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  #1  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:49 PM
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Default Good starting bullets for 38/357 plinking out of 5" barrel?

Hi, just getting into reloading and I've done a search but couldn't find a good overall bullet that's affordable and good for plinking.

I'm shooting out of a S&W 627 5" barrel and would prefer plated/jacketed bullets over lead for now. I've dealt with leading in my barrel in the past and I know there are ways to avoid it, but for now I'll take it one step at a time.

After reading through.. I'm already going to get possibly:
Unique powder
CCI or Winchester primers (I'm guessing I won't really need magnum primers for now)
Brass from my once fired factory ammo or buy some more 357 brass from Starline Brass (please let me know if there are cheaper brass that is still good out there).

Now I'd like to know what bullet grain and type is a good all-around starter for 38sp and 357mag (still have a lot of 38 brass so I'll need bullets for them until I have nothing but 357). Looking through previous threads, seems like Montana Gold and Missouri are both good places to purchase bullets. Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any help and feel free to put in any additional input on tidbits I may have missed.
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2012, 3:22 AM
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I have had good luck with both Berry's and Rainier plated 125 and 158 RN's for the .38. Just keep them under 1200fps or so in the .357.

Zero 125 and 158 JSP's have worked out well for me when I want to load some spicy .357. Hornady's are also excellent, but tend to be more expensive, look for sales and/or buy in bulk.

Also might think about lead for your .38's for a significant savings (like half price if you shop carefully). I have had no trouble with leading in my revolver and have fired 3000+ rds of lead .38 with it.

A friend showed me a good trick: At the end of a lead shooting session, load up one cylinder worth of jacketed bullets and fire them. This will force most of the lead out of the barrel and minimize cleaning. It has worked well for me, though YMMV. Enjoy.
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  #3  
Old 11-21-2012, 8:48 AM
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That's a very good tip. Ill definitely keep that in mind. Thanks.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:02 AM
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If you want to save money, reloading will do it. How much money you want to save will depend heavily on what bullet you choose. Hornady jacketed bullets run about $25/100, Xtreme plated bullets go for about $47/500 and can be shot at close to jacketed velocities, Bear Creek moly coated cast lead bullets go for about $31/500.

Here's something you should consider. If you are shooting a low recoil load, you might not need to crimp the bullet. That's good in that it saves wear and tear on the brass. If you do need to crimp, you want a bullet with a crimp groove or cannelure. Plated bullets usually don't have a crimp groove and if you aren't careful, you can cut through the plating. Most jacketed bullets have a cannelure and most cast bullets have a crimp groove. You can put a crimp into a plated bullet, it just takes a little more care.

Here are some bullets I used. From the left, Silver State 158g Round Nose, Bear Creek 158g SWC, Cast Lee 358-158 RF, Same bullet as #3 but after tumble lubed.

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Old 11-21-2012, 2:53 PM
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I've looked around more and seems like most people agree that 158gr is a good do-all bullet.
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Old 11-21-2012, 3:02 PM
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That cast Lee 358-158-RF is exactly the "boolit" that I use for my .357M loads. Works extremely well in both my wheelgun and the .357M levergun. It also works well in .38 +P+ loads. This is in both the .357M case and the .38 Spl cases.

For my lighter .38 Special loads, I use the 358-105-SWC. It looks like this.



And here is the mould.

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Old 11-21-2012, 6:30 PM
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If your new rig is a late model Smith with the new style rifling, make sure it likes lead bullets before you buy a bunch. I have a 686 SSR and it HATES Missouri Bullet Co bullets, even the Cowboy softies, their lube sucks.
I use Extreme or Berry's 158 Grn plated in it now for the most part, but my brother cast's his own using Lee molds and his own mix of lube, and there's little to no leading compared to the M.B.C. YMMV.
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Old 11-21-2012, 7:22 PM
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You won't get top-end velocities with Unique, but you'll be close. Anything appreciably slower may well require magnum primers. I understand Alliant cleaned up Unique several years ago. It was almost as bad as blackpowder in the indoor ranges in the 70s and 80s.
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Old 11-21-2012, 8:52 PM
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+1 on Bear Creek moly coated cast lead bullets for price and performance.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by checkenbach View Post
If your new rig is a late model Smith with the new style rifling, make sure it likes lead bullets before you buy a bunch. I have a 686 SSR and it HATES Missouri Bullet Co bullets, even the Cowboy softies, their lube sucks.
I use Extreme or Berry's 158 Grn plated in it now for the most part, but my brother cast's his own using Lee molds and his own mix of lube, and there's little to no leading compared to the M.B.C. YMMV.
Ya my 627 PC hates lead too. Last time I bought a batch of lead ammo, I had to scrub down the barrel with Chore Boy. I might try Berrys. Heard good things.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rconnerley View Post
Zero 125 and 158 JSP's have worked out well for me when I want to load some spicy .357. Hornady's are also excellent, but tend to be more expensive, look for sales and/or buy in bulk.

A friend showed me a good trick: At the end of a lead shooting session, load up one cylinder worth of jacketed bullets and fire them. This will force most of the lead out of the barrel and minimize cleaning. It has worked well for me, though YMMV. Enjoy.
Zero 125JHP over 5.1 or 5.3grs of W231/HP38 in 357Mag case is my pet load for Bianchi match. Shot 2" groups at 50 yards out of my race ready SW 686. powdervalleyinc.com is where I get them in bulk.

shooting jacketed bullet to remove leading works up to a certain degree. It will remove the leading in the barrel where the bullet comes in contact. It doesn't remove most of the lead in the forcing cone and chambers.

I heard some guys use copper mesh from Home Depot. I haven't tried that but I use this, it works best.
http://www.brownells.com/gun-cleanin...x#.UK6M9Wf4JlA
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Last edited by huckberry668; 11-22-2012 at 12:43 PM..
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Old 11-22-2012, 1:02 PM
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I've also switched from Titegroup to Trail Boss powder in the SSR and it's super clean, with much reduced recoil.
I use the Extreme RNFP 158's for practice, and Berry's RN 158's for IDPA, 3.5 grns of Trail Boss barely makes IDPA power factor.
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Old 11-22-2012, 1:51 PM
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So for revolvers, is there a real reason to using RN or FP over the other?
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Old 11-22-2012, 4:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorenut View Post
So for revolvers, is there a real reason to using RN or FP over the other?
FP may leave a somewhat cleaner bullet hole on the paper.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:50 PM
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I have a 4" S&W 586 that I reload for. I have had very good results using Bear Creek 158gr SWC with Trail Boss (3.0gr) powder for my 38 special loads. They are accurate and easy to clean up. No leading at all and because of the crimp grove, they are easier to load than plated bullets like Berry's.
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Old 11-23-2012, 7:22 AM
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The only reason I shoot a RN profile is that it loads faster than just about anything else when the cartridges are "moon clipped" and in use for competition.. otherwise a semi-wadcutter, wadcutter, hollow ppoint, soft point, or RNFP are all better choices.
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Old 11-29-2012, 2:20 PM
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Thanks for all the help. I think I settled with Berry's plated 158 grain flat point. Already put in an order.
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Old 11-29-2012, 7:27 PM
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i have used oregon trail 158 SWC's. just shot some of my last loadings, fairly hot, and didn't have any leading. these are relly good bullets. IMO
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:26 AM
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Since you are shooting a revolver, IMO the best plinking bullet is the CHEAPEST ONE YOU CAN FIND. Anything cheap will be in the sweet spot (I'm sure the cheap ones aren't 100 grains or 250 grains). You'll be able to use it for both cartridges I guarantee. And I'm confident you'd be able to find a proper load for accuracy with any bullet.

I find that the cost to reload depends on the bullet cost, that all else is trivial, financially. So there's no reason to sacrifice money if you find a 180 grain bullet for dirt cheap but feel the need to stick with a 158. Don't worry about it. go cheap and plink all day.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:32 PM
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One thing I learned about using lead bullets when i was loading for my 357 lever is that size of the bullet in relation to the bore is critical. For my lever gun i use a .359" size lead bullet but my bore of my rifle is .357", I slugged it to make sure. The extra size help seal in the hot gas and minimize leading.
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