Need help with .38 148 gr HBWC load!


January 7, 2006, 03:50 PM
Hey guys,

My Sierra and Lyman manuals don't list the bullet. I picked up 1000 of the Berry's Mfg bullets. They are jacketed. The Speer manual has a load for them but I'm not sure if it's for jacketed or lead bullets. Anyone know? I'm going to use 231...


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Jim Watson
January 7, 2006, 03:55 PM
Berry's are plated, not jacketed. The usual recommendation is to treat them like lead. How about 3.2 grains W231? That serves me very well with Speer wadcutters.

January 7, 2006, 04:03 PM
I haven't checked thru my manuals but I think you can safely treat them as simply ''lead 148's'' - but the other factor is seating depth re what influences your load.

Like as not a Bullseye 2.6 gr would be satisfactory with full seating, which I think equates to a 2.9 loading of 231 - a quite light target load. I used to load my full wads years ago with a front protrusion of about 3/16" - tho forget the actual (home cast) mould number, they were 158's.

Speer #13 will I think give some useful options.

January 7, 2006, 04:25 PM
+1 on others. Seat the 148 HBWC flush with the case mouth. A light charge of fast powder should be the ticket (used Bullseye, 231 before -- both fine).

January 7, 2006, 04:37 PM
Thanks fellas! Just realized I have no small pistol primers...arrrrrggghhhh. Guess it's back over to the gun store!


January 7, 2006, 10:11 PM
Before you load them like lead, consider what Berry's says:

"Plated bullets occupy a position between cast bullets and jacketed bullets. They are soft lead, but have a hard outer shell on them. When loading plated bullets we have found best results :scrutiny: using low- to mid-range jacketed data in the load manual. You must use data for a bullet that has the same weight and profile as the one you are loading. Do not exceed mid-range loads. Do not use magnum loads."

I mention this because when I first started loading, I tried using lead data on Ranier plated wadcutters. Stuck a bullet in my barrel. Fortunately, I heard the difference and stopped before firing a followup shot. The wadcutters in particular have a lot of bearing surface. Makes for an accurate bullet, but the trade off is in velocity. I was using a data for a low veolocity lead bullet.


Standing Wolf
January 7, 2006, 10:18 PM
I've switched from Bullseye to Hodgden Tight Group, which meters better and delivers slightly better accuracy.

January 10, 2006, 02:12 PM
I also was so unfortunate as to get a stuck bullet.

Used minimum load data from the Lee reloading book for 38 Spl with 158 SWC lead and 4.0 Unique. Actual bullet was a 158 plated truncated nose. Bullet stuck about 2 inches from muzzle of a 8 3/8 barrel.

Local gunsmith had to remove the stuck bullet for me. (Note: this really detracts from the cost effectiveness of reloading)

Next trip to the range, I tried loads with 4.5 grains of Unique. These were pipsqueak loads that showed verticle stringing, but all bullets went downrange.

This gave me the confidence to try another cartridge from the original group with 4.0 Unique. Fired several cartridges okay. Then another stuck bullet. I couldn't remove this bullet either. Local gunsmith gave me a well deserved counselling this time.

Lesson learned for me: a minimum .38 Spl load for a jacketed data is a reasonable starting place for a plated bullet. Don't start with a min lead load unless the recipe is a perfect match for the components being used. While a minium load for a hard cast bullet may have been ok, the Lee load was too weak -- it may even have been intended for a swaged bullet.

January 10, 2006, 02:47 PM
I have loaded and shot thousands of the Berry's plated 148 grain HBWC bullets over 2.7 grains of Bullseye. They are an accurate target load and have never presented any problems. I seat them flush with the case mouth and use Winchester Small Pistol primers and a roll crimp.

Hope this helps.


Jim Watson
January 10, 2006, 02:51 PM
All of which makes Rainier wrong, I suppose. From the Rainier FAQ:
Q6. What if I can't find load data for your bullets?
A. If you have a load for a cast lead bullet, that will transfer across the board as far as our bullets go. We recommend that you reduce
a load for a jacketed bullet by 10%.

But you can only extrapolate such stuff so far. and a pipsqueak load with a naked copper bullet seems to be too far. Although a friend did shoot Ranier full wadcutters with the same 3.2 gr W231 that I use for Speer HBWC. They all made it to the target but accuracy was dismal.

I knew a guy to bulge a barrel by loading a Speer JSP with powder charge suitable for a wadcutter. The lead core shot out the barrel by inertia and hit the target, but the jacket was stuck in the bore. He saw a hole in the target and did not act on the strange report. So the next round blew out the empty jacket and ringed the barrel.

Aged In Oak
January 13, 2008, 02:23 PM
Glad I found this thread, even if it is a year old, because I was wondering the same thing about how to treat plated wadcutters. My Lee manual echoes what Berry's and members here have said, in that plated bullets should not be treated like their lead counterparts. Unfortunately, the manual has load data for 158 grain and 125 grain plated, but not 148 grain plated wadcutters!

Going by advice and reducing a low-power jacketed round (based on 150 grain jacketed data from Lee), that would mean using 3.0 grains of IMR 700X. Seem reasonable? I ask because I'd like to avoid annoyances like stuck bullets! Anyone else know of/developed good loads for these plated wadcutters?

January 13, 2008, 07:20 PM
try vv330 gets me 1inch groups at 25 meters out of a s&w 586

January 13, 2008, 07:25 PM
3.0 grains of Green Dot makes a good load with those bullets. Seat the bullet flush with the end of the case and roll crimp or taper crimp (doesn't matter which) lightly.

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