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Here's another newbie question. I have a 357 which I use for target shooting. I plan to shoot a fair amount so I've been using 38 ammo. Someone told me to use only "full metal jacket" rounds so the inside of the barrel doesn't get lead buildup. I've started to do that but now I'm wondering whats the best ammo to use for target shooting with a 357?
 

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Lead bullets are best. Sure you'll get lead build up, but that can be cleaned and your barrel will last a very long time. Use metal jackets all the time and you will significantly decrease the life of your barrel.

I prefer full wad cutter .38sp for paper targets because you get a nice clean hole.
 

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My revolver shooting up 'til now has been with mostly S&W's(I have a Colt on the way),but I have likewise found lead full wadcutters loaded modestly to be a very good accuracy load in my own revolvers.
 

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"Back in the day" when the revolver was King at the shooting matches, the 148 wadcutter in a mid-range load was THE target ammo.

Shooters used lead for several reasons: It was THE most accurate, it was easy on the barrel, it was cheap, since many casted their own bullets, and the barrel lasted virtually forever.

Hard cast lead wadcutters don't lead MOST revolver barrels and chambers as badly as softer lead or hotter loaded defense ammo, but in all older revolver shooters equipment, you'll find a Lewis Lead Remover Kit.

This is a special cleaning kit available from Brownell's, that's been used for probably 50 year or more, to safely clean expensive revolvers of leading.

To clean a revolver properly AND WITHOUT DAMAGING IT, I recommend the Lewis over "expedient" methods you read about on the internet.

The Lewis is the only way to really clean the forcing cone, and removes all lead from the bore without risking damage by "Billy Bob" cleaning methods.

While the Lewis also cleans the cylinder, I recommend using Brownell's bronze chamber cleaning brushes for that, since it's faster, and just as safe.

If you shoot Mid-range lead wadcutter target ammo, and clean with the Lewis kit, you'll have the most accurate loads possible, and your Python will last forever.

Among the "expedient" or "Billy Bob" cleaning methods that I've seen cause damage to guns are:
Shooting jacketed bullets after lead to "blow the lead out".
(This one can blow a ring or bulge in the bore, and in any case, actually "irons" the lead into the bore, making it harder to remove).

Using steel wool.

Using vinegar as a bore solvent. (EATS bluing).

Using mercury. (Eats YOU).

I've never been able to fathom WHY someone would risk an expensive gun to save a few cents on proper equipment and chemicals.
 

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'Back in the day'??? /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I've been shooting .38 wadcutters in bullseye competition my entire adult life and they still work great! The thing about lead build up is really nothing to worry about, but keep an oily rag with your kit to wipe off the outside of your Python right after you get done shooting.



The wadcutter bullets that work best would be of the hollow base variety, the hollow base allows the bullet to expand slightly into the rifling for the best accuracy. These are some Remington factory made HBWC's:


And they make nice clean .38 holes in paper like these:


2.7 grains of Bullseye powder with the 148 grain HBWC has always been the 'standard' load, but 3.2 grains of Winchester 231 works just fine too, I load them by the thousands.
 

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It's not rocket science, but there are a few basic rules that must be followed when loading lead bullets. Swaged (pure soft lead) lead bullets can not be pushed to high velocity. This is extremely important with hollowbase bullets. Be sure the bullets are sized correctly. It's better to be a little oversized than undersized. Be sure your lube is up to the task at hand.
Now if you are buying factory WC, SWC, or RN you should have no problem as the velocity of these loads are kept low. Some of the other companies loading lead bullets I am cautious of as they just order bulk bullets which could or couldn't be sized correctly or have the right lube for their loading application.
Ideally you should reload and use swaged bullets or cast your own bullets (for hard cast bullets). An option for the non-caster is to buy bullets from companies where you can order bullets sized to your specification and request what lube you want. It maybe a little more expensive, but it's amazing just how accurate lead bullets are when they are tailored to the gun and load application not to mention they won't lead the bore.
Many who have given the advice not to use lead bullets have either 1) never used lead bullets and repeat what they have heard, 2) didn't understand how to use the various lead bullets and created their own problem, but blamed the problem on the bullet.
 

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At the indoor range I been frequenting lately I haven't the option to shoot lead,so I shoot 125gr JHP made by Remington.I shoot 38 special brass with HP-38 powder.When I have the luxery to shoot lead I have some Elmer Keith 158gr Linotype bullets that I season for 30 days,pressed through a Lyman 450 sizer to .358...one thousand bigger then a JHP would be.That's when I like to go 357 magnum,to shoot lead..anyway what I am saying,it is kinda like rocket science if you're going lead.I suggest if you decide to go lead go to some forum sites and learn reloading with cast bullets.It's a whole lot more fun to do your own.There you can learn about the different qualities of lead and linotype,how to heat treat your bullets if no linotype,why you need to season them,the lube qualities,and the sizeing press and molds you might want to own.You can do lead on the cheap,or invest in the right equipment and have it for a lifetime.I know I have enough lead and lintype to make maybe 50,000 bullets,I'm guessing.But I also have good money tied up in molds,and stuff that it takes to make my own great cast bullets...I was also blessed with some people who love to shoot from Nebraska and didn't have enough money to buy those fancy boat tail screamers for their huntin rifles.They make Sargent York look like a plinker.Here is a good site to look at 1st.

http://www.graybeardoutdoors.com/phpbb2/archive

And remember,when you're dealing with reloaders you have so many different ways of doing stuff,that you'll want to come back here and just lay back for the relaxation and one way answers that you don't get at the reloader forums.
 

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What I heard from one fellow - was that the shooting .38 Special hollow base waddcutters from .357 chamber could destroy it. He described the action like this : after the ingnition the bullet leaves the cartridge and immediately increases it's diameter (hollow base expands) up to chamber diameter. Then the bullets is pushed to the chamber 'throat' so it has to resize itself and it's a moment when the pressure jumps very high and can exceed (!) even the 357 Magnum loads pressure.
That's the moment when the chamber/cylinder could be destroyed.
Is it true or not (what d'you think?) I rather reload .38 wadcutters into 357 brass.
 

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i would avoid extremly light loads in the longer 357 case, however shooting large amounts of shorter .38 `s in a 357 chamber is also not advisable. remember it is a 357 gun and designed for that cart. if i was serious about paper shooting i would suggest a .38 python target gun, they did make them and they are designed exactly for that purpose.just my 2 cents.
 
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