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Thread: Well, here I go

  1. #1

    Well, here I go

    Got inspired to try something out on a recent thread on 38 spc.

    I recently picked up a used model 10 in poor aesthetic shape but great functional shape (she's ugly but shell shoot very well)

    Did the break down on the lighter target loads for 38 spc...and and collecting lead now for the goal....20k rounds down the tube.

    Building a berm to help recollect/recast lead on the property but I estimate I'll need 400 lbs +/- for 125 RF (happen to have a Lee six banger for the role)...

    Now to get primers in bulk (suggestions appreciated on where I should look for best economy) and powder (thinking bullseye or hp38/231...again open to suggestions)

    I grew up with a long gun in my hands and am really pretty decent...but we never shot pistol much...and I'm mediocre at best. I want to change that and I estimate 20k rounds will be a good starting point.

    I may grab up a snub nose 38 at some point to get some refinement in on shorter barreled small frame revolver but my plan is to shoot the snot out of this one.

    Any suggestions on where to get a few ten thousand pistol primers and powder load suggestions for bulk economy rounds? Not trying to put down animals with these just ring steel and paper.

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    i have been using unis ginex small rifle primers from gaf and sons $109 per 5000. seem to work just fine. i have read on here there is no difference in small rifle and small pistol not sure about that but i can't see any difference.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Fiochi from Graf. 12,000 for $255.99 when in stock.
    QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I use Red Dot powder

    powder valley is my 'go to' place for primer/ammo
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  6. #6
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    I'd start small...a pound of powder and 1k Primers.
    It'd be a bummer to find out your brass or powder measure or gun doesn't like the powder and/or primers you just bought in mass bulk.

    I load quite a bit of 38 spl...but never in batches larger than 500rds, and that is only after I have proved a load, if I'm trying a different powder or primer.

    Below are my suggestions to try first:

    I like Winchester primers, they seem to fit many brands of brass without issue, I like CCI also, but they seem to fit too snug in some brass. Primers are not all the same.

    I like Bullseye powder for 38 spl. It meters better than Red Dot/Promo and other flake powders in my Lee auto-disk measure.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    I'd start small...a pound of powder and 1k Primers.
    It'd be a bummer to find out your brass or powder measure or gun doesn't like the powder and/or primers you just bought in mass bulk.

    I load quite a bit of 38 spl...but never in batches larger than 500rds, and that is only after I have proved a load, if I'm trying a different powder or primer. Below are my suggestions to try first:

    I like Winchester primers, they seem to fit many brands of brass without issue, I like CCI also, but they seem to fit too snug in some brass. Primers are not all the same.

    I like Bullseye powder for 38 spl. It meters better than Red Dot/Promo and other flake powders in my Lee auto-disk measure.
    Good advice thank you

    I've tried cci in other 38 spc loads and they seem to work well...my go to powder has been Tite group for pistol (38 spc and 9mm) but unique runs up there for nostalgic reasons (load in my 06, 08, 300 blk, 303, 9mm and 38...) But not sure it's the right powder for this....but there again I could be wrong. Don't care how dirty it shoots as long as it shoots well...I can clean the gun

    I shoot heaps of 9mm and have in the past shot alot of 38 spc...but never as a focused discipline of intentional goal of marksmanship (like I did with my 22 when I was a kid or my 300 blk when I graduated to centerfire reloading)

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I usually order primers when they go on sale + discounts on shipping and has/mat . I like CCI large rifle and mag large rifle , federal small rifle , and Winchester lg , and small pistol . I try to catch a Midway USA sale and stock up once or twice a year don't forget shot shell primers when ordering . Good call on the powder try a little before you buy a lot is a good rule .

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    My expe rience with the 38special and 125 gr cast is faster powderz than unique are better. Bullseye for me but I had a keg and it shot better groups than unique. Wish red dot metered better!
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  10. #10
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    Don't forget Winchester Super Target (WST) for your loads. I use a lot of it for 32-20, 9mm, 38 Spl, 44 Spl, 45 Colt, 45 ACP. Meters well, bulky so it fills the case more than other fast powders. I also like 231/hp38 for similar applications.
    I would start slower, develop my load(s) and then go for bulk buy.
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  11. #11
    I have on hand:

    Hp38/231
    Tite group
    Unique

    I'll test these to see what I can get from accuracy on the Lee 125 RF...I'd like to stick with that one since I have a six gang mold already...

    I have several other molds I'm sure would also be great...148 wc, 158 RF, and a few 9mm molds that would likely work too but they are two gang molds...very doable but I can make a mountain of bullets easy with that six gang mold...and it gets more MPG on lead. Lead is getting harder to come by btw....good grief. Tire shops around here either a) won't give any away as they have a contract with some lead disposal company b) only get zinc or iron weights anymore....or c) have little quantity on hand...

    Scrap yard will sell lead for a Kings random but I still buy some here and there...but would still like to recover as much as I can if possible. If I can recover half I'd be happy but that'll require a nice berm. Currently just set out cans and targets where I can and go blasting away...never gave much thought to recapturing the bullets after.

    All will be powder coated...it's just my new go to...clean efficient and effective...

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Agree with a couple of posts above, Red Dot/Promo for powder, get either and primers at BPI. Ie google Ballistics products. Good company, good prices, good service, good support if needed.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master pls1911's Avatar
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    Red Dot and Unique are tough to beat.
    Salvaging old Marlins is not a pasttime...it's a passion

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by pls1911 View Post
    Red Dot and Unique are tough to beat.
    What is a good light loads for unique in 38 spc? I have a 148 wc mold and 125 RF mold...I'd like to use the 125 if I could as it is a six gang mold...

    But all the load data I've seen for 38 spc is using 4+ grains not the <3 grains of Tite group or bullseye ...if I had a choice I know unique works well in 9mm for me...as well as 30 06, 300 blk, and a host of other rounds I cast for.

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I use that same Lee 125gr FRN in my 38s, using 4.3 great HP-38. I shoot a bunch. Very pleasant load.

    That load gives me ~825fps in a 6" S&W Model 14. Somewhat slower in shorter barrels. I worked up that load to get good accuracy in several revolvers, if you are looking to shoot just one you may find a smaller powder charge works better for you.

    As for catching the lead, I use a 5 gallon bucket filled with shredded rubber. The rubber is available at garden supply stores, as mulch. I screw the lid back on the bucket, and tape cardboard discs over top of the lid, to which the target is stapled.

    When the cardboard is shot out, I either tape another over top of it, or replace it. To recover the lead, I dump the rubber out, a bit at a time, on a sheet of cardboard, and pick out the lead. Very little fuss or muss, and no digging in a berm.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    true blue similar speed to unique but cleaner and meters better .try shooting double action only so you can just concentrate on sight picture and trigger squeeze .

  17. #17
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCorkle View Post
    What is a good light loads for unique in 38 spc? I have a 148 wc mold and 125 RF mold...I'd like to use the 125 if I could as it is a six gang mold...

    But all the load data I've seen for 38 spc is using 4+ grains not the <3 grains of Tite group or bullseye ...if I had a choice I know unique works well in 9mm for me...as well as 30 06, 300 blk, and a host of other rounds I cast for.

    Sent from my Moto G Play using Tapatalk

    I cast and shot `UMPTEEN` thousands of Lyman 148 Gr. WC boolets when I shot an indoor PPC course as well as ran it every Friday night. I started out with straight wheel weights just because I had plenty of them. I later went to 50/50 alloy. My load for indoor shooting was 3.5 gr. of either HP-38/Win. 231 with Winchester or Federal std. small pistol primers. When lube sizing a WC boolet that won`t be driven fast you`ll only need to put lube in the bottom grease groove. Good luck.Robert

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Normally I think "fun" rather than quantity. I have a 2 hole Lee 125 RNFP and because I like casting, 200 bullets in a session is really easy, and I often combine sessions with a second mold. I can't remember my 38 Special Unique loads, but I know I shot many rounds with 158 gr. SWC over Unique. But for the 125 gr. bullet I have settled on W231. Loads that give around 850 fps. I also have a Lyman 148 gr WC mold and one of my house gun loads is the wadcutter over a near max./max load of W231. This load clocked 860 fps outta my 3" 38.

    BTW I get my load data straight outta my Lyman manuals (47th through 50th, Cast bullet Handbooks 3rd and 4th).
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    It’s hard to beat a 148 gr wadcutter driven by 2.8 gr of Bullseye. It’s very accurate and economical. That or something close has been a mainstay of bullseye shooters for decades. I’ve gone as low as 2.3 gr for virtually no recoil. It’s pretty dirty at that low pressure though.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    First - Two big thumbs up for the 38 Special project. I load and shoot more 38 Special than any other cartridge. It's a fantastic round and one of my all time favorites.

    Two - I agree with the advice to start with a smaller batch just in case there's an issue with the load. You don't want 20K rounds that your gun doesn't like.

    I understand the OP has a mold for a 125 grain bullet but I would strongly suggest getting something closer to the 150-160 grain bullet weight. The temptation is to save lead with the lighter projectile but the 38 Special really does its best work around 150-160 grains. It's not that the 125 weight is bad, it's that the 158 grain is better. A good 158 grain SWC or 148 WC is a marvelous thing in a K-frame S&W.

    For many years ww-231 [HP-38] was my primary powder for 38 Special. Bullseye has become my new standard but 231 is perfectly acceptable. I cannot offer much opinion on the newer powders such as titegroup.
    Unique will work but it results in a higher charge weight per cartridge AND it isn't real powder measure friendly. I keep Unique on hand but it is not my powder of choice for 38 Special.

    As for a bulk source of primers, there are no real bargains. When you check prices, shipping and hazmat fees you will find there's a floor to the total cost that you will just not be able get below. My suggestion there is to pick a brand of primers that work for you and then shop via internet for the supplier that fits your needs. When you look at the total cost (price, shipping and hazmat fees combined) you will find that there are no big winners in terms of actual cost.
    In terms of primer performance, CCI has a well earned reputation of having the hardest primer cups and can be difficult to reliably ignite with a weak hammer spring. Federal Match primers tend to be the easiest to light off. However, with a properly seated primer and an un-modified gun - the CCI primers will work just fine.

    Good Luck on your project and keep us informed.

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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