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.38 special screw-up...or not?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by marcodo, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. marcodo

    marcodo New Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    Not sure if I need to pull these bullets...but I have 158 gr Ranier flat tops and w231. I looked at the Sierra manual and found what appeared to be a middle of the rd load at 4.5-4.6 gr with oal at 1.450. I loaded over 100 of them. Well today killing time I looked up w231 loads on the net and it appears this may be a touch hot. I was looking for practice rounds and plinking. I carry .38+P so a +P practice round is not a big problem, although that wasn't my intent at the start.

    I have a Ruger SP101 21/4" 38/357 and a GP 6' 38/357.

    I ask the reloading gods, Am I good to go or do these rounds meet the bullet puller death
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have loaded several bushels of 158 gr cast and 4.6 gr 231. It is right at the dividing line between standard and +P, depending on whose manual you read.

    I doubt your use of plated bullets will matter much, especially considering that you are shooting them in magnum revolvers.
  3. Steve C

    Steve C Senior Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    As mentioned your load will be a bit warmer than a standard load but a little off the top of the +P. You should be getting around 800 fps from you 2-1/4" barreled revolver. No worry about using them in a .357 mag pistol.
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I use 4.0gr W231 for 158gr Lead bullets all the time. Like the others have said, I think 4.6gr W231 is a little warm but only by todays load data standards set but the Lawyers. The current MAX charge on the Hodgdon load data site for a .357 Magnum with a 158gr LWSC bullet is 5.0gr W231 so since you are going to shoot these rounds in .357 Magnum revolvers you won't have a problem at all.

    30 years ago 4.6gr W231 would have been considered a very light plinking load. I have a book from 1970 and while it doesn't list W231 as one of the powders it does list Unique. The Max charge then was 5.5gr Unique whereas today it's 4.3gr. That's just one example of the anemic load data we have to put up with today.

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