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Thread: .38/44 data

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    redneckdan's Avatar
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    .38/44 data

    Anyone know where I can find .38/44 reloading data? I had a copy of Mr. Venturino's article but the magazine got lost when I moved last year. thanks all ya'll

    Dan
    Some where between here and there.....

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Dan:

    I will scan the load charts and PM them to you tomorrow !

    Jerry

    Some of the finest revolvers made !


    S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman Accumulator

  3. #3
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    .38 Super load data in .38 Special brass will get you close. Then there's always Elmer Keith's load using 2400 powder and 158 or 173 grain SWC's. Make sure the ammo is marked really well so it doesn't end up in, say, a top-break .38 Special. There's a reason the ammo manufacturers don't make .38/44 cartridges anymore.

    I dabbled with .38/44 loads using Blue Dot a while back, and they shot just fine in a .357 Magnum SAA but I got case head separations after one shot. (Blue Dot was not a good choice of powders.) Be careful.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



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    GLL;
    VERY nice photos of a pair of wonderful revolvers!

    Dale

  5. #5
    Boolit Master August's Avatar
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    That I could be wrong is an eventuality that has not escaped me. I just painted the pictures as I saw them. I do not know how to do anything else. (Saint Elmer, 1955)

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    Boolit Master

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    We're talking about the 38-40 (a.k.a. 38 W.C.F.), right???
    No, we're talking about short .357 Magnums, or .38 Specials loaded to 36000+ psi, whichever way you want to think of it.

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    Boolit Master Heavy lead's Avatar
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    RND, I have a Handloader that Brian Pearce had a very comprehensive write up. You mentioned Mike V.'s I think I have that too. I keep a copy of Pearce's in my reloading manuals, lot's of data in there. I'll make copies in the next few days, I can email in to you. I'll PM you when I get it scanned.

  8. #8
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    The 38-40 is a different round that the 38-44.

    The 38 44 was a 38 special round loaded hotter to be shot only in Smith N frames so marked. the 38 44 was loaded much hotter than the standard 38 special of the time and actually predates the 357!

    Because 357 Smith's were very hard to find before the war ( WWII) Smith kept the 38 44 in the line for a very long time.

    When found these are great buys! As quality was every bit the same as original 357's Smith's.

    Lawyer's keep the factories from doing such things these days.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Heavy lead's Avatar
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    Found it, it's from October 2006.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Dan:

    Here are the loading charts:

    Jerry

    Mike Venturino Handloader #240


    Brian Pearse Handloader #243


    Brian Pearse Handloader #243
    S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman Accumulator

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Just for reference the first revolver photo is an early Post-War "transitional" 38/44 S&W Outdoorsman and the second photo is a late Pre-War 38/44 Outdoorsman. These heavy N-frame revolvers with 6 1/2" barrels can produce over 1200fps in 38-44 level .38Special loads and not break a sweat !

    I own several and they are very accurate guns with these loads !

    To complete the trio this last photo is an example of a Post-1950 version.

    Jerry

    S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman Accumulator

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Dan, I emailed you a bunch of data generated using QuickLOAD software. If you use any of it, start low and work up slowly. I tried 11 grains of Blue Dot, 158 grain Lasercast bullets, and Wolf small rifle primers (not taking my own advice) and they shot great but the heads came off the cases when I tried to extract 'em (obviously they were way too hot.) Alliant has since issued a warning about pressure spikes when using Blue Dot in .357 and .41 Magnum, but I didn't know that at the time.

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    Gerry, this gun porn has got to stop!!! When you post those pics I get a rapid heart beat, my palms get sweaty, I start to tremble a bit and things start swelling- like my brain- thinking about those beauties!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207 View Post
    Gerry, this gun porn has got to stop!!! When you post those pics I get a rapid heart beat, my palms get sweaty, I start to tremble a bit and things start swelling- like my brain- thinking about those beauties!
    Absolutely........I have to keep a sponge at hand to sop the drool off the keyboard.


  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Jerry as nice as your photos are, I'll just bet that holding those nice Smith's in your hands is even better !

    Best,
    Ben

  16. #16
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    BEAUTIFUL rollers, Jerry--just beautiful.

    That bit about case head seperations using Blue Dot would be disconcerting as h--l. None of my current 38 Specials are "38/44 capable", nor have any past examples been that strong. Only one is +P-rated, in fact. I imagine the Colt OMT could soak up +P loads without much fuss or bother, but with 357/41/44 Magnum, 44 Special and 45 Colt ready at hand--why risk straining an out-of-print example? I don't go there, accordingly.
    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."--Winston Churchill

  17. #17
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    Colt Officers Model Target

    Colt rated these pre-war revolvers with 38-44 ammo in their catalogs. Which includes the official police revolvers. In a post war Officers model match, I have fired probably 500 rounds of 38-44 rated ammo with no problems. I am going for 1000 to 1100 FPS with the lyman 358477 (150 SWC) lead cast bullets. After 2 or 3 boxes, I do have some minor leading that cleans out with a brush and hoppes. The post war target wood stocks really help tame the recoil. I was loading this same velocity in my 357 revolvers because of the leading. I really like shooting the OMM as much as the python. Free internet advice is worth what you pay for it but I am breathing new life into these long forgotten target guns that just plain outshoot almost any semi auto.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I've got a spare if anyone needs a shooter. I'll sell or work a swap for a 58.

    Last edited by targetshootr; 05-25-2009 at 02:51 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master w30wcf's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. GLL thank you for the pics of some wonderful historic S&W Handguns and the data.

    Not too long ago, I became interested in the replicating the .38-44 cartridge in its factory ballistic form.
    In doing some research, I found the following catalog data:

    Pre 1953:
    158 gr. 1,115 f.p.s.

    after 1953 until discontinued:
    158 gr. 1,060 f.p.s.

    I aquired some the following headstamped cartridges from a cartridge dealer:
    1.) REM-UMC .38-44 SPL
    2.) REM-UMC .38 SPL H S
    3.) R-P .38 SPL H V

    I dissected several of each and found that 1.) & 2.) were loaded with an average of 7.5 grs. of a disc type powder; and 3.) 13.0 grs. of a Ball type powder.

    I fired some of these vintage 60+ year old cartridges through my .357 Ruger Security Six (6" barrel) and found that they still had plenty of life left:
    1.) 1,105 f.p.s. average (3 cartridges)
    3.) 1,104 f.p.s. average (3 cartridges)
    ......only 10 f.p.s. slower than the early cataloged 1,115 f.p.s.

    I then tested 7.5 gr charges of several different powders and found that HS-6 came the closest to replicating the burning rate of the powder used in the .38-44 factory cartridge with an average velocity of 1,122 f.p.s.
    bullet: 358250 158 gr. (similar to the 358311 except that it has 2 lube grooves)
    seating depth: .36" (the factory lead bullet was seated to the same depth)
    primer: Rem 1 1/2
    case: R-P +P

    Accuracy for the 5 rounds @ 50 yards was very good at just over 1 1/2" which were fired using a solid rest.

    Now to try replicating the 13.0 gr loading................

    Cartridge history is interesting.

    w30wcf
    Last edited by w30wcf; 09-13-2009 at 06:26 AM.
    aka w44wcf
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
    NRA Life Member
    .22 W.C.F., .30 W.C.F., .44 W.C.F. Cartridge Historian

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I would say the 13.0 gr load is probably 'old' 2400.
    Some where between here and there.....

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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