Your Favorite 38 Super loads


June 5, 2011, 01:54 PM
I'm new to the 38 Super and I'm looking to see if you guys have any favorite loads. I've got plenty of load manuals and lots of suitable powders (I'm a bit of a powder junkie). Just looking for your sucess stories.

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June 5, 2011, 02:15 PM
I like 8.7gr Blue Dot with a 130 gr .356 FMJ bullet. Makes it clear on the firing line that you are shooting more than a 9mm :) 5.9gr Unique also worked well for me. I'm using Wolf small pistol primers.

See this thread:

June 5, 2011, 02:28 PM
For practice ammo I like the Rainier 130 grain .356" plated RN over enough SR 7625 or HS-6 to reach 1,250 - 1,275 fps.
For match ammo the Hornady 125 grain .356" HAP over Titegroup at 1,000 fps.

June 5, 2011, 03:32 PM
Blue Dot, Unique and True Blue are my favorites for the 38 Super. I mostly shoot 130 FMJs.

When I had an old style barrel that headspaced on the rim, I shot 160 cast 38 cal. SWC at moderate velocities. Good shooting round. Unfortunately, my old loading would not chamber in a new style barrel that headspaces on the case mouth. I have not spent the time to see if i can reproduce it for the new barrel.

June 5, 2011, 05:29 PM
Blue Dot was already one of the first I was going to try and you guys have confirmed that, anybody try Lil'Gun? What about AutoComp?

Sound Dude
June 5, 2011, 05:45 PM
6.4 gn of Power Pistol under a 124gn Rainier plated bullet makes a great, accurate plinker load.

June 5, 2011, 06:18 PM
Bluedot & Hornady 115 XTP, 124 XTP and 124 FN (125 HAP) and cast 356402 bullets - Great shooting with authority in my Super 38's. Power Pistol is proving itself to me with cast 120 TC bullets. AA7 works great with .357 125 XTP. AA9 for heavy bullets, 140-150 gr.

June 6, 2011, 07:49 PM
WSP primer, 5.5 Grs N320, and a 125 Gr Zero .356 JHP #161 @ 1.270 O.A.L.

Runs around 1175 to 1200 FPS.

Appears safe in my guns, use at your own risk. Over current Vihtavuori data

Peter M. Eick
June 7, 2011, 06:22 PM
I am currently loading 125 grn lead RN's with 7.8 grns of SR4756 to 1.255 col. Seems like a nice mild load but I need to work up more powder in it.

June 8, 2011, 12:26 AM
158 gr XTP or LSWC and Power Pistol.

Don't fall for the LONGSHOT published data.

June 8, 2011, 09:50 AM
Thanks guys!

I loaded some workups using Blue Dot, Power Pistol, Auto Comp and Lil'Gun, I'll post the results after I get some range time. Unfortunately that will likely be a week or so away:(


June 10, 2011, 11:12 AM
I only shoot 38 Suoer in a revolver using mild loads of WST or Titegroup and the 147 gr. Berry's 9mm (0.356") bullet.

June 10, 2011, 11:25 AM
Blue dot has always been my favorite powder in .38 Super.

June 11, 2011, 05:14 AM
A friend loads a lot of 38 Super ammo and was using HS-7 until there was no more. Then he started using Longshot for a good long while. He also liked AA#7 but favored Longshot over it. When AutoComp came out he gave it a try and has stuck with it. He says AutoComp is extremely clean and it's accurate too.

Note, this is second hand information because I don't personally load for the 38 Super.

June 11, 2011, 09:26 PM
I only recently picked up some AutoComp and I tried it in 45 ACP first and I really like it, meters well, accurate, clean and very good velocity. I'm gonna give it a go in the Super as well.

June 12, 2011, 12:19 AM
I only recently picked up some AutoComp and I tried it in 45 ACP first and I really like it, meters well, accurate, clean and very good velocity. I'm gonna give it a go in the Super as well.
Please don't forget the range report. More information is always better than less... :)

June 12, 2011, 11:40 PM
I haven't done a terrible amount of testing with different powders in 38 Super. I found a few that worked well and pretty much settled on them.

I keep a lot of AA No 5 in stock. Burns clean, meters well, and it works in 9mm, .38 Special, .45 ACP, and 38 Super nicely for me. So I usually stick to it.

My usual loads -

AA No 5
124 gr FMJ
6.5 Grains = just under 1000 fps, gentle and much like a 9mm
7.0 Grains = 1060 fps
7.5 Grains = 1150 fps

That 6.5 grain load is quite gentle, and you may need to move down a couple pounds in your recoil spring to reliably eject those.

I've also played with heavy loads using VihtaVuori 3N37 powder. Be advised, these are powerful loads. I use small rifle primers, and have a fully supported barrel. I would NOT try these unless you had one, too. I also use Starline 38 SuperComp brass for the hotter loads below. Use at your own risk.

124 gr plated RN
7.5 grains = 1255 fps
7.7 grains = 1286 fps
8.0 grains = 1305 fps

124 gr Hornady XTP
8.0 grains = 1315 fps

147 gr plated TRN
6.2 grains = 1055 fps
6.5 grains = 1100 fps
6.8 grains = 1150 fps

I shoot mine through a Commander length (4 & 1/4") ramped Nowlin barrel.

Additionally, this PDF is a nice resource to have handy.

38 Super IPSC loads list compiled by Jeff Maass (

I found this back when I started shooting 38 Super and 9x23. There's a whole bunch of data here for making both Major and Minor power factor loads. I haven't played with any of the powder you're using besides Unique, and I don't use it much at all because it's so dirty.

One of these days I will have to give Blue Dot a try. I keep a lot of it around, too.

June 13, 2011, 10:19 AM
Great info, Thanks!

I've been wanting to try 3N37 but it's so expensive and I'm affraid I'll like it:)

June 13, 2011, 10:53 AM
I don't use it much. If I'm shooting a match with a lot of steel, and want something faster or heavier to reliably knock it down, I'll use those loads. But if it's just a paper match I won't bother.

If your 38 Super barrel isn't fully supported, I'd be very careful using powder like 3N37, or some of the other high pressure loads. 3N37 is nice. It's clean, consistent, and feels good to shoot. But the higher pressure loads aren't safe in unsupported chambers.

As I said, I only use 38 SuperComp brass when I'm shooting the higher pressure loads. And I use small rifle primers, too.

Eric F
June 13, 2011, 11:14 AM
For the Super I have only used AA#2 I have some older manuals that have load data for it.

I think it is unpopluar because there is something like a .6 gr diffrence from minimum charge to maximum charge.

Further more the max charge listed is still weak, I exceed(I will always tell others not to do this and therefore decline to post my charge) the maximum charge on my aa#2 loads and there are no signs of over pressure at all. I am pushing a 135gr fmj 1250 fps with no issue.

June 13, 2011, 12:58 PM
The 38 sup is a favorite but we haven't done all that much load development. Currently the 115 Hornady JHP & 7 grains gives 1255fps and fine accuracy. The same bullet with 8.0 grains of 800X gives us 1329fps. Haven't gotten around to using much Blue Dot in it though we've been shooting the caliber for nigh-on 40 years.

The Saeco 140 grain lead TC & 5 grains of Unique delivers a bit over 1000fps and good accuracy.

June 13, 2011, 02:32 PM
I liked IMR7625 last time I played with a 38 Super/9x23 Win.

June 13, 2011, 06:58 PM
Here's one that works very well for me: Starline brass, w/w sm. pistol prim., Speer 125 gr. gold dot, 1.260 o.a.l. 1225 fps. Good luck.

July 17, 2011, 01:33 PM
Update with some data using AA #7, from this morning:

10 round averages, out of my Commander.

125 grain Rainier plated round nose
38 SuperComp Brass; CCI small pistol primer; 1.260" OAL
8.6 - 1096 fps
9.2 - 1161 fps
9.6 - 1223 fps
10.0 - 1264 fps

147 grain Rainier plated truncated round nose
38 SuperComp brass; CCI small pistol;1.260" OAL
8.3 - 1065 fps
8.7 - 1113 fps
9.0 - 1168 fps

July 17, 2011, 07:59 PM
5" 1911 Government model

Notable success with....

8.3 to 8.9gr No7 124gr Zero 1.250"

7.2gr 3N37 124gr Berry FP 1.260"

5.8gr N330 115gr Zero FMJ 1.240"

38S is one round I never tire of playing with.

July 17, 2011, 08:46 PM
I still haven't been able to make it to the's been over a month:cuss:

I hate it when life gets in the way of my shooting

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