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WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets

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WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets Empty WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets

Post by PacFltShooter Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:00 am

There seems to be a dearth of information using WST powder for the 38 Spl cartridge. Most notably the lighter weight bullets. Does anyone have experience with loading WST for 125 gr plates bullets or a place to start the research/testing?
Thanks,
Ralph
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Post by oldsalt444 Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:14 pm

Depends on what kind of load you're after.  2.7 gr. is a good place to start.  Honestly, plated bullets won't give you the level of accuracy needed for bullseye competition, even at 25 yards.  But for plinking, they'd be fine.  Everyone here who has tried plated bullets including myself, have had disappointing results in accuracy.
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WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets Empty Re: WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets

Post by Wobbley Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:27 pm

,I looked at Speer data, nothing there.  Winchester only published load for WST in 38 special using lead bullets... if you look at the data for the 158 data the start load goes from 3.3 Gr and a max load of 3.7 Gr.  Going up to 3.9 Gr for +P.  So it is my gut feeling that Winchester found it to be “touchy” in smaller calibers like 38 special and 9mm Luger.  Hence the lack of load data from just about anybody.  Others Have reported some success but few have more than one or two loads.  Based on this I’d load some at 3.3 and 3.5 and see what you get, but I’d never exceed 3.8 ever.
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Post by LenV Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:25 pm

Just an FYI. Plated bullets are to be loaded as lead bullets. So if you find a "lead" load it is also a plated load.
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Post by Allgoodhits Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:16 pm

I have not loaded plated bullets in quite some time, since they are not useful for my accuracy needs.

However, I have loaded tens of thousands of 38 Spl with both 125 gr JHP and 120-124-125 gr Hitek coated bullets using WST.

A very good (2" +/-) 50yd load using 125 gr ZERO JHP conical bullet is 4.7 gr WST. From a 6" barrel this should provide 1010 -1030 fps.  This load is "not" recommended in any K frame or smaller S&W revolver. It will eventually crack the barrel at 6 oclock on the forcing cone, just in front of the cylinder. If you like this load use at least an L frame strength gun. The outside dimension of where an L frame barrel threads through the frame is larger than a K frame at this location.

A very good (2.5" +/-) 50yd load using either Bayou or Brazos HiTek coated bullets with 120-124-125 gr TC or RN bullets is 4.5 - 4.2 gr WST. From a 6" barrel this should provide 1020-1040 fps. I have done so, and know others whom have fired many tens of thousands of these through K frame S&W without any problem.

Both above load information will provide very good accuracy slightly above and below those charges too. These ranges are the sweet spot in balancing noise, recoil, accuracy and pleasant shootability while meeting 120,000 minimum power factor for Bianchi or NRA Action Pistol events. I would suggest if using the JHP use the cannelure, but if using the TC or RN Hitek bullets, seat them as deep as possible (shortest OAL) while still having the neck crimping into the driving band area of the bullets. Like anything else the crimp needs to be right. I would say a firm, maybe very firm crimp with those bullets and WST. Some use undersized sizing dies, then just remove the bell. Whatever it takes to get a good hold on the bullet, without deforming it too much.

Plated bullets, IMO, unless required for indoor range use, and unless jacketed bullets are cost prohibited, are not to my standard beyond about 15 - 20 yds. Get some Brazos or Bayou HiTek coated bullets. My guess is they are competitively priced with the least expensive bullets out there, and they are excellent. I am sure there are others too, but these are very good bullets.

Good luck in your pursuits.


Last edited by Allgoodhits on Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sp)
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WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets Empty Re: WST for .38 special 125 gr plated bullets

Post by PacFltShooter Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:36 pm

Thanks to all for the info.  I am aware of the plated bullet limitations on BE accuracy and am more interested in them for their "plinkability".  WST seems like such a good powder in .45 ACP that I thought I might try it.  The plated bullets feed nicely through my bullet feeder.  Like Wobbly. I found some data for 148 and 158 gr bullets but no published data on the 125s. Do you folks think a start at 3.0 gr and work up from there with a 125 gr bullet would be a safe load.  How does WST compare to Bullseye powder?  Is it more bulky?
Ralph
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Post by Allgoodhits Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:02 pm

WST is less dense than BE. The same volume of BE will weigh much more than than same volume of WST.   

VMD is the volume of one grain of gunpowder in cubic centimeters. To find the volume of a powder charge, multiply the grains of powder by the VMD (source - Lee Density chart)

BE -    .1064
WST - .1205

3 gr of WST in a 38 spl case with 125 gr plated bullet is a very light load. You may end up with one "not" clearing the barrel.  You have never indicated what barrel length or brand or frame size you may be using these in. Not all guns are created equal. Be careful !!!!
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Post by PacFltShooter Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:46 pm

@allgoodhits
You are so right. I would like to use these loads in most 38 spl guns but they will predominantly be used in 4 to 6 in K frames. I am not looking for light loads per se but rather just std velocity loads. Something more in the 4 gr range maybe?
Ralph
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Post by Allgoodhits Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:17 pm

PacFltShooter wrote:@allgoodhits
You are so right.  I would like to use these loads in most 38 spl guns but they will predominantly be used in 4 to 6 in K frames.  I am not looking for light loads per se but rather just std velocity loads.  Something more in the 4 gr range maybe?
Ralph
It is always prudent to start on low side. I don't think I would go lower than 3.5 gr of WST with a 125 gr in .38 spl. It may be a good starting point. I think you will find upper 3, maybe low 4 to be something with better accuracy. A less dense powder may be worth considering (fills the case more) if your pursuit is softer loads with light weight bullets. Clays may be worth considering. Same weight 3.5 gr fills case more with VMD of .1462. It probably will burn cleaner as a light load. ( Some loads burn better at higher pressures, thus cleaner, more efficient, thus more consistent, thus usually more accurate). Too light, by volume, of loads can act weird as the charge may not adequately fill the available case volume enough to get good burning. Keep in mind that WC are seated deep into the case to use up the case volume. This makes very light loads burn better. For the lightest of loads, not accuracy, Trail Boss is a good one with a VMD of .2172. There should be data for that powder.  

It really doesn't matter what you do, until you get away from those plated bullets. Compared to quality lead, quality HiTek coated or quality JHPs the plated bullets, just do not compare beyond 20 yds or so. The HiTek coated bullets, are a very good compromise for cost, accuracy and cleanliness. They also work very well in bullet feeders.

Enjoy the pursuit!
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Post by PacFltShooter Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:45 pm

Thanks for the guidance and suggestions. It doesn’t appear like there is much of an advantage in using WST with lighter weight bullets. I was hoping I could use this combo to make use of available components. I may have to rethink my plan
Ralph
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Post by Allgoodhits Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:17 am

PacFltShooter wrote:Thanks for the guidance and suggestions.  It doesn’t appear like there is much of an advantage in using WST with lighter weight bullets.  I was hoping I could use this combo to make use of available components.  I may have to rethink my plan
Ralph

Try it, you may like it. WST is a very good powder. It's low density and burn rate make it quite versatile with "target" loads in .38 Spl, .38 Super, .45 ACP and even 9mm. I like the way WST feels, compared to BE and some of the faster burning powders. Develop more specifically with detail that which you hope to achieve, then it is easier to seek proper guidance. What is accurate? What is light? What is too much muzzle flash? Without quantifiers those terms are merely in the eye of beholder.

Last, the human factor is often overlooked. The technical most accurate load out of any given gun, may not be the load that "you" shoot the best. Said load may perform exceptionally in a Ransom Rest, or from a bench with sandbags, however, when you fire it in the normal way of shooting, the overall grouping including the worst shots, may actually be greater than another load which technically is much less accurate. The human factor should not be overlooked, especially, when shooting handguns, or handsguns.

Good luck in your pursuit.
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Post by LenV Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:47 am

There is one good reason to use WST. Midway has it in stock. Smile
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Post by PacFltShooter Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:50 pm

Good point Len. I picked some up from my local Scheel’s yesterday. Also some WSF.
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