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Reloading for a 38 Super

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by boisepaw 12/10/2023, 11:41 pm

I own a Bob Marvel built 1911 in 38 Super.  As you might image, it shoots better than do I.  But I have a couple of questions for someone with experience reloading for a 38 Super for bullseye matches…

1)  What bullet?  Lead, jacketed or hollow point?  Are there significant ballistic benefits to shooting a JHP bullet for centerfire and for 45 Matches?
2)  What diameter bullet?  
3). What weight bullet?
4). What powder and how much powder?

Anything else I should be thinking about?

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by james r chapman 12/11/2023, 5:08 am

.356 dia 125 gr Hornady HAP
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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by boisepaw 12/11/2023, 7:22 am

james r chapman wrote:.356 dia 125 gr Hornady HAP
Powder and weight?

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by Greg Walloch 12/11/2023, 7:25 am

Sierra 124, Hornady 125 HAP.

231, N340

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by shanneba 12/11/2023, 8:32 am

Here are some links to look at for 38 Super load info-


Super-Accurate .38 Super Loads - Shooting Times
Jacketed bullets


And from these forums:
38 Super Pet Loads (bullseyeforum.net)
Please list your successful 38 super bullseye loads. (bullseyeforum.net)
38 Super loads (bullseyeforum.net)
Favorite loads for 38 Super (bullseyeforum.net)

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by Steve B 12/11/2023, 8:51 am

boisepaw wrote:I own a Bob Marvel built 1911 in 38 Super.  As you might image, it shoots better than do I.  But I have a couple of questions for someone with experience reloading for a 38 Super for bullseye matches…

Post a photo, always love seeing a Marvel gun.

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by NukeMMC 12/11/2023, 7:07 pm

148 h&g bnwc with 2.8gr Bullseye in supercomp brass. Butter-smooth.Reloading for a 38 Super 20230628
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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by JHHolliday 12/11/2023, 8:16 pm

(Another) dumb question: Why would you want to shoot a +P in BE?  Isn't the objective of hand-loading 45 less than 230 ball to decrease felt recoil while maintaining accuracy?
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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by Axehandle 12/11/2023, 9:34 pm

Memories.....  Used WST instead of the 452AA that KC used.
Reloading for a 38 Super 22ClXFA

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by boisepaw 12/12/2023, 12:02 am

JHHolliday wrote:(Another) dumb question: Why would you want to shoot a +P in BE?  Isn't the objective of hand-loading 45 less than 230 ball to decrease felt recoil while maintaining accuracy?
I’m not sure I can answer your question technically.  But practically out of all my bullseye guns, there is none that has any less perceived recoil than this one.  I think I’ve probably been shooting lighter loads.  I don’t know that I’m shooting anything loaded to +P levels.

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Reloading for a 38 Super Empty Re: Reloading for a 38 Super

Post by Allgoodhits 12/13/2023, 11:46 am

boisepaw wrote:I own a Bob Marvel built 1911 in 38 Super.  As you might image, it shoots better than do I.  But I have a couple of questions for someone with experience reloading for a 38 Super for bullseye matches…

1)  What bullet?  Lead, jacketed or hollow point?  Are there significant ballistic benefits to shooting a JHP bullet for centerfire and for 45 Matches?
2)  What diameter bullet?  
3). What weight bullet?
4). What powder and how much powder?

Anything else I should be thinking about?

I have loaded and fired many tens of thousands of .38 Super. I have some with Bar-Sto, KKM and Shuemann barrels. Bar-Sto and KKM are 1:16 twist, the Schuemann is their AET Gain twist and I don't recall what it is.

I have loaded Sierra, Hornady, Nosler, Zero and probably a few others. I have used 115 and 125 gr bullets. Both work well with similar accuracy. They simply feel different. All things considered I don't think you can go wrong with Zero. Currently, Doug Koenig is using a 110 gr bullet in .38 Super. Not sure of diameter, but I do know that he first started using 110 gr .357 bullets. Those bullets actually had a cannelure, so my guess is that he was experimenting with revolver .357 projectiles. I am not sure whose bullet he is using, or whether it is a proprietary bullet done for him. For many years he used the Sierra 115 JHP bullet. 

I do know that the following loads will produce 50 yd accuracy in the 1 - 2" range from quality guns. In top notch guns closer to 1".  These loads should produce velocity in the range of 1080 - 1150 fps from a 5" barrel

Zero 115 JHP-C bullet .355
OAL 1.235 - 1.250
W 231 - 5.1 - 5.3 gr
WST 4.6 - 4.8 gr
VV N320 4.6 - 4.8 gr

Zero 125 JHP-C bullet
Reduce above loads by 2-3/10 That should place velocity around 1000 - 1060 fps
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