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Thread: Favorite cast bullet - Snub Nose 38 Spl

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Hi-Speed's Avatar
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    Favorite cast bullet - Snub Nose 38 Spl

    What is your favorite cast SD/HD bullet and load in 38 Spl standard velocity for use in snub noses? Anytime type, SWC, RNL, DEWC, HBWC

    Im leaning towards a classic 150gr - 158 gr SWC, Lyman 358477 for instance, or your generic cast 158 gr SWC. 4.7 grs Unique, 4.0 grs W231 or 3.5 grs Bullseye are working out well for me in the accuracy and controllability departments using both the bullets mentioned (Firearm S&W 442 1 7/8).

    I understand some people prefer a cast DEWC full wadcutter load. But these are difficult to reload with your standard speed strips or speed loaders. For my reloads I prefer a 158 gr RNL (Lyman 358311) with 3.5 grs Bullseye or 4.0 grs W231 in speed stripsquick to reload and they adequately penetrate from short barrels. I know Ill hear that 158 gr RNL are ineffective but I hear other arguments to the contrary.

    Overall, I think a standard velocity 38 Spl using 158 grs bullets is satisfactory for SD/HD.
    Start Low, Work Up Slow

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Pettyplace and his VIRGEL app will show you what you need when it comes to defensive calibers and ammo. It is eye opening.
    I like the Lee 150 gr Wadcutter and is what I carry in my 38 Special pocket revolver.
    I only carry it at home though. If I go out with a revolver to carry which is most of the time now I carry either a 2.5 inch GP100 with 158 gr Mag ammo or a Smith 2.75 inch M69 44 Mag with a 245 gr loaded to around 750 fps
    I don't plan on being in a firefight. If I did I would carry a 1911 45 Auto or a Glock M30 with a New York reload.
    Last edited by 44MAG#1; 01-28-2023 at 08:38 AM.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I have seen several recommendations for WC style projectiles in the snub noses revolvers to get the full impact from flat faced full diameter boolits. The thing about these that troubled me was their deep-seated length stole space in the case and reduced room for powder before chamber pressures rose too high to get the muzzle velocity I hoped to achieve. Time passed until I saw pictures of the Modern-Bond wadcutter molds #D-358582 (150 gr.) and D-358627 (160 gr.). These boolits have a nose that extends outside of the case like the Lyman 358477 but it is wider all the way forward from the case to the front end. Over the years I acquired molds for both of these patterns and gave both several range tests. The 150 grain boolits give me slightly tighter groups over the 160 grain style but they are close enough that either would work for their purpose. Their full WC design gets more of the "business end" of the boolit out of the barrel than any SWC. The down side is that these molds are rarely found on the typical auction sites. I feel fortunate to have both weight patterns to test but could be satisfied with either one if that was all that was available.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Not a wheel that needs reinventing. Winchester's loading a 130 grain flat pointed FMJ that I'd be totally OK with. That, or anything with that basic WFN profile up to 200 grains. Keith-type SWC? Tomato tomahto.
    WWJMBD?

    Is the mightiness of the pen still relevant after we roll the writing paper into cartridges for a Sharps?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin Man View Post
    I have seen several recommendations for WC style projectiles in the snub noses revolvers to get the full impact from flat faced full diameter boolits. The thing about these that troubled me was their deep-seated length stole space in the case and reduced room for powder before chamber pressures rose too high to get the muzzle velocity I hoped to achieve. Time passed until I saw pictures of the Modern-Bond wadcutter molds #D-358582 (150 gr.) and D-358627 (160 gr.). These boolits have a nose that extends outside of the case like the Lyman 358477 but it is wider all the way forward from the case to the front end. Over the years I acquired molds for both of these patterns and gave both several range tests. The 150 grain boolits give me slightly tighter groups over the 160 grain style but they are close enough that either would work for their purpose. Their full WC design gets more of the "business end" of the boolit out of the barrel than any SWC. The down side is that these molds are rarely found on the typical auction sites. I feel fortunate to have both weight patterns to test but could be satisfied with either one if that was all that was available.
    I don't seat the Lee WC full depth. Being a handloader is being an experimenter. There is no set rule on seating depth in some situations. The way I seat the 150 Lee is such that it is no deeper in the case than the Lyman 156 Thompson SWC.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 44MAG#1 View Post
    I don't seat the Lee WC full depth. Being a handloader is being an experimenter. There is no set rule on seating depth in some situations. The way I seat the 150 Lee is such that it is no deeper in the case than the Lyman 156 Thompson SWC.
    Im working on something similar. Are you willing to share the results of your experiments?

  7. #7
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    MP 360-640L works for me. Hollowpoint boolit that functions well in speed loaders, what's not to like?
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44MAG#1 View Post
    I don't seat the Lee WC full depth. Being a handloader is being an experimenter. There is no set rule on seating depth in some situations. The way I seat the 150 Lee is such that it is no deeper in the case than the Lyman 156 Thompson SWC.
    We talking about the Lee Button nose??
    I like that one alot!!

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Its hard to beat a Keith type 150 grain SWC.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Either the Lee 150gr SWC or the Speer swaged 158gr swchp over 3.5 grs of Red Dot. Hits to POA in my snub nose and 4 .38 revolvers.


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  11. #11
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    150gr Long nose WC
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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    My favorite 38 special bullet is a bullet similar but heavier than the old FBI load. I think the FBI load is about as good as it gets for a snub, but everybody's load is way lighter than it used to be. For a modern take on the FBI load you gotta get some Buffalo Bore or Underwood SWCHP. 158 SWCHP barely penetrates to the FBI minimum.

    You can improve on the old FBI load by using a HP version of the Ranch Dog bullet. It is an improvement because it is 168-169 gr so it penetrates a little deeper and will reliably get you 13-14" penetration.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Lyman 358432 in it's 148 grain form. It is designed to be seated to the same OAL as a semiwadcutter, giving you the same powder capacity. Full power loads are easily achieved.
    They are very accurate. The only drawback I have found is the speed of reloading the revolver due to the shape of the nose.
    Second choice would be a RNFP design. The Lee model works well in my revolvers.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The original Lyman # 358432 ... which is an Ogiveal Wadcutter , 160 grains , solid base .
    This mould has been discontinued by Lyman but ...
    NOE makes this design in 3 , 4 & 5 cavity aluminum # 360-160-WC PB .
    It's design makes it an accuracy winner and the flat point hits hard .
    NOE has hollow and penta points for this one if you like hollow points .
    Just try it once!

    My 160 gr. boolits hit to all my 38 special fixed sights , I have 2" , 3" and 4" bbl revolvers .
    Gary
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    H&G #51 w/ 4.0gr WW231. Loaded THOUSANDS of them and shot them in my flat latch 2" sb 36 or the 3" sb 36 that is MagnaPorted.
    Plus shooting them from the 2" 640, 4" 15 and the 6" 28.
    It is the perfect round.
    You get 1750 per pound of powder.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    140g SWC works great in my model 36.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    This over 3.5/BE
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 003.jpg  
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  18. #18
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    My personal favorites are the RCBS 38-140-CM, or the RCBS 38-158-CM. They are both a RF design which makes them quicker to load with a speedloader, as compared to a SWC. I really do like the RCBS 38-150-SWC as well, it just doesn't load as easily. They will all shoot to the sights of my 2" & 3" model 10's, and are all very accurate in my guns. I load them all with 3.5 grains of Bullseye. Unfortunately it appears that both of the CM (Cowboy Mold) molds have been discontinued, at least according to Midway.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    158 grain RNFP. Works well and will fly accurately out past 100 yards.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    For the first rounds in/out of the revolver, I'd want 158-160 gr. LSWCs or LSWCHPs, loaded as fast as accuracy and controllability will allow. In the Speed Strips/Speed Loaders, I'd want the projectile pictured below, loaded over the same charge as the LSWCs/LSWCHPs.

    https://missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=267
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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