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38 +P Titegroup?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by griz, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    In the current issue of Handloader, Brian Pearce has an article with some loading data for 38 Special. One of the max loads is a 158 gr SWCHP with 4.7 gr of Titegroup. I have no doubt it was safe in the 357 N-frame S&W he was using, but I've never seen that high a load listed anywhere else. I've loaded just over 4 grains (not sure of the exact charge) and it ran the same velocity as factory 158 +P loads. Has anybody here seen any other data that lists a max charge of Titegroup in that range?
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Hodgdon lists a Max charge of 4.3gr Titegroup with a 158gr HDY XTP bullet. The charge for a lead bullet will be even lighter. A charge of 4.7gr is probably way over the 20,000 PSI rating since the 4.3gr charge is listed at 19,300 CUP. I'm not sure what Brian Pearce had on his mind but IMO that's nowhere near a .38 Special load but a light Magnum load for sure. Hodgdon is listing a charge of 5.0gr Titegroup with a 158gr LSWC with pressures of 24,900 CUP in a .357 Magnum case.

    I wouldn't use that 4.7gr load in anything other than a .357 Magnum revolver...
  3. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    I run a 158-grain lead SWC over 5.0 grains of Titegroup as a Magnum target load!

    It's not full bore Magnum power. According to Hodgdon's Cowboy bullet loading charts with a 158gr LSWC it is nominally 1108 fps and 24.9Kcup in Magnum brass. In a shorter 38 Spl case pressure would be a good bit higher than that. My unscientific seat-of-pants-o-meter tells me it would be probably no more than 30,000 CUP- and that's about double a run-of-the-mill 38 Special...!

    The SAAMI limit for 38 spl +P used to be 20,000cup but they reduced to 18,500cup 'recently'. Hodgdon still shows loads which are over 18.5k but under 20K as +P loads, and I personally have no problems using the 20K specification in guns which are of sufficient durability- such as nearly any major-brand 6-shot steel revolver.

    What I typically load for 38 special is 3.5 grains of Titegroup under a 158-gr lead SWC. That in theory hits (approximately)860 fps & 13.5K cup by averaging Hodgdon's Cowboy lead load data charts for Titegroup- which shows 3.2gr start and 3.8gr max loads.

    This is my preferred 38 special load!

    I also load a 158-grain Speer Gold Dot over 4.0 grains of Titegroup as a 'hunting' load. Performance of these was similar to other factory personal-defense/hunting loads I fired. It's a 0.1 grain overmax for a non+P loading, but...I find it shoots well even in older Colts and it *is* under +p by a couple tenths of a grain.

    I am sure that Mr. Pearce developed his loads to suit his gun- an oversized "N"-frame S&W which was designed for the 44 magnums- and were I shooting them out of that sort of gun I would think they would be OK. I would NOT shoot them in anything smaller.
  4. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info guys. I thought it sounded about a half grain over +P levels for 38 Special, and that is quite a bit for the energetic Titegroup. I think I will stick to 4.0 or 4.1 for a max load in my little snubbie.
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Here is some data I had chrono'd using Tight Group and 158gr bullets in both .38 spl and .357 mag. 3.8grs of tight group is pretty close to +P velocities in the .38 spl. 4.7grs in a .357 mag case is exactly equal to the .38 spl load out of a different gun though.


    Attached Files:

  6. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    You must've missed the part where he stated that some loads were in the +P 20,000psi range and should only be used in guns so-rated or .357's. Since the Hornady 158gr SWC/HP is a swaged bullet with a knurled surface, rather than a crimp groove, you have to pay attention to his listed overall length because it can be crimped anywhere.
  7. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    I crimp the same bullet just over the shoulder and get within 0.01 inches of his OAL, so I don't think there's much difference there. While looking at Hogden's data I saw their 158 gr lead bullet load with Titegroup tops out at about 15K, and they don't list a +P load with that combo. So extrapalating out it looks as if 20K would be reached closer to 4.7 grains than I thought (I haven't done the math yet). It's good to see the manufactuer at least in the ball park.
  8. mboylan

    mboylan Well-Known Member

    If you are trying to maximize velocity, I'm going to suggest that you use a slower burning powder than TiteGroup.
  9. mjyeagle

    mjyeagle Well-Known Member

    me too but i run 5 gr titegroup 152 gr hardcast in 38 shells out of a 357 gun for practice i like 11 gr of bluedot better though use strong cases of they wont last long with these loads

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