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Shane Not Sean

Reloader - new to SASS w/reloading questions

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So I visited a local shoot and got the bug.  Ordered and received a matching set of SASS New Vaqueros in .357, and am currently waiting on my President to send me some long gun funds.  Meanwhile... I've done a lot of pistol reloading and some rifle reloading and want to get set up for .357 brass (not .38 special) and shot shell, and plan on using Red Dot for all.

1) .357  Does anyone not use Small Pistol Magnum primers?  That is, considering we reduce-load for these shoots, does anyone use non-magnum primers in their .357 hand loads?  Anybody got a Red Dot recipe for reduced load .357 and what bullet weight are you using?  Does coated make any difference to you?

2) 12ga  I've never reloaded shot shells.  Why can't I find new hulls for sale (American made, that is)?  Do I need to know anything about wads, or are they all the same?  If somebody says they use a 3/4oz load, are they talking about powder weight or shot weight?  Are all shot shell primers basically the same, or are there some I should stay away from (and why)?  A quick search for shot shell primers turns up some Rem Prem STS 209, Win 209, and nothing else (except "Out Of Stock" labels).  Do I hold out for another type/brand, or will one of these be fine?

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Welcome. While I don't load 357 I can tell you that 357's use a small pistol primer, not a large. Some will tell you they use magnum primers at our low velocities believing they give better consistency, others will say reg primers are fine. I use regular primers in my 44's 45's and 44-40's.  There really is no need for using 357's over 38's 38 brass is cheaper, cheaper to reload and does the job. I'll let the 357 loaders tell about bullet weight.

Ballistic products has once fired AA hulls for sale or buy a case of Winchester AA Low Noise / Low Recoil and reload those when you fired them. 3/4 oz load refers to the weight of the shot, not the powder. Wads are matched to the weight of the shot. Many cowboy shooters my self included use a 7/8 oz load. Claybusters are a good choice for wads. 12.4 gr of Red Dot with a 7/8 oz shot is a relatively light load, others will chime in with their favorite. I use 12 gr of Clay Dot, very light recoil and takes down all the knockdowns. I use Federal or Winchester shotgun primers, but any will work. Good luck.

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2 hours ago, Shane Not Sean said:

So I visited a local shoot and got the bug.  Ordered and received a matching set of SASS New Vaqueros in .357, and am currently waiting on my President to send me some long gun funds.  Meanwhile... I've done a lot of pistol reloading and some rifle reloading and want to get set up for .357 brass (not .38 special) and shot shell, and plan on using Red Dot for all.

1) .357  Does anyone not use Large Pistol Magnum primers?  That is, considering we reduce-load for these shoots, does anyone use non-magnum primers in their .357 hand loads?  Anybody got a Red Dot recipe for reduced load .357 and what bullet weight are you using?  Does coated make any difference to you?

2) 12ga  I've never reloaded shot shells.  Why can't I find new hulls for sale (American made, that is)?  Do I need to know anything about wads, or are they all the same?  If somebody says they use a 3/4oz load, are they talking about powder weight or shot weight?  Are all shot shell primers basically the same, or are there some I should stay away from (and why)?  A quick search for shot shell primers turns up some Rem Prem STS 209, Win 209, and nothing else (except "Out Of Stock" labels).  Do I hold out for another type/brand, or will one of these be fine?

 

Welcome Shane.  I like many others will give you my .02 cents worth, but some of it you'll have to find what works best for you.  For example you said that you're going to use Red Dot for all, eventually you may find that a different powder(s) work better for you.  As for the questions you've asked

1) I use Magnum primers.  My thinking is with a reduced load a hotter primer will help ensure a full combustion of what powder there is.  Plus with a reduced load it doesn't hurt anything.  I should tell you that not all primers are created equal.  You won't see many Cowboy reloaders using CCI primers, there's nothing wrong with them but they are hard primers and the spring pressure in Cowboy guns have trouble setting them off.  For pistol and rifle a lot of us use Remington, if not Remington then Winchester there metal is softer.

2) 12ga - Shotshell loading if very different then metallic loading, there are more variables using a different skill set.  Recipes are based on not only powder and shot but on hull and wad also.  Good luck trying to find unfired American hulls, a once fired hull will work just fine, you'll have to find one that works best in your SG.  I found on mine that Winchester AA's wouldn't shuck as good as Remington STS's, why? I have no idea.  Now let's start at the bottom of the hull and work up.  Once you find the hull you'll be using next will come the primer, I personally use Win209's again it's the hardness of the metal, if I were you I'd try them first. Next is the powder, as I said published load data will be specific for hull and primer.  I've never used Red Dot for shotshell so I can't help you there.  Then the wad, unless you're going to hand stuff your shells then use plastic wads.  Claybusters has a good selection, inexpensive and they're readily available.  Which wad you use is based on how much powder and shot you want to use.  Many Cowboy shooters will use anywhere from 3/4 to 1 1/8 oz of shot, just make sure to use the right size, usually between 8 and 9 will work best for us.  All these things amount of powder and shot, the wad and hull play into the column height and shot pattern.  The column height is important with the wrong height you can't get a good crimp to seal off the top.  This can lead to things like shot falling out of the shell or bulging the shell.  I strongly suggest that you get a checker/sizer like this one available from Badman Bullets.  They are good to use while loading (check every shell) and at the match (double check and tighten if required). Nothing worse than having a shell that won't go in or come out smoothly.

 

Once you start reloading you'll probably have specific questions, this is a good place for them, there is a lot of knowledge on the forum and a lot of good Pards to guide you.  If you ask an opinion question though be prepared for a lot of variation.

 

Let us know how you're doing, take pictures, and be safe.

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I don't shoot 357 but about 3.5 of RD and 125 would probably be a starter load. Also you should tell us what rifle & shotgun you plan to get as well.....that would help. SXS's are picky about what will shuck well.......97's and 87's will digest about anything so there is no need to be as picky. 

 

They shoot trap and skeet at our club so I drop buy there when I get desperate for hulls. I use RD for the 12 ga as well but I like at least 13- 14 grains of power. You can certainly do less but even 14 grains is very mild. 

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Shane I have been reloading for SASS for 17 years. I shoot .38/357 revolvers and rifles.I also reload 12ga. In the R/P I use Federal primers, almost exclusively Starline brass 125gr RNFP bullets from various sources and 3 gr of Cleanshot. I use .357 cases for myself because my rifle(Uberti 1873) feeds better with .357 length cartridges and use .38 for my sweetie, Jersey Bratt because her carbine length Marlin1894 will only hold 9 rounds in .357 but will hold ten  .38 rounds. Reloading SG demands extra care,the wrong combination can result in extreme pressures, gun damage and injury/worse. I would suggest you buy Winchester AA light loads until you get the reloading for pistol/rifle under your belt. The very best way to learn is to find someone who is willing to mentor/teach you. Go to some matches (when they happen again)talk to everyone and you will likely find folks willing to help. let us know where you are located and we probably have someone knowledgeble close by. This is a great game , with some of the best folks you will ever meet. Welcome 

 

Imis

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For most SASS shooters reloading shotshells is not economical. Depending on how much you pay for shot, it will cost you between 5 and 6 dollars a box to reload. You can usually buy factory new shells for 6 to 9 dollars a box. Winchester gives a 2 dollar a box rebate on theirs during the spring and summer so if you buy them at the right time they will run you about the same price as what you can reload them for. Remington Gun Clubs are inexpensive and their light target loads work just fine.

 

Before you buy anything, I strongly suggest you pick up a book on how to reload shotshells and study up on the process as it is more complicated than reloading metallic cartridges.

You asked about shotgun primers. Each brand effects a given load differently. Keeping everything else the same you can vary the velocity of a load 50 to 100 fps just by changing the primer used.

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54 minutes ago, Cowboy Junky said:

I don't shoot 357 but about 3.5 of RD and 125 would probably be a starter load. Also you should tell us what rifle & shotgun you plan to get as well.....that would help. SXS's are picky about what will shuck well.......97's and 87's will digest about anything so there is no need to be as picky. 

 

They shoot trap and skeet at our club so I drop buy there when I get desperate for hulls. I use RD for the 12 ga as well but I like at least 13- 14 grains of power. You can certainly do less but even 14 grains is very mild. 

+1 on above from CJ.

 

I load RED DOT in everything for CAS. I Agree on 38 Spl instead of 357 mag unless you already reload 357 and have 500 or more cases on hand. If not economy of 38 Spl is its plus. There are bullets that can be loaded to OAL OF 357 and cycle rifles chambered for 357 in 38 Spl cases. Talk with shooters of 357 rifles at your local club, I Would bet that most if not all shoot 38s in them. 

I shoot 44-40 in all my rifles so I can’t speak to a CAS load for rifle, but my pistol load for 38 Spl is 3.2 grains of Red Dot behind any weight bullet from 122 thru 158 grains.
 

My shotgun load for use in any of my shotguns ie; hammered double, 1887 lever and  a 1897 pump is: 14.4 grains of Red Dot (#26 Mec bushing), Claybuster 1100-12 wad filled with 1oz of #7.5 shot , Winchester W209 primer, all in a Remington STS or Gun Club hull or a Winchester AA hull. Actually my favorite hull to reload for all 3 shotguns is the Remington Gun Club. Functions and shucks great in all 3 action types.

The best advice on reloading I can give is talk to other Cowboy shooters about what they reload. Believe me they will save you a lot of grief and money.  

 

 

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I will second what other pards have said on reloading shotgun shells.  I use a SxS double which shucks Winchester AA Low Recoil (sku WIN-AA12FL8) hulls out just fine, thanks to @BoomStick Jay at Boomstick Arms.  I buy them at Wal-Mart in the summer when Winchester runs their $2 a box rebate (starts in May and ends in Sept.).  Last year I bought 2 cases and so did my Dad ;-), with rebate and Wal-Mart price it puts them at $6 a box. Hard to beat that price so for me it's not worth the time to reload shotgun shells.  For economy I do reload 38 SPL for my pistols and rifle.  This forum is full of good threads on reloading 38's for CAS, you won't have any trouble finding a place to start.  My '73 has been hiccup free when I load to 1.500" COL using 38 SPL brass and 125 gr TCFP boolit. 

 

Good luck and welcome to the best game in town.

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Most folks shoot .38 Special, but if you want to shoot .357, it's up to you. You can load dedicated loads for pistol and rifle, but it is much easier to find one suitable for both. Find one that your rifle likes and use for both. Try some sample packs of about 100 before you order thousands and find they don't work so well. Many use Federal primers as they are the softest, but I like Winchester. I told the gunsmiths who smoothed my guns to make sure they pop Winchester primers. When I started, I bought 2,000 once fired brass online and later added buckets of brass auctioned at major shoots. It's been a long time since I bought any.

You can find empty hulls at matches or like others have said, buy some AAs or Remingtons and save the hulls. A press that sizes the base is optimum. I bought a Mec Sizemaster this past Christmas and it makes for good rounds. Do a search on low recoil shotgun loads on the wire and you'll find a variety of pet loads. I use the grey Claybuster wad and 7/8 oz. shot with a Winchester 209 primer.

I recommend multiple reloading books; I like Lee, Lyman and the Lyman Cast bullet books.

Good luck and enjoy.

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Go with .38 Special brass if your rifle will feed it. 

If you are loading very light charge. Use a mag primer and firm roll crimp.

OLG 

 

 

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It helps us help you if you post your location. This makes it easier for people it your area to connect with you.

 

You can shoot .357 if you want, but you will find that most shoot .38 and you will get their brass and they will get yours.

Cost is not the only reason to reload SG. Some SG's don't shuck ribbed hulls well and you need the smooth sided ones. And you can load them down for low recoil. You should be able to buy hulls at your local gun shop, or as stated, at matches. A couple shooters at my club who don't reload, know I do and give me their hulls.

MCM

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You asked about coated bullets.  I like them because they keep my reloading dies free of wax and lead shavings.  I can load thousands of rounds without stopping to clean my dies.  Here is a link regarding sources of cast bullets.  Most casters report they are backordered right now.  Buy sample packs and test your loads in your rifle to ensure they cycle smoothly.  Semi-wadcutters probably will not.

 

I reload shotgun shells with black powder.  Due to their high cost and poor availability this is necessary.  My shotgun reloading equipment is setup for Remington hulls.  I reload Gun Club hulls (obtained for free) for local matches and Nitro or STS hulls for major matches.  Nitro or STS hulls are my favorites for reloading and shooting.  You can buy once-fired hulls on gun auction sites.  However, like the preceding posters, I recommend just buying commercial smokeless shotgun shells.  Starting May 9th Winchester is offering a $2/box rebate on their AA shotgun shells.  Buy five cases and you will be ready to shoot for months.

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Make sure you are loading a bullet without a strong shoulder right behind the nose.  NO semi-wadcutter (SWC) bullets as are commonly loaded in .38/.357!   Those shoulders hang up trying to chamber in lever rifles.   Use either a Round Nose Flat Point (RNFP) or a Truncated Cone (TC) which also has a flat point.  Flat points so you don't fire off a full magazine of rounds if the rifle falls or a follower slams down on the stack of rounds in the mag.

 

DO NOT load a bunch of rifle rounds until you get your rifle.   Some of them are VERY sensitive to OverAll Length (OAL) of your load.  Unless you just love breaking down loads that don't work.

 

Use .38 specials, as so many recommended above.   The ratio of .38 special to .357 mag that get used in Cowboy shooting is probably 30 to 1.

 

Coated bullets are favored by many shooters; they certainly look pretty.   <_<  But they are a little cleaner.   But in times of short supply, take what ever you can get easily.   A 125 grain bullet weight is nice for lower recoil, and easy enough to load.

 

Winchester 209 primers for shotshells!   The Remington's are another 25% more expensive.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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Welcome.  I use Red Dot in my cowboy .38 Special and 12 gauge loads (when I’m not loading black powder).  I have the same revolvers as you.

 

You don’t realize as much savings reloading shotshells as you do with metallic cartridges due to the high cost of lead shot.  If you have a source of reclaimed or homemade shot, you will save money but if you are paying close to $50 per 25 lb bag of new shot, it’s a different story.  
 

If you do decide to load 12 gauge, my load is 7/8 oz of 7.8 or size 8 shot, a MEC #25 bushing of Red Dot (I’ve not weighed what it throws), a Claybuster “Lightning” wad in a Winchester AA hull with a Winchester 209 primer.

 

The SASS rules allow larger shot but there’s no reason not to use the smaller shot and my home club requires 7.5 or smaller.  A local cowboy gunsmith recommended Winchester shotshell primers for best ignition.

 

My revolvers and rifle are .357 but I load everything in .38 Specials that I have accumulated in bulk.  Once fired .38 Special brass is cheap and plentiful.  I load my cartridges (topped by a 105 or 125 grain truncated cone flat point bullet) at an overall length of 1.45” and they have fed fine in every .357 rifle I’ve tried them in.  There’s a lot of internet hand wringing about chamber fouling from using .38 Special ammo in a .357 Magnum firearm but it’s not caused any issues for me.

 

Federal primers are favored by cowboy shooters since they give reliable ignition with lightened springs.  That said my Longhunter tuned revolvers will fire (reportedly hard) CCI primers reliably.  I started using Federal magnum primers when the standard small pistol primers were scarce.  They work fine.  Some folks think they are better with the small charges of fast burning powder.

 

Good luck!

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4 hours ago, Imis Twohofon,SASS # 46646 said:

...carbine length Marlin1894 will only hold 9 rounds in .357 but will hold ten  .38 rounds...find someone who is willing to mentor/teach you. Go to some matches (when they happen again)talk to everyone and you will likely find folks willing to help...

Imis

 

Is carbine length 16"?  Any problem with an 18" 1873 holding 10 rounds of .357?  The rifle will likely be next on my list.

After my first and only very limited SASS shoot look-see, my intent was to go to more and ask questions and find a mentor but, like you said, "when they happen again"...  Hence my post here and future posts.

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11 minutes ago, Shane Not Sean said:

 

Is carbine length 16"?  Any problem with an 18" 1873 holding 10 rounds of .357?  The rifle will likely be next on my list.

After my first and only very limited SASS shoot look-see, my intent was to go to more and ask questions and find a mentor but, like you said, "when they happen again"...  Hence my post here and future posts.

 

carbines can vary in bbl length.  the 16” 92 (winchester & rossi) can’t fit 10x .357 but the same bbl length 1866-1873 will hold 10x in my experience (as they have longer receivers by design).  i believe that marlin’s 94c is actually 18” bbl (mine barely fits 10x 38spl).

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I've been reloading shotshells since about 1975... however, in recent years it's actually nearly more cost effective to buy Winchester Low Noise/Low Recoil shotshells.  I either buy them at the nearby BassPro (when on sale), or Wal-Mart when in stock.  The offer of a $2 rebate by Winchester a couple of times per year, makes a big difference in final cost; so save those receipts.  I buy a case of ten boxes, so get a $20 rebate check in the mail.  When I started reloading shotshells, I bought the Lyman Shotshell Handbook, now have about 3 different editions.  It lists the various combinations of components for a particular shell, wad & primer, as different powder, wad & primer selections will yield very different results.   Now the only shotshells I reload with any regularity are black powder shotshells.  

 

When my wife and son started shooting they both shot .38/.357 rifles & pistols.  I loaded them using .38 Special brass and 158 grain RN bullets.  The last time I reloading some, I used a 115 grain truncated cose.  The feed and eject from the rifles well and are a pleasure to shoot from the handguns.

 

The rifle is the only place anyone has trouble with the different case lengths.  The 1892 Rossi simply needed to be properly clearance for the shorter case, and the 1873 already had a longer ramp on the front of the carrier to ease the cartridges back into the magazine as the carrier rose.  While I only have he one 1873 rifle in .38/.357, if my .45 Colt examples are representative, there've been some changes to that ramp over the years.  With the older ones having a longer ramp then the later, newer ones.  Easily fixed to feed either. 

 

.357 cases are more difficult to get consistent velocities from with a "reduced" load, similar to the 45 Colt, lots of unused case space.  But, with the right powder slelection, very doable.  I like PB for the .38 Special as my powder, very clean burning  I never found the need to use a magnum primer in any of 'em.

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I'm glad to see that you are very enthusiastic about the sport. I was just like you when I started and made some mistakes in buying my shotgun. My advise is to stop and take a deep breath. In my opinion, our purchase of the Vaqueros is a good choice. I'd stop right there and wait on purchasing anything else. Your " intent to go to more and ask questions and find a mentor,"  is just the thing you should do.

When you can, go to a match, loudly state, "I'm very interested in starting this. Could someone help me?" Be careful, because there will be a stampede of people running up to you and offering their guns for you to shoot. Take them up on it. So many people are reluctant of shoot other people's guns. Don't be. You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, would you?

 

In the meantime, read this. some of the info may be a little dated, but still a ton of good stuff here. http://www.curtrich.com/GettingStarted01.html

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Shane

2 hours ago, Shane Not Sean said:

 

Is carbine length 16"?  Any problem with an 18" 1873 holding 10 rounds of .357?  The rifle will likely be next on my list.

After my first and only very limited SASS shoot look-see, my intent was to go to more and ask questions and find a mentor but, like you said, "when they happen again"...  Hence my post here and future posts.

My Marlin , that I referred to as a Carbine has a 18 inch barrel, my 73 has a 20 inch barrel, I would guess that a 18 inch 1873 would hold at least ten .357 length rounds. as the action is longer. The Marlin will almost hold the tenth round and probably could be modified or use slightly shorter 105 gr bullets. I would not have gotten into loading .357 length except the shooter i bought the 73 from told me it preferred a slightly longer cartridge and I had a lot of .357 brass from another style shooting.

Imis  there are some great shooters in your area, I hope you get to look them up soon

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The problem with the Marlin 1894C is not the barrel length but the hanger that holds the front of the magazine tube. In the picture below you can see the screw that goes through the hanger between the barrel and the magazine tube. The magazine tube has a small cutout to make clearance for this screw. Even though the screw is very small in diameter it still protrudes enough onto the magazine that the follower cannot get past it. Effectivelt making the mag tube a lot shorter than the barrel.

 

Marlin.png.84709a18cd83dc28be7deb1dfa9b035a.png

 

Because one round is on the carrier, the magazine tube only has to be long enough for 9 rounds plus the length of the compresses spring and magazine follower.  For .357 rounds you need 14 inches plus the spring, follower, and magazine cap. For 38 special you need about 13 inches.

 

 

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Enough of this talk!  Let the man start with BP and make him a soot lord.  Then he can just hand stuff brass shotshells and be done with it.  B) :lol:

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you are going to want to rethink the 357 thing and go with 38spl

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I agree that 38 special is a better route than the 357 mag.  If you are worried about case availability, go to a shoot then hang around after the crowd leaves then go to each stage and pick up the 38s left behind.  A local indoor range sells 38 special in bulk. A big zip lock will hold 300 cases, for iirc about $20.

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