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  #1  
Old 04-11-2012, 02:58 PM
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Default Powder for 38 special

Looking for a good powder for my Mod 60 using 357 mag cases. Load both jacketed and lead bullets 148 and 158 gr.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:13 PM
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Win231/HP38 (same powder) will take you up to moderate .357 loads. If you want full power .357, you need a slower powder like Win296/H110.

HP38 stands for "Hodgdon powder for .38."

http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:14 PM
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One can never go wrong using Unique. A standard for decades. Consult your loading manual and have fun.

Wade
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:17 PM
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I use both 231 and unique, I do find unique to be quite a bit dirtier compared to the 231 though.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:18 PM
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231, 296 , Unique all will produce decent performance in .357.
Unique will take up more space in the case than the others, and will leave some soot and crud on the gun, but shoots smooth and predictably. The dirt cleans up easy.
It is a dual base concoction, meaning that it has the usual cotton fiber based cellulose but also has some woopulp fiber cellulose incorporated in the formula. I'm sure it is done that way as a means to regulate the speed of the powder. Maybe someone here knows. The cotton (nitro)cellulose is faster that the wood pulp, eh?
Anyway, I do believe that is the source of the soot you get from Unique.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:50 PM
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In the 38 spcl. I use Bullseye ( 2.7 to 3.0 grs. ) for lighter target and plinking loads. For standard velocity ( not +P ) loads I like 5.0 grs Unique .
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:56 PM
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Title says "38 special"

Body of post says 357 cases?

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Old 04-11-2012, 05:56 PM
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Rule3, yes I am looking for a good 38 special target load for my 357 mag cases. Because of the larger volume of the 357 case I would think a bulkier powder would be better. Sorry I was not clear on that.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:58 PM
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Try some 800 X
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S&Wdave View Post
Rule3, yes I am looking for a good 38 special target load for my 357 mag cases. Because of the larger volume of the 357 case I would think a bulkier powder would be better. Sorry I was not clear on that.
I guess I would have just called it a 357 Target load

Anyway. I like HP 38/W 231 for just about anything. Unique seems to do better at near max loads. If they were true 38 special than I would also try Bullseye
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:54 PM
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Bottom line is shooting 38 specials in the 357 makes it harder to clean the cylinder. 357 target load good point. Will the W231 take up more room than Bullseye? Have never used it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:15 PM
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One of the SWC Keith type bullets has the same case volume when loaded in either a 38 sp case or 357 case. In 38 cases, crimp is below top band, in 357 case, crimp is above top band.

So you can use your regular 38 sp powder and loadings in the 357 case. No carbon ring from short cases.

Bullseye and Unique are my goto powders for 38 sp.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:32 PM
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Pretty much any fast burning pistol powder will work.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:55 PM
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FWIW, I've found 4.8 gr of Bullseye to work well with the 158 gr bullets in 357 cases. I seat Xtreme plated to 1.57 OAL. It may be a little hotter than a regular 38 load but nowhere near a full bore 357 in my guns. I'm not really happy yet with my 148 DEWC loads but my last try was 3.5 gr of Bullseye with a DEWC seated to 1.37" OAL.

I only recently started using Bullseye again so I may be full of dung.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:02 PM
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I have had great results with Titegroup. It is not position sensitive and is formulated for loadings where the powder does not occupy a large portion of the case volume. I use it in .45 Colt for this reason also. Try 3.3 grains of Titegroup with a 148 gr DEWC for the .38 load.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S&Wdave View Post
Bottom line is shooting 38 specials in the 357 makes it harder to clean the cylinder. 357 target load good point. Will the W231 take up more room than Bullseye? Have never used it.
HP38 was designed specifically for the 38, it is not position sensitive, it can be used from real powder puff loads to almost full magnum. It meters very well (as does Bullseye) It is just a bit slower than Bullseye.

158 GR. CAST LSWC Hodgdon HP-38 .358" 1.610" 3.4 796 12,600 CUP 5.0 1109 23,900 CUP
Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - data.hodgdon.com

Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:47 AM
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There are MANY good powders that are suitable for use in the .38 Special but my favorite .38 Special powder is W231/HP-38.

Along with W231 I have used (some for .38 Special +P only) Clays, Universal, HS-6, Longshot, 700x, Trail Boss, Red Dot, Green Dot, Unique, Power Pistol, 2400, AA#5 and Zip but I always come back to W231/HP-38...

No reason to change powders if you use a .357 Magnum case at .38 Special pressures. W231 will work just fine, I have used it with success.
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  #18  
Old 04-12-2012, 11:23 AM
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Default 2nd for Titegroup

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmoose View Post
I have had great results with Titegroup. It is not position sensitive and is formulated for loadings where the powder does not occupy a large portion of the case volume. I use it in .45 Colt for this reason also. Try 3.3 grains of Titegroup with a 148 gr DEWC for the .38 load.
I agree with Bigmoose. I've had good results with both 3 and 3.3 grains of Titegroup with the 148 gr DEWC.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:20 PM
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I've loaded with all the powders mentioned, like HP-38 and Bullseye, but lately have been using Titegroup in many calibers. Makes economic sense, LGS has great pricing on large bottle.
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  #20  
Old 04-12-2012, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m1gunner View Post
One of the SWC Keith type bullets has the same case volume when loaded in either a 38 sp case or 357 case. In 38 cases, crimp is below top band, in 357 case, crimp is above top band.
So you can use your regular 38 sp powder and loadings in the 357 case. No carbon ring from short cases.
Bullseye and Unique are my goto powders for 38 sp.
I believe you mean Lyman #358156 bullet mold. I don't know of anyone offering it commercially, you have to cast your own. Lyman still offers this mould, in solid or hollow point.
It was designed in the early 1950s, when .357 Magnum brass was very difficult to find. By using .38 Special brass, and seating the bullet out and crimping into its lower crimping groove, the bullet approximated the same case volume in the .38 Special as in the .357 Magnum.
This particular cartridge -- with the .38 Special case crimped into the lower groove of the .358156 bullet -- is intended to be fired ONLY in .357 Magnums. They can take the pressure.
For .38 Special revolvers, this bullet should be crimped in the upper groove and a standard .38 Special powder load used.
The 358156 bullet was designed by Ray Thompson of Grand Marais, Minn. He also designed it to use a rifle's .35-caliber gas check, a novelty at the time. Later, pistol bullets began to be designed to take a variety of gas checks.
Elmer Keith had nothing to do with the .358156 design, nor with the design of the classic semiwadcutter, which dates to the early 1900s.

Keith improved upon the established semiwadcutter design, by having a front driving band that was wide to better align the bullet in the chamber throat as it headed toward the barrel's forcing cone.
To my knowledge, Keith never designed a gas-checked bullet. He believed in bases that were full caliber, not beveled, with wide base bands.

The late gun writer Skeeter Skelton wrote an excellent article about his use of the Lyman 358156 bullet -- in solid and hollowpoint -- in the 8th edition of Handloader's Digest. This book may be found on internet auction sites.
Skelton's 1978 article prompted me to buy a Lyman 358156 mould in 1979, for my Ruger Security Six. Been using that bullet since. In a good gun, it can be a tack-driver.
Lyman also offers this bullet in hollowpoint form, but you have to make them one at a time: rather tedious.
The 358156 remains one of the best bullet designs for the .38 Special or .357 Magnum. The only downside is that if you assemble .357 Magnum-power loads in .38 Special cases, you're playing with fire.
Sooner or later, someone may drop that cartridge into a .38 Special and experience what we reloaders call an, "instant disassembly."
Today, there's no point in using .38 cases with this bullet to get .357 Magnum velocities. Brass for the .357 is readily available.
I stopped making .357-power loads in .38 cases years ago, fearful that I'd somehow load a .38 Special with such a load and wreck the gun or harm myself.

This bullet does not eliminate the ring of lead left in .357 Magnum chambers when using .38 Special cases. It's the case length that creates the problem, not how far out the bullet is seated.

Excellent bullet. If you cast, or want to try casting bullets for the .38 Special or .357 Magnum, the 358156 is hard to beat.
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  #21  
Old 04-13-2012, 12:52 PM
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A lot of good information as I load both 38's for my Mod 15 Combat Masterpiece and 38's and 357's for my Mod 60 .357mag J frame. Love this forum!
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:11 PM
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Default Powder for 38/357

I use Bullseye and Titegroup for light loads, I have been using a lot of Accurate #5 and Power Pistol for midrange in 357 mag or full power 38 Special.
Power Pistol meters well as does #5 , I know HP38 or Win 231 same I have been told work very well to, they just seem harder to find.
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:24 PM
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for 38 loads in 357 cases i would use unique it will fill the case better than bullseye jmho!
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S&Wdave View Post
A lot of good information as I load both 38's for my Mod 15 Combat Masterpiece and 38's and 357's for my Mod 60 .357mag J frame. Love this forum!
Exactly what l was thinking! I've been collecting 357 range brass with this type reloading in mind. Thanks to the OP for starting this thread!
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:21 AM
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Accurate #5 works very well for me with 158 gr JHPs and also 125 gr. JHPs.
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