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Thread: 38 special and 38+p powder selection and velocity

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJung View Post
    I've read good reports about HS6 but use AA5 for my .38SP loads instead and have decent accuracy using it. I've reloaded an accurate .38 special load with 135gr Gold Dot and shot it through my 6" S&W Mod 66. It expanded well through 2- 1 gallon jugs of water. I cast, so my future bullet test will be cast 125 and 150gr LHP bullets into a drum of water. Reverse 38-148 HBWC test bullets shattered. Maybe a plastic bag with wet newspaper or magazines suspended in the drum of water and shot through would be a good medium to compare bullet performance to a Buffalo Bore, Gold Dot, or whatever you want to compare your load to..
    AA-5 is one of the powders that is "as good as or better than HS-6" for full power 38s. There are a few others.

    See below for my "picks" with a 133 cast. Note that the slowest 3 listed use a lot more powder for just a few fps gain.

    Code:
    Cartridge          : .38 Special +P (SAAMI)
    Bullet             : .357, 133, LYM LSWC 358480
    Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 1.444 inch = 36.68 mm
    Barrel Length      : 3.7 inch
    
    C A U T I O N : any load listed can result in a powder charge that falls below minimum suggested
    loads or exceeds maximum suggested loads as presented in current handloading manuals. Understand
    that all of the listed powders can be unsuitable for the given combination of cartridge, bullet
    and gun. Actual load order can vary, depending upon lot-to-lot powder and component variations.
    USE ONLY FOR COMPARISON !
    
    Powder type          Filling/Loading Ratio  Charge    Charge   Vel. Prop.Burnt P max  P muzz  B_Time
                                          %     Grains    Gramm   fps     %       psi     psi    ms
    ---------------------------------  -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shooters World Major Pistol         60.8      9.8     0.64     973    67.6    17500    8545   0.547  ! Near Maximum !
    Accurate No.7                       60.8      9.8     0.64     973    67.6    17500    8545   0.547  ! Near Maximum !
    Alliant 2400                        77.9     11.1     0.72     971    57.7    17500    8572   0.547  ! Near Maximum !
    Alliant POWER PISTOL                60.4      7.2     0.46     967    78.4    17500    8165   0.543  ! Near Maximum !
    Shooters World Auto Pistol          45.7      7.1     0.46     951    82.6    17500    7591   0.541  ! Near Maximum !
    Accurate No.5                       45.6      7.1     0.46     951    82.6    17500    7590   0.541  ! Near Maximum !
    Hodgdon Longshot                    47.4      7.1     0.46     948    87.7    17500    7425   0.545  ! Near Maximum !
    Hodgdon HS-6                        49.8      7.4     0.48     947    85.4    17500    7442   0.544  ! Near Maximum !
    Last edited by P Flados; 02-14-2024 at 08:44 PM.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJung View Post
    Someone needs to market a pencil sharpener type tool to shave off the base of cast bullet so it'll take a gas check.
    They do make "plain base" checks. However, with powder coat and good bullet fit, I can run a regular plain base to 357 Max full power. Why would I want to waste the expense / effort for a check on a 38?

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
    I'm guessing it was probably Larry who did the pressure testing... I haven't seen that thread, but I'd be interested in reading through it. As for the pressure, in reality, most decently built revolvers should be capable of hanlding 28,000psi, that's really not that much pressure. Heck, 9mm Luger is 36k PSI. Granted there are older guns that probably can't handle this. But I suspect that most can. Especially my SP-101 in 38spl. That gun is offered in 357mag with no changes but a slightly larger cylinder and cylinder cutout in the frame. I completely trust it with 38-44 loads, though I do not shoot them through it. A bit heavier of a gun than, for example, my Taurus 85. That gun would at best be very painful to shoot those loads with. I guess like everything else, it all comes down to how much you're willing to push the envelope....
    I'm not sure about the SP101 but I know the old Six series in 38 special were exactly the same as the 357 versions. The just reamed the barrels for 38 for law enforcement contracts. Rugers are definitely tough, I absolutely love my Security Six. It's from 1974 but it locks up like new still. Got a good deal on it too. The 206 will probably get traded towards an old Speed Six or SP101 when I find the right deal.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    I think the simple solution would be to sell the 38 snubby and get a 2" 357 and shoot +p+ rounds through both of your 357s.
    That is my eventual plan, I could've got a Taurus 605 for not much more but I've never had one of their revolvers before. I have their G3C and I trust it but between the 605 and the 206 I figured I'd rather deal with Rock Island customer service in the event I had any issues. I'm just waiting to find the right deal on an old Speed Six or SP101 and it will probably get traded towards it. I got a great deal on an old Security Six last year. I did have the EAA 357 but I traded it towards the Security Six thinking I wouldn't carry the snub no more. The 206 is better other than the fact it's 38 only, but the EAA was also good for what it is.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJung View Post
    Someone needs to market a pencil sharpener type tool to shave off the base of cast bullet so it'll take a gas check.
    15-20 years ago...I made the crudest setup you ever saw..One day...If feeling Brave, I may show it...I am sure it is around here someplace.. I was determined to shoot soft (swaged) SWC's at a velocity to make them really Expand...Yea, I was Much Younger...but...For all the Uglyness, and Labor...it worked..Someone like Richard Lee could have made the mess, a Reality...I like to Think!!!

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
    They do make "plain base" checks. However, with powder coat and good bullet fit, I can run a regular plain base to 357 Max full power. Why would I want to waste the expense / effort for a check on a 38?
    I've ran Hornady Swaged SWCs at 357 mag velocities with no leading. I used a full charge 9.8 grains HS6, you could tell it was too hot and it probably would have leaded the barrel if I would've shot more than a cylinders worth. My practice 357 load with the Hornady swaged is 8.2 grains HS6.
    Surprisingly I've never had an issue with leading wether using swaged or cast. I'm of the belief that bullet to bore fit is the most important aspect. I use 18 bhn cast for 38 and 357 loads without issue, no gas checks. Powder choice is probably important too, some powders burn hotter than others.
    I switched to Powder coated but even using plain base I've never had an issue.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by racepres View Post
    My Youngest claims that my Taurus Model 85, 3" ported, is "Mean". He feels attacked every time he shoots it... Depending on the load...Exceptions are, the typical 2.8 gr Bullseye under a Wadcutter, 3.0gr Red Dot under 158SWC, and the lightest of all..3.4gr Nitro100NF, under a 125 RN, or RF... Mildest of all!!!!
    Itís about a small of a pistol Iíd want to use with a full power load, thatís for sure. Itís light, has barely any grip to it, and sits relatively high in the hand. With heavy loads you definitely feel it. Light loads are not too bad bad though.


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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
    It’s about a small of a pistol I’d want to use with a full power load, that’s for sure. It’s light, has barely any grip to it, and sits relatively high in the hand. With heavy loads you definitely feel it. Light loads are not too bad bad though.


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    No... we use it a plenty!! Gotta relate. One of the CPL classes I was at (I went to Some, whenever the class needed Filled) I lent that Taurus to a Friends Wife.. After she shot some Wadcutters...she liked it...His DumbButt decided she should use Plus-P's. She was gonna quit the Class after a Couple Shots...I caught the DumbS Move.. and dumped that crap, reloading Wadcutters...and kept the Gun close to Me...She Passed!! Some peoples Children, should be Drowned when the are Born!!!!

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by racepres View Post
    No... we use it a plenty!! Gotta relate. One of the CPL classes I was at (I went to Some, whenever the class needed Filled) I lent that Taurus to a Friends Wife.. After she shot some Wadcutters...she liked it...His DumbButt decided she should use Plus-P's. She was gonna quit the Class after a Couple Shots...I caught the DumbS Move.. and dumped that crap, reloading Wadcutters...and kept the Gun close to Me...She Passed!! Some peoples Children, should be Drowned when the are Born!!!!
    Can't argue with that last part. Every now and then I see someone who surprises me they survived childhood...

    Like I said, with light target loads it's not bad, and as fun as any pocket gun to shoot. With heavier loads you definitely know you're shooting heavier loads.
    JDGabbard's Feedback Thread

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  10. #50
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    P Flados mentioned how good AA5 is for 38 Specials, AA7 has been mentioned. I've found Blue Dot as a good powder for .357 loads and Blue Dot is close to AA7. AA9 and 2400 is good for .357 loads. Has anyone tested Blue Dot with .38 Special Loads?

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJung View Post
    P Flados mentioned how good AA5 is for 38 Specials, AA7 has been mentioned. I've found Blue Dot as a good powder for .357 loads and Blue Dot is close to AA7. AA9 and 2400 is good for .357 loads. Has anyone tested Blue Dot with .38 Special Loads?
    Yes..at length, It produces lower than expected Pressure, at Higher than expected Velocity...Which makes Zero Sense to my Feeble Brain.. So in 38, Im sticking to Bullseye, 231, Unique, and Now BE-86... I like #5 in the 38 also, but...I am conserving that for my .32's!!!! Probably just because I'm Old, I use slower powders in Longer Barrels...And vice a vis
    Edit; I should Note: I no Longer strive for High Velocity at All... Prolly why Nitro-100NF is coming along nicely... And, My Arthritic Body is Happier!!!!

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35 Rem View Post
    I've recently started loading the Lee TL358-148WC with 3.6 grains Red Dot in 38 Special and crimping in the 1st groove - i.e. leaving only one driving band exposed. Firing it in my Uberti Stallion single action with 5' barrel, I get 880 ft/sec. I'm thinking more and more that it's probably one of the best defensive loads in the 38 Special since that flat nose gives predictable performance whereas a Hollow Point at those velocities may or may not expand. Would probably be under 800 in a snub nose but you still get the benefit of that meplate.
    ^^^This right here is a good point and post.^^^

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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