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Trying to find a good target load for my 686.

I have a 7" barreled model 686 and I have been trying to find an accurate load for 50 yard bench shooting. Today I found a box of 38 Specials that I had made way back in 2011 using Berry's 148 grain double end wadcutter and 3.5 grains of 231. This load was extremely accurate, way more accurate than any 357 load I have tried in the past. I am concerned about shooting just 38's in the 357 revolver as I have read that a ring will form making it hard to chamber 357 loads. Can I use that same load, 148 grain wadcutter with 3.5 of 231 in a 357 mag case and expect similar accuracy or do I need to bump up the powder weight due to the longer 357 case? Thanks!


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    navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,221 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2022

    Don't worry about the "ring" in the chamber shooting .38 Special loads in a .357 Mag. Proper cleaning will prevent any build-up. 231 powder does not seem to be recommended in .357 Magnum cases, but may work perfectly well for target loads. The only way to see if there is a change in accuracy is by testing. I doubt there will be any detectable difference. If you have a good accurate load stick with it.

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    bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,657 ✭✭✭✭

    It is most likely the bullet choice over the powder load in the 38 case. Being a shorter case the bullet has more room to wander before hitting the rifling when shot out of 38 cases. Shooting that same bullet with a couple of tenths more powder to make up for the extra case length should compensate for the pressure and give your bullets a better start to the forcing cone and rifling.

    Let us know how it turns out. My 6" 686 is my favorite handgun.

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    CS8161CS8161 Member Posts: 13,595 ✭✭✭

    I upped the powder charge from 3.5 of 231 to 4.2 of 231 in the longer magnum case and got excellent results at 50 yards! I'm sticking with this load for this particular revolver!

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    bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,657 ✭✭✭✭

    My long time favorite load for the .357 mag is 6.0 of Unique. It seems to be a go-too accurate load that does not bust your wrist when shooting it.

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