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I have a 6" blued Python that I want to shoot lightly loaded cast bullets through it. I want to keep the velocity around 850 - 900 fps so it doesn't lead up the bore. I have a bunch of .38 Special cases that I was thinking about using for these loads, then got to thinking since the .38 cases are shorter the gap in case length may get leaded up. So would I be better off to use .357 cases? Trouble is by using .357 cases the velocity may exceed the range I want to stay in. What is your take on all of this?
p.s. anyone have good 158gr. cast bullet load? Thanks. RRM
 

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I shoot cast and plated .38s in all my .357 guns 99% of the time. You will hear different opinions but I personally see no real difference in accuracy. After a while you can get a build up in the cylinder where the shorter cases stop but cleans out easily with a brash brush. Most of my 148gr and 158gr are with 3.0-3.5 grains of Bullseye.
 

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My go-to load for 148 HBWC is 2.7 grains of Bullseye in 38 cases. Like etuett said, a few strokes with a brass brush cleans out the carbon in the cylinder easily.

Sad (but funny) story:
My "home range" has a bunch of rental guns, mostly used for security guard training classes. They are all S&W 10's, 13's, 15's, etc and are given a thorough cleaning every 6 months or so (whether they need it or not). One of the employees lost interest in scrubbing carbon from the chambers and came up with the brilliant labor-saving idea of chucking up the cleaning rod in an electric drill. OK...not bad so far...until he found the stainless steel brushes. They now have 2-3 nice shiny 38.5 caliber cylinders that make nice pencil holders and paperweights.
 

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I prefer 357 cases over 38 special in my Blackhawk. I use Trail Boss powder with my low to moderate velocity loads. Trail Boss is now my favorite powder for 357, 44 special and 45 Colt. Joseph
 

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it makes no real difference whether you use .38 Special or .357 Magnum cases for light practice loads.
The key issue is using lead bullets of the right hardness and size that will limit leading.

The second key is to maintain very strict attention during loading. A few grains of Bullseye just disappears in either case, and it's entirely possible to get accidental multiple over-charges with catastrophic results.

To clean the chambers I highly recommend buying a couple of BRONZE chamber brushes from Brownell's.
These are not just larger diameter, they're made of a special stiffer bristle that makes short work of cleaning chambers of carbon and lead fouling.

DO NOT use stainless steel chamber or bore brushes. These are for use by gunsmiths with a gun so badly neglected they have nothing to loose by any damage cause by the steel brushes.

To use a bronze chamber brush I push the brush into the chamber until about 1/3rd of it's sticking out the front, then rotate the brush 2 to 3 turns, push it all the way through, then pull back out.
Usually that will totally clean all fouling.
For lead fouling I recommend using a bore solvent to prevent lead dust in the air that you might breath in.

To clean the bore and forcing cone of leading, buy a Lewis Lead Remover kit from Brownell's.
All the old revolver shooters owned one of the Lewis kits to pull the lead out of the barrel without harm, and it's the only way to really clean the critical forcing cone.
Even if you shoot only jacketed bullets the Lewis kit is needed to remove carbon build up from the forcing cone.

https://www.brownells.com/gun-clean...ze-rifle-pistol-chamber-brushes-prod1287.aspx

https://www.brownells.com/gun-clean...ead-remover/lewis-lead-remover-prod21587.aspx
 

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My most common load for a plus P 38 special is 5.1 grains unique and a Lee cast 158 SWC. That should give you what your looking for in a 6" python. I shoot out to 100 yards with this load and only have to aim towards the top of a steel plate at that distance. My lead alloy is wheel weights that are dropped into water for quenching. These are lubed with lee liquid alox that dries overnight before loading. I seldom have to use a brass brush for bore cleaning. Just a wet patch with hoppes 9 or CLP then a dry patch to clean the bore. I do use a brass brush in the chambers until a .357 case will drop in.
 

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Rat Rod Mac, I've been using those poly coated lead bullets , I've been getting mine from Badman Bullets. Through inexperience years ago, I always had fouling with lead bullets. I wanted to try some recently and found these polymer coated ones go about 2200FPS without fouling the bore. I can shoot these coated bullets in my .38 spl/.357 mag and .44 mag revolvers from mild to hot without lead or polymer fouling. They are very accurate as well. No need to slug the barrel or worry about brinell hardness as I would have to with cast, sized and lubed ones.
 

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When I reloading years ago...I was shooting 38 's with my Python . Always had problems with leading. I still got my Lewis kit from 1980"s
 

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The 3.5 Gr Bullseye load with 158 gr. lead bullet has been around forever and for good reason. It's a great load and with properly sized and lubed cast bullets will shoot without leading. My favorite blasting load for 357 mag and 158 gr. SWC cast bullets uses SR7625 powder. Unfortunately that powder has been discontinued- but a medium charge of Unique or Universal should work better for 357 loads that are slighly hotter than 38 +P but not quite into 357 Mag range.
 

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Clean you're python with Ballistol first>then regurlarly and leading will be at a minimum. I use a Lewis Lead Remover also. A little "judicious" maintenance/cleaning will keep yer Snake shootin! I use Unique powder which helps keep "Leading down. jmho fwiw
 

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As mentioned several times in this thread, the Lewis Lead Remover is a handy kit to have if you are going to shoot lead in a 38/357 revolver. Sooner or later you're going to need it.
 

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I've been shooting a 158 LSW over 6 grains (now 5.7) of Unique, in a 357 case, for around 30 years. It has been an accurate and pleasant load to shoot in any of the 357s that have come and gone. Too much variance in the way Unique meters, so I use a Lee dipper to measure my powder charge. The dipper used to hold a 6.0 Grain charge, but after they reformulated Unique the same dipper holds 5.7 Grains, so that's the charge I use now. Seems to give similar velocity and the accuracy is still great. I don't like to use 38 cases in my 357s. I figure if I'm making my own rounds anyways, why not use brass that fits the full length of the cylinder.
 
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