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38 SPCL loads for revolver

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TonyH
rich.tullo
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gweber
USSR
John Dervis
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Post by Texasref 6/10/2023, 6:50 am

I have a new model Colt Python which I'm reloading 38's for. No need for 357's.
This is what I'm loading now: 158gn SWC over 4.5gns VV N310. 

I'd like to find a little softer shooting round. The one above will set the gun back in your hand with authority. After about 50 shots I've had all the fun I can stand.  I tried a lower charge (same powder) but very inconsistant. I was thinking maybe a little slower powder might help but I leave that to the experts here.


Any and all suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks in advance.

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Post by james r chapman 6/10/2023, 7:28 am

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Post by S148 6/10/2023, 9:54 am

Is this for competition or just plinking?

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Post by shanneba 6/10/2023, 4:08 pm

Vihtavuori 38 Special loading data shows a MAX load of 3.8 grains N310 158gr SWC (883 fps from a 6 1/2" barrel)
The starting load is 3.3 gr with a velocity of 784 fps.


https://www.vihtavuori.com/reloading-data-tool-rifle-handgun-cowboy-action-shooting/#/imperials/2/41/-1/SWC+LSWC%2FHP/158


They show the same start load of 3.3 and max of 3.8 of N320 with a 158gr LSWC/HP

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Post by USSR 6/10/2023, 4:39 pm

N310 is not a good powder for 158gr .38 Special loads; too fast of a burn rate.   Suggest something in the burn rate of Bullseye to Unique.

Don
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Post by Soupy44 6/10/2023, 5:34 pm

+1 on that being a VERY HOT load.

I use 3.1gr BE with LRN 158gr from Missouri Bullet Company. 3.1 shot better than 3.0.

At the short line I use 2.5gr BE with the same bullet.

Hottest load I have shot in 38 special revolver is 3.4gr of Titegroup. Can't imagine what your load feels like.

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Post by John Dervis 6/10/2023, 5:53 pm

I use 2.7 Gr of Bullseye mostly because that is the same powder charge I used to use for 148gr HBWC when I loaded that for my model 52. I don’t how accurate these would be at 50 yards but they work really well at the short line and they are a pleasant round for casual shooting.  Your load is really hot. I doubt you will find that load published anywhere as a safe load.  

John

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Post by S148 6/10/2023, 6:47 pm

With respect to safety, it depends on the bullet, its length and the OAL it is loaded to.

The Vit manual shows a max load of 4.9 grains of N310 when used with a 158 grain LOS flat point bullet at 1.547" OAL.

And to compare, they show a max of 4.2 grains N310 with 180 grain bullets loaded to 1.547" OAL.


OP, you could easily reduce your charge by a full 1.0 grain, that should reduce recoil quite a bit.

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Post by S148 6/10/2023, 6:56 pm

USSR wrote:N310 is not a good powder for 158gr .38 Special loads; too fast of a burn rate.   Suggest something in the burn rate of Bullseye to Unique.

Don

What is meant by 'not good'?

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Post by Texasref 6/10/2023, 7:01 pm

Thanks all for the replies.
I won't be competing with this.
Just really looking for something that will push the bullet out of the muzzle.

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Post by S148 6/10/2023, 7:17 pm

You could also use a lighter bullet. They make a 105 grain truncated cone for the 38 that shoots well in my S&Ws.

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Post by USSR 6/11/2023, 12:29 pm

S148 wrote:
USSR wrote:N310 is not a good powder for 158gr .38 Special loads; too fast of a burn rate.   Suggest something in the burn rate of Bullseye to Unique.

Don

What is meant by 'not good'?

As I stated, it has too fast of a burn rate for the 158gr bullet.   The result is high pressure before getting a suitable velocity.

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Post by S148 6/11/2023, 2:03 pm

But it might be ideal if you're looking for a light load and aren't concerned about a suitable velocity, which is what the OP has stated for his goal.

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Post by USSR 6/11/2023, 2:29 pm

For many years VV did not list a 158gr .38 Special load in their load manual, only in recent years have they done so.   I have load data for a 158gr .38 Special load using IMR4227, but that doesn't make it a good choice either.  In both cases there are better suited powders.

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Post by Texasref 6/15/2023, 6:07 am

OK, I did some research and 231 received good reviews. I'm thinking I have some HP38 so I'll load that. Nope it's gone, so now what to do? Went to pick some up. Since I've not tried it and it's listed in the manual I thought AA#5 might be a good choice. So I grabbed a pound. Starting load for 158gn SWC is 5.3-Max is 5.9. I went with 5.6 which would sit in the middle. Still really snappy out of a 3" barrel. 

Next range trip I'll have some 5.3 loaded and we'll see how that round shoots.

As always, if anyone has a info. on this combination please share.

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Post by gweber 6/15/2023, 6:10 am

2.7grs of Ramshot comp with a 158 swc/148HBWC is what I use. I have plenty of friends that use 2.7grs of BE with a 158SWC.

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Post by BE Mike 6/15/2023, 7:07 am

If you can find some, Unique has always been a good powder for moderate .38 SPL loads with a 158 gr. lead bullet.
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Post by rich.tullo 6/15/2023, 11:13 am

shanneba wrote:Vihtavuori 38 Special loading data shows a MAX load of 3.8 grains N310 158gr SWC (883 fps from a 6 1/2" barrel)
The starting load is 3.3 gr with a velocity of 784 fps.


https://www.vihtavuori.com/reloading-data-tool-rifle-handgun-cowboy-action-shooting/#/imperials/2/41/-1/SWC+LSWC%2FHP/158


They show the same start load of 3.3 and max of 3.8 of N320 with a 158gr LSWC/HP3.2 
3.2 to 3.3 works for me
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Post by TonyH 6/15/2023, 9:57 pm

BE Mike wrote:If you can find some, Unique has always been a good powder for moderate .38 SPL loads with a 158 gr. lead bullet.
I’ll second Unique, 4.2 grns behind a 158 Magtech LRN does very well at 50 yards in my Model 14
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Post by Chase Turner 6/16/2023, 4:38 pm

I know you mentioned 158 grain bullets, but I just got a test target back from Sams for a 148 grain HBWC that came in right at an inch @ 50 yards. I'm attaching the picture for your review. Note: while this is a 148 instead of 158 grain bullet- the same load with the same soft lead type bullet will only go a little slower as a function of the increase in weight.

38 SPCL loads for revolver Pxl_2069


Last edited by Chase Turner on 6/16/2023, 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I can't drive 55)

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Post by S148 6/16/2023, 4:46 pm

Chase Turner wrote:I know you mentioned 158 grain bullets, but I just got a test target back from Sams for a 148 grain HBWC that came in right at an inch @ 50 yards. I'm attaching the picture for your review. Note: while this is a 148 instead of 158 grain bullet- the same load with the same soft lead type bullet will only go a little slower as a function of the increase in weight.

Awesome!  What brand of bullet?

And how long is the barrel?  Twist rate? Thanks.

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Post by Chase Turner 6/16/2023, 4:51 pm

S148 wrote:
Chase Turner wrote:I know you mentioned 158 grain bullets, but I just got a test target back from Sams for a 148 grain HBWC that came in right at an inch @ 50 yards. I'm attaching the picture for your review. Note: while this is a 148 instead of 158 grain bullet- the same load with the same soft lead type bullet will only go a little slower as a function of the increase in weight.

Awesome!  What brand of bullet?

And how long is the barrel?  Twist rate? Thanks.

I don't know on the bullet- my guess is Zero. I could call Dave to ask.

Barrel is 5 inches, 1:14 twist.

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Post by S148 6/16/2023, 5:04 pm

Was this built on a 38 Special revolver (chamber) or 357?  Thanks again.

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Post by Chase Turner 6/16/2023, 5:20 pm

It was a K-frame, with a donor 38 Special cylinder. I believe the frame was from the Hong Kong revolver bunch that made it over here, IIRC. I sourced the cylinder, and other parts, off of gunbroker. My favorite thing about this one is that I had it parkerized and also had the backstrap checkered.

This one turned out. I'm thinking of selling my other 38 that Dave worked on for me; I can't shoot two wheelguns at once... though, maybe dual wielding should be a thing?

38 SPCL loads for revolver Pxl_2070

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Post by Chase Turner 6/16/2023, 5:24 pm

The other side view for your viewing pleasure.
38 SPCL loads for revolver Pxl_2071

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