Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reloading question.

Has anyone out there trimmed .357 cases down to .38 Special length? It seems like a PTA but if we run short of .38 Special cases (which we might) and have a surplus of .357 (which we do) I'm just wondering if that is a viable option. Anybody have experience with that?


Anonymous said...

Shoot and reload both .357 and .38 and, though I personally haven't done this, can't see any reason why it wouldn't work. Good luck, Sir.

Anonymous said...

Depends if they are for use in 38 Special or 357 Mag chambered revolvers.

If for use in 357 Mag chambers just load to 38 Special levels in 357 Mag cases as this prevents the 'black ring' which builds up in the area left uncovered by the shorter 38 Special case.

Never have cut down 357 Mag cases to 38 Special lengths but I guess it is possible if you have only a 38 Special chambered revolver - just check wall thickness incase there is a bulge where the setback projectile sits in its new position.

Hell! Do ten or a dozen and make sure they chamber easily!



Unknown said...

No problem, depending on what you have for a trimmer. You have to take .14" off, down to 1.15" IIRC. I wouldn't want to do many of them with my hand cranked trimmer.


Unknown said...

No problem, depending on what you have for a trimmer. I wouldn't want to take that much of with my little hand trimmer.


TinCan Assassin said...

It can be done, but you'll want a carbide cutter and one of those power trimmers or maybe one you can chuck up in a drill

Anonymous said...

Yes, you can trim them down. It is the same case, just longer. You will need to remove around 0.135 to reach an overall length of 1.155 inches.

This could be a lot of cranking on your typical case trimmer. I use a small 6" cutoff saw, that I got from Harbor Freight, to rough cut .223 brass for remaking into 300 AAC Blackout.

You just need to leave enough material to get a good final finish from your case length trimmer.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if it would work. Might want to sacrifice a .357 case and saw it in half lengthwise to see what the thickness is lower down (at .38 Special length) vs at the case mouth where the bullet is seated. If the case thickness (where it would be if at .38 Special length) is too thick, the bullets won't seat properly.

Clear as mud?

B Woodman

Skip said...

Trade them.

Anonymous said...

.357 mag cases are worth more than .38 special cases. You should have no trouble getting people to swap- And it will be less of a chore than trimming 1/8" off many cases. Plus it would be best to not have the cases incorrectly headstamped if someone else gets their hands on them.

Go here and make an offer to trade even with both parties paying postage:

Eric said...

It shouldn't be a problem. There are quite a few posts on the topic. The first result at the S&W forum makes an important point-

There is less .357 brass out there, so you should be able to trade your brass for a greater number of .38 brass in return.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have done it. The cases are identical except for the length.

Carteach said...

Done it? No. There always seems to be plenty of .38 brass available.

Could it be done? Yes. The best way I can think of would be to acquire a .38 special trim die, and a good quality fine draw file.

If you run low on .38 brass, give me a holler. I usually have a hundred or two to spare.

Anonymous said...

Segregate your cases by headstamp and try a few first. There may be a wall thickness issue.

If they chamber ok, shoot a couple and look for pressure signs - flattened or cratered primers.

Otherwise, find someone who will trade you 357 cases for 38 spl.

avordvet said...

Pain in the butt, but a viable option, cases are identical but for length.

Anonymous said...

You can, but it is a pain in the ass, better to trade them if you can.

My brother and I did it in a pinch a few years back, (when the Kenyan usurper stole office).
You have to trim off around .135 I believe, and the .357 case will be thicker at that length than the .38. So you have to make sure that a cast bullet you select isn't ever so slightly over .357, as it can bulge when seated due to the thicker brass and not chamber in some pistols.


Scott J said...

It would probably be easier to trade some .357 for .38. I'm sure there are folks out there willing to make that deal.

Anonymous said...

Trade 'em. Should get more .38's in return. I just primed all my .38's or I'd trade with you (can't mail primed cases.)

As others have said, the thicker case wall won't work with cast boolits.


Anonymous said...

Just load the .357 cases you have to .357 specs. Then take your "excess" .357 ammo to next gun show and sell them for a fair price. Then take the money and buy some good-but-cheap .38 special ammo. AlabamaAmmo comes to mind for the .38 special, or buy zero brand reloads in .38 special. That makes more sense to me than cutting down .357 cases. Better still, get a .357 revolver and use the .357 ammo. I would rather do that than use wrongly-headstamped ammo in a .38 special revolver.
- Old Greybeard

Anonymous said...

Another option to consider is loading the .38 spl to a +P+ loading. When the bedwetters here in my state started soiling their diapers when our State Police wanted to ditch the .38 spl revolver to upgrade to .357 the uproar was mostly from the race pimps in Detoilet and Flint. The solution was to purchase what was essentially a .357 load in a .38 spl case. I have loaded my self defense loads for years to this spec. I still have my first revolver a S&W model 15-3 and have fired thousands of rounds of this ammo through it over the years with no ill effects. At one time Speer offered the loading to the civilian market. I use the 125 gr hollow point bullet and Unique for a propellant. Always use caution when approaching max loads.

Anonymous said...

I will trade you all the .357 brass that you have for .38 special brass.

True Blue said...

Can you just load them with wadcutters flush to the top of the brass using whatever your powder load is for .38 spec? Or 7mm Sabots maybe?

Anonymous said...

Yep. It's a PITA. Either load them for trading w/someone using the cartridge or as they are for trade.

Cut down .357 once for to try and see. They work-seen enough.