Starting loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Smaug, Sep 6, 2022.

  1. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    As I look through the load data for 38 Special, I see a lot of starting loads in the 4.5 gr. range. Having just shot some light loads on Saturday, I'm wondering why the load start so high.

    For example, the entry on this page for 125 gr. LRNFP with Win 231 says 3.8 - 4.8 gr.

    I bet 3.0 gr. would also be plenty, from some loads that I've seen posted here.

    Is it a question of filling the case to a level where ignition would be reliable, or are they trying to consider some obscure automatic gun that needs energy to cycle the action?
     
  2. RKRCPA

    RKRCPA Member

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    You have to make sure the bullet will exit the barrel.
     
  3. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    If you want a lighter load. Go with bulls eye.
     
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  4. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    I will see if I can find some. Alliant powders are in short supply here.
     
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  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    If shot in a rifle, long barrel, you have to make sure the bullet will exit the barrel.
     
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  6. SingleActionAndrew

    SingleActionAndrew Member

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    Target pistol shooting with fast powders like Bullseye as mentioned or VV N310 etc are often shot a bit below starting loads. Book starting loads might be representative of 50 yard "long line" loads for the target shooter. In an autoloader these light loads may need different springs to function reliably. Do you have a chronograph?

    I understand some slower powders can be dangerous to load light.
     
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  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I bought what I thought was a pristine 8 3/8” Model 14-3 last year. Unrevealed by the seller, and unknown to me, the previous owner stuck a bullet in the barrel and then fired another shot. It bulged the barrel about 1.5” from the muzzle, completely ruining the guns accuracy.

    Clearly the loads were cream puffs. The exterior of the barrel was almost imperceptibly affected, I did not see any bulge at all. I realized the issue because I felt it when I pushed a tight patch down the bore.

    This type of stuff can occur when reloaders chase powder puff loads, which is why I wont go below minimum. :)

    (Cutting to 5”, recrowning, a new sight and rebluing cost me an additional $500 to make that gun useful. Plus I bought a second, undamaged 8 3/8” 14-3 for my collection, so I had to add another $875 to that. :fire:)

    AD1BE9C3-21B5-4AA2-B082-6CCAD4C8E1DE.jpeg 1C8F23CF-9208-4314-80C3-BE56C8D8DDE2.jpeg

    Stay safe.
     
  8. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    I would recommend Trail Boss, but it is unobtanium, out of production and maybe, gone forever.

    I have loaded it down, using purple powder coated bullets, I could see the bullet traveling to, hitting the gong and falling to the ground. 4.6" barrel, but checking the barrel if I didn't hear the "dink" of bullet strike.
     
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  9. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    Ah, good point. I was not thinking of rifles. The lever actions with tubular magazines will shoot 38 Spl, so a powder puff load with a fast powder could very well do that.

    Oh, that's a kick in the nuts. Did you consider sending it to S&W and having THEM re-barrel it with 8-3/8"? I bet it would have cost less than $500... (or did you want a 5" anyway?)
     
  10. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    No, the 14-3 is long out of production (1970’s-era), and I doubt S&W is taking custom work due to backlogs even if they did still have one of those barrels still around.
    As it was it took 51 weeks to get my gun back from the ‘smith. Employee issues, bluing chemical delays, etc.

    Stay safe.
     
  11. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    Yeah, that's a big time bummer.

    Can't help but think Life, lemons and lemonade...

    Do you happen to have a pic of the whole revolver?

    I'll bet it's pretty sharp!
     
  12. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Start loads for pistol and rifle are not the same game. Reducing loads in rifle has proven to be catastrophic. In pistol getting good ignition and filling the case enough to get crazy powder forward powder rearward numbers is the game. Some guy in the ole youtube worked unique in a 38 down to less than two grains. I'm not doing it but the danger in pistol is a bullet that failes to exit. You hear this warning a lot with guys trying to develop subsonic loads.
     
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