38 Special load data

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by TPod, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. TPod

    TPod

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    Ive been reloading 45ACP & 9MM with very good success - just getting into 38 special, and am having difficulty with charge data & OAL. I'm planning on using 158 grain RNFP coated bullets with Titegroup. I've kinda determined 3.5 grains of Titegroup with a OAL of 1.455 is something I should start with.
    Any thoughts or experience from any body

    Thank you
     
  2. SSL

    SSL Gold $$ Contributor

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    You are right on the money with length and starting weight for Hornady XTP 158-grain bullets according to the Hodgdon loading site. I would think this would be a good start for your bullets.
     
  3. TPod

    TPod

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    Thanks for the input - I"ll load 20 or so and try
     
  4. riflewoman

    riflewoman Gold $$ Contributor

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    I’d start lower like 3.2 and work up. Most guys shooting 38 special revolvers have found RNL to shoot better than SWC. Only one load reported above 3.5 Gr and that was 3.6.
     
  5. SSL

    SSL Gold $$ Contributor

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    Hodgdon Manual
    .38 Special
    Titegroup


    158 GR. HDY XTP

    Starting Loads - 3.5 grains - 704 fps -12,400 CUP
    Maximum Loads - 3.9 grains - 798 fps -15,900 CUP
    C.O.L. - 1.455"

    158 GR. CAST LSWC
    Starting Loads - 3.2 grains - 815 fps - 11,500 CUP
    Maximum Loads - 3.8 grains - 920 fps - 15,400 CUP
    C.O.L. - 1.475"
     
  6. Oso

    Oso

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    I've got a better suggestion... or rather I should say a safer suggestion - use Trail Boss powder.
    I did a load work-up for my S&W 686 (4" barrel) for shooting IDPA. I tested 6 different powders using 160gr round nose coated bullets, federal primers, and loaded to same velocity give or take a few fps. My objectives were accurate, clean burning, mild recoil (minimal muzzle flip), and safety (case fill to avoid double charge).

    The hands down Winner in all categories was Trail Boss. It burned the cleanest as evidenced by residue on bright polished stainless revolver. It was the softest recoil impulse with no muzzle flip. Lastly, it had +60% case fill.

    Bullseye was runner up with Tite Group being 3rd place. Both of these powder burned clean, but had minimal case fill (20%). Tite Group lost out to Bullseye because of its tendency for muzzle flip.
     
  7. Twicepop

    Twicepop Silver $$ Contributor

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    I've been loading the "Special" for several years, I've had really good results with a variety of bullets. From my experience though, the lead round nose is probably the last bullet I'd recommend for anything. For powders, I've mostly used Unique, although it's kinda' dirty. The last bunch I loaded up I used Longshot, gives good accuracy and seems to burn real clean. One thing I will recommend is trim your cases to the same length and apply a good roll crimp as a separate step from bullet seating.
     
  8. Mikemci

    Mikemci Gold $$ Contributor

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    My .38 Special load:
    Berrie's copper plated 158 gr. flat point bullet
    Starline brass
    Winchester small pistol primer
    3.5 gr. Titegroup
    1.445" OAL
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  9. riflewoman

    riflewoman Gold $$ Contributor

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    Well, over at https://www.bullseyeforum.net/ people have been trying everything to get a SWC cast or swaged to shoot. In Bullseye there is a. Competition called Distinguished Revolver where 38 Special revolvers and you must shoot 158 RN or SWC lead bullets. No jackets or plated but coated lead is ok. Anyway, these guys are regularly capable of shooting less than 2 inches at 25 yards or 2 inches at 50 using a Ransom Rest. None have been able to get anything but RNL to shoot. The best bullets available seem to be from Magtech. Others are mediocre. NONE of the SWC will hold the ten ring at 25. YMMV, but that’s the consensus over there.
     
    hpshooter likes this.
  10. Oso

    Oso

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    Other than some shotgun powders, Unique is the dirtiest powder and gives off a fantastic fireball in low light!!! It'll gum up a revolver quick...nobody wants to be cleaning a gun between stages at a competition.

    I've been using the coated bullets from Bayou Bullets (Jerry Miculek's brother owns it) $225 for 3000ish bullets
     
  11. wboggs

    wboggs Gold $$ Contributor

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  12. wboggs

    wboggs Gold $$ Contributor

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    My buddy and I have had excellent results with cast and coated bullets using 700-x. Moderate velocity loads that are very accurate.
     
  13. hunter67

    hunter67

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    +1 0n 700x
     
  14. Geronimo Jim

    Geronimo Jim Gold $$ Contributor

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    I shoot Cowboy Action every weekend from April through November. My match load for years has been 2.9 grain of
    Clays with a 105 grain bullet for pistols and same powder with a 125 grain for the rifle. I now shoot all polymer bullets.
    Clays is VERY clean and a lot of my friends shoot Clays.
     

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