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Powder Recommendations for 38 Special +P 158 LSWCHP?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Waywatcher, Jan 6, 2012.

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  1. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    I am looking especially for first hand experience others have had with this combination. I am considering loading 38 Special +P with 158 lead semi-wadcutter hollow points, trying to mimmick or duplicate the FBI load using a Speer 158 LSWCHP.

    I have tried Unique and Bullseye and they were way too dirty. I also have tried Trail Boss, but it was too weak to get it into 800+fps that I want (from a 4" tube.) I do like Trail Boss quite a bit, it seems very cool and clean burning. (Is this partially because of the fact that it is a single based powder?)

    I am considering trying SR4756, a single based flake powder that, in my research, appears "fluffy." (I don't own any yet.) I am reluctant to try any more Alliant double based flake powders, such as Power Pistol, due to my experiences. These will be fired in a .357 Magnum GP100, for what it's worth.

    Any advice?
     
  2. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    checkout www.ramshot.com and look at the data for Silhouette and True Blue. Both will meter exceptionally and Silhouette is treated for flash. True Blue is a very fine ball powder that meters as well as any powder can. ;)
     
  3. sellersm

    sellersm Member

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  4. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    My "FBI" load uses Speer 158 grain LSWC-HP and max Alliant Power Pistol data. I'm getting 927 fps from a 3" Model 60, with nice accuracy, clean, and excellent bullet expansion. Even using circa 1994 Hodgdon max +P data (7.3 grains) for HS-6 and a 158 grain lead bullet, it falls 60 fps short of the PP load, and nowhere near as clean... Just another load in my experience where Power Pistol excels, and the more I use it, the more I like it for a lot of pistol calibers.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    How can you tell?

    If you are shooting cast lead bullets, the dirty part is caused by the bullet lube blowing & burning off, and sticking to everything that gets in it's way.

    Different powder isn't going to fix that.

    rc
     
  6. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Before switching to plated bullets, I loaded 158gr LRN over 3.5gr Clay's. From my 4" 686, they chrono'd at 816 - 820 fps, IIRC. I know others who use Solo1000. Both powders are about as clean as you'll get shooting lead.
     
  7. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    Because I was there?

    They were not cast, they were Speer LSWCHP as I mentioned in my OP.

    And different powder did fix that.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    The 2 +P loads I use is 4.5 to 4.7grs of W231 or 5.0 to 5.2grs of Unique with the Speer 158gr LSWCHP with Winchester primers in a Winchester case. Both loads do around 900 fps + chrono'd average out of various 4" revolvers.

    3.8grs of Tightgroup averaged 877 fps from my S&W 67 4".
     
  9. 336A

    336A Member

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  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I got outstanding success using HS-6 in my FBI replica loads. That powder will deliver all the velocity you are looking for while keeping the pressures lower than most other powders in it's burn rate range. HS-6 doesn't create excessive flash like Power Pistol does either. Accuracy is very good too in all my revolvers... My data is in the post on the second link listed above to the S&W site.
     
  11. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    I use ww231/HP38 for my FBI duplicate load. however I have used Unique I always find it amusing when somebody talks about how dirty Unique is Sure it may leave a little more soot on the gun than the so called clean powders do, but it wipes right off. I mean if you find a powder that burns pretty clean are you gonna leave the gun just a little dirty?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I loaded a lot of .38s with 158 gr cast SWC or RN and 4.6 gr W231.
    Velocity ran from 820 to a blazing 942 fps depending on gun (all 4" though), bullet brand, powder lot, and temperature.

    I now settle for 4.3 which goes 800 fps +/-.
     
  13. plateshooter

    plateshooter Member

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    I use 4gr of Red Dot with 158gr SWC. Been using that load since the late 60s.
     
  14. GrayDog

    GrayDog Member

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    Here's some data from last summer with those Speer bullets, six inch barrel:

    A#5 6.3 WSP primers 7/3/11

    lo 909
    hi 944
    av 929
    sd 12.7

    True Blue 5.6 WSP primers 8/13/11

    lo 822
    hi 881
    av 857
    sd 20.0

    The A#5 load is from the Speer manual which shows 6.2-6.6.
    The True Blue load is the max from the Ramshot manual, but they don't show any +P loads for lead bullets.

    I'm happy with the A#5 load so I stopped experimenting with this. If I needed to use another powder I'd try any of the load data recommended in the Speer manual. It's the only manual I have that lets me expect to see something close to the published velocities.
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    AA #5 will do what you want.
     
  16. joed

    joed Member

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    I hate Unique with a passion even though it was my powder of choice for 20 years. I would try either Universal or Power Pistol, they give excellent velocity and are cleaner burning.

    About 5 years ago I had enough of Unique, powder measures seem to have trouble with it. I tried the 2 powders above and was very happy with both. I'm still trying to decide between the 2 of them. Universal is pretty much like Unique. Power Pistol gives some really good velocity in cartridges like .38 Spl, .44 Spl and .45 acp. I use it exclusively in .38 Spl and 9mm at present.
     
  17. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    Power pistol, combined with Rim Rock's 158 LSWCHPGC might just be my ticket!

    Looks like it would be a good powder for 135 GDHP in mild .357 as well.
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Power Pistol will probably do what you want EXCEPT you will have to deal with the excessive flash and the additional report generated by Power Pistol. Since there are several other powders like HS-6, Longshot, AA#5, True Blue and a few other that will do just as well I refuse to deal with the shortcomings of Power Pistol.

    As for a 135gr mild .357 Magnum load, I have made good 135gr Speer SB replica loads. I found Power Pistol to work very well replicating the Speer magnum load. Using a 135gr GDHP ot 140gr XTP bullet a charge of 8.8gr Power Pistol delivered right around 995 fps from a 2" barrel. I stopped using it because the flash was unacceptable especially in low light conditions. I was able to get the same results using HS-6 without the excessive flash. To replicate the 135gr Speer SB .38 Special +P ammo I use AA#5.
     
  19. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I load them with 4.5 grains of either American Select or Rex-3 (Rex-3 is a defunct powder equivalent to Universal Clays, but I haven't actually tried Universal yet) This should give 950+ fps from a 4" revolver.

    You can go a little faster than that with enough Unique or Herco or AA#5 or True Blue. (anything slower will be too flashy)
     
  20. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    Sounds real good, and can EASILY do the 800+ fps what you originally spec'd it to do from a 4" revolver... I'd fully expect very close to 1000 fps at max Alliant data in many 4" revolvers Nice choice for the 135's too.
     
  21. Cop Bob

    Cop Bob Member

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    I LOVE 4756 and I load a LOT of it, I have been for over 40 years.. it is a GREAT PERFORMER in 38-357 loads,, but it is not at all what I would recommend for bullet weights in excess of 125 grains.. it has a very radical pressure curve.. at 125 grains at 10 grains you may have it showing little pressure and the cases falling out of the cylinder and at 10.2 blowing primers and sticking cases like a madman.. I would go with another powder personally..

    Also, it is the lead that is fooling you into thinking it is a dirty powder.. with jacketed bullets, 4756, and it's little sister 7625 is one of the cleanest powders I have ever used.. But they don't really like heavy bullets... unless you keep them below max..
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    4756 is very position sensitive in .38/.357 cases.
     
  23. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    My research mirrored Walkalong's assertion about SR4756; I'm not going to try that one.

    AA#5 was also an interest; ArchAngelCD, would you mind posting your numbers?

    I have noticed that Alliant 2400 is very flashy, and that AA#9 had almost zero flash. Flash isn't necessarily a deal breaker for me; it is entertaining!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    When trying to replicate Speer's 135gr Short Barrel .38 Special +P ammo achieving the velocity was fairly straight forward but getting the same "feel" of the recoil was another thing all together. After a lot of testing I found a charge of 6.8gr AA#5 under a 140gr Hornady XTP bullet made a very good replica for the factory Speer ammo and was as accurate or better than the factory load. Most importantly the replica felt the same as the factory ammo. What good is a replica load if it doesn't act just like the factory load you are replicating?

    S&W M638 Airweight J frame.
    Hornady 140gr XTP/HP (because they are cheaper than the Speer bullets and they are available)
    6.8gr AA#5 = 839 fps AV
    7.0gr AA#5 = 871 fps AV
    The 135gr Speer .38 Special +P factory ammo is listed at 860 fps on their site.
     
  25. htreinen

    htreinen Member

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    If you haven't had enough data

    I too don't care for unique, really dirty in my guns. When the rush on components took place 3 years ago I had to switch to what was available. I have been using Hogdon Titegroup ever since. Uses very little powder and is not case position sensitive. I run the same +p load in all my 38's and 357's using a Hornady 158 lswchp. Hornady uses a dry lube so no bullet lube crap in my guns and the lead is swaged so it is soft enough to expand at low velocities. Seat it over the bullet body as it has no crimp grooves, like a wadcutter with a tip sticking out. Depending on the gun, I get 875 - 950 FPS. It is a great target load and works wonders on rabbits and other small game. I even used it last year to take a Javelina with a 4" 1957 Colt Official Police. I wanted a load to match what that gun used in 1957 and got damn close, sounds like you are on the same road. If you want to pick up a few more FPS I have also used HS6 for this load and get around 980 FPS out of a six inch 357.
     
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