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Old 03-08-2013, 07:08 AM
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Default .38 S&W, cast or jacketed?

I'm not new to reloading but I am to the 38's of all variants. My old Hand Ejector shoots factory Remington 145gr really well and I have a set of 38 s&w dies. So now I'm in the market for components. Seems there's a variety of bullet diameters and I'm unsure whether I can shoot jacketed bullets or strictly cast out of this old (1940's) revolver. Also any pet loads you gents would like to share would be greatly appreciated!

p.s., I only shoot paper with this but I'm not apposed to any +p rounds either as long as the gun can handle them...
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:13 AM
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A while back I loaded for .38 S&W.
Bullets for it were not commonly available.
Penn made up some .360 140 grain cast bullets that did fine.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:31 AM
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If you can find them, Mag-tech makes a lead 146gr lead RN
at .160 dia for your gun. Midway is out of them on todays
search.

Good luck.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:33 PM
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post what you work out to be a good recreation load as im looking at getting once of these for back yard fun, btw a 125gr 358 HBWC might work if u can get it seated and it stay in the case.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:59 PM
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MidwayUsa and Goex sell the "Goex 145 grain lead flatnose with SPG lube."

It is either .357 or .358 but of soft lead designed for the pocket guns and black powder used in Cowboy Action Shooting.

I am loading these in a Colt Police Positive 4 inch barrel in .38 S&W. Utilizing smokeless powders my best group is under 2 inches at 15 yards for 5 shots.

The soft lead will upset in a larger bore. Also the swaged lead hollow-based wadcutters by Remington, Speer, and Hornady should do the same and work well.

DO NOT CRIMP WADCUTTERS. Just re-form (carefully using the crimp die) the case mouth back to case diameter dimensions.

If you use to much crimp on a hollow-base wadcuter the powder charge will blow through the hollow-base and through the bullet. It will then propel the bullet halfway down the muzzle and you have a bullet in the bore. If you are distracted (etc.) you will not notice the event and will discharge a second round into the barrel.

You might also look into the swaged soft lead Speer and Hornady 158 grain offerings. Unfortunately they are all pretty much out of stock everywhere.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:17 PM
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I just started re-loading recently after 25 years.

What I have found out from my mistakes recently, is that the 38 special has it's special requirements pertaining to how you want it to perform to.

1. It won't satisfy your need for heavy 158 grain jacketed HP that you want to expand. Just can't get the velocity required for them to perform. So money not wisely spent on bullets. Learned this from my previous post.

2. You can drop down to 140 grain bullets and below JHP and they will work.

3. For a 158 PD load you will require a lead bullet. They come in a lot of different shapes and hardness. It's expansion vs penetration. Powders for short barrels, leading and not leading up the barrel. Soft,hard,harder. It's a science that you have to take the time to see what works for you and your "LIL Friend". It's like when I started playing cribbage, It costs to learn.

4. I am going to try a 158 grain, hard cast, PHP, at #10 BHN. I want to be able to use this in my 38 spl & 357 mag. I think it will work for PD and hunting Deer?? I hope this will cover all me requirements for a bullet in both calibers. Won't use it for target practice. I will have to play with different powders, etc.

5. I am just learning and I hope to glen and share information. If l made a mistake here, please correct!

Thanks, Good Luck & Enjoy I Sure Am!
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistolairo View Post
I just started re-loading recently after 25 years.

What I have found out from my mistakes recently, is that the 38 special has it's special requirements pertaining to how you want it to perform to.

1. It won't satisfy your need for heavy 158 grain jacketed HP that you want to expand. Just can't get the velocity required for them to perform. So money not wisely spent on bullets. Learned this from my previous post.

2. You can drop down to 140 grain bullets and below JHP and they will work.

3. For a 158 PD load you will require a lead bullet. They come in a lot of different shapes and hardness. It's expansion vs penetration. Powders for short barrels, leading and not leading up the barrel. Soft,hard,harder. It's a science that you have to take the time to see what works for you and your "LIL Friend". It's like when I started playing cribbage, It costs to learn.

4. I am going to try a 158 grain, hard cast, PHP, at #10 BHN. I want to be able to use this in my 38 spl & 357 mag. I think it will work for PD and hunting Deer?? I hope this will cover all me requirements for a bullet in both calibers. Won't use it for target practice. I will have to play with different powders, etc.

5. I am just learning and I hope to glen and share information. If l made a mistake here, please correct!

Thanks, Good Luck & Enjoy I Sure Am!
The OP is asking about a 38 SW not a 38 Special. Different animal.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
The OP is asking about a 38 SW not a 38 Special. Different animal.
Again the 38 S&W is a different cartridge than the 38 S&W special.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:41 PM
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Another way to load the old 38 S&W is to use the 148 gr hollow based wad cutter bullet. seat it into the case to the same depth as the base of a bullet on a factory round.
You can't seat it flush with the case mouth because there would be no room for powder ( or very little). The idea is to have the same case capacity , for the powder, with the remainder of the HBWC poking out the case mouth. Make sure they will chamber in your gun . Work up a load ( Lyman handbooks have them among others ) A light crimp will be all thats needed. When fired the hollow base fills the throat and barrel and should be accurate.
Gary
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:22 PM
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Thanks fellas, I guess I'll stick to cast bullets if I can find some. I have been entertaining the idea of casting my own...
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:47 AM
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I would suggest a strict diet of hard cast lead bullets. Jacketed rounds will require more powder to achieve similar velocity, cost more and will cause a bit more wear & tear. No reason at all to shoot jacketed IMHO.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finstr View Post
Thanks fellas, I guess I'll stick to cast bullets if I can find some. I have been entertaining the idea of casting my own...
How about sending some small pistol primers down our way?
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quneur View Post
How about sending some small pistol primers down our way?
You fellas are runnin low on alot of stuff, huh? We're seeing shortages up here too as 90% of our supplies come from the U.S. It's pretty crazy how the media is even allowed to spew lies and create mass panic with no recourse whatsoever. That Piers Morgan ought to be burned at the stake imho....but I digress
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:07 PM
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Default swaged lead

Swaged lead WCs or SWCs will do great in that gun.
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