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Old 01-06-2012, 05:55 PM
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Default light 38 special loads

My 586 will be in monday and my wife wants to shoot it with me. Ive loaded some loads for myself already 158gr lead SWC propelled 4 grs of Hodgdon Universal clays. I tested the load in my dad's model 15 and they were fairly light by my standards but i would like to get my wifes loads down a little more. I also have some 148gr wadcutters and some unique, and some blue dot, and bullseye that im kinda iffy about. It was made before hercules became alliant. Anyone got any good powder puff loads with the materials ive listed?
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:34 PM
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2.7 grains of Bullseye and the wadcutters. Light and accurate.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:48 PM
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I load 3.2 to 3.4 gr of hogdon HP-38 with 158 gr LSWC and can shoot them all day. that's what i started my son on and we've yet to find any reason to load any hotter.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:51 PM
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For new shooters I use 158 gr. SWC and 3.5 grs. of Unique, 577 fps out of a 2 in. barrel.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:57 PM
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ChuckS1 gives the old standby .38 target load and it is as good as ever - if you are a careful handloader.

In my experience, Bullseye has been very consistent as long as I have been using it - way more so than Unique and #2400. (Don't know all that much about Blue Dot.) I would make a few test loads and try your Bullseye - as long as you can positively identify it and there is no tell-tale rancid odor to it.

I still use some rather old powders that were "before Alliant" and have good results with them. Success in doing that mainly seems to depend on storage. If left in the original container and stored at reasonably steady temperatures around normal room temperature, I have noticed no problems.

If you have any serious doubts, pour it out and burn it up. A can of powder is not worth risking destroying a gun - and maybe hurting someone.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:10 PM
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I use W231/HP-38 for most of my .38 Special loads. It works well for me...
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:21 PM
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Either 2.7 gr. Bullseye with the 148 gr.HBWC or 2.8 gr. Trail Boss with the 158 gr. cast lead bullet.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:52 PM
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I have several cans of Bulleye of the Herculese era and have noticed no ill effects. However, it has always been stored in the house in the original containers. 2.7 BE/148 WC in .38 Spl. has been one of my all time favorites.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:38 AM
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Bullseye = light accurate loads.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:41 PM
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3.0 grains of Bullseye will get you a nice light recoiling load in the mid 600 fps range. The cases may come out sooty because the pressure is very low.

I like Red Dot for light loads because it generates peak pressure quickly and seals off the case and burns completely. 2.8g of Red Dot under a 158g SWC feels a little stronger than a .22 LR and is great for easing someone into a centerfire pistol. Other fast powders good for light loads are Clays, TightGroup and of course Trail Boss which was meant for light loads in black powder cartridges.

With light loads in 38, be careful of double/triple charges, its a big case. That's the other good thing about Trail Boss, it takes up most of the case volume with a single light charge.
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:28 PM
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I load 4.5 grs of unique over a 158 gr swc for my wife and shes dead on with it.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:18 AM
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I like 3.1 grains of Titegroup over a 158 grain RNL hard cast bullet. Light, accurate, and does not lead up the gun. Makes for a very light training round.

Chief38
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
I like 3.1 grains of Titegroup over a 158 grain RNL hard cast bullet. Light, accurate, and does not lead up the gun. Makes for a very light training round.

Chief38
Question: In the Hodgdon data they recommend 3.2 - 3.8 gr of TG for a 158 gr LSWC. For W231, 3.1 - 3.7 gr. For HBWC they recommend 2.7 - 3.3 gr TG or 3.5 - 4.0 gr W231. Why the similarity in the 158 gr loads and difference in the two powders with 148 HBWC?
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:32 AM
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After you reload for some time you will come to the realization that it is NOT an exact science and therefore different manuals will have different reloading data. Each person that did the same science experiment in High School came out with different yields.....remember?

The slight variations are due to:

* different powder manufacture dates, brands of primers and brands of bullets
* how tight or severe your crimp is
* how many times your cases have been loaded
* individual press set ups and idiosyncrasies
* different bullet lubes
* how conservative or brave the reloading manual publisher wants to be
* etc etc.

Chief38
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
After you reload for some time you will come to the realization that it is NOT an exact science and therefore different manuals will have different reloading data. Each person that did the same science experiment in High School came out with different yields.....remember?

Chief38
While I understand what you're saying, for people like me (who like to operate within more defined parameters) it can complicate things. So we will continue to listen and ask questions and hope we come to the "right" decision, arbitrary as that might sometimes be. Thanks Chief.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Vermont View Post
While I understand what you're saying, for people like me (who like to operate within more defined parameters) it can complicate things. So we will continue to listen and ask questions and hope we come to the "right" decision, arbitrary as that might sometimes be. Thanks Chief.
I think it may have to do with the powder burn rate. Tilegroup burns hotter than W231. Just happen to be close on the 158 gr bullet weight but different on the 148 gr bullet weight. That's a good example of why you can't substitute powders. They may be close on one load but way apart on others.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Vermont View Post
Question: In the Hodgdon data they recommend 3.2 - 3.8 gr of TG for a 158 gr LSWC. For W231, 3.1 - 3.7 gr. For HBWC they recommend 2.7 - 3.3 gr TG or 3.5 - 4.0 gr W231. Why the similarity in the 158 gr loads and difference in the two powders with 148 HBWC?
Steve In Vermont,
My theory to explain your question: the 158gr being the heavier bullet will produce a more aggressive pressure curve due to its inertia than the 148gr. Titegroup being a faster powder than W231, it can reach the required pressure with less of it than the slower W231. I think... :-)

Regards,
Guy -
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:35 AM
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I've been reloading for a few years and about 185,000 rounds. I've been loading a lot of .38 Special this past year or so. I like light accurate loads. I use 125 gr lead round nose and 158 gr lead swc. I like Bullseye. I have a few manuals. I always start with the minimum load listed. Most of these are very comfortable, but maybe not the most accurate. When I'm starting a new load for a particular bullet, powder, or gun, or any combination, I end up with a few different combinations which work for me.

Try the starting loads. They should clear the end of the barrel and have minimal recoil. Safe and light will be a good place to start.

I'm shooting 3.1 Bullseye with the 125 gr at 25 yards with spectacular results out of my 14-3 and 15-2. My 19s, 4 & 6" seem to like 3.4 Bullseye with the 158 gr swc. Both loads are very mild recoil.

I have small hands and prefer the Ahrends retro combat grips. Sometimes the grips make as much difference for felt recoil as the loads.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:45 AM
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...Steve, another thing I noticed in the Hodgdon data you refer to:

for the 148 HBWC, their listed starting speed differs quite a bit: 771 fps for TG and 869 for W231, a difference of 98 fps or 13% in speed.

for their 158gr data, the listed speed for TG is 815 fps versus 782 for W231, or a difference of 4%, much less delta. So it could explain why we see a bigger difference in the case of 148 HBWC.

This explanation is probably better than the one I gave in my previous post

Regards,
Guy -
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