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Plated 38 HBWC

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Post by Gm210 Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:20 pm

I just picked up some plated (swaged lead) 38 148 gr HBWC and wondering what I should start with to duplicate the velocity and performance of swaged lead HBWCs.  I plan to use them in my revolver only, not the S&W 52.  I’ve been loading lead 148 gr HBWCs with 3.1 gr. HP38, which shoot quite well. I was thinking of increasing the powder charge for the plated bullets to 3.5 gr HP38 ( I don’t have any Bullseye) but wondering if any forum members have experience with plated HBWC bullets. The bullets I have are made by Campro in Canada.  I’ve hade very good experience with the Campro plated 9mm in 115 & 124 gr out of my Sig P210 Target (a great gun btw / I love it).  Hoping to duplicate the accuracy with the HBWCs.  Thanks Greg

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Post by Wobbley Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:42 pm

You have a load at 3.1 HP38.  I would stay there. I would not exceed 800 fps velocity.  I can’t say anything about Campro plated bullets, but I found that other brands of plated bullets were spotty in accuracy with uncalled 8s at 25 yards.
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Post by Gm210 Sun Dec 05, 2021 2:06 pm

I’ve heard that too, but wanted to give these a try because swaged lead HBWCs are hard to find and more expensive.  Also, the reason for starting a little heavier load is that don’t plated & jacketed bullets crate more friction, hence lower muzzle velocity.

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Post by LenV Sun Dec 05, 2021 2:38 pm

Don't equate plated and jacketed. Treat plated just like lead. And remember there is a reason they cost less..IMHO
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Post by Wobbley Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:32 pm

The coating is too thin to act like jacketed.  The bullets deform rather than engrave like jacketed.  

I don’t really know their advantage considering even “powder coated” cast are as accurate as regular cast and have fewer issues.  You can powder coat cast bullets (even purchased ones) yourself with a pound of powder coat and a toaster oven.  I’m sure there’s a bullet caster in Canada that can either supply coated bullets or as cast bullets for home coating.
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Post by desben Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:46 pm

CamPro recommend 3.2 min 3.5 max. 

https://www.campro.ca/index.php?id=1023&family=38%20SPECIAL&produit=Cal.%2038%20148gr%20HBWC%20FCP
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Post by Gm210 Sun Dec 05, 2021 9:10 pm

Thanks for all the great input.  I’m going to start with 3.2 gr. (As per Campro min recommended) and go from there. Another question, while I had not considered using plated HBWC in the S&W 52 because I believed it would be too hard on the gun, if plated are softer and deform like lead, would there be a downside to shooting plated through the 52?

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Post by 8eightring Sun Dec 05, 2021 9:54 pm

Call me crazy but I have been using 15 grains of Win 296 in 357 cases with the 148 Rainier DEWC plated bullets in my S&W model 28.  It is a stout load but  real fun to shoot and very accurate. It really rings steel plates.
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Post by Wobbley Sun Dec 05, 2021 11:55 pm

Gm210 wrote:Thanks for all the great input.  I’m going to start with 3.2 gr. (As per Campro min recommended) and go from there. Another question, while I had not considered using plated HBWC in the S&W 52 because I believed it would be too hard on the gun, if plated are softer and deform like lead, would there be a downside to shooting plated through the 52?
My experience with plated HBWC was in my 52.  They were commercial reloads they didn’t shoot that great, so I just shot them up and haven’t looked back.
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Post by Gm210 Mon Dec 06, 2021 7:31 am

Since getting back to more regular shooting and reloading (over the past year) I have found (with the 38) that swaged lead HBWCs and swaged lead 158 SWCs have shot well while cast DBWC & SWCs from a commercial caster have not shot well.  The best I could get at 25 yrs off a sandbag with the the cast 38s was 4 -5” groups.  However cast 240 gr SWC 44s & 200 gr SWC 45s have grouped well.  Maybe a bad batch of 38s.  Hopefully these 38 plated perform like the Campro 9mms.

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Post by troystaten Mon Dec 06, 2021 4:48 pm

Regarding 8rings comments about a stiff charge of 296 and a DEWC make sure you don't do that with a HBWC.  I am sure most people know that but just incase.  Those 296 loads are flame throwers.

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Post by Allgoodhits Tue Dec 07, 2021 6:49 pm

Gm210 wrote:I just picked up some plated (swaged lead) 38 148 gr HBWC and wondering what I should start with to duplicate the velocity and performance of swaged lead HBWCs.  I plan to use them in my revolver only, not the S&W 52.  I’ve been loading lead 148 gr HBWCs with 3.1 gr. HP38, which shoot quite well. I was thinking of increasing the powder charge for the plated bullets to 3.5 gr HP38 ( I don’t have any Bullseye) but wondering if any forum members have experience with plated HBWC bullets. The bullets I have are made by Campro in Canada.  I’ve hade very good experience with the Campro plated 9mm in 115 & 124 gr out of my Sig P210 Target (a great gun btw / I love it).  Hoping to duplicate the accuracy with the HBWCs.  Thanks Greg


I have fired many thousands of rounds of 148 WCs from revolvers using 3.5gr W231. Those have included hard cast DEWC, swaged HBWC, and coated DEWC and BNWC. Finally, I have also used the same load in "plated" WC like Berry and Ranier. I was not able to get any of the plated bullets to shoot as well as the cast, swaged or Hitek coated bullets. The reason for the 3.5 gr charge was that with NRA Action Pistol you must meet a power factor of 120,000. So a 148 must be over 811 fps. The 3.5gr W231 consistently would yield 830-860 fps with lead WCs depending on temp and gun. You can push cast DEWC above 850. I found that the swaged HBWC would get squirrely over the 840+/- range. Plated WCs may be OK, I never found any to shoot to my requirement of < 2.5" at 50yds consistently in the 830 - 850 fps range. For me, they weren't even close, so I gave up on them.

I'll add two more things. Bayou makes an excellent BNWC hitek coated 138 gr bullet. It is very accurate in the 875-890 fps range. Brazos makes a 148 gr hi tek coated BNWC. I don't have a great deal of experience with the later. The second thing is caution on shooting too hot if using a K frame S&W. Too much pressure and the barrel will crack at 6 oclock at the throat. I have done two and know of dozens of others. This was most often when people tried reaching the power factor using 125 gr JHP which need to be over 960 fps. They'll hold up for a while, but somewhere after a as few as few thousand rounds or more they will crack, especially if using W231 or similar burn rate powder. Most folks in NRA AP if shooting jacketed bullets, just use an L frame or equivalent. Then no problem.

Good luck in your quest.
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Post by Gm210 Sat Dec 18, 2021 3:51 pm

Thanks again for all your input.  I’ve had a chance to fire 250 of the plated HBWCs so far and haven’t noticed any difference in accuracy (from swaged lead HBWCs) at the 20 yard indoor range.  My only complaint is that I had issues reloading these plated bullets in nickel plated 38 shells.  Even with plenty of bevel at the mouth, I was getting stress wrinkles in the brass where the bullet was seated.  It took more pressure to seat the bullet.  I did not have this problem with the plated HBWCs in brass shells.  The bullet manufacturer recommended loads with HP38 is between 3.2 - 3.5 grs., and I tried 3.2 & 3.4 grs., getting better results with the heavier load out of my S&W 14.  Also the gun stayed cleaner with little smoke while firing plated HBWCs.  All said, I’ll be sticking with swaged lead HBWCs for most of my target shooting, but won’t hesitate to buy the plated bullets for my revolver.

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