View Full Version : 38spl load input please.

01-20-2009, 09:23 PM
Good evening folks!!! I seek info on a "universal" 38 spl load. I am in the process of loading up a bunch of "spare" 38 spl ammo. A good working load for me has been 4.5gr of Unique. This load seems to do fair. AS of now Unique is the only powder I have that will work with this bullet [ 158gr Lee SCW cast from straight WW]. As a matter of fact, Unique and wc820 are my ONLY pistol powders.
I know some will say to see how the load shoots, but I will use this load in several 38's and 357's. As I said, what would you guys do for a truly universal load?

01-20-2009, 10:12 PM
I think a "universal" load for the 38 special has to be 2.5 grains bullseye and a 148 grain full wadcutter.

But a lot depends on what you want the load to do.

Any 158 grain rnl load that duplicates the factory velocity should shoot to point of aim in the 38 special guns, might shoot high in a 357.

Like I say what do you want the load to do?

01-20-2009, 10:24 PM
My "universal" 38 load is a little different than yours, but not much. I like a 158 lead round nose or a semi wadcutter over 5.0 Unique lit by Winchester primers and preferably in a Winchester case. I own 4- 38's and while this might not be the best load it works well in all of them.

01-20-2009, 10:33 PM
I will second that 5 grains of unique with a 150-165 grain simi-wadcutter in 38 special cases. It has been a standard of mine whenever asked to load for an unknown gun with a field strength load. ... felix

01-20-2009, 10:39 PM
I loaded 148 HBWC upside down ontop of 3gr of Unique.Around 800fps and they double in diameter.Went through one side of a 45 gallon drum at 100 yards leaving a nice welt on the offside with quarter size expansion.Shreds gophers and would work on two legged pests as well when you don't want over penetration into the next room.Like the old Victorian .455 Webley manstopper for planting Zulu's...................Harold***shot out of a S+W model 10-4"

01-20-2009, 11:01 PM
What I want the load to do???? Not sure. Mostly I am loading up some ammo for storage. Just to have loaded ammo on hand. Aside from that, I shoot alot of nuisance coke cans and bowling pins that get within 25 or 30 feet of me!!!! Not looking for MOA.
I think my Speer number 13 list 4.7 gr of unique as MAX for a 158gr lead swc. Is 5.0 a safe load for most 38's not rated for +p??

01-20-2009, 11:10 PM
I load 3.2 grians of bullseye behind a 158gr lee flat round nose, is a pleasant round to shot with good accuracy.

01-21-2009, 12:28 AM
I'd stay with the 4.5 grains of Unique.

That way you won't have to worry about over powering someones pet model 37.

01-21-2009, 05:48 PM
I do believe the 4.5 gr is what I will use. thanks guys

01-21-2009, 06:24 PM
I load W231 powder, but my load is warmer than the books quote, because my particular keg of 231 burns a little slower than most. I say, if you're having good luck with the 4.5grs of Unique, I'd stick with that.

A universal load should be safe in any 38 Spl. gun you have or come across in the future - that eliminates +P loads from the running. It should also shoot to point of aim, so you want that 158gr boolit (of whatever shape) to be running around 775-825fps.

Lastly, if you want it for long-term storage, you want to make sure you use a relatively hard boolit lube and even then, store it with the boolit noses down, so that the lube doesn't melt and encroach on the powder, deadening it. Likewise, you want to wipe any excess boolit lube off the base of the boolit, before you seat it in the seating/crimping die. I'd also suggest getting some desicant packs and storing the boxed ammo in an ammo can with the desicant packs.

01-21-2009, 06:41 PM
MakeMinea10mm, Good suggestions. I recently bought a Food save vacuum sealer and plan on trying to seal 100rds at a time in airtight bags. I use the Lee liquid alox on these tumblelube boolits and when it dries, it seems mighty hard.