Help please 38 spl


December 19, 2009, 10:59 PM
My wife loves the new GP100 and shoots it well. I have only loaded .357 for myself but she likes 38 spl. I would like to keep her interested in shooting so I need a good load for her.
I've ordered some Berry's 125 grn FP's (I like Berry's for the 40 S&W so I thought I'd start there). I've got some Alliant Unique and thinking about starting at 5 gns. Just a couple of questions if you all don't mind.
1 What do you think about starting at 5 gns of Unique?
2 What other powders should I consider? And what are your pet loads?
So I should also say it's a 6" bbl and We're not looking for "full house" just some plinking fun. Thanks to all Rick

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December 20, 2009, 01:59 AM
Berry is rather pricy for plinking loads. my opinion

Followthe powder MGF's for loads and work from about 75 pervent for plinking loads then work up to what is the most fun got you to shoot. And what makes your gun work well

December 20, 2009, 02:23 AM
For my .38 Special loads, I prefer Bullseye or Winchester 231 for light loads.

While I really like Berry's bullets, you might want to look for some cast bullets for your plinking loads. I just recently cast up about 6,000 .38 bullets for Cowboy Action Shooting, and as far as I'm concerned, they're perfect for what you're attempting to do. There are many good vendors for cast bullets that post on this forum.

Hope this helps.


December 20, 2009, 03:10 AM
I usually load lead bullets for .38 Special plinking and I use W231.

148gr DEWC - 3.2gr W231
158gr SWC - 4.0gr W231

For that 125gr Berry's bullet start with a charge of 4.0gr w231/HP-38 and work up to a Max of 4.8gr if you feel the need. I'm thinking a charge of 4.4gr W231 will be just right for plinking.

The Bushmaster
December 20, 2009, 10:20 AM
You might want to talk to Missouri Bullet about your bullet needs. Check them out on the internet. They also post on here...

December 20, 2009, 11:05 AM
I like Clays for light .38 Spl loads with that Berrys 125 Gr TrFP, but Bullseye & W-231 are good choices as well.

For jacketed bullets in 125 Gr Speer #13 shows 5.7 Grs of Unique for 908 FPS with a *DNR* note. (Do Not Reduce) They do that with every powder and 125 Gr bullets.

5.0 Grs of Unique and that Berrys 125 Gr plated TrFP should be OK for a start load based on my experience shooting that bullet in both .38 Spl & .357 Mag brass at low velocities (300+ to 900+), but I would start at 5.3 Grs of Unique myself. I would also tilt the barrel up before each shot to position the powder back against the primer. (Trust me on that one)

Pay close attention to see the bullets exit the barrel. If they do not and you fire another round it could damage the gun (Ring the barrel). My Clays load pushes the Berrys at 900 FPS plus.

Don't let the "stuck in the barrel kaboom" crowd scare you, just be careful as you work up. A brass rod is the best way to knock a stuck bullet back out of the barrel. I have stuck a few doing testing. Anything under 400 FPS is subject to stay in the barrel. 5.3 Grs of Unique should easily better that as long as the powder is against the primer.

That is one reason I like a faster burning powder like Clays which burns more easily at lower pressures than some of the more medium burn powders. It also does better if the powder is forward against the bullet than many other powders. Unique may be a bit dirty at that lighter level but should clean up nicely as you get nearer to 5.7 Grs.

December 20, 2009, 12:45 PM
Wow, this helps a bunch. I was thinking about bullseye and my boss swears by 231. I think I'll stop by the gun shop an see if they've got either. As for the lead, I've heard nothing but good about Missouri bullet Co. and thats in the future. I'm new at this and trying to keep it simple for now. Walkalong I'm always watching for a squib but thanks for that too. As usual you folks are a big help Thanks Rick.

December 20, 2009, 11:19 PM
Here you go Rick, Brad will fix you up right.

38 Special (



and don't forget THR discount.

Jesse Heywood
December 20, 2009, 11:40 PM
148 grain wadcutters are hard to beat for a light practice load. W231 is a good powder for the 38/357. You can use the 38 spl loads in your 357 brass. HP38 is the same powder as 231. HP38 costs a few dollars less, too.

December 20, 2009, 11:43 PM
For 38, 148gr cast lead wadcutters is all I buy anymore and either use Clays or Bullseye.

December 21, 2009, 01:41 AM
I really like 158gr LSWC over 4.5 gr of Unique.

I second Missouribullet. I cast most of my own, but have used their bullets as well and really found them a great affordable alternative to those times I just don't want to fire up the casting pot.

December 21, 2009, 03:49 AM
If your local shop doesn't have W231 you can substitute Hodgdon HP-38 because they are the same exact powders...

December 21, 2009, 05:03 AM
I shoot regularly 3.6 grains of Bullseye under 158 grain LRN Dardas Hard Cast Bullet. Very sweet load.

My wife likes 3.5 grains of Bullseye under the 158 grain LRN.

I have used Unique but don't have the recipe in front of me. If you PM me I can get it to you.

Dardas makse a quality cast bullet and have never had a problem with fouling.
Service and pricing is excellent and usually receive the order in a few days. All products are fully guaranteed. Matt Dardas as a true gentleman and stands behind his product.
I have been dealing with him with for about two years now.
I have 2000 rounds due in Tuesday.
Postage for 2000 rounds is about $10.00. Its worth the time to check it out.
He has several other styles of bullets but I prefer the the LRN.

Lee Roder
December 21, 2009, 08:02 AM
Dardas makes good bullets and their packaging is really superb. My current favorite uses his 158 gr LSWC over 5 gr Unique. It's fairly stout out my snubnose.

December 21, 2009, 09:03 AM
Just got confirmation from USPS, shipped Saturday, will be here today.
Time to rock and reload!:D

December 21, 2009, 09:29 AM
I like Clays for light .38 Spl loads with that Berrys 125 Gr TrFP, but Bullseye & W-231 are good choices as well.

Is that regular clays? If so,f unny you should say that, that is exactly what I have sitting here and was hoping I did not make the wrong choice. I have 500 bullets and 14oz of powder that is dedicated to my wifes .38 snubby :)

What have you found be a pleasant load without too much recoil?

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