Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

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THE ICEMAN
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Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#1

Post by THE ICEMAN » December 22nd, 2018, 4:12 pm

I shoot mostly .357 Mag & I don't shoot a lot of .38s so I'm looking for a good medium powered load. I have some .38 cases I want to load up & give to my Brother. The components I have on hand are 158 gr. SJHPs... 231, 2400 & Unique for suitable powders using Win. small pistol primers.

Thanks ahead of time for any suggestions...



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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#2

Post by xerts1191 » December 23rd, 2018, 11:17 am

I’ve been doing Hornaday XTP 140gr HP with Bullseye at 3.5gr for my snubbies. Have done some 158gr. Ranier’s RN at 4.7gr. of Unique. I like the Hornaday bullets better.

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#3

Post by Flash » December 23rd, 2018, 11:24 am

Another vote for 4.7 grains of Unique.

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#4

Post by xerts1191 » December 23rd, 2018, 11:28 am

What brand of bullet are your 158grainers

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#5

Post by THE ICEMAN » December 23rd, 2018, 6:13 pm

xerts1191 wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 11:28 am
What brand of bullet are your 158grainers
Winchester SJHP bulk bullets...

It's been a very long time since I loaded any .38... I seem to remember though that 5.5 grs is the upper end of loads for Unique...

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#6

Post by Flash » December 24th, 2018, 6:42 am

THE ICEMAN wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 6:13 pm
xerts1191 wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 11:28 am
What brand of bullet are your 158grainers
Winchester SJHP bulk bullets...

It's been a very long time since I loaded any .38... I seem to remember though that 5.5 grs is the upper end of loads for Unique...
I couldn't find anything in any of my reloading books that was over 5.1 Grains of Unique for 158 grainers.

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#7

Post by THE ICEMAN » December 24th, 2018, 7:22 am

Flash wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 6:42 am
THE ICEMAN wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 6:13 pm
xerts1191 wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 11:28 am
What brand of bullet are your 158grainers
Winchester SJHP bulk bullets...

It's been a very long time since I loaded any .38... I seem to remember though that 5.5 grs is the upper end of loads for Unique...
I couldn't find anything in any of my reloading books that was over 5.1 Grains of Unique for 158 grainers.
Yeah, I dug up one of my old Speer books last night that lists 5.5 as a max +P load & 4.8 gr. of Unique for a starting load...

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#8

Post by Flash » December 24th, 2018, 12:20 pm

That explains it. I don't do +P loads.

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#9

Post by Jack Dupp » December 24th, 2018, 12:26 pm

Hard to beat 5gr of Unique under a 158 for a nice and mild shooting 38 load.

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#10

Post by Jack Dupp » December 24th, 2018, 12:30 pm

Just for reference, the last couple thousand 9mm plinking rounds I have made or shot have been 4.3gr Unique under a 147gr Frontier plated bullet. I bought an 8lb jug of Unique a couple years ago and have been trying to use it all up. I've been loading it in everything, even 308.

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#11

Post by NBC_LT » January 1st, 2019, 2:57 pm

I've been loading with Montana Gold 142 FMJ bullets now for a while and have .357 mag data to share too. So far I like both powders listed below, but would like to try AA#5 & AA#7 as well.

Winchester 231
142 FMJ 4.1 4.5 OAL 1.45”
4.2 647 fps
4.4 687 fps
4.5 703 fps (636/752) Mod 19
4.5 710 fps (672/755) Mod 37
4.5 827 fps (785/905) 94 Winchester

AA #2
158 FMJ-RN 3.8 4.3 OAL=1.48”
3.8 592 fps
142 FMJ 4.2 4.7 OAL=1.45”
4.4 764 fps (701/809) Mod 19
4.4 770 fps (734/808) Mod 37
4.4 929 fps 94 Winchester

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#12

Post by 792mauser » January 6th, 2019, 9:05 am

3 grains of trail boss and a 148 gr wadcutter

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#13

Post by needsmostuff » January 8th, 2019, 8:40 am

Hey , It's 38 spl. Intrinsically accurate and basically impossible to make one that does NOT shoot well.
Your decisions should revolve more around your intended use for such ammo.
Short barrel gun or long , self defense or plinking ?
Seems to me that using JHP bullets for basic 38 spl shooting is kind of a waste so I would look for a box of cast or plated in your weight of choice. Much cheaper to work with .
Faster powders ( your 231 or unique) for shorter barrels , slower powders ( your 2400) for a longer barrel)
Pick a charge that will move the cast (most fixed sight revolvers are regulated for 158 gr bullets) at about 800 to 900 fps and it will shoot well.
Where am I going and why am I in this hand basket ?

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Re: Any Favorite Loads for .38 Special???

#14

Post by shooter444 » January 8th, 2019, 9:33 am

792mauser wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 9:05 am
3 grains of trail boss and a 148 gr wadcutter


--------------------------
EXCELLENT recommendation!!!

I have used Trail Boss for many, many, many, years,... I have between 15 and 20 pounds on hand at all times. I use it with every straight walled handgun caliber (38spl,357mag,44 spl, 44mag, 45acp, 45 acp rim, and 45 colt ) I own/ed,... for target and defense loadings!

Aside from ease of load development, it is the safest powder on the market, I have used!
"A LIE REPEATED OFTEN ENOUGH BECOMES ACCEPTED TRUTH"... Nazi Propaganda minister-Joseph Goebbels

"IN THE AGE OF UNIVERSAL DECEIT, TELLING THE TRUTH IS A REVOLUTIONARY ACT"... George Orwell - author of '1984'

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