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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.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  2. #22
    Boolit Master

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    Thank you for your hard work, very insightful.


    We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest. Georg C. Lichtenberg

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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

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  11. #31
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    dupe post deleted, substituted new eye candy

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    Last edited by Outpost75; 11-02-2017 at 05:40 PM.
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  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    In an earlier post I mentioned a 4" S&W Regulation Police revolver. I got to shake hands with it recently, and it ran My Usual 38 S&W Suspect Load (#358477 atop 3.0 grains of Unique) with decent accuracy from its .359"-sized bullets. Zero leading after 100 rounds, too. After clean-up I did a tale of the tape on the cylinder throats--all will pass a .361" pin gauge, none would pass the .362". Modest pressures were obliging enough to not plate the bore with metal from the slightly undersized bullets.

    ETA--this purchase prompted another purchase, and a long-delayed one that should have been made many years ago--The Standard Catalog Of S&W Firearms. Web search for year of manufacture is a dog's breakfast, with the common ingredient being referral to this tome. Done deal. It's enroute.
    Last edited by 9.3X62AL; 10-26-2017 at 05:02 PM.
    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.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    As FYI for the group, antique nose cut-off die I have to "convert" .38 S&W 146-grain LRN ammo to 140-grain LFN with 0.25" meplat is 1.08" long and was fabricated from a cut-off Beretta M1934 pistol barrel, the chamber and rifling having been reamed out with a metric 10mm or SAE letter size "W" drill bit, so that the .38 S&W cartridges would enter, then hardened. Noses of bullets are easily clipped off with a sharp pocket knife or bandage shears, then trimmed up with a file or single-edged razor blade.

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    Result is a larger meplat with better defined shape than the factory loaded .38 Colt New Police cartridge, shown at left of die, and again shown enlarged next to .38 S&W in center photo, and a higher angle view of trimmed meplat at right:

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    Last edited by Outpost75; 10-28-2017 at 12:36 PM.
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  14. #34
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    ..............Ah, when first simply looking at the photo's, at first it was a swaged design with a RN inside a FN cylinder Now I understand it to be a portion of the barrel used as a gage to file of the RN boolit into a FN design Simple minds, don't ya know!

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

  15. #35
    Boolit Master LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    That meplat is a beauty! After I finally do my long-delayed chrony work with this caliber, I wonder if I could make something like this from a wrench socket? Perfect to convert modern LRNs, not to mention some of the old 740-770 fps commercial .38 CNP loads!

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisianaMan View Post
    That meplat is a beauty! After I finally do my long-delayed chrony work with this caliber, I wonder if I could make something like this from a wrench socket? Perfect to convert modern LRNs, not to mention some of the old 740-770 fps commercial .38 CNP loads!
    I have a "set" of these now for .22 LR, .32 S&W Long, .38 S&W and .38 Special. The .22 LR was from Hanned Precision. The others are either old gunsmith-made or modern repros I had done. A chunk of cut-off rifle barrel, chambered to fit, ground square on the ends and case-hardened works fine.

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    Here's what they look like in .38 Spl. LRN, converted old Western Lubably 1940s...

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    After trimming to flat-nose, the old Western 158 LRN cartridge OAL is 1.40" and bullet weight reduced from 158 grains to 146 grains. Just the thing you need to carry in your old S&W Victory or 1905 Hand Ejector which can't stomach +P loads. Fired into water jugs from 2 inch snubby the modified bullet no longer tumbles, but bores straight through 30 inches of water jugs, and was found lying on the bench in the jug array, resembling a blunted wadcutter. I have LOTS of .38 LRN ammo gleaned from garage and estate sales, and every night watching re-runs of NYPD Blue or Law & Order in the "man cave", I trim up a box, repack it and return it to my Zombie Hoard...

    Here are what the .32s look like:

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    I would encourage Buckshot or any other gunsmith entrepreneur here to make these available, or possibly an over-grown, Paco Kelly style "Accurizer" to turn factory .38 LRNs into cup-point manstopper bullets.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 10-28-2017 at 12:38 PM.
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  17. #37
    Boolit Master LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    I, too, was wondering whether Buckshot might be interested in such a project....

    The .38 S&W and .32 SWL appeal to me particularly, as effective ammo types are rare for them.

    What does your modified .32 bullet weigh? Any idea of velocity or penetration on it? An accurate gun, load, shooter, amd it sure cuts square holes!
    Last edited by LouisianaMan; 10-28-2017 at 03:07 PM.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisianaMan View Post
    I, too, was wondering whether Buckshot might be interested in such a project....

    The .38 S&W and .32 SWL appeal to me particularly, as effective ammo types are rare for them.

    What does your modified .32 bullet weigh? Any idea of velocity or penetration on it? An accurate gun, load, shooter, amd it sure cuts square holes!
    Depends a bit on bullet profile, but the PMC LRNs I tested weighed 90 grains after cutting off to 1.13" Ctg. OAL and did three gallon milk jugs and dented the far side without making a hole in the far end of the 4th, about 24 inches of water penetration. Not bad for 700 fps or so.

    .32 S&W Long Factory Vs. Handloads In Revolvers and H&R “Bunny Rifle”

    Remington cases, Federal 200 primers in all handloads:

    Ammo Type________________Colt 2”__________Colt 4”___________H&R18”

    PMC 98 LRN factory__________687, 13 Sd_______797, 17Sd________945, 16 Sd
    Highest velocity factory load___103 ft-lbs._______138 ft.lbs.________194 ft.-lbs.

    Remington 98 LRN factory_____645, 20 Sd______729, 12 Sd________899, 11 Sd

    Western 98 LRN factory (1960s)_643, 19 Sd_____658, 22 Sd________912, 17 Sd

    Privi-Partisan 98 LRN__________656, 28 Sd______675, 11 Sd_______917, 21 Sd

    Accurate 31-087T, 2.5 BE______662, 16 Sd______780, 22 Sd_______1000, 15 Sd
    Shoots to the fixed sights______84-ft.-lbs._______117 ft.-lbs.______193 ft.-lbs.

    Accurate 31-090B, 2.5 BE_______731, 26 Sd_______773, 11 Sd______1066, 16 Sd
    Shoots to the fixed sights_______106 ft.-lbs.______119 ft.lbs.______227 ft.-lbs.

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    For those wanting to cast, depending upon what bullet weight you need to shoot to your sights, one of these Accurate designs should do the trick. 31-090B approximates the factory bullet after cutoff. 31-105B follows the shape of factory .32 Colt NP and .32-20 lead bullets.

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    Last edited by Outpost75; 10-28-2017 at 03:44 PM.
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  19. #39
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    FYI, latest mold 36-190T I recently spec’ed and ordered at Accurate, is based upon 36-200T, which was ordered by its original customer for the .380-200 British cartridge used in the S&W 1905 Hand Ejector British Purchasing Commission pre-Victory.

    The differences in my adaptation are:

    Shortening the 200T’s 0.50” length nose with .18 meplat (.5 of bullet diameter) to .442” length north of the crimp groove.

    This provides a 0.255” meplat (0.7 of bullet diameter).

    The shorter nose now stays within 1.59” OAL when loaded in .38 Special brass.

    I also had added a .03 bevel base added for ease of loading.

    Based on previous testing with the NOE clone of the Mk1 bullet, I'm figuring 2.0-2.2 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup in the .38 S&W for 600 fps and 3.7 grs. AutoComp for 700 fps (+P) to be used in the Ruger India Model Service Six only.

    3.0-3.2 grains of Bullseye in the .38 Special should give 700 fps, standard pressure
    3.5 grains OK for use in the .38 Special Ruger Service Six for 800 fps (+P) and similarly sturdy revolvers.

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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