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  #1  
Old 08-25-2012, 11:55 PM
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Default Best powders for 38/357?

I have a few different powders so I used them to build my first batch of 38/357 hand loads but just wondered what other people like. I used TiteGroup and liked it actually as I didn't need much and it was accurate. I also have W231 and HS6 to try as well. What do you prefer?
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:21 AM
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Titegroup is fine in the 38 Special. I use 231 with 158 grain lead bullets. A very popular loading.
As for the 357, depends on what you want to do with it.
If you want to load down, the TG and 231 would be fine.
If you are wanting more velocity/power, a slower powder like HS6 or even slower is needed.
A loading manual will be your friend.
I have many of them and use the Lyman manuals most of all.
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Old 08-26-2012, 06:37 AM
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From std. pressure 38 spl to +P 38 spl to midrange 357 mag; Titegroup,
W231 and Bullseye. In the 38 W231 probably gives the best velocity
within acceptable pressure levels. For midrange 357 loads Titegroup
and Bullseye seem to burn a little cleaner with less smoke.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:41 AM
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With plated bullets in a .38, I prefer using Hodgdon HP38, which by the way, is the same exact powder as W231. As the name implies, it is Hodgdon Powder for .38 Special (and is $2 per pound cheaper without the Winchester Horsey on the label).
Load data for both Hodgdon and Winchester here -> http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

With jacketed bullets in .38 spl, HP38/W231, Titegroup, or Unique.

For .357 Magnum, Alliant 2400 is my go-to powder although I have a pound of Power Pistol I've been hankering to try...
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartikus View Post
I have a few different powders so I used them to build my first batch of 38/357 hand loads but just wondered what other people like. I used TiteGroup and liked it actually as I didn't need much and it was accurate. I also have W231 and HS6 to try as well. What do you prefer?
What do you want the loads to do? Punch paper economically? Do you plan to hunt with them? You mention 38 & .357, but although they use a similar diameter case, require different powders for best performance.
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Old 08-26-2012, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 358156hp View Post
What do you want the loads to do? Punch paper economically? Do you plan to hunt with them? You mention 38 & .357, but although they use a similar diameter case, require different powders for best performance.
Well I'm mostly loading target loads that are economical to shoot and accurate and I am using both 38 & 357 because I have a little brass for each. Titegroup performed well and was very clean but I feel like its a bit snappy so I already know I want to try W231 as it has a bit more push them snap. From the responses here and my handbooks it sounds like faster powders are the way to go for target so I mostly have that figured out.

What I don't have much experience with is slower powders and wondered if anyone uses them for target loads or mostly defensive rounds.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartikus View Post
What I don't have much experience with is slower powders and wondered if anyone uses them for target loads or mostly defensive rounds.
Unique is probably the slowest powder that will give good results across the full range of 38/357 loads.

3.5grs under 148gr or 158gr bullets makes very mild target loads, 4.5-5.0/158 is close to a factory 38 duplicate.
6.0/125 or 5.5/158 are great +P loads.

In 357 cases 6.5/158 is a good everyday midrange load and 9.7/125 and 8.0/158 are full power magnum loads at close to factory velocities for each weight.

Anything slower like 2400 or 4227 won't perform well with lighter loads and W296/H110 are only suitable for full pressure magnum loads.

Last edited by Cerberus62; 08-26-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:34 PM
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.38's -- Unique and Bullseye
.357's -- Unique, 2400 and IMR4227
Best all around for both -- Unique. Especially if you are using heavier cast bullets.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:51 PM
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I use 3 powders for my 38/357 ammo. (My Powder Trinity)

For standard pressure .38's I use almost nothing other than W231/HP-38. For .38 Special +P ammo I use mostly HS-6/W540. For light to medium hot .357 Magnum ammo I also use HS-6 and for full power .357 Magnum ammo it's W296/H110. I'm not in the camp of 1 powder to do everything. I feel if it takes 2 or even 3 powders to get the best results, it's what I use.

Now, the original powder trinity, Bullseye, Unique and 2400 will also do a good job too but I went with a different company.

That works for me...
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
For midrange 357 loads Titegroup
and Bullseye seem to burn a little cleaner with less smoke.
Sorry but Bullseye is way too fast a powder for use as a mid-range .357 Magnum powder. The pressures will build way too quickly to make it an acceptable option. Velocity will not get there without excessive pressures.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
Sorry but Bullseye is way too fast a powder for use as a mid-range .357 Magnum powder. The pressures will build way too quickly to make it an acceptable option. Velocity will not get there without excessive pressures.
Well Arch is this just your opinion or did you bother to check
Alliant's data? My 2004 Alliant manual shows 6.5 grs Bullseye
with a Fed. 200 primer and 158 gr LSWC giving 1,320 fps at
33,900 psi in their test barrel. This compares favorably with
every other powder they list for this bullet. A few days ago I
tried a load of; RP 357 mag. brass, Fed 200 primer, 5.7 grs
of Bullseye and TV 158 gr SWC. Velocity at about 12 ft from
the muzzle was 1022 in my 3 1/2" 27-2 and 1066 in my 4"
27-2. Thats the velocity range I'm looking for in clean burning mid range loads. Bullseye has more flexibility than you
might think.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:35 AM
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How do yu go wrong with Unique? 5.0 grains of Unique and a 158 projectile replicates a standard velocity factory round for me.

Many will say it is too dirty.......big deal...you are going to clean the gun anyway aren't you?

Randy
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:07 AM
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Same powder for both??? I'd use Unique. Of the two you have I'd use 231, but I don't think it is a real good choice for the 357.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by growr View Post
How do yu go wrong with Unique? 5.0 grains of Unique and a 158 projectile replicates a standard velocity factory round for me.

Many will say it is too dirty.......big deal...you are going to clean the gun anyway aren't you?

Randy
Randy, from what I've seen, what most people see as "dirty" powder is usually bullet lube residue. Drew
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
Well Arch is this just your opinion or did you bother to check
Alliant's data? My 2004 Alliant manual shows 6.5 grs Bullseye
with a Fed. 200 primer and 158 gr LSWC giving 1,320 fps at
33,900 psi in their test barrel. This compares favorably with
every other powder they list for this bullet. A few days ago I
tried a load of; RP 357 mag. brass, Fed 200 primer, 5.7 grs
of Bullseye and TV 158 gr SWC. Velocity at about 12 ft from
the muzzle was 1022 in my 3 1/2" 27-2 and 1066 in my 4"
27-2. Thats the velocity range I'm looking for in clean burning mid range loads. Bullseye has more flexibility than you
might think.
No reason to get your panties all in a bunch. BTW, I just looked on the Alliant Load Data site and with a 158gr LSWC bullet they report only 939 fps with Bullseye and 1034 fps with unique.

It's not my opinion fast powder will reach their max velocity before a slower powder and with more pressure, it's a fact. No reason to shoot the messenger.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
No reason to get your panties all in a bunch. BTW, I just looked on the Alliant Load Data site and with a 158gr LSWC bullet they report only 939 fps with Bullseye and 1034 fps with unique.

It's not my opinion fast powder will reach their max velocity before a slower powder and with more pressure, it's a fact. No reason to shoot the messenger.
ArchAngelCD is right here, IMO. Using Bullseye for faster/heavier loads is not wise...a slower powder makes more sense, even if you can get by with it.

I've tried lots of powders over lots of years in a number of good revolvers, mostly Model 27s, and keep coming back to 2400. I load 15 grains w/ hard cast 158 SWCs and find it both powerful and accurate.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:06 PM
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WW296 or H110 (same powder) or 2400. Never had no problem.

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Old 09-03-2012, 06:07 PM
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Since it's different, I'll add my two cents. I use Clay's 2.8 gr and 158 gr wadcutters, that gets get you a little over 800 fps and a nice target load. It's a very economical combo.
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:17 PM
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Unique and 2400, if it was good enough for Skeeter, it's good enough for me..
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:26 PM
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I like Unique and Hercules 2400.
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebago Son View Post
.38's -- Unique and Bullseye
.357's -- Unique, 2400 and IMR4227
Best all around for both -- Unique. Especially if you are using heavier cast bullets.
+1 for 4227----Great for 357 with heavier bullets, 165, 170 & 180'S
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:08 PM
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+1 with Cerberus62 and Sebago Son (posts #7 & #8). Been handloading for .38/.357 revolvers since about 1961, and that pretty well echoes my experience.

Larry
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:49 PM
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I like bullseye for target loads in 38 and unique for 357. I use 2400 but in 44 mag.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebago Son View Post
Randy, from what I've seen, what most people see as "dirty" powder is usually bullet lube residue. Drew
Unique has a well deserved rep as being a dirty powder. I think I know the difference between bullet lube and powder residue. That being said, Unique is one of the most versatile powders you can use. Of course, if you want Unique versatility and a clean powder, then use Universal Clays. It's almost a duplicate for Unique and the "bullet lube residue" goes away. Go figure.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:07 PM
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Whats the main reason for not using W231 in .357 loads? ( Just punching paper and clay targets) I have just recently aquired my first .357 and already ordered the dies for it. I ask because I was hoping I could use up some of this 8lbs of W231 I got for $20.00. My .45 is happy to gobble it up but it will take a while. If I could load for both I would put a bigger dent in it. I suppose I could just load .38's and go to town but, I have been scrounging .357 brass instead. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Whats the main reason for not using W231 in .357 loads?
It works fine for mid-range loads. You just can't load to the speeds you can get with slower powders. Hodgdon has free loading data on line.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:35 PM
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OKFC05,

Thank you for the quick response. The Hodgdon site is why I had asked the question. I see they have many different load recipes on the site but, very few people seem to like it for .357 or at least mention it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:41 PM
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I've used 231 and Bullseye in my 686 and have TG to play with also.
I don't find 231 or TG dirty. All are about the same speed (according to vihtavourhureieieie's chart).

Around here THE load for target is 148 or 158 WC (de, hb, etc) is 2.7 gr bullseye. Gets you 630-710fps depending on bullet/barrel. And very very accurate out to 25 yards. At 50 yards you get some bullet drop. Very economical too, not that powder is a big cost item anyway. I get over 2500 rounds out of a lb that costs me $16 locally.

I"ve not loaded any 357 full house loads - still debating on buying some or what the cost would be to make my own. Would I shoot that many to justify a lb of 2400? I'll check out clays and unique.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:13 PM
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There is no one powder that is ideal for both cartridges.

For 38 spl I use either Bullseye or Trail Boss. For 357 I use Bullseye or Trail Boss for plinking loads, 2400 for faster than a speeding 38 and 300MP for be all you can be.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
It works fine for mid-range loads. You just can't load to the speeds you can get with slower powders. Hodgdon has free loading data on line.
I do like W231 for midrange 357 loads. My favorite is this one;
Win brass, WSPM primer, 5.8 grs 231, TV 158 gr cast SWC.
A quick check of five rounds through my S&W 4" 27-2 about
two weeks ago showed velocity at about 12 ft from the muzzle, 1061 fps and ES only 6 fps.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
I do like W231 for midrange 357 loads. My favorite is this one;
Win brass, WSPM primer, 5.8 grs 231, TV 158 gr cast SWC.
A quick check of five rounds through my S&W 4" 27-2 about
two weeks ago showed velocity at about 12 ft from the muzzle, 1061 fps and ES only 6 fps.
I'm also a fan of W231 in lead .357 Magnum loads but when going over 1000 fps I switch over to HS-6 (W540) instead. I charge 9.2gr under a 158gr SWC and I use a CCI-550 primer. I think 5.8gr W231 is generating a lot of pressure so I like the HS-6 load a little better because it will generate less pressure. I liked HS-7 (W571) even better for that application when it was still available but as we know, it's also gone.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:29 AM
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I like 231 and Unique with my .38 Special standard loads and 2400 and Unique for my .38-44 and .357 loads.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:46 AM
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I don't like having a zillion different powders around so I have been using Titegroup. I used to use the old stand-by for .38 Special which was the Bullseye, but changed over to the Titegroup because it is supposedly less case position sensitive, loads almost the same (grain wise) and is suppose to be cleaner burning. I have been very happy with it and when I do load .357's I use it as well.

I've also used Unique ('cause I have so much of it) and that works fine too, but I think the Titegroup is a bit more efficient. I do have W231 but have not tried it for 38/357. I use the 231 in my .45 acp's - works quite well.

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Old 09-06-2012, 06:47 AM
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crazypony;
Where's that store that sells 8# of 231 for $20 ?

Larry
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lebomm View Post
crazypony;
Where's that store that sells 8# of 231 for $20 ?

Larry
I was in the garage (Door open)loading.45's one morning a few weeks ago and an older gentleman walked by with his dog and noticed what I was up to. He asked if I would be interested in some reloading powder that was given to him by his neighbor that had to move and couldnt take it with him. I said sure and he told me that 20 bucks was fine by him since he doesnt reload or know anyone that does. It's actually only about 7.5 lbs, but it will work. 1 4lb bottle and 3.5 1lb bottles. I felt as though I had hit the lottery, now I just wish someone would come by with and old gun collection they want to get rid of.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:59 PM
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I load 125 gr Berry's or Rainier plated 357's with ww brass, wsp primer and 8.0 gr of 231/hp38. Nice mild target load out of my GP 100. Speer # 13 lists starting load at 7.7 gr, max at 8.3 gr. This gives me a sweet load that is in between the 38 sp +p and a magnum load. Speer manual says it should do around 1100 fps.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
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I was in the garage (Door open)loading.45's one morning a few weeks ago and an older gentleman walked by with his dog and noticed what I was up to. He asked if I would be interested in some reloading powder that was given to him by his neighbor that had to move and couldnt take it with him. I said sure and he told me that 20 bucks was fine by him since he doesnt reload or know anyone that does. It's actually only about 7.5 lbs, but it will work. 1 4lb bottle and 3.5 1lb bottles. I felt as though I had hit the lottery, now I just wish someone would come by with and old gun collection they want to get rid of.
That was "Future You" bringing you a present.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:41 PM
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Well tested my first .357 reloads w/ W231. These all went through a 6" 686 at 25yds. Using the Hodgon site recipe for 158 LSWC (extreme plated 158SWC), WSP and remington cases, COL of 1.590. They suggest a start of 3.4 all the way up to 5grns. I made 14ea @ 4.4, 4.6 and 4.8 grns. They all felt like I was shooting a .22. I set out 3 seperate 5" targets. All hits on paper from a standing freehand stance w/ gusty wind not helping. Not all really tight groups but at least on the paper. Hodgon used a 10" barrel, WSPM and an OAL of 1.610. I did notice that the reloads had a bit more smoke than I had seen shooting factory loads. I will say that these are with out a doubt plinking load's.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:23 PM
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Of course they felt like .22's, did you see the pressures reported for those light loads. The 5.0gr load is barely more than a .38 Special +P load and nowhere near a magnum load. Hodgdon keeps their lead load data low because they don't want to cause leading in the barrel. You can use a lot more than a 5.0gr charge weight since they report only 23,000 CUP with that load.

I would think you can increase the load a bit since the current max pressure for that caliber is 35,000 PSI but the bullet will dictate how much velocity you can generate. I'm not telling you to go against published data, I'm only discussing why the load feels so light.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:44 PM
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Unique and bullseye.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:23 AM
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I wasn't upset with the results. I didnt expect them to compete w/ full house magnum loads. As stated in my first post on the subject I was going to just be punching paper and clay targets with them. Actually I'm pretty happy that they worked out as well as they did. These are the first revolver rounds I have ever made so it was fun. I have been loading 45acp for a while now and thought I would get into revolvers as well. I may up the charge a little 5.2 to 5.4 but, other than that I'm good with them. They can help me chew up all of this w231 I got. I will probably pick up some 2400 just to say I did and give it whirl as well.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartikus View Post
I have a few different powders so I used them to build my first batch of 38/357 hand loads but just wondered what other people like. I used TiteGroup and liked it actually as I didn't need much and it was accurate. I also have W231 and HS6 to try as well. What do you prefer?
I like Unique. I've been using it for 30 years in the .38 Special w/ 158-160 gr. lead or jacketed bullets. In my experience it has been excellent. I haven't loaded for the .357 Magnum in a coons age, so I will not off a suggestion for that caliber. One other plus for Unique is that it gives outstanding results in my WWII Remington made 1903 Springfield using 165 gr. flat nosed cast lead bullets.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:29 PM
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I love the old description of Unique... flammable dirt.

I use it, but mostly in 45 colt and occasionally in work-up loads for other large bore calibers like .44Spl. Good for the 45-70 too, but so is 2400 and IMR 4227.

In the .38/.357 I like two mainly - W231/HP38 for light to +P and W296/H110 for magnum.

I have found 2400 to be really good in .357 for hot loads, I really do like it, but I'm one of those guys that limits the powder options so that I don't have too many different powders laying about.
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  #44  
Old 09-19-2012, 02:37 PM
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38 spcl target loads .... Bullseye and Red Dot

38 spcl. mid range to +P loads.... Unique

357 Magnum, ........ 2400

Thats my 2 cents ....gary
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:11 PM
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Twenty plus years of reloading and I haven't found a better all around powder for .38 Special and .357 Magnum loads than Alliant's Unique.

Two years ago, I bought into the TiteGroup hype and swithced all my light and medium loads over. It was a tiny bit cheaper and does work well with plated and jacketed bullets, however cast lead was another story. The bullets I buy rarely have any leading issues. All of a sudden, with TiteGroup I had severe leading. I tried going to minimum loads, I tried going to maximum loads. Nothing helped. I did some net research and found TiteGroup burns extremely hot, that is why it is so 'clean'. Apparently the high burn temp can cause slight bullet base melting which causes leading. I'll gladly take some soot from Unique than have the leading from TiteGroup!

Bullseye is my go to for 148 grain wadcutter loads, as I find light charges of it meter better than Unique. For Full power .357 loads I've had good luck with W296, especially when going for the highest velocity with 125 grain jacketed bullets.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:44 AM
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I think you would like 4 gr. ( 3.5-4.3 ) 231 in 38 special with your 158 gr. SWC .

I also like 4.4 ( 4-4.5 ) Unique in 38 special with 158 gr. SWC

I like to start at 4 gr. with both and tweek.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray45 View Post
I think you would like 4 gr. ( 3.5-4.3 ) 231 in 38 special with your 158 gr. SWC .

I also like 4.4 ( 4-4.5 ) Unique in 38 special with 158 gr. SWC

I like to start at 4 gr. with both and tweek.
I can't decide which I like better so I don't! I lean to Unique for more and more calibers but W231 (or HP38) runs so well in .38 spl. I can't set it down.

Hey - WELCOME TO THE FORUM!
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