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Thread: Audible difference from Target .38 Special reloads

  1. #1
    Boolit Man nagantino's Avatar
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    Audible difference from Target .38 Special reloads

    I shoot a 686 revolver with a 6 inch barrel. We shoot targets from 25 yards to 10. Iíve been trying to build a light recoil/ muzzle flip round and have gone quiet low with powder. I tried 2.8 grns of Vectan BA 9.5, itís very similar to Red Dot on the burn rate scale, with a 125 grn lead cast bullet made by MP Molds. Thereís little recoil and little muzzle flip, thatís good, but there appears to be an audible difference when the gun goes off. Up then down, loud then not so loud, which makes me think that the powder drop is inconsistent. I load on a Lee Pro 1000 and test the powder drop regularly and it seems to be very consistent but the audible difference when shooting is disconcerting. Is it low powder throw or is this normal.
    My present combination is a 158 cast bullet, 45 45 10 with 3.2 grains of BA 9.5.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    G.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    I tried 2.8 grns of Vectan BA 9.5, it’s very similar to Red Dot on the burn rate scale,



    the burn rate scale should never be used as a load manual, there can be large differences in powders side by side on the burn scale.

    not all powder likes to be downloaded, lots of times incomplete ignition can be a problem
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  3. #3
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    It's probably powder position.

    Years ago I was shooting the 95gr Lyman 358242 with bullseye for steel challenge stages. I could hear the audible difference of the first shot from the holster compared to the next 4 shots.

    I ended up changing powder to Clay's which took up more volume and was less position sensitive.

    I also reduced my expander plug and switched to a taper crimp. The expander mod got me better tension on the bullet. The taper crimp was lightly set to remove the bell and not mess up the tension.

    For your 125's try expanding less, seating deeper and just a small amount of crimp. You don't need to use the crimp groove on light 38's in a 6" 686. Seat them as deep as you can.

    Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Check your scale. Throw 5 individual charges for weght. Its likely your powder measure. Is Vectan flake?
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If your powder charges are consistent ... and I bet they are ...
    Try checking powder position when firing .

    1.) To position powder near primer , just before taking aim , lift the gun's muzzle so the powder slides to the rear . You will see NRA Bullseye Match shooters doing this on the firing line just before aiming .

    2.) Others like to lower the muzzle and place the charge toward the boolit .

    I like to raise the muzzle and have the charge at the rear/ primer... try both methods and see what works best for you .
    Does the position make a difference ... you bet your Boppy it does ... and I bet that's the differences you are hearing .
    Remember our Motto ... Be Consistant .

    For target loads the 148 grain full wadcutter , deep seated , can't be beat ... it was designed to take up some of that pesky excess case capacity the 38 special has with light loads .
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 12-04-2022 at 06:41 PM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Man nagantino's Avatar
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    So many little tricks I’ve never heard of.

  7. #7
    I’ve heard increasing the crimp can help with the inconsistencies.

    Also sorting brass. If you’re like me you have a lot of 38 brass and I’ve counted over 60 different headstamps during one loading session. All leading to inconsistencies.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man nagantino's Avatar
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    Vectan powders

    Fred these are the Vectan powders for pistol and revolver.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Where’d you get the load data? According to the limited data on their website a 125 grain bullet in .38 Special has a starting charge of 4.6 and max of 5.6. You’re getting inconsistent ignition because your charge is too low. You need to increase your powder by about 50%.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    You have had some good advice. I would not keep producing reloads that behaved that way.

    Change the amount of powder, or find another powder more suitable for what you wish to accomplish. I have had good results with Bullseye, Clays and HP38 (W231) in light .38 Spl loads .
    Don Verna


  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Not sure which powder measure you are using, but I have found the Lee Auto Disk drops low powder chargers better than the Powder drum type measures.

    I agree with others, you are likely using too low of powder charge.

    Rosewood
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  12. #12
    Boolit Man nagantino's Avatar
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    My load now is 3.2 of Vectan 9.5 with a 158 grn lead bullet. Some improvement in muzzle lift and felt recoil might be achieved if I use a 125 grn cast bullet and keep the powder charge at 3.2.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    If powder drop is so inconsistent that it can be detected in sound and recoil, then it seems to me that something is waaay off.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Also sorting brass
    amen!

    and you might try using Magnum primers for hotter ignition and a more complete burn.
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I would vote for the powder position sensitivity. Had that happen in .45Colt with Blue Dot. The difference was BIG.

    As already mentioned, go to a heavier load with that powder, or change to one suited to lighter loads.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Sorting brass or changing primers won’t make much difference. Trying to use loads well under the established starting loads is the problem. The 2.8 grains with a 125 grain needs a increase of 50% more powder to get close to the start charge. A double charge would be a normal .38 Special load.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Brokenbear's Avatar
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    Reddog81 is correct ..there have been many articles written by the folks who make powder, chemically design powders and shoot the stuff and there is ..in some cases/powders ..dangerous on BOTH ends of the powder amounts spectrum of both too much and too little being not good
    Highly recommend additional research on your part be done before additional loading of below starting loads ..
    One thought is if you insist on mouse fart loads (a humorous jab we make at fellow competitors gaming with light loads to win) would be to get a can of Hodgdon Triple Seven FFFG ..it is a black powder substitute but cleans just like smokeless powder but it will smoke about like HERCO powder but will not go erratic on pressure with light loads ..it may however be sensitive to powder position
    To solve your powder positioning drop the powder and fill the void to the bullet with kapok ..some use cream of wheat but I've no experience with using that much case to fill

    Bear

  18. #18
    Boolit Man nagantino's Avatar
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    The Bunny Fart is indeed a feature during revolver competitions. I’m observing some of the best competitors doing so, going as low as 2.8 with a 115 grn pc bullet. So I’m not alone in that. Cowboy Action is a perfect example of below Starting Loads being used every week. I think powder position is the problem but I hear the advice given here. I’ll stick with my present formula and not drop any lower with the powder charge.
    Great discussion of a topic which, I’m sure, is of interest to many revolver target shooters.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    2.8 grains of that same powder? In a .38 special case or a shorter case like .38 Colt?

    Using a powder that is close on the burn rate chart doesn't mean load data is interchangeable. It means the powder will be similarly suitable for the use in similar cartridges. Load data can vary substantially even amongst powders next to each other on the chart.

  20. #20
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    The burn rate of the powder is most important in light loads .
    I tried for years to get light charges of Unique to work in light loads ... but what I didn't know was every powder has a min. pressure that allows it to burn completely and Unique's pressure min. , in 38 spcl , is 4.5 to 4.9 grains ... go any lower and you get inconsistent burns and poor accuracy . The Min. loads you see in manuals are to develope enough pressure for that powder to burn properly .
    I can put 2.7 grs. of Unique in a 38 case all day long but it just doesn't burn completely or the loads shoot accurately ... put 2.7 grs. of Bullseye under that bullet and WOW ! you a Great target load that's accurate and clean burning .
    I'm not familiar with Vectan Powders ... but you need a fast burning powder that burns at low pressure to work ... Unique is a medium burning powder and for me nothing below 4.5 grains works and Bullseye worked like a Black Magic Spell in 38 special ...2.7 grs. Bullseye under any weight boolit from 105 grs to 160 grs. have been very accurate and clean burning .

    Find a Vectan powder that has the burn rate like Bullseye and I swear you will be amazed at the difference.
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
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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