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  #1  
Old 12-27-2010, 10:14 PM
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Smile 2400 in 38 special

Anybody use Alliant 2400 in 38 special with 158 gr lswc.

Alliant website lists 6.8 start to 7.5 grs max. 990 fps.

Any pros or cons?
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2010, 10:22 PM
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There is some data out there for this combo, but IMO 2400 is too slow for 38 special. Stick with powders in the range of W231 and Unique for best results. Save the 2400 for 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:29 PM
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Default Great for semi-magnum 38/44's

2400 is great in .38 special for 38/44 Hi-Speed type loads for Outdoorsmen, Heavy Dutys and other larger or stronger guns. I get some of the best accuracy in my Outdoorsman/Heavy Duty revolvers with 2400 powder and Leadhead 168 gr. square-base Keith style SWC's.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:07 AM
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Or a Chief's Special. From Sixguns, Elmer Keith, page 45
Quote:
The little Chiefs Special has the new short action and the Centennial has an entirely new coil spring action, entirely double action. The Chiefs Special can be cocked and fired single action and is very accurate for its extremely light weight. Both arms are five-shot and both chambered for the .38 Special cartridge and while S. & W. do not advertise the fact, both guns will perfectly handle the .38/44 and other high speed ammunition in .38 Special. We recently made a test run of 500 rounds of this high speed ammunition through each of these guns with no ill effects we could detect either visually or by careful measurement of cylinders and rear ends of the barrels.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:59 AM
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There used to be some old manuals that gave up to 10grs under 160gr swc, and even more. That was in a time of less fear of law suits.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:07 AM
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Yeah, like I said there's some data out there, even from the mighty Elmer Keith. But I wouldn't exactly call it up-to-date and safe. Keith's hot 2400 loads are historical record now, not good load data IMO.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:12 AM
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Speer and Lyman both have published .38 spl. Loads with 2400 showing STANDARD pressures with around 10 grains under 158s. MANY sources have shown heavier charges as safe (though most are cautious about approving some of the Keith level loadings). I do not prefer 2400 in .38 spl-it costs more due to the heavier charge weights and leaves partially burned powder in the bore which can wind up under the extractor star and temporarily tie up the gun. However, I have shot some 2400 in my .38s and it performs just fine.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:17 AM
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In years gone by I played with the older 2400 loads. 2400 seems too slow burning for .38 Special except when wound tight. It can give good, accurate results in .38 Special, though even the max loads seem sooty when fired and leave a lot of half-burned crumblies in the bore and on the cylinder face. Anything less than those old max loads gave large velocity variations and unsatisfactory performance.

I wouldn't bother with today's listed 2400 loads.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:31 AM
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I have tried heavy charges of 2400 with the 158 gr. SWC in my 2" Model 60. Velocity was a bitter disappointment at well under 900 FPS. If you want to use 2400 in the .38 Special make sure you have a nice long barrel. SR4756 is good for at least 150 FPS more out of the snub.

Dave Sinko
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:40 AM
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I think this is one of those cases where it works, but there is something out there that is just as good as it if not better and that may cost less to use. Unless you got a lot of 2400 for free. Or just want to keep a minimum number of powders on the shelf to suit most of your needs and buy bigger containers of a particular favorite for economy. I certainly understand that concept since I use one fairly non-standard powder for nearly all of my general purpose handgun range/practice/cowboy action loads. It worked best for many of my load applications, and as good as or better than more traditional powders after some load development. If you shoot a whole lot of 44 or 357 Mag, hotter 44 Special, 38-44HV, etc. and prefer 2400 for that so you have a lot of it around, then it makes sense that you may want to use it for occasional 38SP.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:47 AM
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I agree with the majority - I've tried "modern" 2400 loadings under 158s in the .38 Special, and gotten wide spreads and unburnt powder all over everything.

I have had luck with 2400 (older load data, toward the max end of it) under heavy bullets in the .38: 195-grainers, some of Skip's 160-gr full wadcutter hardcasts. I still get the unburnt powder over everything, but the spreads and accuracy are good. I will certainly continue to use those loads.

Bryan said it best, though:

Quote:
I wouldn't bother with today's listed 2400 loads.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:02 AM
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2400 is my go to powder for heavy 38 special loads. You need to use a heavy crimp for it to perform well. I keep my heavy 2400 loads away from my J frames and are only for use in modren K frames.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ialefty2 View Post
Anybody use Alliant 2400 in 38 special with 158 gr lswc.

Alliant website lists 6.8 start to 7.5 grs max. 990 fps.

Any pros or cons?
All Cons, no Pros IMO.

Cons:
I made up some .38 Special ammo using a 158gr LSWC and 2400, never again. As we know 2400 is a slow powder and I should have known better but of course I just had to try it. I got a TON of unburnt powder, so bad it got under the star ejector and bound the cylinder. It is very dirty and not all that accurate either. IMO it's a waste of good powder that can be used in the proper application.

Pros:
None...

Remember, back in the day there were very few powders available to reloaders. If you wanted more velocity without over pressure you had to use a slower powder but the limited powders of the day were wide apart. We now have dozens of powders with burn rates between W231 and 2400 which will work fine for +P pressures without all the problems associated with using 2400 or another powder in it's burn rate range in the .38 Special. (like HS-6, Longshot or Power Pistol)
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  #14  
Old 12-28-2010, 01:49 PM
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I have a couple N-frame 38 Specials (Heavy Dutys) and the only way to get anything like the original 38/44 loads is to use something like 2400. The original loads were rated at 1150 fps with a 158g lead SWC. You aren't going to come close to that with any of the currently published +P loads.

Dave

PS: I haven't chronographed the loads I've tried so far so I'm not giving out any load data. It is out there in older loading manuals if you are interested.
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  #15  
Old 12-28-2010, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
I keep my heavy 2400 loads away from my J frames and are only for use in modren K frames.
OT (sorry): That's interesting, Bob - I feel like my J-38s are almost certainly stronger than my K-38s (amount of forcing cone in the cylinder window, thickness of cylinder at the bolt cut). Goes to show you that two sensible people can look at the same thing and nevertheless derive different opinions.

Now you all have me wondering about the old-time 2400-loads for the .38/158 that I passed by in my rush to play with SR 4756.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:16 PM
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Erich, you should check out Handloader #243 for Pearce's article on 38-44 HV loads. There are a few 38+P loads there but no mention of 2400. However, there are a number of 2400 loads in the 38-44HV table that yield some pretty impressive velocities. An advanced handloader should be able to extrapolate from those starting loads and current manual info for 38SP loads to arrive at something interesting .

I have to admit, since the 38-44 thread a couple of weeks ago I've been working on some 38-44HV loads to use in my SP101. No particular advantage over the 357Mag in that gun ... except it may be easier to eject empties as well as carry and load them from a Speed Strip or HKS. Could be interesting in some properly rated J-frame +P level applications.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:54 PM
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I believe I have that article already, amigo, thanks to another friend here on the board. I have done my share of .38/44 playing in the past, for the heck of it and also for the reasons you mention. Might be time to do some more, just because!
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2010, 06:47 PM
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Agree on saving the 2400 for magnum loads. In the .38, you can get the same velocities using a lot less Bullseye or Unique, and they will probably burn a bit more efficiently. So, cheaper and better than 2400. Decision? Don't get me wrong. I love it in .357 and .44 Mag. Not in .38.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:03 PM
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Which powder would get around 950-1000 fps at +P or less pressure?
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:53 PM
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Power Pistol. HS6. (PowerPistol is magnificent for performance loads in .38 special.... but it can be a bit flashy.) Unique ain't too shabby either with the right charges.
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  #21  
Old 12-28-2010, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ialefty2 View Post
Which powder would get around 950-1000 fps at +P or less pressure?
AA#5 or AA#7 but not in any listed load data.
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  #22  
Old 12-29-2010, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich View Post
OT (sorry): That's interesting, Bob - I feel like my J-38s are almost certainly stronger than my K-38s (amount of forcing cone in the cylinder window, thickness of cylinder at the bolt cut). Goes to show you that two sensible people can look at the same thing and nevertheless derive different opinions.

Now you all have me wondering about the old-time 2400-loads for the .38/158 that I passed by in my rush to play with SR 4756.
Hey Erich, It's not that I feel that the J's will blow up or anything but rather two factors, one is that the J's will "loosen up" with prolonged fireing with these loads (158gr), (this is purely a personel opinion with no real evidence) and the recoil is a bit punishing! Lets just say my loads were derived from the old Speer number eight manual and have been throtteled back a bit but still stout. With 2400 I have found that useing new to twice fired caseing's with a heavy crimp yeild's good accuracy and velocity, you get lousy results with a light crimp. As for the "unburnt powder", yes it's a dirty powder with lotsa residue to deal with, but not unmanageable. Yes it's true that we all have our view's on things!
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:44 AM
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Speer #7 only had two powders listed for the 158 gr LSWC, 2400 and Unique. The 12.0 gr of 2400 load was shot out of a 6" K-38 at 1100 fps. When you got to the half jackets, the powders expanded to include Al-8 and AL-5. I used 10.0 gr of AL-8 with the 146 gr HP in my Chief's Special. It was just a little bit faster than 11.0 gr of 2400. A set of Pachmayr's would have helped tame the recoil a little.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ialefty2 View Post
Which powder would get around 950-1000 fps at +P or less pressure?
Like said, Power Pistol will probably get you there as will other powders of a similar burn rate like HS-6, Longshot and a few others.

IMO with a 158 LSWC bullet HS-6 will get you there with pressure to spare. I have developed a 158gr LSWC load that will achieve an AV of 972 fps from a 4" barrel using HS-6 but the load data isn't published so I won't post it. You can work up the load yourself using a chrono. Longshot will also get you there but I get poor accuracy when using Longshot with a Lead bullet in the .38 Special.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:08 AM
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I've shot Tony's HS-6 load with the 158s, and find it to be as advertised:

4" GP-100: M 966.5/ES 83.28/SD 32.77
3" S&W 36-1: M 887.0/ES 29.15/SD 11.40
2 1/8" DS: M 841.4/ES 24.07/ SD 8.88


This is right there with Bryan McGilvray's "TX FBI Load" (using Unique) in usefulness. A max load of Power Pistol works well also, but is flashy in the dark (the Unique load is not - can't speak as to the HS-6 loading on that issue). Here's a link on the PP performance from Pete's forum:

http://proguns.proboards.com/index.c...ay&thread=1480
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Last edited by Erich; 12-29-2010 at 10:12 AM. Reason: To add PP link
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:09 AM
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IMO, 2400 is fine for potent 38spl loadings, intended for use in strong medium & large framed guns, but fwiw: Blue Dot will more than duplicate 2400's performance, using a smaller charge of powder.

Blue Dot also burns very cleanly, provides more bounce per dollar spent, plus magnum primers are never needed for this powder.

Just a thought.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MakeMyNight View Post
Blue Dot also burns very cleanly, provides more bounce per dollar spent, plus magnum primers are never needed for this powder.
Alliant (parent company for 2400) recommends standard primers for all applications with 2400. Old Elmer Keith also specified standard primers for his original 44 Mag loads with 2400.

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:06 PM
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Also remember that older primers were much milder then today's primers.

I have had decent luck with 2400 in the 38 special, but I like 4756 better so far. Plain old Unique works well if you use older data.

I have been using 5 grns of unique with a 158 for 30 years and after a period of "lack of confidence" where I used current book load data I went back. The funny thing is that when I shoot 5 grns of unique, it is clean, no problems and my 38/44's love it. Same thing happens with 2400 and 4756 if you use older data.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
The funny thing is that when I shoot 5 grns of unique, it is clean, no problems and my 38/44's love it. Same thing happens with 2400 and 4756 if you use older data.
Works like that for me, too. Handload like it's Nineteen-Sixty-Nine!
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
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Works like that for me, too. Handload like it's Nineteen-Sixty-Nine!
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ialefty2 View Post
Which powder would get around 950-1000 fps at +P or less pressure?
The Lyman Handbook 45th Edition lists 5.4 grains of Unique as a max load with a 158 grain cast bullet in .38 Special. I loaded a lot of them back in the late 70's and it is a good load. Recently, I went back to it using a SWC bullet that actually casts out at around 154 grains. I have chronographed it from my Model 60-7 at 880 fps. (The data was tested for the Manual in a 6" K-.38; reported velocity was 1000 fps.) I will eventually check it out in my 8 3/8" 14-3, and would also like to try a reasonable load of 2400 in that long tube as well. Good luck.
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:51 PM
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I checked some Unique loads at 5.5 gr with a 158 gr LSWC (by LAH/Creeker) and got 950-1000 fps with 4" barrels. Some of the Unique I used was made in the 1940s and some was from 2005. There was about 25-30 fps difference between the two lots.

Using the same bullet and gun (4" M66-2), 9.0 gr of SR 4756 produces 1200 fps and 13.5 gr of 2400 produces 1260 fps. Switching to a 358156, 9.0 gr of SR 4756 drops to 1180 fps.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjw3 View Post
The Lyman Handbook 45th Edition lists 5.4 grains of Unique as a max load with a 158 grain cast bullet in .38 Special. I loaded a lot of them back in the late 70's and it is a good load. Recently, I went back to it using a SWC bullet that actually casts out at around 154 grains. I have chronographed it from my Model 60-7 at 880 fps. (The data was tested for the Manual in a 6" K-.38; reported velocity was 1000 fps.) I will eventually check it out in my 8 3/8" 14-3, and would also like to try a reasonable load of 2400 in that long tube as well. Good luck.

Your velocity figures look to be about the same as mine using the same load from barrels of the same length.

It will be noted that one will have to get up pretty early in the morning AND bring his lunch in order to equal or beat the velocity of the Buffalo Bore +P 158 grain SWC-HP loading with a handload of any kind.

From my Model 14 with 8 3/8-inch barrel:

MV 1286 fps
ME 580 ft./lbs.
ES 28
SC 13
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:07 PM
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Thanks to all. This is what I am looking for.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
Your velocity figures look to be about the same as mine using the same load from barrels of the same length.

It will be noted that one will have to get up pretty early in the morning AND bring his lunch in order to equal or beat the velocity of the Buffalo Bore +P 158 grain SWC-HP loading with a handload of any kind.

From my Model 14 with 8 3/8-inch barrel:

MV 1286 fps
ME 580 ft./lbs.
ES 28
SC 13
Totally agree...there is no reason to take a chance stirring up something when there are proven safe loads like BB available when such power is needed.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:40 PM
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I would like to see some pressure data on the BB 158swchp +P, and 11gr 2400. If H. P. White would test them both, I think it might be eye opening.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:58 PM
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It's been long years since I did my 2400 testing in .38 Special but I remember that the empty cases distinctly showed more signs of pressure in the form of flattened primers than the Buffalo Bore +P loads do. I realize that there is more to high pressure than indications by flat primers is going to reveal but it's a start.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjw3 View Post
The Lyman Handbook 45th Edition lists 5.4 grains of Unique as a max load with a 158 grain cast bullet in .38 Special. I loaded a lot of them back in the late 70's and it is a good load. Recently, I went back to it using a SWC bullet that actually casts out at around 154 grains. I have chronographed it from my Model 60-7 at 880 fps. (The data was tested for the Manual in a 6" K-.38; reported velocity was 1000 fps.) I will eventually check it out in my 8 3/8" 14-3, and would also like to try a reasonable load of 2400 in that long tube as well. Good luck.
Using the Lyman 358156 HP, I got back to the range last week and checked out the above load of Unique from my 8 3/8" 14-3. A 10-shot average was 1019 fps, so a gain of only 140 fps in 6"+ more barrel. That didn't surprise me since Unique is faster burning and more suited to shorter barrels. I also tried out 2400 using an 11.0 grain load (max) also recommended in the Lyman 45th Edition. A 10-shot average with that was 1109 fps. There was a little unburned powder, but not enough to worry about. The cases ejected easily and the primers appeared normal. I fired a few of them at small objects on the berm at 60 yards and based on the dirt they threw up they must have still been moving right along; accurate, too. I think I will keep some of those on hand from now on. .

I have a 42nd Edition of the Lyman Manual (copyright 1960). With the above bullet, they recommend 13.5 grains of 2400 but in "Heavy Frame Guns Only". My favorite load of 2400 with a 158 grain SWC in .357 Magnum is 14.0 grains (1216 fps from 4" 686), so I think they are right about that.

I love reading that old 42nd edition. There is a section where they have published customers' favorite loads and comments about same.

That was a different time .
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:13 PM
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Hi
Jumpin on this a bit late...

2400 makes a good +P load for .38 Special with 158gr bullets.

9.0 grs does about what a factory 158gr +P will do (890 fps) out of my 4" 686.. Ck out target #27

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f2...e/01-13-08.jpg

Some other loads I was playin with do well also..
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDub View Post
Hi
Jumpin on this a bit late...

2400 makes a good +P load for .38 Special with 158gr bullets.

9.0 grs does about what a factory 158gr +P will do (890 fps) out of my 4" 686.. Ck out target #27
Did you read the rest of this thread? Do you really think 2400 is a good choice of powder for loading .38 Special +P ammo??
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:34 PM
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Did you read the rest of this thread? Do you really think 2400 is a good choice of powder for loading .38 Special +P ammo??
The guy just asked a simple question... I shared what I got in testing 2400 in this application. It's not my first choice, but if it's all he has, it CAN be done until he gets something else.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:54 PM
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Do you really think 2400 is a good choice of powder for loading .38 Special +P ammo??
If you want to come close to the performance of the original +P (the 38/44) or the Buffalo Bore 158g load then yes, it is a pretty good choice. For something like the anemic +P loads most of the ammo companies offer today, probably not.

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:19 PM
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The only reason I disagree with using 2400 is from personal experiance. I found it to leave a lot of unburnt powder when loaded within the SAAMI pressure limits for the .38 Special +P. The several times I tried it it left so many "flakes" they got under the ejector and I had to clean it out before I could close the cylinder properly.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:39 PM
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...within the SAAMI pressure limits for the .38 Special +P.
From what I've been told and read that is pretty much what the standard 38 Special used to be. I remember when the standard load for the 38 was a 158g bullet at 850 fps from a 4" barrel. I've seen some load data for +P that lists that level of performance. Pathetic!

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Old 01-08-2011, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave T View Post
From what I've been told and read that is pretty much what the standard 38 Special used to be. I remember when the standard load for the 38 was a 158g bullet at 850 fps from a 4" barrel. I've seen some load data for +P that lists that level of performance. Pathetic!

Dave
But dont forget that "+P" stands for "plus pressure"....NOT.."Plus performance".
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:03 PM
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I'm loading and shooting 11grs of 2400 under a Lyman # 358477 H.P in a K-38.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:14 PM
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Besides the reloading manuals from back then, does anyone remember what else was published about these loads during those times?

I'm thinking of someone loading long nosed cast bullets in Special brass, in 5" M27 cylinders, and Unique vs 2400. I don't quite remember the mold, but it's well known.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:29 PM
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5" M27 calls to mind Skeeter Skelton and his use of a 358156 seated in different crimping groves depending on whether it was .38 Special or .357 he was loading. He typically used 12.5 gr of 2400 with the bullet seated in the bottom grove in .38 Special brass. That would fit in the "short" M27 cylinder.
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:36 PM
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over the years i have tried 2400 several times in 38 sp. but accuracy is not been that good for me. i like 4.5 to 5 gr. of unique with 155 lyman hp. cast 50/50 soft lead and ww.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:04 PM
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Do I have anything to add? Not at the moment. Nonetheless-

a couple years ago around here folks used to be excoriated for exploring the upper limits of any revolver's capabilities for velocity and energy. Invariably the retort was

"never mind what this gun will do, you should only shoot mouse-fart loads in it- and oh, by the way, if you want more velocity or energy, buy a bigger gun".

I'm liking what I'm reading around here lately!

Thanks.
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Reloading Thread, 2400 in 38 special in Ammunition-Gunsmithing; Anybody use Alliant 2400 in 38 special with 158 gr lswc. Alliant website lists 6.8 start to 7.5 grs max. ...
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