Favorite cowboy load?

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Oct 4, 2018
Getting into cowboy shooting and looking to work up a good lead bullet 38/357 load? Any pet bullets or loads? Looking to order from Missouri bullets or RMR.
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I'm not into any cowboy action shooting, but MBC's "38 match" 158 SWC shoot well for me.

I haven't tried the coated, I dislike the way it smells. I still buy plain lead in pretty much everything from them.

HP-38 was easy to find a good shooting load with and is what I use the most of, works well in the middle range of Hodgdons data... CFE Pistol and Titegroup get a nod as well.
My wife and I use 105 gr. FP for the revolvers and 125 gr. RNFP for the rifles. I load them with Bullseye, but there are many good powders that will work. With the lighter weights, I get many more bullets per pound of alloy, since I cast all our bullets, and we go through roughly 10,000 rounds of .38 per year in SASS matches.

Hope this helps.

I'm shooting the 125 ACME TC over 4.5 gr HP-38. This is hotter than you need although well within .38Spl standard pressures, but I also got good accuracy at lower charges. I'm running them through .357 wheelguns and a single shot rifle at longer range targets up to 75 yards so the extra pop is desireable for me. This bullet has a relatively "sharp" flat point which is slightly rounded on the edges, so should be lever gun compatible. I'm shooting the standard cast/lubed as I don't like the burnt brake pad smell of HiTek, brings back bad memories of being stuck on the side of the road with locked up airbrakes on my semi!

I also had a small amount of titegroup to use up at one point, and I remember getting good accuracy with this bullet. Don't remember the charge on those, but they were very light.
Things are a bit more simple if you use the same bullet for both rifle and revolvers. Truncated cone or RNFP bullets feed in the rifle more reliably than semi-wadcutters. Most cowboys use bullets of 125 grains or less to reduce recoil for faster split times, and light powder charges for the same reason. Titegroup, Clays, Trailboss, HP-38, Unique and Bullseye, are popular among the competitors.

When I am not using black powder I will usually be shooting a home cast 125 grain lead bullet lubed with Lee Liquid Alox over 3.2 grains of Titegroup, in Starline .38 Special brass and a Federal primer.

Hodgdon Powder Company lists a number of cowboy action loads:

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Don’t buy or load ANYTHING until you have visited a couple of matches. You don’t know what kind of cowboy you are yet! ;)
I completely agree. You will use different bullets and weights for different disciplines.

Go watch a few matches and tell anyone willing to listen you are new. If they are anything like most Cowboys I know your will get more help and information than you will know what to do with.

Good luck and have fun.
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