.38 Super bullets in .38 Cases


BattleChimp Potemkin
November 24, 2008, 02:14 PM
Quick one: Friend gave me a bunch of bullets he didnt want anymore. I have been loading .38 Special for quite a while. One box (about 500 of them left) was marked Ranier (good bullets, but I love Berry's :D) ballistics 130gr Round nose flat point .38. They mic at .3565 and are in fact 130 grains. The rest of the bullets given to me (not Raniers) were actual .357-.358 diameter stuff.

I know these are most likely .38 Super bullets. Given the larger diameter, will these work in my .38 (Smith 66) if I load them?

Also, with a 130 gr. going about 950 fps, would this not be a good replica of M41 military .38 ball? (for old times sake?:) ). I would not stockpile it for defense, but for fun and to give to a few old timers at the range.

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November 24, 2008, 02:19 PM
i GUESS they are usable....
the wwb target rounds for .38 special are 130g rnfp fmj.... so check yer book an give em a "shot"...
no sense waisting free bullets

BattleChimp Potemkin
November 24, 2008, 02:21 PM
I do have 5 and I mean 5 rounds of M41 (1968 vintage) lying around. I have a whole mess of brass (WCC 68-72 headstamp) lying around, it would be nice to replicate M41. I could pull one of the bullets from the M41 to see what the diameter is.

November 24, 2008, 02:51 PM
dad had about 9 rds of WAY old makarov ammo, copper cased 95 grain... couldnt find em at a gun store so we shot em up, i think youd be better off searching listed dimensions before you pull one of the vintage stuff..380 auto, 9mm, .38 super auto and .357 sig all use the .356 round........357 mag, .38 special, 357 max all use the .358's

November 24, 2008, 03:15 PM
The main problem you will have is bullet neck tension if you load them in .38/.357 dies.

You might have to get a 9mm expander button to keep them in the cases.
Extra crimp is not a good alternative for correct neck tension.

I doubt accuracy is going to be anything to get excited about either.


November 24, 2008, 03:24 PM

especially on extra crimp not being a good alternative for correct neck tension.

November 24, 2008, 07:44 PM
Why would any one want to replicate M-41. The WWC stuff I shot was nasty and dirty which put a film of black tar like stuff all over my 686. The black film stuck it's tongue out at Shooters Choice. I still have a couple of box's of the stuff.

November 24, 2008, 09:03 PM
I have a part of a box of those around here somewhere. I have not shot any of them though. I am sure with the available powders we could load some clean replica loads. I have shot a lot of plated 125 Gr TrFP loads that are very clean. Not much difference here from the 130 Gr ball. I wonder what they used that was so dirty. Maybe it was that tar like sealent the military used to use.

BattleChimp Potemkin
November 24, 2008, 09:08 PM
Cause I could use better powder, priming and no sealant! :) I did pull one of the M41 that I have and it does have a rather nasty sealant, the powder is flakey and the primer sealant bled into the case (could see red all around flash-hole). When I was younger, my father had a few ammo cans of the stuff. He made me clean the guns, so I do remember the gunk and terrible yelling I recieved for inadequate cleaning during inspection by my father. :(

I loaded 50 of them up, as a test. I used my Lee 4 die set. The neck tension seemed okay to keep the bullet in. I used a taper crimp (I know the seating die can be adjusted to make a roll crimp but I dont unless I have a cannelure) and they seemed very stable in the bullet. I even put them in my tumbler for an hour (vibratory) and they didnt shake apart. The neck diameter was about .001 less than the .38 Special values.

I have heard that the main inaccuracy (contributed by the .001 difference in diameter) is caused by uneven burn caused by no neck tension and crimp. I am going to shoot them up this weekend (hopefully) and see what the deal is. I am (in all consideration) expecting poor accuracy, but good enough for short range plinking (minute of milk jug? :) ).

Incidentally, I know Winchester and Remington have value line ammo for .38 with a 130 grain bullet, why no components for that? I have yet to see a 130. I know there is 125, 140, etc... I just think it would be fun to make M41, but cleaner. Sort of a history thing...

November 25, 2008, 03:04 AM
Like the others have said, it's not the 130gr FMJ bullet that's the problem, it's the bullet diameter that will probably make them poor bullets to use in your 38/357.

I would suggest trading them off to someone who reloads a .38 Super or a 9mm for bullets more suitable for your needs. (unless of course your test batch shoots well)

November 25, 2008, 08:01 AM
Well, Ruger Blackhawk 9mm/357 convertibles work.... and of course bore diameters of different firearms vary a little. I've loaded 38 Super bullets in 38 special ammo before and accuracy at 25 yards wasn't all that bad. Certainly good enough for steel plates and such.

Load a few and see how they do for you, just as an experiment. As pointed out, you will need to watch your crimp. And - ugh - duplicate the military ball :barf: on really poor military ball? Why? But, just for fun, well,you can, but be ready to be underwhelmed. I do that sort of thing now and then for plinking rounds at the range, but I'd never attempt to do anything else with them.

November 25, 2008, 08:50 AM
Incidentally, I know Winchester and Remington have value line ammo for .38 with a 130 grain bullet, why no components for that? I have yet to see a 130They used to sell them, maybe they dropped them for lack of sales or something.

November 26, 2008, 01:04 PM
Tru-Cast provides 135-gr. LRNs in .357 or .358 diameters.

It's the typical 38 Super profile, with no cannelure. If you look carefully, you can see the transition from base to nose. Typically, an appropriate LOA seems to be about 1.470, and they shoot just fine in my J / K frames--but I've done no real accuracy testing yet.

I'm trying them out for my GDSB 38+P "replica reloads" project. More later.

Jim H.

November 26, 2008, 01:26 PM
I load 38 super for my old man. If you want to go dutch on shipping, I'll trade you even amount .357 158 gn hard cast flat point bullets. cheers

November 26, 2008, 02:05 PM
I'm not sure why anyone would want to duplicate M41 GI ball ammo. I shot a bunch of it back in the 70's (WCC72 headstamp) It chrono'd 790 fps out of my 6" K-38 and 670 fps out of a 2" S&W 36. Accuracy at 50 yds was 4"+ groups out of my ransom rest, the only good thing about it was it was free!

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