Cleanest burning powder for .38's


January 10, 2006, 08:01 AM
What is the cleanest buring powder to load mid to high velocity 125gr FMJ .38's


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January 10, 2006, 08:15 AM
I haven't used it in 38s yet, but I've been pleased by Power Pistol in mild 357 loads. It's clean burning and measures accurately. I remember seeing load data for PP in hot 38 loads.

Assuming you want a +P load....

It's the last load in the chart.


January 10, 2006, 08:33 AM
I've not loaded that exact bullet/caliber combination, but based on seeing it used in some similar applications, I'd bet Universal Clays would be extremely clean.

Here's Hodgdon's page for +p .38 data (they just show a max load here), and you can see it's not their fastest--but I bet it's cleaner than a slower powder.

Doug b
January 10, 2006, 08:49 AM
The new Unique burns pretty clean.

January 10, 2006, 09:37 AM
Power Pistol and Universal are both pretty clean, but you really aren't going to get super clean burns with midrange powders.

Clays and N310 are going to be as clean as you get, but neither is the right powder to run top velocity loads.

January 10, 2006, 10:56 AM
PowerPistol is very flashy and wasn't very clean for my 38Sp and 45ACP loads - it would seem to work better in stouter loads than I'll run for either chambering.

HS6 and AA#5 seem to be doing well for me; no clear winner so far between the two.

January 10, 2006, 12:35 PM
Yeah, it's pretty flashy in a short barrel (my P32 shot fireballs with it), but I haven't noticed any flash out of a 4" barrel.


January 13, 2006, 11:10 AM
Although I use Win 231 for most of my reloads for .38s I also use AA5 which I think may be a bit cleaner burning and more velocity. HS 6 woorks well too but a bit sooty but you're going to get some of that from just about any powder that I've ever used. AA5 and HS 6 seem to work best for me when pushed to just under +P levels.

January 13, 2006, 12:29 PM
I've had good luck with AA #5.


January 13, 2006, 01:02 PM
231 is pretty clean.

The Bushmaster
January 13, 2006, 09:52 PM
I use W-231. Though if you insure that you have a very good crimp on the bullet they may all be clean burning...The biggest problem with the .38 Special is the crimp...If it isn't tight enough you will have a bad burn...Give-em a good crimp and I recommend the Lee FCD (Factory Crimp Die)...:)

January 14, 2006, 10:39 AM
With Clays or N310 you don't need a crimp at all on target loads to get them clean, and your brass will last literally forever if you aren't crimping it. I don't like hard crimps on target loads, the chrono tells me it doesn't help, and I like brass that lasts a long time.

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