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Cast .38 Bullets and Bullseye Powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Mike1527, May 2, 2013.

  1. Mike1527

    Mike1527 New Member

    Does anyone have a source for loads using cast lead bullets with Bullseye powder in .38 Special? I found some data for jacketed bullets, but not for the cast lead. I'm trying to use 125 gn RNFP bullets. Thank you! :)
  2. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Well-Known Member

    Lyman cast bullet handbook or Lee's manual should have loads for that. I'm at work right now, so don't have access to my manuals right now.
  3. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

  4. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Well-Known Member

    121 gr is the closest I can get according to Lyman's 45 edition.
    Bullseye powder
    starting is 2.0 gr
    max is 3.8 gr

    I would reduce the starting load by .1gr and the max by .2gr that should get your started.

    As always, start low and work up.
  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    I wouldnt worry about reducing it at all. That lyman bullet is a 125, probably, thats just the as cast weight. Add lube to it and it is a 125gr bullet.
  6. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't worry about reducing it either. The .38 Special is such a low pressure round, you don't have anything to worry about even if the bullet weights are different, which they probably aren't.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    What he said.

    Lyman manual cast bullet weights are shown 'as cast' from the type of alloy shown in the manual.

    A 121 is a 125 after the bullet lube weight is added to it.

  8. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Well-Known Member

    The Lyman loading info should work well for you and Bullseye produces an accurate round.
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    The data below is what I got, I recommend going with 4.0 grains Bullseye as it shot well and did not lead. This bullet will shoot low in the older fixed sight revolvers that were zero'd with 158's.

    S&W M637-2  2" barrel
    158 LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases		
    6-Apr-07 T = 48 °F		 	 		
    Ave Vel =679				
    Std Dev =16.48				
    ES 56.11				
    High 698.2				
    Low 642				
    N = 18				 
    125 Lead BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Lot BE 532 Mixed cases CCI 500 	
    6-Apr-07 T = 48 °F					
    Ave Vel =	763.9	 			
    Std Dev =	22			 	 
    ES	78			 	 
    High	806.5			 	 
    Low	728.5			 	 
    N =	15				 
    Point aim OK					
    125 Lead BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP 	
    9-Apr-06 T = 59 °F					
    Ave Vel =	760.4	 			
    Std Dev =	27.33				 
    ES =	82.1				 
    High  =	798.9				 
    Low  =	716.8			 	 
    N =	19				 
    125 Lead BBRNFP 4.5 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP 	
    9-Apr-06 T = 64 °F					
    Ave Vel =	827.9				
    Std Dev =	23.21				 
    ES =	92.27				 
    High  =	879.4			 	 
    Low  =	787.1			 	 
    N =	20	
    4" S&W M10-5
    125 Valiant BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP 	
    9-Apr-06	T = 59 °F				
    Ave Vel =	863.4	 		 
    Std Dev =	30				 
    ES =	70.78				 
    High  =	907.5			 	 
    Low  =	836.7			 	 
    N =	6				 
    Windage centered	accurate				
    Elevation at least 4" low	
    125 Valiant BBRNFP 4.5 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP 	
    9-Apr-06	T = 64 °F				
    Ave Vel =	945.6	 		 
    Std Dev =	27.28				 
    ES =	75.21				 
    High  =	995.2			 	 
    Low  =	920			 	 
    N =	6				 
    Windage centered	accurate				
    Elevation at least 4" low
  10. paw080

    paw080 Member

    Hi Mike, the standard 38 sp bullseye competition load for 25 and 50 yards back in the

    olden days; was the H&G # 50 cast bullet in front of 2.7 grains of Bullseye powder.

    Others used 2.5 grains of BE for the 25yd load(timed & rapid fire strings).

    The H&G #50 bullet is available from Dardas and other bullet suppliers.

    Here's a peek at the bullet design; http://hgmould.gunloads.com/molds/50_2.jpg

    and here's Dardas's #50: http://www.dardascastbullets.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=dardas&Category_Code=38WC

    the case is intended to be crimped on the topmost groove. It usually casts as

    148grn. The 2.5-2.7 gr charge is very light recoiling and yet is very accurate,

    I've even loaded the #50 with 2.2 gr of bullseye for 50' bullseye, it works

    great in my 6" Colt Trooper and is X-ring accurate at 50' and 25yds.

    I found many 38 sp cast bullet loads in my ancient Lyman reloading guide.

  11. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    Phil Sharpe's "Complete Guide to Handloading" (1937) available FOC from multiple sources on the web (just search name and title) will have a number of cast and Bullseye loads. Sharpe was a .38 fan and one of the architects of the .357 Mag and he loved Bullseye!
  12. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    If you have not yet gotten your answer, I will ask my bud, who has loaded several thousand of these:

    Missouri Bullet
    Cowboy #2
    .358 Diameter
    .38 Special
    125 Grain TCFP
    Brinell 12

    He uses Bullseye exclusively, and I think he is right around 4 gr.
  13. Richard44

    Richard44 New Member

    Use just one powder for handguns, Bullseye. Works great for me and don't have a bunch of different powders. I use 2.5 gr. for revolver and 3 gr. for pistol.
  14. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    I couldnt fathom using only one powder for all handgun loads. You may have an optimum powder in a few loadings, but not in all.
  15. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    Im using HP-38 and HP-38 only for 4 loads and i havent switched powders ever(well, sometimes win231 but thats the same thing). I load 102gr cast 380(3.0gr), 158gr cast 38spl (3.4gr), 125gr plated 357 mag(7.5gr) and 235ishgr cast 45acp (4.9gr). Not an optimum performer in 357 but being the cheap a$$ I am, I dont know if i'll ever buy any full metal jacket 357's to load with some 296. my 357 loads chrony at 1,400fps at the muzzle and give sub 1" groups at 15yd out of my taurus 66. Recoil is tame out of a 6" but watch out as 7.5gr can induce headaches through earmuffs and plugs :neener:
  16. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    And there it is. I load for performance. My goal is the best ammo I can make, not the cheapest, most rounds per pound, or the fewest powders. Couldnt do it that way.
  17. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    I hate the idea of sending an xtp into a pile of dirt(rather than a dirtbag :evil: ). All I load is range loads and boy do the 38's dot the proverbial "i". I may start loading for both accuracy and performance for 38 and 357 when I get my hands on a 357 levergun here in the near future.
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I agree. I have probably too many powders but i like to try to find the best powder for a round I'm developing. When powders were easily available I would buy what I thought would do the best job.

    As for the OP needing load data, if you are going to load Cast bullets you just have to buy the new Lyman 4th Edition Cast Bullet Handbook. It has a treasure trove of information and data. It can be found much cheaper than on the Lyman site, usually right around $20... There is additional load data in the 4th Edition Cast Handbook than in the Lyman 49th Edition load manual. Unlike any other Lyman book they also include bullets from other companies in the Cast Bullet Handbook.

    From Lyman 4th Edition Cast Handbook
    .38 Special:
    Lyman #356242 LRN
    Bullseye - 2.8gr to 4.6gr, (+P) 4.9gr

    Lee #358-125-FN
    Bullseye - 3.2gr to 4.2gr (+P) 4.9gr

    Alliant Cowboy load data:
    125gr Oregon Trails Bullet (22 BHN)
    Bullseye - 4.8gr Max (to find starting load reduce by 10% = 4.3gr)

    NEVER TRUST DATA SUPPLIED ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE MISTAKES CAN AND WILL HAPPEN. Always verify the data for yourself, it's the safe thing to do...

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