Quantcast
  1. Upgrade efforts paused for now. Thanks for your patience. More details in the thread in Tech Support for those who are interested.
    Dismiss Notice

.38 Special loaded with blackpowder

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Busyhands94, Feb 22, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    2,371
    Location:
    California, the "you can't have it" State.
    Well, I made up a big ol' batch of 140 grain SWC bullets and got some Goex, I recently ran short of smokeless powder for my .38 so it didn't take me too long to put two and two together. :) I've wanted to try loading .38's with BP for a while, not really for any practical reason. More or less I was having another "What happens when I do this?" moment. :D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZwaJcdQ2Ps&list=UUQyanVLLSkwkvmZgcO3jrww&feature=c4-overview

    I smeared some crisco into the lube grooves of the bullet and wiped the base before loading them to avoid powder contamination. The charge was well compressed and came up to about 5/8ths of an inch from the case mouth. I used mixed range brass, as with all my plinking loads.

    This was so fun, that when I got home I got on my press and rolled up another 100 rounds!:D .38's are pretty fun loaded with BP!
     
  2. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,318
    Location:
    Morgan County, Alabama
    When .38 special was first developed it was a blackpowder cartridge. Unfortunatly I have forgotten what the charge of BP that was standard for it.
    It will work but if your gun was developed for modern ammo (I would guess "yes" on that) then you may have binding problems as the BP leaves more soot and modern guns have tighter tolerances.
     
  3. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,509
    Location:
    Springfield, MO
    Aerosol Ballistol is your friend.

    Blackpowder .38s are a ball. I would recommend using Ballistol to lube your revolver rather than the usual petroleum based lubes...It will be easier to clean.
     
  4. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    2,371
    Location:
    California, the "you can't have it" State.
    J-Bar, I'm having a heck of a lot of fun shooting the old "dirty eight" with blackpowder. :) For me, the .38 Special is my do-all round. I like it for target shooting, plinking, teaching new shooters, small game hunting, self defense, and just about everything I'd want a pistol for. I certainly like it more than the 9mm. I like it more than the .380. Maybe a tad more than my beloved .32's.

    Well, we've also got BIG jackrabbits around these parts. My old .38 Special does an amazing job at stopping them hoppers right dead in their tracks. ;) Missed? A follow up shot isn't gonna take me too long to get back on target even if Mr. Jackrabbit is hauling tookus like a bat outta Hades!

    Next time I go out to shoot some jackrabbits, I'll take my trusty .38 Special along, but this time I'm taking some BP rounds to see how they fare against hoppers.

    Field report to come when I bag one! :D
     
  5. YumaKid

    YumaKid Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Messages:
    264
    Location:
    Yuma, AZ
    Gotta love the smell of sulfur in the morning. Only have one revolver that fires .38 Spc at the moment; a very nicely assembled S&W Mdl 13. This used to be mine, but has for over 20 years been in the custody of "the li'l missus" because she like it so much; and I just haven't gotten myself another .357 to replace it, mostly because I don't think I could get another one as nice.
    I also don't think it will be firing any BP anytime soon; as the aforementioned "li'l missus" will be less than happy if I make it "...stink as bad as those old-fashioned Remingtons you bought at Cabelas...". One man's "happy scent" is often his wife's "stinky smell"!

    OBTW: While you were makin' Holy Smoke; it sounded like a small internal combustion engine buzzing about in the air. Were you under the surveillance of some LEO's Drone?????
     
  6. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,344
    Location:
    Central Florida
    My Ruger Blackhawk .357 is my BP cartridge revolver of choice. I thought about loading 38s for my model 15-3 but decided against it. You don't really get a lot more power with the .357 magnum case but after five reloads or so I don't trust the casings for smokeless, so they get a full charge with a piece of construction paper cut out to wad the powder (had to make the tool) with a small swab of vaseline on the top of the side facing the bullet, then I load up a LCSWC 158 grainer(which compresses the charge), use a homemade potassium chlorate based primer (small amount of red phosphorus and powdered chalk, all turned to paste with ammonia and then left to dry into a solid grain in the primer cup) and let'em burn. Do the same on .38s. The .357s are quite accurate, the .38s are good, and they are always an attention getter.

    Clean the gun like I'm cleaning it for surplus ammo, then for black powder. I never exceed thirty rounds at a time though as the gun usually starts to foul around that round count and lock up. The beauty of using the Blackhawk is that I can pull the cylinder at the range and wipe it off mostly with a damp rag. It's the barrel fouling that cuts the fun short.
     
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    7,846
    Location:
    Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada

    Busyhands, I'm going to guess that you intended to say 5/16 inch and not 5/8. 5/8's would put the powder well down under the end of the bullet and result in significant air space. And as we know that's not good in BP loading.

    I filled some .38 cases and tamped lightly to simulate compressing from a bullet being seated and then poured out the charge onto my scale. Weights for 3f were around 16 to 17 gns. That seemed a trifle low so I loaded up some .357Mag cases the same way and managed to get 20 to 22gns depending on the compression. I tested 4 of each to get an reasonable idea for an average.

    So it would seem like the .357Mag cases are giving me a fair approximation of the old .38-20 cartridge.

    I've shot a couple from my handgun to try them with the obvious grin filled results. But I didn't melt out and replace the lube with BP friendly stuff so I only did this a little. But I loaded up a few hundred Pyrodex P .357cases for my Frontiersman category cowboy shooting. The fellow that makes the bullets locally said the lube he uses is Pyrodex friendly but still gums with real black powder. So for now I'm sticking with the Pyrodex.

    Still makes lots of smoke though. Especially when shot 5 times then duck to see under the cloud and shoot 5 more.... :D
     
  8. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,067
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I did the same with .303 british a while back. Was a hoot!

    -Jenrick
     
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,847
    Q. What do you get when you load a modern revolver with black powder?
    A. A very dirty revolver that is not made for throwing in a tank of hot water.

    Jim
     
  10. mec

    mec Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    4,576
    the original load was a 158 rn and either 21 or 21.5 grains of black power in the old folded head case. The modern solid heads have smaller capacity.
     
  11. tark

    tark Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2013
    Messages:
    4,643
    Location:
    atkinson, ill
    I have a four inch Smith M&p that loves black powder. It shoots just as accurately as factory smokeless, at least for the first cylinder full or two. It is a lot of fun in a .357 SAA also. Is it a mess to clean? Yes. So is smokeless.
     
  12. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,074
    Location:
    banks of the Susquehanna
    For 20 years, I have loaded 38 S&W with black to shoot in a cadet martini rifle darn accurate
     
  13. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    2,371
    Location:
    California, the "you can't have it" State.
    My smokeless handloads are plenty dirty, but I just don't care about dirt and niether does my Smith. If I shoot some smokeless loads before I fire BP loads, the residue gives the BP something to stick to, sorta like Pam. If I fire a few cylinders of blackpowder loads and then fire a cylinder or two of smokeless loads, it will help blow off the BP gunk.

    Today, I hiked up a mountain and turned some soda cans to swiss cheese, I fired 50 BP .38 Specials and probably around 20 .38's, the bore was surprizinly clean after firing BP. The smokeless cartridges got that bore almost clean, there wasn't too much residue to clean off. Matter of fact is that most that residue was on the outside of the gun, on the cylinder, inside the frame, on the barrel and around the gap.

    Yep, up in the oakey North California hills those BP loads sound like some serious rifle rounds. :D
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice