what is your favorite 38 special wadcutter load?


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horsemen61
March 3, 2013, 01:44 PM
what is your favorite 38 special wadcutter load? The reason I ask is because I was just gifted several and I would like a good load for them.

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gunlaw
March 3, 2013, 02:44 PM
2.8 g of Bullseye. It's a classic load for a reason, very accurate.

rehorne
March 3, 2013, 02:45 PM
The "standard" for many many years on the Bullseye circuit was 2.7 gr of bullseye, standard small pistol primer and a 148 gr wadcutter.
I've proally loaded and shot a half million since I started loading and shooting in the 60's.

Matter of fact, My Star Model B is still setup and cranks out several thousand rounds a year.

ljnowell
March 3, 2013, 04:27 PM
2.9gr of AA#2. Meters better than bullseye, leaves my gun cleaner, and shoots better.

Miata Mike
March 3, 2013, 05:58 PM
Red Dot works well for me, but doesn't meter as well as I would like.

I am set up for HP38 on my Lee Pro 1000. Need some more testing before I decide on the final load.

mbopp
March 3, 2013, 06:13 PM
My M-19 never shot light loads well. 4.3 gr of Unique worked good though.

Joatmon
March 3, 2013, 06:22 PM
As stated, 2.7-3 grains of BE is hard to beat for accuracy in .38 spl. Rehorn, always good to hear that reloaders are still cranking them out on a Star progressive. I have one with a 2.7 charge bar and one with a 2.8 charge bar. I have not tried AA#2, probably works well also.

zxcvbob
March 3, 2013, 06:32 PM
2.5 grains of International is a good load, and it meters easily. Right now my press is set up for 2.6 grains of Promo (same as Red Dot)

I also like 4.5 grains of Promo (Red Dot) with DEWC's in .357 Magnum. Don't try this one in .38 Special.

Hondo 60
March 3, 2013, 07:48 PM
3.0 gr of Tite Group, 148gr LWC, 1.160 OAL.
That tucks the entire bullet in the case & crimps over the edge

beatledog7
March 3, 2013, 07:50 PM
I like a 2.8-gr charge of Bullseye, and I use Rem 1-1/2 or 6-1/2 primers for most of mine, whether HBWC or DEWC. OAL is set to 1.18" and I add just enough taper crimp to let them chamber.

These shoot very well from my 642 and my Security Six.

Starter52
March 3, 2013, 08:28 PM
4.0 grains of 231 when I load plated lead DEWC bullets. 3.2 grains when I load plain lead. The plated load is necessary to keep the bullet safely above 800 fps, as recommended for plated bullets.

kostner
March 3, 2013, 09:16 PM
3 grains of Unique or Bullseye seem to work very well with my cast bullets. No leading problems in my SW442 or SW M-10.

robowo
March 3, 2013, 09:34 PM
As mentioned by others 2.7 grains of Bullseye is my favorite load. Another nice load is 2.4 grains of Clays, also excellent accuracy.

Jesse Heywood
March 3, 2013, 09:58 PM
2.7 gr of 7625.

hAkron
March 3, 2013, 11:12 PM
I use 4.0gr of HP-38 with 158gr lead SWC.

joneb
March 3, 2013, 11:31 PM
what is your favorite 38 special wadcutter load?
There are a lot of different 38 cal WCs out there, which is yours ?

kgpcr
March 3, 2013, 11:54 PM
2.8 grns of Bullseye is a great load for them!

joneb
March 4, 2013, 12:00 AM
We have no idea about the 38 cal WCs gifted, this is important.

anothernewb
March 4, 2013, 12:00 AM
148 HBWC over 2.3gr of Trail Boss. just as easy on the wrist as the tried and true bullseye load, but alot cleaner barrel!

ljnowell
March 4, 2013, 12:12 AM
I forgot to mention in my above post about using AA#2 about crimp. When I first started using cast lead DEWC's instead of HBWC's I just couldnt get the accuracy that I was used to with the hollow base bullets. I was seating to the crimp groove and putting a roll crimp into the groove, just like you would with any other bullet with a crimp groove. This isnt to say that they were shotgun patterns, they just werent great groups.

On a whim one day I seated them deeper, covering about 75% of the band above the crimp groove. Then I used my crimp die to just straighten out the case. No crimp at all, just straighten it out till it was against the bullet, no air gap.

When I tested those, it was a night and day difference, WITH THE SAME POWDER CHARGE. I haven't crimped a DEWC since and never will again.

horsemen61
March 4, 2013, 12:24 AM
148 dewc

ArchAngelCD
March 4, 2013, 12:43 AM
3.2gr W231 under a 148gr HBWC and 3.5gr W231 under a 148gr DEWC. (W231=HP-38)

chriske
March 4, 2013, 07:52 AM
3.1 Gr of W-231
3.4 Gr of VihtaVuori N-320

beatledog7
March 4, 2013, 09:29 AM
jibjab,

It seems we all assumed the WC was of the 148-gr variety, which is overwhelmingly the most popular, and we turned out to be correct.

ATLDave
March 4, 2013, 10:16 AM
2.9-3.0 of AA#2.

1KPerDay
March 4, 2013, 12:53 PM
jibjab,

It seems we all assumed the WC was of the 148-gr variety, which is overwhelmingly the most popular, and we turned out to be correct.
Yes, but there are quite a few varieties of 148 wadcutters. Some have crimp grooves and aren't seated as deeply (such as the Speer bevel base wadcutters you can't buy anymore, but I have hundreds of them) and some are intended to be seated flush with the case (which generally use quite a bit lighter loads). Some are double-ended, some aren't... some are hollow base, some aren't. You can't safely interchange max loads among all of them.

Wil Terry
March 4, 2013, 01:40 PM
3.4grs . You will have to test every appropriate propellent as ALL of my 38SPL handguns required a different foomfodder to shoot it's absolute best BUT ALWAYS at 3.4grs [ starting at 2.4grs and going up to 4.0grs with all the test propellets] with every WC bullet available a that time. MOST are still available. There are NO shortcuts to doing it right
And so it goes...

mdi
March 4, 2013, 03:47 PM
I'd say about a bizillion .38 wadcutters (HB, DE, and Plain base) have been reloaded with 2.7-3.2 gr. of Bullseye...

LordDunsany
March 4, 2013, 06:48 PM
I'll go against the grain a bit. My favorite 38 plinking and target loads consist of 148gr DEWC OR 158gr LSWC over 3.5gr Bullseye. I found the 2.8gr loading too anemic and unsatisfying.

This is a bit warmer than the paper punchers use but works quite well for me as a plinking, can rolling and target load. I shoot this mostly from my S&W 442 for practice. It does everything I would expect from a midrange .38 Sp loading, and is quite economical. No leading, no issues.

Ron in Texas

25cschaefer
March 13, 2013, 12:09 AM
3.3 gr of Titegroup under a hand cast 150gr wadcutter with a homemade lube. I can load for about half the price of 22lr.

dleefoto
March 13, 2013, 12:22 AM
I also use 3.5gr of Bullseye under a 148gr Missouri DEWC. I was getting a fair amount of leading in my Dan Wesson with the 2.8gr loads. Would love to try some of the original hollow based wadcutters, maybe they are softer and lead less at 2.7 +/- .1

wally247
March 13, 2013, 12:36 AM
2.2 grains of trail boss with a 148 hollow back.

joneb
March 13, 2013, 01:37 AM
It seems we all assumed the WC was of the 148-gr variety, which is overwhelmingly the most popular, and we turned out to be correct.
I am sure the word assume is not in any of my manuals glossaries.

paw080
March 13, 2013, 04:40 AM
"what is your favorite 38 special wadcutter load? The reason I ask is because I was just gifted several and I would like a good load for them. "


Hi Horsemen, I too, use several different loads from the olden days of bullseye

match shooting. I loaded 2.7 gr of Bullseye for the 50 yd slowfire string, 2.5 gr

of Bullseye powder for the 25 yd timed and rapid fire strings. I used an H&G 50

148 grain wadcutter in all the loads. I've tried the 148 gr HBWC, but I got equal

accuracy from the H&G 50 design. I've even dropped the Bullseye charge down

to 2.2gr, but this was just for 50' practice; this low charge is still good enough

for X-ring accuracy at 50'. These Bullseye loads were for center fire stages

being shot from a 6" barrel Colt Trooper mkIII. These loads were mostly shot

by my father for the centerfire stage in the 2700 series.

Good Luck Horsemen61, you will find these loads to be accurate and fun

to shoot, and they should serve you very well as plinking rounds. :)

Tony

StrawHat
March 13, 2013, 07:21 AM
I have two loads for the lowly 148 DEWC mine were cast from a pair of Lee two cavity molds. 2.8 grains of Bullseye is what I used for 12 years of competition. Not sure how many rounds I loaded and fired but I still have a reloading press set up specifically for that load.

My other load uses enough Unique to launch a harder version of that bullet to 950 fps. It turns the wadcutter into a very fine hunting round.

germ
March 13, 2013, 10:52 AM
For 148 Lee and 155 NOE, I've found that 2.8gr of TG left a difficult to remove smokey haze all over the gun. 3.1gr works great though and my wife is very happy with it in her 686. She preferred TG over BE for some reason, but BE left the gun all smokey as well. Haven't tried it yet at the higher charge though. 3.1 seems quite accurate, but I suspect bullseye shooters might prefer the lighter charges to get back on target quicker.

LeonCarr
March 13, 2013, 11:36 AM
148 Cast BNWC with 2.7 grains of Winchester Super Target (WST).

IME just as accurate as the Bullseye load, but cleaner burning and less smoke during indoor shooting. Five shots rapid fire with 2.7 Grains of Bullseye, then five shots rapid fire with 2.7 Grains of WST shows about 50% less smoke.

Please follow all safe reloading practices.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Mr. D
March 13, 2013, 01:49 PM
I like 4.0 gr of W231 under 158 gr cast bullets, although I usually use LRNFP from Missouri Bullet. It shoots well in my New Vaquero, and hits the sweet spot that is easy to shoot while still giving a satisfying thump in the hand. It is also within the safe range for both .38 spl and .357, which is important to me since I prefer to shoot .357 in my revolvers, but have WAY more .38 spl brass than .357.

~D

Shrinkmd
March 16, 2014, 10:20 AM
I am shooting 148gr Magma wadcutters, so they are not seated flush, but have a crimp groove leaving a little bullet sticking out. I was shooting 2.7 gr Bullseye, but I want to make them even lighter for new shooters. I had made up some 2.6 gr in the past.

How low can I go with this load to still clear the barrel in a 2-4" gun? Are there any concerns about ignition if you go down to, say 2.2 or 2.3?

kwg020
March 16, 2014, 10:34 AM
3.2 of Red Dot under a 158 SWC. kwg

RealGun
March 16, 2014, 10:40 AM
I just finished a bunch of 125 gr LSWC with 4.0gr Bullseye. I don't use any heaver lead and lighter loads in 38 Special. None of Alliant's results are below 4.0 except 3.8 (max) in 158 grain, a bullet I only shoot in .357 Magnum, full up and in a heavy gun.

I suggest you start with Alliant's own data and go from there.

RealGun
March 16, 2014, 10:43 AM
How low with Bullseye?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am shooting 148gr Magma wadcutters, so they are not seated flush, but have a crimp groove leaving a little bullet sticking out. I was shooting 2.7 gr Bullseye, but I want to make them even lighter for new shooters. I had made up some 2.6 gr in the past.

How low can I go with this load to still clear the barrel in a 2-4" gun? Are there any concerns about ignition if you go down to, say 2.2 or 2.3?

New shooters that would require this ought to be shooting 22s or avoiding 38 snubbies.

bluetopper
March 16, 2014, 12:07 PM
148gr double end wadcutters is all I shoot in 38's any more. Any fast burning handgun powder will work very well and be accurate. The bullets I shoot are hard cast and I like to step them up a notch or two....3.5gr of Bullseye is listed max.

Dframe
March 16, 2014, 01:11 PM
My favorite is a double end wadcutter with a medium charge of Trail Boss, crimped into the foreward crimping groove leaving just the tip of the bullet protruding.

Shrinkmd
March 16, 2014, 01:25 PM
Some shooters have small hands and feel more comfortable with the small gripped J frame than the K 22lr revolver. Normally I agree, but circumstances change.

Jesse Heywood
March 16, 2014, 01:41 PM
How low with Bullseye?

How low can I go with this load to still clear the barrel in a 2-4" gun? Are there any concerns about ignition if you go down to, say 2.2 or 2.3?

Your concern should be with getting the bullet out the end of the barrel. If you have a chrono try working the load down. I would stop around 500 fps. The last thing you want is for a new shooter to have a stuck bullet. Another concern is bullet placement

Schwing
March 16, 2014, 01:57 PM
2.8 g of Bullseye. It's a classic load for a reason, very accurate.
This.

whughett
March 16, 2014, 02:16 PM
2.8 grns of Bullseye is a great load for them!
Dead on accurate and very reliable in my S&W Model 52.

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