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DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns

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bruce martindale
john bickar
LenV
sharkdoctor
CR10X
straybrit
james r chapman
Wobbley
Tim:H11
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Post by Tim:H11 1/17/2020, 11:13 pm

I legged out with my S&W Model 14-3 using 3.2 grains of Bullseye, CCI primers, and a 158 grain LRN bullet I cast from wheel weight lead using a Lee mold - the tumble lube design. Shoots good. Good enough to do alright but it takes hard work to shoot it well at 50 yards. Feels peppy in the hand. Makes me wonder if I could be shooting a better load sometimes though. 

I've done some reading and see people have had very good results with the Remington ammunition (advertised velocity of 755fps) and the Federal/American Eagle ammunition (advertised 760fps). Some people even mentioned having good luck with Magtech ammunition (advertised 750fps). The Atlanta Arms PPC Match ammunition shoots great out of my gun and is advertised with a 730fps velocity .. give or take of course. So I wondered .. how fast is my 3.2 grains of Bullseye load moving? I'll say this much; my load feels like it's got more punch than the Atlanta Arms ammunition so I wonder.. maybe my load is moving quite a bit more. 

So I consulted my several different loading manuals first looking for some idea of a neighborhood or ballpark guess as to where I might be. I have other books but these three for example are as follows:

*Lyman 49th says 3.0 grains of Bullseye should do 786fps 
*Modern Reloading Second Edition Richard Lee 3.5 grains of Bullseye should do 884fps so if my math is anywhere near correct in theory then 2.9 grains of bullseye should be close for 750fps... maybe ..???
*Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading Third Edition says 3.2 grains of Bullseye should do 750fps

I'm not seeing much consistency in the data here but there are a lot of things in question too. Test gun/barrel fixture? Barrel length..? Crimp on their ammo, seat depth, primers even and what type of bullet. 

So the next thing I'd like to do is chrono my loads to find out where my loads are at exactly. Make it a data point and not a guess. I don't know when I'll find time to do this but it's on the list. 

Afterwards, depending on the chrono results I may entertain the thought of trying other loads but I'm already busy with testing for two rifles and another revolver so... I need to get those projects done first I think. Not sure. 

If anyone has any thoughts to add on this one come on and weigh in.
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Post by Wobbley 1/17/2020, 11:44 pm

The Speer #9 Manual lists two loads with the 158 Gr Lead bullets.

3.0 Gr  giving 712 fps, and
3.5 Gr  giving 880 fps.

The latter is very likely in +P territory.  

My guess is that your load is in the 790-800 fps area.
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Post by james r chapman 1/18/2020, 7:25 am

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Post by straybrit 1/18/2020, 7:26 am

I legged out (and got my Harry Reeves t-shirt - I enjoyed that day :-) ) at Perry using Zero ammo for the long line and Zero bullets with 2.9g TiteGroup for the short line. Same point of aim for both targets.  If memory serves when I first developed that load it was measured at ~740 fps.

Magtech is indistinguishable from Zero in my gun.

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Post by CR10X 1/18/2020, 7:36 am

Ok, before I put up the devil's rotary projectile machine (revolver) after getting my DR, I did a lot of testing with a couple of guns.  The major issue is that for my examples, the 158 gr lead bullets that are required (LRN / LSWC) were no where near as good as 148 HBFWC bullets / loads.  So I had to do some testing.  I found some semi-acceptable factory 158 LRN, but did a little better reloading the with cast bullets later.  The problem with the reloading manuals is that just saying 158 gr lead bullet, does not translate to getting what the manual says with your specific projectile / load.    

The choice of the projectile (for me) finally came down to the Oregon Trail 158 gr. cast lead round nose.  

  https://oregontrailbullets.com/xcart/?target=product&product_id=13

As you can see, the nose is relatively short compared to the average 158 LRN factory / standard cast bullet.  That got more bullet in the case which reduced the case capacity a little more and the crimp groove allowed me to have a really good and consistent crimp and OAL.  And apparently my guns liked their standard cast diameter / lead hardness.  Got a lot less throat leading too. 

After that it was just a little work on finding a decent powder / charge combination.  

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Post by Tim:H11 1/18/2020, 7:45 am


Read it, thank you though. I only have Bullseye and Titegroup right now for powder. People mention Clays and 231 so maybe someday I'll get around to trying those.
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Post by sharkdoctor 1/18/2020, 9:53 am

Some measured 38 Spl data for you from a SW 6" 14-4:

Zero 158 SWC

3.6gr WST.  778 fps (ES 763-799, n = 5)  ca. 2" @ 50yds (n=10)


3.37 WST.  679 (ES 645-718 n= 5)

3.62 HP 38.  (<2.5" @ 50yds, n=10)

Fed commercial 158 LRN, 827fps, ca. 3" groups (ES 794-853, n=10)

My data show that lower velocities work fine for me at 50yds.  Check any of these in current loading manuals before use - no warranties are expressed or implied.  That being said I used mainly Rem 158 LRN to go Distinguished, which likely is comparable to the Fed 158.

(Edit: Fed Am Eagle is nominally 770fps, so my measure was faster)

Just keep them centered - good luck!

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Post by LenV 1/18/2020, 10:39 am

Magtech off sandbag at 50yds. The bullets are pure lead and have a small HB. Hard to read but says 3.5 gr Bullseye.

https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/75320   NFI

DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns 38_spe12
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Post by john bickar 1/18/2020, 4:10 pm

Aren't you DR already? Oh wait, you said that.

Why are you messing with DR loads? Sh*ts and giggles? And shouldn't your employer be reloading for you?

I shoot so little of it that I look at it like .22 ammo, in that I won't bother to reload it. I buy a few hundred rounds of Federal or American Eagle every half-decade or so and call it good.
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Post by Tim:H11 1/18/2020, 4:38 pm

john bickar wrote:Aren't you DR already? Oh wait, you said that.

Why are you messing with DR loads? Sh*ts and giggles? And shouldn't your employer be reloading for you?

I shoot so little of it that I look at it like .22 ammo, in that I won't bother to reload it. I buy a few hundred rounds of Federal or American Eagle every half-decade or so and call it good.


I’m a hobbyist reloader. And my employer doesn’t support DR so I’m kind of on my own for that one.
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Post by john bickar 1/18/2020, 5:49 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:I’m a hobbyist reloader.

Well then, GLWT Laughing

Tim:H11 wrote:And my employer doesn’t support DR so I’m kind of on my own for that one.

Will it help if I write my Congresscritter and say, "What am I paying taxes for??"? (Difficulty: California) Wink
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Post by Tim:H11 1/18/2020, 6:05 pm

john bickar wrote:
Tim:H11 wrote:I’m a hobbyist reloader.

Well then, GLWT Laughing

Tim:H11 wrote:And my employer doesn’t support DR so I’m kind of on my own for that one.

Will it help if I write my Congresscritter and say, "What am I paying taxes for??"? (Difficulty: California) Wink

lol!
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Post by Wobbley 1/18/2020, 6:17 pm

You could shoot these if there’s any still in the supply system:

DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns Bc9d7c10

But then again they’re not lead...
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Post by bruce martindale 1/18/2020, 7:31 pm

2.8 BE didn't cut it with a 158 swc in my guns. I had pulled some factory rounds and found 3.5 gr of what LOOKED like bullseye in Remington loads. Velocity was 792. Winchester had 3.7 of what LOOKED like 231 and had velocity of 738. Federal had 3.3 of what Looked like be; no velocity test done. My own testing of 158 swc with 3.6 231 gave numbers near the Winchester brand in limited tests.

Factory loads don't use cannister grade powder even if it looked like one. Regards

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Post by oldsalt444 1/19/2020, 9:57 pm

Just my $.02, but in my K38 - a Magnus swaged 158 LSWC over 4.3 Unique is my long line load.  A bit stiff but the most accurate so far.  Short line load is 3.0 Titegroup.
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Post by Kermit Workman 1/20/2020, 7:54 pm

My ransom resting experience says that 3.2 BE should be accurate. Another powder I found to be accurate is 3.5 g. of WST.

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Post by Tim:H11 1/21/2020, 6:42 pm

Today I shot 50 rounds off of some sand bags at a distance of 50 yards to see how they might perform. The loads were 10 shots each of 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, and 3.1 grains of Titegroup with a 158 grain LRN Bullet that I cast from only stick on type wheel weights. I find them to be softer than clip on type weights. I tumble lubed  them with Lee Liquid Allox and sized them with a Lee .357 push through sizing die.

I do not often shoot pistols off of sandbags so my technique is not completely developed, however I did try to stay as consistent as possible. I found that some loads (like 3.0gr and 2.9gr) might have “wanted” to group better than I shot them but they look the way they do because of my shooting technique or lack of. I’m speculating since they have little left and right play but seem to have strung vertically. 2.8gr grouped nice enough for me to want to call it quits and just load and shoot that but I still have five other loads to test using Bullseye powder. I really do think the variation in the groups are shooter error since the loads are only a tenth of a grain apart.

I did not chrono these loads this time but I may chrono some eventually. And given the random results and lack of technique some might say to scrap this and start over. But when I read into my targets I’m fairly confident 2.8 and 3.0 would be close to what I’m looking for.

DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns 1e627c10
DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns 28d6bc10
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Post by Tim:H11 1/21/2020, 6:43 pm

DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns 9e9f6610
DR Loads: The Nightmare Returns C3681610
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Post by james r chapman 1/21/2020, 7:44 pm

can you mount a handgun scope on it?
it often takes some of the stress out of it.
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Post by Tim:H11 1/21/2020, 8:23 pm

james r chapman wrote:can you mount a handgun scope on it?
it often takes some of the stress out of it.

I wish but it's not drilled and taped and I don't want to do that to this gun right now.
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Post by LenV 1/21/2020, 8:30 pm

Simple, There is no law that says you have to limit yourself to one revolver. The 14-6 are drilled and tapped. Very Happy
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Post by Ghillieman 1/21/2020, 10:39 pm

158gr RN
4.0gr Unique
Accurate at 50 and that's what I legged out with.
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Post by Kermit Workman 1/22/2020, 3:21 pm

One of the things that alarms me is the bullet sizing. In my experience with a model 14-6 .357 bullets would not group well at all. The cast or swagged bullet must be .001 or .002" over ACTUAL bore size. Not all .38 Spec. bores are .357 so the barrel must be slugged and bullet size adjusted to the correct size for the barrel/pistol. It is difficult to accurately measure the slug because the S&W pistol uses 5 groove barrels and you can not measure across the slug. Also the cylinder throats can not be undersize so when the bullet passes through them and is downsized.
 My bore size was actual .3572. I lapped out my sizing die to .3583. I got much better results after I fit the bullet to the bore.

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Post by Tim:H11 1/22/2020, 10:03 pm

LenV wrote:Simple, There is no law that says you have to limit yourself to one revolver. The 14-6 are drilled and tapped. Very Happy

My wife says that you're a bad influence Laughing
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Post by Tim:H11 1/23/2020, 5:00 pm

After sandbagging some loads with Bullseye powder (including the one I legged out with) I have decided to load up a box of 50 rounds of the 2.8gr of Titegroup recipe. I'll sight in and shoot a NMC to see what happens. But judging from the sand bag targets thats what I'm hoping my new load will be. I might load a few extra to send over a chronograph to see how fast they might be going. Maybe this Nightmare has an end in sight.
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