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favorite powder for .38?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Rolando, Dec 26, 2008.

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  1. Rolando

    Rolando Member

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    I'm a new reloader and will be using a Hornady LNL AP. I want to make some .38 special target loads for 158grain truncated cone lead bullets.

    What powder would you recommend and why?

    My concerns are accuracy, cleanliness, safety (low density trail boss), metering and price. I know that's a lot of criteria to judge a powder by but what do you guys use and why and for my set up what would you suggest and why?

    I'll also eventually make some .357 magnum loads for target and hunting. Would a different powder be preferred?

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have seldom loaded .38 Special from target wadcutters to +P with anything but Win 231. Smooth metering, accurate shooting. Not the cleanest powder in today's neatnick ammo world, but very serviceable.

    I'd want something a good deal slower burning for real magnums, though.
     
  3. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    You mentioned Trail Boss. It's my favorite powder for lead bullets.It fits all your criteria. I like AA#5 for .357 JHP's.
     
  4. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    AA#2, great stuff for my .38Spl.
     
  5. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Bullseye is it. If you are watching the powder charge in each case like you should it will not be a problem. If you don't, you could double charge a round without overflowing the case. If you are willing to do your part, bullseye will do it's part. :)
    For hunting rounds in 357 go with 2400. That will put some wham into an animal. :what:
     
  6. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    No doubt about it. Bullseye.
     
  7. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Member

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    I personally like 3 grains of red dot. If your buying 8 lb kegs you can use promo same as red dot but cheaper.
     
  8. MetalMan52

    MetalMan52 Member

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    Powder

    I agree with Jim on Winchester 231. It accurate, meters extremely well and has good load density.

    Bullseye is my second choice but you do have to pay attention that you don't double charge a round. I've been reloading for a very long time and bullseye is one powder that I am extra carefull with.

    Pat
     
  9. indiandave

    indiandave Member

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    Winchester 231 is what I use also. As said it meters well and is accurate.
     
  10. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    I like Titegroup. Meters perfectly every time, burns quick and clean, top notch accuracy.

    I couldn't get Trail Boss to meter well from my Redding 10X.
     
  11. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    I like Bullseye and AA#2
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    700X, AA #2. American Select, Bullseye, Clays, Competition, W-231, WST, Zip, in no particular order. These will all work well for your 158 Gr target loads. If you have any of these, give them a try. I like the bulkier ones myself to minimize the possibility of a double charge slipping by. Zip and Bullseye are great, but are tiny little charges.

    You will definitely want a slower powder for your magnum loads. Something like 2400, AA #9, H-110, W-296, etc. I like AA #9.

    You will need two different lead bullets for those applications as well. No bullet soft enough for light target loads will be hard enough for real Magnum loads.
     
  13. ACP230

    ACP230 Member

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    I use Unique.
     
  14. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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    For high energy +P stuff, Longshot all the way. For my target fodder, Unique. Check out the data for Longshot, 7 grains gives 1228 fps with a 125 JHP.:D
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yea!
    Out of a 7.7" un-vented pressure-test barrel.

    Real .38 Spl. revolvers?
    Not so much.

    rcmodel
     
  16. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Bullseye and Unique.

    Mostly what I shoot is a cast 148 WC (Lee mold) and 2.7 grains B'eye. It lasts forever and my lead is free. Besides, this round is ACCURATE. I've always used routines to allow for safe charging, compare charges, don't load with your head where the sun don't shine and you won't double charge. Using a progressive reduces that chance a whole heckuva lot, too. I mostly do .38 on a progressive anymore, but I STILL pull the case and check the charge each through. Slows things down, but I'd rather have a quality load than go for quantity and it's still a lot faster than a single stage press. Using trailboss, I'd be able to see that charge in the case without pulling it, but no biggy since B'eye is so economical and works as well as it ever did, it's still my choice.

    My thoughts on loading +P beyond 270 or so ft lbs from a 2" gun is, if you really want a .357, just buy one. I load all my .38s with 140 to 158 grain bullets. I prefer cast for range work cause it's free with a little casting time, but I carry either 140 or 158 grain JHPs.

    I agree with rc, too, any load pushing a 125 JHP to over 1200 fps is either in a long test barrel or grossly over .38 special safe pressures. 125 grain .357 magnum loads do good to push 1250 out of a normal carry gun like the Ruger SP101. Heavier bullets work better, in my experience, with short barrels.
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    7.0 Longshot - 125 XTP = 1,228 FPS.

    Hodgdon does show that as a .38 Special +P load giving 18,300 PSI.

    However, it is measured in a 7.7" unvented pressure-test barrel.

    It's probably a great load, but it's not a 1,228 FPS load out of any normal revolver.

    rcmodel
     
  18. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    I've switched from Bullseye to Clays powder for all my 38 target loads in 148gr as well as 158gr.

    I have Universal and Power Pistol powders for the rare occasions I want to push the testosterone levels some.
     
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    My son-in-law, who I bought a Lee anniversary kit for last Christmas and have been tutoring bought Universal Clays. I've found it works about like Unique, making it a very wide use powder, from standard to +P loading. I like it as well as Unique.

    There's tons of good powders for .38. Anyone's suggestion on this thread is hard to refute IMHO. Red dot is as cheap to use as bullseye and I've even found green dot to work about as well as Unique. Basically, look at the target load shotgun powders. :D
     
  20. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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    rcmodel, I agree with your statement. I'll be thrilled if I can get 1050 fps out of it, from a 4" barrel. I still think Longshot will work great for +P 38 loads.
     
  21. Rolando

    Rolando Member

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    What about American Select.
    Someone told me it was clean, accurate, and low density.

    Does anyone have a chart of powders that shows their density? I'm just starting out and would like the fluffy type powder to help avoid double charges.

    I gather that Trail Boss fits the bill but not so accurate??
     
  22. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    You mean "high" density don't you. You want the highest density you can get and not loose accuracy.

    No matter what people say...W-231 is still hard to beat for .38 Special.

    For .357 magnum...Alliant 2400, W-296 or H110
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yes, it is low density (bulky), and works well in .38 Spl, as does 700X and Red Dot, both bulky as well.

    I have on old Hornady powder chart for their pistol bushings. It does not have many powders available today, but is very good for showing the differences in bulk density of the powders it does have. Their are probably other charts around for various bushings.

    You can see by the chart that Red Dot is almost twice as bulky as W-231. Well not almost.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I also use nothing but W231 for my .38 Special ammo. It's clean and accurate and also meters extremely well. What's not to like?

    For .357 Magnum hunting ammo you'll want a slower burning powder like 2400, W296/H110, AA#9 or Lil'Gun.
     
  25. tbtrout

    tbtrout Member

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    I use 231 and Trail Boss. For a light clean target load Trail Boss is great. Most of my loads now use Trail boss.
     
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