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Handloading .38 hollow base in .38spl

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by JamesWoods, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. JamesWoods

    JamesWoods New Member


    I own an Uberti Remington 1858 New model Navy revolver in .36. I found an
    R&D Cylinder converting it into a .38 special with the provision that I use Hollow Base ammunition with black powder equivillant loads.

    I found hollow base flat nose bullets (Lead projectile only) & wanted to handload .38spl with 20grains of Hodgedon's 777.

    I've never handloaded bullets before, but I think if I knew how, I'd have allot of fun (I find simple & monotonous repetitions relaxing.)

    Question 1 - What basic Elements do I need to handload bullets.
    - I think I need a Press, a .38spl die (whatever that is), Brass, Powder,
    projectile, measurer, & something for primers -

    Question 2 - Would 20 grains of 777 be too much power for a hollowbase

    Question 3 - Since the Projectile is exposed lead, do I need anything special for handloading?

    Question 4 - Would 777 work in handloaded cartridges as well as it does in standard BP configuration?

    Question 5 - Do you believe that I'd get as good accuracy from a Hollowbase as I would using BP Cap & Ball?

    All these questions will determine weather or not I buy the cylinder for my Remington, or say screw it & just get a stainless .357 Taurus Goucho.
  2. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    This is a factory hbwc in a similar gun. I don't know if the barrel dimensions are the same as a 36 c&b but it seems likely. these are smokeless loads using a small charge of fast burning powder. Wadcutter loads are tipically in the 8-10,000psi range and plenty mild enough for the various opentops. This would probably be a better bet than using black powder or a substitute unless you just want authentic looking smoke. Appropriate charges of bullseye, 231 and hp 38 are found in a number of handloading manuals My speer number 12 lists a range of 2.8-3.1 bullseye and 3-3.3 ww231 with the speer hbwc.

    I don't know how 20 grains of h777 would perform in a cartridge load but the original black powder load was 21 grains of fffg. there is a good possiblity that this level of loading would be too much for the bullet. The handloading manuals warn not to load these hollow based bullets hotter than the listed loads because of weak walls of the bullet around the hollow base There is a danger of blowing out the nose/blowing off the skirts and leaving part of the bullet as a barrel obstruction.
  3. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Well-Known Member

    One of the best references on black powder (and substitute) cartridge reloading is here, at Captain Baylor's excellent page on the topic. Even though it is geared towards Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) you will find plenty of informative stuff.

    With the cartridge conversions you want to load a little on the light side. 20 grains of 777 sounds a bit hot to me, and you will get better accuracy with a lighter load. Also, you might want to try other bullets, there are some hollow base conicals out there as well as the flat nose wadcutter.
  4. Low Key

    Low Key Well-Known Member

    Slightly off topic, sorry,


    We can always count on you to post an absolutely beautiful handgun picture! You must have an amazing collection of bp arms. :)

    (jealous, jealous me! :rolleyes: )
  5. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    not all mine. this one belongs to somebody else. I shot the group though. The owner shot one just as good or better.
  6. Low Key

    Low Key Well-Known Member

    well, at least you get to shoot them and then take pictures! :)

    that's a nice group on that target...:D
  7. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Well-Known Member

    I did a search on the box of cartridges in the picture and got taken to Federals site. They were first made in the 60's. Are these that old or can you still buy them?. The reason I ask is that I bought a .45 1858 Remington rather than .36 because from what I could see it was going to cost me more to shoot it with .38 cartridges than .45 if I bought a conversion cylinder. Also suitable .45 ammo looked a lot more plentiful than .38. Nice picture of the Colt and good shooting.
  8. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    Saaman had those in the bottom of his gunsafe. they are undoubtedly a few decades old I'm sure hollow based wadcutters are still loaded. Pmc had them at favorable prices a few months ago but they have since gone under. there are various economical 38 loads around- particularly from S&B but those are standard velocity and in fact, the last batch I shot were loaded hot. .45 colts are fairly expensive no matter where you get them.

    there are several wadcutter loads here (and even some CAS type black powder 38s. Prices range from $11 per fifty to twice that amount.

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