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  #1  
Old 03-12-2010, 08:24 PM
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Default .38 & .357 best powder

New to reloading and have done been successfully using Hodgdon hp-38 powder to load only .38 Special. While itís been working fine, I bought this because it was what the sales clerk recommended at the time of my loading equipment purchase. What are good recommendations for powder used exclusively for .38 .38+p & .357.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:33 PM
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I have found Unique to be a good all around powder, it's about all I use now for .38 Special and .357, as well as reduced velocity cast lead loads for 30/30 and 45/70 rifle.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:35 PM
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I like Unique for most all my general purpose loads. A lot of guys complain about it being dirty, but in my opinion, that's just BS. ANY cast bullet load will be more dirty than a jacketed load due to the bullet lube, and the very nature of lead. I know that you can cast your own and size them for best performance, but a lot of guys don't cast. I have used a ton of Unique, and I always seem to go back to it. It is just so versatile, that it's hard to use other powder.

Other good powders are 2400, HS-6, 231 (same exact powder as HP-38) for general use in all three of those rounds.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:58 PM
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There are a lot of good choices for .38 special, but I seem to gravitate to the HP-38/W-231. I agree that Unique is a very good powder, as well. I've also had good luck with Bullseye for .38 (I use it for my .45 ACP loads).
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2010, 09:04 PM
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For .38 Special I use Bullseye and W231, for .357 I like Unique.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:05 PM
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One that I use a lot of is Universal Clays, loads a lot like Unique and seems to be a little cleaner. Works good with a wide range of bullet weights, works good in 9mm and 40 also.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:15 PM
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Greetingsw
Been around reloading since I was a little feller. Unique is my #1 choice for any revolver cartrige. I also am very happy with ACC #5. Both are very good with low power and near MAG loads.
If I had only Unique I would never feel bad. I buy it by the 8 pound jug.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:18 PM
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Your HP38 (AKA Winchester 231) is a good powder for light to medium loads in .38. Unique will boost the .38 a bit and serve well for moderate .357 loads.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:39 PM
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I like Unique - .38; .357; .45acp; .45LC.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:46 PM
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If I were limited to only one--Unique. Since I'm not I also like Bullseye for light .38's and 2400 for my heavier .357 loads. By far,though,I go through a lot of Unique.
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2010, 12:40 AM
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I have about 10 pounds of SR4756 and only 1 pound of Unique. Yes, it does meter better, plus I can go beyond what Unique will do or I can load it light. In .38/.357 it's about a versatile as it gets.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:02 AM
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It really depends on what you want to do. For an all around powder, yup, Unique is the clear winner. For 38 Special, W231 and Bullseye are worthy choices. 357 is an entirely different animal if you are loading for maximum power, however. H110/W296 and the right bullet will get you a serious "magnum" load. 2400 must be mentioned also as an excellent, versatile powder.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:51 AM
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I've come to really like Tite Group for light 38/357 loads. Meters well, burns cleaner than many others. I like Clays too, and use a lot of the HP38/231 loads even though they are dirtier/smokier. I don't use much Unique despite its other advantages. "So many powders, so little time".
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:11 AM
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I have been using Win 231/HP-38 and H-110 for pistols from the 38 s&w to the 500 mag for many years and many, many rounds. I shot bowling pins for 12 years 6 nights a week shooting 357s. Win 231 is dirty but my wife knows when I say I'm going to the range, I really was there because my hands are black from residue.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:20 AM
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The classic powders have be mentioned - Bullseye, Unique, 2400. I have had very good results with these powders. I changed over to Win231 about 15 yrs ago. I really like the way it meters out of the Dillon so I try to develop loads for my pistols and revolvers using it.

The only other powder I use for 38Spec is SR4756 with a cast 158 SWC in my Dan Wesson with a 4" barrel attached. It really likes this load!!

My S&W revolvers did not group as well with this SR4756 loading.

JPG
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:26 AM
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You asked for opinions and here is another. Use Unique if you want. It will work, has for years, just not in my guns!

If you want 1 powder to take you from mild to wild, there is only one for revolver loads, again, this is my opinion, SR4756. While I don't have an 8lb keg like Paul, I do have it's little brother, 4lb, and not one of Unique!
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  #17  
Old 03-13-2010, 02:15 PM
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Another vote for Universal in 38 spl.Unique for 357
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:40 PM
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Universal would get my vote. I'm just getting started with SR4756, but I'm definitely seeing it's charms. I may be a convert before I'm done.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:18 PM
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Hah Skip, I have both Unique and SR 4756 on hand but stick with Unique for general purpose .38 Special and light .357 Magnum duties. Mostly out of habit.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:15 AM
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Skip, I think you'll notice the big cans/jugs of SR 4756 are stacked two deep. They go along with the lime green 8 ounce cans located in various places.

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Old 03-14-2010, 01:04 AM
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I've used Unique exclusively in my handgun loads for over 36 years, in .38 S&W, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .45 ACP. I am anal about my reloading, using my scale to weigh every powder charge. Yes, I have a powder measure, but have rarely used it. -Ed.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:21 PM
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Well the old standards work well for me, Unique and 2400.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:56 PM
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I'm an old dude - been reloading 35+ years - Unique comes as close as you can to an all around powder for most handgun loads. Throw in Bullseye, H110, 2400, & WW231 and you can shoot pretty much anything with a short barrel. My cabinet has 8 lb. kegs of BE, Unique & 231 at all times......
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:27 PM
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why limit yourself to one or two powders? there are so many to pick from.
there is no "best", only "better" and "not as good". i played the "as few powders as possible" game early on.
it's almost everyday you hear about a powder that does this, that, or the other thing better than the rest....so why not try it yourself?
current favorites include 2400, bullseye, unverisal, unqiue, ei, ie, ie, ie, ie........
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:36 PM
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Default .38 & .357 best powder

Didn't mean to limit myself to one. Looking for the best for .357, .38 and .38 +p, which could be two. I think my best bet is to get a pound each of top recommended here and shoot them side by side.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:06 PM
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I shot a few .38s today. They ranged from 125 gr Golden Sabers to 170 gr Keith and they were all loaded with SR4756. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 1300 fps for the 125 and a little over 1000 fps for the 170 gr. I used a 4" pre-M28, M28-2 and a M14-2. #1 grandson helped me shoot them!
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:16 PM
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For .38s I use Clays and Bullseye for most every bullet style.

For .357 I like Unique and Blue Dot for standard loads, and 4227 for heavy 180 grain XTP hunting loads from a long barrel.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:55 PM
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I'm a fan of Unique for 38SPL and 357MAG. Mild loads leave some unburned flakes.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:38 PM
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231 or Unique for light to mid range; 2400 or H110 for max loads.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:48 PM
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Like many, I use Unique for .38 Special, .38 +P, and reasonable loads in the .357. If I need more snort in the magnum, I go with 2400. Actually, I could get by with just Unique only in all my revolvers.

Unique is bulky enough that double loads are obvious, a plus. It meters horribly, however, through my powder measures, the negative.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:04 AM
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Honestly, this is what reloading is all about. Try different powders with different bullet weights in YOUR handguns and decide which work best for you. Some have more muzzle flash, some are dirtier, some are not readily available, some are more forgiving. Try some different loads and powders from good reloading books and use what you like.

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:40 PM
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Amen, brother. This is exactly the reason all women are not red-headed. There is no "one size fits all" in the reloading world.....
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Old 03-20-2010, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mboyda View Post
Didn't mean to limit myself to one. Looking for the best for .357, .38 and .38 +p, which could be two. I think my best bet is to get a pound each of top recommended here and shoot them side by side.
As the others are telling you, the .38 Special and .357 Magnum are two very different calibers. The pressures are so different you will need at least 2 powders to do both well because the burn rates of the powders need to be different. The .38 Special should use a fairly fast powder like AA#2, Clays, Bullseye, W231/HP-38 and so on. The .357 Magnum needs a slower powder to be at it's best like 2400, AA#9, W296/H110 and powder like that.

The old standby powder trinity is Bullseye, Unique and 2400. My "trinity is W231, HS-6 (W540) and W296.

I use W231 for the .38 Special, HS-6 for the .38 Special +P and either 2400 or W296 for the .357 Magnum. It's not the powder name that's important but getting the burn rate correct for the application.

I hope I didn't make things more confusing...
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