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Old 02-26-2014, 04:42 PM
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Nevada Ed Nevada Ed is offline
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Default Old Steel J frame with Unique +P

I have a steel M49 J frame that I have been shooting with the 158gr LRN, SWC and LHP bullets to try and figure out what loads will work in it.

The LRN at 570fps are super accurate with one load with 5 @ .54" as my best group as of this date.

The Lswc is my hot or +P test bullet and my one manual has 5.4 grs of Unique as a maximum 38 special loading.
I have tried 5.2grs of Unique but at 851 fps with a medium crimp it is very heavy on recoil.

With a LswcHP (FBI) bullet I finally have a 5.0gr load of Unique with a heavy crimp that hits 861 fps......... which is controllable with a fair grouping but 2" high.

With the same bullet and a different powder I have a load at only 822 fps but at poa and listed by Alliant as a safe 38 special loading.

Is this Unique load of 5.0grs going to be ok for SD use with light use in this revolver? I see lots of post were guys have 888fps or more fps in their snub nose guns. I don't know if I need more recoil and any more stress on the little J frame?

I tried to find some HS-6 but it is playing hide and seek with me..............2400 gave 835 in a max charge but had a "Shotgun" pattern and Universal maxed out at 824 fps but would not come near a poa.

Just funny how all the data is for a K frame ........... and very little if any for a J frame +P load........... or at least a maximum 38 special loading around 18,500 psi.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:47 PM
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5 gr of unique with a 158 gr lswc groups nicely out of my k frames and did well from a pair of L frames too,but I start flinching when I use it in my model 60.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:06 PM
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What distance are you shooting? 5.0 BE with a 158 is a standard max load for me.

David
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:34 PM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
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I shot 10's of thousand's of rounds of 5 grns of unique with a 158 in my 38 Special Diamondback. Yes I had to send it back to Colt to be rebuilt, but not until I had shot over 40,000 rounds. Colt D frames are close in size to a K frame S&W.

Today I baby it because they are harder to replace and max out at 4.5 grns but still 5.0 was the standard for years for me.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:59 PM
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Do we have anyone here who has shot loose a steel J frame? My FBI load replica using 158 grain swc with gas check over HS-6 averages 1025 fps out of a 3" M36 and 960 out of a 2" detective special. I believe the J frame will take more than my hand will.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:16 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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It is often said that S&W ok's any steel frame revolver made after
1957 and model marked for +P ammo in the 38 spl. But this just isn't
true. If you read the ratings chart you will see that this applies to the
K frame guns but not the J frames. But many owners ignore this with
few consequences apparently. Personally I would stick to standard
pressure loads for practice and use +P loads sparingly, but that's
just me.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:46 AM
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5.o of Unique was a STANDARD pressure load for decades in many manuals of pressure tested loads. I realize that some sources stop short of that now....and some exceed it. I have never seen a loose J frame....Given that some folks have run hundreds of the old 38-44 high velocity loads through their steel Chiefs Specials (ouch) I don't think that it is much of an issue.
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:43 PM
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Man, that’s some high velocities with Unique from your 1 7/8 inch J frame.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:42 AM
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I know this thread is six years old but............

Yes the 5.0gr of Unique with a HEAVY crimp does give me a "FBI load" in my little snub nose and I do use the lighter load a 822fps for SD use for
less recoil and wear and tear.

The scary part is that, Lyman and others even state that 5.3 grains of Unique can be used and list it at 18,500 pressure .

I'll pass.
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:39 PM
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5.2 grs Unique and the 158 gr LSWC is a fine 38 Spl +P load as well. Shot many of them.
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:15 AM
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Most of the .38spls I loaded the first 2 years out of the navy in 1973 was 158swc on 5gr Unique. I've probably loaded and shot more of this recipe than any other.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:12 AM
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5.0 grains of Unique with a 158 grain LSWC HP is perfectly fine.
It's a standard pressure 38 special load ...it's not +P or over maximum according to the 3 reloading manuals I'm looking at right now .
I've used this load in J and K frame S&W's for over 45 years ...
it's been one of my "pet" 38 special loads . Fired about half a zillion through a 357 Ruger Blackhawk ... nary a problem with any of them !
My Airweight J frame purchased in 2005 , has seen a lot of my pet loads shot through it ... no problems with it either .
Gary
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:03 PM
ArchAngelCD ArchAngelCD is offline
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I use 2 different powders for the .38 Special+P, W231 and HS-6. My loads are over current published max listed in the manuals so use at your own risk.

Under a 158gr cast bullet I like 4.7gr W231 or 7.0gr HS-6. The HS-6 load is hot for sure. You should use a magnum primer with HS-6.

Remember, these loads are older and not currently published. The HS-6 load is my FBI replica load and very accurate for me in my guns.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:14 PM
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John Taffin wrote an article about 5.0 grs of Unique that was published in American Handgunner a while back. It was excellent. You guys might want to "google" it. I would share it but I believe it is copyrighted.
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