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Old 03-06-2011, 05:27 PM
shortround451 shortround451 is offline
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38 Spl. 158gr LSWC- How much W231 are you using?  
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Default 38 Spl. 158gr LSWC- How much W231 are you using?

I gave been loading 4.2 grains of W231 with hard cast 158 gr LSWC for years. It shoots well in my revolvers and Marlin carbine. I probably got this load from the Lyman manual. I noticed today that the new Hodgen manual shows this load to be over maximum. How much W231 are y'all loading with 158gr LSWC and also 148ge bbwc? I really like 231 so don't try to convince me to change powders. Thanks
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:46 PM
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I use 3.8 of HP 38 for 158 gr LSWC, You should switch over to HP 38

Speer lists 4.3 max and Lyman lists 4.0 for the 158 gr

Lyman lists 4.9 for a 160 gr and 5.2 for a 160 gr +p

I wouldn't worry about your 4.2grs.
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Old 03-06-2011, 05:50 PM
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Default W231

I have used up to 4.7 gr of W231 for 158 gr LSWC, but that is considered a +P load according to Speer 13. I do not have a great deal of experience with W231 in 158 gr 38 SPL because my revolver does not shoot well with W231 loads and 158 gr LSWC. I have had better accuracy with Unique and heavier bullets. Conversely, I have had excellent results with W231 in lighter jacketed 38 SPL bullets such as 110 gr and 140 gr SJHP or SJSP.

My 2nd edition of Lee's Modern Reloading shows the maximum W231 load for 38 SPL LSWC to be 4.5 grains producing a pressure of 15,800 psi (not CUP), and a velocity of 830 fps. Speer 13 shows 4.3 grains max.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:39 PM
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I use 3.7 of HP-38 for 158 gr LSWC @ about 855 FPS.

Targetslayer
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:25 PM
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Default 38 Spl. 158 gr LSWC - how much W231

Sgt Preston here...

I'm also a big Win 231 fan...

I load 4.0 grain of Win 231...

I use Berry's 158 grain flat point swaged / copper plated bullets...

They seem to fly fine & print the target right where I expect them to...

I shoot them out of an S&W 686 x 4" SSR...

I have probably loaded & shot 5000 with this load...

Hope this is helpful..!

Sgt Preston USMC LLA...
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:52 PM
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I also use 4.2 gr of W-231 in .38, with 158 LSWC. I've not had any issues, and get very good accuracy in a variety of revolvers...
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:01 PM
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Currently using 4.0 of 231 with 158 cast swc. Using 3.0 with some Star HBWC's.
Using my mdls 14&15.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:16 PM
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Icore requires a minimum power factor of 120. So, I'm currently using 4.6 grains of WW231 under a Berry's 158 grain round nose bullet. This gives me 810 fps and a 126 power factor out of a 5" model 627PC.

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Old 03-07-2011, 02:11 AM
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I load 4.5grs of W231 which is standard pressure according to previous Winchesters data and in Fiocchi cases lit with WSP primers this load chrono's at 822 fps from a 4" S&W 66. A +P load using 4.7grs makes 879 fps from the same gun. Good duplication of factory published ballistics for 158gr lead bullet ammo.

When Hodgdon took over the marketing of Winchester powders and providing on line loading data they lowered all the charge levels for lead bullets to what was listed as "Cowboy" loads using HP38. Their velocities listed are from a 7.7" test barrel so real world velocity from the typical 4" revolver are well below factory standard pressure ammo where published data comes from 4" vented test barrels. Hodgdon lists the pressure of a 3.7gr load at 14,600 CUP (don't know why they haven't updated to PSI) but its significantly lower when compared to the old SAAMI standard pressure level of 18,600 CUP for standard pressure maximum.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:13 AM
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4 grs under a 158 gr SWC for practice in the smaller snubs. 4.5 grs in all others work for me.
BT
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:36 AM
David Sinko David Sinko is offline
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Back when I shot IDPA sanctioned matches and really believed that I'd be held accountable over the chrono (silly me) I loaded 5.0 grs. of 231 with the 158 gr. SWC and plated bullets to get to 130 PF in my Model 66. I remember the plated bullet loads had a distinctive muzzle blast and the fouling on the frame and cylinder was a nice brown color but I never noticed any high pressure signs. Also, 231 burns nice and clean the hotter you load it.

Dave Sinko
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:59 AM
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Depends on what Lyman bullet ya got the data from. If it's from the #356311 round-nose or #358429 Keith-style bullets , they have the weight in the long nose , and leave more room in the case. Other SWCs will leave less room in the case , and possibly a compressed charge.

Looking thru a few tables , I see all kind of max weights for W-231/HP-38 and a 158gr lead bullet. From 3.7 to 4.9.

Pressures and recommended charges can vary due to a number of factors. Powder lot to lot variations , different test methods and equipment , atmospheric conditions , primer used , hardness of cast bullets vs swaged lead , etc.

Last edited by mkk41; 03-07-2011 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
I load 4.5grs of W231 which is standard pressure according to previous Winchesters data and in Fiocchi cases lit with WSP primers this load chrono's at 822 fps from a 4" S&W 66. A +P load using 4.7grs makes 879 fps from the same gun. Good duplication of factory published ballistics for 158gr lead bullet ammo.

When Hodgdon took over the marketing of Winchester powders and providing on line loading data they lowered all the charge levels for lead bullets to what was listed as "Cowboy" loads using HP38. Their velocities listed are from a 7.7" test barrel so real world velocity from the typical 4" revolver are well below factory standard pressure ammo where published data comes from 4" vented test barrels. Hodgdon lists the pressure of a 3.7gr load at 14,600 CUP (don't know why they haven't updated to PSI) but its significantly lower when compared to the old SAAMI standard pressure level of 18,600 CUP for standard pressure maximum.
Your data and info seem much more in line with what gets reported on real-world chronos and I'm inclined to set more stock in these figures than the current published Hodgdon data. I agree that there are all kinds of factors to take into account when establishing reloading data and manufacturers have a lot more experience and technology at their disposal. Still, we're not talking about max, red-line loads here. Just enough powder to get a 158 grain .38 bullet up to 800 FPS.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:04 PM
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My everyday .38 load is 3.8 grains of 231, very mild, very accurate.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:11 PM
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My Bullseye load is 3.2 grains. Accurate at 50 yds. Just curious why you guys are loading so hot.

GB.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:54 PM
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I use 4.5 gr of 231 and get superb accuracy and very mild recoil(+P of course).
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:05 PM
shortround451 shortround451 is offline
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Thanks for all of the responses. I chronographed my loads today and made a seperate post. Please take a look and see what you think.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:00 PM
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Winchester and Hodgdon entered into their licensing/distributorship agreement in 2006. The Hodgdon 2006 Annual reloading book shows only Hodgdon powders. The 2007 book shows both Hodgdon and Winchester powders. For 38 Special, the 2007 Hodgdon HP38 and Winchester 231 loads are identical with the 2006 HP38 loads.

Referring back to my 1993 Loadbook for 38 Special the data from Speer and Lyman both showed HP38 maxing out from 0.1 to 0.6 grains before 231 maxed out. The RCBS loads maxed out with 231 having the lower maximum. At one time it looks like 231 and HP38 were two very similar but different powders with 231 being slightly slower.

Once the agreement was signed Hodgdon packaged powder that was labeled as 231 for Winchester and HP38 for Hodgdon. Since then they have said that the two powders are identical. I believe that they are and that they are now what used to be called HP38 i.e. a powder that is slightly faster than the old 231.

The bottles have a lot number on them. The last two digits of the 7 digit portion of the lot number are the year in which it was made. (The second through the fifth are the month and day)

I can see where if you were using Speer or Lyman 231 data and were near max loads you might want to retest when using 231 produced during or after 2006 when Hodgdon took over the packaging.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:37 PM
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W-231 and HP-38 have always been the same powder , made by the same company. Hodgdon never made powder. Winchester/ Olin Chemical once owned the St.Marks Powder company , now owned by General Dynamics. They make most domestic powders.

http://www.gd-ots.com/ , click on 'propulsion'.

Differences in data can be normal lot to lot variations. Powder making is not 100% 'exact'. But they get very , very close.

Last edited by mkk41; 03-07-2011 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:42 AM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is offline
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Thumbs up W231

As with Sgt. Preston, I use 4. with that bullet. Loaded 5 boxes just over the weekend. I load a lot of stuff with W231.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:45 AM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is offline
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My Bullseye load is 3.2 grains. Accurate at 50 yds. Just curious why you guys are loading so hot.

GB.
What length barrel?
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:21 AM
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I like 4.0 grains for mild recoil and good accuracy. W231 meters well out of my powder measure too...
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:07 AM
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What length barrel?
I am using my model 14-2 with a 6" barrel.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:05 PM
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I use 4.4 grains of WIN 231 when I load 158 grain LSWC and 4.9 grains when I load 158 grain Jacketed bullet.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:22 AM
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Like many others here my favorite W231 load under a 158gr LSWC is 4.0gr. That load is listed as being the "potentially most accurate" in the new Lyman 49th Edition manual.

It's not the highest velocity load you can achieve using W231 but it's extremely accurate in every revolver I've shot it from.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
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I use 3.8 of HP 38 for 158 gr LSWC, You should switch over to HP 38

Speer lists 4.3 max and Lyman lists 4.0 for the 158 gr

Lyman lists 4.9 for a 160 gr and 5.2 for a 160 gr +p

I wouldn't worry about your 4.2grs.
What about 4.3 grains of HP-38 behind a 20 BHN 160 grain SWC in a pre-model 10 38 special in very good shape? I understand that the Plus P loads listed today were the standard load for the 38 special back in the earlier days.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:59 PM
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4.3/ 231 with an H&G #51 SWC (160 grs.) gets 860 fps from a 6" Model 17. Used this load for years.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:55 AM
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What about 4.3 grains of HP-38 behind a 20 BHN 160 grain SWC in a pre-model 10 38 special in very good shape? I understand that the Plus P loads listed today were the standard load for the 38 special back in the earlier days.
It's hard to tell how much pressure that load will generate, you don't want to abuse a fine old revolver.

You would have been better off starting a new thread than bringing back a 7 year old one.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
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You would have been better off starting a new thread than bringing back a 7 year old one.
Oh, I don't know. The information is just as relevant today as it was 7 years ago. I've not seen this thread before this.

There are a great many members, myself included, that weren't members 7 years ago.

FWIW, I use 4.2gr HP-38 under a Lee tumble-lube round nose 158 grain.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:03 AM
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An old thread but good info nonetheless.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:33 AM
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I've used 4.3 gr 231 since the 80's. One word of caution. If you are at a match in the winter, and the temp drops below the 30's put your ammo in your pocket before going to the chrono station. 231 loses velocity in cold weather, and may not make the minimum.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:13 PM
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Have been using these two loads for over 30 years. In the 158 lswc 4.0gr and in the 148 wadcutter 3.7g .
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:46 PM
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Iím wondering why everyone is using so much 231 also. I use 3.0 grains of 231 with a 148 HBWC or DEWC cycles my model 52 without beating it up. I tried 158 gr lead bullets with the same charge and they work great in the revolvers. Nice and mild, Larry
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:27 PM
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Iíve been loading 3.8 grains for a while but just dialed it down to 3.4. Hodgon lists 3.1 as minimum and 3.7 as max. Iím just pinching paper so I went middle of the road. Paper targets donít know the difference.
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:23 AM
Benchrest1 Benchrest1 is offline
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My go too load is 3.4 grains of 231 with a 158 LSWC.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:15 AM
phonejack phonejack is offline
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4.0 with 158's work for me.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:35 AM
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Some want max accuracy, some want mild recoil and "decent" accuracy, some want to push max loads, and some want to make some power factor to play games.
The point is, you will find people using loads that range from just below most loading manual start loads all the way up to the max load. There is no specific load for any cartridge that will make everyone happy.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:37 AM
zeke zeke is offline
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38 Spl. 158gr LSWC- How much W231 are you using?  
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Another fan of 4.2 grains of hp-38 under 158 swc. About 820 fps from 6 in. It is very accurate and enables my k-38 to shoot to poa at 25 yards.

Used to use 3.2 grains under full wadcutters, but am not using those anymore.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:42 AM
Huskerguy Huskerguy is offline
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I have settled at 3.5 and it works great for mild target loads. It doesn't beat me or my wife up. I loaded 3.9 for a while but really didn't see the point.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:08 AM
DumpStick DumpStick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jebus35745 View Post
Iím wondering why everyone is using so much 231 also. I use 3.0 grains of 231 with a 148 HBWC or DEWC cycles my model 52 without beating it up. I tried 158 gr lead bullets with the same charge and they work great in the revolvers. Nice and mild, Larry
I'm using 4.2gr 231, because it makes my fixed sight revolvers shoot to POA.

I tried several loads, starting with a low charge. At 10 yds I was hitting high.

I adjusted the charge up, walking it right down the target as the speed increased. When I got close to max (depending on which data one studies) I was hitting POA.

That's why, at least in my case.
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:33 PM
nbedford nbedford is offline
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I have used 4.1 grains of W231 with a 160 grain LSWC bullet in my 4" Model 67 no-dash S&W. It appeared quite accurate, and chronographed at an average of 788 fps. All revolvers are a law unto themselves; in my 4" Model 15-3 they averaged 851 fps. Also quite accurate.

Last edited by nbedford; 06-04-2019 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:00 PM
Harrison Harrison is offline
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Whatever Hodgen's on line data guide calls for.
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Can my S&W Mdl 10 shoot +P
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:34 PM
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4.0 HP38 ( same powder) . About 850 fps, and accurate
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:15 AM
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Nevada Ed Nevada Ed is offline
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I use w231 powder in a few of my 38 loads that work for me.

In my J frame snub nose, the 158 lead bullet gets from 587 to 816 fps.
With a longer 6" barrel K frame this powder will reach 948 fps.

One of my powders that does well with any type of primer and
still get good accuracy for target use.
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