What's is your favorite 38 Super powder?


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rbernie
October 7, 2012, 10:29 PM
I'm fixing to start loading for 38 Super after a 20+ year hiatus, and it seems as if I have no suitable powders on hand. If I have to buy into a new powder, I'm open to suggestions.

I'm interested in decent velocities using 115gr to 125gr jacketed bullets - I see no sense in shooting 9x19 velocities in such expensive brass. :)

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grendelbane
October 7, 2012, 10:37 PM
I started out with Unique, about 30 years ago. At some point I started using Power Pistol. Last time I loaded any, I used Longshot.

The Finnish VV powders have a lot of users, but I have no experience with them.

Since I don't hot rod the .38 Super any longer, I am more than content with the Longshot loads. Power Pistol is good, but flashy.

If maximum velocity at reasonable pressure is your goal, look at the VV powders.

Walkalong
October 7, 2012, 11:20 PM
3N37 is superb for pushing a 124 Gr plated (Berrys 125 Gr HBRN-TP) or a 125 Gr jacketed bullet to a little over 1300 FPS. I have shot them at up to 1400 FPS with it.

True Blue will work, as well as Longshot, but I settled on 3N37 and a 1300+ FPS load.

As you get hotter with the .38 Super, you can get some primer smear. the 3N37 load at 1300 FPS minimizes it. At least in my SA .38 Super (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=143520&stc=1&d=1307296863).

noylj
October 7, 2012, 11:51 PM
This may not be true for you, but I find my .38 Supers are quite a bit more accurate than my 9x19s, so I am happy shooting light target loads in them.
I find 0.356-0.357" jacketed bullets are the most accurate.
121-135gn bullets are the most accurate.
L-SWCs are more accurate than other lead designs.
JHPs are more accurate than other jacketed designs.
Zero 121gn 0.356 (actually 0.3555" for the batch I have) are about the most accurate of all bullets tested, with the Montana Gold 124gn JHP close.
The Hornady 140gn "Cowboy" L-RNFP is surprising accurate at low to mid-range loads. The 0.358" diameter keeps leading to almost nil in all my guns, including the comps.
With 121-125gn jacketed bullets:
5.9-6.5 gn is quite accurate.
6.5-7.4gn of Herco is good.
8.3-8.6gn 540/HS6 is good.
8.5-9.2gn 571/HS7 is very good.
5.6-5.8gn Silhouette is quite accurate.
6.5-6.8gn Silhouette is quite accurate (mid-range?)
7.3-7.5gn Silhouette is quite accurate (near full power?)
7.7-8.3gn True Blue is accurate
5.5-5.9gn WSF is accurate, with 5.9gn being "best" with this powder
If I wanted to shoot full power, I would look first at Silhouette and True Blue. If I needed more power, I would go to VV N105.

rbernie
October 8, 2012, 02:35 PM
3N37 is superb for pushing a 124 Gr plated (Berrys 125 Gr HBRN-TP) or a 125 Gr jacketed bullet to a little over 1300 FPS. I have shot them at up to 1400 FPS with it.
It's a bit of a veer, but - can you really get 1350fps from a Berry's bullet without it shedding its coating?

Mac Attack
October 8, 2012, 02:55 PM
Back in the 90's my favorite was AA#7.

ArchAngelCD
October 8, 2012, 02:59 PM
When HS-7 was still available it was the hands down best powder for the .357 Sig IMO. Now that it's gone HS-6 is also a good choice. If you can't find HS-6 Longshot isn't a bad choice either.

Walkalong
October 8, 2012, 03:08 PM
can you really get 1350fps from a Berry's bullet without it shedding its coating?I would not try it with their standard bullet, but the thicker plating bullet I noted will take it, at least in my gun, and that barrel isn't the smoothest in the world.

ReloaderFred
October 8, 2012, 07:12 PM
I shoot the Berry's 124 gr. RNFP in my 357 Sig at a little over 1,300 fps without any problems. However, at 1,450+ fps they will tumble and take out the right skyscreen strut on your chronograph....................

I also use this bullet in my .38 Super.

Hope this helps.

Fred

PO2Hammer
October 8, 2012, 07:33 PM
Sr 7625

superbee922
October 8, 2012, 08:43 PM
Longshot with Berry's plated 124 grain 9 mm. HP.

I wouldn't mind trying some of the VV powders, but they are never available in my area and they seem expensive.

squarles67
October 8, 2012, 09:49 PM
I've had good luck with Blue Dot and Power Pistol. Power Pistol gives me single digit Standard Deviations.

I shoot alot of the 125g Hornady HAP bullets, reasonably priced and they shoot well for me.

mavracer
October 8, 2012, 10:24 PM
I use Hodgdon Longshot it also works well in 10mm.

crazysccrmd
October 9, 2012, 09:39 PM
Can anyone post a light (1000fps or lower) load using power pistol? I'm loading for 38 Auto/ACP which is the same cartridge but at lower pressure/velocity. Unfortunately there is a huge lack of info available for it.

noylj
October 10, 2012, 03:27 AM
crazysccrmd: About all you'll find for .38 Auto are Bullseye, Red Dot, 700-X, and Unique. I doubt if any manual company feels any desire to load new powders in that old and dead cartridge. Then, at the cartridge's working pressure, Power Pistol is not going to be a "first choice" any way.
If I wanted to load that cartridge, I would work up loads with Red Dot, AA2, 231/HP38, and Solo 1000. Those are really well-behaved powders that are easy to work with.
You'll have to work up your own loads or find a .38 Auto forum for like-minded people.

Peter M. Eick
October 10, 2012, 09:37 AM
Currently it is SR4756 and I am making up loads by the thousands with it. As I make them though I am debating trying something a bit different.

I have had good luck with Unique also.

I shoot pretty much only lead 135 grn LRN's though.

rbernie
October 10, 2012, 06:08 PM
I've got a friend who recommends Blue Dot - anyone tried it?

Walkalong
October 10, 2012, 07:10 PM
No reason it would not work well, but I have not tried it. Maybe I'll try a few.

Peter M. Eick
October 10, 2012, 07:21 PM
I have not played with Blue Dot and the Super myself. It should be fine as the powder speed is in the useable band.

squarles67
October 10, 2012, 10:44 PM
I've had good luck with Blue Dot, for me it doesn't seem as snappy as power pistol and gives similar velocities. Alliant lists 9.2 as the max with a Speer 124 GDHP.

I've gone as high as 8.0 behind a 125 HAP and that gave me 1258 fps out of a 5" Colt bbl. I've got some loaded with more but haven't had a chance to test them yet.

noylj
October 11, 2012, 05:31 AM
crazysccrmd: please do not confuse the answers for Super with your .38 Auto. KaBoom would be a strong possibility. You need low pressure loads--can the powder companies and see if they have data for you.

crazysccrmd
October 11, 2012, 09:18 AM
crazysccrmd: please do not confuse the answers for Super with your .38 Auto. KaBoom would be a strong possibility. You need low pressure loads--can the powder companies and see if they have data for you.

No worries, I'm tracking. Was just curious about PP, going with something different. Found that Lee has data in their book.

AABEN
October 11, 2012, 10:38 AM
I like the Winchester 231 very clean burring powder.

Peter M. Eick
October 12, 2012, 10:09 AM
I would have thought that Power Pistol would be a touch fast for the Super. It should work fine, but I would tend to lean toward something a bit slower. Playing around with powders is what led me to 4756 so far.

I really need to finish my testing though and settle on a load.

noylj
October 13, 2012, 02:03 AM
If the goal is to maximize velocity and try to maintain a sane pressure lever, then the powders to try are in the Blue Dot, N105, AA9, Enforcer region. Not sure if you could get enough 2400 in for any sort of performance.
Anybody have access to Vectan SP2 or Nobel PP1?

rbernie
October 13, 2012, 11:15 AM
Blue Dot and #9 are appealing because I can get both locally. Any VV would be a mailorder-only kind of purchase.

Thanks very much, everybody, for the inputs.

Peter M. Eick
October 15, 2012, 09:42 AM
Just some guidance.....

I loaded up to 6.6 grns of Power Pistol with a 125 TCFP from Missouri Cast to 1.230COL, cci500 primer and a light crimp. My notes say good accuracy, mild recoil, need to chrono and work up more.

CZ57
October 15, 2012, 06:33 PM
rbernie, Ramshot Silhouette is a very good alternative to V-V 3N37. They are very similar powders and Silhouette costs less. Check out noylj comments in post #4 again. Silhouette is a fine powder for .38 Super. ;)

BullfrogKen
October 15, 2012, 08:40 PM
Like Walkalong, I am also a big fan of VV 3N37 for hot 38 Super loads. It's not stocked by my local reloading shop, but they do order it for me when I want a few pounds. It usually runs about 30% more in price over the other major brands. Well worth it.

I've had success with AA No7 as well. Not as fast as 3N37, but it is a better choice when trying to tune in a comp'ed barrel.


Here's a link to a rather extensive 38 Super list. Unfortunately you'll see that it's rather dated, as some of the best powder is no longer on the market.

Use at your own risk.


http://www.k8nd.com/documents/hl38sup.pdf


Also . . . remember to use Small RIFLE primers in those hot loads.

I like Federal because they're soft enough to still touch off under a pistol's hammer strike, but stronger than any pistol primer and will contain the higher pressure.


Brass? I absolutely love Starline's SuperComp. It does away with that silly semi-rim and the rounds stack better in the magazine. That wasn't out back when you were loading it 20 years ago.

Confirm it with Dillon, but I'm pretty sure it uses the same shellplate as you use to load .223/9mm, and your regular old 38 Super Dies.


Enjoy!

Walkalong
October 15, 2012, 09:05 PM
I use the Starline SuperComp brass as well. I have to buy brass anyway, because I don't find a lot of .38 Super at the range. Great stuff.

I use the 9MM plate for the LNL.

angus6
October 16, 2012, 09:28 PM
Great timing , as I just started to reload for the the Super after a 2 year wait on a pistol, ran some 130gr berrys over 6.7 of AA#5, very nice shooting load. Need to do a Widener's order so thinking of trying some Silhouette too

2zulu1
October 17, 2012, 01:24 AM
N105 puts 125gr XTPs into 357mag territory and keeps operating pressures under 33,350 psi according to VihtaVuori data.

http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g474/aztrekker511/38Super125XTP-1491fps012.jpg

I've found Federal small pistol primers work best with this load.

Shimitup
October 17, 2012, 02:54 AM
I haven't had the opportunity to load much for 38 super, however I did make up a batch for my Dad's pristine Colt that he bought new in the early 50's. I used 8.4 gr HS-6 with Federal 200 primers under a Hornady 115 XTP. It seems that's near max in Hodgdons data but they seem pretty moderate and chrono at 1230 fps in this particular gun. It's a very accurate and pretty clean load.

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