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Thread: 38 Special load data w/170gr boolit?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    2ndAmendmentNut's Avatar
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    38 Special load data w/170gr boolit?

    I finally got a set of nutcracker style handles for my 358429 4-cavity Lyman mold. I cranked out a few 170 grain boolits and sized them to 358. I loaded up a few 357s with 15 grains of H110, but have not tried them yet.

    I am interested in some data for a 170 grain boolit in 38 Special or 38 Special+P. The flake handgun powders I have on hand are Unique, Trail Boss, Red Dot, and Blue Dot. Does any one have some listed data for this combo? If not tell me what powder I should buy, preferably a good all around 38 powder.

    My goal is to have a target load in 38 and a hunting load in 357mag and only have to cast one style boolit.

  2. #2
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    That's a pretty heavy boolit for a 38 Special, even in a +P load.

    Alliant shows loads for .357 Magnum up to 170 grains, but their .38 Special and +P loads stop at 158 grains. Hogdon's data goes up to 180 grains for .357 Magnum, but their .38 Special and +P loads stop at lower weights as well.

    The 45th Edition (1970) of the Lyman Reloading Handbook gives loads for boolit #358429 in 38 Special, cast with Lyman #2 alloy for a weight of 168 grains, max OAL of 1.55"
    Test firearm: S&W Model 14, 6" barrel, 1:18 3/4 twist, .358" groove
    Code:
             Start       Max
    Powder   Grains FPS Grains FPS
    Bullseye  2.5   660   3.3  788
    Unique    3.0   585   5.0  913
    2400      8.0   700  10.5 1005
    SR 7625   3.0   508   4.1  746
    SR 4756   4.0   486   5.6  765
    IMR 4227  7.0   481   9.5  744
    Accuracy load: 2400 powder, 8.0 grains, 700 FPS
    Another brief excerpt:
    "Bullet No. 358311 duplicates the factory 158 grain service bullet very closely, while bullet No. 358429 is an excellent 'Keith type' hunting bullet."

    Note that this data is 40 years old. Pressures/CUP were not listed.

    I have a 2-cavity Lyman 358477, which is 150 grains, very similar design to the 358429, which I'm using for both .38 Special and .357 Magnum. I'll just be making neat round holes in paper with them, though.

    You might consider getting a lighter weight boolit mold for the .38, as you'll save lead, powder, and wear & tear on the pistol - not to mention lots less recoil when you're just plinking or target shooting.
    Last edited by SierraWhiskeyMC; 08-06-2009 at 01:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Landric's Avatar
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    I'm currently playing with 200 grain bullets in .38 Special. I found a place that was selling Lyman 358430 RN in 100 round boxes. I bought a couple of boxes to see if I wanted to get that particular mold. I'm still working up loads, but I like the design, so I decided to get the mold. Right now I'm only getting around 600 fps with the 200 grain bullet from my 4" 681, but that is standard pressure and not near max for the data I have. I'm looking to get about 650 fps, which shouldn't be a problem. At 600 fps the loads I have tried are extremely pleasant to shoot and are hitting pretty much point of aim.

    My point is that there is data (and at one time there were factory loads) for the 200 grain .38 Special, so loading a 170 grain isn't unreasonable.

    The Lee 2nd Edition manual has data for 173 grain bullets in .38 and .38+P, and IIRC my 1st edition Lyman Pistol and Revolver handbook does as well. I don't see any reason not to use 173 grain data with a 170 grain bullet, provided the shape is the same or similar. Obviously the usual cautions apply.
    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

    Landric

    Honcho for NOE .38-200 Mk. I British Round Nose Group Buy

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Landric, this load was also in the Lyman 45th Edition reloading handbook for your boolits:
    Test firearm: S&W Model 14, 6" barrel, 1:18 3/4 twist, .358" groove
    195 grain cast boolit #358430, Lyman #2 alloy
    Code:
             Start       Max
    Powder   Grains FPS Grains FPS
    Bullseye  2.0   530   2.7  658
    Unique    3.0   572   4.1  772
    2400      8.0   734   9.5  893
    SR 7625   3.0   478   3.8  675
    SR 4756   4.0   506   5.4  810
    IMR 4227  7.0   494   9.5  748
    Accuracy Load:
    Unique powder, 3.6 grains, 671 FPS

    Factory Duplication Load:
    Unique Powder, 3.8 grains, 703 FPS

    Standard precautions apply; and remember this data was printed in 1970.

    I'm not saying it's unreasonable.
    However, with the cost of components having gone bonkers over the last few years, it makes the cost per round downrange drop if you're loading lighter-weight boolits with a lower powder charge.

    It just depends on what you want to accomplish. Everything's subjective.
    Last edited by SierraWhiskeyMC; 08-06-2009 at 02:00 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Landric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SierraWhiskeyMC View Post

    I'm not saying it's unreasonable.
    However, with the cost of components having gone bonkers over the last few years, it makes the cost per round downrange drop if you're loading lighter-weight boolits with a lower powder charge.

    It just depends on what you want to accomplish. Everything's subjective.
    Thanks for the data, I have a couple of those powders around.

    In general I agree with you. My goal in this case is to find a good IDPA load that is mild and still makes power factor. I'm currently using 158 grain bullets at +P velocities to do that. I'd rather use a heavier bullet going more slowly to get there. The difference between 1000 158 grain boolits and 1000 200 grain boolits is six pounds of lead. That is, of course, not insignificant. However, with the heavier boolit I use less powder per round. It probably doesn't quite even out, but it helps some. If I were buying the boolits there is no question that I would stick with the 158 grain projectiles, but the cost is a lot closer when it comes to casting them.

    When it comes to plinking, I'm in full agreement, use lighter boolits and less powder. I am not one of those people that feels that they have to load every round of ammunition to the highest possible safe velocity. So long as a load is reliable and accurate, the fact that I could have loaded it 200fps (or whatever) faster is of no interest to me.
    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

    Landric

    Honcho for NOE .38-200 Mk. I British Round Nose Group Buy

  6. #6
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    You do own the Lyman loading manuals don't you? They list loads like you're looking for and are available new and used.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I push my 358429's with 5.0gr of Unique in .38 Special brass or 13.5gr of 2400 in .357 Magnum brass.

    Don

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I've used that "Accuracy load" for years and every gun I own LOVES it. Not a maximum power load by any means but hard to beat for accuracy. I've done a LOT of plinking with it and killed more than a few rabbits and tree rats.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    For almost fifty years 10.5 or 11.0 grains of 2400 behind 358429 has been my standard 38 special load. It has proved to be more than sufficient for side to side penetration on any deer and should be able to provide any duties required of a 38 special. It has proven to be one of the most accurate of any 38 special loads tried in dozens of 38 special and 357 magnum revolvers that I have owned. I have also used several thousand of the 5.0 grain Unique load but have switched to PB due to the increased ease of measuring and expremely clean burning. Hope this helps Neil

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