38+P loads?


April 22, 2007, 04:31 PM
This may seem like a silly question but I was wondering about 38+p loads. Can you load 38+p in cases that are stamped 38 special or do they have to say 38+p? I was going to load 125g Flat Point X-Treme bullet with 6.1g of Power Pistol.

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April 22, 2007, 04:44 PM
Yep. Same case, different pressures.

The Bushmaster
April 22, 2007, 05:35 PM
Same case...The +P stamp is just the factory telling you that they loaded them as +P. You can load regular .38 Special cases to +P with no problem also. Just like Sunray said...:)

April 22, 2007, 07:45 PM
Universal Clays works real well for .38+ P loads, as does AA# 5. :)

The Real Wyatt
April 22, 2007, 07:51 PM
And Bullseye ain't too shabby either.

April 22, 2007, 08:20 PM
Has anyone tried Power Pistol for +p loads?

April 23, 2007, 12:44 AM
Power Pistol and HS-6 are, IMHO the very best for +p and +P+ loads.

Steve C
April 23, 2007, 01:40 AM
I use Unique or W231 for +P loadings in the .38 spl. I've tried HS6 and Power Pistol and they do not make a better load than Unique. HS6 gives more flash and leaves dark carbon rings on the cylinder face. Power pistol works well in high pressure 9mm but I'm not impressed with it in the lower pressure .38 spl.

April 24, 2007, 12:39 AM
The only exception that I know of regarding the +P headstamp issue would be some once fired cases that were originally loaded as target rounds with wadcutters. They are a little thinner in the casewall.

I don't know what your intended purpose for these loads are, but if you are going to fire them in a .357 Magnum revolver, some pretty impressive loads can be made with VV 3N37 or N350. Ramshot nor Winchester have ever shown data for Silhouette in revolver cases. I think that will change. The powder looks to me as if Primex (WAP in Winchester's case) was trying to create a very high energy powder to compete with some of those from Vihta Vouri. I haven't developed a .38 Sp. load with it as yet, but I have for .357 magnum for use in short barreled revolvers and sent the data to Ramshot for testing. I hope to see them work up some +P .38 load data. This powder has very low flash and the .357 Magnum load was very accurate in a Ruger 3" SP-101!;)

April 26, 2007, 12:25 AM
In my chrono testing WAP was very position sensitive in 38spl. I got more than 100fps variations from powder forward vs powder back with 148gr wadcutters. This was at a nominal 750fps and 3" barrel.

WAP works well in 45ACP at max loads in 9mm and in 40SW and is very forgiving. It is currently available as Ramshot Silhouette.

The least position sensitive powder I have tested in 38spl was Green Dot. It also handles +P pressures easily. It was better than Titegroup notwithstanding Hodgdons claims.

Just a side note: At the time Winchester marketed WAP, they stated it was intended for small case, high pressure loads like IPSC 38 Super. It is not at its best in low pressure loads like 38spl or 45 ACP. It excels in 9 or 40 and might be good in 357 except it does not seem to like low fill ratios. Maybe at full pressure loads in 357 the fill ratio issue will go away. Info would be interesting.

April 26, 2007, 08:19 AM
DBR: Silhouette, or WAP are definitely not the choice for light target loads. HS-6, Power Pistol, VV 3N37 or N350 wouldn't be either. Other powders mentioned like Unique/Universal or AA#5 can be used, but their not ideal when your talking about 148 gr. Wadcutters at 750 FPS. Since we're talking about +P, that's another matter.

I'm not sure I'm understanding your statements about .45 ACP, you said it works well, but later say it's not at its best in low pressure rounds like the .38 and .45 ACP. It is not intended for light loads, Period. While start charges will be lower pressure in .45 ACP, Silhouette is best used for higher velocity jacketed bullet rounds that operate closer to the maximum operating pressure of the cartridge to get higher velocity.

WAP followed the release of .40 S&W and was the powder used by Winchester to develop the round. The next cartridge Winchester used it for was 9 X 23mm Winchester. Powders well suited for factory JHP velocity in .40 S&W are also in the burn rate group you'd want to look at for +P .38 Special to get higher velocity levels at its maximum operating pressure, not as a do all powder for .38 Special.

Powders that are well suited to .38 SUPER and high velocity 9mm, fall into the same category in many cases. Examples: Power Pistol and HS-6 will get you +P velocity (not just pressure) in .38 Special and are well suited to .38 Super and 9mm also. Silhouette, or WAP, is in the same burn rate category as Power Pistol and HS-6. Slightly slower than Power Pistol and slightly faster but very near HS-6.

The fact that Winchester never developed data doesn't say much here. There are several revolver cartridges that Winchester only chose 231 and 296 for their load data. I don't believe that rules everything else out. Because of the popularity of the .38 Special, Winchester developed a bit more load data and one of the powders they've used (but not for Wadcutters) is 571, the equivelant of HS-7. Blue Dot has seen plenty of use +P loads in .38 Special and in older data shows the highest velocity potential for the cartridge, but you sure don't want to use it for light loads. 571, HS-7 and Blue Dot are fairly close in burn rate.

Another powder that Winchester overlooked in .38 Sp. +P is WSF that's faster than 571 and you'll find the same situation exists as far as data. Does that mean you can't use it for .38 Sp. +P, or does it simply mean that no one has bothered to produce data. Winchester most notably. Hodgdon probably won't now that they sell Winchester powders. As far as Ramshot data for Silhouette, all they did was reprint data Winchester had already generated for WAP.

One reason I mentioned Silhouette is because of its very low flash characteristics and its potential for velocity. Depending on your reason for developing +P .38 Special +P, Both of these characteristics can be very useful.;)

April 26, 2007, 08:02 PM

What I was trying to say was that in 45ACP I have had good luck with WAP at the high end of 45 loads. In a 5" 1911 I get 920-950fps from 200gr lead and 850-875 from 230gr jacketed. Powder burns clean and ES and SD are at the low end of expected values. Also in the 45 ACP case the powder does not seem to be very position sensitive.

These loads are at the max values Winchester published. Backing off just a little on the charge weight caused the powder not to burn completely.

You are right in saying WAP is not at all suitable for light loads or as a general use powder in the low pressure calibers.

I did not know WAP was the original 40SW powder. It sure does meter nice.

April 27, 2007, 01:19 PM
DBR: it is an excellent powder. A much better alternative to Power Pistol, IMO. Sierra is a better source for data than Ramshot's website. I' don't have the Lyman Pistol & Revolver III and I'm curious to know if there is data in it for Silhouette.

I'm speculating, but it looks to me like Primex was trying to create a powder that would rival some of the Vihta Vouri powders. The resemblance didn't happen by accident.;)

April 27, 2007, 01:29 PM
What is WAP? And what does powder forward and powder back mean, and what is the difference.

Also, I thought that the +P cases had thicker walls. Was I wrong in thinking that? Is the same true for auto cases (45acp, 9mm, etc)?

Thank you


April 27, 2007, 01:40 PM
Bonz: WAP is Winchester Action Pistol and it is no longer sold by Winchester/Hodgdon. Now it is sold by Ramshot as Silhouette. Powder forward, Powder back is a situation that arises from very low density powder charges. A few powders are not sensitive to it (TiteGroup, AA#2, ZIP) and are the best choice for this type of loading.

In most handgun cases +P and standard cases are identical except for the headstamp. The only situation that I'm aware of that's different are some .38 Special Target loads that used swaged lead bullets. The case walls are slightly thinner.;)

April 27, 2007, 01:45 PM

April 27, 2007, 01:47 PM

April 27, 2007, 09:49 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Colt Police Positive 38 Special 4" barrel:
1) factory 158 gr. JHP, 830 fps
2) 18 gr. LIL'GUN 158 gr. XTP 1.59", WSPM, 1173 fps
3) 23.5 gr. LIL'GUN 158 gr. XTP 1.59", WSPM, 1155 fps
4) 26 gr LIL'GUN 158 gr 1.59" SWPM, hard to fit the powder, shoots ok

Hornady says for 357 mag, with thicker web and longer over all length:
158 GR. HDY XTP 158 gr Lil'Gun .357" 1.580" 16.0 1504 fps 24,100 CUP

The 26 gr kicks in a 38 special like a full house 44 mag, but it's all gas.
The velocity is better with 18 gr.

I have settled in on 18 gr LIL'GUN 158 gr as my 38 sp +P+ load.

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