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38 S&W brass from .357 brass testing results


Fallon Kid
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Just back fm testing my .357 brass cut to 38S&W.  Perfect as far as I am concerned. First thing I did getting back is check case expansion. None. All were .377 .378.      Bullets were from a Lee mold .357 125 gn. They actually dropped .359/.360. Had to resize to.357 Cast was with a soft lead 10-12 BHN.  I loaded with Allient Black MZ 2ff.  7gn by weight. (use what ya got. I have 16 lbs) Veggie wad .030.  Guns used in pic. My intent is to use the pocket pistol in speed matches.  Actual firing was VERY mild shooting traditional. I just might have a chance. LOL   Anyway there were a lot of lessons learned and kids don’t try this at home. Smokeless powder was never considered so please take this caution seriously.  I have a fine working S&W 38 model 2 fm 1884.  We have to protect our history as we don’t own anything, just care takers for next crop of cowboys and cowgirls.  Contact me if you need more info.    Again sorry about pic. I'm working to correct

38test.jpg

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Had to resize to.357

Sounds like you have had a share of success so far. 

 

Mind if I share my experience and practice with black powder 38 S&W loads in pocket pistols?

 

The usual bullet diameter for .38 S&W is 0.360 or 0.361"  - fits the barrel better for control of leading and better accuracy.  A soft lead bullet is what I use for this, so there is minimal pressure increase.   And the .38 special case normally won't fill the chamber well enough to seal. As you found, unless there is quite a bit of pressure, the .357-trimmed case just doesn't expand to fit the chambers.   38 S&W dies to load cartridges for these pistols, rather than .38 Spl/.357 dies, is a real good idea.

 

Quote

My intent is to use the pocket pistol in speed matches. 

 

The only speed match or side match (or any match) that a pocket pistol qualifies for is a pocket pistol side match.   A pocket pistol cannot be used in main matches or where a main match pistol is required, such as a "Speed Revolver" match.

 

good luck with your pocket enforcers, GJ

 

 

And, for other shooters thinking they can get BlackMZ powder, Alliant stated a while back that they have discontinued production of it.

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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Thank you for the information. I take all info on board. And the MZ. Was at the Reno Sportsmanwearhouse a few years ago about the last time of powder shortage. No interest at time of black powder. Saw it 10 bucks a pound. I told the salesman to empty store room. I have quite a bit of quality BP for long range so I use MZ for the everyday shooting. All the smoke but a  bit cleaner. Also during last powder shortage I bought some CSB-1 Maxium 10lbs I am starting to use it and it is wonderful stuff. 3gn in 38 special is nice. I did some 45acp with it and it seems to have all the push but feels kinder than titegroup. Wish I had bought more.

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If you are gonna cut .357, why not cut .38 Special, it's cheaper.  Or .38 Long Colt, not as much to cut.

Or, for that matter, why not just use .38 Short Colt.   No need to cut, and they will fit.

 

But all of that being said, why?  .38 S&W ammo is plentiful and not all that hard to find.   Yeah, it's a little pricey, but it's the right size if you can't find .38 S&W brass.  As far as that goes, I always see some at the gun shows, as well as some vintage ammo from time to time that is surprisingly not all that costly.
 

As you describe the ammo you created, it sounds to me like you've basically created some .38 Short Colts.    

A tip.   If you ever find any Winchester nickeled .38 S&W brass, pass on it.  Loading those with a .360" bullet actually does expand the case to the point where they will not chamber.   This is the ONLY brass for that caliber that I have had this problem with.  In that case I use a .358" hollow base bullet.   But those are expensive.

Been loading .38 S&W for years for a plethora of guns, antique and modern.   Learned a lot of this by trial and error.  :)

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Morning HK. Thanks for the tips. I admit I respect advice from those who have experience. And I do wish I could buy what I need. My nearest big town is 70 miles away so shopping is limited. Needless to say I have scoured the net looking for brass.  I shoot .38 special as one of my main calibers so cutting them up does not seem to be a better option as I have .357 cases which I don’t see a need for. And the nickel cases, I tried to cut/trim one. Much harder to deal with than brass.  I do appreciate input and you sound like a person worth having several cups of coffee with and talk specifics.

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Cartridge conversion book lists doing what you did.  I once loaded S&W brass for an Colt police positive in S&W with S&W dies and then they would not fit in the chambers.  I ran them through a 38 special sizer and they fit and worked fine. You might look at an older Speer manual. Not a black powder sub load, but they show loading hollow base wadcutters seated our to regular bullet length. The hollow base bullet spreads out and makes a good seal . They worked fine when I loaded some.  I have loaded S&W with regular .357-358 bullets and could not see much difference in accuracy. Some shellplates made for 38 special will not accept S&W brass and some will not good luck

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I shoot my pocket pistols with my 105 grn 38 SP Bullets. They may rattle a bit going down the barrel but at PP distances doesn’t really matter. I typically use  APP. I have 38 S&W brass.
as I load them I drop them in cylinder to check fit. About 10% won’t chamber. I pull the decapping pin out of my sizing die and run cartridge through it again. Works like a charm!  
 

most PP side matches I’ve been to have 5 shots on 2 targets. Fairest is for shooter to start his own timer. Otherwise he who successfully jumps the timer will win. ;)

 

pocket pistols are kinda fun to collect and shoot. Not very expensive, and fun to imagine where they have been. I have 13 of them. I usually bring a handful to a match, just for the fun of shooting them, or letting others shoot them. Every once in a while I’ll sell one. 

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Thanks Hoss. I needed that. I was starting to think I was a social outcast for my interest in pocket guns. I do spend a lot of time with them. Someone mentioned not lubing when using Black MZ. Would like to know more as lubing them little bullets as it is a mess with my potato size fingers. I went and bought a Lee mold  358-158-2r because it is round nose and has some serious lube groves. Would like an opinion on that.  Also I have a S&W model 2 single action would like to shoot if there is a SA side event.  I gave s/n to S&W company and told it was new in 1884.  Again thank you.  I want to hear from the guy that owns a mule not the neighbor next door.

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Kid,

  Are you coming out on Sunday?  I have some brass for you!! I also have a 6 gang 105 grn bullet mould.

                      JA

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Be there Sun. Loading this moment 38 spc. Using CSB-1 powder (Maxium).  Fires so mellow I don't have to even aim.  Which I would never think of doing anyway. Brass/mould How much?  Also my new old Hopkins and Allen top break fires all 5 in appox 2 sec.  I did not bring shot timer.  We might do better next year at ROOP.

Fallon    and thanks.    And Ta-Daa. Got a Walker coming in Fri.

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Kid,

   The brass is yours!! The mould is mine!!  After I go to a couple of shoots I'll cast you a bunch.

Love my Walkers but they are a little heavy!!!

                          JA

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8 hours ago, Fallon Kid said:

Morning HK. Thanks for the tips. I admit I respect advice from those who have experience. And I do wish I could buy what I need. My nearest big town is 70 miles away so shopping is limited. Needless to say I have scoured the net looking for brass.  I shoot .38 special as one of my main calibers so cutting them up does not seem to be a better option as I have .357 cases which I don’t see a need for. And the nickel cases, I tried to cut/trim one. Much harder to deal with than brass.  I do appreciate input and you sound like a person worth having several cups of coffee with and talk specifics.

 

 

I wonder if we met a couple of years ago at the Nevada state championship...  I was the guy who came all the way from Boston.

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I only attended last two years Nevada state.  But thank you for supporting us. I think we have the best people possible in our club but our visitors are the best people you could ever want to meet.   And HK, was it you that brought the 6 crates of live lobster?  If not, well, maybe next time. LOL

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