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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of getting a rifle and a handgun in 357. I only will be using cast bullets made from wheel weights in both guns. My plan is to load 158 grain bullets using Unique and/or 2400. Should I get a gas checked bullet design or will plain based work?
 

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jgalar: my first thought is that you should get the gas-check design. It should shoot just as accurately from your pistol as the plain base design but should prevent leading due to the higher velocities in your rifle. HTH. Mikey.
 

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What Mickey said. You need a GC for full house loads in the rifle for sure, and maybe for the pistol. Start there. Eventually, you will get tired of GCing bullets and buy a plain base mould for plinking purposes, but you don't need to start with one.
 

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jgalar,
I have a Marlin 1894 (microgrooves) and a Security-Six, both in 357 Magnum. I really never had much problem getting the handgun to shoot most any kind of cast bullets, but the lever gun was a major problem. As a matter of fact, it took over 20 years of reloading for it, then getting discouraged, reloading for it, then getting discouraged, reloading for it, then getting discouraged—you get the picture—before I found a cast bullet that would shoot well in it. If memory serves me right (that can be a problem also!), I believe it was leftoverdj who suggested a heavier cast bullet for the Marlin. I believe he even sent me some to try. They were the Lyman 358429 cast bullet. They shot extremely well, so I purchased a new mold and have been extremely happy with the results of this bullet in the Security-Six and the Marlin 1894. It is a plain base bullet (Keith style, of course!) and I push it at 1600 fps from the Marlin. Leading is very minimal, but I admit, there is a bit right at the start of the rifling. It is a minor detail compared to the superb accuracy I get with it. It is very accurate in the Security-Six at around 1275 fps. The bullets weigh in at right around 170 grains. It might be something to think about. Good-luck…BCB
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. I happened to stop off at the local gun shop today and they had a used Ruger Blackhawk 357 with a 4 5/8 barrel that looked like new - so it followed me home. I ordered the Lee 158 gas check mold, some hornady gas checks and some brass from Midway. I figure I will start with Unique being the gun is short barreled.
 

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I shoot plain base, bevel base and gas check with both the Marlin 1894 and an FA, both in 357 and all over 1500 fps. None of them lead either gun but I have yet to find a load for the Marlin that's what I would call accurate with light bullets. (still looking)

Heavy bullets and slow powders are easy to find a good load for in either gun. Lighter bullets (and lighter loads) so far have been a bit disappointing in the Marlin. Heavy bullets in silhouette loads in the FA also shoot very well in the Marlin but I was looking for a light accurate load for the Marlin to shoot 100 meter Hunter Pistol targets.

Properly sized bullets of good alloy and leading shouldn't be a problem with most any bullet. Last weekend I picked up SAECO #396 - 180 gr TCPB. I cast a couple hundred of them today for the FA but haven't shot any yet. I currently use SAECO #399 (at 1540 fps) which is the same bullet but with a gas check. #396 should make for some interesting testing.

Rick
 

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Wheelweights

My experience has been that you can shoot wheelweights accurately BUT only at much lower pressures than you can use with linotype bullets. Thus I wouldn't have a problem using wheelweights in a 38 Special but I'm not so sure I'd want them in a 357 Magnum.
 

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Re: Wheelweights

Kenneth L. Walters said:
My experience has been that you can shoot wheelweights accurately BUT only at much lower pressures than you can use with linotype bullets. Thus I wouldn't have a problem using wheelweights in a 38 Special but I'm not so sure I'd want them in a 357 Magnum.
Gas checks and water quenching work wonders. I'm pushing 180 GCs cast of water quenched WW+2% right at 2000 fps from a .357 MAX Handi. Fifty yard group size stays right at or under 1".
 

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Kenneth L. Walters,

180 gr. Wheel weight + 3% tin heat treated to 15 to 17 BHN in a Freedom Arms 357 mag @ 1540 fps. Scoped from bench 2 and three inch groups @ 150 meters. Open sight California State Revolver Champion with a perfect 60 X 60 out to 200 meters.

7mm BR Remington XP-100 with wheel weight RCBS 145 gr @ 2180 fps and an 80 X 80 at the NRA National Championships.

Linotype shatters on steel targets and will not expand in game but it's great for murdering innocent and defenseless paper targets. :grin:

Rick
 

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This is my favorite combo, Maybe even a little overboard. I have a Marlin .357 lever gun a NEF with a .38/.357 barrell and a .357max barrell, Two Ruger Vaqureos, a Ruger GP100SS 6" and a Ruger security six 2.5" carry gun. Mostly I use the same 180gr GC mold that DJ uses and it is good deer medicine, But, I probably have 15 to 20 diffrent bullets on the shelf to choose from. BTW the .357 Magnum was designed to use heavy cast bullets like 180 and for what my opinons worth thats where it really shines, Get'em and don't worry about what others may say. 8)



Oh yea plinking with 125gr cast at 650 to 800FPS is about as cheap as shooting rimfires and I think more fun.
 

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Like CBRick I will suggest Saeco but I like bullet #354 which is a gas check version of the #353. Try it, you'll like it and it will feed in a levergun.[/color]
 

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This is the combo I've got and I enjoy several hundred, maybe several thousand rounds of it every year.

My best luck is with 158 cast bullets. I use a Lee SWC with the tumble lube design on top of HP-38 for my .38 spl level plinkers. Then I use a Lee 158 grain RNFP with 13 grains of Lil' Gun for Medium (milk jug busters). And for hot loads I use paper-patched or jacketed bullets.

Oh, and I use a 200 grain RN from a Lyman mold and 13 grains of Lil' Gun in the Ruger BH. That's a fun load.

The Lil' Gun loads push the plain and bevel based bullets along at over 1200 fps from my 6.5' revolver and ~ 1500 fps from my Model '92.

With the 200 grainers you can go full-house magnum loads without a GC because the bullet weight prevents velocity from getting too high. I think 1200 - 1300 fps is about all you should expect from a .357 pushing 200's.

Oh, and I actually go the opposite way of most guys, I soften my bullets. Put 'em in a pan, cover them with veggie oil, bake 'em at 350 in a Nesco oven in the garage for an hour, turn the oven off and let 'em cool in the oven. The oil helps slow the cooling process.

I chrono'd some 158's going along at 1900 fps from my lever action using Alliant 410. No leading, accuracy was so-so, worth a closer look.

From my paper patching experiences, I've learned that 100% density loads help prevent gas blow-by. I'm wondering why the same thinking can't be applied to naked cast bullets.
 

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.357

As to what you can do, I use the Lyman 358315, 200gr rn gc, wws + 1% Tin, 1 oz chilled shot per 8 lb alloy, water dropped, BHN 18-19, either double dipped in liquid alox or LBT blue in a .35 Whelen, I am shooting it at 2400 fps with good accuracy and no leading.
 

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I can shoot fat, heavy pb or gc to 2000 fps in my Win 94 with no leading.
Lil'Gun with the heavy bullest is really nice.
 

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Tycer,

I wonder if it's possible that the slower burn of Lil' Gun helps the bullet engrave before the real pressure kicks in. Once the bullet is engraved and rotational motion has started, the build up of pressure might not cause the bullet to jump rifling. Maybe?

What twist rate is your Win 94? My Rossi '92s have slow twists. I'm not sure what exactly, but I know that with a tight patch on a cleaning jag, the rod will not even make a complete revolution as it travels the 24" bbl. Which means the twist is slower than 1:24"! I think this may be why my levergun doesn't quite like the 200 grain slugs. It does so-so, but just can't plunk 'em in there.
 

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I did a barrel slug on my 94 that has me set the LBTs out to 1.80 OAL, rifling just barely engraving the bullet in .360 Dan Wesson brass. The action was built for a 30-30, so I have more room in the Winnie than in a Marlin. 1:16 twist rate helps on those long bullets. Don't know why Marlin does not have a faster twist, been a topic on this website before.

I don't know what to say about Lil'Gun. If I load it and 2400, and watch primer flattening and pin cratering, it looks like the Lil'Gun will run 600+fps faster than 2400 with similar case appearance.Same OAL, same WSPM primers, new Starline brass, same bullets.

Anybody out there have an explanation?

I am new to Lil'Gun and I still have quite a bit of testing to do. I've only fired some 100 rounds in 5 shot increments comparing the two. Should have some more fired in the next couple of weeks.
 

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Sorry, I wrote about Marlins because I just had a discussion with a friend comparing his 1894C to my Trapper. I've no experience with the Rossi's
 
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