357 Mag. Anybody who would even make a statement like that already has lost any credibility as far as I'm concerned.

    Motor

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    I don't think any of us know as much as we would like about how powder burns in a cartridge and some of the factors that produce unusual results.
    from the same source http://www.reloadammo.com/rel-sped.htm

    Load tests for .45 Colt:
    (See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
    In extensive test with .45 Colt, I was getting spreads as great as 125 fps between shots. Trying to locate the reason for the variation, I shot a set of 6 shots carefully tapping the gun with muzzle in the air, and gently lowering the gun to level and firing off the shots. Then, I did the exact opposite, pointing the gun to the ground, tapping chamber, and raising to level to take the shots. Here are the surprising results.

    Using 10 grains* of Unique (7 1/2" bbl)(only in Ruger and T/C) with a 250 grain RNFP lead bullet, pointing in the air to put powder rearward next to the primer, I got 1024 fps. The spread between the shots was 47 fps. Then shooting a set pointing to the ground between each shot, I got 848 fps. The spread between shots was 78 fps. The average difference between strings from powder in rear of case and powder in front of case was 176 fps.

    Using 10 grains* of Unique (7 1/2" bbl)(only in Ruger and T/C) with a 255 grain SWC lead bullet, pointing in the air to put powder rearward next to the primer, I got 1007 fps. The spread between the shots was 34 fps. Then shooting a set pointing to the ground between each shot, I got 864 fps. The spread between shots was 70 fps. The average difference between strings from powder in rear of case and powder in front of case was 143 fps.

    MASTER Commercial Ammo using 260 grain Jacketed Hollow Point bullet (powder unknown)(7 1/2" bbl) exhibited this performance:
    Pointing in the air to put powder rearward next to the primer, I got 857 fps. The spread between the shots was 29 fps. Then shooting a set pointing to the ground between each shot, I got 742 fps. The spread between shots was 64 fps. The average difference between strings from powder in rear of case and powder in front of case was 115 fps.

    Using 10 grains* of Unique (4 5/8" bbl)(only in Ruger and T/C) with a 250 grain Rainier FP bullet, pointing in the air to put powder rearward next to the primer, I got 981 fps. The spread between the shots was 40 fps. Then shooting a set pointing to the ground between each shot, I got 770 fps. The spread between shots was 118 fps. The average difference between strings from powder in rear of case and powder in front of case was 211 fps.

    I believe some valid conclusions can be made here. If you point your gun skyward between shots, you will get higher velocities and a more consistent spread of speeds. Pointing the gun down and allowing powder to rest away from the primer and more next to the bullet, causes lower velocities and greater spread of speeds.
    This would speak to using a powder that more nearly fills the case to minimize differences in powder position in a large case like the .45 colt. Certainly a load that was nearly a compressed load or a slightly compressed load, should be the most consistent you could shoot. I intend to further investigate this issue and find powders that have greater volumn to see how much this problem can be minimized. [6/23/96]

    [7/20/96]

    -----------------------------------------
    230 grain Round Nose LEAD
    (Experiment with A5744 powder)
    AA5744 17.0 gr. 836 fps (powder pointing UP)
    (Hi=877.7 Lo=803.0 Spread=74.7 fps)

    AA5744 17.0 gr. 771 fps (powder pointing DOWN)
    (Hi=783.1 Lo=760.3 Spread=22.8 fps)
    -----------------------------------------
    250 grain LRNFP (Lead Round Nose, flat point)
    AA5744 17.0 gr. 853 (Powder UP - see note)
    (Hi=872.5 Lo=827.5 Spread=45 fps)
    AA5744 17.0 gr. 802 (Powder DOWN - see note)
    (Hi=809.2 Lo=792.6 Spread=16.6 fps)
    -----------------------------------------

    Accurate Arms powder #5744 is a much more "case position insensitive" powder than others I have tried. I also used No. 9 which is slower and takes about 15 grains for a good Colt load, and it still showed about the same problems with case position, but not to quite the same extent as the faster powders. As of this time, this seems to be the best I have found. I plan to try others in this test. [7/20/96]
    * This EXCEEDS the MAXIMUM load for Colt .45 for old and/or standard guns. Use ONLY in Ruger and T/C and modern rifles.

    Return to previous Page
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Well SGT,
    It's nice to see you have found the correct info. Which buy the way blows what you posted 1st. right out of the water as being pure BS. As I was saying all along. Low volume of dense slow burning powder is where you get detanation. If the guy who blew up his pistol was using a "light 38 spl. load" in a 357 case he should not have been using a dense slow burning powder to start with.
    OH, BTW the answer is no, and I don't know anybody who shoots Bullseye in a 54R.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Wait a minute Sgt, your not posting information that may incourage unsafe loading are you?
    (Quote from post #28)
    If SEE were a real danger with other than very slow powders, we would have MANY gun blow-ups. Think about it a minute. The .38 Special case uses only about 20 - 30% of its case volume when loaded with typical target loads. Anyone seen a .38 go high order from a (true) target load? Cast bullet shooters fire millions of rounds each year using VERY low loading densities in most cases.

    If that is not enough, the ultra-lite loads have been experimented with for a good many years, where a typical powder charge might be 2-3 grains of Bullseye, 700X, Unique, or any faster pistol powder in a .30-06 or .45-70 case. If SEE were a realizable phenomena for fast powders at greatly reduced loading densities, this would certainly have resulted in many blow-ups. These ultra-lite loads are not isolated uses as the NRA has written them of them over the years, at least as far back as 1967 (NRA Handloaders Guide, Pg. 154). Reloaders, unfortunately, ascribe some anomalies to conditions other than the actual causes. Several other things that can happen to increase pressures:

  33. #33
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    538

    Default

    [QUOTE=Motor;2047388]Dan, I agree but,
    There are warnings about some powders as I stated above that have shown to cause excessive pressure if loaded below certain volume. But these are high density ball powders and the warnings are clearly stated. You would not be loading a light load with these powders in the first place. Not in a 38, 357, or anything else. If you are, then you are already breaking the rules.

    H-110 comes to mind, but these are all well known things. 2.7 of bullseye is below the minimum in all my old ideal manuals of years past, but it was still the standard target load used for forever. who knows..
    Need help fixing a coleman camping appliance? Maybe I can help!

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Dan,
    I have Hornady's 3rd Edition which was printed in 1985 but is the 5th printing and has a copyright date of 1980.

    The start load for Bullseye using a 148gr all lead wadcutter is 2.5gr and the start load for the 158 all lead round nose with Bullseye is 2.6gr. There are 3 powders listed for the 148 that start at 2.4gr

    Here is an interesting paragraph from that manual regarding lead bullets in .357 Mag OH, BTW I also have the 8th Edition, copyright 2010 and the paragraph is the same in it. Word for word.

    (Quote from Hornady Reloading Handbooks 3rd and 8th Edition)
    "Lead bullets make good small game and target rounds; however, velocities should not exceed 1100 fps, as undesirable leading of the barrel can occur in just a few rounds. Also, no loads are listed for the 148 grain wadcutter bullets since they are primarily target bullets and should not be fired at velocities exceeding 900 fps. For reloading 148 grain wadcutters use 38 special data."


    Motor
    Last edited by Motor; 02-18-2012 at 05:52 AM.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southeast Louisiana
    Posts
    15,033

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wyatt243 View Post
    I am talking about a handi rifle. I never said anything about handguns. and for 200 yards I am only talking about hitting a steel plate, not hunting or anything even remotely close. the power and energy would be far to low for an ethical shot on any animal.
    My bad. Missed that.
    One problem with shooting 38's in a rifle chambered for 357 is the shorter 38 case will cause a powder build up in the chamber around the mouth of the shorter case. Easy to clean in a revolver cylinder. Not as easy to clean in a rifle chamber.
    I would stick to 357 cases for the rifle.
    Bullet fit to bore is the most critical factor when shooting lead, or, your own cast bullets to stop leading issues. Best to have a bullet .001 or .002 over bore grove diameter.
    Try to find the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. Might be able to get one off Ebay for a cheap price. Great info concerning cast and lead bullets.
    If a man has nothing greater to believe in than himself, he is a very lonely man.

    I reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.

    And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by MEJ1990TM View Post
    Well, all right. Maybe just this once.

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    6,600

    Default

    Motor , I feel you pian... it is a complicated article ... The author does specify what he means by "low density" which is what you mean by "high density" If you read the articles from the links on the web site .. there are pictures and a more ovious formating.. Part of the article is about fast powders and part is about slow powders and the dangers of light loads in both... part of what I posted are letters with questions from readers and part are answers from the author , so not every word written is advice, some words are from folks like you that disagree with something the author said.. which I included to provide some context to the answers given .. and then I threw in an short article on powder position and how it can change internal ballistice and thus effect external ballistics just to make the point that if there room for the powder to move arround in a case strange things can happen.

    Had I been the author .. I would have used a term more like specific gravity that directly links volume to weight .
    This post has been edited , vetted, and archived by the NSA.

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default

    Cleaning my rifle is just as easy as a revolver cylinder as my gun is a break open design,common to many single shot shotguns. my intension by having a 38 load for 100 yards and 357 for 200 yard steel plates is so I could take 1 box of whichever load I cared to use and shoot the desired distance then clean the gun.more than 50 rds in a single shot is a a bit monotonous and range sessions will be kept probably to 1 box a go.

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wild Wonderfull, WV
    Posts
    2,314

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AmmoSt View Post
    Motor , I feel you plan... it is a complicated article ... The author does specify what he means by "low density" which is what you mean by "high density" If you read the articles from the links on the web site .. there are pictures and a more obvious formatting.. Part of the article is about fast powders and part is about slow powders and the dangers of light loads in both... part of what I posted are letters with questions from readers and part are answers from the author , so not every word written is advice, some words are from folks like you that disagree with something the author said.. which I included to provide some context to the answers given .. and then I threw in an short article on powder position and how it can change internal ballistics and thus effect external ballistics just to make the point that if there room for the powder to move around in a case strange things can happen.

    Had I been the author .. I would have used a term more like specific gravity that directly links volume to weight .
    Yes I know. I was referring to the density of the powder itself. He was referring to density in relationship to how much space the charge filled in the case. The trend is clear though. Small amounts of slow burning is where you are likely to have danger. Small amounts of fast burning powder has not shown to be dangerous. As I wrote in my last post. The Hornady manual states to use 38 special data when loading 148gr wadcutters in .357 brass. They would not publish this if it were unsafe. And it has been published word for word since at least 1980.

    I can't quote a published source for the aforementioned Bullseye load in the 54R but have seen published data on Unique and some other fast burning powders in rifle size cases. I'm sorry I can't exactly recall but one I believe was in The American Rifleman magazine.

    Sorry about the first line in #32. I was just having fun with you. I'd drop and do 20 but how about 1 a day for the next 20 days?
    Motor

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •