Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > >

Reloading All Reloading Topics Go Here


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-04-2014, 02:50 PM
tlay's Avatar
tlay tlay is offline
US Veteran
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 2,938
Likes: 1,628
Liked 1,966 Times in 729 Posts
Default 38 Long Colt Recipes

I am getting ready to load for my 1899 Navy marked HE. I have never loaded this round. Any suggestions on bullets, powder, dies, etc. There are not many reloading manuals out there that has any info. on this cartridge.
__________________
Tom
NRA Pistol Inst
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-04-2014, 02:59 PM
BearBio BearBio is offline
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Eastern Washington
Posts: 4,920
Likes: 3,232
Liked 6,801 Times in 2,546 Posts
Default

Good luck. I've loaded one batch for an 1877 Lightning. A REAL pain to find things for. I think (IIRC) I used a hollow based 38 spl. to obdurate (like a 38 S & W) and Trail Boss powder. Starline brass (IF you can find it)==it's expensive. May take a couple of days but I'll look up my load (it's downstairs in the back of the ammo locker). Dies (I THINK) are Reddings.

I'll see what I can do.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-04-2014, 03:07 PM
BearBio BearBio is offline
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Eastern Washington
Posts: 4,920
Likes: 3,232
Liked 6,801 Times in 2,546 Posts
Default

OK

Midway has dies. RCBS are $165 and Lees are $32 (in stock, NOW!).

Midway has Brass (Get it while you can--I'm gonna order some)

America's gun store has a dozen boxes in stock. Everybody else is sold out as far as I can tell.

I'd buy a couple of boxes of loaded and save the brass. get the other stuff as soon as you can!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-04-2014, 09:23 PM
tlay's Avatar
tlay tlay is offline
US Veteran
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 2,938
Likes: 1,628
Liked 1,966 Times in 729 Posts
Default

I found 200 cases from a guy on gunbroker. I found the dies on eBay. Now my question is, are the bullets the same as the 38 special? I checked the cylinder and it comes out at .358.
__________________
Tom
NRA Pistol Inst
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:03 PM
arjay's Avatar
arjay arjay is online now
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 13,503
Likes: 78,089
Liked 22,061 Times in 7,124 Posts
Default

According to wiki it's a .361 diameter bullet.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:15 PM
ColbyBruce ColbyBruce is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 7,002
Likes: 2,510
Liked 9,524 Times in 3,032 Posts
Default

I think Bass Pro Shop in Lawrenceville, GA has that ammo in stock.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-05-2014, 01:24 PM
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,695
Likes: 6
Liked 345 Times in 239 Posts
Default

The .38 Long Colt was once used by the U.S. military and is the parent to the .38 S&W special. It is basically the same except it is shorter than the special.

Old brass and old data would be somewhat different than new brass and data and the two should not be mixed unless the loader knows and understands the differences. Brass can be made from .38 special brass by simply trimming it to length. Data should be plentiful, at least for lead bullets, from most powder suppliers/manufacturers in their "cowboy" data areas.

My biggest concern in this area would be the age of the firearm being used and would it be safe, or advisable, to shoot it with smokeless powders? Either way, I'd stick to the lowest charges to keep pressures down.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-05-2014, 01:31 PM
DWalt's Avatar
DWalt DWalt is offline
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: South Texas
Posts: 28,178
Likes: 32
Liked 21,086 Times in 10,812 Posts
Default

It's very simple. Most, if not all, revolvers in .38 LC have bored-through cylinder chambers, and will accept .38 Special cases. So just load minimum loads (say 2.8 grains) of Bullseye and a 148 grain hollow-base lead wadcutter bullet. That takes care of the oversize bore problem. If you do, for some reason, choose to use .38 LC brass (actually just a slightly shortened .38 Special), do exactly the same thing. No need for .38 LC dies, as .38 Special dies work as well.

No one has any business in shooting anything other than the load described in any of the old .38 LC revolvers.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #9  
Old 03-05-2014, 02:57 PM
tlay's Avatar
tlay tlay is offline
US Veteran
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 2,938
Likes: 1,628
Liked 1,966 Times in 729 Posts
Default

In my 1899 Navy the cylinders are not bored through. A 38 special round will not go all the way in. It is about a 1/10" short of going in all the way. You can see in the cylinder it is not bored out.
Will the .358 lead bullets work with a light charge of bullseye or should I find .361 bullets and black powder?
__________________
Tom
NRA Pistol Inst
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-05-2014, 03:27 PM
DWalt's Avatar
DWalt DWalt is offline
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: South Texas
Posts: 28,178
Likes: 32
Liked 21,086 Times in 10,812 Posts
Default

Trim back .38 Spl cases and use hollow base lead wadcutter bullets - for the Minie Ball expansion effect to fill the bore. Black powder is not needed or recommended, instead use Bullseye, AA #2, Red Dot, 231, etc, with minimum loads given in manuals for .38 Special.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #11  
Old 03-05-2014, 09:14 PM
tlay's Avatar
tlay tlay is offline
US Veteran
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 2,938
Likes: 1,628
Liked 1,966 Times in 729 Posts
Default

Will the .358 bullets fit in 38 long colt cases? I have some coming.
__________________
Tom
NRA Pistol Inst
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-05-2014, 09:21 PM
LaVistaBill's Avatar
LaVistaBill LaVistaBill is offline
SWCA Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 386
Likes: 714
Liked 939 Times in 178 Posts
Default .38 LC

I use Black Hills factory loads in .38 LC for Cowboy Action Shooting (NCOWS) in an 1895 Colt DA revolver. They use a 158 gr. lead bullet and I've had a little tipping with the round. I've also shot .38 Short in it and this load (Remington) has a 130 gr. bullet and it seems to stabilize better in this revolver.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-06-2014, 12:41 AM
DWalt's Avatar
DWalt DWalt is offline
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: South Texas
Posts: 28,178
Likes: 32
Liked 21,086 Times in 10,812 Posts
Default

.38 Short Colt is still available, but most retailers will not carry it. It's a still shorter round than the .38 Long Colt, and I think it uses a lighter bullet. Ballistics are about like the .38 S&W, and it can actually be used in .38 S&W revolvers, even though it's slightly undersized. .38 SC can be used in any .38 Special or .357 Mag revolver (or .38 LC revolver) if someone wants a very light load.

Early .38 LC revolvers used a cartridge with a heeled bullet which was about .375" diameter. I believe later ones used a .360 bullet. No matter, the hollow-base lead full wadcutter bullet will always be the best reloading choice for use in any .38 LC revolver.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-06-2014, 12:08 PM
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,695
Likes: 6
Liked 345 Times in 239 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tlay View Post
In my 1899 Navy the cylinders are not bored through. A 38 special round will not go all the way in. It is about a 1/10" short of going in all the way. You can see in the cylinder it is not bored out.
Will the .358 lead bullets work with a light charge of bullseye or should I find .361 bullets and black powder?
Some of the information above contradicted what I could remember, so I pulled out some respectable resources, such as "Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers" by Julian Hatcher, and "Handloading Ammunition" by J. R. Mattern. I'm not going to print everything, mostly because the 2 year old "Godzilla Destroyer" is coming to visit...and I have to hide.

The .38 Long Colt was originally made to take a hollow based .357 diameter bullet. Bores were oversized and depended on the hollow base to expand to fit the bore. If you load a bullet that has a diameter large enough, it would have to be forced into the cylinder and would raise pressures quite a bit. Of course that would depend on the individual gun, but I would stick with the .358" bullets until you figure that out.

The original factory loads appeared to use Bullseye powder. I'm not going to give the charge because they don't give details about the type of case heads used, so I'm going to assume they were of a balloon type. And again, I would be worried about the heat treatment of your individual firearm and how much pressure it would take to do permanent damage to it. Maximum pressure, according to J.R. Mattern, was 12,000 lbs. I'd try to get as low under that as I could.

I shoot .38 LCs a lot, through a .38 special. I have a Lee die set, which didn't cost nearly as much as they appear to be now, but the dies as marked are: Sizer- "38-357", Expander- "38-S&W", Seat/Crimp- "38 Auto".
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-06-2014, 02:56 PM
tlay's Avatar
tlay tlay is offline
US Veteran
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 2,938
Likes: 1,628
Liked 1,966 Times in 729 Posts
Default

Thanks for all the info. I will use a hollow base wadcutter bullet in the long colt cases. I will start with 2.6grs. of bullseye.
__________________
Tom
NRA Pistol Inst
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-06-2014, 04:15 PM
ArchAngelCD ArchAngelCD is offline
Moderator
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northeast PA, USA
Posts: 6,562
Likes: 506
Liked 2,869 Times in 1,601 Posts
Default

Hodgdon has load data for the .38 Long Colt using a 125gr and 150gr .358" lead bullet and data for 5 powders. Since you found brass you should have no problems at all loading safe ammo. Any SPP will be fine and as for dies, according to Post #3 Midway has them in stock. Lee dies are just fine, I use them for all my handgun loading.
__________________
Freedom is never free!!
SWCA #3437
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-06-2014, 05:32 PM
italiansport italiansport is offline
Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,234
Likes: 2,923
Liked 5,329 Times in 1,875 Posts
Default

I just checked the half dozen revolvers I have that are chambered in 38 Long Colt and they all will accept a 38 Spl. I don't shoot these very often but wen I do it's with a light target load of 3gr of Winchester 231 and a 148 HB wadcutter.
Jim
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-06-2014, 06:05 PM
delta-419 delta-419 is online now
SWCA Member
38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes 38 Long Colt Recipes  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NW Florida
Posts: 2,048
Likes: 4,404
Liked 2,917 Times in 487 Posts
Talking Lead Bullets

I load my antique revolvers with HodgdonTriple7 as a black powder substitute. Heel bottom lead bullets can be had thru G.A.D, they make just about any obsolete lead bullet that you want. They will even make them up for you, and 38Colt is on their list. Just google GAD ammo.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FS: Lee Carbide 3-Die Set 45 Colt (Long Colt) riverrat38 Accessories/Misc - For Sale or Trade 1 07-06-2016 11:33 PM
WTB - 1 X fired .38 Colt Long & .38 Colt Short Brass bedbugbilly WANTED to Buy 2 04-24-2014 06:14 PM
Request for reload recipes for .45 Colt E Z MUNNY Reloading 14 04-18-2014 10:42 AM
SOLD - Colt 1895 New Army in .41 Long Colt ANTIQUE mrcvs GUNS - For Sale or Trade 0 03-08-2014 04:11 PM
SOLD Colt New Service, .45 Long Colt Fischer GUNS - For Sale or Trade 4 11-24-2009 10:15 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:28 PM.


Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.42 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)