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Load Confirmation: .38SPL

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by IDriveB5, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Well-Known Member

    Lee's #2:
    158gr Lead WW231 4.0gr-4.5gr

    WW's Website:
    158gr LSWC WW231 3.1gr-3.7gr

    What is the deal here? Is the data different between swaged and cast bullets?
  2. Kruzr

    Kruzr Well-Known Member

    I load 4.0 of 231 behind a 158 gr. plated RNFP for a light accurate load out of a 6" GP100. Lead loads would be a little less.

    3.1 seems a bit light to me, even for lead.

    You may want to compare it to loads posted here:
  3. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Well-Known Member

    thanks for that link, they post

    158 grain LSWC or LRN (Semi-Wad, Rnd. Nose or flat point)
    231 3.1 gr. 753 (do not use less)

    i think i'll try 3.4gr, the next larger hole in my powder measure and go from there.
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Interesting, Lee normally just parrots powder company data.
    I have always found the Winchester data to be a little mild versus other sources and load 4.6 gr W231 (which is getting into their +P range) for 158 gr .38 special.

    I load .38 wadcutters with 3.2 gr W231 for barely 700 fps.
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Since Winchester powders are now marketed by Hodgdon and they now run the reloading data the loads have been decreased a lot. WW's data from last year, pre Hodgdon, listed 4.5grs of W231 as max standard load and 4.7grs as max +P. Even at that their +P load only made 17,100 psi. Since SAAMI max standard .38 spl is 17,000 psi and +P loading is 18,500 psi 4.7 grs is not a hot load by any stretch.

    The current Hodgdon run load data does say their maximum 3.7gr W231 with a 158gr cast lead bullet runs at 14,600 CUP. NOTICE THE CHANGE IN UNITS from PSI to CUP. Well the old SAAMI CUP standard was 18,900 CUP for standard .38 spl and 22,400 CUP for +P. Very watered down loads from Hodgdon. Not sure why but Hodgdon only lists "Cowboy" power level loads for lead bullets. I'll continue to use loads that are tried and true and still listed in current manuals of other makes.

    I've Chrono'd the 4.7grs W231 using a Speer LSWC's and LSWCHP's from Winchester cases and using WSP primers at 879 fps from a 4" S&W M66 and 911 fps from a 4-5/8" Ruger BH. The 4.7gr load does indead match Winchesters listed balistics of 890 fps from their 158gr Super X +P LSWCHP. BTW a 20 fps variation from facotry balistics is common as different pistols shoot at different velocites.

    I also shoot a lot of 4.5gr loads. This load chrono'd at 822 fps from the same S&W M66 or a little warmer than Winchesters 755 fps for their factory standard loads from a 4" vented test barrel. A factory matching standard load would probably be closer to 4.2grs of W231.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  6. benedict1

    benedict1 Well-Known Member

    I am quite happy with 3.9 gr Win 231, 158 gr plated FN bullet. Comfortable to shoot--not as much jolt as 130 gr. Win White Box factory loads.
  7. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. I decided to load at 3.4gr, since its pretty close to the starting load listed by WW, and is one of the associated volumes in my auto-discs.

    Side note: Damn if that auto disk doesnt throw consistent charges! Love it.

    Anyone have any recipe's for 160gr lead using 231 or Unique (.38spl)?

    Also, I'm looking at loading Berry's plated 125gr FP's.
    Lee #2 doesnt have any data for this bullet.
    WW's website:
    125gr Cast LRNFP 3.8gr-4.8gr
    125gr Hornady XTP 4.3gr-4.9gr

    Most places I've read to use the lead data or start between the lead and jacketed data. Seeing as how most people sayWW's data is light, I'm thinking I should start at 4.3gr WW231. Anyone care to comment?
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  8. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Here's a link to the original Winchester load data in pdf format from 2002 in my FTP space. I have a later version also dowloaded from Winchester a year or two ago, the loads are the same but the file's much larger with color pages so this one is more efficient. It also has data for some of the older Winchester powders like 571 and WSP.
    This data is a bit more usefull than the data currently published for Winchester powders by Hodgdon in the .38 spl at least. I've found the velocity data to be pretty much right on.
  9. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Do you have a link to WW's site that has data? All I can find is a note that says the powder is now handled by Hogdon.
  10. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

  11. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Well-Known Member

    First caveat is that I shoot all .38 spls out of .357 magnum revolvers.

    I shoot X-treme 158 gr plated bullets, WSP and Starline brass.

    The Second Edition Lymans manual lists 4.9 gr of W231 under a 158 gr cast bullet as being the choice for accuracy. That is the max non +P load and is listed at 906 fps out of their test gear. +P is listed with 5.2 gr at 956 fps.

    I normally load around 4.8 gr for the plated bullets and last time out with a chrono got a reading of around 900 fps out of my 4" M66. Strangely, that is a higher velocity than I get from my 6" 686+ or 5" 627.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2006
  12. Thirties

    Thirties Well-Known Member

    Also, I'm looking at loading Berry's plated 125gr FP's.

    IDriveB5, you should call Berry Bullet Company to ask them their recommendations. They told me that their plated bullets should be loaded to the specs of midrange loads for jacketed bullets.

    They will explain it best to you. Do not load their plated bullets too light. I did, and I stuck one of those .38spl 125grainers in the barrel of a snubbie.

    A word to the wise is (should be) sufficient...
  13. fecmech

    fecmech Well-Known Member

    I shoot either 4.9/231 or 4.2/Bullseye as per the Lyman Cast bullet Handbook behind a 158 gr Rn. Both loads are extremely accurate(2" or less@ 50 yds bench rested) and run just slightly over 900 fps out of a 6" K-38 or 6" Ruger Gp 100. I've shot literally thousands of that load, it's my favorite.
  14. TonyT

    TonyT Well-Known Member

    The WW 14th Edition reloading manual list the following data for 38 Special with 158 gr. LSWC:
    4.0 gr. W-231 = 745 fps = 12500 psi
    4.5 gr. W-231 = 830 fps = 15800 psi
  15. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Well-Known Member

    Thanks all, I've loaded up a few at 10% over the minimum load listed at 3.1 on their website. Dont think that'll cause me to have to do any bulet pulling.

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