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Hot rodding 38 spec

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Brian Williams, Sep 1, 2003.

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  1. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    I was wondering if hot 357 loads could be backed off a % and loaded in 38 spec casesfor use in a gun chambered for 357mag? I was also wondering if you could trim 38 spec cases to 19mm and make a 38 specX19mm and load it up to 9mm specs to be shot in a 357.

    I know the 9mm Federal was a flop but could either of the above done
    a 38 spec loaded to 357 pressures for use in a 357???
    a 38 spec trimmed to 9mm specs????
     
  2. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Brian ...... on the ''hot 38'' aspect ....... I do load one round which I use mostly thru my Win 94 but, have also safely put thru my Taurus M66 and M27-2 Smith .... no signs of case distress at all.

    It's Moderator Edit Blue Dot in 38 spl case .. pushing a 158 cast swc .... usually a gas check one but have used plain. It shoots well but I think needs ''adjusted'' to improve grouping. Recoil is sharp but not severe ..... and if I get it improved then I think it'd make a possible good SD round too.

    Disclaimer ..... The load is only offered in good faith and is not a recommendation.:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2003
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Yes.

    Such notables as Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton routinely loaded .38 Special to about 1250 fps with 158 grain bullets for use in .357 Magnum guns and very heavy .38 Specials such as the Colt New Service and S&W Heavy Duty/Outdoorsman. Elmer was doing it before the .357 was introduced because it was his only way to increase power in a smallbore. Skeeter worked up his similar loads in the late '40s and early '50s when Magnum guns and ammo were scarce and expensive.

    What's your excuse?

    A couple of the wacky writers at Gun World once made a semi-wildcat they called the .357 Short. I don't know if the actual case length was as short as a 9mm P, but the rationale was the usual drivel about modern efficient smokeless powder not needing all that room in an obsolete black powder cartridge. It seemed to work ok for what they wanted, considering that if you want 9mm performance in a 9mm length case, you are going to have to run it at 9mm pressure... almost double .38 Special.

    The only advantage I can see would be faster loading and ejection, which is why some ICORE shooters load .38 Short Colt to .38 Special ballistics in Magnum guns. Accuracy would be at risk because of the long bullet jump through unoccupied chamber space.

    Maybe if a gunmaker would bring out a revolver with short frame and cylinder of strong enough material to take 9mm pressures, it would work.

    But they already did that, didn't they?
     
  4. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    For hot .38 Special loads, to be used only in heavy framed revolvers of good construction. Such as N frame Smiths. Research for .38/44 S&W Special loads. These will be right in the .357 mag performance area.

    I will not post such load data. When you find it, use caution and heed all warnings.

    As far as getting 9mm performance from .38 special case...covered above only much more performance.

    Easy way to do all of the above is just use .357 mag cases in a gun designed for them. That way you don't run the risk of somebody putting one of your overly warm .38 Special loads in a gun that won't handle it.

    Sam
     
  5. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    It's called a +P load and you'll find them in a lot of loading manuals.
     
  6. Clark

    Clark Member

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    CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

    The 38 sp case can handle the same 85 kpsi before brass flows as the 357 mag case, even though the 357 mag case has a thicker web. Trying to reach 85 kpsi in my revolvers just splits the cylinder and breaks to top strap, so that is not a good idea. I have reached the point of brass flow in a 38 sp / 357 mag insert I made for a 45/70.

    The thinner web of the 38 sp case would make more case capacity than the 357 mag when seated at the same OAL, except the mouth of the 38 sp case is in the wrong place to crimp in the canalure for 1.590" OAL. The result is, the 38 sp has less case capacity when loaded with the crimp in the canalure, and more case capacity when loaded to the max OAL of the cylinder.

    Hot load recoil pulls the bullet right out of the case and jam the gun, so not crimping into the canalure is no good. Seating the bullets deeper give a pressure spike that may wreck the revolver, that is no good. So I find it better to use 357 mag brass for hot loads.

    I have modified 5 of my 38 sp revolvers by reaming out the chamber to take 357 mag brass. This ruins the resale.
     
  7. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    I thought he was inquiring about something quite a bit beyond factory +P loadings.

    Some of the old .38 Special High Velocity ammo exceeded modern +P performance by a fair amount.

    Sam
     
  8. Clark

    Clark Member

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    CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

    Also,
    You can load a 38 sp case with a 9mm bullet seated so deep that the powder charge is confined to a volume of the same length as in a 9x19mm case.
    I have done this with a set of handloads in a long work up to very high loads, and it split the cylinder and broke the top strap on the first [and wimpy] shot.

    This is a fast way to pinch a bullet, and pinching bullets will wreck guns faster than increasing the powder charge, increasing the bullet weight, decreasing the OAL, or going to a faster powder. The gain [change in pressure divided by change in bullet pinch] from pinching bullets is very high. Just a little bullet pinch can make a huge spike in pressure. The bullet must be able to start moving without a few thousand psi, or the delay will give powder a chance to burn before the bullet has moved.

    I have pinched the bullet lots of times in 9mm, and with thick chamber walls, the primer just falls out. That is not what happens with the thin chamber walls of a revolver, the cylinder splits before the 65 kpsi that would be needed to make the primer fall out of a 9mm case is reached.

    When a cylinder splits, the pieces of the cylinder often leave to the right and left at lethal velocities, so pinching a bullet in a revolver puts more at risk than just the revolver. The test area must be clear, as the cylinder pieces will to through an inch of wood and keep going.
    The pinched 9mm bullet cylinder pieces bounced off concrete, and I don't know how much energy for penetrating wood was there, but I have seen great penetration with other revolver pieces.

    These .243 rounds all had the same bullet and powder charge. The difference is in the case mouths, and how much bullet pinch they made:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    I have a bunch of 38 spec cases and was wondering if I could run these in my 357s at 357 velocities. I would only use them in my 586, 1894c and only occasionly in my 13. I was thinking if I could use 38 spec cases with 180 gr LFN bullets in my 1894 and still keep the pressure with in reason. I was thinking if the 180 gr bullets might have too long of an OAL in 357 cases. I do not plan on pinching bullets and blowing up my guns as our friend Clark has.

    The idea of a 38x19 was a brain fart looking for an excuse.:uhoh:


    If you have a good hot 357 level load for 158 or 180 gr bullets in 38 spec cases please either PM or eMail me.



    Thanks Sam that is my idea or thought or passing fancy or maybe just gas......

    Sam
    If you will not post would you email????
     
  10. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Sorry, but no.

    Some related stuff in Complete Guide To Handloading...Sharpe.
    And other archaeic pubs.

    Sam
     
  11. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Okay - - Just one:

    CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

    Perfessr
    , I am in full agreement with C. R. Sam, in being loathe to post this sort of load. Due to the fact that this one particular load was bandied around the various magazines several years ago, I will share this one load. It was called "The Skeeter Skelton" load for a while, and I can recall at least two articles in which that worthy person mentioned it.

    Please be aware of the context in which it was published. The late, great, Skeeter began loading shortly after WW-II. As a young sheriff's deputy and border patrolman, not making a lot of money, he owned a series of large frame revolvers, and proper .357 ammo was expensive. Even fired cases were not common in the Texas Panhandle during those years. Skeeter shared a lot of loading data with some other old timers, including Elmer Keith.

    Back then, pressure measuring devices were uncommon, and almost the only .357 revolvers were the N-frame S&Ws, and the Colt New Service and SAA types. One particular favorite formula was new or once fired .38 Special cases, a hard cast 158 gr. LSWC bullet, and 13.5 gr. of Hercules 2400 powder. Magnum primers were usually specified for this combo. This is probably the load mentioned above by Jim Watson.

    Please note that Skeeter never claimed that this was a good load for the light or medium revolvers, only for the heavy ones. I did load some of the above and shot them in a Colt pre-Trooper and in a Model 19 S&W. THIS WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA! While I never wrecked a revolver with these loads, I could see the pressure signs. I don't claim to be a ballistic engineer, but that amount of powder in a .38 Spl case develops way too much pressure, compared to even more powder in .357 cases.

    I shot up the rest of that batch in a friend's N-frame, and was kind of relieved when they were gone. I kept them in a well marked, taped-up box tul they were gone, fearing I might inadvertently get one into a Chief's Special or a Charter Undercover.

    Please, HEED THE ABOVE WARNINGS, and save the heavy loads for proper magnum cases. :D

    Best,
    Johnny
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2003
  12. JohnK

    JohnK Member

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    I've used the load Johnny lists in my GP100, M27 and a friends 686 several times. I loaded them mainly just to try what Skeeter and Keith were shooting. Otherwise I use magnum brass for magnum loads.

    In my 4" GP100 that load hits right around 1,300 fps.

    I can understand wanting to save some money, but along with the others I'd suggest sticking to magnum brass for magnum loads unless you want to load a few up for nostalgias sake. 500 357 brass is only $45 from Starline, cheap insurance to avoid getting one of those magnum/special loads in a gun that can't handle the pressure.
     
  13. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I have to concur. It's possible to mix, match, and do all kinds of peculiar things at one's reloading bench, but I've found it's best to stick to standards and standard practices unless there's a clear and compelling reason to deviate—and I've never found one.

    I don't shoot .38 special ammunition in my .357 magnum revolvers because they make it harder to clean the cylinder chambers and/or switch back to .357 magnum cases.
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Further caution.

    Brian Pearce went over Elmer and Skeeter's revolver loads in Handloader magazine. He concluded that it took a grain or a grain and a half LESS of current production 2400 to get the velocities they reported. It looks to me like what with ownership and plant location changes, the burning rate of 2400 has slipped a bit.

    I have read Ed Harris to say that current production IMR BRAND powders from Canada are about one full grade faster burning than IMR DESIGNATED powders as made by duPont before 1976.

    I would not take old loading data as gospel. It is common to say that the data is more conservative or cautious because of legal concerns, but it may be that the powder is not exactly the same.
     
  15. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Both.

    The load that Johnny describes above used to be a published load. Circa 1955 Lyman lists it. Lyman also states that it is to be used in Heavy Frame Guns Only.

    In cases like this, I don't consider stainless L frame Smiths to fall in the heavy frame catagory and even have doubts about the blued L frames.

    Sam
     
  16. David Wile

    David Wile Member

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    Hey folks,

    I have a question about the moderating of this thread. In the second post of this thread, P95Carry mentioned a load he used in his Taurus M66. Part of his post read as follows,

    "It's (Moderator Edit) Blue Dot in 38 spl case .. pushing a 158 cast swc ...."

    It would seem to me that one of the moderators decided to edit out the number of grains of Blue Dot powder mentioned by P95Carry. I am not sure that makes a lot of sense to me, but I recognize the forum has the right to make its own rules and take action it deems appropriate. My problem, however, is later in the thread when Johnny Guest posts information that contains specific loading data that is every bit as critical as that posted by P95Carry.

    Johnny Guest's post cited, "One particular favorite formula was new or once fired .38 Special cases, a hard cast 158 gr. LSWC bullet, and 13.5 gr. of Hercules 2400 powder."

    My problem is that one fellow's post was edited in the name of safety, I guess, yet the other fellow's post was not edited. Both posts were giving specific load information on admittedly hot loads, and both fellows included warnings in their posts, but only one of the posts was edited by the moderator. This seems to me like disparate treatment.

    Once again, I know this is not my forum and that I do not make the rules. However, I think if there are instances where the rules are not applied in an equitable manner, it is then not unreasonable for me or anyone one else as a forum member to cite such an incident as a bad example of editing.

    Best wishes,
    David Wile
     
  17. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    True, very true - -

    David Wile, thank you for an articulate and well written response. It is correct as far as it goes.

    Please go to the very top of this area, the Handloading & Reloading Forum, and see the entry entitled, Float: REQUIRED READ for those posting Extra Heavy Load Information. This details the forum philosophy, reasoning, and rules about allowing the posting of heavy loads. It also sets forth the editing policy.

    This float has been in place, essentially unchanged, since Mid-June. It follows procedures long in place here on THR, and previously when I moderated H&R Forum on The Firing Line. After a long period of composition and revision, it was posted to save having to explain the edit rationale each time I regretfully redacted a member's entry. This procedure has been examined and vetted by other experienced members and THR administration. We feel it is the best way to allow free expression by the members while giving all concerned a reasonable level of notice.

    Fitz and I tried to keep the rules uncomplicated. Please take a look and let me know if you feel they could be better phrased and still accomplish the stated ends. There is little pride of authorship there, and I'm amenable to a beneficial revision. :)

    Best regards,
    Johnny Guest
    H&R Forum Moderator
    The High Road
     
  18. David Wile

    David Wile Member

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    Hey Johnny,

    I am familiar with the float on posting hot loads, and I am not criticizing the forums right to edit such material. My criticism is that your post contained what most reasonable and prudent folks would consider to be essentially the same kind of hot load information as that posted by P95Carry. In his case, you chose to edit the information he provided, but then you posted the same kind of information as he without any editing of same.

    If you suggest that your post was appropriate because you placed a better disclaimer and warning than P95Carry did in his post, then I would suggest that you might have edited his post by adding whatever warning you deemed appropriate while leaving the content of his post unaltered. If you think his information was dangerous and yours was not, then I would suggest your judgement as a moderator was wrong in this case.

    I am not suggesting that you are a bad moderator or that the forum is bad in any way. I am only suggesting that you may have made a wrong choice in this particular thread. I enjoy being part of this forum, and I appreciate all the folks that make it happen. I thank you and everyone who keeps this forum going, so I do not want to appear as ungrateful for your service. I just hope my criticism in this instance is received in a constructive light rather than a personal insult. I have long enjoyed reading many things posted by you. I just thought you were off the mark a bit on this item and thought it was worth mentioning in a respectful manner. Whether you agree with my criticism or not, I hope I have at least achieved my intention to do so with respect.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Wile
     
  19. Hutch

    Hutch Member

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    For truly intrepid load information for .38Spl IN A MAJOR RELOADING MANUAL , y'oughta try and find a Speer #8. There's stuff in there for the most stout-hearted. I got mine via E-Bay.
     
  20. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    A final note - - -

    No, I do not agree. Yes, I appreciate your respectful tone, while you state the policy and procedure here does not suit your idea of the way the forum should be moderated.

    Point by point:
    In agreement so far.
    Yes, sir, with the addendum of the required bold face caution language.
    Not suggest, sir. I state it for a fact.
    I reject your suggestion. The rules posted allow members to express themselves in a certain manner. I again refer you to the float.
    Again, your suggestion is rejected. It is part of a moderator’s duties to make judgments. I do not tamper with the writings of another person lightly and regret when I must do so. If the rules are followed by the posters, there is seldom if ever any necessity to do so.

    Regarding the posted rules, I wrote: “Please take a look and let me know if you feel they could be better phrased and still accomplish the stated ends.†The invitation still stands.

    To recapitulate: Perfessr asked a question. I edited part of another member’s answer which did not meet safety standards. The discussion continued with other, conforming, posts. You, sir, complained where the edited member did not, and I entered a too-long response, rather than editing out your off-topic comments. Rather than accepting my “Please read the rules†admonition, you chose to argue and further divert this thread. This post ends the discussion. If you want to pursue your “suggestions†and criticisms via e-mail, please do so.

    Johnny Guest
     
  21. David Wile

    David Wile Member

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    Hey Johnny,

    No, I do see any need to continue any discussion via E-Mail. Your words make your position very clear. I did not realize you were admonishing me earlier for diverting this thread. Yes, your position is clear - you can edit out anything you choose. That's too bad, but I get it.

    Dave Wile
     
  22. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Hey Fess-

    I loaded 100 rounds of .38 Special today; but I DID NOT
    hot rod 'em:

    Cases- Scharch Mfg. once fired brass
    Primer- Winchester Western SP
    Powder- Alliant Bullseye
    Charge- 3.0 grain's
    Bullet- Magnus 158 grain hard cast SWC
    Velocity- Unknown (?) Thought to be in the neighborhood of 900 fps

    Tailored to my 6" Smith & Wesson .357 magnum model 686-5
    I will be trying this load tommorrow (6 SEPT 03) around 0800 hrs!

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
     
  23. Captain

    Captain Member

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    I used to load some pretty hot 38 spl loads for bowling pins with no poblems at all. I wouldn't shoot them out of anything smaller than a an L frame/GP sized gun though. I shot several thousand thru S&W model 27s for years and they still shoot great. It was a 200 gr lead bullet and from my 8 3/8 barrel gave me 1280fps. It was a stout recoiler and I wouldn't really use it unless it was for pins of hunting. If interested, I can give you a starting load and oal. PM or e mail me.
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Charge- 3.0 grain's
    Bullet- Magnus 158 grain hard cast SWC
    Velocity- Unknown (?) Thought to be in the neighborhood of 900 fps


    Hey, Dan, if you get 900 fps with 3.0 grains of Bull, let us know your lot number. Lyman thinks it's good for 680 fps.
     
  25. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Bullseye and 158 gr. lead

    Ala Dan, my sources tend to agree with those of Jim Watson.

    For 158 gr. LSWC bullet and Bullseye powder, in .38 Spl- - -

    Lyman 45th Reloading Handbook: 2.0 gr 519 fps 3.5 gr. 826 fps

    Hornady Handbook Fourth Edition 3.3 gr. 750 fps 3.6 gr. 800 fps

    Speer Reloading Manual #12 3.8 gr. 801 fps 4.2 gr. 888 fps

    I've never personally chronographed any of these Bullseye loads, though - - -

    Best,
    Johnny
     
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