38 Super loads

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38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/9/2017, 6:25 pm

I bought 125gr Zero JHPs to load my first 38 Super loads.  How low can I safety load them with BE or WST to start testing?  The gun was supposed to be here today  and I wanted to shoot it but all I could find in town was American Eagle, never my choice if there is anything else, 130gr FMJ +P.  The gun didn't show up so when it gets here tomorrow I will maybe run 10 of these through it and set them aside.  The brass isn't here or the Dillion conversion kit.   I can use the Lee dies and my single stage press to start testing when the brass shows up.  Hated I had to buy new brass as it seamed everyone I buy brass from was out of stock.  Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by james r chapman on 11/9/2017, 6:40 pm

Do a search 38+super
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by james r chapman on 11/9/2017, 6:43 pm

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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/9/2017, 9:50 pm

Thanks guys I don't know why I missed that in my search but I now have it as a short cut on my desk top.  I did find several 38 Super post with good info but not really telling me how low I could go.  Does look like low is not the way to go anyway and I really don't mind hot loads as you can see by my handle.  Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by S148 on 11/10/2017, 2:02 am

Hornady's low load for the 38 Automatic and a 125 grain jacketed bullet is 4.1 grains of bullseye for 1000 fps.  Lyman shows a low of 4.0 grains for 842 fps.

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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by jglenn21 on 11/10/2017, 7:29 am

I also used load data for the 38 automatic as a starting point for 38 super low loads...

I have run 3.8 of BE in my super EIC pistol for the short line with 115 XTPs..  4.0 - 4.4 BE for the LL

This is with a 12 lb recoil spring and 19 mainspring

iron sights


Last edited by jglenn21 on 11/10/2017, 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/10/2017, 10:12 am

I have 4 loading manuals and a few online power sites have loads but you seldom find the very light loads BE shooters use.  I can under stand this as there is not that many BE shooters.  Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Wobbley on 11/10/2017, 10:51 am

Get some 147 cast bullets and start with 38 Special 148 WC data and work from there.  Your gun may not function with the real light loads shot in the Special but just work from there.
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by dronning on 11/10/2017, 11:08 am

I am getting great results (1.75" @ 50yds) with a 147gr Bevel Base Flat Point and 2.8gr of WST 1.25 OAL .379 crimp (frame mount & 6" barrel) others are using 3.0gr of WST (slide mount).  Bullets can be bought from either Magnus or Dardus.  The others I have exchanged info with are running 1-16 and 1-18 twist barrels, I'm running a super fast 1-10 twist - gun was built by KC.
- Dave
All with new Starline 38 Super Comp brass


Last edited by dronning on 11/10/2017, 10:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added brass, OAL & crimp info)
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by shaky452 on 11/10/2017, 7:02 pm

I recently put together a .38 Super with the thought of using very light loads.  It utilizes a Caspian frame and slide with a Kart barrel that was expertly installed by Jim Milks of Innovative Custom Guns.  He also machined the slide and installed an EGW base to accept a Vortex Venom dot sight.  This particular sight has a 3 min dot and provides a slight amount of magnification. I also installed an EGW oversize firing pin stop and only put a very slight radius on it. I mention this because it probably has some effect on the recoil spring selection. The weight is approximately 43 oz. with an empty magazine. As a comparison, a 52-2 with 1" Ultradot, BME base and low weaver rings weighs 48 oz. A wad gun with a Clark base, 1" Ultradot and low Weaver rings weighs 46 oz. 
  Based on the 7/4/2017 post by jglenn21 (thanks!)  I purchased 1000 126 gr. Dardas lswc bullets and they are the only bullets I have tried so far. New Starline .38 super comp cases were used along with CCI primers. The cartridges were loaded to an OAL of 1.250" and a .379" crimp was applied with a Lee factory crimp die. No problems were experienced using the Lee .38 super dies with the .38 super comp style brass.  Loads of 3.8, 3.7, 3.5, 3.4, 3.2, 3.0, and 2.8 grains of Bullseye were tried.  Where group sizes are listed, they are the result of one 10 shot group fired over sandbags at 26 yds. (muzzle to target) using two magazines loaded with 5 rounds each. The measurement is extreme spread, center to center. Typically, there was a very small group and 2 or 3 flyers which I suspect I was responsible for. I don't consider myself a very good "bag" shooter and imagine a skilled operator or RR would have produced smaller groups. The results are from small sample sizes. I did not want to load a large number of rounds only to find that they would not function the gun. Naturally, these are the results of my loading technique and my gun. Your results may be very different. For the time being I'm going to stick with the 2.8 gr. load. As you would expect, recoil is very light and it appears to be more than adequate to shoot 10 x cleans at 25 yds. if I had the skill to do it.  I have not tested the load at 50 yds.

1. 3.8 gr., 14 lb. recoil spring, functions 100% and slide locks back, group size 1.25".
2. 3.7 gr., 14 lb. recoil spring, functions 100% and slide locks back. 
3. 3.5 gr., 14 lb. recoil spring, functions 100% and slide does not lock back.
4. 3.4 gr., 12 lb. recoil spring, functions 100% would not consistently lock back.
5. 3.2 gr., 10 lb. recoil spring,functions 100% and slide does not lock back, group size 1.50".
6. 3.0 gr., 10 lb. recoil spring,1 failure to load and slide would not lock back, group size 2.00"
7. 3.0 gr., 9 lb. recoil spring, functions 100% and slide locks back
8. 3.0 gr., 8 lb. recoil spring, functions 100% and slide locks back.
9. 2.8 gr., 9 lb recoil spring, functions 100% and slide would not lock back, group size 1.40".
10. 2.8 gr., 8 lb recoil spring, functions 100% and slide locks back.

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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/10/2017, 10:09 pm

Thank you that is very helpful data.  I will have to see if I have a 8 lb spring I don't think so.  My brass has not come in yet from Brownnels they are always slow.  Gun didn't come in either so I didn't get to make any once fired brass. Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Allgoodhits on 11/11/2017, 7:42 pm

125 gr JHPs in a .38 Super with 4.3 - 4.5 gr of WST loaded around 1.235 - 1.250 OAL should give you 1.5" or less 50 yd accuracy in a quality gun. If using 115 gr JHP increase by about 2/10ths for similar accuracy.

The 125 gr load above should be in 990 - 1050 fps range. The 115 gr load above should be in 1080 - 1140 fps range.

Note that Zero makes two designs of these bullets. The newer they call a JHP "conical". I have loaded many tens of thousands of the above bullets in .38 Super and 9mm. Loaded many tens of thousands of the .357 bullets in .38 spls too. With WST the charge needs to be in the 4.9 - 5.3 range for the 125's with WST.

Be safe.
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/11/2017, 10:19 pm

I don't expect this $500 RI is going to be a quality gun and will probably have to take a trip to one of out smiths. Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by james r chapman on 11/12/2017, 8:03 am

Don't underestimate the RO
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/12/2017, 10:29 am

james r chapman wrote:Don't underestimate the RO
James it is not a RO those are good guns it is a Rock Island ,RI, 38 Super.  I just been wanting a 38 Super and the price was right through my indoor range.  Plus I get another months free membership.  I bought enough guns from them the first year I didn't have to pay this last year.  A good savings.  Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/13/2017, 8:43 pm

Well I got what i paid for I guess.  I shot it today and it is by far the worst pistol I have ever bought.  Had I done my research properly I would have known it was made in the PI and wouldn't have bought it.  Now to make some BE loads for it and get a dot some how installed.  I think I am going with 4.3 of WST and work from there.  The barrel twist is 1 in 16.  Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by james r chapman on 11/13/2017, 8:44 pm

james r chapman wrote:Don't underestimate the RO

oops... Embarassed
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by Magload on 11/13/2017, 9:10 pm

james r chapman wrote:
james r chapman wrote:Don't underestimate the RO

oops... Embarassed
James it was a big oops on my part.  I should have bought a 9mm RO and converted it to 38 Super.  I have 2 ROs and really like them.  Don
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Re: 38 Super loads

Post by shaky452 on 6/30/2018, 10:46 pm

This is an update on an earlier post (Nov. 10, 2017). At that time I had backed my .38 super (specifics are in the Nov. 10 post) load down to 2.8 gr. of Bullseye with the 126 gr., .356" Dardas SWCFB. Currently I'm using 2.6 gr. of Bullseye with a 7 lb. recoil spring. Accuracy, at least at 25 yds., is excellent, but I haven't tested at 50 yds.  My friends Labradar indicated an average velocity of 767 fps. I've had one failure to feed in approximately 500 rds. with this load (some using the Missouri 125 gr., .356" Hi-Tec coated SWC), but the slide does not lock back a good portion of the time. This does not bother me and I don't want to go any lower on the recoil spring. As you can imagine, this is very pleasant to shoot.

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Re: 38 Super loads

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