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Old 11-25-2003, 09:21 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 25
cost of reloading .223, 38 spec, 357mag

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Which is the cheapest to reload, .223, 38 spec, 357 mag?
I am looking for something for target shooting that has more power than a 22. I was thinking about a lever action, but threw in the .223 because the ammo is cheap. I really have no idea about the cost from a reloading perspective though.

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Old 11-26-2003, 03:07 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 342
Of the 3 you list, .38 Special will be the cheapest to reload to factory specs. You can get inexpensive projectiles for all 3 and primer costs are a wash. It all comes down to the amount of powder.
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Old 11-26-2003, 05:36 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 25
how much more does it cost to reload 357?
Are we talking a few cents per box or a few dollars?

here is what I figured from the prices in Cabela's catalog:

primers- same for both
powder- This is straight from Hogdon's website-

125 GR. HDY XTP COL: 1.455"
HS-6 7.2 1048 16,600 CUP

125 GR. HDY XTP COL: 1.590"
HS-6 10.9 1629 42,100 CUP

Cabela's price for 8lbs of Hogdon Hs-6 - $124.99

Bullets- I'm not sure I have the right bullet listed here. It is the Oregon trail laser-cast bullets
.38 cal; .357" dia 125g fp bb - $37.99 per 1000

since the bullets are ".38 cal; .357" dia" does that mean they work with 38 spec and the 357?

Here are my calculations
38 spec
powder @ 7.2g - $0.01607
bullet - $0.03799
cost per shell - $0.05406
cost per box of 50 - $2.703

357 mag
power @ 10.9g - $0.02432
bullet - $0.03799
cost per shell - $0.06231
cost per box of 50 - $3.1155

So if my calculations are correct there's only a difference of 41 cents.

Can anyone find a problem with any of this?

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Old 11-26-2003, 07:08 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 342
Your math is right, but consider this from the same site:

.38 with 125 grain XTP, 3.9 grains of Clays.

.357 w/ same bullet, 22 grains H110.

How "magnum" do you want to load your .357?

Can .357 be loaded at relatively low cost? yes
Will .38's be cheaper? absolutely
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:34 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 25
Ok, so both use the same bullet, and the 38 is cheaper to reload because it has less powder.

What are the capabilities of the two rounds?
At what distances can you get accurate groups?
What size of animals can reasonably be taken with these calibers?

I am mainly looking for a target load for distances of 300 yds and under, but I may try deer if it is possible.

Would either of these be suitable for deer at ranges of 100 - 150 yds?

Right now I am thinking that the 357 has more capability. I can make light loads for target shooting and heavier loads for hunting.

Is there some other caliber that I should look at for a lever action rifle?

Thanks again,
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Old 11-27-2003, 05:30 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 342
Well now you are in the range of subjective opinion. Here's mine:

Neither will be acceptable for a target round at distances over 100 yards. And 100 yards is pushing the .38. 200 or 300 yard targets are an unrealistic expectation.

The .38 will harvest about the same small game as a .22 LR. Albeit it will anchor it with more authority. Distances should be kept under 50 yards unless the shooter is very familiar with his rifle, judging distances and the trajectory of the bullet he is shooting.

The .357 with proper bullet selection and loaded to full velocity will harvest deer and small hogs to 100 yards. It will certainly kill at longer distances, but 100 yards is as far as I would go with it.

If plinking, casual targets and the occasional deer at close range is what you have in mind, the .357 lever is a great choice. It is a light handy package, carries easily, flies to the shoulder and has very little recoil.

If hunting deer and larger is a primary concern, then I'd suggest the .44 mag or a .30/30. Either one will strike with more authority. But both are considerably more expensive to load that the .357 mag.

If stretching the distance over 100 yards is important, get a .30/30. The bullet starts faster and has a better trajectory. IMO, the .30/30 will take deer sized game to 200 yards.
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Old 12-02-2003, 07:44 PM
Tio Tio is offline
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 230
You have conflicting priorities:
For informal target shooting, the .223 is suitable to 300 yards. The .38 and .357 are not. For deer hunting, few states allow cartridges as light as .223.
For deer hunting, the .357 with heavy, cast bullets is very good to 100, maybe 125 yards. You donít want to shoot .38s in a .357 rifle. They crud up the chamber and make shooting .357s difficult. You can load .357s to .38 pressure and velocity. The .357 case is just a .38 case- stretched 1/10th of an inch.
Finally, you canít shoot inexpensive cast lead bullets from a .223 autoloader. It will foul the gas port. And, few bullet casters make .224 cast bullets, (Bear Tooth does).

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