View Full Version : "go to " powder .38 Special/.357 Magnum?

07-19-2011, 06:15 PM
I'm new to loading for the .38Special or .357 Magnum. Of corse I'd like to use cast boolits both GC and not GC . Probably going to start w/ my Lee 158gr.GC and later want to get a non GC mold...not about velocity but accuracy...Can you folks steer me to a good powder for this purpose ?....thanks...Tedly

07-19-2011, 06:32 PM

07-19-2011, 06:35 PM
Hodgen Universal. Same burn rate as unique, but is cleaner and meters better.

07-19-2011, 06:45 PM
Bullseye and Unique.

07-19-2011, 06:50 PM
But I always try Winchester 231 first because it meters so well from my dillon 550. It works great out of my ruger

07-19-2011, 06:51 PM
WSF. (use Herco load data, but don't get crazy about it in case it's not a perfect match) It measures as good as 231 but it has longer legs.

07-19-2011, 06:54 PM
Bullseye or Unique

07-19-2011, 07:16 PM
For full house .357 loads 2400 is hard to beat. A powder that hasn't been mentioned is Power Pistol, close to Unique in burn rate and meters like Bullseye. Take a look at the data on the Alliant web site.

07-19-2011, 07:16 PM
WSF. (use Herco load data, but don't get crazy about it in case it's not a perfect match) It measures as good as 231 but it has longer legs.

True enough. 90 percent of my loads are light wadcutter plinking loads. When I want performance loads I use Unique. I will have to try the WSF. Unique is just that tho. Love it.

Frosty Boolit
07-19-2011, 07:50 PM
I have used AA#7 in the .357 and Bullseye, 231, and AA#5 in the .38.

07-19-2011, 08:05 PM
For a 158-170 grain bullet, 3.5 grains of HP-38 or 700X are incredibly accurate. 5.1 grains of the same powders are excellent, but loose a little accuracy. Maybe 1/4 inch at 25 yards, off a rest.

For magnum loads, H110 is also very accurate.

These are using for 357 and using 357 brass. I haven't shot the light loads in a 38 Special.

I've shared a spreadsheet (357 magnum) with accuracy results from the best loads that I've found. It's at

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Ar4xSLouy2aUdElzVEZPbDMzOExacFBVbi1tUkZVZ UE&hl=en&authkey=CKzluvMC#gid=0

All the tests are done with multiple 5 shot groups, off a rest, and either a Red Dot or a Simmons scope. It might give you some ideas.

I also share a list of Skeeter Skelton's old favorite loads. They aren't all safe according to todays loading manuals. But some are, so glean and learn what you can, look up the loads to be safe.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ar4xSLouy2aUdEZ0Q1hKcVlnQmMxQXZoeF94SEt1b 1E&hl=en_US&authkey=CJbU0YoJ

07-19-2011, 08:17 PM
+1 on Universal. Either that or Clays.

07-19-2011, 08:26 PM
For .38 Special, tough to beat Bullesye or Clays, just be careful, you can fit about four maximum charges of Bullesye in there!

For .357 Magnum, Universal or Unique for most stuff, 2400 for serious work.


07-19-2011, 08:31 PM
For plinkers; 3.5g of bullseye (.38 or .357)

Hot loads; 14g of 2400 (.357, no sense in loading .38's hot when I can use the .357... For me anyway)

These are the loads I use, I am not responsible for errors or typos. Use at your own risk. (CYA disclaimer)


07-19-2011, 08:47 PM
Looks like they have it covered above pretty well.
I'm sorting out and refining some loads with AA9. It's real close to H110 & 2400. Cleaner than 2400 and more flexible with reduced loading than H110.
Of the powders listed above, Unique is probably the dirtiest, but most flexible with the most data. 700-X has a lot of data also and is supposed to be pretty clean. I am just starting to load with it.

07-19-2011, 10:26 PM
357shooter... thanks for posting the tables!

07-20-2011, 01:18 AM
I like Unique but also use Trail Boss for cast. It's almost idiot proof in that you can't double charge it in the case. Full power I use 2400.

07-20-2011, 01:23 AM
357shooter... thanks for posting the tables!

+1 that was good info.

07-20-2011, 06:42 AM
357shooter... thanks for posting the tables!

+1 that was good info.

You're welcome. The results may not be exactly the same in every revolver, but after testing and measuring thousands of rounds, these are the best I've found.

They also work the best in a 357 lever action too, which was a nice surprise.

07-20-2011, 01:21 PM
Groo here
For 38 and 357 " The one and only Unique"

07-20-2011, 06:37 PM
I really like the low SD's I get from AA #7 and #9, and how clean they burn, but I save them for my Schuetzen loads because they're so darn hard to get where I live. So Bullseye and VV N310 for light target wadcutter loads, Unique and Herco for middling loads with BHN 12 cast wadcutters, and 2400 for hot loads with hard cast. I could do without the hot ones, so if it came to having only one powder it would be Unique, although it burns sooty in the light wadcutter loads.

07-20-2011, 08:23 PM
One powder for both calibers? Unique.

"Best" for each caliber......lots of choices. 38 Special, WW-231 for standard velocity loads--Herco for full-tilt or +P stuff.

357 Magnum--Herco for 950-1100 FPS loads, 2400 for anything faster.

07-21-2011, 01:32 AM
+1 on Al, Unique for one powder for both,

although I'd add H110/W296 for max or near loads in .357 Mag.


07-21-2011, 01:58 AM
WSF for me.

07-21-2011, 02:15 AM
Unique if only one - I stock bullseye,red dot, Unique, 2400 and use them all in 38's & 357's

It's really tough to beat Unique for all around pistol performance powder works in most everything I've tried it in.

G. Blessing
07-21-2011, 05:39 AM
Another vote for unique, Herco, and 2400.

07-22-2011, 12:13 AM
Way back when I was a lad, Might first loading in 38 spl. was 148 gr. wadcutter and 3 grs. of Red Dot. This load shot great and I still load some of them that way now. I would also like to say that Unique is an excellent powder for 38 spl. loads and midrange 357 magnum loads. Consult the Alliant websight for loading data.

07-22-2011, 12:56 AM
Universal when i can get it or Unique AKA Flamming Dirt"