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Thread: Is anyone loading .38 S&W...

  1. #181
    Boolit Buddy



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    Quote Originally Posted by JWFilips View Post
    S&W Pistols chambered for 38 S&W cartridge need to shoot bullets that a .362" minimum! (Many years of experience behind that statement)
    If you are looking for commercial supplied bullets "Matt Bullets" are one of the better suppliers
    Ask for his 149 Grain sized .363! Then you will be on the road to accuracy
    I won't argue with your experience, but on my M&P a sized .360 barely goes through the chamber. On my 32-1, a sized .360 would press through the chamber if forced. On both the bullet barely enters the forcing cone. I have a 38 Spec Hand Eject and I would say the bore is almost identical. The cylinders are a bit tighter, but not much. I shoot .360s in the M&P and it is very accurate. I'm going to try some .358s this weekend in both and see where that goes. I have .363s but they are honestly so large that I won't fire them without resizing. They won't fit through the chambers without a lot of help. But I'm shooting pure lead, so we'll see if there are any issues.... but 38 S&W is definitely the most fun to mess with...
    -Mike

  2. #182
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I don't think you can assign any firm rules or rubrics to what a throat spec might or should be to any 38 S&W revolver example. The 38 Special and its 115-year-long history of internal dimensional throat & barrel integrity and consistency has spoiled the firearms hobby world ROTTEN. Gotta measure and confirm, or deal with leading and inaccuracy. The 38 Special/357 Magnum acceptance levels and popularity factor have basis in this consistency and user-friendliness; the 38 S&W and its poetic dimensioning is a likely factor in its status as an obsolescent chambering in decline.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  3. #183
    Boolit Buddy LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    "Poetic dimensioning." Now there's a true Romantic if I've ever heard one!!! Either that, or simply the most tactful statement I've heard lately...!

    Been a while since I slugged anything, so I'm going from memory, but the couple of modern-era solid-frame commercial Smiths had .359 groove diameters. Depending on bullet shape, cartridges made up for the Smiths often did fit Colts and Rugers, and often did not. My Victory will eat anything.

  4. #184
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisianaMan View Post
    "Poetic dimensioning." Now there's a true Romantic if I've ever heard one!!! Either that, or simply the most tactful statement I've heard lately...!

    Been a while since I slugged anything, so I'm going from memory, but the couple of modern-era solid-frame commercial Smiths had .359 groove diameters. Depending on bullet shape, cartridges made up for the Smiths often did fit Colts and Rugers, and often did not. My Victory will eat anything.
    My Webley & Scott Mk.IV has .362 cylinder throats with .360 groove diameter and 0.005" cylinder gap.

    My S&W Model 32-1 also has .362 throats, but with .358" groove diameter and 0.005" cylinder gap.

    My S&W Model 36, (no dash) has .3575 throats and .355 groove diameter with 0.009" cylinder gap.

    My Ruger New Model Vaquero .357 has .360" throats, .356 groove diameter and 0.005" cylinder gap.

    My Ruger Police Service Six has .358" throats, .356 groove diameter and 0.006" cylinder gap

    My Ruger New Model Blackhawk has .358" throats, .357 groove diameter and 0.003" cylinder gap.

    My 1930 DOM Colt .38 New Police has .359" throats, .354" groove diameter and 0.006" cylinder gap.

    FWIW, I shoot 2.5 grains of Bullseye in the .38 S&W and 3.5 grains of Bullseye in the .38 Special, with bullets UNSIZED AND SOFT (1:30 tin-lead from Roto Metals) as-cast diameter .360," tumbled in Lee Liquid Alox in ALL of them! K.I.S.S. principle.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  5. #185
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Can't argue against the K.I.S.S. logic. For certain.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  6. #186
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    .............Gee, I kind of missed out on this thread after all these years I'll just post some photo's of my 3 Revolters chambered for the mighty striving 38 S&W:



    This is the way the pistol looked when my father gave it to me. Yup, had Hubley cap pistol grips on it, HA!. I'm sure it was blued from the factory and while it has the 'V' prescipted seril there were no military inspector's initials.



    At some time in it's history it has had a 38 Special reamer run into each chamber. Didn't affect it's accuracy much as it is still a nicely accurate pistol. I think the barrel must have been cut back to 4" as the front sight had been soldered on ( I made the mods to the original). My dad bought this pistol from a California Highway Patrolman in 1964 for $70. I told dad he got stiffed!



    This is my original Victory Model. It went to Australia and went received a FTR in 1954 and placed back into store. It returned to the US in 1984, re-imported by Vega in Sacramento, CA.



    I don't know if it received it's Parkerized finish here or durting the FTR in Australia, but other then the nicks and dents on the grips, it appears to have lead a fairly sedate life.



    Even have an un-issued British 1943 dated canvas holster for it.
    Father Grand Caster watches over you my brother. Go now and pour yourself a hot one. May the Sacred Silver Stream be with you always

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  7. #187
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    Got this nifty little Nickle plated Iver Johnson 5 shot break top from a shooting buddy.



    The little dude is as tight as can be, and in overall excellent condition. The hammer, trigger and frame latch still show fine case colors and the triggerguard is still bright fire blued.





    This is once around the cylinder benched at 25 yards. The load was the Lyman 35863 150gr WC cast of pure lead, as cast at .363". TL'ed over 1.6gr Red Dot 510 fps. Lemme tell ya, with the tiny 'V' notch in the cylinder latch and a front sight blade that's about as wide as a razor blade, trying to shoot many groups with those sights will wreak your Mk1 Mod1 eyeballs. With a 2 liter plastic juice bottle full of water at 15 yards, that WC will open'em up.



    These are about the sum total of 38 S&W endeavors. From the left, 200gr Lyman RNPB, Lyman 35863 WC 150gr seated out to 38 Spec WC OAL to use 38 special loads in the Victory Models. Lee 100gr WC's, old Lee 6 cav group buy for a 146gr RN, and a loaded one. A Colt New Police (Western Factory Load).

    All these are really shot just for the pure fun and pleasure of it all. However with a 14" plate at 100 yards, if you can find a rock, a weed or other aiming point of the right height over the target, it's an amazement to be sure and just simple fun

    ....................Buckshot
    Father Grand Caster watches over you my brother. Go now and pour yourself a hot one. May the Sacred Silver Stream be with you always

    Proud former Shooters.Com Cast Bullet alumnus and plank owner.

    "The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

    Shrink the State End the Fed Balance the budget Make a profit Leave an inheritance

  8. #188
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    Gunna bump this one to the top...this is a wonderful thread on an old-time cartridge that I've been playing with lately. Hope it gets some add'l attention from those of us who appreciate the great revolvers of the past. The Colt PP, mentioned below, was willed to me when my uncle passed.

    My, long gone, Uncle Bill used a 4" Colt Police Positive in .38 Colt New Police as his duty gun while working as a plant guard for Bethlehem Steel during the war. Drafted in early '42, he spent much of his time as a CB on Guadalcanal...not a subject that came up in family discussions nor when he took me fishing for pike in Lake Erie. But back to his duty gun...can't say if he was armed after the war at Bethlehem, but it wouldn't have surprised me...both he and another uncle were tough men and very active during strikes there...

    I'll post some load results as I work with it. Currently I have Lyman's 358156-SWCGC, 35891-WC, 35863-DEWC & 358429-SWC to work with. Throats on the 1920 vintage Police Positive, run 0.359" as close as I can tell from slugging them, but haven't slugged the groove dia. as yet.

    Pic below is of a WRA factory Colt NP load of ancient lineage...1950's perhaps....it's a good shooter for sure...7 yds, from an unsupported Weaver two-handed stance.

    Best Regards, Rod

    Last edited by Rodfac; 01-24-2020 at 12:49 PM.

  9. #189
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Agree that this is a Zombie thread which deserves dusting off. One of my favorite cartridges.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  10. #190
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    Thanx for the support, Outpost....I'm building a file on the cartridge and just clipped & pasted one of your posts to it from a cpl years back (#184 from 2017)...Rod

  11. #191
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodfac View Post
    Thanx for the support, Outpost....I'm building a file on the cartridge and just clipped & pasted one of your posts to it from a cpl years back (#184 from 2017)...Rod
    The .38 S&W is a real hoot in a rook rifle. John Taylor has the reamer and can build your Bunny Gun of dreams.

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    Last edited by Outpost75; 01-24-2020 at 01:13 PM.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  12. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    I can see no reason the try and push the 38 S&W round. None what so ever. The British military and police thought the 200 grain load going 650 fps was a crackerjack round and killed many folks all over the world with it, to prove their point.

    If you want to drive a bigger nail, get a bigger hammer!
    Some folks can only afford one hammer.........

  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    I can see no reason the try and push the 38 S&W round. None what so ever. The British military and police thought the 200 grain load going 650 fps was a crackerjack round and killed many folks all over the world with it, to prove their point.

    If you want to drive a bigger nail, get a bigger hammer!
    exactly.....i have a webley 38 S&W top break ....got it from the original first owner....paris said he rarely if ever had the need to fire it.
    except to qualify.

    it is as tight as new. and as doug marcaida would say...."it will keel!"
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  14. #194
    Boolit Bub
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    This is my 38 S&W jewel. 1937 Enfield No 2 Mk I that's RAF marked.

    I've been working on my .38/200 load and enjoy the heck out of shooting it. Thankfully it's payday so I can get some more boolits ordered to last me until I get my pot set up and a mould bought.

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  15. #195
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    Ah....the Bunny Gun, Ed Harris' interesting project name IIRC....good lookin' rifle and what accuracy from those sights! I'll have to keep that in mind when I get some extra shekels in my jeans. That WFN looks like it's seated right into the rifling when loaded. LLA only for lube? I've used LLA or 45-45-10 thinned, in the past on WC's for .357 and .38 Spl. use, double coating the bullets and got zero leading up to ~850-900 fps or so with a proper match between throat and groove.

    Nice "Brits" too...have always had a yen for one, just to try out but never got around to it, nor found one in a condition that tempted me.

    It rained here yesterday, pretty much all day and that kept me busy feeding the new fireplace stove insert with catalytic converter (draft and flue bypass technique issues), while my wife knitted new toques for family and friends.

    But did make it down to the gunshop in the basement...sized some 358156's to 0.359" (ACWW+2%) and loaded them with 2.0 & 2.2 gr of Bullseye. My 1920 Colt Police Positive 4" has relatively tight chambers and the older WRA brass I used won't seat with anything larger than 0.359". I'm going to order up some Starline, to see if that's going to work with my current sizing efforts, as I have a limited supply of R-P & WRA brass. Lee dies, WSP caps and 50-50 lube from White Label were the tools/components used.

    Between showers I scurried out to my side meadow backstop... magic markered a 2" square aiming point and got a single cylinderful into less than an inch from 8 yds, from a standing Weaver stance. Basically, one ragged hole in the soaked cardboard backing target...gotta try them out from 15 yds later this wkend, but this looks promising as a starting point.

    Wish Colt had invested in a thicker front sight...that finger nail thick disc is tough to see in the gloom. POI was 1" low and right, though, close enough that a little judicious use of a jeweler's file on the rear sight notch will center me up when the load's finally determined. For now KY windage and elevation are OK.

    Best regards, Rod
    Last edited by Rodfac; 01-25-2020 at 09:17 AM.

  16. #196
    Boolit Buddy LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Nice-looking Enfield! I found their DAO trigger pull astonishingly light, short, and smooth, and the gun handily accurate at the combat ranges for which it was intended. The grip size, shape, texture, and thumb grooves make it point more naturally for me than any other .38 S&W revolver I've fired, and the fixed sights are the best I've encountered for WWII combat handguns.

    The 5" Victory and 4" Webley Mk. IV are close seconds, followed closely by the relatively rare Ruger Indian Speed-Six. Smith I and J frames are very accurate and beautifully made, but don't point as naturally in my hands. Same goes for the Colt Police Positive Special, which I found to lag behind the others in utility as a close-range DA combat weapon (due solely to grip geometry), although it's beautifully made and inherently accurate.

    I'm a big fan of 200g bullets in various configurations, but have had excellent success with 110g-135g JHP of various types, Mk 2Z 178g surplus ball ammo, and cast bullets of all sorts from 125-215g. (I'm sure 100-120g would do fine, too, but simply haven't tried them.)

    I've even had highly satisfactory results from Hornady 110g FTX I pulled down from .38 SPL CD ammo, 135g Speer GDHP component bullets, and I have a couple of boxes of 110g GDHP I still need to try out. XTP, Win and Rem component JHPs in 110-125g do fine, too, and provide excellent velocity and expansion from 4" and 5" revolvers. Since these jacketed bullets run .357", I've found it most efficient to use nickel-plated brass cases originally used in factory loads--they give good neck tension with my Lee dies. Starline brass is wonderful for cast bullets, but doesn't provide adequate neck tension with jacketed bullets.

    Cautionary note: I've fired a few old US-made top breaks with factory (or equivalent) lead bullet loads just for a little novelty fun, but do NOT use them for any other purpose or with any other ammo.
    Last edited by LouisianaMan; 01-25-2020 at 11:06 AM.

  17. #197
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Nor EVERY shot fired recreationally needs to be a wrist-wrencher. Toward that end, I have long enjoyed the friendly and affordable-to-reload-for 32 S&W Long and 38 S&W calibers. Varmint-whacking can be a year-round activity where I live, and few better calibers exist for the humane dispatching of pests like ground squirrels than the 32 SWL or 38 S&W.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  18. #198
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    Great thread! I love the 32's and small 38's. My 6" Colt PP likes the Lyman 358212 146gr sized to .359 over 2.4gr of Bullseye. My S&W 32-1 likes Lymans 148gr WC 358191 sized .361 over the same 2.4gr of bullseye. Both shoot to the sights at 20 yds. The WC dispatches Racoons and other vermin with authority. The 6" Colt PP is a real gem, the long sight radius makes hitting easier for me.

  19. #199
    Boolit Master
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    I see I responded to this back in 2012. I wish I now never sold that post 1966 police positive special chambered for 38 colt new police and stamped RHKP. But I have since acquired a colt bankers special, early police positive and an official police 38-200 of 1941 vintage. The official police is deadly accurate with lyman’s 358477 and 3 grains of bullseye, that load comes from I believe lyman’s 42 edition. I am going to bulk load about 400 rounds with that loading mainly for the official police when my next batch of nickel 38 S&W gets in. I have fired that load in the smaller Colts as well on small occasion. If I shot the smaller Colts more, I would go back to 3 grs. red dot for them or back off the bullseye so they have less recoil.
    Last edited by smkummer; 02-01-2020 at 06:05 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check