Help with Sig P238 reloads


October 2, 2011, 05:24 PM
I'm having trouble finding a good reload for my wife's SIG P238. The closest I have come to a reliable reload is in the following;

-Rem brass
-CCI Small pistol primers
-3.3 Gr SR4756 (Max ld as listed in Nosler reload manual)
-100 gr FMJ
-.960 OAL

With these I get a stove pipe about once every 15 rounds, but they feed and fire every time as long as the previous cartridge gets out of the way. If I reduce the powder charge they become much more prevalent. If the cartridge is lengthened the bullets engage the rifling early and prevent the slide of closing all the way. I've trial and errored for about 100 rounds so far and just can't get it figured out. And to make things more frustrating the factory ammo, standard and self defense functions flawlessly. Any help getting a practice round that will feed, fire, and eject every time would be fantastic. Thanks everyone :)

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October 2, 2011, 05:36 PM
Stove-piping in an otherwise reliable gun is almost always "not enough power" related.

Hodgdon says 3.5 grains SR-4756, seated .980", with a Hornady 100 FMJ.

Might try that.

PS: Be sure and chamber check them to make sure the bullets are not getting jammed into the rifling leade at that length.


October 2, 2011, 08:44 PM
I'll slowly add more powder and stop at 3.5 gr. My original loads we're .975 and wouldn't always feed, so I'll have to keep them a little shorter. I chose .960 because that's about the depth the factory Remington FMJ's I had were at.

If that doesn't work what's my next step?

October 2, 2011, 08:54 PM
OAL is critically dependent on the exact ogive shape of the bullet for a load to feed.

If your 100 grain RN is shaped slightly different then the factory RN load you measured, the same length may not feed the same.

The ogive on the bullet first contacts the feed ramp coming out of the magazine and bumps the round up toward the chamber.
Then it contacts the top of the chamber which drives it back down in line with the bore axis.

So, different bullet shapes will likely need the OAL fine tuned to feed right.
In my experience, longer almost always feed better then shorter.

At any rate, it is very doubtful OAL has anything to do with it stove-piping empties.

So work on one problem at a time.

If .960" feeds 100%, don't change it.
Just up the load a little first and see if that has any effect.


October 2, 2011, 08:58 PM
I load Berry 100 gr plated bullet ( FMJ)
cci-500 primer
3.6 gr Unique powder
.980 COL
Works good in my PPK, P238 & kelTec P3-AT

October 2, 2011, 09:22 PM
I use Hornady's 90 gr. XTP in mine with 4.8 grains PowerPistol with a min. OAL of .960 ( I hold mine at .970 ) This is a Max load for the .380 acp out of my Lee reloading dies data. LM

October 16, 2011, 11:13 PM
Thanks for the help on this issue everyone. I worked up to 3.5 grains of powder with everything else staying the same, and haven't been having any issues. It was nice to watch my wife burn through 100 rounds this weekend without a failure to feed, fire, or eject :-)

October 16, 2011, 11:48 PM
Suggestions already stated are good.

Make sure your P238 has the flat recoil spring. The round recoil spring is problematic.

The extractor may need some tuning, but I would not fool with it unless you know what your are doing. Ditto with most gunsmiths. If the above suggestions don't work, then look for a good gunsmith or send it back to Sig.

Finally, I installed a set of Hogue neoprene grips on mine, along with the flat recoil spring, lots of failure problems went away. I feel with the standard grips on the P238, the pistol was moving in my hand during recoil.

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