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Special request, Lightest .38 load

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by sublimaze41, Dec 30, 2015.

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  1. sublimaze41

    sublimaze41 Member

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    Simple request. My 56 year old 4'8" 95 pound wife is willing to start some target shooting at an indoor range.

    Given her size and likely sensitivity to recoil I want to proceed gently.
    A friend wisely suggested a S&W .22 revolver but this soon after Christmas is a no go.

    What I have is a Sig Sauer .380 that is very snappy and downloading it will be hard with respect to cycling the gun, plus the slide is very hard for her to pull.

    Other option is loading for our .38 Special model 36 ( Chief's Special)

    Question? What 's the lightest load I can make to minimize recoil and "Bang."

    I don't reload lead. Have 135 & 158 FMJ as well as copper plated. Could a lighter bullet help?

    Powders #5, #7, Unique, Bullseye, HP38, Bluedot, Titegroup, Universal, 231, and 2400.

    Longwinded, any help would be VERY much appreciated. Like most shooters hooking their spouse into shooting is a big win. Thank You!
     
  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    It's a shame you don't load lead, since a 105 gr. cast bullet over a light charge of Bullseye is a pleasure to shoot in those light revolvers, and like shooting a .22 in a larger revolver. It got my wife shooting, and now I have a hard time keeping up with her demand for more ammunition.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  3. sublimaze41

    sublimaze41 Member

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    Fred,
    Thanks! I long ago ruled out adding anymore lead, especially in the confined space I load in. I still have your bullets on display as well as the Pig Sticker, nice addition to my 5 foot tall mancave.
     
  4. Ozarkian

    Ozarkian Member

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    Try Competion

    Although it is not listed as one of the powders you have available, attempt to locate some Competition powder. My wife had the same problem shooting her S&W airweight. Once I loaded it with Comp at 3.2 grains she could target shoot with it (50 rounds) with no problem.
     
  5. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Glad to hear it!

    I have a solution for you, and here it is:

    http://missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=335&category=20&secondary=9&keywords=

    Missouri Bullet is now offering Hy-Tech coated bullets for reloading. That eliminates the lead exposure, but still gives you the option of using cast bullets. My wife loves this bullet (not coated, but same bullet) in her SAA clones for SASS matches. She has small wrists and can shoot these all day long, and often does.

    If you do decide to go this route, PM me and I'll give you some tried and true loading data for it.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  6. Skinnedknuckles

    Skinnedknuckles Member

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    GENERALLY, fast burning powders and light bullets give the lightest recoil impulse. Also, as others have noted, you can load lead lighter than jacketed, or even plated, without worrying about sticking a bullets in the barrel.

    I understand your reluctance to load lead bullets. I've given up on them as well. However, Hi-Tek coated bullets, available from a bunch of companies including Missouri Bullet, Bayou, Acme, and others, have about the same friction as lead but you will have no leading issues and no exposed lead for ranges that require that or handling while loading. Fred's load would probably be perfect using a coated bullet. I still use a lot of plated bullets, but I'm slowly shifting to coated bullets.
     
  7. Ozarkian

    Ozarkian Member

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    Competition and 125 gr Bullets

    Forgot to add in my previous response that Competition loaded at the lowest level with 125 gr plated bullets would do the trick for you; in my opinion, you should try whatever powder you have at the lowest level for the bullets you have available and experiment with tightening the crimp to a minimum roll crimp to achieve what your wife finds enjoyable shooting. What they hey; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain....a wife that enjoys going shooting with you!
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Great idea Fred. :)
     
  9. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    I use three grains of hp38/w231 or bullseye and a coated 105gr lswc. Very light load in a large revolver. Feels like a 22. Reloaderfred posted a good link for bullets.
     
  10. sublimaze41

    sublimaze41 Member

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    I have heard nothing but good about those bullets and the company itself. Post-holiday financial situation has limited me buying any new bullets yet. Honestly I can't lie to my wife when she as, "have you tried what you have first." She kind of has a point (reluctant agreement).

    Have plenty of plated and FMJ 125 and 158 grain on hand.
     
  11. wbrco

    wbrco Member

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    As one who has been searching for the ultimate 38 plinking round, I would look at loads with HP 38 (current fave with 158 gr lead) Red Dot or Universal in that order. 3.6 gr of HP 38 under 158 lead is fairly mild, so lighter bullets/loads should be even milder. Skip BlueDot and 2400. I like 6.8 of BlueDot under my 158s, but it's definitely a heavy 38 load.
     
  12. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I would try the lightest plated bullets you have on hand with a fast propellant with starting charges and see what accuracy and recoil you have. If that doesn't work then tell her you really do need to try some light powder coated bullets to get less recoil as what you have does not work. Hope you get her shooting out there soon.:cool:
     
  13. cat_IT_guy

    cat_IT_guy Member

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    My plinking 38 loads are a mbc 125gr lrn over about 3gr of bullseye. Out of my 686 they chronoed at a bit inside 700fps iirc.
     
  14. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    The absolutely lightest load you can fire from a .38 revolver is the plastic bullet & plastic case set-up that Speer sells. The featherweight plastic bullet is fired by a primer and the recoil is nil, yet that plastic wadcutter will cut through thick cardboard with ease. The cases are reusable and so are the bullets if you trap them right.

    Every summer I have kids as young as ten run dozens of these practice rounds through .38 revolvers. No soda can is safe at 20-30 feet with these Speer practice rounds. Great fun for beginners of any age.
     
  15. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Along with Freds suggestion you can buy some sample packs Get the coated type.

    Load some light bullets with start charge of BE and it will be powder puff loads!:)

    http://missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=70&category=22&secondary=&keywords=

    That said. a snub nose 38 regardless will have more felt recoil than a light load in a larger semi auto, Any other guns/caliber to chose from like a 9mm??
     
  16. murf

    murf Member

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    trade the sig in for a 22lr auto pistol is my suggestion here.

    if you are going to try and shoot squib loads in that 38 spl, make sure you check for stuck bullets in the barrel every time you pull the trigger. copper jacketed bullets loaded lighter than the lightest load listed in the reloading manuals will get stuck in the barrel.

    so, i implore you not to do that! suggest you load them normal and get your wife a shooting glove.

    reloadron has the best idea with the powder coated bullets.

    luck,

    murf
     
  17. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    Anything wrong with a Browning Buckmark or Ruger Mark III?

    As for 38 special loads, get some 125g bullets and load them over 3g Titegroup or W231. You'll get 6-700 fps and more noise than recoil.

    You can also cast hot glue bullets, seat them to the bottom of the case and shoot them with a primer only but now you are talking airsoft velocities although a hot glue cast bullet will still puncture a paper shopping bag or cardboard box. That's not really shooting, it's goofing off.
     
  18. mstreddy

    mstreddy Member

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    OP, which Sig 380 do you own? Is it the 238 or the 232?
    If it's the 238, you can load 380 to reduce the snappiness. I've loaded Win231 and gotten some pleasant shooting loads out of my LCP, 238 and Beretta 84.
    If it's the 232, like the Walther PPKs, there isn't much to tame that sharp recoil.

    We shoot a ton of the light 380s and it actually allows for shooting a box or 2 of 380 through those lightweights.

    You should be able to get some pleasant light loads out of those plated 158gr bullets you have. I've loaded lots of them (not as many as Fred) using Win231/HP38 at 3.5-3.6. Generally for plated you use the same data as lead.
     
  19. BigBore45

    BigBore45 Member

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    just try 4.0 Grains of titegroup under the 125 grain FMJ see what its like. i bet that is super soft shooting load.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  20. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    .

    My own 36-1 Chief's Special is too tight to shoot lead bullets, and I am not going to mess with it.

    I just loaded some 110 grain XTPs with 6.4 gr Power Pistol, intended for exactly that gun. I don't usually load for mild rounds, but the books provide a broad range. A small gun won't push at the shooter as much with lighter bullets.

    Hornady has loads for 140 grain XTP that I would consider close enough for a 135 gr FMJ. What isn't accounted for is use of bullets with no crimp groove. One would have to pay attention to whether the bullets are moving under recoil. I have loaded some Armscor 158 gr FMJ with just taper crimp, and they seem okay, while I wouldn't put them in a tube fed rifle.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  21. tcj

    tcj Member

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    For light plinking I like a minimum load of Bullseye under a 158gr powder coated bullet. In a 6" GP100 it is barely more recoil than a 22lr.
     
  22. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Your .38 Special Model 36 isn't a great idea. Even with target loads. (148 grain WC's with 2.5 to 2.8 of Bullseye.) Too much muzzle flash and noise for a new shooter. IF it fits her hand. Small handguns of any chambering tend to have more felt recoil and a lot more muzzle flash and bang. However, it's what you have.
    Her size means nothing. If the M36 fits her hand, she'll be able to shoot it. Make sure she has good ear defenders.
    Just don't get mad when she shoots it better than you can. That's normal.
     
  23. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    The best way to reduce felt recoil is to install big, cushy rubber grips. Some of the Pachmayrs can work very well, be sure they cover the backstrap with rubber.

    My S&W 340PD still hurts with the lightest jacked loads I've got when I use the original Bantam grips, but put on the Pachmayr Decelerator grips and even +P is ok.
     
  24. sellersm

    sellersm Member

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    May want to take a look at the Hogue Tamer grips! They really reduce the recoil on the snubbies. Hogue Tamer Rubber Grips

    For loads, light load with a fast powder, lighter projectile. If you had Trail Boss...
     
  25. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    2.5-2.8g of bullseye with a 148g wadcutter. Light recoil and generally very accurate.
     
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