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I use them so I don't have to adjust my sizing, belling, and crimping dies to load 38 Special cases.
You could just buy another set of dies ;) . Problem solved. That is what I did for .44 Special and .44 Mag as I load for both cartridges and have both .44 Special and .44 Magnum revolvers. Got tired of 'adjusting' :) .
 

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I must be the only person that has never had problems with the dreaded "carbon ring". I have shot thousands of 38spl loads through the .357 I got in 1980 without issue. Of course, I clean my gun every range trip. Use .357 mag data in .357 cases. I enjoy .357 loads using 158gr SWC bullets and Unique powder for easy shooting magnum loads.
I l8ke th
You could just buy another set of dies ;) . Problem solved. That is what I did for .44 Special and .44 Mag as I load for both cartridges and have both .44 Special and .44 Magnum revolvers. Got tired of 'adjusting' :) .
I'm not sure what the carbon ring is.
Pardon my ignorance .please explain..
Thanks.
 

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I'm not sure what the carbon ring is.
When you shoot a cartridge, there will be deposits of soot/carbon at at the front of the case in the chamber. So if you shoot a .38 special (short case), then shoot .357 (longer case), the .357 case has to 'pass' over that deposit area. That is what the carbon ring is all about.
 

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I started loading .38 Special loads in .357 Magnum cases for a different reason. I have a Rossi 92 and use it in pistol caliber class for cowboy silhouette matches. My Rossi doesn't feed .38 Spec brass as well as it does the long .357 Mag stuff. I use .357 Mag cases, CCI 500 primers. 125 gr hard cast SWC bullets and 5.3 gr of W231/HP38. These are mild loads and shoot well in the Rossi. These chronograph at 1174 fps in the 20" Rossi barrel and 824 fps in my S&W 3" Model 60.
 

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There are a number of loads in the Hornady, Speer, and Sierra load books for .357 Magnum loads with velocities in the 38 Special +P range. There are also loads available on-line in the Hodgdon and Alliant reloading guides. I use several of the loads available when using cast bullets, and for relatively low-recoil self-defense loads for my wife's Ruger SP101. I don't do these loads to get around the carbon ring issue though. I use them so I don't have to adjust my sizing, belling, and crimping dies to load 38 Special cases.
You do not have to readjust anything,


Several companies began incorporating spacers into their die sets to allow using the same dies set to cover 'special' and magnum' cartridges quite some time ago.
Redding is the only one I know of that sells the spacers (really just washers of a specific thickness) as a separate item.
You do not need to use a spacer when sizing. Set up your dies for loading .38 Special then add the appropriate spacer to load .357 magnum for the belling, seating and crimping processes.

Bruce
 

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Never used the spacer when I had to screw the dies in. Don't know why, never did. Now that I have a Hornady quick change, the spacer idea wouldn't work anyway. Buying a set of dies is just as easy ... one die set per caliber. Dies aren't that expensive considering the long term investment involved.
 

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I must be the only person that has never had problems with the dreaded "carbon ring". I have shot thousands of 38spl loads through the .357 I got in 1980 without issue. Of course, I clean my gun every range trip. Use .357 mag data in .357 cases. I enjoy .357 loads using 158gr SWC bullets and Unique powder for easy shooting magnum loads.
Same here. Clean your gun after each outing and no problems.
 

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Why not just take a look at your reloading manuals and develop a 357 load that is in the same pressure range as the 38 +P for a specific bullet, based on the published data?

Just using the 38 +P powder charge in the longer 357 case will probably cause things to drop off quite a bit.

Personally I would not even worry about the 38 +P part of this, and work up a load for 357 that I like to shoot and is accurate, which for every other pistol caliber I load is always under the published max.
 

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Also, when loading light 357 loads to mimic 38 spl loads you can avoid some irratic ignition issues and fluctiations in velocity of the small amount of powder not filling the case by using titewad powder which is not sensitive to it's proximity to the flash hole.
 

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You could just buy another set of dies ;) . Problem solved. That is what I did for .44 Special and .44 Mag as I load for both cartridges and have both .44 Special and .44 Magnum revolvers. Got tired of 'adjusting' :) .
When you load down, you don't need another set of dies. For example, when I shot IMHSA matches with my SBH, I used two different loads for the .44 magnum - .44 special type loads for the chickens and javelina (50 and 100 meters respectively), and hot .44 mag loads for the turkeys and rams (150 and 200 meters respectively). The advantage of these loads was no sight adjustment was necessary, only hold point - belly for the chickens, center for the pigs; belly for the turkeys, center for the rams. This worked very well. I was the overall champion in the first Maryland State IHMSA championship match.
 

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When you load down, you don't need another set of dies.
Agree.... I've loaded .44 Mag down to around 750fps for example... But I have .44 Special revolvers :) . So I load both cartridges -- mostly .44 Special.
 

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Personally I would not even worry about the 38 +P part of this, and work up a load for 357 that I like to shoot and is accurate, which for every other pistol caliber I load is always under the published max.
I load 38 and 38 +P cases for my Detective Special and use mostly starting loads in 357 cases for my Python.
 

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I do that all the time. 357 brass, .38
Has anybody loaded .357 Mag brass with 38 spl +P loads to get around the carbon ring issue ?
I have done for years. Not to avoid the carbon ring...that was never mentioned when I started loading in the '70s. And, I dislike resetting dies from one cartridge to another. One set of Carbide dies was all I could afford back then.
My brother-in-Law and I settled on what we called "hot .38-mild magnum loads". Neither of us had a chronograph, So we figured that "downloading" would keep us out of trouble. He did have one 2400 load that scared me though! A "hot .38" load will do anything that a person could reasonably ask, and is more pleasant to shoot than full blast 357s, although I do like Speer's 135 gr. short barrel 357 load. Patrick, Sweeney, one of Guns and Ammo's staffers, said in his first reloading manual that if you want to go from .38 Spl. to something near 357, simply pick a .38 Spl. load from a manual and add 10%. In reality, that will probably be less than loading manual starting loads for 357, and very comfortable to shoot and accurate in the bargain. 😊
 
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