357 mag revolver optimized for cast lead bullets??

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oldcrab

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 23, 2022
Messages
27
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Hi,
Do you folks know of any 357 mag revolvers (Ruger, S&W, other) which have been intentionally factory-optimized for cast lead bullets?
(throats slightly bigger than bore; 11 degree forcing cone; slight taper to barrel; etc)

I have read the product literature I could find on the internet, and nothing speaks directly to optimizing the revolver for lead.

Thanks!

Crab
 

dannyd

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 10, 2016
Messages
767
Location
Jacksonville, Florida
The only revolver you may find that will say it's designed for cast bullets would be a 19th century replica.

But most revolvers shot cast bullets well especially Rugers my GP and Blackhawks have over 150,000 cast bullets rounds on them. They all shoot about like this.

82620377-2730-4873-8509-3A9559A6F8F6.jpeg
 

noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
413
Location
Sheridan, WY
I have- or have had- Ruger SP101s, Blackhawks, GP100s, and Vaqueros chambered in 357 Magnum. None of them had any work done to chamber throats or forcing cones, and all shot cast bullets better than I could hold. Most of them were fed my hand-cast bullets, but the GP100 was my PPC gun and it got store-bought HBWCs for competition. I started winning trophies as soon as I sold my S&W 686 and went to the GP...it was that much better stock with cast bullets.

Honestly, using flat base, fairly soft cast bullets negates the need for many of the "optimizations" you list, although a Taylor throat can help if there is a bit of barrel thread choke, which can really hurt cast bullet accuracy.
 

Paul B

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
1,725
Location
Tucson, AZ
"Hi,
Do you folks know of any 357 mag revolvers (Ruger, S&W, other) which have been intentionally factory-optimized for cast lead bullets?
(throats slightly bigger than bore; 11 degree forcing cone; slight taper to barrel; etc)

I have read the product literature I could find on the internet, and nothing speaks directly to optimizing the revolver for lead."

Frankly, I doubt if you ever will. While you can still buy factory loads with lead bullet remember, most if not all firearms manufacturers will void their warranty if you use handloaded ammo.

With that said, just about all I run in any of my handguns are my own cast lead bullets. Some of those handguns were used strictly for defense against certain wild animals while out on hikes. Sometimes they were used to do a finishing shot on a game animal. Fortunately only one serious incident and that was with a Black Bear many years ago. Gun was a 6" .38 Special with some very hot hand loads. (38/44 Outdoorsman with 38/44 level loads. Currently would probably be considered +P+ level. Cartridge was the forerunner to the .357 Mag. in the early 1930s.) Worked just fine.
Paul B.
 

Bigbore5

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
31
Location
Stanley NC
Ruger Blackhawk old model. Almost all 357 was cast swc back then. All have sweet triggers from the factory and I have never had an inaccurate one that was in good condition.
 

TPopkin

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 22, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Silver Spring, Maryland
My Ruger were fine with Cast Keith bullets, but of my S&Ws, the Registered Magnum i have from 1935 is stellar... I am shooting groups of 1.4" @ 50 yds. from a rest. It is also unreal with .38 wadcutters at 25yds....all touching and 5 shot groups can be covered with a 1/2 dollar.
 

arcee

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
32
Take any s/a Ruger and go to a gun smith with a bag of the cast boolits you want to shoot. Start at the cylinder and have the chambers reamed to allow your cast boolit to exit the cylinder without being compressed. Have the cylinder gap set to whatever you want but remember too tight a gap is not always a good thing. Have the barrel throated to the boolit diameter so that your final boolit sizing is not destroyed as it transitions into the lands and grooves. The lands and grooves will be good as they are.
You now have a s/a Ruger optimized to shoot cast lead. It will still work fine with your factory jackets and all the above is not terribly expensive.
v/r r
 
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Hvymax

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 30, 2022
Messages
904
Location
Maryland
A lapped Douglas Micro Grooveish, moly coated barrel is the best I have seen for cast bullets. They're easily fitted in Dan Wesson's. Lapping and Molly coating keeps the barrel from fouling. I hate it when I have coils of lead coming out of the end of the barrel.
 

Hvymax

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 30, 2022
Messages
904
Location
Maryland
Take any s/a Ruger and go to a gun smith with a bag of the cast boolits you want to shoot. Start at the cylinder and have the chambers reamed to allow your cast boolit to exit the cylinder without being compressed. Have the cylinder gap set to whatever you want but remember too tight a gap is not always a good thing. Have the barrel throated to the boolit diameter so that your final boolit sizing is not destroyed as it transitions into the lands and grooves. The lands and grooves will be good as they are.
You now have a s/a Ruger optimized to shoot cast lead. It will still work fine with your factory jackets and all the above is not terribly expensive.
v/r r
Like with 1858 Remington's. It's got a 44 cylinder and a 45 bore. The cylinders need bored to match for maximum accuracy.
 

Have gun-will travel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
136
Location
Townsville,[email protected] Kerr Lake,near Va.border
I have a S&W mod 19 that has over 25,000 rounds of 158 Keith style hard cast boolits shot through it. Cylinder was a little loose so it was sent back to Smith & Wesson for repair. When it came back it was better than new . Shot several thousand more rounds thru it still no looseness. Then . I bought a 586 L frame . And it has more than 18 thousand 158 grain cast boolits thru it with no damage. I also know where a old model super Blackhawk that has 30,000 240 gr Keith bullets over 22 grains of 2400 powder. It's never been touched or modified and is like new. It was my uncles gun . He shot it and it's the gun his son and myself learned to shoot on. We shot that gun all day on Saturdays and Sundays for 4 or five years till I was old enough to buy my own gun which was the model 19 .When I became a police officer and made the department pistol team I shot 5000 rounds of department issued practice ammo and and 3000 rounds of factory match ammo a year thru that 19 before retiring it and started shooting the 586 for a few years . I also had Bill Davis to build me a custom PPC revolver using a model 13 Smith as the starting point. Using these Three Smith's I managed to make the N C governor's twenty 15 of the 16 years that I completed.
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,369
Location
Butte, MT
I don't know why they NEED to be optimized.
Only when you 'know' you have problem and/or the revolver is not shooting well. Then you must chase down the 'why'. However, there is 'nothing' wrong with wanting an 'optimized' revolver because those optimizations will 'never' hurt accuracy or cause leading, but can only help. I've optimized my .45 Colts for that very reason. Some required it, some I could have left alone ... but I know all shoot the best they can now. One of my original Vaqueros 'needed' it. I opened up the throats and cut the forcing cone to 11 degrees, and then firelapped it as well. My group size was cut in half and changed the POI. Worth it. No different that tuning a revolver... Not needed, but boy it can help tighten the groups a bit. Makes the gun even 'feel' better all around..... Win Win. Now, my New Model .357 flattop did not need optimizing. The bullet passed the throat with just finger pressure, so throats are good. And groups on target showed it too. No leading, so no real barrel restrictions, all good. Still had it 'tuned' of course. Each gun is different though.
 

BBarn

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 7, 2021
Messages
19
Location
Ohio
All of the half dozen or so NM stainless Blackhawks I've owned had varying degrees of barrel restriction at the threads. As a result, they had varying tendencies to lead the first inch or so of the barrel when using cast bullets. No problems with jacketed or plated.
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,369
Location
Butte, MT
All have sweet triggers from the factory
Where do you find these guns? :) Every single one of my NM SA Rugers (and I have quite a few) have/had at least 4# to 6# trigger pulls with very discernible creep. I've had to do the poor man's trigger job on some and then professionally tuned on others for acceptable trigger action. I just acquired a MKIV Hunter a while back. Worst trigger yet. At least 6# to release the trigger. I have just ordered an accurizing kit for it to get it down to ~2# (so they say). My old Mark II was 'ok' from the factory which is about the only one that was acceptable.
 
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Paul B

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
1,725
Location
Tucson, AZ
"I have been lead to believe that the 11* forcing cone is necessary for wad cutters and semi wad cutters but not on round nose lead bullets. Your thoughts."

AFAIK, none of my revolvers have had that done although I suspect possibly my S&W model 27 may have had that done. Somebody worked that gun over internally big time and is the slickest handgun I own. It's almost too nice to shoot.

All I shoot in my revolvers are wadcutters and semi-wadcutter lead bullets and have had absolutely no problems shooting those two types of lead bullets. Whether having that done is actually an improvement or not is something I am unable to verify.
Paul B.
 
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