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38 Special Loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by GeoffC, Dec 10, 2010.

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  1. GeoffC

    GeoffC Member

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    I've recently got back to reloading, mostly because my girlfriend decided she wanted to start shooting, then the got a concealed permit, and now shes talked me out of a couple guns.

    When we go to the range though she's getting burned out really quick on me, and mostly due to recoil. I can watch her accuracy go from awesome to crap over 100rds.

    Most of the shooting is now being done through a Ruger Blackhawk 357 Mag with the 4 5/8 barrel.

    I decided that I'd work up a load for her to kill paper with and another to carry, they are as follows.
    All these are in 38 Special Cases(new winchester brass to be specific)

    Targets
    1.3gr or .3cc of Trail Boss(smallest Lee powder dipper)
    148gr HBWC
    Winchester Magnum Small Pistol Primer

    Carry
    4.8gr Bullseye
    125gr Jacketed HP/145gr Silvertip HP
    Winchester Magnum Small Pistol Primer

    Does anyone see way to improve on these and maintain the lowest possible recoil and still be reliable? I'd like to stick with the materials I mentioned, but if some way better powder was out there, Im willing to try something new.

    Now I'm using the carry loads(with the silvertip) mentioned in my S&W Model 36 as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
  2. richkratz

    richkratz Member

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    I don't load jacketed bullets for 38spl, it's a waste. Velocity does not reach high enough levels for proper expansion, if any at all. Don't believe me? Soak a ton of newspapers then shoot HP's out of a 38spl through a foot thick of them and retrieve your bullet. It will most definitely be same as when loaded with barrel grooves.
    Second thing, I'm not familiar with Trail Boss, but Bullseye does not require magnum primers. You are increasing pressures unnecessarily.
    For lead HBWC's, 3.2gr of W231 is a decent target load over small pistol primers(non-magnum).
    Another thing, that Blackhawk is a big gun, probably tiring your gf out holding it up.:rolleyes:
     
  3. KosmicKrunch

    KosmicKrunch Member

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    Geo : do not use mag primers, you are increasing pressures and changing the burn rate of the powder. Even on mild loads, this can be an issue. I use Trail Boss, HP38, Universal and Unique. Out of those, Universal is my fav.

    My trail boss mild load is almost the same except I use a standard CCI small pistol primer. I am a believer in the dipper method for mild loads. It just makes everything easier when reloading.
     
  4. GeoffC

    GeoffC Member

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    Here's why I was using that magnum primer, I was thinking with such a light load, that extra flame might just do the trick if the powder shifted toward the front of the round.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I wouldn't use a Magnum primer either. Most times when you use a Magnum primer in an application where it's not called for it does more harm than good.
     
  6. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    For your target loads try Bullseye under the WCs. You can go from 2.6 to 3.5 gr. I prefer 2.8 - 3.0 gr. And the guys here are right on the primers. Both Bullseye and Trail Boss ignite easily. I don't use the SPM primer until I get into 800-X or 4227.
     
  7. floydster

    floydster Member

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    Geo,
    If you want a good powder puff load for your Ruger Blackhawk .357 try this load, it is one of my favorite loads in my Blackhawk.
    Using 38 Spl. brass.

    3.3 grs. Trailboss:
    158 gr. cast SWC:
    Wolf primer:

    Accurate as all getout!!:)
     
  8. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Carry!

    158 lead semiwadcutter hollow point +P

    The old "metro" load. Also known as the "FBI" load.

    It served law enforcement extremely well for many years. And it will work just as well today.

    I carried it as an "issue" load for over 10 years. :) I still carry it in my snub nose S&W 442.
     
  9. howlnmad

    howlnmad Member

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    Which I do believe can cause total detonation. That's a bad thing.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    There is no such thing.
    Pistol powder cannot detonate.
    If it could, you could not buy it for reloading, because you could make extremely powerful bombs out of it. And dealers couldn't ship it through normal channels like it is now.

    Pistols that blow up with very light loads of fast powder blow up because of double charges or bullets stuck in the barrel.

    Still, the OP most certainly does not need to use Mag primers with the powders he is using, and would probably get better accuracy with standard primers.

    I also take exception to the statement that a .38 Spl. cannot cause a JHP to expand.
    That might be true of 158 grain JHP designed for the .357 Magnum.
    But it is certainly not true of the 158 grain LSWC-HP, 125 JHP, and the 145 Silver-Tip to some extent.

    Don't believe me, get a box of Speer 135 grain Gold-Dots designed for the .38 Spl, load over 6.4 grains Power Pistol, and shoot your newspapers!

    rc
     
  11. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Every time I hear a story of detonation or whatnot, its followed by, "It had to be, cause its impossible that I double charged,etc....".

    I have said that a while now, that its a BS "phenomena" as people like to call it. Its a double charge or a squib followed by a another bullet.

    Same thing with a squib, when someone has one and bangs it out with a rod and says "no big deal, I caught it!" I always ask them where do they think the powder charge meant for that case went? Is it in another case, doublecharged? Did you miss it entirely? If you have those kinds of problems you probably need to refine your loading technique a little more.
     
  12. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    +1

    Exactly. Over confidence followed by lack of ownership.
     
  13. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    "1.3gr of Trail Boss" is that right?

    I'm not looking at a book right now, but that seems light for a 38 Spcl.
     
  14. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    I'm surprised you get the bullet out the end of the barrel with only a .3 CC powder throw and that the throw weighs 1.3grs with Trail Boss. TB is such a bulky low weight powder. You are way below Hodgdon's minimum that only send a 148gr LWCHP out the bore just over 640 fps. Personally I'd use Hodgdon's data and if the wife is so recoil sensitive, get her a .22 to practice with first and then work up to the .38 spl.

    You can get decent expansion with the .38 spl using a 125gr-130gr JHP or the 158gr LSWCHP esp from a 4" or longer barrel. You can easily push 125gr JHP at over 1,000 fps out of a 4" using 6.0grs of Unique. There are lots of good personal defense choices in factory ammo for the .38 like the new Winchester PDX, Federal Hydra Shock or Nyclad, CCI Gold Dots, Remington Golden Sabers.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. skipjack

    skipjack Member

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    If your girlfriend is getting tired after shooting 100 rounds, why
    not try cutting back to 50? She can always work up, just like
    weight training.
     
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    If she enjoys shooting 100 rounds of .357 before accuracy suffers, I am impressed. I wuss out before then.

    No need to shoot that much full load .357 practicing. :)

    Never mind. I re-read the post. I still shoot more light .38 Spl than full load when shooting. Lots more fun.
     
  17. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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  18. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    3.5 gr of titegroup under a 125 gr Berrys hp is a great mouse fart load.
    My friend's daughter LOVES shooting that load out of my 4" S&W M10

    It feels like just a tiny bit more recoil than a 22lr.
     
  19. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    Im loading 3.2 grn of HP-38 and a 158 grn WC CCI primer not a mag primer for my 38 spc this works in my Ruger LCR , SW K frame with a 4 " barel This works in my guns I dont know about yours.
     
  20. richkratz

    richkratz Member

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    I stand corrected. Never heard or seen bullet traveling under 600fps expanding like that. But if someone posted it on the internet, it must be true. :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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