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Old 04-18-2017, 04:40 PM
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.38 Special fired out of .357 Magnum 1894C (in case anyone cares)


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I've finally gotten through shooting several batches of test ammunition, in .38 Special (in .38 Special cases) and .357 Magnum, through my 1894C. The results were interesting and somewhat unexpected. Keep in mind that the sample size is not large enough to have any firm conclusions, but the smallest batch size was six loads and ten for the largest. Hornady XTPs were chosen to be the bullet type, in 110gr, 125gr and 158gr weights.

Conclusion 1: .38 Special, fired from a .357 Magnum (rifle) chamber is not necessarily less precise. In the 110gr and 125gr tests, the .38 Special loads were more precise (30% more for the 125gr!). This conclusion is based on average group sizes across the entire batch. The differences in the 110gr and 158gr loads are small enough that a few bad loads or undetected wind conditions could easily have made the difference. The difference in the smallest groups of the .38 Special and .358 Magnum is less than 0.5%

Conclusion 2: My gun prefers longer bullets. The 158gr group sizes were about half the diameter of the 110gr group sizes, both in the .38 Special and .357 Magnum loads, and the 125gr groups were also smaller than the 110gr groups.
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Old 04-18-2017, 07:37 PM
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Was accuracy with the 158 grain bullets in the .38 equal to the longer .357 loads?
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:43 AM
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.38

Years ago, when the Rossi Model 92 was first marketed, American Rifleman magazine did a review for their "Dope Bag". The most accurate cartridge that they tested (at 100 yds.) was the .38 Spl full wadcutter target load.

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Old 04-20-2017, 11:16 AM
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Let your rifle do the talking.
See---
Secrets of the Houston Warehouse - Lessons In Extreme Rifle Accuracy - PrecisionRifleBlog.com
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:47 AM
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It's my understanding the rifles used in the Houston experiment tests were competive brenchrest capable. That tier of rifles were necessary to make the experiments valid.

Recall reading the part where many brought their best shooting rifles and couldn't make the accuracy cut.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyF View Post
It's my understanding the rifles used in the Houston experiment tests were competive brenchrest capable. That tier of rifles were necessary to make the experiments valid.

Recall reading the part where many brought their best shooting rifles and couldn't make the accuracy cut.
My take away was that bullet weight was a definitive element in the accuracy equation.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:54 PM
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My take away was that bullet weight was a definitive element in the accuracy equation.
Guess I misunderstood what you were getting at. Was thinking you were steering the op to follow the article's blueprint for accuracy.
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:19 AM
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I'm not a bench rest shooter, but I find this sort of stuff interesting. I do shoot old lever actions and find them accurate, but I never considered that bullet weight could make much difference.
Apparently it does from the bench in a warehouse, but how this translates into real world and lever guns is anyone's guess. Still, it is interesting and discovering your barrel's preferred bullet weight may be the "safest bet."
I don't know what, if any, of the other Houston Warehouse protocols would or could apply here.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:56 AM
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Since I cast bullets & reload my own ammo I use 357 mag brass to make up 38spl. type loads. This way there is no extra long jump for the bullet. If you do not reload & depend on factory ammo I can see where a difference in accuracy could occur.
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MontyF View Post
Was accuracy with the 158 grain bullets in the .38 equal to the longer .357 loads?
The .357 Magnum 158gr loads were 15% more precise in my tests.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:50 PM
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I have had the same experience with a Marline cowboy model. The rifle likes 38 special 148 grain SWC and does not shoot the typical cowboy action truncated bullet in 357 casing nearly as well.

I had a model 28 S&W revolver that didn't care for light weight bullet 357 magnum loads. This gun would shoot the 200 grain 38 special police loads like a target gun.

I lot of guns will preform better with some loads and bullets but the 357 can be pretty picky about what they like.



































I have
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:16 AM
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Watch that chamber. Shooting 38s in a 357 chamber can cause a carbon ring to build up at the shorter case mouth which will impede the use of 357 length cases. Also, the carbon ring is difficult to remove. After shooting about 200 38 special loads in on of my 357 Marlin rifles the carbon build up makes the longer 357 case look like this,



As you can see, the bullet was deformed and could not be released accurately until that case restriction (carbon ring) was removed.

My Marlin 357 rifles (3) do not like the short bullets....it's 158 gr. or heavier for best accuracy.
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by JBledsoe View Post
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Watch that chamber. Shooting 38s in a 357 chamber can cause a carbon ring to build up at the shorter case mouth which will impede the use of 357 length cases. Also, the carbon ring is difficult to remove. After shooting about 200 38 special loads in on of my 357 Marlin rifles the carbon build up makes the longer 357 case look like this,

As you can see, the bullet was deformed and could not be released accurately until that case restriction (carbon ring) was removed.

My Marlin 357 rifles (3) do not like the short bullets....it's 158 gr. or heavier for best accuracy.
Yeah, I worked the chamber pretty well to remove any build-up left from shooting dozens of .38 Special loads through it before I moved on to the .357 Magnum loads.
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:39 PM
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There is another variable that has not been isolated, that may affect accuracy, and that is pressure and bullet obturation. XTPs often get better accuracy when pressures driving them are higher, while other bullets respond better to lighter loads. This could explain why it shoots better with heavier bullets. Your lighter bullets might improve if they can be stepped up a little bit.

Just saying that its hard to isolate case length, and bullet weight as the only variables unless all other factors are the same , including chamber pressure and velocity.

XTPs are one of the most accurate bullet I've developed loads for in .357 revolvers, but I've only worked with the 158gr.
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