View Full Version : .38 Special loads: I need suggestions for PPC
12-12-2005, 04:05 PM
I've never been one to load ammo very light, but for Police Pistol Combat I need to. I have been testing 'Wimp Loads' in four inch barrelled Ruger Security Six, Dan Wesson, and S&W 586 pistols.
I've been trying various Bullseye loads around 2.7 grains lately with Federal small pistol regular primers, and the only thing I can get it to shoot really well with is Commercial 158 gr Bevel-Based Semi-wadcutters, lubed with something red and moderately hard (about an inch at 50 feet). Shooting almost as well are my Lyman 158 grain plain based bullets lubed with 50/50 Alox/Beeswax (1.5 inches at 50 feet). I even tried Gaschecked 358156 bullets lubed with 50/50 Alox/Beeswax (about 2 inches at 50 feet).
Bevel-based 148 gr Wadcutters don't seem to shoot well in any of my .38 or .357 revolvers when using around 2.7 grains of Bullseye. Winchester .38 Special Hollow-based 148 grain 'White Box' also do not do well in any of them.
I have also been trying a 146 grain Lyman plain-base Round nose 358212. Because I refuse to chamfer the opening of my cylinder shot holes, I favor Round Nose bullets for the stages requiring rapid reloads. Using loads in the neighborhood of 2.7 grains of Bullseye, I get much lower points of impact (2 inches lower) with this bullet, the opposite of what I would expect.
I am open to suggestions. My guess is I need to try perhaps heavier charges of Bullseye, try 700X, but also Unique.
I have been using Dillon dies, and just straightening out the belling of the case mouth. There is no indication of bullets migrating forward under recoil. One can see the position of the base of the bullet on the outside of the case.
12-12-2005, 05:06 PM
Have you tried (GASP!) swaged HBWC's? My sister's PPC load was 3.0 x 231 and the Hornady 148 HBWC, Federal 100 primers, and W-W wadcutter cases. Very light roll crimp. She was a 1470-class shooter.
Wadcutters are a PITA to charge a cylinder with, 6 at a time. Are you using the spring-loaded or gravity-fed loaders? Bianchi Speed Strips--if loaded 2 at a time--are almost as fast as trying to get 6 flat-fronted rounds to line up at once in an unchamfered chamber.
RN bullets will cost you line cuts on close shots. I used #358477 for the little bit of PPC I did years ago--the sharp shoulder sort of gets guided by the rounded SWC point of that bullet. The #358156 is almost as slick-feeding, though.
12-12-2005, 05:16 PM
the best shooting load ive ever come up with for a 357 mag light load is 4.0 bullesey in 357 cases from the same brand if not the same lot# cases trimmed to a uniform length and federal spp around 800fps + or - a few fps in revolvers this load will usually constiantly group about a inch or better at 25 yards and a inch at 50 yards in the single shot all groupes were shot useing a scope or a ransom rest
with any lead bullet from 148 wad cutters 158 swc & rn , 180 gr fn & tc bullets out of perhaps 10 different 357 from revolvers, single shot pistols & rifles.
12-12-2005, 05:22 PM
148 HBWC is the way to fly for accuracy with 2.7 grains Bullseye. Al ain't kiddin about the reload speed. It takes a lot of practice and chamfered chambers really help. Federal primers are the best because they tend to be softer and allow for lighter hammer springs and a resultantly lighter DA trigger. I've loaded thousands of them and they really shoot out of any decent wheelgun.
12-12-2005, 05:34 PM
I like Lee #90485 swchp and Lyman #358156 swc cast of WW. The load is 6.2gr of Unique with a moderate roll crimp. 3.4gr is the starting load with the powder and is reasonably accurate, too, but the sights on my S&W36 are fixed and the hotter load shoots to POA. These are both gas check bullets that I also shoot in my .357mags and I feel that while the gas checks aren't really necessary from a performance standpoint at these pressures, IMHO they make the bases more uniform so they are launched with less wobble and so are more accurate. I do not like beveled base bullets and have tried several with very poor accuracy. I also like the Lee #90328 rn for plinking and practice with the same charge, but it is not as accurate as the swc's for serious work (competition or live targets), but it casts easily and preps quicker as it doesn't take a gas check. :)
12-12-2005, 05:56 PM
I do a little 50 ' combat shooting ( I use super wimp loads , for no recoil ) :Fire:
I shoot a store bought cast 125 gr 9 mm bullet and 2.5 gr of 700X in 38 spec cases for 650 fps .( I don't cast a 9 mm bullet yeat )
Out of my Dan Wesson 4" model 15 357 I can keep them all in 1" groups at 50' off sand bags or 2.5" off hand .
12-12-2005, 07:34 PM
I shot PPC some years ago and would recommend sticking with the wadcutters, 2.7 of Bullseye is a decent load but 3.1 outshoots it in my K-38 and Ruger gp160( H&G #50 cast wc) YMMV. I have'nt shot the game in 25 yrs but I never thought the time limits then were very tight. IIRC 7 yds was 12 rounds in 25 seconds from the holster which meant 1 reload. I used Safariland speedloaders with wadcutters and had all the time in the world, you just have to practice a bit. Bump the charge up a bit and see what happens, Bullseye or 231 and wadcutters have won one hell of a lot of ppc matches. Good luck Nick
NuJudge, I shoot a match called the Australian Police and Services Pistol Championship Match. It is a 90 shot course from 50 metres, 25 metres, 10 metres and 7 metres and similar to the PPC course.
I use a cast 158 grn RCBS RN flat base boolit in front of 3.5 grns of Win 231, PMC small pistol primers and Win cases. Boolit crimp is firm. Loaded on a Dillon Square Deal.
Our Pistol Association (all Police Pistol Clubs in Australia) banned wad cutter ammo many years ago as all firearms and ammo must be of Service type. Each shooter also has four targets at each distance and at seven metres one really needs round nose boolits for the reload. 7 metres is the fastest part of the match, 12 shots in 12 seconds with 3 shots on each of two targets, reload (Jet loaders) and repeat the sequence so RN is the only way to go.
My 50 metre groups run somewhere about 4 inches, small enough to place them all in the ten ring if everything else is working for me on the day.
Hope this helps in your search for a PPC load.
12-13-2005, 06:06 AM
PPC as practiced when I was active with it was largely a double action target match, with the 50 yard portion shot single action. Time allowances were pretty generous. Those wadcutters are pretty leisurely going downrange, if the light angle is right, you can see them arcing toward the target at 25 and 50 yards.
If this suggestion is a little too basic, please forgive me. I worked up some .38 target loads a while back and discovered that the age old standard 2.7 grains of Bullseye worked well with hollow based wadcutters (HBWC), but I needed a little stiffer charge for bevel based wadcutters (BBWC). The bevel based wadcutter would not obturate, seal, and engage the barrel properly. A charge of 4.0 grains of Bullseye worked best for me with BBWC.
Hope this helps.
12-13-2005, 02:38 PM
:redneck: I like a Lee 9mm tumle lubed boolit (125 grs.) with 5.5 Bull---Tack driver in my colt python---4 inch.---38 cases--feels like a light magnum---no signs of pressure---If u try it start lower and work up.----Mag_01 :bigsmyl2:
12-13-2005, 08:33 PM
Been a long time ago since I did any PPC but my load fer a Colt Diamondback 6" was Lyman #358477 over 3.5 a Bullseye in LC trimmed cases n lit off with CCI500's...
Boolit shape was easy ta reload fast in either H&K speedloaders er the push hard ta dump variety...ferget the brand name of em...:confused:
Accuracy was good for 2.5" 50yd. groups...a 600 was a possible ifin' I did my part...
12-13-2005, 09:52 PM
Been a long time for me since I shot PPC also, and I always used WC's, mostly whatever I could get cheap. However, when allowed to use my own loads in a match, I always shot HBWC's with 700X. Can't remember the charge wt., but it was in the longer .357 brass in a M-19 or 586. I loaded a little warmer than the very bottom loads so my POI at the various yardages was easier to guage on the "X ring," if you can call that big a target an "X."
BTW, if you haven't tried Safariland speed loaders, you really need to. If you're like most folks, it'll take a bit of practice to load them, but it's WELL worth the effort to learn, and once you do learn, you'll be able to do it in your sleep .... well, almost. They align with the cylinder holes MUCH better than HKS or any other speed loader I used.
Like I said, it's been a good while now, so somebody may be making something better now, but I really doubt it.
12-19-2005, 09:07 PM
I just started using Lees new 158 gr round flat nose with 3.0 of Bullseye in both my .38's and .357's. Have found it to be real accurate and alot easier to reload from a speed loader than the 148 hbwc. It also gives you a better hole than the round nose.
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