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Thread: Pydrodex P in 38 S&W

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Eastern NC

    Pydrodex P in 38 S&W

    Semi-newbie loading for cartridges. I've loaded 45 Colt & 44-40 but nothing this small. Starline brass, Hornady 148 gn HBWC and Pyrdrodex P. I can't find any load data but I'm thinking 10 gn of powder. I'm a little confused about the hollow based WC though. Do I just keep pushing the WC down (in the press) until the bullet doesn't creep back out? The COAL with the base of the bullet is 1.110, but I've seated the bullet to a COAL of .995 and I'm still not sure if I have the powder compressed. My main concern is an air pocket in the bullet base. The gun is a S&W lemon squeezer in very good condition.

    AND PLEASE no diatribes about using real black powder.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Soundguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    N Central Florida
    As you know, pyrodex is a bit chunky, and will crush to compress.. Pyrodex R moreso than P.

    What I have done in the past is to take a sacraficial piece of brass. Seat my projectile where I wanted it, then drill out the primer hole.. then dribble in pyrodex and use a stick pin as an agitator or tamp. then volume measure that ( or weight it if you wanted I guess ). and then just up it a couple grains to allow for some compression. Say you got in 8 grains of P.. make it 10. say you got in 12, make it 15, etc.. then try it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Grapeshot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Eastern Maryland
    Pyrodex is soft. It compresses easily so measure a case to determine how deep your boolit is to be seated. You can use a Lee dipper, or a home made one. Pour your charge in the case and use a wood dowel, or BRASS Punch of appropriate size and push down on your powder charge and see where you are at, If you have compressed it to the depth you want, insert boolit and seat, then crimp. You can add a compression die if you don't want to use a punch you push on. have fun and be safe.
    Listen! Do you hear it. The roar of cannons, the screams of the dying! Ahh! Music to my ears!

  4. #4
    You could open up a case, without damage to any component, with an inertial bullet puller, to find out what happens to your powder.

    I don't see much risk of an air pocket in the base. Crushing of the powder could be worsened if it doesn't find its way up into that cavity as the bullet is pressed downward, so that the flat edges of the skirt crush it. Both of these conditions could be minimised if you insert the bullet just enough to be aligned, invert the round, and then press the bullet home with the case head uppermost. That way the loose powder will fill the base cavity.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    All good advice. Be aware that Pyrodex is more corrosive than black powder and that prompt and thorough cleaning is necessary. You S&W is a nice gun with collector value, so you want to take care of it. The HBWC bullets will also work well with Trailboss or an appropriate mild charge of smokeless, about 1.7-1.8 grains of Bullseye or Titegroup is fine. 2 grains will approximate factory ammo, but you want to keep your smokless loads on the gentle side.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    All good advice. Be aware that Pyrodex is more corrosive than black powder and that prompt and thorough cleaning is necessary.
    Even worse, it is inconsistently corrosive, and can lull you into a false sense of security, then turn on you.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Bucks County, Pa
    Happy New Year Gentleman, Been a long time since on the site, good to be back. Totally lost when it comes to reloading black powder or equivalent. Thought it would be fun to load up some 45 Colt for my Italian copy and make some smoke. I cast my own 250 gr boolits, I can make then to any hardness or softness desired. Have bought some Pyrodex P but, not sure of the safe and proper load. Have the Lyman Black Powder book coming in but I know you guys would have some insightful info for me. Thanks in Advance, Boomer28 (Jack)

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy quail4jake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    The North Woods of Pennsylvania
    Good point, Outpost. I load .38 S&W, 2.5 gr Trail Boss with a traditional 145 gr boolit cast in 40:1 alloy at 7 BHN using SPG lube sized to.361 for my S&W Safety Hammerless and Perfected double Action. 650 fps with SD <20 and 3" and smaller groups @ 25 yds., easy shooting and spins steel targets well. Take it easy on that 'ol lemon squeezer and forget the corrosive powder, no advantage to it and it's hard on a fine old revolver. Also, treat yourself to Starline brass, makes it all go easy!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    New York, the empire State
    I have not used Pyrodex But i am currently using 777 in 38 S&W. I like it and works well. for Me. Mostly in he older Top breaks
    NRA Endowment Member
    International Ammunition Association
    New York, the Empire State Where Empires were Won and Lost

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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