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Thread: 38 short colt loads...

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Apr 2013
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    38 short colt loads...

    I've been trying to find some loading data for 38 short colt loaded to higher pressures that can be used in a modern 38 +P revolver. All I find are the low powered loads to be used in older firearms and the 9mm loading data that some use in their 357 mags. I'm looking for something that comes closer to the standard 38 special specs. I'm aware of the powder residue that can build up using a shorter case so that's not an issue. Maybe someone here can run some figures through some kind of reloading program and give me a starting place.

    I'm using cast 130g RNHP and maybe some 145g SWCHP that are powder coated shot in a 2" revolver. I have Bullseye, Power Pistol, HP38, Herco and Trail Boss powders.

    Tks...

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I see the point. Firing heavy loads in short cases in the longer .38 Special chamber will case gas blowby around the bullet, chamber leading and poor accuracy. As "9mm Rimmed" to use in my S&W Model 940 revolver, I trim .38 S&W brass to .750" length and load 4.5 grains of AutoComp with the 135-grain Speer Gold Dot HP bullet for 953 fps from its 1-7/8" barrel, approximating the velocity of 147-grain 9mm ammo in the same gun.

    A charge of 3.5 grains of Bullseye gives similar velocity in my 4" Ruger 9mm revolver with a 147-grain cast lead bullet.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I've often wondered about a concept I read about 30+ years ago. The premise was that the .38 Special case was too long for modern powders and that shortening it 0.10 - 0.15" and loading it to ~20K would result in better performance, better efficiency and even more compact service and off duty revolvers. Sounds like the 9mm Federal a bit.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I thought the 38 S&W had different diameters than the 9mm. Glad it works for you, but I don't own a S&W Model 940 9mm, I own a S&W 38+P. I've loaded up 38 short colt and shot them in my revolver. Lot of fun with the very low pressure loads. I would like to load them up a bit more powerful but cannot find data to do so.

    I've heard it mentioned that you can use the 38 special wadcutter data since the powder capacity is greatly reduced in WC's, but this may have been for the Long Colt or maybe the shortened LC to .900. Don't know what they call the shortened LC round but Short Special sounds like a good name. I load all of them but use published data for the SC and LC. Loading data for both of them are practically identical probably for the safety of using them in the old revolvers. Let me know if you come across any information for these loads for modern firearms.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by connortn View Post
    I thought the 38 S&W had different diameters than the 9mm. Glad it works for you...
    Case body diameters are close. Remington cases will fit most 9mm revolvers if trimmed to length. Winchester, Starline and Fiocchi are fatter and may not. The main concern is bullet diameter, which requires a chamber mod. Manson makes the reamer. My Ruger India Model will use 9mm with moon clips or R-P factory .38 S&W or Colt New Police without. The early portion of the India order which was converted by rechambering leftover French 9mm revolvers were all that way through 1984.

    I modified my S&W 940 so that it uses both ammos the same way. Only the transition into the first 0.09" of the cylinder throat is modified cutting a short conical transition from .360 diameter to .356" and breaking the sharp corner at the stop surface of the 9mm chambers. Accuracy with 9mm ammo is unaffected. Lead Remington factory .38 S&W rounds fired in the .356 cylinder throats of my 940 function smoothly, do not shave lead and produce about +50 fps higher velocity in the 1-7/8" 940 than the same Remington ammo does in my S&W Terrier Model 32-1 with .360" cylinder throats all the way. I can also shoot lead 9mm loads for practice with no leading and good accuracy.

    Similar velocity gain is noticed comparing the 4" India Model Ruger to Webley & Scott Mk4, or S&W Model 33 Regulation Police with most factory. 38 S&W or .380 Revolver Mk2z from Kirkee Arsenal, Poona, Chartered Industries of Singapore, FN Herstal, or old WW2 Kynoch or WRA.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 08-01-2018 at 11:40 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