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Thread: 38 special loads

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    Member raoul duke's Avatar
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    Default 38 special loads

    anyone have a pet load to share? I've got an heirloom model10 from my grandfather, i don't shoot it much so would like to avoid developing rounds. I've got a couple boxes of Jhp's, 110 and 125 grainers, just looking to put together some proven rounds to keep it shooting. powders: 110/296, 4227, 2400, nitro100, unique and maybe some bullseye. it's got a 4" bbl and any info is appreciated as I've never loaded for the .38 at all. thanks
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is final. You need to learn to be slow in a hurry! Wyatt Earp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raoul duke View Post
    anyone have a pet load to share? I've got an heirloom model10 from my grandfather, i don't shoot it much so would like to avoid developing rounds. I've got a couple boxes of Jhp's, 110 and 125 grainers, just looking to put together some proven rounds to keep it shooting. powders: 110/296, 4227, 2400, nitro100, unique and maybe some bullseye. it's got a 4" bbl and any info is appreciated as I've never loaded for the .38 at all. thanks
    The Model 10 is what is known as a K-Frame, the older models were usually pretty smooth and fairly accurate for a fixed sight police type weapon. The powders you mention will load in your 4" pistol but won't provide a very good diet for it. The K-frames weren't picky however their sights are designed for a 158grain lead bullet @ around 800-900 FPS. A good round for these revolvers is 3 grns of Bullseye behind a 148-158 grn SWC.
    The other powders you mentioned are slower burning and are used for larger bore rounds with more case capacity. Double check your powder charges with Bullseye powder as the case has more than enough room for a double charge and that could be catastrophic in this revolver. ENJOY gramps old gun !!
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    Member raoul duke's Avatar
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    thanks, brav, I guess I just doubt the manuals cause I've loaded thousands of .44mag and have tried so many variations with different results. granted that's shooting 5 unique guns with 5 appetites. I just have no desire to put this old smith through the same paces that my Rugers and marlin have endured. does that load of bullseye light with a standard primer?
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is final. You need to learn to be slow in a hurry! Wyatt Earp.

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    Back in the last century I did a whole lot of target shooting with the round. My pet load in a variety of guns was 1.7 grains of Bullseye under a 148 grain wadcutter. Accurate as can be, and really "polite" to shoot. Best of all for today's market, that 1.7 grain charge meant I was getting over 4,000 rounds from a pound of powder. Since I also recovered my lead and cast my own slugs, it was about the cheapest shooting you can imagine.

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    Bulleye was the target shooters powder for ages with some where around 2.5/3grs being the goto load for many shooters. You can go lighter or a little heavier with the 1.7 being about as light as I would go (S.E.E.) is a possibility with very light loads of BE. I can't remember what that max charge of BE is but 3.5 is plenty for casual shooting with 2.5/3 being very accurate an easy on the gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Bulleye was the target shooters powder for ages with some where around 2.5/3grs being the goto load for many shooters. You can go lighter or a little heavier with the 1.7 being about as light as I would go (S.E.E.) is a possibility with very light loads of BE. I can't remember what that max charge of BE is but 3.5 is plenty for casual shooting with 2.5/3 being very accurate an easy on the gun.
    Just to echo this post--I have fired tens of thousands of 140-150 grain wadcutter loads with 2.7 grains of Bullseye. When I was casting a lot of bullets these were cheaper to shoot than most rimfire loads and more fun IME.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by raoul duke View Post
    thanks, brav, I guess I just doubt the manuals cause I've loaded thousands of .44mag and have tried so many variations with different results. granted that's shooting 5 unique guns with 5 appetites. I just have no desire to put this old smith through the same paces that my Rugers and marlin have endured. does that load of bullseye light with a standard primer?

    Bullseye is an easy powder to light and any Small Pistol primer will work. Best accuracy wil be achieved with a standard primer, and a magnum primer would probably require a powder reduction. My old #10 SPEER manual also lists a Unique powder load of 4.3 grns. behind a 158 grn lead SWC @ 850 fps, with a max load of 4.7 grns @ 910 fps, your milage might vary.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

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    At standard pressure the 38 special operates at a map of 17,000psi. Your lovely old M-10 (manuf. post 1956 to be stamped as a model 10) should stay within that envelope.

    Of the powders you listed Unique seems to be the best. The H110/W296 and 4227 should not be used as their burn efficiency is much higher than standard 38 special pressures. 2400 will work with heavier bullets (158 grs.) with about 10.0 grains but it is dirty because it needs more pressure to burn clean.the 2400 needs about 25,000 psi to burn cleanly and you don't want to load that heavy. With 110 and 125 grain JHP's Unique will do quite well at about 5.0 grains, 5.7 listed as maximum with 125 grain bullets, in the standard pressure 38 special. Nitro 100 will work but it is very fast and very little makes a big pressure boost difference. I would suggest you start with Unique. Lots of plinking fun can be had with Unique and an old S&W revolver in 38 special.
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    I've fired a pickup load of .38 148gr SWC loaded with Bullseye...3.0 gr at a time.

    Accurate and pleasant in a variety of K frames.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member raoul duke's Avatar
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    thanks for the input, it was exactly what I was after, tried and true loads safe for an old gun of sentimental importance. Murphy you're about right on age, the serial shows it made 1961-1962 and for being over 50 years old it is a thing of beauty dressed in bright nickel!
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is final. You need to learn to be slow in a hurry! Wyatt Earp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    I've fired a pickup load of .38 148gr SWC loaded with Bullseye...3.0 gr at a time.

    Accurate and pleasant in a variety of K frames.
    You're right I guess I over looked his listing of Bullseye.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    I've used alot of W231 and HP38, because that's what I've had or was available. If my math is right, Brown Bear's, 1.7 grains of Bullseye makes the powder cost less than the primer. I'll have to try that.

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    Never mind my math.

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