38 special pet loads

745 (published) Again, these loads are accurate. you may not get near the FPS charted. 231 3.1 gr. Lastly, we have the LBT LFNDCGC, or long, flat-nosed, dual crimp, gas check slug. True Blue 4.0 gr. --- Universal 4.5 gr. Unique 4.2 gr. 158 grain Copper PLATED SWC 975 (actual in 7" bbl revolver) 856 start 898 (actual in 7" bbl revolver) I take pride in my handloads and using them in my guns just makes the circle complete. less to start.) * Blackhorn 209 is a black powder substitute with smokeless Moving on to .38 Special, it is impossible to come up with something that hasn’t been said many times over in the past 118 years. If the look of a wadcutter bullet sticking out of a .38 Long Colt case disturbs traditionalists, Buffalo Arms is a source of cast hollowpoint roundnose bullets of alloy soft enough to expand as needed. Loads for .38 special: Unique 3.8 gr. 778 .32 H&R. 2 5.3 gr. 805 FPS 722 fps The "cowboy" loads would be good This small-bore dynamo has been underloaded for years because of the H&R revolvers still on the market. Unique 5.3 gr. 920 Many people tend to poo-poo .38 Special (standard pressure) for self-defense as being somehow “underpowered”. hi=770 lo=679 ES=91 (powder up and down) Groups of 1″ or better at 25 yards are not uncommon. 540 (+P) 8.2 gr. This load has been shot clear through a buffalo, and is a heavy hitter — accurate too! 725 fps Bullseye 2.8 gr. Clays 3.0 gr. One load consists of bullets dropped from a LEE 6-cavity mold, a 255-grain radiused flat-nose design, and the other, from a 70’s vintage Lyman 454424 4-cavity mold. Loaded over 10 grains of 2400 and sparked with a small pistol primer (SSP), I get around 1,200 FPS, depending on barrel length. Moving to .38 Colt handguns made in the smokeless-powder era but still with grossly oversized bore dimensions, the best handloading route with modern powders is hollowbase bullets. 781 fps, hi=801, low=766 ES=35.32 in Contender 14" bbl No. 871 Maximum Titegroup 3.5 gr. Loads for .38 special: (Note: These are near maximum loads (in some cases ARE MAXIMUM), you should use 10%. 231 3.4 gr. 858 Unique 4.3 gr. Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition - - Lyman Piston & 2 5.6 gr. 180 grain LEAD (Truncated Cone) Flat Point These sizes carried on through Colt’s decades of .38 Special revolver manufacturing and into .357 Magnum Pythons, Troopers and SAAs. seem to take the number of resizings that plain brass cases do. For any loads over 900-1,000 FPS, I suggest 2400 (+P) 7.8 gr. It was dropped as a caliber option in 1914 then resurrected in 1922. ----------------------------------------- with his LEE and RCBS casting furnaces. AA #5 6.0 gr. Titegroup 3.0 gr. 952 FPS Maximum 811* (in 7" bbl revolver) that are generally used for magnums). 755 minimum It is always W231 4.5 gr. the full loads. Titegroup 2.7 gr. 856 minimum Bullseye 3.0 gr. you plan to shoot. Bullseye 4.6 gr. 5 6.0 gr. AA #2 4.8 gr. than trying to wire brush out a bunch of lead build up. 875* Lyman’s catalog weight for this bullet with its harder No. 800 IMR4227(+P)10.7 gr. 820 794 694 (in 7" bbl) Unique 3.5 gr. 834 Maximum Most handgun manufacturers produce their own designs and are loath to admit anyone else can... October is coming to an end, but not before handing out new GLOCK accessories like an assorted bag of Halloween candy. 1,070 I’ve got two favorites here, and they’re oldies, but goodies, and considered +P loads. Clays 3.8 gr. 860 Always make sure your lead 146-148 grain LWC (Lead Wad Cutter) 1,065 Bullseye 4.8 gr. As you move up in loads, you at least need the gas check on the bottom of the bullet to H4227 (+P)11.0 gr. 760 FPS 974 FPS MAXIMUM 925 (different barrel) HS6 7.4 gr. 5 6.0 gr. That designation actually meant: for .38 Special revolvers based on .44 frames. Naturally, bullet casters have a plethora of options to choose from, along with alloy mixes. 701 ----------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- Zip 3.4 gr. Robert Frost. (Hi=930 Lo= 885.4 Spread=44.2 fps) HS6 6.3 gr. If you have a lightweight .38 or older gun, you may want to Trail Boss 4.2 gr. I’ve clocked this load at 1,260 from a 6.5″ Ruger OM Blackhawk. Bullets are .357" for jacketed and .358" for lead in diameter. ----------------------------------------- 820 836 My favorites run from 150 to 160 grains, and when perusing custom cast bullets in my storage shed, there are shapes from wadcutters to roundnoses to roundnose/flatpoints. HP38 3.8 gr. The fantastic part is not that such a system worked but that it actually worked well. ----------------------------------------- Titegroup 3.8 gr. 2400 (+P) 8.2 gr. (Cowboy loads - shot in 7 1/2" bbl.revolver - no need to reduce) Universal 4.5 gr. I still have a 150-grain mould from the now defunct Rapine Mould Company, but an even easier route for .38 Long Colt reloading is hollowbase .357-inch swaged wadcutters by Speer, Hornady and perhaps other makers. Both loads are extremely accurate and make the .38 Special a real performer. 5 7.3 gr. 926 MAX ----------------------------------------- 810 FPS 5 are good choices. The .38 Special is still offered by virtually all American revolver manufacturers, and of course, it can be fired in all .357 Magnum revolvers. If any of the major bullet mould manufacturers produce a design that falls from the blocks at .360 or slightly larger, I’m not aware of it, and it’s not required. *WAP is not best choice for .38 special, too slow and inconsistent. 815 816 fps Anyway, we get 1,400 FPS using 21 grains, which is plenty fast. The first bullet is a Saeco 230-grain Keith SWC and the second slug is an LBT 250-grain WFNPB, or wide flat-nose, plain base bullet. 1,090 Clays 2.8 gr. No. 231 4.5 gr. 850 FPS ----------------------------------------- 231 (+P) 4.4 gr. VV N320 3.2 gr. hi=758 lo=693 ES=65 (powder up and down)(DO NOT USE LESS) 756 (published load) Later they became the Models 20 and 23. If there is only ONE load, it is MAX. be tested in the future (No. 838 Case heads for all these .38s were similar, if not identical – in a practical sense, meaning handloaders can use the same shellholders for all. W231 (+P) 5.7 gr. Unique 3.6 gr. In my book my favorite cartridge, the .45 Colt, has it all. 910* I prefer the slower burning Unique, Perhaps now is the best time to mention Britain’s 380/200 Revolver Mk I (aka .38/200) cartridge adopted in the 1920s for the No. Tanks uses LEE dies for loading .44 Special and Magnum loads. hi=849 lo=728 ES=122 (powder up and down) Smith & Wesson’s first .38 used .76-inch cases, with the company’s second .38 lengthened considerably to 1.16 inches. Bullet diameter with the new round was, for some reason,  decreased by .003 inch. N32C Tin Star 5.6 gr. HP38 5.2 gr. Bullseye 3.6 gr. 1071 Maximum In 1930, Smith & Wesson introduced its first .38 Special revolvers on .44 frames, including the Heavy Duty (top) and Outdoorsman (bottom). 2 and No. HP38 4.8 gr. VV N340 4.8 gr. and I also use it for .357 magnum, just more of it. 773 fps * 901 It drops at 265 grains, 15 grains heavier than the Lyman “Keith.” This load clocks out at around an even 1,000 FPS and is pleasant, accurate and fun to shoot. 815 minimum 5 5.0 gr. No. 938 Maximum Universal 4.7 gr. AA No.2 3.2 gr. The company introduced a new round in 1876, the .38 S&W. (WC= WadCutter, SWC= Semi-WadCutter, 756 The Keith loads are as follows:.38 SPECIAL: For use in heavy-framed guns which today exist only as .357 Magnums, the Keith Lyman 173 grain bullet #358429 over 13.5 grains of #2400 with .38 Special brass. W231 3.1 gr. Powders.) with some hot-loaded .38 Special “Keith’s”. Bullets are .357" for jacketed and .358" for lead in diameter. I quote those figures with some firmness, having indulged in handloading all with black powder, except the .38 S&W. 639 fps * Unique 4.9 gr. 812 minimum This load goes over 1400 fps. hi=710 lo=497 ES=213 (powder up and down) Bullseye. 856 The .44 Maggie provides me with three different load levels, and they all serve a purpose. HP38 3.1 gr. noted. Clays 3.5 gr. AA #2 3.1 gr. To modern shooters focusing on handgun precision, it might seem fantastic to expect any sort of performance from a bullet expanding .018 inch before engaging the rifling. Different cast bullet designs include: (1) Lyman No. 830 (published MAX) Unique 5.1 gr. WST 3.7 gr. 1,043 Universal 5.8 gr. 711 hi=714 lo=549 ES=165 (powder up and down) HP38 3.2 gr. ----------------------------------------- Winchester 231 is between Bullseye and Unique for the .38 special (see my personal higher when powder is next to primer. ALL THESE LOADS ARE PLUS P, SPECIAL HOT - 21,000 PSI 753 FPS minimum 2 4.2 gr. better suited for the .38 special. 120-grain radiused flat-nosed bullet. bullet for each shot, then gently bring to horizontal to shoot. PowerPistol 4.4 gr. It only makes sense to have acquired some favorite loads over the years. My favorite hands-down load is the famous “Skeeter” load consisting of 7.5 grains of Unique under a “Keith” SWC. --- 661 FPS minimum 2 4.0 gr. where usually just hitting a metal plate to make a sound is 978 Maximum But these days, I use a Miha version of this bullet, which was copied from Hensley & Gibbs. 5 4.6 gr. 681 W231 3.4 gr. like qualities. (Note: These are near maximum loads (in some cases ARE MAXIMUM), you should use 10%. Trail Boss 4.2 gr. 5 6.8 gr. WAP 4.3 gr. AA No.2 3.6 gr. In those days, firearms manufacturers were fond of designating caliber by a barrel’s land diameter instead of its groove diameter. [.38 Special] is a very versatile and useful round. Clays 2.5 gr. 760 In 1899, when S&W introduced its K-frame revolver with side-swing cylinder, the .38 S&W was a chambering option, as was its .38 S&W Special cartridge. N32C Tin Star 4.2 gr. Hodgdon's Clays, Note: More and more test are conducted with all rounds fired N32C(Tin Star)4.5 gr. Unique 4.9 gr. A close up of Lyman 454424 cast slugs loaded over 20 grains of 2400. 5 5.9 gr. No. 797 (5" bbl,powder DOWN - see note) No. Discussion: Bullseye is a faster burning powder and some people feel No. HS6 5.0 gr. Doing so decreases case volume and raises pressures. It was simply the .38 S&W in all respects, except its bullets were flatnose. The only necessary caveat is to not seat them flush with the case mouth, as is normally done with .38 Special cases. So designers fell back on the 1840’s concept of Minié balls, wherein a soft lead projectile had a deep, hollow base. Here’s Tank’s GP-100 in .327 Federal with a bunch of .32 H&R cases loaded with his LBT 753 (do not use less) 158 grain Lead RNFP or SWC COWBOY load 158-160 grain JHP or JSP (Jacketed Hollow or Soft Point) Zip 3.3 gr. 872 (published) 744 Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. hi=815 lo=637 ES=178 (powder in normal positions) W231* 4.0 gr. Load it like Trail Boss like qualities. Load manuals often advise against downloading .38 Special jacketed loads to prevent squibs, especially the 110 and 125 grain bullets. 955 True Blue 4.0 gr. HP38 3.7 gr. 5 5.8 gr. 752 (in 7"bbl)* Evidence of the .38 Colt’s popularity is that the Colt factory began chambering SAAs for it as early as 1886, and a .375-inch groove diameter was still used. 860 798 Hi=823, Lo=742, ES=81 Nice cowboy load Bullseye 3.5 gr. No. ZERO AMMO (commercial) 795 (reference only)

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