Alliant 2400 in the .38 Special?


March 11, 2008, 12:23 AM
Ok gang, I need some verification on a load here. lists a 38 Special load of 6.8-7.5 grains of Alliant 2400 under a 158gr LSWC that they claim is data from Alliant, but I can't find anything listed on the Alliant site or in my manuals for that powder. Can anyone find a similar load in their manuals, I really just want to double check the data before I go using it.

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35 Whelen
March 11, 2008, 01:39 AM
That's a very light load of a very slow burning pistol powder. Alliant lists that bullet with 6.1 grs. of Blue Dot. Since 2400 burns slower, the loads you ask about should be fine. Years ago, a writer named Skeeter Skelton loaded around 12-13 grs. of 2400 w/ a 158 gr. bullet in his 38. Of course it was a heavy framed gun though.

March 11, 2008, 02:16 AM
after several years of use, I find very unreliable. It's fun to read once in a while, and it has truly sparked some really good ideas in my thinking. But the site has no way of filtering idiots, and ultimately even a small number of irresponsible idiots will poison the whole site. As you found, the Alliant site has no load for 2400 in 38 Special. If you want to test that load, be as careful as I'm sure you know how. Best of luck, friend.

Do you load 357 or 44 mag? 2400 is one of my all time favorites for magnum pistol loads.

Steve C
March 11, 2008, 03:01 AM
The 2000 edition of Alliants free load data book lists 7.5grs of 2400 as max for standard pressure ammo and 7.8grs for +p with a 158gr LSWC in the .38 spl.

The .38 spl even at +P is too low a pressure round to benefit much from 2400. Stick with Unique or maybe as slow as Herco for the .38 spl or anything faster. Blue Dot is too slow IMO and I did try it once.

March 11, 2008, 05:38 AM
Like said above, 2400 isn't usually used for a .38 Special round especially with Lead. 2400 is a slow pistol powder usually associated with Magnum rounds, not standard pressure .38 Special rounds. It was used years ago because there were so few choices the reloaders of the day didn't really have a choice. Today we have so many choices it's almost confusing.

If you're looking for a good powder to load a fairly heavy .38 Special round with a 158gr LSWC bullet I highly recommend HS-6. You can get data for that powder and bullet combination from a safe source, from the Hodgdon Load Data Site ( I've been working on 158gr LSWC/HP .38 Special +P rounds (FBI Load) using HS-6 with good success.

Sorry if you already knew all of this and wanted to use 2400 for a specific reason. I wasn't trying to knock your choice of powders, I was only trying to help. I know 2400 can be downloaded better than H110/W296 can but those numbers seen VERY low even for 2400.

The Bushmaster
March 11, 2008, 11:43 AM
Alliant free load data manual 2005 lists only one loading using 2400 powder. A 200 grain LRN over 7.1 grains of 2400 using a Federal 100 primer. It is a .38 Special +P loading.

March 11, 2008, 12:45 PM
The Alliant 1996 manual did list 7.5 grains 2400 with a 158 grain LSWC for 990 FPS.
It is a standard pressure load giving 15,500 PSI.

They also list a +P load using the same bullet and 7.8 grains 2400 for 1,035 at 17,400 PSI.

To my knowledge, Alliant data never listed a starting and max load like shown in your first post.
They have always just given one load for each bullet type & weight.

Anyway, I don't think 2400 is at all a good choice for .38 Spl. standard pressure levels.
Incomplete burning would always result unless you run it at Magnum pressure.


Steve C
March 11, 2008, 05:02 PM
To my knowledge, Alliant data never listed a starting and max load like shown in your first post.
They have always just given one load for each bullet type & weight.

Alliants data, like most of the powder companies data used to, lists only maximum loads with a note saying to start at 10% below and work up. Reminiscent of the days when it was generally assumed that adults could do the math.

March 11, 2008, 06:07 PM
My old Lyman book gives 8.0(690fps) to 11.0(1010fps) of 2400 with a 158 grain cast bullet for the .38. Mind you, the manual was printed before Alliant bought Hercules Powder. They may have changed the formula.

March 11, 2008, 08:38 PM
I'm well aware of the possibility of inaccurate load data from websites, which is why I'm double and triple checking. I generally avoid the guest submitted loads on like the plague. As for the powder selection, I have an unopened jar left over from loading .44 mag. I realize that I may get incomplete powder burn with this, but are we talking a bit on the dirty side or painting the target black at 10 yards?

BTW, this is to be run through a late 1970s production S&W 10. I'd kind of like to get a little more velocity on some 158gr LSWCHPs than I can get with Bullseye, which is the only other powder I have on hand at the moment, and the listed velocity on the 7.5gr load is 990 fps.

March 11, 2008, 09:15 PM
You will have no pressure or saftey problems using that 7.5 gr. load but make sure you have the barrel of your Model 10 pointing straight up when you eject the cartridges. You will get much unburned powder with the fired cases which if extracted in the normal way will get under the extractor star and tie up your gun. My old Lyman manual listed 10.5/2400 with the 168gr Keith cast swc. They clocked 1020fps out of my 6" K-38 and were pretty accurate but they were filthy with unburned powder. Loaded to magnum levels of pressure in the .357 it burns faily clean.

March 11, 2008, 10:09 PM
Think going with the lower end of that range, say 6.8 or 6.9 grains, would cut down on the unburned powder?

March 11, 2008, 10:54 PM
I think if anything it might increase it due to less pressure. OTOH if you go that low I'd bet your velocity will be in the 750-800 rang. FWIW I shoot 4.2 of Bullseye behind a 158 cast rn per the Lyman Cast bullet handbook. It's listed as a standard pressure max load and clocks a hair over 900 fps out of my 6" K-38. It is the most accurate load out of my K-38 including factory wadcutters and I have shot literally thousands of the rns to date.

March 12, 2008, 09:57 AM
Alliant/Hercules will give load data for their powders in applications that don't make sense.

I have a 4 lb can of Blue Dot. Wanted to use it. Looked up and by gum Hercules had reloading data for the 9 MM, 38 Spl, 357, 44 Spl, 45 LC, 44 Magnum, 45 ACP.

So I loaded a bunch. Well, Blue Dot is horrible in 38 Spl, 44 Spl, 45 LC. Extreme spreads in the 200-300 fps range, lots of unburnt powder fouling my extractor stars.

The powder was marginal in 9mm, too hot in 45 ACP. Shot well with jacketed in 357 and 44 Mag.

The moral of the story is that just because Alliant puts out data, does not mean it will work well. And this is true of 2400 in non magnum loads. 2400 is a superb magnum powder.

I recommend Unique or Bullseye in the 38 Special. My favorite load is 158 LRN 3.5 grains Bullseye, any case and any primer. I have shot cases of that.

I think Bullseye, Unique and 2400 will more than adequately serve the entire spectrum of pistol rounds. So, you have one third of the powder types, and the one best for magnum cases. Time to get some Unique or Bullseye.

March 12, 2008, 10:22 AM
"Years ago, a writer named Skeeter Skelton loaded around 12-13 grs. of 2400 w/ a 158 gr. bullet in his 38. Of course it was a heavy framed gun though."

Yes thats a Heavy Load,IMO if you shoot that load in a standard .38 you will most likely NOT enjoy the results. The Gun he shot that in was the 38/44 .38spcl /44Mag frame.

Ala Dan
March 12, 2008, 10:53 AM
In my way of thinking, I believe that Alliant (formerly Hercules) 2400 is much
too slow burning powder for use in .38 Special cases; as most likely you are
going to have lots of unburned granules of powder deposited in the barrel
and cylinder after firing~! :uhoh:

March 12, 2008, 12:00 PM
158 grain bullet over 7.5 is listed as standard pressure. Bump it up half a grain and you have +p ammo. These are max loads to use in a +p rated or .357 chambered guns.

I gotta tell ya, there is nothing wrong with 2400, but it is an odd choice to drive a .38. there are better powders out there for this job. If you are an Alliant fan (I am too) you might try going to the other end of the spectrum and get some Bullseye or, better, Red Dot, which I find to be very good and economical. For a Medium burn rate, Green Dot or Unique. Other good choices are AA5, AA7, 231, WSF, 700-X to name a few.

Let us know how it goes.


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