WST in .38 special


June 22, 2013, 02:22 PM
I am just getting started reloading this caliber for my 637. I currenty have PowerPistol and WST to work with. I have used these powders with outstanding results in 9mm. PowerPistol for the hotter stuff, WST for cast plinker rounds.

I worked up some 125 gr XTP's with PowerPistol to replicate some commercial defensive loads for the little J frame. As I expected, they performed well. Easily met, and exceeded, the velocities I was getting from similar weight factory +P ammunition. Makes one heck of a noise and a large fireball though.

That loading is fine and dandy for practicing for self defense situations. But I also want a lighter round that isnt gonna pound the aluminum frame to death. I have 140 gr TCFP from MO Bullets. Cowboy #14 I believe they call them. I want to use WST powder. However, load info has proven difficult to find. I have found a few online sources, but mainly for 158 grain bullets and a few different full wadcutters.

I think I could work off 158 gr LSWC data if I had to but if anyone has got a better direction to point me in I'd appreciate it. Not looking for total bunnie farts. Just a general use standard pressure load.

But that brings me to another question... what kind of velocities should I be looking for out of the 1 7/8 barrel? The only factory ammo I've been able to get my hands on is some of the fancier +P stuff. And most ballistic info available is based on longer barrel 38's.

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Hondo 60
June 22, 2013, 11:45 PM
140 gr TCFP is not a common bullet.
I wish I had a recipe for you. :(
Good luck.

June 23, 2013, 10:57 AM
I use 3.7 Grs WST under an X-Treme 158 Gr SWC in .38 Spl (3.8 Grs in .357 mag) loaded to 1.440 OAL and it gives around 700 to 725 FPS from a 4" revolver barrel with good numbers if the powder is away from the primer. It is not light pressure, but seems to be under max pressures, although I have no way of knowing for sure. I would think 3.5 Grs would be a good starting point for your bullets with WST in .38 Spl when loaded to a reasonable OAL.

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June 23, 2013, 04:16 PM
Ok. Thanks. That's almost axactly what I was thinking. Start at 3.5 and work up to around somewhere around 4 grains and go from there.

June 23, 2013, 05:44 PM
Work up .1 Gr at a time.

June 23, 2013, 08:09 PM
Normally I go in .2gr incraments. But in this case maybe you are right. It is a very small charge weight and WST is a bit of a faster powder. Thanks for the reminder.

June 23, 2013, 10:50 PM
WST plays nicer than say red Dot or N310 when it gets up there, but it is still a good idea to go slow, especially when loading off the charts.

June 25, 2013, 10:37 PM
I got some chrono results!

This is WST in .38 special with a 140 gr LTCFP bullet from Missouri Bullets. OAL of 1.145. I worked up from 3.5 gr to 4.0 gr.

3.5 grains gives 690 fps on average.
4.0 gives 750 fps on average.

I think I will settle on 3.7 grains for 705 fps. There was a little leading developing in the forcing cone after completing all of the tests. I am hoping it is more from the latter portion of test batches. These bullets are pretty soft at 12 BHN (advertised).

Again, this is out of a model 637 with a 1 7/8 inch barrel.

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