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Discussion Starter #1
I have quite a bit of 38 special brass and was wondering how safe it would be to load to +P velocity in non +P cases. All cases are fired 1X. Also, does anyone have any hunting experience with Hornady 158 grn XTP in 357 mag? Any good loads using the same with Herco powder? Thanks!
 

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I think +P brass is made to the same spec as regular brass (this may not hold to really hot +P+ military loads). I would caution that if you have some guns rated for +P and some not, that accidental use of +P in the wrong gun could occur. I have to watch this myself with an old Colt det special that is mechanically good but not +P rated..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I had heard the same thing before but just wanted to make sure that I heard them right. I knew that 9mm+P was essentially the same as standard brass, but didn't know for sure about 38 special. All of the +P loads will be used in a S&W 66 .357 so overstressing the frame isn't a problem. I will be using either Alliant Herco or Blue Dot for the loads and I'm hoping that I will be able to find a good combination for both the 38 +P and .357 with these powders.
 

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JS_280,
I've been loading +P+ loads in .38 special brass for years, with no ill effects. My favorite load being a slight variation of Elmer Keith's. I use 13.0 grs. 2400 over the 173 gr. Keith SWC, ignited by a SMALL pistol primer. This nifty little load clocks out at 1260 fps from my 6.5" old model blackhawk, with EXCEPTIONAL accuracy.(Elmer used 13.5 grs of 2400, but I understand 2400 is slightly faster these days). Use this load only in .357 mag guns !! There are no pressure signs from this load, and empties eject effortlessly. I've fired this load in the same brass over 10 times, then pitched it, as I didn't want to push things too far. Hope this helps some.
Jeff
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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JS,

To compare your regular .38 brass against +P, either weight them empty, or fill with water and see if they hold the same amount.

The reason for doing this is to ensure that you have about the same case capacity for either. If the two cases don't have the same capacity, you should not interchange load data, at least don't use a case with lesser capacity than the one the load data calls for. That can cause pressures to go up!

Now that's general advise, in your example where you are shooting .38+p loads out of a .357 - there is so much extra strength of that gun that you would never strain it, even with what might be considered a slight overload as compared to .38+p specs.

Furthermore, in a revolver with the cases fully supported (as opposed to a semi-auto), I doubt you would ever see any problem doing what you are proposing. Just be careful that those rounds can't get put in a .38 accidentally, if it is not rated for +P loads.

I personally just use .357 brass for any/all .357 loads, no matter how light or heavy, as it cuts down on the gunk that you have to clean out of the chambers.
 

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Mike's comment on case capacity & using water to measure it are right on, though I'll bet brand-to-brand variation is greater than from regular .38 to +p in the same brand. Is it my imagination or is Remington brass a bit thin these days? Anyway if you wish to do this measurement try adding about 2 drops of dish detergent to a pint of cool water & mixing. This will allow air bubbles to work their way out. Be careful not to let the soapy water get foamy from excessive stirring and if you want to use the case again decap it pretty soon so the anvil & primer don't rust. I used to do this with rifle cases for benchrest competition years ago.
 

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I have tried to keep the loads seperate to avoid dropping +P's in my J Frame. Weighing Federal, Winchester, and Remington variants, a small sample of each on my digital, show's notta for a real difference. I can't imagine that the mfg's would bother beyond a headstamp.

On the other hand I've loaded lot's of loads between +P, and .357 levels, in plain .38 brass, for use in a .357 without any problems.
 

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JS, what kind of hunting and at what ranges do you plan to do with the .357. I know I'll get a lot of disagreement from some on here, but the 357 is a marginal deer cartridge. If you keep the range very short, under 50 yds, with full power loads and good bullets with perfect shot placement on smaller deer, you'll be OK in my opinion. The reason that last sentence sounds like it was written by a lawyer is because that is the proven capability of the gun and nothing more. In a long barrelled revolver or a TC it's a little better and the odds of good shot placement increase, but I'd feel a lot better with a .41,.44,.45 Colt +P (ruger only) for hunting deer.

Cast-n-Blast,
What kind of velocity do you get out of those loads? Have you used them to take deer or other game?
 

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.357 works OK on South Texas deer, which rarely are as big as a full-grown labrador retriever. For the big'uns that you have in Nebraska and other cold-weather states, it might be a little light.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will be deer hunting in southern Alabama and all shots will be within bow range (up to 35-40 yds.). Things never work out the way you want them to when you get in the woods but I'm planning on all shots being through the lungs and not having to worry about the shoulder bones destroying the bullet and stopping penetration.
 
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