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38spl can’t get it right!!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ohihunter2014, May 10, 2019.

  1. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    FWIW:
    BE-86 is an interesting powder, alliant doesn't do it justice. Their loads are on the anemic side. BE-86 tends to do better with heavier bullets (+/- 158gr). in the 38spl's. Your loads are too lite for the already watered down reloading data.

    A couple years back I did a little testing with a 2" bbl'd 38spl p+ loads using 5 different powders with 1 of those powders being BE-86. I used 10 different bullets in those tests, the bullets ranged from 140gr's to 160gr's. I used 5.7gr of BE-86 for all 10 bullets/loads. At the end of the day BE-86 and unique were within 10fps of each other. 5.7gr BE-86 ='s 5.5gr unique

    Months later I decided to test some "target" bullets in that same 2" bbl'd 38spl. I used several different powders/ p+ loads and these 2 bullets. Left: a custom cast bullet/modern himmelwright design 140gr for the 9mm/38spl
    right: a 110gr cast rn gallery bullet from a cramer mold
    xHUCNJn.jpg

    I used 6.2gr of BE-86 with that 110gr bullet and got a 910+fps average for 10-shots
    I used 7.0gr of unique with that 110gr bullet and got 1100+fps average for a 10-shot string

    With the 140gr bullet both powders were within 10fps of each other. I tested a couple other 110gr to 130gr bullets using BE-86 and wasn't impressed. BE-86 doesn't do well with the lighter bullets. Light bullets/light loads with be-86 isn't a good combo in the 38spl cases.

    On a side note:
    Most short bbl'd/snubnosed 38spl's have sights that are designed for 158gr bullets, poa/poi for 158gr bullets. Light bullets aren't the greatest choice for snubnosed 38spl's/p+ loads. More often then not you reload a 125gr/130gr bullet with p+ loads for the 38spl or 158gr/160gr bullets and end up with the same velocities with the lighter bullets & heavier bullets in the snubnosed 38spl's. Bullet selection plays a huge role in the performance of your reloads. Typically coated bullets are the fastest followed by cast, then jacketed and finely plated bullets. These are some of the bullets I used in that 10 bullet/5 powder38spl p+ test in that 2" bbl'd snubnosed 38spl.
    0A0Ga7O.jpg

    These bullets performed the best in that test. What they have in common is either a large bottom drive band/bullet base or a long bullet body. They sealed the cylinders & bbl quicker making better use of the pressures of the loads. These bullets were as much as 70fps faster then other bullets. Same powder/brass/firearm/chronograph/ect. Huge differences in velocity
    vlZBK9y.jpg

    Lastly, some people like a taper crimp, others prefer a roll crimp for their 38spl reloads. I prefer a heavy roll crimp for my 38spl target & p+ reloads. Some will say it's not needed & for most applications that's true. Shorter bodied bullets/bullets with less neck tension benefit from a good solid roll crimp. A good solid crimp tends to make a more consistent/accurate target load for the 38spls.
     
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  2. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Well I did some research on new bullets and here is what I came up with that's available to me. Tell me what you guys think would work? I don't really want to fool with lead because I don't want to clean the lead out of barrels. I sometimes use a buddies S&W K frame for pistol matches and run factory ammo. He cleared me to use reloads too, so rather not go the lead or coated route. I also grabbed a pound of HP38 to see how that works with the 125gr and see if I do any better.

    RMR 125gr HP-I'm guessing these will have a longer bearing surface which may increase accuracy?
    RMR 158gr FP.
    Berry's 148gr DEWC
    Extreme 158gr SWC.
     
  3. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    I've had better luck with heavy bullets (158gn) in my 38/357. I would recommend starting there.
     
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  4. 2bfree

    2bfree Member

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    I like 158gn RNFP, works for me.
     
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  5. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Well I think I fixed it. :)

    I loaded 10 rounds last night each with 5.2gr BE86. The first 5 was done with just using the taper crimp die to remove 2k of the bell like @Walkalong suggested and the other 5 were done with a slight roll crimp into the cannelure. The taper crimp ones seemed to have less recoil than the roll crimped ones but the roll crimp ones shot a lot better. Once these 125gr FP are gone I am moving onto something else. The holes close to the orange dot are 9mm, the ones low left are 38spl at 21ft free hand.
     

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  6. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    Yep, been all through it with these bullets. You may find they shoot better yet with a more pronounced roll crimp. I got the Xtreme 125HPs to shoot well with a taper crimp, but given how much the roll crimp helped the 125FP I'll try a roll crimp on the HPs next time too.
     
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  7. George P

    George P Member

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    The 38s 1:18.75 inch twist is really best suited for 158 gr bullets.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  8. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    I think the 125HP is Powerbond. I've got 1000 of their 158HP but haven't found time to try them. First-world problem. I suspect the 158FP is Powerbond also. They are a top-quality plated bullet. I've not used the Berry's DEWC. I have used the Xtreme plated 158SWC and it's really nice. I got a thousand cheap and wish I'd bought more. I've been using them with the 14.5gr. of 2400 load Walkalong uses for a 90% 357magnum load.

    But were I to buy 38 bullets today I'd be getting a metric boatload of these:

    https://www.rmrbullets.com/shop/bul...otal-metal-jacket-tmj-bullets-with-cannelure/
     
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  9. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    What’s special about the RMR bullets?
     
  10. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    These are Speer TMJ thick-plated 135gr. with cannelure. This is the same thing as a Gold Dot without the hollowpoint cavity. A premium quality bullet that you can roll-crimp if you wish for 8 cents apiece - I don't know of a better deal in a 38 plinker bullet.
     
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I'm not sure why you are so against lead bullets but I never had a problem with them.

    My 3 most accurate loads are:

    148gr HBWC over 3.2gr W231
    148gr DEWC over 3.4gr W231
    158gr LSWC over 4.0gr W231
     
  12. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Don’t want to deal with leading and cleaning it out. Been debating on hi tek Coates but hear there is smoke and paint comes off in guns.
     
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I never get leading and hi-tek is not paint and does not come off.
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Millions of folks shoot lead bullets without leading. It can be done.

    Coated is pretty durable as well, so far no issues for me in .45 ACP plinker loads, .357 Mag with full loads and some .40 full load stuff. Yes, it does smoke a bit and has a slight smell plated/jacketed doesn't. Have played with coated a little in .32-20, .32 Mag, and .32 Long, no issues, nothing awesome yet. Jury is still out.

    I have shot a gazillion .38 Spl and .45 ACP lead bullets with no leading.
     
  15. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Me too.
     
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  16. vaalpens

    vaalpens Member

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    I never thought about selecting bullets for pistols/revolvers based on the twist. I should probably put it to a test. What about a 1:16 inch twist?
     
  17. vaalpens

    vaalpens Member

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    Thanks for posting this link. I have been looking at buying some 38/357 bullets, and these definitely fits the bill. I missed out on the 10% discount over Memorial day weekend, but it is still a good price for a quality bullet with the 5% discount. I ordered some today, and now I just need to go and inform the wife.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  18. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    Glad you like. Gold Dots shoot great for me. I found one of the TMJs in my pulled 357Sig Gold Dots and its definitely of the same construction. I'm tempted to buy some of these even though I've got probably 10K plated 38 bullets "in inventory".
    Yeah. Can't help you there. :uhoh:
     
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  19. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    My range has a Ransom Rest. What an eye-opener @50yds.
     
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  20. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Me too.
     
  21. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    So what’s the secret to not leading a barrel? Can I just order up .358 from MBC?
     
  22. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    Flat point 125gr Xtreme bullets loaded with 3.5 gr of Titegroup has been an accurate and easy to shoot load in all my 38 specials which include a couple J frames, also model 64, 15 and pre model 10
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Yes

    The sell 100 round sample packs.
     
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  24. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Well I was able to take the full-size 38spl out last night and tried the 125gr extreme FP and they shot worse in that gun then they do my snub nose. 21ft aiming at the center 3'' dot they all printed low (may have to adjust the sites) and they shotgunned all over the target. I'm going to start ordering MBC sample packs and see if I can find something that will shoot a bit better.
     
  25. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    How are you testing? Off a bench? Offhand?

    True accuracy testing should be done off a bench with good support for the gun and your hands, like sandbags or some other solid support.
     
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