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  #1  
Old 09-18-2015, 07:29 PM
mmais mmais is offline
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Default Reloading Powder

I am thinking of reloading some 38 special with 125 gr bullets, any suggestions on what power to use?
This will be my first attempt at reloading going to start with the simple Lee Loader so powder should be on their supplied list.

Thanks Mike
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:07 PM
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I use 5.8 grains of Vihtavouri 3N37 with a 125 grain plated bullet. Out of a 6 inch Dan Wesson this load yields 800 fps and is as accurate as I can shoot with iron sights. Out of my 4 inch model 620 with a J Point reflex I get 700 fps with 1.5 inch groups at 25 yards.

Pluses for the Vihtavouri is that it is not at all position sensitive and it meters very well with an SD for charge weight of 0.05 grains using my RCBS Competition powder measure. The minus is the cost, at about 38 dollars a pound it's the most expensive powder I use on a per pound basis.
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:11 PM
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Here's a link to Hodgdons Reloading page. It's got some good info and should help you out a bit...

Reloading for Beginners | Hodgdon Reloading
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:23 PM
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I use tite group. It is becoming my go to powder for my .38 and my 9c. I have also used HS-6 but it seems a bit slower burning.
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:38 PM
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WW231 or HP38 is a good choice
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:01 PM
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There is only 1 choice for your circumstances - bullseye.
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:51 PM
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+1 for Bullseye. Get some 148 grain hollow-based wadcutters while you're at it.
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:57 AM
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Any of the common fast burners that are probably on your list. Red Dot,
Bullseye, 700X, Titegroup, 231-HP38, WST.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:43 AM
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Default Don't forget.....

Don't forget Unique or Universal (if you can find it)

The .38 is not picky at all and many powders will do the job.

BE SURE not to double charge fast burning powder. It makum gun go boom.

This is a good round to start with. I started with a Lee Hand loader with .38. Very forgiving round.
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Old 09-19-2015, 04:01 AM
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Congratulations on getting started!

The .38 Special has become my favorite cartridge to reload, edging out the .44 Magnum slightly. I have some 125 gr. hard cast SWC's, but I haven't tried them yet. Almost all I've shot in the .38 for years are the 158 SWC, and the 148 HBWC.

Fellow member Novalty wrote what could be the best post ever on reloading, both for the beginner and even the experienced. I encourage you to look it up!
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:19 AM
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Save yourself some time and money and start with the powder that you're going to end up with anyway.

Bullseye.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:26 AM
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Bullseye is my current favorite
also have and loaded HP-38/WIN231
also have and loaded Unique for +P
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:38 AM
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Hi Robert J. This link brought me to Brownells reloading power page.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertJ. View Post
Congratulations on getting started!

The .38 Special has become my favorite cartridge to reload, edging out the .44 Magnum slightly. I have some 125 gr. hard cast SWC's, but I haven't tried them yet. Almost all I've shot in the .38 for years are the 158 SWC, and the 148 HBWC.

Fellow member Novalty wrote what could be the best post ever on reloading, both for the beginner and even the experienced. I encourage you to look it up!
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:16 AM
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Unique. Good for all things pistol and shotgun.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:34 PM
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+1 more for bullseye and there seem to be plenty of it around. Bass pro even has it if you don't mind paying $10.00 extra per lb just for the right to walk through their doors. they also had unique.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikFinkel View Post
Hi Robert J. This link brought me to Brownells reloading power page.
I didn't add a link, sometime the site does it automatically! I haven't figured out how to add a link, or I'd have linked the post by Novalty.
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Old 09-19-2015, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RobertJ. View Post
I didn't add a link, sometime the site does it automatically! I haven't figured out how to add a link, or I'd have linked the post by Novalty.
Here's the link So you're thinking about getting into reloading...
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Old 09-19-2015, 04:55 PM
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The Classic Lee Loader comes with a powder scoop and a list of powders to be used with that scoop. Just go with the chart if this is your first time reloading. No sense trying to reinvent the wheel if Lee has gone to the trouble to list a powder for you.
If you are an experienced reloader , and have a powder scale, any of the powders listed in a reloading manual will do. A lot of times, what powder you can find is what you have to use. I made a list of all the powders I could use for 38 special when I went to Cabela's , the only handgun powder they had was 700X...I bought it and found data in The Layman Cast Bullet Handbook. So that's the powder I'm using in cast bullet loads. And it does just fine.
Gary

Last edited by gwpercle; 09-19-2015 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:29 AM
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I would like to thank everyone for your help. Watching more reload videos, & reading more posts, I have come to realize any pistol powder will do. I have also been looking at an upgrade to a single stage press. The press would be an additional $140 (approx) over the Lee Loader will have to check with the boss.
Thanks for all the help.
Mike

Last edited by mmais; 09-20-2015 at 12:12 PM.
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  #20  
Old 09-20-2015, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsmJim View Post
There is only 1 choice for your circumstances - bullseye.
I strongly disagree with this choice... Bullseye is probably the worst choice that he could use.. with Bullseye it is so easy to double or triple charge a case with maximum charges that it is very easy to seriously damage your gun & injure yourself using it...when you do not have a good reloading setup with scales & a good powder thrower.. that can consistently throw good charges that are verified with a good quality reloading scale. If you used the wrong dipper with Bullseye you could be seriously hurt.....



1st buy & use a good powder scale... RCBS makes several, that vary in price & verify the charge weights of what you are scooping with your Lee loader ...this is a MUST DO thing.. to be safe... We have both an RCBS Rockchucker & RCBS powder thrower & a Dillon 550... we still use our scales to verify periodically the powder charges that both the RCBS thrower & the Dillon thrower give this is after you set up both to give consistent weights... & know what they look like (height) in the cases you are reloading.



Unique is a great powder to use, PB is another, & there are many more that can be safely used...
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:24 AM
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I started using Unique but switched to 231 25+ years ago. Its one of the powders that has loads listed for most every caliber. Start with something like that then when you get proficient experiment with others. 231 will work with every caliber I have from 9mm to 45Colt.
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:59 AM
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Houlton, I keep a goodly amount of Win. 231 on hand too... Unique just meters so perfectly with both our Dillon's & RCBS powder throwers, gives great velocities, with safe pressures & in all our handguns produces great accuracy, with small amounts used... We use it for nearly all of our handgun reloads. But there is nothing wrong with Win. 231.
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:05 AM
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Like the waitress in the diner told me, " Don't tell me what you want, this is what we got!", Use whatever is available in the burn rate of Unique and is actually available to you.

Randy
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:50 PM
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Bullseye is one of the best powders for light to moderate 38 spl loads.
It has no doubt been used by more competitive target shooters than
any other powder. Being fine grained it meters more consistantly than
other flake type pistol powders, especially Unique. Unique is a poor
choice for light loads because it doesn't burn well at low pressure.
There are no dangerous powders, just careless handloaders. Fast
burning powders like Bullseye, Titegroup and 700X burn more
completely at lower pressure and their low charge weights make them
economical to use. The responsibility for safe handloads rests with the
individual not the powder chosen.
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Old 09-20-2015, 08:03 PM
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Confused ? So many powders, and so many favorites.... I would see whats available in your area, and go from there, what good is a recipe if you can't find that powder....good luck.
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmais View Post
I would like to thank everyone for your help. Watching more reload videos, & reading more posts, I have come to realize any pistol powder will do. I have also been looking at an upgrade to a single stage press. The press would be an additional $140 (approx) over the Lee Loader will have to check with the boss.
Thanks for all the help.
Mike
You must be looking at a kit. Lot's of single stage presses for less out there. Keep an eye on the for sale forum here. And all the usual suspects, Craigs List, Gunbroker. etc. If all you're looking for is a SS press.
I'm not going to start a color war, but they are out there for less than $140.
BTW, you may get a little help if you narrow down your location a little
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Old 09-20-2015, 10:51 PM
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I think Bullseye is one of the only powders that the Lee hand loader scoop is set up for in 38 special.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmais View Post
I would like to thank everyone for your help. Watching more reload videos, & reading more posts, I have come to realize any pistol powder will do. I have also been looking at an upgrade to a single stage press. The press would be an additional $140 (approx) over the Lee Loader will have to check with the boss.
Thanks for all the help.
Mike
Ha Ha! If you think $140.00 is a lot just wait, in about a year you will be asking for advice on how big your bench should be to mount all of your presses. I know that a lot of people have made a lot of ammo on the Lee Loader. But, unless you have lots of time or don't shoot much, I think that method of making pistol ammo would get old real quick.

I think if you are just feeding your own guns (as opposed to ammo for your sig other), and shooting handguns on a regular basis then you would be doing yourself a favor by cutting to the chase and get inexpensive kit to start. I think the Lee classic turret kit is a great buy. All you would need in addition to what comes in the kit would be dies for 38 spl and consumables: powder, primers and bullets. That kit costs about $215.00 and dies are about $45.00

Primers are about $35.00 per thousand and bullets, for plated are about $45-55 per 500 pcs. Powder $20-35 per pound.

What I did was asked my wife to give me the hardware to start out with for Christmas.
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Old 09-24-2015, 09:35 PM
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I use Power Pistol for my 38spl +P loads.
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:08 PM
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One of the quite hilarious aspects (and seemingly universal truths) is that reloaders get into for the cost savings - and then realize they end up spending as much as before, if not more. For me......my cost/round is about 50% of what I was buying ammo for. But I'm shooting 2x as much - at least. It has almost gotten to the point where unloading is a task I "need to get done" so I have a reason to go load. LOL

I've only been loading for about a year - and pistol about half of that time. I would be very uncomfortable loading pistol - independent of which powder - without a scale. Maybe I'm just not familiar with how reliable the dippers might be. But there seems to be little margin of error. And I use Titegroup for 9mm and that's worse - roughly 0.5 gr spread between min and max.

For .38 Spcl I'm using HP-38. It is working just fine for me. 3.9 gr under a 158 gr LSWC is great.

Good luck, have fun, and be safe.

OR
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:21 PM
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You did not state if the 125gr bullet was either a......

JHP or a
Lead bullet.............

for target use or for a full load out of a.......
light J frame or a heavy K frame.

Best bet is to buy a loading manual and see what powders will work then............
see if there are any powders listed at your local sporting good stores.

Otherwise you will have to go to the "Dreaded" online stores.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:08 AM
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deleted deleted

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Old 10-04-2015, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmais View Post
I bought a 1# container of Tite Group for pistols, but after reading other forums I have a little concern. Using lead cast bullets for 380,38 special & 9mm other places say Tite Group burns to hot & will melt the bullet. I will be loading on the low side of the Hodgdon recommendations to start & never over the Max recommendations. Is this something I should be concerned with?

Thanks Mike
The thing to be concerned about with Tite Group is to be absolutely sure of you powder charge, There is not a wide range of min to max.

It is a very fast, dense burning powder and little bit extra will raise pressures fast!! (especially in a small case like the 380 or 9mm) Also a change in bullet seating depth will change pressure faster,

For a new reloader it is not a powder I would recommend, Not scaring you, just be double sure of how much is in the case!!

As to the other BS on melting bullets and such, don't worry about it.

For your three calibers I would rather use HP 38 (or similar) which is not as fast a burn rate and more flexible.

HP38 (made for the 38 special and Win 231 are the same.

Note where it is on the burn rate chart, Powders above it are faster and build pressure faster, below are slower and build pressure slower so that is why the better magnum powders like 2400 and H110 are down in the slow range.

https://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/Burn%20R...02014-2015.pdf

Last edited by Rule3; 10-04-2015 at 01:44 PM.
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