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Thread: Fun with a S&W Victory 38 S&W cartridge

  1. #21
    Boolit Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    This test is my own 38 S&W load developed for the break open H&R and Iver Johnson revolvers. I use W-W 38 SPL cases trimmed back to 38 S&W length. WSP primers wer used. The bullet is the Lee 356-105-SWC which drop the bullets at .361 with COWWs + 2% tin alloy. I leave them unsized and Lube with LLA. They are loaded over 2.5 gr Bullseye. Out of my H&R hammerless revolver (3 3/16” barrel) they hit point of aim out to 25 yards with very good accuracy. However, for this test so they would chamber in the Contender the bullets were sized .358 and the cases were sized in the 357 steel FL die. As we see from the Oehler M43 data sheet only one of the ten shot test gave sufficient psi to measure. That was shot #4 and the psi was 14,300 psi. The remaining nine shots then had a psi less than the SAAMI MAP for the 38 S&W (14,000 psi). Note, as mentioned earlier, the M35P printout (pasted to left of Shot Data and Summary gives the velocities for each shot. Thus we still have a record of the entire test string. Accuracy was very good with a 1.235” group.

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    The last test was to chronograph and test for accuracy the 3 factory loads out of my H&R hammerless revolver. I was quite pleased with the ES and SD of all 3 loads from the revolver. As we see the R-P gave 60 – 100 fps greater velocity. That was as it should be given the higher psi of the R-P load. Accuracy was very poor, consistently poor for all 3 loads actually, which given the undersized factory bullets didn’t surprise me. On the target the R-P bullets are in the lower circle, the W-W in the middle circle and the Western Lubaloys in the top circle. As the velocity increased the point of impact lowered as usual for a revolver.

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    And there we have the test results. My only caution is that with the exception of my load which was developed for the break open revolvers to keep under the SAAMI MAP that all the other tested loads, including the R-P factory load, were over the SAMMI MAP for the 38 S&W. A couple test loads were over the SAAMI MAP for the standard 38 SPL. Due caution should be exorcized to use those only in appropriate revolvers which are also chambered for the 38 SPL.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master

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    Thank you for your hard work, very insightful.


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  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    something that isn't taken into consideration I believe is that the pressure test barrel and chamber really do need to be a genuine 38 smith and Wesson.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minuteshaver View Post
    something that isn't taken into consideration I believe is that the pressure test barrel and chamber really do need to be a genuine 38 smith and Wesson.
    Larry's setup using the shortened cases in the .38/.357 barrel with Oehler 43 gives reliable results, based upon his calibration checks using factory .38 S&W loads. I have MUCH more confidence in his data than any calculated estimate using QuickLoad, etc. I have been using loads validated by his test data in my circa 1930 Colt Police Positive, which were published in my post above and the gun has stayed tight and not loosened up.
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  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    Lotta labor in that work by Larry Gibson. Many thanks, sir.

    Even the 38/200 loads (3.0 grains of Unique or 3.3 grains of Herco) haven't produced any indicia of even warmish pressures in the W-E or the M&P. Only after extended shooting sessions does the need for an extractor come about due to grittiness. Brush out the chambers every 50 rounds or so, and cases fall out via gravity if given the opportunity. Think "22 LR swing-out revolver" in this context.

    A few years ago I was shooting both the Colt and its 150 grain SWCs (#358477) and the M&P (202 grain NEI #169A) at iron silhouettes at 25 yards. The 150s made a nice "pa-TINK" sound when hit--the 202 grainers gave a pretty stalwart "WHANG" when they connected. That 50 grains of lead made a difference of some sort.

    There have been a number of threads here concerning the 38 S&W in the recent past, and some of those threads have REALLY "gotten legs". People like the little popgun round, and have for a long time. The 38 Special and 357 Magnum have thrown shade on this caliber, which is not really fair. Someone in another thread--Outpost 75, I think--pointed out that the terminal ballistics of the 38 S&W/4"/146 grain bullets differ little from those of a 2" 38 Special that was the mainstay of plainclothes police work for decades. Just sayin'......

    The 38 S&W will remain a recreational tool for me. There was a time when a significant portion of my shooting "R&D" was concerned with defensive action training & prep; I still keep the edges sharp with my social iron, but 95% of my shooting these days has to do with hunting prep or just plain fun shooting. The 38 S&W is VERY cheap to reload using cast bullets and its very small sips of powder. If bullets conform to barrel dimensions, the caliber can be quite accurate--sufficiently so to enable small varmint harvesting to 50 yards in the Police Positive or the S&W M&P.
    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. #26
    Boolit Master LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    As someone who has dabbled fairly heavily with this caliber since about 2009, I greatly appreciate all the insight, effort, and analysis presented in this thread. Absolutely awe-inspiring.

    Hopefully I will have a great deal more to contribute using vintage factory ammo in the near future, although life has been getting in the way of "science" for quite a while now. I know some of the "Staynless" Winchester ammo I have will not ignite; time will tell whether that box simply got contaminated by some WD-40 or whether the non-corrosive primers of that formula might have been the culprit. Other shooting done with several of the old vintage loads was quite promising, as everything went bang and thwack, with chrony data that was consistent with factory ammo. Some was surprisingly high, with a .38 Colt New Police moving its 150g bullets at 770 fps out of a 4" Smith & Wesson Model 33-1.

    More soon! Thanks again to all who have poured their contributions into this thread.

  7. #27
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    ..............My thanks and a 'Tip o the hat' to Larry for that interesting shooting information. My take is that that 2.8grs of Red Dot and the HB 150 gr wadcutters was not a problem load pressure wise in the "V" model S&W, but it might have been edging into the 'Warmish' region? Is that your feeling also?

    As mentioned elsewhere my nice old Iver Johnson break open 5 shooter gets the same boolit as above but only 1.6grs of Red Dot for 502 fps. Nicely accurate too at 25 yards. That is if your eyeballs are up to the task of dealing with decided "Un-Target" quality sights!

    .................Buckshot
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  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    I knew a deputy sheriff many years ago he had to supply his own gun his father gave him s&w victory he had. this deputy carried it with factory loads. then I started loading for him. I was using 358429 with unique powder. it barked more and shot good. about a year I found him a reloading outfit. he used that gun for 3 more years. then got a .38 spl. and let his wife have the victory for a house gun.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob208 View Post
    I knew a deputy sheriff many years ago he had to supply his own gun his father gave him s&w victory he had. this deputy carried it with factory loads. then I started loading for him. I was using 358429 with unique powder. it barked more and shot good. about a year I found him a reloading outfit. he used that gun for 3 more years. then got a .38 spl. and let his wife have the victory for a house gun.
    Yessir. I am not about to stand downrange with a baseball glove while someone shoots a 38 S&W to scrounge & salvage bullet metal. A few comments made by the Cammy Jammy Cadre regarding the 38 S&W almost imply belief in such a course of conduct. Like most of the drivel driven by that lot, it is nonsense.
    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.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master


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    "My take is that that 2.8grs of Red Dot and the HB 150 gr wadcutters was not a problem load pressure wise in the "V" model S&W, but it might have been edging into the 'Warmish' region? Is that your feeling also?"

    Buckshot

    Yes that load might be a bit "warm" as it is edging into 38 SPL +P pressures. Better would be the 2.5 gr BE load which runs right at what the factory 38 S&W loads ran. In a 77+ year old Victory model in good condition it should prove a good load.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

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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