Hodgdon HP-38


October 6, 2009, 04:14 AM
I was given 2 lbs of HP-38. I can't seem to find any load data using the HP-38 and 147gn 9mm luger Black Bullets International bullets. Any suggestions for a starting load? I know this isn't the best combination of powder/bullet but I'd hate to waste the powder. Thanks for any help you can give.

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October 6, 2009, 04:29 AM
well, with WIN231 ive done 3.4 grains in a beretta 92fs, with a 147grain hardcast lead fp...shot ok...not greatest bullet for 9mm tho....going to try same load in a new gun soon when i get a chance to do some load testing

October 6, 2009, 09:43 AM
Lost: The reason you do not see HP38 listed for 147 gr bullets in 9mm is that HP38 is a little to fast for this bullet weight/caliber combo. HP38 is fine for lighter bullets in your 9mm. Check out Hodgdons website at www@hodgdon.com for suitable weight/powder combinations for the 9mm.

October 6, 2009, 11:59 AM
I agree.
Wrong powder for 147 grain 9mm loads.
Hodgdon doesn't list HP-38 or WW231, which is the same thing.
When a powder company doesn't list a powder for a particular bullet, there is a very good reason for it.

You need a slower burning powder to get the overly heavy bullet moving before pressure spikes.

I like to use the old "Hit a bowling ball with your fist" thing. (fast powder)

You can get it moving faster without hurting yourself by shoving it with the palm of your hand. (slow powder)


October 7, 2009, 03:59 AM
Keep that HP-38 for your 124/125gr bullets and use Longshot or HS-6 for the 147gr bullets for your 9mm. Here's the correct link for the Hodgdon Load Data Site (http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp). You can get the current load data there for all Hodgdon, Winchester and IMR powders.

October 7, 2009, 05:28 AM
Hodgdon lists loads for Clays and Titegroup for 147g plated and jacketed bullets. Those are not exactly the same as a lead bullet, but those two powders are WAY faster than HP38/231. Like twice as fast. So the mass of the bullet may not be a problem with HP38.

Often a manufacturer doesn't list a powder because they don't have the budget to test it. They can't test every possible power and bullet combination for every caliber.

lostinrockford -- Make a call to Hodgdon and ask the tech that very same question, just as you worded it. Let us know what you learn from him.

Also, look in Lyman and other books. You may find something in them, and published books are generally as reliable as a call to the manufacturer.

Lloyd Smale
October 7, 2009, 07:06 AM
hp38 or 231 will work fine for any bullet weight in the 9mm. Hogdon even list 700x as a suitable powder and its much faster burning.

October 7, 2009, 09:20 AM
I respectfully disagree with the comments about W231 being not appropriate for 147 grain bullets. A while back there was a poster with the User name "Jim Watson" that said the 1993 Hodgdon manual listed a load for W231 (same as HP38, check the load data from Hodgdon if you don't believe us) with a Winchester 147 grain bullet. The bullet material was unspecified. The starting load was 4.0 gr and the max was 4.3 gr.

I used this data to work up a competition load for my son. The gun is a Glock 34. We are using Berry's 147 gr plated bullets, with a charge of 4.0 gr of W231. The OAL is 1.135", but we didn't find any big velocity difference between 1.125 and 1.135" OAL. Average speed of 10 shots in 957 fps.

There are several of us in the competion world that prescribe to the "heavy bullet, fast powder" school of though to reduce felt recoil (for making power factor), which allows a faster follow-up shot. Please, don't take my word for it, check out any of the other forums, Especially Brian Enos.

Hope this helps,


October 8, 2009, 03:29 AM
I agree HP-38/W231 can be used with those 147gr bullets but I think a slower powder will do a better job. Considering W231 is a great choice when loading a 158gr bullet in the .38 Special there's no reason it wouldn't work in the 9mm but, the 9mm is a whole different beast with it's higher pressures and short case. I really like HS-6 with lead bullets and I'm sure the OP will like the results with a 147gr bullet in a 9mm case.

October 8, 2009, 09:52 AM

That's cool, to each thier own. I am actually going to look at a faster powder for 9mm 147 gr Plated bullets, namely Bullseye.

And honestly, I have a specific thing I am trying to do, which is meet a Power Factor formula with the least amount of recoil. The 147s also help to knock the steel down easier when the shot placement is less than perfect, which helps my 10 year old son out quite a bit on the steel stages.

My goals may not be the OP's goals, but I thought I would offer my 2 cents on a 147 gr load with HP-38/W231, which was his/her question...

October 8, 2009, 11:01 AM
A lot of guys out there use 231 w/147gr Bullets as their pet loading for suppressor use.

Jim Watson
October 8, 2009, 11:36 AM
Here is poster Jim Watson back again.

I am at present loading 9mm 147 grain Hornady FMJ with 3.8 gr HP38. 3.7 just barely made power factor for IDPA ESP so I raised it a tenth.

Cast or coated bullets won't need as much, 3.2 gr HP38 was ok with a 145 gr Laser Cast, and I think that would be a good place to start with the Precisions.

October 8, 2009, 02:01 PM
Thanks for all the input, it certainly gives me more than enough to think about.

Jim Watson
October 8, 2009, 02:32 PM
Gotta consider that a gift of two pounds is nearly 4000 free mild subsonic loads.

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