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  #51  
Old 02-03-2011, 10:19 PM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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.38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load?  
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Smitty, Thanks my friend....great site. I'll let you know how it goes.

John, I know what you mean. That 4.7/158 load smarts a little in my LCR too. I like to be able to practice a lot with my carry load....it's a fine line between enough power and too much recoil. Like they say though, a hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .45. I have been using 6 grains of HS-6 with the 158 SWC--kicks like hell and is dirty. Been looking for something else. 4.7 gr Unique is definitely cleaner and a bit less punishing.
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  #52  
Old 02-04-2011, 12:52 AM
ddixie884 ddixie884 is online now
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.38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load?  
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To hear some folks tell it there is no dirtier powder than Unique. I think they just don't load it to the clean pressure.
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  #53  
Old 02-04-2011, 06:53 AM
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Great thread! But we gotta have more pics. I don't have any handguns as old as what is mentioned (and pictured - great one by the way) but these are mine! The 10-7 is lots of fun and feels good. The 642 is much newer, made during this decade (wow that makes me feel old!) and is in my pocket now! The pocket knife is a modern German made replica type of my great grandpa's knife. Don't want to lose his knife and it sits safe in my sock drawer. The .38 Special is a fun round, especially with cast boolits. Where are my molds?

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  #54  
Old 02-04-2011, 12:42 PM
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Over the past two years I've been learning more and more about using the Lee dippers. So far it's been very positive! During a blizzard at work I took some primed and belled 9mm cases with me, some Unique and a .5-cc Lee dipper. I clamped a $20 Lee Reloader single stage to a desk and went to town charging and loading my own 9mm cast 124-gr cast LRN TL bullets made from straight WWs.

Note: I had already verified the charge of Unique this dipper would throw using two independent scales and 20+ "dips" to get an average.

Later, over a chrono I got some rather decent numbers for using a uber-cheap press and dippers:

LO 956
HI 993
AV 974
ES 37
SD 16

I'm perfectly OK with that, since the load shot great and was accurate enough out to 50-feet from a very compact 9mm BUG.

That night I also took some .223 Rem primed brass and a seating die and BL-(C)2 with a 1.6-cc dipper for some 55-gr FMJs. This ammo shot even better than the 9mm handgun stuff!

My point is that Lee dippers are better at measuring than many skeptics would have you believe. Even with Unique and not a ball powder.
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  #55  
Old 02-04-2011, 12:48 PM
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Oh, almost forgot...

My "go-to" .38-Special load for years has been 5.0 grains of Unique over either a 158-gr cast LSWC or 5.0 grains of Unique over a 148-gr BBDEWC. Both roll crimped in the first crimping groove. Maybe a bit light for the bigger steel guns but I don't have a problem shooting some of them from an early 442.
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  #56  
Old 02-04-2011, 01:38 PM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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.38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load?  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
To hear some folks tell it there is no dirtier powder than Unique. I think they just don't load it to the clean pressure.
They should try making light loads with HS-6 as I did awhile back....like burning coal in your gun. It cleans up with hotter loads. 6gr/158 LSWC in .38 isn't too bad, but 4.7 gr. Unique is a whole lot cleaner.
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  #57  
Old 02-04-2011, 01:43 PM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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.38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load?  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poohgyrr View Post
Great thread! But we gotta have more pics. I don't have any handguns as old as what is mentioned (and pictured - great one by the way) but these are mine! The 10-7 is lots of fun and feels good. The 642 is much newer, made during this decade (wow that makes me feel old!) and is in my pocket now! The pocket knife is a modern German made replica type of my great grandpa's knife. Don't want to lose his knife and it sits safe in my sock drawer. The .38 Special is a fun round, especially with cast boolits. Where are my molds?

I have a 2" Model 10-3 and it's a joy to shoot....enough weight that hot loads don't take your hand off. Nice cool factor too--it's what Broderick Crawford carried in the old Highway Patrol series.
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  #58  
Old 02-04-2011, 02:05 PM
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Sorry, Nitesite, but somebody has to say it:

Quote:
My "go-to" .38-Special load for years has been 5.0 grains of Unique over either a 158-gr cast LSWC or 5.0 grains of Unique over a 148-gr BBDEWC.
How do you keep the powder in the case over the bullet?
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  #59  
Old 02-04-2011, 02:14 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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Now, now, Erich, be nice.
I mean it's not like he called a magazine a clip.
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  #60  
Old 02-04-2011, 02:15 PM
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one thing to remember is when you are using a measure, you are weighing by volume more than weight itself. some benchrest shooters claim volume weighing is more and accurate and consistent than powder that has been weighed with every charge on a scale.
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  #61  
Old 02-04-2011, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich View Post
Sorry, Nitesite, but somebody has to say it:



How do you keep the powder in the case over the bullet?
ZOMG!!!!!!!! Did I really type that I put powder OVER a bullet???????

Sheesh. Chalk it up to patrolling three 12-hr 8-8 night shifts in a row. I'm reluctantly a bit scattered at this point. But I am going to go to bed today and have the next 48-hrs off starting tonight!!!!!

I know for a fact that Erich cut his teeth with powder dippers and made some truly awesome revolver ammo with dipper-charged loads. So take it out on him, cuz he's wide awake right now!
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  #62  
Old 02-04-2011, 04:38 PM
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Truth is that I've typed that exact wording more than once and so I'm just especially sensitive to seeing it.

Hope you get some good rest and have some fun before you have to go back in.
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  #63  
Old 02-04-2011, 05:59 PM
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Friend nitesite inspired me! I just went out to the garage and dipped a batch of Unique loads and a batch of Green Dot loads. Always nice to do something that feels productive on a day off.
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  #64  
Old 02-04-2011, 09:30 PM
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Are you staying warm Erich? I've heard NM is experiencing some energy shortages. This global warming is about to freeze me to death!
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  #65  
Old 02-04-2011, 10:05 PM
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Thanks, Paul - it was -8F when I went to work yesterday (for real, not wind chill) and -6 the day before that. I enjoyed a walk at lunch both days.

Today there are gas shortages around NM due to brownouts in Tejas . . . no problem for me, but there are a lot of people in the boonie areas w/o heat.
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  #66  
Old 02-05-2011, 02:46 AM
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Once upon a time I had trouble throwing consistent charges of Unique with a Uniflow and a Lyman 55. I bought a Redding #3 and that fixed it. When the Lyman DPS 1200 came out I bought one for Unique and one for 2400 and have never looked back. I save the Redding for powders I don't use so often, like bullseye, aa5, and h110.

I had a 10-5 with a 6" bbl that was gorgeous and particularly tight; 4.9 gr of Unique under (under, Erich) a 158gr swc ran 910fps out of that particular revolver. I have since run out of utility for 6" barreled .38 sp revolvers and gave them up. I've loaded 5 grains and better, but they're unnecessarily punchy for my current purposes.

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  #67  
Old 02-05-2011, 05:38 AM
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Good morning
First canister of powder I bought when I ETS d(1973) was Unique. Dad and his Navy buddy used it in 38s.
You do not want to go Max with Unique. Unique will pressure spike with just a very slight powder addition that pushes it over its pressure curve. That is one of the reasons there is such manual variation. Your cylinders are fatter or narrower than mine. Our brass does not expand with an equal ratio. A max load safe in my old Colt Police Positive goes beyond safe in your narrower cylinder and pressure spikes.
Longer cases, thicker cases, fatter bullets, differnt lead hardness, hotter primer, rougher throats.... the variasions are inumerable. But the results are the same when a max load + of Unique pressure spikes. It will ruin a pleasant shooting day.
In my revolvers I shoot 4 grains plinking. 4.5 for serious double tap practice. 5 grains is my never to cross line in 38 Special with a 158-165 grain cast. There are plenty of other powders to use out there that will get +P velocity without pressure spike concerns.
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  #68  
Old 02-05-2011, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fkimble View Post
Ralph, thanks for the link. I was aware of that supplier. My last contact with him was he was currently not making bullets due to a health issue. I recently saw something indicating he may be back in business. But I see nothing to indicate his bullets are sized but not lubed. Lube is usually applied during the sizing process. His site does mention the "size" but the omission of lube info probably means he is just using a standard lube. Rim Rock also makes a Keith style bullet. But their lube groove, while square cut, is very shallow. The one's I received weighted approx 165 grains, a little lighter than advertised.
I contacted Black River a few days ago and got this reply:

"Sorry, but I've given up casting.

Joe"

There are plenty of other guys hand casting bullets and you fellas have just about convinced me to do it myself.
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  #69  
Old 02-07-2011, 02:26 AM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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The sun finally came out here so I could properly chrony my 4.7 gr Unique/158gr LSWCHP loads today. Big surprise. Last time I tried it was overcast and the only reading that looked real was 795....the rest read in the 400 fps range which I knew was incorrect....assumed 795 was a real read. Today 5 shots from my LCR averaged 910 fps! 908,917,919,914,893...all about 100fps higher than I expected from what I've read and heard here. Double-checked my old RCBS scale with an even older Pacific (c. 1964...the kind that came with a little tube of weights). It indicated that, if anything, the RCBS charges were a tiny bit light...4.6 or so. That leaves the chrony--a new "Shootingchrony" made in Canada ordered from Midway. Any thoughts? If I'm really getting that kind of velocity with that load from a 2" barrel I'm very happy but seems too good to be true.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:27 AM
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Ralph,
It does seem a little fast for Unique out of a 2" bbl. You could try a couple things. Most obviously, borrow someone's chrony, or show up when someone else is using theirs. What I'd do first is buy a box of 20 rounds of quality ammo with published specs from a shorter barrel and head to the range with that box, chrony, and some reloads. Compare the outcomes on the same day with the published specs, and your reloads.

I don't know where you are, but you can add a little velocity for elevation and subtract velocity for colder temperatures.

Interesting, let us know what you come up with.

Last edited by 1x2; 02-07-2011 at 03:31 AM.
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  #71  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:14 PM
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Probably the cheapest chrony check is some .22lr ammo. Ideally you buy a bunch of one lot, check it on several chronographs and then use it for yuor own chrony check for years to come. A more slapdash method is to take several different types of .22lr and shoo it over your chrony . If the velocities are all way high or way low from published specs for your barrel length then you know you have a problem-If the .22 stuff is reasonably close then your chrony can be presumed to be reasonably accurate also.
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  #72  
Old 02-07-2011, 01:06 PM
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I didnt mean to make a thread hijack. I always have to question how people are measuring out either Unique or Trail Boss. They both drive me nuts. Especially Unique. I think I get it set just right finally and then it goes all catawampus on me again. I waste more time using the scale and throwing back powder. Give me some Bullseye or HP-38 any day. In a .38 the max load I have used for Unique has been 4.7 or 4.8 and I have been fine with that. Im not saying I think that is the highest you could go. I cast my own 158 grain from a Lee tumble lube mold. I think its about as sooty as the Bullseye. I do have an admission though Most of my reloaded .38s go into .357s. I still just dont trust all the variables that go into reloading just yet to try them in an aluminum J frame all the time. I measure each charge if they go into my not so strong guns. I have one of the 1905 something or other change model hand ejector and I refuse to load to heavy for it. And I just dont see the need to risk too much pressure. That being said, I have never had a problem with a reload yet. I always catch when Unique is gumming up the works yet again. But I think depending on the bullet, crimp, and a few other factors that I would go as high as 5.0 and not worry too much.
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  #73  
Old 02-08-2011, 03:58 PM
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Well, Speer #8 says the max for Unique is 6.0 grains... Given the SR4756 data, I wonder...

BTW, someone was looking for Phil Sharpe's book. Ths link also has Hatcher's Notebook and other interesting pubs.

Ammunition Reloading Books torrent download - Fenopy.com
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  #74  
Old 02-26-2011, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicky4968 View Post
I respectfully disagree with my more learned colleagues.

I have used 4.3 grains Unique for 40+ years in .38 Special under 158 gr RNL. In my opinion, it is not unlike Winchester's "Any Rifle" .45-70 load. It isn't a Magnum; it won't bring down satellites, or charging brown bears. It is a .38 Special and is very accurate.

Plus 1 on the Lee dipper method.

If the .38 isn't enough, use the Krag.
This is exactly my load and method, except I made my own dipper out of brass. Extremely accurate and fun to shoot.
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  #75  
Old 04-15-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph G. Briscoe View Post
I've been working up a max standard pressure defense load for use in my vintage Detective Specials. 158 gr LSWCHP/Unique/Winchester primers. The data are is over the map--
Hornady 1973 manual--max 6.1 grains (not designated +P)
Speer 1974 manual-- max 4.7 gr
Lyman 1970 manual-- max 5.4 gr
Lyman 1973 cast manual--max 5.1
Hornady 5th edition manual--max 4.2
Alliant manual-- max 4.3 gr (they list 4.5 gr as "plus P")

Any wise advice as to how hot I can safely load for these old guns would be appreciated. I recently saw a vintage Colt ad which listed the ammo suited to the D Special. They included the 38/44 loads--no thanks
Alliant website suggests 4.7 grains of Unique as maximum.
I see you have been cooking some 4.7 loads. I don't think
5.0 would give you a problem, but don't push it if you don't
need to.

The great variability of load data from antiquity is due to our
grandfathers testing loads in standard revolvers, and then
looking for signs of pressure. SAAMI .38 Special max is 17k.
If you shot loads at 30,000 psi, you may get no pressure
signs at all. Primers have no problem with 30k psi. Your first
sign of pressure in your old revolver could be when it shoots
loose. Ruined.

Modern load data comes from testing with instrumented
guns, or even instrumented test barrels. Modern data should
be used whenever available.

Joe
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  #76  
Old 04-15-2011, 07:23 PM
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I did not read the entire thread, but I use Missouri 158gr swc a good bit and I know my notes say that anything beyond 4.75 is smokey and tumbles. 4.5 works really well for me. Edited to add that i am talking about unique....And I only use dippers, mostly homemade.

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  #77  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:12 PM
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.38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load?  
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All I know is that in my J frame snub nose with a 158 gr lead bullet..............
5.0 grs of Unique with a cci std primer and heavy crimp,is all the +P that the ladys of the house, want to shoot.

5.4grs is ok in a K frame,due to the heavy recoil.....It will
get your attentin in a light J frame.

4.5-4.7grs makes for a nice medium load in most revolvers.
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  #78  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:48 PM
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Yep, 4.5gr of Unique for 158 SWC's is perfect for me. My wife prefers 125's out of her J-frame.
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  #79  
Old 03-16-2013, 06:29 PM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
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With a 158 lead, modern data says about 4.2 grns of Unique.

For my D framed Colts I shot 5 grns of Unique with 158's for decades. Yes it will cause some wear but after over 42,000 rounds fired out of my Diamondback, I don't think it is a big deal.

For 38/44's 5 grns of unique is a nice plinking load. Very mild.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:28 PM
mtgianni mtgianni is offline
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I have a modern 38 and have used the Ly 70's book load since I started reloading for it. I do find that 5.0 gr is nearly as accurate. Unique flows through my Ly 1200 DPS easily.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:53 PM
ddixie884 ddixie884 is online now
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TTT for the new reloaders........
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  #82  
Old 10-30-2013, 01:27 PM
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A maximum, standard pressure ??

One has to realize that most of the 38 special load test were made with a K frame 38. These were built like a tank and could hold up to some pretty heavy loads.

Take a heavy standard K frame load and put it in a light J frame and you will have a load that may damage the gun or shooter. One reason that there are starting loads and maximum loads in manuals foe 38 special data.

A max load for my J frame snub is 5.0 grs of Unique while my K frame 6 inch likes 5.5grs of powder and is reading over 1010fps with a lead bullet, which for me is plenty for a 38 load.

I could shove in more powder but I would not be able to control the gun and recoil for placing good, accurate groups.

However if you want to impress the guys at the range there are always those maximum loads...............
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  #83  
Old 10-31-2013, 12:17 AM
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Unique 4.5 gr & 158 gr SWC in the old and ladies revolvers,5.0 gr & 158 gr SWC in everything else.
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  #84  
Old 09-10-2017, 05:11 PM
T. McIntyre T. McIntyre is offline
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Reviving an older thread..

Yesterday while burning up some wadcutter loads, I also shot a couple dozen 158 grain LSWCs pushed by 5.4 grains of Unique through my 4" Model 19-3.

They were quite manageable and accuracy seemed in line with the rest of my hand held groups. It looked like it would make a great SD/HD, hunting load for my 4" Model 15.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. McIntyre View Post
Reviving an older thread..

Yesterday while burning up some wadcutter loads, I also shot a couple dozen 158 grain LSWCs pushed by 5.4 grains of Unique through my 4" Model 19-3.

They were quite manageable and accuracy seemed in line with the rest of my hand held groups. It looked like it would make a great SD/HD, hunting load for my 4" Model 15.
Yes, great load in my 19-2. Hard cast 148s. A little too hot for me in my 642, where I stop at 5.0 grains Unique.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sully View Post
That concept ONLY works for 1 drop weight.....of 1 powder. It doesnt work for any more or any less of "XYZ" powder....doesnt work for even 4.5 gr of "ABC" powder and cant begin to measure various ( not 4.5 gr) drop weights of other powders. I have enough "junk" cluttering up my bench without a small herd of homemade ( or factory made) powder dippers
Personally I think Lee would do well to make a set of about 50 dippers, when emphasis on the lower range. hey are molded plastic. How much more could manufacturing a larger set cost? So the price might be $5-10 more, but I would find them much more useful.

I make a dipper for my most common loads. If I want to try another powder throw that powder and weigh the results. See whatcha get with the same scoop, or one in the Lee set.

Lee includes a neat slide chart to tell how much of a particular powder each scoop will throw. It's a little conservative, for those who want to take their word that that is what they throw.

I use my digital scale a LOT to keep tabs on things. Max or near loads all get weighed. I have system the works for me. I set each empty cartridge on the scale, hit TARE, then charge the case. Put it back on the scale. Trickle the little extra that you need. (sometimes I add a 'pinch by hand' if it's off by only a couple tenths.)
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:09 AM
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I've been at 4.8-gr of Unique with a cast 158 LSWC for a long time. For +P I go with 5.2-gr of Unique with the same bullet.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:09 PM
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.38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load? .38 spcl/158gr SWC/Unique--What's the real maximum standard load?  
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Quote:
Ralph G. Briscoe wrote:
...max standard pressure defense load...
Before I answer the question about the starting load, let me point out that there can be some legal problems unique to using handloads in a self-defense shooting. Check out the legal section of one of these sites and see what real "briefcase toting attorneys" say on the matter.

Legal | The High Road
Law and Civil Rights - The Firing Line Forums

That said, if we ignore the data in the OP superseded in later editions of the manuals, there is more or less a consensus for a Maximum load of about 4.5 grains. This would indicate a Starting load of about 4.0 grains.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
Personally I think Lee would do well to make a set of about 50 dippers, when emphasis on the lower range. hey are molded plastic. How much more could manufacturing a larger set cost? So the price might be $5-10 more, but I would find them much more useful.
I actually dipped a 9mm this summer. I was loading into bags and found a single primer stuck in the feed after I emptied the hopper. Rather than refill the hopper, I just busted out a dipper--charge was right on the nose. So I can cross that off my reloading bucket list.
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