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Thread: Powder charges for 38 spc loads

  1. #1

    Powder charges for 38 spc loads

    Hi all,

    Going to load a few 38 spc for snake rounds.

    I've cut several shot cards out of heavy business cards and have some shot (unsure what size...looks to be #8? It was found at the local metal recycling place inside weighted bags...bought it for scrap price of lead)

    Plan to put in powder charge, two cards shot almost to top, another card...roll crimp slightly and titebond III glue

    I have Tite wad, unique, hp38/231

    Certain one of those powders (or all three) will work fine but not sure what is a good starting charge weight.

    Snakes in Louisiana are a plenty and would like a few of these on hand to dispatch with a snubnie (also have a 4" model 10 but that may impart too much spin on the shot to make it worth while)

    May find some leading in the barrel, that would be ok if I need to use em I'm happy to scrub the bore...not planning on blasting these all the time just when needed

    Thoughts on charge weights or something I should consider before moving ahead?

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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I load 3.5 grains of Bullseye in mine:

    Attachment 243831Attachment 243833
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    I load 3.5 grains of Bullseye in mine:

    Attachment 243831Attachment 243833
    Bullseye is a bit faster than titegroup just by a smidge....so would 3-3.2 grains be a good starting point?

    Or are those BE loads light enough I could load comparable charges and find safe...just thinking about pressure in a 38. Both guns I have are plus p but I know zero about pressure in shot shell loads and as it is by default compressed want to take caution on em. Of course shot is a different animal than solid lead too....

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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCorkle View Post
    Bullseye is a bit faster than titegroup just by a smidge....so would 3-3.2 grains be a good starting point?

    Or are those BE loads light enough I could load comparable charges and find safe...just thinking about pressure in a 38. Both guns I have are plus p but I know zero about pressure in shot shell loads and as it is by default compressed want to take caution on em. Of course shot is a different animal than solid lead too....

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    No pressure issue. 3.5 grains of Bullseye is standard-pressure charge for 158-grain lead bullet and approximates factory loads.

    A .38 Special case only holds about 110-grains of fine shot.

    But, a lighter charge may pattern better so is worth experimenting with.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Looks interesting. Moving to AZ so I may need some snake loads.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    If I understand the concept correctly one probably needs a wad between the powder and the shot. This from what I have read is either a cardboard or plastic from like a plastic container top. Load powder charge followed by the plastic wad followed by around 80-100 gr of shot followed by a wad and a tight crimp on the wad.

    So, has anyone made a tool to cut your wads?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    If I understand the concept correctly one probably needs a wad between the powder and the shot. This from what I have read is either a cardboard or plastic from like a plastic container top. Load powder charge followed by the plastic wad followed by around 80-100 gr of shot followed by a wad and a tight crimp on the wad.

    So, has anyone made a tool to cut your wads?
    Sharpened a 9mm case with a chamfer tool and used an old 2x6 as a backer...hammered it in lightly through the card and punched out the little wads through the primer hole with 14 ga wire (any wire or stick or mail that would fit through the flashhole would work)

    It wasn't fast but it wasn't the most tedious thing I've ever done either and before long I had way more than I needed.

    Finished these dudes up last night...

    3.2 hp38 (with Lee's .3 powder scoop)
    2 of the aforementioned over powder cards
    Filled it nearly to top top with#8 shot
    Another card on top pressed in just below casemouth
    Roll crimped
    Titebond III glue to seal it up

    Will test it out tomorrow or Saturday

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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Any idea on the weight of your shot charge in grains? When the move is done and we get settled in AZ I will try these out. Please do let me know how they work.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    Any idea on the weight of your shot charge in grains? When the move is done and we get settled in AZ I will try these out. Please do let me know how they work.
    Not sure on grain weight....from what I can tell 80-100 grains ish?

    I'll take pics of the pattern at 6 to 10 ft on a paper plate or cardboard box.

    I don't expect it to be effective past 10 ft but it doesn't need to be....they may not be as elegant as the Speer capsules but if I have to set off 2 or 3 of these to do the job it will be fine...they cost all of a nickel a piece

    Made up 30 last night...I'll test 5 or 6 so should still have enough to last a season or two if used for intended purpose

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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I make up my .38 Special and .357 snake loads with #71/2 shot and Unique charges listed in the Speer Reloading Manual. I use .38 caliber gas checks over the powder with the cup UP, drop in the shot to fill the case and put another gas check, cup DOWN, and roll crimp for a minature shotgun shell. I use a pencil, eraser down, to seat the gas check on the powder before loading the shot. Gas checks are less messy than glue, etc., to secure the top wad. I hope this helps.

    My local snakes tie themselves in knots within 15-20 feet when shot. Be SURE to ALWAYS wear eye protection when shooting shot loads in any handgun! That small shot often Bounces BACK from rocks, hard ground or hard target frame boards when testing loads!

    Adam
    Last edited by Adam Helmer; 06-20-2019 at 11:52 AM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Helmer View Post
    I make up my .38 Special and .357 snake loads with #71/2 shot and Unique charges listed in the Speer Reloading Manual. I use .38 caliber gas checks over the powder with the cup UP, drop in the shot to fill the case and put another gas check, cup DOWN, and roll crimp for a minature shotgun shell. I use a pencil, eraser down, to seat the gas check on the powder before loading the shot. Gas checks are less messy than glue, etc., to secure the top wad. I hope this helps.

    My local snakes tie themselves in knots within 15-20 feet when shot. Be SURE to ALWAYS wear eye protection when shooting shot loads in any handgun! That small shot often Bounces BACK from rocks, hard ground or hard target frame boards when testing loads!

    Adam
    Thanks and going forward I prob will get some gas checks.

    Less time and gas checks can be had for a song...less mess and a bag will last forever if I am using them for snake shot only

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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master
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    My interest is really up after reading this. Going to dive into making some snake loads when we get to AZ.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



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    I have loaded some using the Speer capsules in .357 cases and 1.5 grains of Promo. They were quite effective.

  14. #14
    Tested on a soda bottle filled with water earlier...around 8 ft away

    Ventilated the bottle pretty well alot of the shot did not penetrate the other side. Expected and not a big deal....snakes are soft and easy to mess up their insides.

    Will pattern on a paper plate or box later and get pics

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    223 cut to cylinder length, circlip on extractor groove, gas check seated on powder, shot, gas check above shot, small crimp
    All good
    Last edited by skeettx; 06-22-2019 at 06:39 PM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by skeettx View Post
    223 cut to cylinder length, circlip on extractor groove, gas check seated on powder, shot, gas check above shot, small crimp
    All good
    Ok you peaked my interest...does the 223 case give more capacity for shot I'm guessing?

    What size circlip and what powder charge do you use?

    Got any pics of these set ups?

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    Been fishing and shooting

    These are not for rebated cylinder, unless you grind off the tabs



    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I use snap on gasket hole punches for my over powder and over shot cards I make out of cracker box card board.I also it for shotgun cards also. For 38spl I put 2 cards over the powder and one over the shot and glue in place.I do the same for 357mag, 44 mag and 327mag .
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by skeettx View Post
    Been fishing and shooting

    These are not for rebated cylinder, unless you grind off the tabs



    Wow those look great! How much shot are you able to put in those? Are my eyes deceiving me or do those cases have a bit of bottle neck from the chamber after firing?

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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

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    Run a search for 38/357 shot shell loads and you will find a thread by Grumpa, now deceased, about using 357 Max brass in your 38's or 357 mag for making snake loads or shotshell loads. The 357 maximum brass is just the right length when the end is sized down to fit the cylinder throats. I also believe J Morris has done quite a bit of testing on shotshell loads, even in 380 acp. If the end is not crimped excessively they should be ok to reload several times.
    Last edited by owejia; 06-23-2019 at 08:30 AM.

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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