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Another "help with .38 special loads" thread

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bfunk, Jul 1, 2012.

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  1. bfunk

    bfunk Member

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    Hi guys.

    I just loaded up some 125gn Berry's plated flat point bullets in .38 special for my model 10. I used power pistol, 5.8 grains, CCI small pistol primers. My previous .38's with these bullets were with W231 and Tightgroup. With 231 and TG, the loads felt and shot just like I would expect a .38, accurate enough, not too loud, flashy or much kick.

    Well my Power Pistol recipe, which is fairly low in my Hornady book, not starting, but near the starting load, is pretty stout. Its loud, flashy and seems to have a little more felt recoil, but that could just be the perception due to the noise and flash. I don't have a chrono, but I will chrono some of these in a few weeks.

    Is this to be expected? Power pistol in my 9mm is louder and has some more flash, but in the .38 its suddenly a flame thrower. Is this ok?

    All brass showed no signs of pressure, all extracted easily, and they shot well POA/POI with my fixed sights. Should I just call it good, or is there really any more room to go any hotter? Hornady lists the range for Power Pistol as 5.4-7.1, 7.1 is +p, a no-go my Mr. S&W Model 10.

    Brian
     
  2. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Member

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    Power Pistol is a heck of a lot slower than Tightgroup & 231..
    in the neighborhood of AA 5..
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    4.2 Grs of Solo 1000 under that bullet loaded @ 1.435 with a WSP primer will give you about 700 to 750 FPS depending on the gap/barrel, will be very accurate, feel like you shot something, but with no blast & flash, and it will be very, very clean.

    Try a modest charge of a fast powder with that bullet. W-231 would be better suited than Power Pistol. PP would be better for max .38 Loads.

    This load appears safe in my firearms. Check data, start low, use at your own risk.
     
  4. bfunk

    bfunk Member

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    I'm not really into modest mouse fart loads. I liked the way these power pistol rounds shot, they are just night and day different from the TG and W231 loads I'm familiar with. Is anyone using Power Pistol in .38's with any success?
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Well OK then. Sounded like you were complaining about the flash. My mistake.
    Yes. PP =
    PowerPistol.gif

    Blue Dot too.
     
  6. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Absolutely, Power Pistol is great if you are looking for a full house 38 load. I use it for all of my JHP and 158LSWC loads in 38 special. Thats not too hot of a load either, but it gives you an idea of what PP is capable of. I love it for the "older" low pressure cartidges when you want more power. It will burn clean and provide good velocity in calibers than run sub 25Kpsi. Its really great in jacketed 45acp loads too.

    To give an example, in 38 special, Alliant says you can run 6.0gr of PP under thier speer 158gr LSWC. This is a swaged bullet. I have ran that charge under a Hornady 158gr LSWC-HP. It tends to lead a little, but I am not loading that to shoot for range use, those are reserved for social occasions, so to speak. I also load Missouri Bullet 159gr LSWC(357 Action, 18bhn) with PP too. CAUTION, the following load data is OVER MAX according to the powder manufacturer:I load those over 6.2gr of Power Pistol. One would think the .2gr would be of no difference whatsoever, but the groups on paper say something else. I shoot all of those loads out of a Ruger LCR 38. They are REALLY STOUT out of that light weight gun.
     
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Never cared much for Power Pistol in low pressure cartridges and prefer to use it in the 9mm. As you note it is "flashy" and always left carbon scouring on the outside of the cases when I've used it in the .38 spl and .45 ACP. PP never did anything in the .38 spl or .45 ACP velocity wise I couldn't do as well or better with Unique.

    I tried 6.3 grs of PP behind a 125gr JHP in the .38 spl. It did 1,080 fps average from a Ruger BH 4-7/8" barrel, 1,231 fps from a IMI Timberwolf carbine.
     
  8. Cearbhall

    Cearbhall Member

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    bfunk, what col are you seating those Berrys to?
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Power Pistol is a great powder if you can get past the excessive noise and flash it produces. I can not so I pass on PP most times. (except for 1 special .357 Magnum load)

    If you like the results you get with PP but want to avoid the noise and flash give HS-6 or AA#5 a try. Personally I like W231 and use it for most of my .38 Special ammo except for the +P stuff...
     
  10. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Any "numbered" Smith and Wesson 38 special (Such as your Model 10) will handle modern +P loads without any trouble at all.

    Try some Red Dot, Titegroup or Bullseye for comparison, you'll probably be happier. Power Pistol is for fireworks.
     
  11. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    Though I dearly love Red Dot in .38/.357, be aware that it is dirty...

    A hundred rounds in my Blackhawk, and it is hard to see any bluing :D

    But I kinda like it that way, and the grunge comes off with a Hoppe's dampened cloth...
     
  12. bfunk

    bfunk Member

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    I'm seating these to 1.445". Its an OAL I got from Accurate, and its pretty close to what Hornady uses for their 125gn XTP.
     
  13. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    Ever try Bullseye? It used to be/still is the powder for .38 spl, according to many I know. It burns very quickly in a small cartridge and might minimize the blast you are seeing with a slower powder.
     
  14. One78Shovel

    One78Shovel Member

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    Universal Clays fits many calibers well, in 38 special it shines.

    -178S
     
  15. 4895

    4895 Member

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    I love Winchester 231 in .38 special. It really works for me. Burns clean, meters well, recoil can be mild to wild. Good stuff.
     
  16. bbuddtec

    bbuddtec Member

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    ty for the universal tip 178s, just got some and gotta set up, looking forward to .38spl now ;)
     
  17. 35 Whelen
    • Contributing Member

    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    Would Power Pistol by chance be a ball powder? I ask because I use AA#7, a very fine ball powder, in my .357 and 9mm. Even with moderate loads, muzzle flash is horrendous.

    35W
     
  18. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Its a small flake powder. Looks a lot like bullseye to be honest, at least the last couple bottles I had did.

    If you think that muzzle blast is something, use AA#9!
     
  19. bfunk

    bfunk Member

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    I've used AA#7 for some fairly stout loads with 115gn XTP's that I used on IDPA (the 500 free bullets I got with my press kit). Power Pistol in 9mm is quite a bit louder, and has a whole other lever of muzzle blast, and I've never even loaded power pistol near the max.
     
  20. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I understand this, I have one pet power pistol load that seems more accurate than anything else I've used. I only shoot off hand so I can't prove it's any more accurate than any other, but it works for me, in 357mag, it also feels like I'm shooting a magnum instead of a 38 special even if I'm not at mag load.

    I would expect the same would hold true for someone that is used to shooting a .38 special over .357 while using power pistol.

    Yes, the flash and noice is normal, it doesn't mean there's a problem if you are sticking to published load data while using it.

    Titegroup also will make a horendous flash and noice if you go to the upper end of the spectrum but PP is a little more forgiving with max loads than titegroup is.

    I won't use a max load of titegroup because of this and the heat it generates just from 6 shots out of a revolver.
    I like titegroup but if I want a max load in 38 or 357 I'll use a slower powder.

    That being said, PP makes you feel like your at max load when you really aren't. It's really showy and load but is a good powder. Most people probably wouldn't use it load self defense ammo though.
    Definantely.
     
  21. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    If your looking for some good stout full 38 spcl loading go to somthing such as HS6 or Longshot. I use a lot of both for 9mm and 38 spcl, and they really get er dun!

    I'm not knocking PP, it's a nice powder to work with, but as alrady stated, it has the appearance of full house, but isn't really getting the upper end MV other slower burning powder will deliver.

    With either HS6, and deffinitely Longshot I can push a 125 gr. JHP to near 1400 fps. And both of those powders have been very consistent in terms of velocity and pressure signs. In this respect I commonly go over the published max loads without experiencing any excessive pressure signs. I'm not endorsing, or suggesting going beyond published data, I'm simply stating that I have, and do, often exceed the published limits with those two powders in more than one catrtidge type, especially for self defense loads.
    GS
     
  22. EdJennings

    EdJennings Member

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    I'll second the vote for Universal. I load a tenth or two over the spec for .38 spec non-+P. I won't list the load here but I use it in guns chambered for .357 Mag. Gives me 940 with a 158 gr. bullet out of a 4" barrel M627. Not really all that much recoil out of the big N frame but it is very accurate, clean, and you know you've shot something.
     
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