FAQ #1 (.38 vs. .357 cases)

Subject: .38 & .357 cases

Question from “Kevin Sedota” March 8, 1996

You seems to have fairly extensive experience with 38 and 357. I got some cylinder erosion in a S&W mdl 19 by shooting mostly 38s. I don’t want the same thing to happen with my other 357s so I was told that I should use 357 cases when even loading 38 power loads.

In your experience do you need to increase the powder measure any when you do this?

thanks, kjs

Dear Kevin:

Well, I do both…and shoot both .38 special AND .357 rounds in my guns and clean them well after every use. But, sure, it would be better to use .357 cases in a .357 gun than the shorter special cases, and just load them down to .38 special velocities. That would be absolutely ideal. It’s just that I buy re-loads often in .38 special and have so much brass, I have to use it. Your experience with erosion is very interesting and I may want to look into that situation further. Thanks for the comments and bringing it to my attention.

I would NOT change the load just for case size change. The dynamics of burning rates of modern powders is certainly affected by case volumn, and it would change a “little” bit, but not enough for you to likely tell the difference. But, hey….try it. Put the exact same load and bullet in both .38 and .357 cases (say about 25 rounds) and shoot them interchangeably….and see if YOU can tell the difference. I don’t think, short of measuring it with a chronograph, you will see enough difference to matter very much. The larger case should have a “hair” slower burning rate than the smaller case. Regards, MDS

FAQ #2 (other reloading factors )

From: ALLEN CAMPBELL March 5, 1996
How about some .300 win. mag. loads? 25.06 loads.
What mfg bullets used in your article.
Why no 4350 or 4831?
What bbl length?
WE SEEM TO BE A BIT LAX ON THE INFO as far as bullet mfg and bbl length. BIG FACTORS! what make of rifle and seating depth?


Allen: I appreciate all input about my reloading pages. I understand all these factors about bbl length, etc. contribute to ACTUAL velocity, and all I did was put the powder mfgs. loads there. I am currently adding loads for other calibers. I have the .300 Win. Mag. on the list. I am adding other powders from other companies even today. The first addition will be a “Powder Discussion Page” listing 5 manufacturers, their complete line and the powders I have experience with and in some cases will just list what is in the makers reloading manual directly (and will indicate such).

With most of the loads and bullets I have listed, they are seated to the crimp ring or seated to the usual depth of similar commercial ammo. With the powders involved, seating depth will not be very much of a factor. I really don’t want to get too technical for the novice reloader which is what my pages are “aimed” at reaching. I know that there are full BOOKS written on some of these specific subjects, and I certainly don’t want to open up a can of worms.

Glad you had a chance to check out the pages. did you look at the bottom section on tools, steps, etc?

Regards, M.D.

FAQ #3 (barrel bedding )

Date: Thu, 14 Mar 96 10:59:09 PST From “PAT”
Subject: Re: Reloading question Pat: Thanks again for the nice comments you made on my web page(s).
I can see you are on top of a variety of things that could affect grouping. My advice was going to be to bolt the rifle in a vise and try shorter ranges for grouping to see if you could eliminate some areas that might be causing the problem. In any event, it sounds like you are onto the problems. Best regards, MDS


Thanks for responding to my question. I have since found the link to Shooters Online Services on your page, and posted my question there in their benchrest clubhouse. I should get some information from there – I hope. I have had this 3 shot/2 shot and 4 shot/ 1 flyer problem with other rifles and have never been quite able to solve or understand it with to my satisfaction. As a result, I have traded those rifles for others – getting rid of the problem the easy way. I have been shooting/hunting for most of my 49 years and reloading for the last 16 years ( 8 years for rifle). The Remington 700 BDL sporter in .223 that is giving me this trouble now is a new acquisition and I don’t want to give up on it – I want to understand and solve the problem if possible. The reading that I have done suggests that the burning properties of certain powders in certain barrels, or primer selection, or bedding could be responsible, also the barrel itself. This rifle also has a very heavy ( 5+ lbs) trigger pull with slight – and annoying – creep. This is also probably a contributing factor. I guess that what I am looking for is someone with more knowledge than I have to point out the most probable cause(s) of this problem so that I don’t have to go through all of the trial and error that I have with other guns – could be just laziness. Anyway, thanks again for your reply. Between your page and Shooters, I cannot think of any more firearms related links that I could want.

Pat P.S. My favorite recipe for the .22-250 is 35.5 grains of AA2520 with Federal 210 primers and any 55 grain bullet for about 3650 fps.

FAQ #4 (.45 ACP Loads )

Date: Thu, 14 Mar 96 14:19:57 PST
Subject: RE: .45 ACP load
From Robert Kelly
A good load that we use for IPSC shooting in the .45 ACP is 200gr. SWC over 5.5 gr of W231. This produces 885 fps in a 5″ barrel. This is a farily low recoil load and is accurate. This bullet weight and velocity provide a power factor of 177.

robert kelly
charter member of rolla net
nra uspsa

Robert: Thanks very much for that input on the .45 ACP. That is one of my favorite calibers and I just bought another .45 today. It was obtained by my gun shop from WalMart when they went out of the pistol business. It’s a Spanish .45 auto, but was brand new and just $190. Looking forward to trying out some different loads on this one after the 5 day waiting period. What brand is W231 ? Also, I note you are using a power factor calculation. I have seen these before, but not sure of the significance…what is a good range, bad range, etc?

That might be an interesting addition to my shooting site web pages and I welcome all comments and input like yours. Thanks again. By the way, where are you located?

Regards, M.D.

[Note: I have since obtained some Winchester 231 and use it in pistol loads.]

FAQ #5 (.45 Loads & Power Factor)

Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 07:16:18

W231 is Winchester 231. It is a ball powder. The power factor refers to the bullet weight X velocity divided by 100.

(Weight * Velocity) / 100

To shoot IPSC the bullet power factor must exceed 125. For power factors that are at least 125 but less than 175, the shooter is consisdered MINOR. Power factors that are at 175 or above arc considered MAJOR. The difference is that in scoring the targets, the shots outside the A-zone count one point less for minor. Scoring of an IPSC target is as follows:



A 5 5
B 4 3
C 4 3
D 3 2

The idea behind this is the principal upon which the competition of IPSC shooting founded, DVC. DVC is latin for Accuracy, Power, Speed. The accuracy comes with the goal of hitting the A-zone. Power comes from giving more points for B,C, and D hits due to the power of the gun and the greater difficulty of keeping the shots on target with a higher recoil gun. The speed comes into play once all the points for shots are added. The points are totaled and then divided by the time. This gives a hit factor which is actually how the shooters are scored. The higher hit factors win.

I have been shooting IPSC for a couple of years now and just recently moved from a minor gun (9mm – 147 gr bullet at 860fps – power factor 126.4) to the and tested by many shooters including the #3 ranked shooter in the world (who happens to have shot at our club once last year).

I belong to the Central Ozark Practical Shooters, in Central Missouri. Our range is located west of Rolla Missouri, in the eastern part of Phelps County. I am the treasures of the club. We host IPSC matches the first Sunday of each month. Matches are open to any one who is interested in shooting. If you are intersted in IPSC shooting, there is a page dedicated to IPCS shooting in the US called the USPSA page. USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) is the US organization governing the sport. Their page is:


In it you will find inforamtion about the sport including rules, scoring, targets, where clubs are located, etc…

Hope this helps.

robert kelly
nra uspsa

FAQ #6 (H110 and W296 Powders)

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 96 16:15:26 PST


If you are going to have a reloading page don’t neglect the best powders. Hodgdons H110 and Winchester 296 are the powders of choice for cartridges such as the 357 mag and the 44 mag. Highest velocity with lest pressure, easy to throw from a powder measure.

I do include some of the Hodgdon and Winchester powders, but I can’t use all of them…if I put every flavor of every brand on my reload pages, it would fill several books…so I just have to pick a couple of the most versatile, that an average reloader might have in their cupboard. I always try to pick powders that are used for the most calibers, rather than caliber-specific flavors. I am sure you are right about these two below, and I will keep them in mind when I update the powder pages. I will also include your comments in my soon-to-be discussion pages of Relaoding FAQ’s. Regards and thanks for the comments. MDS

FAQ #7 (.45 Colt in Rifles)

Date: Sun, 17 Mar 96 14:38:35 PST

From: FunShoot@aol.com

I am new to the net and was pleased to find your page. Keep up the good work. Do you have any data on using the 45 Colt in the Winchester lever action Trapper ? This would be interesting to Cowboy Action shooters.

Of course you can use any loads for the .45 Colt in the Winchester rifle. As far as loads specifically for it, I have never seen any. I have a .357 Marlin rifle that I shoot my pistol rounds in, and I just always use the loads for the .357 that are shown. I suppose the rifle could support a slightly heavier load, but it might get in a pistol by mistake and be bad news.

And I guess the rifle could certainly use slower burning powder with that long barrel, but then that would not work in a 5″ pistol barrel well at all.

So, better just stick to the published loads for the handgun. There are sites for Cowboy Action shooting on my links page and you would enjoy visiting.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #8 (About the reloading pages )

Date: Sun, 24 Mar 96 13:39:16 PST

From: Mike DeClue

Good job!

There will be a lot of uninitated in the firearm sports that will see your work. It is done clearly, accurately and with good taste. And I might add, enough detailed information that kept me reading on. Thanks.

Mike: Thanks for the nice comments on the firearms reloading site I have been working on. I still have a lot more things I plan to do with it, and the pages keep growing. Yes, I am trying to add enough detail to be interesting, generally for the new reloaders, without making a book out of the thing. I plan to add more resource info, like manufacturers, outlets for mail order, and places to go for more information, besides the web. Thanks again.

Regards, M.D.

FAQ #9, #10(.40 S&W ; Vitavuori Powders )

Date: Mon, 25 Mar 96 18:33:10 CST

From: “Roy Stedman”

Subject: Reloading page- .40 S&W loads..

If you are collecting loads for the .40 S&W, I’ve just finished chronoing some loads using Vitavuori N350. 6.0gr with a 180gr FMJ runs 950fps, 6.0gr under a 200gr JHP also runs 950fps [book maximum]. 6.4gr under the 180gr FMJ runs about 1000fps. Note that these loads are out of a 5″ barreled STI 2011. Also, the OAL for these loads was 1.210″ because longer loads work better in my STI.

Factory Winchester 180gr ball (white box) runs about 1000fps out of a 5″ barrel.

– roy

[I said: ] Roy, thank you very much for the info…Yes, I am planning on adding info such as you have submitted. Thanks very much for the info. I need to get a chrono myself, what kind did you use? I will include your info next time I update the page. You are one of the first I have seen using Vitavuori powders.

Thanks, MDS

This was using a Chrony of some sort at a local IPSC match. I’ve just discovered that our club has an Oehler for use that I’ll have to start playing with. I like the Vitavuori powders because they are really clean. Unfortunately they are also kinda expensive. N350 is one of the cleanest powders I’ve met, with the possible exception of H110 at high pressures. IPSC types around here are keen on VV powder for that reason.

– roy

FAQ #11 (Win 296 Powder )

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 96 19:54:20 PST

From: Jane Thorpe

You might want to give Win 296 – 23gr with a hard cast (8% antimony)SWC and WLP primers. For those of us around here it has proven extremely accurate in everything from Contenders to Dan Wessons.


Thanks Janie, I appreciate all input and suggestions. I have a lot of different powders, but no 296. But I will check it out in the winchester book and perhaps add it to the 44 mag loads in my listings. Thanks again for the info. Any idea about the FPS on that load? [later after checking in the book]

Winchester shows a load with 296 and a 240 gr. cast bullet of 25 grains with a velocity of 1560 FPS. So it looks like yours is just a bit shy of the max, but still should provide plenty of power. It only takes half as much of 231 to get the .44 mag going, and that would reload twice as many rounds, if that’s any factor. I can see from the Winchester Book that 296 is a good .44 magnum load and needs magnum primers.

Thanks again, good shootin’ to ya’

M.D. Smith

FAQ #12 (Bedding revisited )

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 96 15:13:54 PST

From: “Pat” Sahgph@aol.com

hey md,

Tried two different powders (AA2520 and AA2460) in Rem 700 .223 with better results than before. The gun seems to shoot 2460 pretty well. Three five shot groups- .79″, 1.04″, and 1.0″. Two of these were 3/2 groups and one was a 4/1, although they were significantly smaller than previous groups obtained. Talked to several people over the weekend who are familiar with sporter weight 700 barrells and they all suggested free floating and bedding, so, I am on to that project now. Any tips on glass bedding techniques or places to find same ? Also adjusted the trigger last night to remove creep and set weight of pull to about 2-3 lbs. I normally don’t like working with more than one variable at a time, but the trigger needed work badly and I did have a hunch that bedding could well be the majority of this rifles problem. We’ll see. Talk to you later.


You certainly seem to be on the right track. I am NOT a bedding expert by any means…it is out of my realm of experience. I do know that every factor can help/hurt grouping…but using sandbags for a bench rest and really having the rifle solid before squeezing off each shot, has always taught me a lot as I tried to get better groups. Trigger pull is always an important factor. Keep up the interesting work. By the way, in this Month’s issue of AMERICAN RIFLEMAN (April 1996) page 28 is an article on bedding called, “Free Float or Not” that you will want to read if you have not already. It was quite interesting.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #13 (30-06 125gr. load)

From: First Last @wiu.edu

I am looking for good light-weight (110-130 gr) varmint loads for the ’06. In particular, I want to use the 125gn Speer TNT.

Fellow shooter: (don’t know your name)….

Here is the info right off my 30-06 page for the 125 grain….

125 grain JSP (Sierra Spitzer Point)
IMR 4895 53.0 gr. 3,176 FPS
H4895 53.0 gr. 3,176
Reloader 7 42.0 gr. 2,915
Reloader 15 56.8 gr. 3,275
2400 30.0 gr. 2,575
H380 56.0 gr. 3,151
A2230 53.3 gr. 3,172
A2460 53.5 gr. 3,125
748 51.0 gr. 3,060
760 57.8 gr. 3,125

and I am sure you can use the same data for the 125 gr. Speer TNT. These are near maximum loads. Do not exceed the amounts unless you do it very carefully…I don’t suggest you do it at all. If you have a fairly long barrel, use a slower burning powder. You can tell from the amount…it generally takes more of a slower powder…so the 4895 or the 760 or the H380 would all be good choices. For shorter barrels, use the faster powder. Since most of these provide speeds above 3,100 FPS of muzzle velocity, I think they would all be very suitable.

Regards, MDS

FAQ #14 (.357 load questioned)

Date: Thu, 28 Mar 96 09:28:06 PST

From: “Michael J. Kibelbek”

Dear M.D. Smith,

I’m intrigued by your load recommendation of 2400, 15.2 gr., 1,535fps for 357 mag.
Is this chronographed? I understand that different guns will produce different velocities from the same components and if you say you’ve gotten this I’ll believe it.

About 5 years now I’ve been reloading 357 through my Marlin 1894 for PA deer and although I’ve accounted for 3 with as many shots, I’m still looking for the optimum and maximum load for my *rifle only*. All the manuals I’ve seen give identical loads for rifle and pistol and while I understand their liability obligations, I can’t but suspect that a slower powder could take advantage of the additional 12 inches of barrel to deliver extra performance for *rifle only*. But I know the absence of a cylinder gap in the rifle raises the pressure curve. Been using 15.7 gr of 2400 behind 158 gr JHP or JSP (Speer Loading Manual No. 10 1979 lists 15.9gr if 2400 behind 158gr jhp/jsp for 1335fps in a pistol premumably a 6″ bbl–GUNS mag Mar 1992 p 59 lists a max of 16gr 2400 behind a 158gr Lyman #358156 lead gas check for 1467fps out of a Blackhawk 4 5/8″ and calls it the original powder charge for the 357 in 1935) but I’m having occasional case head separations without other signs of overpressure (cratering, pierced primers, gas leaks,etc). I understand this is a problem with rear locking bolts such as the Marlin since they can allow too much give at firing–case wall expands and holds to chamber but head travels back against bolt allowing separation. I’ve heard that no more than one reloading of brass is suggested for 357 mag rifle.

My questions for you, if you will, would be for the maximum velocity loads for 140 and 158 gr bullets specifically for the rifle and what will be the muzzle FPS from an 18 inch barrel? Do you know of chronograph results for these loads? I believe that the 140 gr bullet may shade the 158 gr in energy but it seems to be significantly less accurate from my gun.

Thank You.

Michael J. kibelbek
Danvilla, pa

Mr. Kibelbek: Glad to hear from you. The load of 2400 was right out of the Alliant powder manual and the velocity was theirs too, for a pistol barrel I am sure. You are certainly correct that a slower burning powder in the the Alliant, Hodgdon or Accurate powder manuals (free at local gunshops) and find the slower burning powder (and usually more grains of weight for a given load) and you should have a better mix for a rifle. I think you have nailed the case problem with the rifle, and perhaps a slower powder can help that. Plus, you may want to change suppliers of your brass. All brass is not exactly the same. I have a Marlin rifle just like yours and it was used by my son for deer hunting some years ago. I have not shot it much and we often used .38 special loads in it for training him to shoot accurately. When we did use .357, it was normal loads and we never had any case damage that I could tell, but it was a long while back and I can’t remember the loads, but it probably was 2400, but also was likely not more than 14 gr. as I don’t like heavy loads in the pistol rounds.

I am assuming a 158 gr. JHP or similar and here are those loads from my pages:

Bullseye 6.8 gr. 1,250 FPS
Unique 7.8 gr. 1,280
2400 15.2 gr. 1,535
Universal 7.5 gr. 1,299
HP38 5.4 gr. 1,020
HS6 9.0 gr. 1,240
No. 2 6.9 gr. 1,088
No. 5 8.6 gr. 1,080
231 6.9 gr. 1,260

I would question Alliant’s 1,535 speed too! I like Unique and have never had a problem with this faster burning powder compared to 2400. So, I would think 2400 should be slow enuff for the magnum loads. Check out powders for the .44 mag (slow burning) and it might give you some more ideas.

Best regards, MDS