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.38 Special - 125 or 158 Grain?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Cokeman, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. Cokeman

    Cokeman Member

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    Which you you prefer to load when doing.38 special, 125 or 158 grain bullets?
     
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  2. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Since my 38 Special had fixed sights, I loaded the bullet weight that shot to POA. For my pistol, that was 125gr.
     
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  3. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I load both.
    The 125gr mostly for Mrs Thunkit, very easy shooting lightweight poppers for casual shooting at 10 yards and closer.

    I prefer the 158gr, in home cast lead, for my PPC converted S&W M10, out to 25 yds, or 50 if I'm feeling froggy.

    But then, there's also the cast 148gr in the M-14s for other recreational target shooting.
     
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  4. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Swaged lead 158 grain bullets for me over WW 231.
     
  5. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    Nowadays whatever is in the mail. It really depends on the application, what will you use them for? I load both weights but multiple types for light and regular target loads and hunting. There are other weights available too. Good luck!
     
  6. mcb

    mcb Member

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    158/160 is all I load for my 38 Special. Rounds nose polymer coated for plinking and competition, JHP for carry. In my snub nose I use factory 130 gr for carry.
     
  7. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Same here.
    When I have 148gr wadcutters I load those too.
     
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  8. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Deleted...i was thinking .357.
     

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  9. Bayou52

    Bayou52 Member

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    I've been a 158 grainer since about 1977...

    Bayou52
     
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  10. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    115gr .356 powder coated conicals... but if im not loading with ultra cheap 9mm lead I’m probably using 158s.
     
  11. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I've always preferred heavy bullets... when I loaded for .38 and .357, I usually loaded 158's. One of the most accurate loads I ever worked up was a 158grn Hornady swaged SWC over 4grn Unique, it was stellar out of both my mom's 3" J-frame and my 4" 686. Shortly before I got out of the .38 business, I was experimenting with 180grn cast bullets... which showed real promise as well.
     
  12. George P

    George P Member

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    158 has been the standard for a LONG time. It is what those old revolvers were sighted in to use. The 125s came about more for 357
     
  13. tlf65

    tlf65 Member

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    for 38 I've always used 158s over Bullseye, lately I've been doing 357s with 125jhp over 2400.
     
  14. dcarr

    dcarr Member

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    158 over clays
     
  15. Herman B

    Herman B Member

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    The classic weight - 158.
     
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  16. Steve51

    Steve51 Member

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    I prefer 158 grain bullets for .38 special and .357 magnum.
    I do use some 148 grain DEWC for .38 special loads at our gun club pistol league.
     
  17. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    158 gr over Clays...Bullseye is a classic, though
     
  18. 375supermag

    375supermag Member

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    Hi...
    I mostly shoot commercial cast coated 158gr LSWC in my .38Spl revolvers over Bullseye. I am constantly tinkering with the charge weight and primers to find the optimal load for my revolvers. Both my .38s are fixed sight models, a Model 10 and a Uberti 1851 Richards-Mason conversion.

    Same bullet in .357Magnum over Blue Dot. I have been using the same load in all my revolvers because they all shoot it so well.
    I do shoot a lot of Hornady HP/XTPs in various weights and powders in my .357Mag revolvers. I just enjoy experimenting with that cartridge. I do have some very good loads worked up particularly for my .S&W 686 Silhouette Model that I keep loaded as well as plenty of components for future loading.

    My son and I are constantly experimenting with loads in all of our firearms across the spectrum of calibers. Adjusting powders, charge weights and primers is just very interesting.
    Strange thing is after all of our experimenting, we still seem to fall back on the same tried and tried powders. Unique, 2400, Bullseye and H110/W296 depending on caliber.
    My son is currently working up some jacketed bullet loads in .357Magnum using AA#9.
    I am contemplating doing some experiment with Herco in the big bore revolver cartridges. Just looking for something different to work with.
     
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  19. nofendertom

    nofendertom Member

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    Always use 158gr LSWC over Unique.
     
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  20. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    I like the 158gr LSWCHP
     
  21. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    For plinking/targets/fun mostly 158gr and for defending mostly 125gr GoldenSabre or (preferably) 135gr Short-Barrel GoldDots. :)
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I have a 6-cavity Lee mould for the 148 wadcutter, and that's what I shoot. I have quite a bit of wheel weights, so the shooting is cheap as it gets.
     
  23. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    148-158 for cheap giggles, Barnes Uber lights for serious chores.
     
  24. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    For what purpose?

    I no longer rely upon the cartridge for defensive purposes. If I did, it would probably be with 125 (or lighter) JHPs.

    For general field shooting and mucking about, a 158 cast whatever gets the nod.

    The overwhelming majority of my .38 Special loads are made up with Bullseye and 148 grain HBWCs. This is among the very best target loads ever developed for handguns, and works well for nearly every purpose for which the .38 is suited.
     
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  25. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Bingo, but my mould doesn't cast hollow bases.

    Personally, I feel the wadcutter at suitable velocity would be an excellent defensive bullet.
     
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