So what's you favorite cast bullet for your 38/357 for revolver or lever gun. I guess mine is the 158 gas checks 358156. All from a single cavity mold...
Favorite 38/357 bullets
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H& G #51, 160 gr. SWC plainbase, the original .357 Magnum bullet; equally good in the .38 Special.
I've also had the #358156, the #358429, #358439, and the #358311 for many years. They all shoot well, but I've seen ever so slightly better accuracy results with the the #51.
38 Special: Lachmiller equivalent of Lyman 358477 and the Lyman 358495
38/44: Lyman 358429
357 Revolver: Lyman 358156 either solid or HP
357 Martini: Custom Mountain Mold 200 grain RNFP
RCBS 38-150-SWC - .38 Special, Practice
RCBS 38-158-SWC - .357, Defense
RCBS 38-180-SIL - .357, Hunting
Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest
My favorites are RCBS moulds and are no longer made. One is the 158gr Cowboy mould 82305 and the other is a 147gr 9mm mould 82077.
NOE HP clone of the Lyman 358156 and a original Lyman 358156 SWC non HP.
'Artisan' in Lead, Brass & Powder.
It all probably depends on the PURPOSE for the bullet in the specific firearm. Bullets that work well in my revolvers do not feed so well in my lever action rifles. Bullets used for bullseye target shooting like we did in PPC shoots are not very good hunting bullets.
My hunting bullets are either KTSWC solids or hollow points; Lyman, RCBS, or Accurate. Most are chosen for the revolver but a few will cycle with absolute reliability in the lever actions.
My cowboy loads for either rifle or revolver are RN or RNFP bullets for ease of feeding.
Bullets for self defense would be solids of the KTSWC flavor.
So I think the way to come at this is to:
1. Pick your platform
2. Pick your purpose
3. Pick the bullet
With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.
I have had good accuracy with the 358429 Keith in 38 and 357 Mag.
and the 3583345, a 115 gr SWC works well for light target loads in
the 38 spl, It also actually feeds well , and shoots well in my Kahr CM9 9mm with full loads
It has to be the H&G 50 148 grain wadcutter. I have the bevel base version in a 4 cavity mold. With 3 grains of Bullseye this bullet will show the accuracy potential of a 38/357 revolver. It is also a superior small game bullet for 50 yards or less. I have cast thousands of them and will continue casting them as nothing is better. Most mold makers supply a copy of this bullet and they all work if the cast diameter is not over 0.358 so they are not sized excessively.
When I need speed loading, use in a carbine or long range, I have used the SAECO # 358 158 RNFP. I recently replaced the #358 with Accurate 36-358C to get a mold which casts closer to correct diameter.
I seldom push the velocity up where a gas check is needed. If I need a gas check I put a disk check on Accurate 36-358C.
I've had the H&G #50 flat base 4-cavity mould for many years, but have had almost no experience with other 148 WC designs. I would assume they all shoot equally well as they appear to be about the same, but I don't know this for sure. I've always been curious if another design has a better accuracy reputation the the #50.
I have in times of desperate need (working 3 jobs, no time to cast) I purchased 38 148 wadcutters from different sources. Each company had a different design. Since lube requirements are very low on target loads, they all worked pretty well. I also had the Lyman version which shot ok, but the two cavities did not make bullets fast enough and they were large (0.360) and the reject rate was high.
The main competition is the flat nose designs H&G 251 3 grease grooves, and H&G 334 one large grease groove and copies by other mold makers. I tried the H&G 251 and could not see any difference with the H&G 50 in several hundred rounds on the Ransom Rest, so I quit worrying about it. I use the H&G 50 in match shooting.
The requirements for top accuracy are:
A good mold, casting the correct diameter for your revolver, requiring little or no sizing.
Soft alloy BHN 8-10.
Good quality control
The rest is common sense
Load to give 750 - 800 fs
Single headstamp cases with no cannelure
Belled so the bullet is not cut or distorted in seating
Crimp in a separate step, just enough to remove the bell.
Lubricant is of little importance; any fast powder is OK.
The amount of bench or Ransom Rest shooting to tell the difference in the various designs is probably more than any sane person wants to do. An insane person could spend 5000 rounds and 6 months of weekends and maybe get statistically valid data for TWO different bullets in ONE revolver. It would need to be a top-quality match grade gun, or the small difference might be hidden in the large variation. The data would be good for only that revolver.
Be happy with your H&G mold it is a keeper!
Lee 148 grain TL wad cutter from a 6 cavity mold. I've never had a gun that didn't shot that boolit well. Either tumble lubed of powder coated.
Thank you for the response. I never worry or obsess about any of this stuff and that's probably why I'll never come close to cast bullet perfection or expert shooting ability.
I think E.H. Harrison in the NRA cast bullet book determined the bevel base #50 was slightly more accurate than the flat base version, but I'd have to look up the article to be sure. Regardless, I'll just be content with what I have.
my model 28 is fed with Lyman 358156 with gc.With a hefty charge of H110 it clocks a little over 1300fps in a 6'' bbl so I guess my 4'' in the 28 goes around 1275.
My Henry lever prefers LBT 180gr wn from ww water cooled.
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