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getting ready to load .38 special?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by kennedy, Jan 27, 2012.

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  1. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    just waiting for my Lee dies to show up. I am loading for a colt official police with 4 in barrel made in the 1940`s and a Tauras model 850 snubbie. I am loading 158 gr laser cast RN flat point bullets. I have unique, win 231, and universal powders on hand, suggested loads for plinking?
     
  2. soloban

    soloban Member

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    I like Universal Clays in my .38 Special loads. Meters fairly well. I would check your load book and pick a Universal Clays load towards the top of the range.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Win 231 = 3.5 to 4.0 grains will make a nice load.

    Unique = 4.5.


    rc
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    One of my favorite .38 Special loads is a 158gr cast bullet over 4.0gr W231. You won't be unhappy with that load but you should start lighter and work up to the 4.0gr load. (start @ 3.5gr W231)
     
  5. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    Well everything is here to start reloading .38, I decided to use the win 231 since I am not using it to reload for anything. Anyway had a problem with the load data, the chart that came with the lee dies says starting load is 3.1gr but my lee book says 4.0 grs, so I contacted Lee and they said to use the data close in age to the age of the powder. The chart has a copywrite of 2011 and the book 2003, I bought the powder in 2008, but it may have been made in 2006, I think I will split the difference and use a starting load of 3.5. Anyone ever heard these instructions before?
     
  6. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I always prefer to follow recipes from the powder makers first, then by the bullet makers. These folks actually test the loads, not only for accuracy, but also for pressure
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    BS!
    Win-231 has not changed formula or burn rate since it was introduced many years ago.

    Use the load data I told you to use in post #3.

    My work is done here!
    We Ride!

    rc
     
  8. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

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    As usual, RC has the appropriate comments. I have about 1k loaded with 3.8gr of HP-38 right now. Nice middle of the road load out of the revolvers but an absolute blast to shoot out of the lever guns at 50 yards.
     
  9. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    Well I loaded up some with 3.5gr and some with 4.0gr of win 231, the taurus snubby did not like the 4.0(ok my hand did not) but liked the 3.5. With my colt official police, the 3.5 felt like I was shooting a .22 and the 4.0 felt great. I am going to teach my daughter to shoot the official police and I will use the 3.5 gr loads to start her out. thanks.
     
  10. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I'd suggest Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook for any lead bullet reloading data. I have found the Lee Modern Reloading load data section lacking...
     
  11. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    I've used 3.0 gr of Win231 under a 158 gr lead SWC. This is a very light load but every bullet has left the barrel! The key in my opinion is to be very certain that you never err and miss putting ANY powder into the case -- it is quite long. Get a chrony and you'll have much more fun.
     
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Hodgdon lists a minimum of 3.1gr W231 under a 158gr SWC so it's probably not a good idea to suggest using a charge weight under the min. (especially to a new reloader) Always take care to be sure the bullet leaves the barrel before you pull the trigger again. (or things can become very interesting)
     
  13. bubbacrabb

    bubbacrabb Member

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    I don't have my notebook around, but I like unique and I think it was 4.2 grains with a 158 kieth mbc. Shoots well in my gp 100
     
  14. Lovesbeer99

    Lovesbeer99 Member

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    I load that same bullet with the same powders in shoot them from a 4" smith with great results.

    Unique - 4 grains
    231 - 3.6 - 4 grains.

    Good luck
     
  15. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    I like rc's recommended 4.0gr W231 behind a 158gr SWC, but not for a snubby. My 642 handles them fine as it's a +P gun, but they're not fun to shoot.

    OTOH, these are very comfortable to shoot from my Security Six, a gun that weighs roughly twice the 642.
     
  16. larry syverson

    larry syverson Member

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    I use 2.8 to 3.0 gr. of Hodgdon Clays powder with a 158 gr. jacketed hollow point bullet and a CCI small pistol primer in my 4" Ruger GP-100 (stainless model). Works just fine and its a cheap reload with only 3.0 gr. of powder. More than 2300 bullets per pound. Hodgdon says 3.0 is the minimum load and 3.1 is the max load, but I've shot hundreds of 2.8 gr. without any problems. They always came out the end of the barrel. However, I've settled on using 3.0 gr, now that I know there is a recommended minimum load. Didn't know that when I started reloading many years ago. Everyone said start low and work your way up. They didn't mention anything about a minimum load... The powder also meters very nicely with my Dillon Square Deal B reloader. Can't imagine using anything else. Obviously this won't tax the GP-100 much since it is designed as a .357 magnum.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  17. Loic

    Loic Member

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    with my plated 125gr rnfp I load 4.3gr win 231. works good for me
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    With lead you may get away with this, but try it with plated or jacketed and you will stick a bullet if you fire a round with the powder against the bullet. Maybe even with the powder against the primer. That is very light. I thought my 3.8 Grs WST under a 158 Gr plated bullet was light.
     
  19. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    The CRC and Lange's handbooks agree - "W-231 + Lead" is the chemical formula for smoke. :D

    Nonetheless, I've had good results with approx 4 grains W-231 & a 158gr LSWC. Shot outdoors.
     
  20. 5thSFGroup

    5thSFGroup Member

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  21. joneb

    joneb Member

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    With certain bullet lubes W-231 can be really smoky, these same bullets with Bullseye produce very little smoke.

    I have found Laser Cast alloy is to hard for my 38spl loads.
     
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