I think I'm hooked on .38 Special


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Arkansas Paul
September 30, 2012, 10:49 PM
Wanted a double action revolver, and I've been wanting something the wife could handle with no difficulty so I picked up a Taurus 82 .38 Special the other day. It's a police trade in that was carried a lot more than it was shot. The blueing wasn't even faded at the muzzle. Cast a few 125 grain flat nose bullets and loaded up twenty or so rounds each with different powders. I think I like W231 with it the best. Very soft shooting and dead nuts accurate. I wasn't shooting for groups or anything today, but I was knocking a can around from 15-20 feet every time.

The revolver is great. I've heard bad things about Taurus, but this one is very accurate and has the best single action trigger I've ever felt. The double action is okay, but it's obviously no Smith. Overall, I'm hooked. The .38 Special is awesome. So accurate and easy to shoot. Lovin it. Now I've got to get me a 158 grain mold.

Anyway, not really a question here, just lovin some .38 Special.

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jim8115
September 30, 2012, 11:06 PM
Of the dozen or so handguns ( 22, 32,38,40,357,45,454 Casull) my wife and I have, our various 38's get shot more than anything. They are just plain fun to shoot. As far as defense goes, shot placement is so easy, I figure they are as good as about anything.
FYI, 3.5 Grains of bullseye, or 4.3 Grains of W231 with a 158 gr SWC gives me right about 800 FPS from a 4" barrel

JIM

ljnowell
September 30, 2012, 11:21 PM
Me too! I load a ton of 38s! I buy the Missouri Bullet 148gr DEWC 5k at a time. The 158 SWC from them shoots great in all my loads too. I buy it as the 357 action in the harder alloy so I can double use it in hot 357 loads and 38 loads, no leading ineither.

Its a very fun caliber to reload and to shoot! I used it all last year in bullseye competition. Stepping up to a 45 this year, just got a Sig GSR Revolution to use!

ApacheCoTodd
September 30, 2012, 11:32 PM
What's not to love?

The haters and trend chasers ensure a supply of inexpensive platforms.

Neither the round nor the owners tend to "use-up" the guns that often.

Brass lasts forever.

Easy to cast for.

Easy to re-load for.

You can hunt with it, defend yourself with it, compete with it, recreate endlessly with it and introduce folk to shooting and reloading with minimal impact and maximum return.

It's rapidly re-becoming one of my favorite "go to" calibers along with a couple of other old stand-bys, my 9mms and .22s

788Ham
September 30, 2012, 11:33 PM
I'm with you on the .38 spl. , and as the round to be shot. 3 mos. ago I picked up a Colt Cobra, 4", then about 3 weeks ago I picked up a Colt Trooper, 4", things were going good, until I walked back in where I bought these first 2. Now I own a 1937 38-44 S&W Outdoorsman, going to have to quit frequenting that place! The Cobra and the Trooper are phenomenally accurate, I haven't shot the 38-44 yet, I might, and I might not shoot it at all. They can be addicting. YMMV

Stainz
October 1, 2012, 11:14 AM
Some of the best .38 Special revolvers you can buy have '.357 Magnum' emblazoned on their barrels. For an example, have you ever seen a 7 or 8 shot .38??

Stainz

PS My SD choice: Remington R38S12 +P .38 Special 158gr LHPSWC.

mesinge2
October 1, 2012, 11:33 AM
Some of the best .38 Special revolvers you can buy have '.357 Magnum' emblazoned on their barrels. For an example, have you ever seen a 7 or 8 shot .38??

Stainz

PS My SD choice: Remington R38S12 +P .38 Special 158gr LHPSWC.
I love my 357s but there is something about a gun made for 38s that makes it a nail-driver.

My S&W model 64-3:

http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc401/mesinge2/My%20heaters/My38SPLSWmodel6410.jpg
http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc401/mesinge2/My%20heaters/My38SPLSWmodel649.jpg
http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc401/mesinge2/My%20heaters/My38SPLSWmodel6411.jpg





This little short barreled revolver is easily one of my most accurate wheelies. I shot this one better than some of my 6" barreled guns. I mean look:


VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD7CU-6hGVg#ws


http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc401/mesinge2/My%20heaters/161.jpg

snooperman
October 1, 2012, 11:35 AM
I am also with you too. At age 72 I find myself shooting the Colt and S&W 38s more than any other caliber. I most often carry the Colt Magnum carry in .357 mag , but it is no fun to shoot in that caliber.

snooperman
October 1, 2012, 11:41 AM
Mesinge2, Where did you get those grips for your 64-3 ?

mesinge2
October 1, 2012, 11:58 AM
Mesinge2, Where did you get those grips for your 64-3 ?
I bought them from a member of the S&W forum. They're Bianchi Lightning Grips sometimes called Hammer Shroud grips. Unfortunately, they are no longer made but can be found on GB and eBay once and a while.

bergmen
October 1, 2012, 01:37 PM
Yep, my K-38 Combat Masterpiece (15-4) is one of my all time favorite handguns. Extremely accurate, easy recoil and fun to reload. I use W231 exclusively and it burns clean and consistent (5.0 grains under 125 grain plated flat nose).

Dan

Certaindeaf
October 1, 2012, 01:59 PM
They didn't name it Special for nothing.

06
October 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
38 Specials were the "go to" carry of all LEOs for a couple generations. 357s came into vogue then 9s. 38s are hard hitting and accurate. My brother hit a target we were shooting at 200yds. Got my daughter a shrouded hammer S&W right out of college. She still shoots it and puts her husband's accuracy to shame--lol. I use 38s in my 357 Taurus to plink with.

ljnowell
October 1, 2012, 06:23 PM
They didn't name it Special for nothing.

I like it!!

Guillermo
October 1, 2012, 06:52 PM
Got my daughter a shrouded hammer S&W right out of college. She still shoots it and puts her husband's accuracy to shame

in my experience, generally speaking, women are better natural shots than men.

Better eye hand coordination, manual dexterity and more apt to listen to instruction.


I remember my father and I teaching a woman to shoot, she was using a Ruger .22 that I had given to him..

Popping a Dr. Pepper can at 40 feet with regularity, often on the roll, with about 10 minutes of instruction. Standing behind her and loading for her my father and I looked at one another and shrugged.

When she was done she checked the gun and handed it back to him, thanking him for letting her use it. He said "honey...I think you just need to keep that."

I wish women would shoot more. They tend to be good at it.

BCRider
October 1, 2012, 07:12 PM
Everone agrees with you and you won't get anything but agreement from me either. A great round for plinking that works with some of the nicest guns to shoot ever made.

I WILL take some exception to the 231 as your powder choice. I found in light loads that it was INCREDABLY sooty. Even Bullseye, which is still pretty dirty, is better.

I recently went with light charges of 3.6 gns of Tightgroup in my cast lead loads for my Cowboy Action ammo which I also use when shooting our local Speed Steel event with my revolvers. The Tightgroup turned out to be a little less sooty than Bullseye even with these soft shooting rounds of 124gn FRNFP bullets. And it's got a reputation for being very position tolerant. A reputation that seems well founded so far judging by how nicely they are grouping on paper when I get a chance to shoot at stuff that doesn't go DING! when I hit it. And I've read that Clays ("just" Clays) is even a little cleaner burning. I gotta try a pound of that at some point. But in the meantime the Tightgroup is fine.

But after all that is said the BEST groups came from shooting 2.9gns of Bullseye behind the Hornady 148gn HBWC rounds that I made up. Those darn things seemed almost like they were laser guided.... :D Both my Model 6 inch Model 19 and 6 inch Model 10 LOVED those rounds.

BullRunBear
October 1, 2012, 07:17 PM
You did with the Taurus what I did with a retired Model 10 a few years ago. Nothing to look at but beautiful inside. 38 Special is my most loaded round, none of the others come close in numbers loaded. My half dozen 357s get 90% 38 specials. Best of all, it is comfortable for my small-ish wife to shoot. Gives her a break from just 22LR.

Jeff

Deaf Smith
October 1, 2012, 10:29 PM
My one true progressive press (a Dillon) is in .38 spl.

I only shoot two cartridges alot. .38s and 9mm. And I do mean alot.

Deaf

Arkansas Paul
October 1, 2012, 11:56 PM
I WILL take some exception to the 231 as your powder choice.


I'm not saying that 231 is going to be my go to powder. I just liked it better than what I happen to have on hand right now. I tried Bullseye and Unique as well and did like 231 the best of the three. I liked Bullseye the least actually. The Unique wasn't bad at all either.
I may have to give Tightgroup a try.
Any other suggestions would be welcome as well. I would imagine Universal would be good for the .38 as well, as I know it is known to be very versatile.

Certaindeaf
October 2, 2012, 12:08 AM
Try some Red Dot. It's like bacon and flapjacks. It's like bacon and.. uh everything.

bergmen
October 2, 2012, 12:17 AM
I use W231 exclusively for:

1) .32 S&W Long
2) .32 Auto
3) .38 Special
4) 9mm
5) .357 Magnum (some loads)
6) .45 Auto
7) .45 Colt (some loads)

It has worked fantastically in all of my handguns for decades: clean, consistent, accurate. It is handy for me to stock one powder instead of a smorgasbord.

Dan

skidder
October 2, 2012, 01:00 AM
Apart from my outdoor carry. The 38 is my primary weapon. I have a couple old beaters I keep in my shop and firewood truck. You never know when those black helicopters from the eighties might return :rolleyes:. If they show up when I'm in my reload shack I'll be well armed. I think I have close to 1000 rounds loaded up for the big day. :D That day could be the end of the Mayan calender.... you never know.:scrutiny:;):D

Nathanael_Greene
October 2, 2012, 11:00 AM
"...those black helicopters from the eighties might return"

Return? They never left.

This reminds me, I need to stock up on .38. I was cleaning my closet and found an ammo box with 500 rounds of .38 that I'd forgotten about. I'm working my way through that; time to get some more.

The .38 special is a great round, no doubt about it.

W.E.G.
October 2, 2012, 02:02 PM
The only disadvantage of .38 Special is magazine capacity.

It will always be a very able cartridge for handgun purposes.

MrBorland
October 2, 2012, 03:26 PM
I WILL take some exception to the 231 as your powder choice. I found in light loads that it was INCREDABLY sooty. Even Bullseye, which is still pretty dirty, is better.


I'm not saying that 231 is going to be my go to powder.


Any other suggestions would be welcome as well.


I had to check my CRC manual (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRC_Handbook_of_Chemistry_and_Physics) to be sure, but yep, the chemical formula for "smoke" actually is "W231 + lead". ;)

Despite the smoke and the dirty loads, W231 worked as well for me as bullseye for target loads. Some of the dirt, IMO, is from the use of a lead bullet. But the lower pressure of very low-powered rounds can often lead to an inefficient powder burn (i.e. soot), no matter the powder.

FWIW, my IDPA load is Clay's over a 158gr plated bullet. Chronos @ 800 fps, and is much cleaner than W231/lead. Some use Solo1000 over plated as well.

JRWhit
October 2, 2012, 03:50 PM
Arkansas PaulWanted a double action revolver, and I've been wanting something the wife could handle with no difficulty


For your wife huh. You sound like me when I got my daughter her Henry Youth.:neener:

tomrkba
October 2, 2012, 05:04 PM
I just picked up a J-Frame in 38 Special. I like it. I'm thinking of getting an S&W Model 15 because of it.

bergmen
October 2, 2012, 05:41 PM
I just picked up a J-Frame in 38 Special. I like it. I'm thinking of getting an S&W Model 15 because of it.

Just the name has a special ring to it "Combat Masterpiece". It is absolutely one of my favorite handguns and probably my favorite DA revolver.

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2006413710053667879vstJAD

Well, the "link to it" on Webshots is nowhere to be found so this is a link to the photo I have. It is not my Model 15 but it looks identical to mine.

Dan

Arkansas Paul
October 2, 2012, 08:36 PM
Some of the dirt, IMO, is from the use of a lead bullet.

Absolutely. Most of the smoke is from the lube on the boolit, no doubt.
I don't mind shooting plated stuff, it's that I just started casting about a year ago and I'm loading bullets so cheap it's just crazy. That's why I shoot a lot of lead. 1,000 .45 Colt rounds are running me about $75 these days.

For your wife huh. You sound like me when I got my daughter her Henry Youth.

Yeah, now I've got to figure out what else she needs. :)

Frizzman
October 2, 2012, 08:57 PM
The first .38 Spl that I ever fired was a S&W M10 4" HB issued to me by the first PD I joined in 1978. The ammo for carry was Remington 158gr LSWHP + P. For the range, we were issued 148gr wadcutter target reloads. Those were the days before expensive duty ammo was used for the range...I observed two incidents that culminated in a subject being shot with the duty ammo and both resulted in instant incapacitation with one shot. I never thought I was inadequately armed with the M10...AND a Charter Arms Undercover .38 on my ankle. I still frequently carry a .38 for defense.

I have been reloading .38 Spl for about 30 years. For the range, I mostly use cast lead 158gr SWC with 3.5 grains of Titegroup. I used the use WW 231 but find the Titegroup to burn cleaner at mild pressures. My RL550 setup has been through a LOT of .38 over the years.

jolly roger
October 3, 2012, 08:52 PM
Our experience too Frizzman back in the day. Winchester 38 158 LHP +P. 3 shootings all dirt naps..we went to 45s around 86 or so. All shootings since then have been effective stoppers but the people survived. Go figure...

I think the LHP 38 is a pretty effective round myself. Still carry those in the house gun since the wife does not like "the guns with little levers and likes to see the bullets" :)

floydster
October 4, 2012, 04:22 PM
AP, if you really want to have fun with your 38 SPL. get the Lee 158 gr. SWC mold two cavity--load with 4gr. Trail Boss, what a great load, the best I have found yet for the 38.
Accurate, soft shooting, very enjoyable.
I size the bullets to .358, lube twice with Alox--never any leading.

MCgunner
October 4, 2012, 05:31 PM
The .38 is pretty special. I own 3 .38s, a 3" Rossi 5 shooter circa 1981, a 4" Smith and Wesson M10 circa early 1960s, and a 2" Taurus M85SSUL. The Taurus is a favorite carry and gets shot the most. The Smith was my grandpa's and is in great shape. The Rossi I got for my step dad to get my grandpa's gun away from him, so he'd have some in home protection. It's a GREAT shooter and well made all steel gun that is similar to the M36 Smith. All three are accurate, well made, reliable firearms and accurate. The .38 has never been broken as a self defense gun, especially with modern ammunition. I know there's lots of magnum toters, carry one myself sometimes. I know there are big bore fanatics, but the .38 still works fine for me in the self defense roll and it's fun to shoot. I reload, so ammo cost and availability for me are a non-issue. I do like the fact that my revolvers don't lose my brass for me. :D

I have the tumble lube version of that 158 Lee mold, but I kinda prefer the 148 WC mold and 2.7 grains of Bullseye. Powder lasts forever, doesn't use all that much lead. Great stuff.

mditurno
October 4, 2012, 07:09 PM
same story here. I have several handguns but the ones I shoot more than any other by far are my m64s and m67 .38 Specials. I reload by the hundreds each month. My "go to" load is 4.0 gr of w231/hp-38 and the 158gr SWC wide nose from Rim Rock bullets. My favorite handgun caliber by far for many reasons.

sixgunner455
October 5, 2012, 12:33 PM
I shoot and carry .38 Special more than any other caliber... even though lately, my range and woods gun has been mostly a .357.

It was the first caliber I learned to load for, and is probably my favorite to load for, even now.

just for fun
October 5, 2012, 02:23 PM
At one time RCBS stated that the 38/357 dies were they're best seller for pistol dies. Most old timers (me included) started out reloading 38's. Could never say that I'm a big numbers gun collecter, we have club members that buy and sell more guns in a year than I own! Of the few that I do own more than half are 38/357's. Shoot I'm so old school that my carry and nightstand guns are revolvers.Do I even own auto's? Sure do and would not be willing to part with any of them. Unlike many others I don't buy guns to sell or trade but to keep.To date I have yet to shoot a 38 that wasn't a keeper! Must be because it's where I started and two, almost ANY combo will result in sub 2 inch groups at 15 yds from a rest! There was a time when I could say 25 yds and be more than willing to back it up with cash!! Alas, those days are behind me. Must be something to what I'm rambling on about as it's over 100 yrs old and still being made.

bwsmith2850
October 5, 2012, 02:57 PM
It's my most shot center fire cartridge by a wide margin even in my .357s. Soft shooting and accurate.

MCgunner
October 5, 2012, 09:07 PM
I shoot and carry .38 Special more than any other caliber...

Well, I cannot say that. I shoot more .22LRs BY FAR than any centerfire. Of my centerfires, I really don't know which gets fired most, 9x19 or .38, but it's between the two. I shoot .38s in my .357s, too. I carry either a 9 or a .38 in the strong side pocket, but my NAA always gun in .22LR is in my weak side pocket with either gun.

sixgunner455
October 6, 2012, 05:54 PM
Okay, you got me. I shoot .22lr more than .38. But only by a little bit, and I rarely carry one, unless I'm hunting rabbits.

Stress_Test
October 7, 2012, 11:57 AM
Our experience too Frizzman back in the day. Winchester 38 158 LHP +P. 3 shootings all dirt naps..we went to 45s around 86 or so. All shootings since then have been effective stoppers but the people survived. Go figure...

I think the LHP 38 is a pretty effective round myself. Still carry those in the house gun since the wife does not like "the guns with little levers and likes to see the bullets" :)

I suspect modern medical techniques have more to due with survival rates than anything, kind of like survival rates for soldiers wounded in battle improving throughout the 20th century.

Arkansas Paul
October 7, 2012, 12:36 PM
I am actually one that shoots more centerfire than rimfire. I have a couple of .22 rifles, but I don't own a rimfire handgun. That needs to change. I need to get me a Buckmark or a MKIII.

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