Feeding my revolvers...~cheap reloads for .38 special


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Nathanael_Greene
March 25, 2014, 07:54 PM
Anyone know of a good source for fairly cheap .38 reloads in the DFW area?

I'd like to get my hands on a few hundred 148-grain wadcutters.

I've thought about trying a gun show, but it's like thirteen bucks just to get in, and I'd hate to waste a trip.

Suggestions?

Thanks!

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KansasSasquatch
March 25, 2014, 08:37 PM
Don't shoot random reloads. If you want to go the reload route, either learn the skill for yourself and buy an inexpensive setup, or buy them from a licensed company with a good reputation. For just one pistol caliber you could easily get into rolling your own for less than the price of a couple hundred rounds. It's also not as complicated as some people claim, just something you need to PAY ATTENTION while doing.

Gunshow reloads are often done by someone in their garage. They may be cheaper sometimes but you have no way of knowing if the person selling them is knowledgeable or not. A licensed (re)manufacturer will also have liability insurance in case their product causes you serious harm. Good luck to you if something catastrophic happens from random gunshow reloads.

But their are some licensed companies that sell reloads at gun shows, like RAM Ammo for instance. I'm just saying don't buy random stuff off of a table.

Drail
March 25, 2014, 09:26 PM
Also be aware that most "cheap reloads" in .38 Spl. will be loaded with dead soft swaged lead bullets that will deposit leading in your barrel. Try to find "hard cast" bullet reloads if possible. Ask about what the bullets are made from before you buy. Soft lead fouling can be removed (buy a Lewis lead removal tool) but takes more elbow grease.

Bush Pilot
March 25, 2014, 09:28 PM
Anyone know of a good source for fairly cheap .38 reloads in the DFW area?

I'd like to get my hands on a few hundred 148-grain wadcutters.

I've thought about trying a gun show, but it's like thirteen bucks just to get in, and I'd hate to waste a trip.

Suggestions?

Thanks!
I can't help you with the ammo. Are you really paying $13.00 to get into a gun show?

MCgunner
March 25, 2014, 09:33 PM
I make my own. Mine are the best, tailored to my guns. :D

Nathanael_Greene
March 25, 2014, 09:34 PM
"I can't help you with the ammo. Are you really paying $13.00 to get into a gun show?"

Yep. $8 admission plus $5 to park. That's why I don't go.

As to the others, I've been shooting commercial reloads for over 25 years without any problems other than some extra cleaning.

jmace57
March 25, 2014, 10:03 PM
I hate to give up my secret, but I've already bought 1000 rounds of these for my old pre-heat-treated S&Ws. Here are some old wadcutters for a decent price.

http://www.sportsmansoutdoorsuperstore.com/products2.cfm/ID/135372/23848dt/3d-inv-inc-38-special-148-gr-wadcutter-police-trade-50box

benzy2
March 25, 2014, 11:33 PM
Be careful buying "hard cast" reloads as well. If they used a hard cast bullet meant for 357 velocities you will have just as much leading issue as if you used ultra soft lead. Most have a hardness meant for the faster speeds.

While not the cheapest, I like loading with plated bullets. This way I can load them fast or slow without worry. Its more practical and easier to keep straight.

ArchAngelCD
March 25, 2014, 11:59 PM
Georgia Arms has a very good reputation. I load my own ammo but a few friends have bought from them and all the ammo has been top grade.
Their 148gr WC .38 Special ammo is $26/100 which isn't all that bad today.
http://georgia-arms.com/38special.aspx?page=2

Dudedog
March 26, 2014, 12:18 AM
It's fun, relaxing and gives me a sense of satisfaction. If you went with a Lee turrent press you could probably get all the equipment necessary for under $300 give or take.
Primers are about $30/1000. Missouri bullet has wad cutters for 34.50/500 so about $210 for 3000 shipped to you door with the THR 5% discount. Powder, if you can find it aaaarrrrgggghhhhhhh:banghead: :banghead: is about let call it $30 a pound. I would guess about 1500 rounds out of a pound of powder. Cases are, well free if you try hard enough. In light .38 special loads you can reuse them a bunch of times. So not counting startup costs you could load 3000 rounds for about $370 so lets say $400. (of course this places no value on your time!) but it should come out to around $6.50 a box.
A little higher if you have to pay shipping and hazmat on the powder and primers but if you have the time I think it is worth doing if you plan on shooting very much.
Does reloading save me any money, no I just shoot twice as much! :D

And sorry I know this is off thread but I just had to make a pitch for loading them yourself.

PS: with 3000 rounds it would be well fed.:evil:
PS #2: Yes I intended two bangheads

Matt Dillon
March 26, 2014, 08:38 AM
At $10.00/500 lead swaged HBWC, I have never had leading problems over 2.8 grains of bullseye, and they are the cheapest center fire ammo I shoot.

Vodoun da Vinci
March 26, 2014, 11:10 AM
What Dudedog said...^^^^^^

I bought a couple thousand bullets from various places in various weights, 158 gr. Flatnoses, 110 gr. Wad cutters, 148 gr. plated wadcutters and 3 lbs of Unique last Summer. Paid $16.80 per pound for the Unique but the shipping/hazmat cost almost as much as the powder.

All said and done, using a single stage press and dies I already owned and one fired brass I'm loading 50 rounds for under $6.00 and they are precise as only I can make them with my finicky ways. :evil:

Don't buy the ammunition...buy the components and tools and do it yourself if low priced ammo is your quest.

VooDoo

sixgunner455
March 26, 2014, 12:03 PM
I'll jump in on the load your own wagon. I started loading with .38 Special, and still load more for it than anything else.

I did it the cheapest possible way - I got a Lee Loader for $10.00, just to see if loading was something that I actually wanted to do. $15.00 or so for a pound of Bullseye, a box of cast bullets, and some primers, and I was in business.

It didn't take up any space in my apartment, and it let me get comfortable with the loading process for next to nothing. I'm on my second press now, a Redding T7 that I got at an estate sale for $50, and I load a lot of ammo much more quickly with that than I did with the Lee Loader. I can load, even with commercial cast bullets (or jacketed), for way less than I can buy comparable commercial loads. And I have ammo whenever I want it. I'd rather sit in my garage and make loads than run around looking for ammo, burning gas and time and finally spending more money on the loads than a set of dies would cost.

Just my opinion, but I think that if you have space for a little bit of equipment and enough patience to follow a recipe to cook a dinner, you can be a successful and safe handloader.

beag_nut
March 26, 2014, 12:28 PM
Be careful buying "hard cast" reloads as well. If they used a hard cast bullet meant for 357 velocities you will have just as much leading issue as if you used ultra soft lead. Most have a hardness meant for the faster speeds.

While not the cheapest, I like loading with plated bullets. This way I can load them fast or slow without worry. Its more practical and easier to keep straight.
A couple fundamental misconceptions here. The harder a lead bullet is, the less it will lead. Period. And, plated bullets can withstand up to about 1250 fps max, before they begin fouling. This info is for the benefit of the OP.

billybob44
March 26, 2014, 04:00 PM
I 'Think'?? I've heard this word on the Health Care Law??:scrutiny:

Your post is NOT a true statement. Too hard of alloy bullet CAN cause excessive leading if not driven FAST enough to swell the base of it for a good gas seal.

Read some of Brad's comments @ Missouri Bullet Co.

Incorrect info, especially in reloading does more harm than good..Bill.;)

gamestalker
March 26, 2014, 05:07 PM
I would venture to guess you are spending as much, or even maybe more for your gun show reloads, as I do to reload jacketed. I can load a box of 50 JHP's, full tilt +P even, for about $10. So considering you only want to load target ammo, you could probably do it for half that cost by reloading your own.

Personally, I won't shoot something I didn't load with my own two hands.

GS

rswartsell
March 26, 2014, 08:07 PM
I'll vouch for these;

http://www.freedommunitions.com/category-s/1830.htm

Good reloads, no 148 gr wadcutters though. For that Bitteroot Valley Ammo Corp. (BVAC);

http://www.bvac-ammo.com/

AND jmace57 is right about;

http://www.sportsmansoutdoorsuperstore.com/products2.cfm/ID/135372/23848dt/3d-inv-inc-38-special-148-gr-wadcutter-police-trade-50box

I've only done 150 of these but as good as you will need. Get 'em while they last with these.

witchhunter
March 26, 2014, 11:22 PM
I'm with Gamestalker, I won't shoot anybody's loads but mine, haven't for over forty years. But, it ain't for everyone. I certainly wouldn't buy reloads from a gunshow! Well, let me clarify that, I would but I would pull the bullets and reload em myself, I might buy em just for the components.

Dudedog
March 27, 2014, 12:12 AM
If you decide to load your own there are a bunch of great people here to help with any questions you might have.

ArchAngelCD, BDS, RCModel, Walkalong just to name a few, and there are many others.
Sorry if I did not mention you by name but you know who you are:)

ArchAngelCD
March 27, 2014, 02:15 AM
If you decide to load your own there are a bunch of great people here to help with any questions you might have.

ArchAngelCD, BDS, RCModel, Walkalong just to name a few, and there are many others.
Sorry if I did not mention you by name but you know who you are:)
There are many on this forum who are more than willing to help anyone who asks for help. Everyone had to start somewhere and I know I got a lot of help when I was learning and I enjoy passing what was passed on to me. IMO the more the better...

Right now components and gear is starting to become available again. You can also look in the "pay it forward" thread and see if someone can give you some of what you need to get started. I would offer you stuff right now but I gave all my spare equipment to one of my son's friends who wanted to start reloading.

Hondo 60
March 27, 2014, 08:33 PM
PLEASE LISTEN TO KansasSasquatch

Shootin somoenelses reloads just ain't worth it.

Just one instance of distraction by the reloader & your gun goes bye-bye

http://www.jbabcock.net/guns/rip.jpg

rswartsell
March 27, 2014, 08:50 PM
Uhhh....Yes, good advice for friends home brew, and certainly friends of friends, and that sketchy guy at the gun show.

HOWEVER, for the love of Mike there are some reputable, licensed and proven producers that produce budget rounds in the remanufactured category because they re-use brass.

Is it a good idea to become proficient and reload your own? Most definitely.

Will this forum provide invaluable assistance? Again, a resounding yes!

Will there be people who for whatever reason either cannot or do not? Again, yes.

There ARE viable producers of remanufactured ammunition that do not take risk levels to that of the Who's "Uncle Ernie". And yes they will save a non-reloader money. Some even have "brass return" policies that will additionally help defray cost. Not by a great deal though.

Regards,

camsdaddy
March 27, 2014, 10:06 PM
I'm just happy to hear components are becoming available. I've gone to start several times and can never find everything I need.

Zeke/PA
March 28, 2014, 03:22 PM
I am a real big fan of the .38 Special for a lot of reasons, ONE being the fact that I don't have to chase my Fired AND reloadable empties all over the range.
I own several "home defense" weapons BUT my favorite caliber is STILL the much abandoned .38 Special. I own a couple of 'em, my night stand choice being a 638 fully loaded!

km101
March 28, 2014, 04:03 PM
You might Google....Master Class Bullets in Allen, TX. He sells re-manufactured ammo of all types. IIRC he is Phil Weber

shadow9
March 28, 2014, 05:45 PM
+1 to RELOAD YOUR OWN. Frankly I got INTO .357/.38 because I wanted to learn handgun reloading. It's by FAR the EASIEST cartridge to reload for, and very cheap.

PJSprog
March 28, 2014, 05:56 PM
I know it's not what you say you're looking for, but most here are correct. You'll never feed your revolvers (or any firearms) as inexpensively as you will if you load your own. It's become one of my favorite aspects of shooting. If you think you like shooting now, you won't believe the satisfaction you'll get from shooting your own handloads.

YJake
March 28, 2014, 09:54 PM
I have had nothing but good experiences with Georgia arms in terms of cost and the quality of their reloads. I have shot several thousand of their .38 loads and a few hundred of their .357 gold dot loads.

The .38 loads put nice round holes in paper.

The .357 loads put nice holes in deer.

-Jake

Zeke/PA
March 29, 2014, 11:40 AM
+1 to RELOAD YOUR OWN. Frankly I got INTO .357/.38 because I wanted to learn handgun reloading. It's by FAR the EASIEST cartridge to reload for, and very cheap.
I thoroughly agree of course about the .38 Special Cartridge.
EASY to reload for, components being available ,and for some reason, the cartridge is no longer popular EXCEPT in certain circles.
I have in my arsenal almost 2 thousand rounds of once fired .38 Special Brass, picked up at various times after a shoot at my club.
Truthfully, the .38 Special, in spite of it's longevity is still great cartridge ESPECIALLY in the Home Defense venue!
To add to your comment, my Dillon Square D is set up to reload the..38 Special cartridge so that I can shoot till my hearts content!

smkummer
March 29, 2014, 12:35 PM
The original Lee loaders are fine to prove that one can reload ammo and it works. Then sell the lee loader to the next new-be and get a press. OR simply by pass the Lee loader all together! The simple lee C frame press works for handgun cartridges. 38 special is one of the easiest cartridges to load for.

B!ngo
March 29, 2014, 05:08 PM
I've purchased the components to start reloading for myself. Couple of reasons:
I really didn't enjoy being at the mercy of the last ammo shortage;
The price of reloaded ammo, once defraying the cost of initial setup is remarkably low;
I had a near-disaster with some gun-show reloads. Came close to some really bad damage to my hand, wrist and arm, and damaged my H&K P7M13 - a gun that doesn't damage easily. All was repaired and in perfect shape.
I WILL buy popular/branded factory ammo but not something in a bag at a gun show. And I hope to avoid it all fairly soon.
B

Stony
March 29, 2014, 05:32 PM
Mesquite Rodeo arena has a gun show going today and tomorrow. 7 bucks to get in and no parking fee. Southwest ammo is set up there and they have all kinds of ammo. They have a good reputation for their reloads if that is what you are after and have some of the best prices around the area for powder and primers too if you need any.

Sniderman
March 30, 2014, 12:24 PM
.38 Special...

That's the caliber that got into "rolling my own" back in the late Sixties!
Lee Loader, (Whack-A-Mole) would let you turn out a few hundred round in your spare time at very little expense, and without committing to a dedicated reloading bench/area of your home. (I.E. you can do it on the Kitchen table.)

THIS, http://leeprecision.com/images/P/90253.jpg

Components are (relatively) cheap/available and you may even be able to get in touch with a local Good Guy reloader that can spare some of what you can't find.

1lb. of Unique, (flaming dirt) will make about 2000 rounds of .38 Wadcutters.
.38 Wadcutters, quick search found them at $37.50 for 500 pcs.
Primers, are now about $3.00/$4.00 per hundred. :cuss:
Brass, Once fired brass seems to go for about $40.00 per 500 ($.08 Ea.)


I haven't been short on ammunition in thirty years and the Lee (Whack-Mole) :what: Loader is what I started with.... :D

http://leeprecision.com/images/P/90253.jpg

Dudedog
March 30, 2014, 02:04 PM
You can get a Lee single stage kit for about $130

and the Turrent kit for about $230

Add Lee dies about $30

More expensive but much faster than the little Lee loader.

Kernel
March 30, 2014, 03:17 PM
The Lee Reloader Single Stage Press is in stock at Midway for $28.49. Perfect for the .38 Spl. Some dies and a set of dippers, is all you need.

http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/440x330/Primary/807/807734.jpg

franzas
March 30, 2014, 09:03 PM
There's a guy in Buda that sells reloads. PBR Ammo.

Don't get them. They're crap. Every round I shot felt like it had a different charge. Would never buy again.

ZVP
March 31, 2014, 05:05 PM
huge topic! There are many things you need to know before buying reloads at a Gun Show. You don't know the guy or who even did the work, how careful.Less he was and exactlly what type of bullets you'll get.
There are a few very reputable "reload sellers" at the shows, they have their own tables, multiple calibers and of course a business card to contact them should you have questions, Yea it could all be phoney but the "real: guys put a pretty good front up! I have bought like this and have beenpleased with reasonable costs.
I much prefer to buy from friends and pay a little extra and even help out if I can to learn more!
In reloading it is possible to make mistakes but it's best to have at least 2 people check powder levels and make spot inspections.
I stick with 158 gr bullets, nothing tricky.
It's still chancy because mistakes caaan happen. it's best to spot check all of the proces!
ZVP

sappyg
March 31, 2014, 09:04 PM
+1 on rolling your own.

It's a good pass time.
There is no magic dark art to it. It's simple as long as you can follow directions.
Saves you money. So, you can shoot more. WINING!

A box of reloaded 38 is costing me about $6.50 to load. 22 lr (the cheap stuff) is trying to go for $6 around here. No thanks. I've ran across a lot of bad 22 ammo lately. At least my loads go bang every time. Plus, it's easier to load 38's than find 22 sometimes.

Go for it.

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