Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Low powder charge 38 Special

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Trent, Feb 18, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    Wet Oregon
    ^
    Exactly.. now I remember. The fellow may well a had mad skilz. They are so "odd" I'd probably not shoot them but keep them as a.. keepsake.
     
  2. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Illinois
    Light loads of Unique and Bullseye are quite common. I personally shoot 3.2 grains of Bullseye behind a 158 frain RNFP out of a Rossi '92 rifle all the time at 50 yards. It's a nice little plinker.
    You'll enjoy the wadcutter loads. Their usually loaded fairly low, for accuracy, and make a really nice neat hole in the target.
     
  3. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,234
    Location:
    Maine
    I don't mean to hijack this thread but could someone (like RC) explain why the low charges the OP is asking about are not a concern because of the "low powder can lead to a 'secondary detonation' or whatever that problem is" thing? Pardon the poor phrasing and lack of knowledge to accurately express my question but hopefully you know what I mean.
     
  4. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    Wet Oregon
    I'm certainly no RC but "secondary detonation" was discounted way back in the day.. 2.7gr Bullseye if I remember correctly.
     
  5. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    The way I understood it, very light powder charges are only a real concern in bottlenecked rifle cartridges?

    But, I figured it was safer to ask, than to find out the hard way I'd assumed wrong. :)
     
  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    Wet Oregon
    We are half superstitious and pray to Saint Gabriel (may God bless his soul) daily but hold that the written word was written for a reason.
     
  7. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Illinois
    It's only advisable with faster double base powders, which Bullseye and Unique are.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    Here is my take on SEE, or Secondary Explosion Effect.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6976324#post6976324


    2.7 Bullseye doesn't, can't, and has never detonated and blown up a gun.

    2.7 & a 148 WC was the standard .38 Spl mid-range match load for 75 years.

    What blows up guns with light charges of fast powder is double or triple charges, or two bullets stuffed in the case with one charge.

    There was an epidemic of it back in the 50's & 60's when progressive loaders first became available.

    Then again more recently when the Cowboy Action guys thought if light was good, too light was even better.

    Stuck bullets, double charges, and all kinds of other foolish mistakes followed.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  9. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    I've heard rumors that big rifle cartridges severely underloaded with a slow burning powder can detonate. But those were just rumors, and (to the best of my knowledge) have never been substantiated in a lab environment.

    Being a 50 BMG / 300 Win Mag loader, I've gone light, but not THAT light. In 300 Win mag I've loaded as little as 50% volume before, for ~1800fps mouse fart plinking loads, but never lower than that. If I want tiny charges I'll switch to a tiny caliber.
     
  10. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    That explains the large volume of 148gr WC ammo and projectiles in my Uncle's chests.... he was well read on gun magazines and books (I have some dating back to the 50's and 60's).

    See, this is why I come here. I learn something new every time RC, certaindeaf, and these other "old guys" on here make posts. :)

    Thanks for my continuing education fellas!
     
  11. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    Good grief, this just brought back a memory of my Uncle Joe telling me about his 38.

    After I finished posting that his face and voice were clear as a bell to me.

    "See, I load these real slow, the gun loves them, makes them real accurate like, it won't kick much"

    We were at a Barbeque on my 10th birthday ("our birthday", Joe and I shared a birthday together) and he was teaching me to shoot with his old 38 special revolver.

    Holy crap.

    That made me tear up a little.
     
  12. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Messages:
    2,376
    I started reloading a year or so ago, at one point I was having fun seeing how light a plinking load I could make for the .38 spcl. I remember being somewhere in the 350fps range with 150gr wadcutters, not having to wear earplugs, being able to easily see the bullet in flight, and having to hold 4' or so over @ 50 yards. It was 2.something grains of unique, don't remember, probably forgot on purpose, lol
    I quickly realized the foolishness of that game after I locked up the cylinder of a 28-2 with a bullet stuck halfway between the forcing cone and cylinder.
     
  13. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    Yeah it's all fun and games until the projectile gets lodged in the barrel. Then you've got a job on your hands!
     
  14. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,234
    Location:
    Maine
    Thanks to everyone for the replies about the 'too light charge high pressure issue'. Definitely have a much clearer understanding now.
     
  15. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    I still won't load a big rifle cartridge with a light charge of slow burning powder.

    But I'm the suspicious / superstitious type.
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    Wet Oregon
    One of my favorite loads is "the load".. go figure.. it's 13 grains of Red Dot behind a heavy cast slug. 30-06.
     
  17. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    Yeah but that's a reasonably bulky powder.

    And it's a fast burner.

    I'm superstitious about slow burning powders in big empty cases.
     
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    Wet Oregon
    I hear you and so am I. Though back in the day I'd go pretty low with IMR4895 and cast slugs.
     
  19. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    The theory behind a low powder charge of slow burning powder in a big empty case seems solid enough for me.

    Pistol powder burns itself almost completely up before the bullet is through the forcing cone.

    Rifle powder burns much slower.

    You load a case with slow burning rifle powder and it settles in the bottom, opening up the flash hole. Now the flash can ignite the charge lengthways and make all that slow burning powder go at once.

    Everything I know about interior ballistics screams that's generally a really bad idea. :)
     
  20. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    2,180
    Location:
    Peidmont/Triad, NC
    Trent,
    As far as the 38 specials go with revolvers being really light loads, I've loaded some mouse fart .38 sp for a friends wife and I made sure my friend (he) understood they were loaded for a 1 7/8"barrel. I told he to not under any circumstances shoot these out of a 6"or longer barrel because they may not exit the barrel.

    Be careful when you test these, they may be the same way, especially if loaded with the minumim of Bullseye.

    Take care,
    TT
     
  21. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    17,982
    Location:
    Illinois
    I'm planning on using them for practice - I keep a 38 special snubbie in the kitchen for my wife to grab if she needs it, she's decent with it but I'm sure she'd appreciate practicing with the reduced loads!

    Then I'll load 'em back up the same way they were before; he left behind a good quantity of cast BOOLITS! that I plan on making good use of.

    That light of a powder charge of Bullseye ... hand-me-down cast boolits.. that's a lot of loading for the money. As long as my (dwindling) primer supply can sustain it anyway.

    I'll have .4 cents a shot in these until I run out of bullets.
     
  22. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2,783
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I won't either. Even Hodgdon doesn't promote downloading anything slower than H-4895.

    I use fast powders (like non-magnum pistol powders) for light loads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page