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38 Special Loads for Bullseye

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Post by GerhardG 7/17/2022, 10:01 am

Greetings,

  Looking for load suggestions for 38 special LSWC 158 grain SNS bullets, red coated based on the following powders; Bullseye, Unique, N310 and N320. The Pistol a Smith and Wesson model 27-2

 The goal is two fold. Bullseye and NRA Distinguished Revolver 

 I have checked my reloading manuals, Lyman, Alliant, Vihtavuori, and Modern Reloading. and it appears the N320 for Lead SWC start is 3.3 grains would have a velocity of 755 FPS.
 
 I would appreciate feedback on this load or any of the other powders.

Thank you

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Post by shanneba 7/17/2022, 10:41 am

My Hornady 11th edition shows this for 38 Special 158 gr lead RN, LSWCHP and LSWC

Bullseye
2.8 grain - 650 fps
3.1 grain - 700 fps
3.4 grain - 750 fps
MAX 3.7 grain - 800 fps

Unique
3.3 grain - 650 fps
3.6 grain - 700 fps
3.9 grain - 750 fps
MAX 4.2 grain - 800 fps

Case Hornady
Primer Win WSP
4"-barrel S&W model 15

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Post by CO1Mtn 7/17/2022, 8:19 pm

No offense sir but those charges look low for Unique. My Hornady book says for 158 gr L-SWC, Unique powder, CCI magnum primer the minimum listed (not sure if that's absolute minimum) is 4.3 and maximum is 4.7. I have two editions of it from different years that have that data.

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Post by Wobbley 7/18/2022, 12:39 pm

They are low because of swaged bullets.  Shoot cast and coated bullets and you can go much higher in load and velocity.

As for the OP.  My advice is to find a bullet that meets the rules that shoots over a load with WST or Bullseye that gives 800-825 fps, THEN try other powders.
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Post by CO1Mtn 7/18/2022, 5:30 pm

I just bought some 158 gr SWC bullets that are pure lead. How can I tell if they are cast or swaged?

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Post by NukeMMC 7/18/2022, 5:43 pm

Easiest way is casting lines and a sprue mark on nose or base.
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Post by james r chapman 7/18/2022, 5:46 pm

DISTINGUISHED LOADS SUCK - Distinguished Revolver loads that don't suck? (bullseyeforum.net)

This has several loads used successfully.

hint (in search you type  distinguished+loads)
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Post by CO1Mtn 7/18/2022, 7:34 pm

These are the bullets I bought:  158 gr from Roze dist
bullets

They have two red lines on them. Are those casting lines?

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Post by chiz1180 7/18/2022, 7:45 pm

CO1Mtn wrote:These are the bullets I bought:  158 gr from Roze dist
bullets

They have two red lines on them. Are those casting lines?
Zero bullets are swaged. The lines are lube. When I load those I tumble lube with Lee Liquid Alox and use 3.2gr of titegroup
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Post by CO1Mtn 7/18/2022, 8:32 pm

Wow I learned something vital from this topic. Good thing I didn't go with the original powder charge I intended to use. It would have been too hot. I'm going to start with 3.8 grains.

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Post by GerhardG 7/19/2022, 4:50 pm

CO1Mtn wrote:No offense sir but those charges look low for Unique. My Hornady book says for 158 gr L-SWC, Unique powder, CCI magnum primer the minimum listed (not sure if that's absolute minimum) is 4.3 and maximum is 4.7. I have two editions of it from different years that have that data.
i went to Hornady on line app and paid for the 38 special to be safe. It corroborates the first response.

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Post by GerhardG 7/24/2022, 8:41 am

Wobbley wrote:They are low because of swaged bullets.  Shoot cast and coated bullets and you can go much higher in load and velocity.

As for the OP.  My advice is to find a bullet that meets the rules that shoots over a load with WST or Bullseye that gives 800-825 fps, THEN try other powders.
What reloading manuals indicate your comment?  Rolling Eyes
Thank you for being active on this forum.

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Post by CO1Mtn 7/24/2022, 5:36 pm

I've been reading about this. I don't completely understand the physics behind it. There is a difference in the manufacturing process of swaged bullets. Swaged bullets do not have the hardness of poured (cast) lead. Therefore, the conventional wisdom is that they must be loaded to a lower velocity. I have read some posts online from people who claim that it makes no difference whether the bullets are swaged or cast; and they can be loaded to the same velocity, but the swaged bullets will lead up a barrel faster because the lead is softer.

Still, to be on the safe side, I will start with a lighter powder charge and work my way up.

There seems to be a consensus that swaged bullets tend to be more accurate, according to what I read.

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Post by Wobbley 7/25/2022, 12:01 am

The manufacturing process of swaged bullets requires relatively soft lead for two reasons.  The least is usually supplied as a large cylindrical billet weighing several hundred pounds.  These are put into a large hydraulic press and extruded into a continuous coil of wire.  This wire is then fed into a machine called a cold header.  The cold header swages a bullet in one or two strokes.  A cold header, at their basic level, are multi ton power presses laying down on their side.  Their biggest use is in making screws and small bolts.  In one or two strokes, the bullet is formed ready for dip lubing.  In a day you can make over 100,000 bullets.  Softer alloys of lead are just easier on the machinery.  

The softer alloys used will lead the bore if shot above 900 fps.  Long known fact.  “Hard cast” lead with Tin and Antimony can withstand much higher velocities, easily 1200 fps.  Harder alloys like “Linotype”can be shot at 1800-2000 fps from rifles without leading.  Powder coating and specific coatings like “HiTek” can be shot a bit higher than lubed bullets.
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Post by CO1Mtn 7/25/2022, 6:46 pm

Thank you. I will start ouy at the minimum velocity then.

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Post by Schaumannk 7/28/2022, 3:54 am

Just want to state for the record, that with one of the more heavy duty Corbin presses it is possible to easily swage some hard cast bullets.  I have found that some powder coated bullets which are the same weight as lead, feel quite punchy out of the gun.  Have not confirmed the difference with a chronograph.  
You can in general get a sense from the tables if a load is too hot but I find most of the tables really don’t apply to bullseye loads which almost all run on the light side compared to commercial ammo.  
I suspect that the perceived difference between swaged and cast bullets may be almost totally due to the harness difference and how the crimp is sealing the case mouth around the softer bullets.   Your milage may vary.

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Post by Allgoodhits 7/28/2022, 9:40 am

I would add that the firearm mentioned, a Model 27 S&W revolver is a very durable gun, intended for the hotter loading of .357 Magnum. Therefore, your platform yields a lot of safety cushion with target loads. Many reloading manuals also list an estimated pressure with a given load. This too is useful information.

If loading 148 gr full wadcutter bullets, the sweat spot is typically in the low to upper-mid 700fps range. 

If loading 158 gr SWC or RN (lead) bullets, the sweat spot is typically in the low to mid 700 to the mid 800 fps range. Some bullet/gun combos shoot very tight in the 850-860 range. I like the 760-810 range depending on application and gun.

Last, I would add, that when running the loads and testing, don't rely only on the bench or ransom rests. I have seen very tight bench loads, which do not shoot well from the shooter's normal shooting position. Is it noise, blast or recoil? I don't know. Shoot the load which you shoot best, especially in sustained fire. 66% of your shots are at 25 yds.

My $.02

p.s. I like WST. 2.7 - 2.8gr for the 148s and 3.3 - 3.7gr for the 158 lead.
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