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Guy Smiley

Reloading Help

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I am just getting started in Cowboy Action Shooting.  I just got my fist set of single action pistols.  With the limited  availability of reloading components I am trying to figure out loads that will work with the components that I can find or had before this latest panic.

Components On Hand:

Cases: mixed .357

Primers: Remington 

Bullets: Missouri Bullet Co. Cowboy #2 125 gr. 
Powder: Winchester 231

 

I have seen people talking about Clay’s Powder and it looks like Midway has this in stock. Will this be a better option? Is this the correct Clay’s powder? 
 

I understand that people can be reluctant to post their load information. Let me know if this question is out of line.

 

3F4F5176-06AD-4602-862F-F01B6F34C065.png

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Clays is pretty versatile. Just watch to make sure you don't put a double charge  in a case [this is common with many powders].

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Yes, Clays is a great powder for .38 special, as is 231. You need to get a good reloading manual or two and/or learn to use the numerous manufacturer's websites. Here's a link to one that has both Hodgdon Clays and Winchester: http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol

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Posted (edited)

Keep your eyes open for once-fired .38 special cases.   They work well for just about any cowboy gun, especially with 125 grain bullets you found.  And they are cheaper than .357 magnum cases, and they are easier to make light loads with.

 

Clays is an almost ideal powder for cowboy loads.   I have loaded a ton of cowboy ammo with:

 

.38 special cases

Federal small pistol primers

Clays 2.6 grains

125 grain bullet

 

OAL (overall length) - about 1.500 will work in most guns.

 

Remington primers work, Federals are the gold standard for cowboy shooting as they will fire with even light hammer hits.

 

You will definitely need a good loading manual to check the how-to's of loading and setup of dies and case preparation.  I'd suggest the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, since all-lead cast bullets are the only thing we use for cowboy shooting.  Whether lubed with conventional lube, tumble lube or polymer coating, same weight bullets load with the same recipe, perhaps needing adjustment to seating depth depending upon nose shape and location of crimp groove.  Although the published loads in that manual may be a little warmer than most folks shoot, you will get some good ideas of what various powders are capable of by leafing through the loading data.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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There isn't a "best powder" for this game - there are probably 20 appropriate powders that will work just fine, and another 20 that will get the bullet to the target if you can't find something better. Clays and W231 are both popular. About a week ago, I found an 8# jug of Red Dot on a dealer's shelf and snapped it right up - also a very good "do it all" powder for this game.

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The first chapters of virtually all reloading manuals give a very good overview of the whole reloading process. It is imperative that you thoroughly understand the entire process for your and others safety. I always suggest a single stage press to learn/develop loads on and later if the need arises and finances allow, a progressive. For lots of folk the urge to start and learn on a progressive is too much to pass up and it is a very real danger of making lots and lots of dangerous or inappropriate ammo for our game. Have you been to any matches to watch? If you let the match Directors know you are coming you may have guns offered to try and you may find a local mentor, for reloading and learning CAS. Good luck and welcome to the game.

 

Imis I am originally from KCMo 

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Read Garrison Joe's post again. It's good info. Forget the .357 and go with .38

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Check out the Hodgdons website for a load. I shoot 3.0 gr. Clays with a 125 gr. bullet in a .38 special case. They also show a .357 load.

 

https://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol

 

Randy

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1 hour ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Pick a middle load with the 231, like 3.5gns

 

OLG

That's exactly what I was going to say. I run 3.5 grains of 231 in 357 and 38 with a 125 grain rnfp. You can go lower but the cases get pretty dirty. I switched to 3.0 grains of wst in them now. Much cleaner burn and slightly less recoil. But as always consult a reloading manual for safety sakes vs what some Joe smoe tells you on the interwebs. Hogdons has an online load data. Check that out for what you have rather than buying more stuff. 

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 IF you are going to reload shotgun shells, Clays is also a very good powder for that too.

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Thank you all for your help. I have been going back and forth with the .38 vs. .357.  I will likely order the Lyman Book for the information on the cast bullets.  I have experience loading .223 rifle rounds when I was shooting service rifle. I got use to being able to look up the bullet by manufacturer and weight. It appears with cast bullets the manuals do not distinguish between the various manufactures.

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Shooting BP sure makes my life easier. Just shared an order of it with a fellow cowboy shooter, no problem getting it.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

Check out the Hodgdons website for a load. I shoot 3.0 gr. Clays with a 125 gr. bullet in a .38 special case. They also show a .357 load.

 

https://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol

 

Randy

Good advice.  I like Clays also but expect 231 would certainly work.  I usually run a tad less of Clays that Randy at 2.7-3.0 grains and with 105, 125, 135, & 147 grain Hi-tek coated bullets.

And, definitely in .38 cases.

Edited by Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator
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15 hours ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

There isn't a "best powder" for this game - there are probably 20 appropriate powders that will work just fine, and another 20 that will get the bullet to the target if you can't find something better. Clays and W231 are both popular. About a week ago, I found an 8# jug of Red Dot on a dealer's shelf and snapped it right up - also a very good "do it all" powder for this game.

 

Bite your tongue :lol:

You can load every smokeless cartridge and SG shell used in SASS with Unique.

Now, go stand in the corner :P

 

OLG

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Posted (edited)

I run 2.8 grs. of Clays in Ellie's .38's and we both use 14 grs. of Clays in SG with a 7/8 oz. load. Running just over 1000FPS in SG.

Edited by Eyesa Horg
Now using 14 gr. in SG
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Posted (edited)

38 Spl published loading data ...

Clays ..... From 3.2 grains to 3.9 grains  for 125gr bullet

 

Clays is NOT LISTED for 357 reloads

 

 

 

 

Edited by John Boy

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10 minutes ago, John Boy said:

38 Spl published loading data ...

Clays ..... From 3.2 grains to 3.9 grains  for 125gr bullet

 

Clays is NOT LISTED for 357 reloads

 

 

 

 

What?? 

Hodgdon357.jpg

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Johnson ... I sure missed that link didn't I  :o   Thanks

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I use 3.6 grs of Tite-Group with a 125 grain bullet .38spl

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Sooo....  when shelves are bare and choices are limited, are there any powders that are NOT particularly well suited for CAS use when loading .38 and 12g

Down to my last jar of Clays and a half can of 231 - it wont be long and I may be willing to grab whatever I can find

...not that it will matter if there are no primers to get the powder burning

Edited by Chuck Steak
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There are many powders unsuitable for CAS main match shotgun shells and metallic cartridges.  These are slower burning powders suitable for magnum revolver cartridge loads or heavy shotgun loads.  BTW, there is plenty of real black powder and the subs available.  If you can't find suitable smokeless powders you might buy a pound of one of the subs and give the darkside a try.

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971

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2 hours ago, Chuck Steak said:

... it wont be long and I may be willing to grab whatever I can find

...not that it will matter if there are no primers to get the powder burning

I know a cousin of a cousin who is on the board of directors of Leupold/Stevens and has some pretty good contacts in the industry, of course. He says there likely won't be a reliable supply of primers again for at least another ten to twelve months, and even that is heavily dependent on the election outcome.  :(

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Guy, I was like you and had lots of .357 cases when I started. They have worked well with the good supply of Unique I had and have not found a reason to change..

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The manuals, including Hodgdon Cowboy, indicate 357 Magnum loads with 125 gr lead that approach the SASS limit of 1000 fps (for pistols) even at minimum load, true of Clays too. What you will find is many using lighter loads that are not published but which get bullets out of the barrel and far enough down range and which would likely take out a knock down. I checked Lyman Cast Bullet and Hodgdon Cowboy, and neither are of use for our game except for 158 grain bullets. I use 357 cases to load for one of my rifles and have always used 158 grain bullets I get from Penn, because their TCFP has no leading band and loads reliably. I use Trailboss for each of the calibers I shoot except for the 45 ACP load with W231 that I use for 45 Cowboy Special..

Edited by Roscoe Regulator

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I use 357 in pistol and 38 for rifle. Reason is I like a 147g bullet for rifle and it is too long to work in a 357 case. I have a lot of 357 and 38 cases. So use what you have and you will be happy.

kR

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Anything you don't want to do with Goex 3F for Cowboy main match ammo, you can get done with Red Dot or the cheaper Form of Red Dot called Promo .....

 

Jabez Cowboy 

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On 8/25/2020 at 10:40 PM, Guy Smiley said:

Thank you all for your help. I have been going back and forth with the .38 vs. .357.  I will likely order the Lyman Book for the information on the cast bullets.  I have experience loading .223 rifle rounds when I was shooting service rifle. I got use to being able to look up the bullet by manufacturer and weight. It appears with cast bullets the manuals do not distinguish between the various manufactures.

if you are going to get into casting yourself (can save a lot of money on volume shooting) I recommend you checkout the reloader's network.  they have a bunch of information from respected reloader's on tips, tricks, the best information on using powder coating for the bullets etc.

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357 Magnum

W-231 From 7.5 grains to 8.6 grains  CCI-550 Primer

 

 

 

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