Preferred cast bullet for .38/.357 loads

Rex

Member
I cast a few 38/357 bullets and load anywhere from standard 38 special to 38-44 to mild 357 and a few heavier 357s. What would your preferred cast bullet for these loads be if you had to pick one or two or maybe three?
 

quicksylver

Well-Known Member
Brad outside of one being a Noe mold and the other one of Tom's are they essentially the same design..but different?:headscratch:
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
One is a WFN, the other a SWC. I could use either for both but prefer the WFN for 357 mag loads and the swc for 38 special.

I was gong to use the WFN for all but the swc was too good of a deal to pass up.
 

MW65

Wetside, Oregon
I'm also a fan of 358429... But one of my favorite loads uses the 358432 wadcutter. Lots of fun!!
 

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
For high velocity loads I still prefer 358156, go figger:). I do prefer Ideal marked moulds simply because I feel Lyman was more serious about their products back then. For plainbase, I lean towards either 357446 Lyman, I think I have a small corner on them. My favorite is the '70s version with the full diameter, equal front driving band, but The ones with the smaller driving band can work well too. Honorable mention goes to SAECO 382 for 38 Spl. Wadcutters? I have a thing for double-ended wadcutters like the RCBS 140 gr, or 358063. I do have 358432 in 160 gr, but don't use it often enough. I also have a really cool Modern-Bond J358-610, but it's not a DE design. It probably will outperform all the rest of my WCs, and it's got that old-school cool factor going for it.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
The Ideal #358429 was his last bullet design except for the 41 Magnum. Even he didn't like it much and after the .357 Magnum came out and it would not work with the S&W, and he preferred the HP version rather the 173 grainer. I keep a mould for the 38/44's in a S&W 38 Heavy Duty 5 inch. In 38 special cases with 10.00 grains of new A2400, it will go 1045 f/s and shoot to point of aim. I shoot a couple of cylinders full every summer just for old times sake.
 

twodot

New Member
I am currently playing with the Lee 358-158 RF fitted with an aluminum plain base gas check in my 357mag.
Jury is still out.
..
 

waco

Springfield, Oregon
I am currently playing with the Lee 358-158 RF fitted with an aluminum plain base gas check in my 357mag.
Jury is still out.
..
Twodot. What are you shooting these out of? Is the load in need of a gas check?
Just asking...:)
 

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
The Ideal #358429 was his last bullet design except for the 41 Magnum. Even he didn't like it much and after the .357 Magnum came out and it would not work with the S&W, and he preferred the HP version rather the 173 grainer. I keep a mould for the 38/44's in a S&W 38 Heavy Duty 5 inch. In 38 special cases with 10.00 grains of new A2400, it will go 1045 f/s and shoot to point of aim. I shoot a couple of cylinders full every summer just for old times sake.
I keep three 358429s, all single cavity moulds. One early, early Ideal with no venting and a square lube groove, another nearly identical Ideal, but with a rounded lube groove, and a vented Ideal 358439 hollowpoint. I've used the 439 quite a bit, but haven't cast with the other two yet. I really need to pour some samples from them to verify weight & diameter. You might get the idea that I have a lot of 357 moulds, and I really do.
 

Rex

Member
I am glad to see the 357446 mentioned. Usually there is only negatives with this bullet. I have a U357446 2 hole Ideal mold that drops a bullet that I like a lot. My S&W 686 has really tight throats and the "U" bullet still needs sized down some. Right now I'm trying that bullet with 12 grains 2400 in a 357 case...….if it ever warms up.
 

CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
1st place is a "tie" between Lymans #358477 and #358429. 2nd place is Lyman #358156. 3rd place is the Lee Group Buy C358-180-Round Flat Nose from about 15 years ago. This last one is a KICK-ASPIRATIONS bullet in heavy 357 loads in the Henry Big Boy and the Ruger BisHawk x 7.5".
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
One I have used in the past is a three cavity Cramer 150 grain SWC "Phil Sharp" bullet. It and the 358477 and RCBS 150 grain SWC are all pretty much the same, depending upon the individual mould. While it was made it for the 357, it always leaded badly for me. But it was a nice 800 f/s 38 special bullet. Pretty much gone to WC's for 38 plinkers now.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
RCBS 38-150-K, kind of a Keith, renamed 38-150-SWC in later years is superb. Nearly identical
Lyman 357477 is also wonderful. Final recommendation, other than H&G 50 and
a few other full WCs, is the Lee 38 158 RF, shoots really well in my guns, an LBT
style.

Looks like Ric and I are in agreement on two of them, plus the WCs.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Pistolero, In my old age, I like to plink and only secondarily shoot vermin with the pistols. It is mostly fun thinking about when the kids were little, in the 1970's, and pistol shooting was every week, fun for the family. Now it is me and another bunch of old curmudgeons drinking coffee and shooting ten rounds at a rock. Ric
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
I've shot so many 477's in 38 cases I couldn't even start to count the number.
the 358091 has started to be a low velocity favorite when I just want to make holes in paper, but it has also done better than I thought it would when it's been pushed pretty hard.
the majority though still are the 477's.
I also use the 35866 sumthin [rnfp] in the lever guns.
I shoot it in the revolvers occasionally but 7grs. of herco is pretty loud, compared to 6grs of unique or bullseye in them.

the other one I shoot quite a bit is an NOE 140gr 8mm bullet I squish up to 358 in the old C&H swage press.
I wipe the T/L grooves with lanolin swage lube before swaging them up then toss them in some mica dust from the die and shoot them.
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
Okay, I missed the "pick 2 or 3" part of the OP. The 358156, 358477, H+G 50WC get then nod for a lot of my 38 and 357 revolver shooting. There's nothing wrong with a lot of other designs, I just find those 3 cover everything from snubbies to N frames. In heavier longer barreled revovlers, like a Blackhawk for instance, a 358429 or something in the 180ish gr category can work. That's a little heavy for me in N frames and certainly in K frames. Maybe if I have an L frame I'd try it.