38 special load question

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38 special load question

Post by Tim:H11 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:53 pm

I here from quite a few that 3.5 gr of bullseye is a good load for 158 gr lead Bullets for bullseye shooting. However, after consulting my several different manuals, 3.5 seems to be a border line max load. So I expect recoil would be substantial and not very target-ish. I'm still hunting for a DR load for my S&W M19-5. I thought about trying 2.5 gr. Is it considered safe to down load a cartridge that far under starting? Starting being near 3gr - ish.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by dronning on Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:20 pm

2.9 of Clays is soft enough and dead accurate at 50yds.  Not sure how that translates to Bullseye powder.

- Dave

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by C.Perkins on Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:25 pm

Tim;
From what you have written, you can load and walk right outside and test fire your load/pistol ?
If I had that capability, I would be in second heaven.
Outside your door with a 25 or 50 yard range, a chronograph and reloading equipment is all you need.
Every gun is different and you need to tune the load to the gun.

To your question, I would start at 2.8 grains and work up a tenth of a grain until you get the results that you want.
Since it is a revolver you could start lower.

Only ever shot Federal American Eagle 158gr RN for distinguished revolver.
Never loaded for it cause only using 30 rounds a couple times a year was not worth it to me when factory ammo was cheap and functioned well with good enough accuracy to get my badge.

When I did load for the heck of it to shoot a 900 was using 148gr Remington full wadcutters or DEWC's using the same load as my M52 which is 2.8 grains of BE.
Side note, if you do use the full wadcutters at the long line and the DEWC's at the short line, never gotten good results at the long line with them, but are cheap for practice.

Back to your question, start at 2.7 ish grains and work up to find the sweat spot.

Hope this helps.

Oh, in case you are worried about not filling a case to a certain level and can have a catastrophic failure, never seen it, it just ends up being a squib with a bullet lodged somewhere up the barrel.
Therfor you need to be alert to the feel of the round going off and check to make sure the bullet has exited.

Clarence

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by james r chapman on Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:29 pm


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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Tim:H11 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:42 pm

I've tried 2.8, 3.0, and 3.2. They all shot horrible at 25 yards. I'm asking the above questions because I don't want to run too hot of a load, but wasn't sure if it was ok to drop down below 2.8 as far as 2.5.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Wobbley on Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:02 pm

Alliant listed 3.6 gr Bullseye as maximum (15000 psi) in 38 Special and 3.8 as max in 38 Special PLUS P (17000 psi)  with 158 LSWC bullets. 

However recoil will be the limiting factor especially for the short line.  So I'd think you should find a decent load for short line at about 700 Fps and for the long line at about 800.  This should be about 2.9 and 3.2 grains respectively.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by james r chapman on Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:18 pm

What's "horrible".
What bullet,
Does it match your cylinder throat diameters?
I've found the rn to perform best in my DR guns.

You have a slow twist barrel. You need pressure to seal the bore and velocity to stabilize that twist.

Try a box of the American eagle or magtech loads as baselines.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Tim:H11 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:37 pm

james r chapman wrote:What's "horrible".
What bullet,
Does it match your cylinder throat diameters?
I've found the rn to perform best in my DR guns.

You have a slow twist barrel. You need pressure to seal the bore and velocity to stabilize that twist.

Try a box of the American eagle or magtech loads as baselines.

Horrible being 4" to 6" groups at 25 yards. 
Bullet is a lead 158 gr LSWC (I forget which company)
I have no idea about the throat diameter matching.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by james r chapman on Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:26 pm

Ok, will the bullet easily pass thru the cylinder throat, if so, you need the next larger size bullet dia. Also, too light loads don't allow the bullet to seal the gases causing problems.

Also, barrels leaded up will cause wild shots. Run a chore boy thru the barrel to make sure its lead free.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Tim:H11 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:16 pm

I tried 10 shots of each: 2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7. Not in that order. But I found 2.4 and 2.7 interesting at 25 yards off the sandbags. But still nothing under 3.5". What overal length of the cartridge? I'm seating to what's in my loading manual. Have you all found different seat depths to work better than what's in the manual?

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Christopher Miceli on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:22 pm

Try. DR loads (158gr Remington swaged LSWC over 3.6gr AA#2 in Winchester .38 Special cases)  I shoot American eagle, remington factory,remington umc, and mag tech

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by james r chapman on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:25 pm

each bullet is different for oal due to a crimp groove on most.
The OAL on the magtech 158 gr rn is 1.530
the American eagle (federal) 158 gr Rd, is 1.535
I believe it is a Speer bullet.
The magtech bullet is available also as a component.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by james r chapman on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:27 pm

are you loading .38 special brass, or .357 magnum brass?

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Tim:H11 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:27 pm

Christopher Miceli wrote:Try. DR loads (158gr Remington swaged LSWC over 3.6gr AA#2 in Winchester .38 Special cases)  I shoot American eagle, remington factory,remington umc, and mag tech

I'm gonna try that next. I've been trying to shy away from it because I feel like it could be too much recoil. Reloading manuals says 3.4/3.5 is max load data. Some say it's approaching +P.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Tim:H11 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:29 pm

james r chapman wrote:are you loading .38 special brass, or .357 magnum brass?


38 special brass

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Christopher Miceli on Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:39 pm

i had the same issues you did when i was trying to load for my DR revolver 14-3.  to light of power had a soft recoil but ungodly bad accuracy. 
also try 158 lswc remington or zero  3.1wst

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by james r chapman on Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:53 pm

Christopher Miceli wrote:i had the same issues you did when i was trying to load for my DR revolver 14-3.  to light of power had a soft recoil but ungodly bad accuracy. 
also try 158 lswc remington or zero  3.1wst
+1

those 158's want to be in the 800 fps range...as I recall...

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Rob Kovach on Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:17 pm

Tim,

Don't use bullseye for your DR loads. It's too fast, and I believe that the fast & short pressure peak isn't really compatible with accuracy at 50 yards with 158gr lrn or LSWC bullets.

For matches other than DR matches, the 158gr HBWC bullet works well with Bullseye powder at 2.5gr.

For the DR matches, go with Remington UMC factory loads.

Your bullseye powder loads should shoot well at 25 yards. You can shoot the Remington at the long line and shoot handle ads at 25.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Wobbley on Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:54 pm

Tim:  The Lyman 49th edition lists the accuracy loads for their cast bullets.  Most of these are at the upper end.  The 158 gr cast plain base accuracy load was 4.0 gr 231 which gave 837 Fps and 15,900 psi.  

So try a slower powder like 231 or unique and a hot-ish charge.

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Re: 38 special load question

Post by Christopher Miceli on Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:03 am

I think the 158 lrn is more accurate then the swc but that's just me.

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