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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just received Accurate Molds 36-150L 150 grain bullet mold which is “Inspired by Lyman 358477” (Bullet Design Details | Accurate Molds). I will do my first casting with my new mold this weekend.

I am looking to use the reloading data for the 358477 from the Lyman #4 cast bullet manual. Unfortunately, I don’t have an example of the original 358477 to compare to the bullets made by my mold to see how close a copy this is of the original.

One of the parameters I like to look at when using a bullet for which I do not have specific load data for is the length of the reference bullet so that I can see how deeply the bullet is seated in the case for any given cartridge OAL in the published load data so I can avoid excessive pressure due to bullets which are too deeply seated in the case.

Would it be possible for someone with the original Lyman 358477 to share with me the measured length of the bullet so I can compare it with the bullets I will cast from the 36-150L?

Thank you in advance.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I finally got the time to cast and load bullets from my new Accurate Molds 36-150L mold. As I have mentioned before it was “inspired by” the Lyman 358477.

The bullets are well formed and drop easily from the mold with only light tapping on the hinge bolt of the mold handles. The bullet length measures out at 0.635”, The bullet diameter is 0.359” which is perfect since I size them to 0.358”. They weigh in at 151 grains grains with my current alloy which is 2 parts wheel weights with 1 part Lyman #2 to sweeten it up a bit.

Disclaimer: the following discussion of load data is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation for others to follow. It is based on my personal opinions and experience. I believe it to be safe in my guns using my components and my reloading practices. Use it at your own risk.

When using bullets cast from a custom mold for which there is no published data, we often have to extrapolate from known sources of industry data which will most closely fit the bullet that we are using and not exceed safe pressures.

I have a fair amount of CFE Pistol powder on hand and chose to use the Hodgdon data for the 158 grain Hornady XTP.

38 Special +P CFE Pistol 5.4 grains OAL 1.475” crimped in the crimping groove. CCI 500 small pistol standard primer.

Accuracy testing was done with a standard (not match) Ruger GP-100 with a 4 inch barrel and a 2x scope with the revolver on sandbags.

I found the +P load of 5.4 grains of CFE Pistol to be quite accurate. A 10 shot group measured 1.5 inches in diameter with 8/10 under and inch. Velocity measured on my chronograph is 931 fps from the 4 inch GP-100 357 mag revolver.

Hickok45 shoots his “80 yard gong” which appears to be 24 inches in diameter. My gong is only 12 inches, so I figured it was fair to shoot it at 40 yards.

Standing with a two hand grip using iron sights I missed 5 times but hit it 51 times with my Ruger Blackhawk. Obviously this load is much more accurate than I can hold it unsupported using iron sights.

I am finding this load to be quite satisfactory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Accuracy testing was done with a standard (not match) Ruger GP-100 with a 4 inch barrel and a 2x scope with the revolver on sandbags.

I found the +P load of 5.4 grains of CFE Pistol to be quite accurate. A 10 shot group measured 1.5 inches in diameter with 8/10 under and inch. Velocity measured on my chronograph is 931 fps from the 4 inch GP-100 357 mag revolver.
I re-read my post and noticed that I did not give the distance for my accuracy testing. Groups were tested at 25 yards.
 

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WARNING: The practice of loading a cast lead bullet above a powder recipe designed for a copper jacket bullet of similar weight IS NOT RECOMMENDED. You could be subjecting yourself to a dangerous or deadly experience.

Here is the link to the Accurate 36-150L cast bullet:
Bullet Design Details | Accurate Molds'][URL='http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=36-150L']Bullet Design Details | Accurate Molds [/url]

and a link to the Hornady 158 gr. XTP jacketed bullet:
38 Cal .357 158 gr FP XTP® - Hornady Manufacturing, Inc'][URL='https://www.hornady.com/bullets/handgun/38-cal-357-158-gr-fp-xtp#!/']38 Cal .357 158 gr FP XTP® - Hornady Manufacturing, Inc [/url]

and a link to the Lyman #48 Reloading Manual:
Lyman 48th Reloading Handbook : Lyman : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive'][URL='https://archive.org/details/365559935-lyman-48th-reloading-handbook']Lyman 48th Reloading Handbook : Lyman : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive [/url]

The #48 Manual, p. 2004, 38 Special (p. 337 - 158 gr. Lyman mold #358665), lists no CFE powder. That is no mistake as CFE wasn't manufactured until 2012. The manual does give velocity and pressure data for "comparative" powders and from that data "inference only" can be made. Assurance cannot be made. This is one of four manuals I checked, including "The Complete Reloading Manual for the .38 Special", p. 2016, pg. 53, listing CFE for the Hornady XTP.

A 'Fast' Look at Hodgdon CFE Pistol Powder - Shooting Times'][URL='https://www.shootingtimes.com/editorial/fast-look-hodgdon-cfe-pistol-powder/99627']A 'Fast' Look at Hodgdon CFE Pistol Powder - Shooting Times [/url] wrote this:
Let's face it, some of us are speed freaks. We can't get enough. If the latest-and-greatest powder claims high velocity, it's worth a closer look. Indeed, the published numbers are impressive; with CFE Pistol claiming the highest velocities for some calibers and bullet weights among the other gunpowders listed at their website.
The caveat at GBO2 remains that while there are EXPERIENCED RELOADERS who do this with impunity - IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED - to substitute similar weight lead bullets above powder data that was designed for jacketed bullets unless YOU are willing to take responsibility for your OWN SAFETY in the act of WILDCATTING a round of ammunition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WARNING: The practice of loading a cast lead bullet above a powder recipe designed for a copper jacket bullet of similar weight IS NOT RECOMMENDED. You could be subjecting yourself to a dangerous or deadly experience.
First of all I want to say that I am not some yahoo who is trying to “hotrod” 38 ammo to unsafe levels. My goal is to find a nice low recoil plinking load that is accurate in my gun. If I need more power, I have plenty of 357 brass available.

Secondly, I did not uncritically choose to use the XTP data. While I do not have access to certified pressure testing laboratories, there are several factors that I looked at to aid my decision making process:

1. Bullet weight. My bullet is lighter than the XTP. 151 grains vs 158 grains. Studying load data from a variety of sources there is an obvious trend that lighter bullets require heavier powder charges to achieve the same pressure as heavier bullets.

2. Seating depth. The deeper the bullet is seated in the case, the higher the pressure with the same powder charge. My bullet is shorter than the XTP (0.635 vs 0.668) and seated to a greater overall length (1.475” vs 1.455”). One would expect decreased pressure with my shorter bullet which is seated out further.

3. The Hodgdon web site lists a standard pressure load for a generic “158 GR. CAST LSWC” seated to an OAL of 1.475 as 5.3 grains of CFE Pistol. My load is only 1 tenth (0.1) grain higher into the +P range and my bullet is 151 vs 158 grains. The data for the 158 grain MEI cast bullet and the 158 XTP both list a top end load of 5.0 grains for standard pressure for 38 Special. The powder charges for cast bullets are either the same or greater than the XTP in this range.

4. My revolver is a GP-100 357 magnum. This load is certainly safe in my gun. Inspecting the fired cases reveal no signs of excessive pressure. I have loaded enough magnum loads using the same CCI primers that the differences in primer flattening are quite obvious. My chronograph data for the load gives very consistent data. Average velocity for a 10 shot string was 931.8 with a standard deviation of 11.3

While I would not advocate firing any +P ammo in vintage pre-war 38 special revolvers, I only own 357 mag revolvers and do not have any 38 special ones. I not share my handloads with anyone else.


No single one of the 4 considerations listed is conclusive by itself, but I believe that all 4 of them together make a pretty good argument. I stand by my original statement that “the following discussion of load data is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation for others to follow. It is based on my personal opinions and experience. I believe it to be safe in my guns using my components and my reloading practices. Use it at your own risk.”
 
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