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Old 12-26-2012, 03:08 PM
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Default Reloading for the .38 S&W

I am going to start loading this caliber after getting my old Regulation police out of the safe. I have old loading data but does anyone have loads for Clays powder or AA#5. The gun is old (1921) so loads will hve to be mild.

BR
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:25 PM
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Default 38 S&W

I think that while #5 might work, it is too slow.
I use Trailboss in mine, but I think Titegroup , Bullseye or Accurate #2 would be great too.
I had trouble finding loads for 38 S&W but found some for Colt version of same cartridge right on Hodgdon's site or book I can't remember which.
I have also had very good luck with Missouri Bullets made for this cartridge.
They come in a 146 grain I believe and are very inexpensive and work well.
Chris
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:15 PM
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My Speer 9 manual shows some 38 S&W loads.

Bullseye 2.2 start - 2.4 max with 158 grain lead SWC
Bullseye 2.5 start - 2.7 max with 148 grain BB Wadcutter

Unique 2.9 start 3.1 max with 158 gr lead SWC
Unique 3.1 start 3.4 max with 148 gr lead Wadcutter

Sorry, but no loads shown for Clays or AA#5.

Hope this helps.

Steve
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:38 PM
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Your RP should be more able to handle stouter loads than any of the old breaktops. Faster powders (Bullseye, Red Dot, Green Dot, Unique, and AA#2) are best in the .38 S&W. My mildest load, which I use in the old breaktops, is 3.0 grains of Unique with a 145 grain .360 lead bullet (from Missouri Bullet Co.). You could safely go to 4.0 grains of Unique, and I also use that load in more modern revolvers. I also use 125 grain .358 bullets with 3.5 grains of Unique in the oldies. Even with a slightly smaller diameter, those bullets work fine for me.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:10 PM
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Hodgdon's website has cowboy loads for Clays. It's a great powder for reduced loads because it isn't position sensitive and works well with charges that aren't up against the primer. A pound of Clays MAY load up to 2000 rounds of 38 SPECIAL, so you would be set for a while with 38 S&W, unless you start loading other cartridges like 44 special, 45 Colt, 44 Russian, 32-20 WCF, 38-40, 44-40 and the list goes on and on! Have fun, Ivan
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:47 PM
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Most people aren't aware of the versatility and economy of the faster pistol and shotgun propellants like Bullseye and Red Dot. They can be used to make effective (but not necessarily maximum) loads in ANY handgun caliber from .32 ACP to .44 Magnum. They are also very good for light loads in virtually any CF rifle caliber from .30-30 upwards with any bullet. 13 to 14 grain loads of any of them in a CF rifle case of your choice will give you essentially black powder ballistics of 1200 to 1400 ft/sec, good enough for any short-range hunting. And a pound of powder will last forever. Remember that last statement when you think about stockpiling.

Last edited by DWalt; 12-26-2012 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:41 PM
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Like said above, AA#5 just might be too slow a powder for the 38 S&W. I would also be careful with clays because it's known to spike pressures with small increases in powder weight.

Unique
Universal
W231/HP-38
Red Dot
Promo
Trail Boss
and a few others including Herco which I can't explain since it's even slower than AA#5 but it works.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:48 PM
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I use 3 gr. of Red Dot with a 125 gr. FMJ bullet for my .38 S&W. I usually shoot it out of a 33-1, 32-1 Terrier or a 38/200 Victory model. I mostly shoot indoors, that is why I use FMJ bullets.

It works very well and even with the .357 bullet size, it is pretty accurate.
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:09 PM
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I have used .357-.358 bullets (lead) in .38 S&W revolvers for years, and they seem to group OK for me despite the alleged fact that they are slightly undersize for a .38 S&W bore. I have related this story before, but I will repeat it again. I have pulled .38 S&W lead bullets from numerous antique dud rounds, and have found by measurement that they run .357-.359 in diameter. So I really wonder about all the information that says .360-.361 bullets should be used, as the factories evidently did not, at least back in the old days.
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