best loads for training
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:03 AM   #1
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Default best loads for training

Would like to get some input on best type of rounds to fire when at the range. Have recently ordered a S&W 686+ . Would like suggestions for both 357 and 38. Preferably not to pricey (just range shots), and something that will not take me three days to clean up afterward.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:22 AM   #2
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I shoot a 1911 .45 but always a quality round in a bullet weight and style I'm going to shoot for home defence or concealed carry. Speer, PMC, Federal and Remington have been my past choices for manufacturers but most top brands are clean firing and a metal jacketed round leaves less in the barrel to clean out. JMHO
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:35 PM   #3
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If he gun you have ordered is new, I would suggest firing 100-200 rounds of jacketed ammo to "smooth out" the barrel. I have found that after the initial sharpness of the rifling is smoothed out a tad they tend to lead up less with unjacketed bullets.

Generally speaking factory plain lead bullets are swaged and soft thus more prone to leading a barrell. Good quality cast bullets are much harder than swaged bullets and lead up less. I prefer 150-158 SWC cast bullets out of a .38 spl case for paper punching and plinking.

If you are concerned about the lead buildup, end the shooting session with a cylinder full of jacketed bullets to help clean things out. Get a treated lead wipe cloth (available at most good gun stores) and cut patches for cleaning the bore. These cloths will strip the lead out (you will actually see bits of lead stuck to the patch). They will also clean the black residue from the cylinder face leaving the cylinder looking new.

Don't forget to clean the charging holes (the individual chambers) very thoroughly after shooting .38 spl ammo as you will get carbon residue build up that can interfere with the chambering of magnums. I use a brass bore brush wet with Shooters Choice bore solvent and turn it a few times inside each charge hole. Never use a drill to spin the brush and do not turn the brush inside the barrel.
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Old 07-26-2008, 03:34 AM   #4
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Train like you fight.

If you want to plink, then plink. But if you are truly training, it doesn't do a whole lot of good to use a plinking round for training. In fact, it could cost you.

I train with handloads and I carry the same loads. A LSWC over 8.5 grains of AA#5. I use this load for everything I shoot with my carry piece. Even plinking.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:57 PM   #5
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Most of the UMC or White Box stuff should git the bill for most range uses, but you should get as much practice with your carry ammo as possible. The way we do it on the PD is to shoot up our duty ammo that we've been carrying to qualify, and then use cheaper stuff to go through the tactical drills and scenarios.

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Old 08-01-2008, 01:50 AM   #6
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The 357 magnum S&W 686 is a beautiful handgun. My wife and I both use 357's. If you own a 357 then shoot 357. (I have never in my entire life fired more than a couple of hundred rounds of 38 special out of any of my 357 magnum revolvers. This is because the 38 is 1/10" shorter than the 357; and, I've always been wary of, 'fire etching' the chambers.)

Following up lead bullets with a cylinder, or two, of fully jacketed rounds is a good idea; however, FMJ will NOT remove the lead buildup from the barrel or cylinder - Instead it merely irons it flat and degrades accuracy.

If I were to train students to shoot with a 357 magnum pistol by requiring them to show up at the range with $80.00-$100.00 of high quality 357 (or 38 special) self-defense ammo, believe me, I'd be left standing there on the line, all by myself, with nobody for company!

You should train with whatever cheap crappy range ammo you can afford to shoot a lot of - Period! Winchester, White Box; Remington, UMC; Mag-Tech; or Blazer, Aluminum are all good choices. Personally, I don't use lead bullets; and I don't encourage anyone else to, either. This is because I'm always around firing lines; and, over the course of my life, I've been exposed to far too much of this stuff.

Rather than lead, I recommend fully plated bullets like those available from Rainier Ballistics, or Berry Manufacturing. They can act like lead inside the barrel; but, generally, you don't get to breath in the same crap every time you fire a shot.

Once I've got a student showing good control over the pistol I'll switch him to a couple of cylinders of full-blown combat ammo at the end of the session. This technique has worked well for me: Other than occasional comments about, 'more noise' everyone always continues to keep their groups nice and tight.

My number one cheap, 'el crapo', training ammo? Blazer Aluminum.

EDITED: Just noticed your comment about gun cleaning! First, you should always wear Nitrile or latex gloves while gun cleaning - Always!

Get yourself: (1) A can of, 'Kano Kroil' penetrating oil, (2) A, 'Kleen Bore, Lead Away' cloth, (3) A Hoppe's phosphor-bronze brush, (4) a large bag of cotton patches, and (5) an old toothbrush - for around the forcing cone.

(A tube of, 'Iosso Bore Cleaner' and a bag of cotton cleaning patches is the equal of a, 'Lead Away' cloth.)

Soak the pistol down with, 'Kano Kroil'. Let it sit for 1/2 hour. (Keep the, 'Kano Kroil' away from any wood grips! Even go so far as to remove them if you have to.) Then begin scrubbing out the cylinder and bore with that phosphor-bronze brush.

Dry the bore and begin using small cut squares of the, 'Lead Away' cloth that you have wrapped around the brush's head. Don't change the cloth as soon as it turns black; it will continue to cut the lead and remove it.

Continue doing this until the patches start to come out clean and you don't see any, 'streaking' inside the barrel when you hold it up to strong light. Do the same thing on the cylinder face. (Don't use, 'Lead Away' on a blued gun - OK! I mean, you can; but, then, your cylinder faces will look like some of mine - bright metal!)

I finish my bores with a liberal coating of Sentry Solutions, 'Smooth Kote' - Yes, it's actually worth the money!

Last edited by G21.45; 08-01-2008 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 08-01-2008, 04:25 AM   #7
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G21 when I bought my S&W 586 I started shooting it with 38's and after several hundred rounds I did expierence some minor sticky ejection with magunum cases then I found this little tidbit of info .

Always clean with an oversized brush , I have been using a 45 brush for 357's ever since I never have had extraction problems or leading for that matter in years .

I use a 20 gage shotgun brush on my 45 barrels .
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Old 08-01-2008, 05:06 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tip! A 20 gauge brush in a 45 barrel, huh. That wasn't, 'fire etching' you were dealing with. It takes more than a few hundred rounds to do that.

Instead, it was lead accumulation that was causing those 357 cases to stick; and, you took care of it with the larger brush. Don't know whether or not this would work for me, though. I always go through the final cleaning stages with a cotton patch wrapped around my brush.

I HAVE FOUND, though, that phosphor-bronze brushes wear out very quickly; so, a larger brush might be a good idea. Thanks!
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Old 08-01-2008, 07:03 PM   #9
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I would try to find a cheaper load that comes close to what you want to use for carry. Shooting up a bunch of Speer Gold dots, Hydra shocks, ect.... can get rather spendy. I bought some Speer gold dots and shoot two mags of them and then made a handload that could get close to the feel of them. Then I devloped loads that were much softer on the recoil side for plinking on days I am at the range.
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