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Old 01-09-2017, 05:28 PM
Service Rifleman1 Service Rifleman1 is offline
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Default 38 Special loads for 4" fixed sights

Hello there. Looking for loads that shoot close to the point of aim in 4" barreled M64-5. Have loaded 158 lswc and also Hornady 158 XTP using Unique and Bullseye. Found some Winchester JHP's in 110, 125 and 158 that I will try. Thank you.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:31 PM
Service Rifleman1 Service Rifleman1 is offline
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Here is the weapon I am loading for.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:28 PM
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Nevada Ed Nevada Ed is offline
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I shoot 80% lead 148 and 158gr bullets in the 38 special.

I use the light 110gr JHP for a ultra light target load and the
heavier 125gr JHP is used for medium heavy loads, for best
accuracy in my 6" barrel.

Some like the 158gr Jacket for the 38 special, I just think it does
a lot better in the 357 magnum at higher speeds.

Have fun and safe loading.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:16 PM
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Hello, I also mostly shoot 148+158 seconds. I recently got a 174gr swc gas check, I think it's called the Keith bullet. I don't do thunder bomer but like +pin my K frames. Working on some loads to check POI with the fixed sighted k frames.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:33 PM
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I believe that the conventional wisdom, proven to me by my own experience, is that your fixed sight SW will shoot to point of aim at 25 yards with a 158 grain lead bullet. A lighter bullet will shoot low. That said, the accuracy with a 148 grain full wadcutter is unparalleled. Your mileage may vary, but not by much. Unique and Bullseye can't be beat, but may be matched by HP-38/Win 231.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:42 PM
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I shoot mostly 158 gr lead ammunition: semi-wadcutters or lead round nosed bullets. I'm using up a bunch of 700X and Trail Boss powders I acquired during the last shortage. The 700X does not meter as well, but they are both very consistent and accurate.

It's hard to top the 158 gr family of lead bullets. The 148 gr full wadcutter is also an option, but 99% of my .38 spl shooting is with the 158 gr bullets. The 100 and 125 gr bullets have never shot as well for me as the 158 gr stuff has.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:58 PM
cowboy4evr cowboy4evr is offline
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Elmer Keith spoke strongly against gas checks . His 173 gr bullet , the Lyman 358429 is plain base . Anything else is just another swc . I have shot thousands of that bullet . It is my 2nd choice cast bullet for my 38 spl / 357 magnums . My Lyman molds drop them measuring .360 using wheel weights . I size them to .359 .

Last edited by cowboy4evr; 01-09-2017 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:56 PM
Service Rifleman1 Service Rifleman1 is offline
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Hello there I have a few Moulds including the 44 Keith SWC HP Lyman as I have a 1894 Marlin that I loaf for as well. Up until now I have yet to cast my own lead bullets. I have an Ideal 356402 I believe HP Mould that casts a 120 grain slug. I have a Lee mould that is a SWC 158 tumble lube type bulllet.Time to get a melting pot and some more gear to make scrap wheel weights into bullets.

Last edited by Service Rifleman1; 01-10-2017 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:49 AM
Scott in NCal Scott in NCal is offline
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For me, the challenge of a fixed site gun, is getting the bullets to strike where I am aiming. I will take whatever style/type/weight works to this effect. I have a firm belief that where you hit them is more important than what you hit them with. Holding off, high-low-left-right will never work for me, espically if I am in a hurry or excited. I compounded that problem by shooting several different handguns and have never been any good at keeping track of such things anyway. Legend is that the 38 Special revolvers, like the S&W 10 ect, the military and police used back in the day were regulated so point of impact and point of aim were the same using 158 grain round nose lead bullets. I have seen all sorts of gun abuse by neanderthals such is turning the barrel in the frame, bending and filing the front site, milling and filling the back site. I am not claiming that 158 grain LRN does what is advertised, only a logical place to start. My experience that the same weight and shape bullet from different different. manufactures, and even same manufacture on different lot numbers, have different points of impact. Usualy it is claimed heavier bullets impact higher than lighter ones. This is true for my 9mm highpower. At 25 yards 124 grain print on the Xring, 115 grain are about 4 inch low. The only other fixed site handgun I have, a Taurus 85 puts everything near the bull at that difference. Now that is, after it took 5 trips back to FL to get fixed. Now days I pretty much pass on anything that does not have adjustable or replaceable sites unless it is something like a Keltec P3AT, if such thing concerns anyone I suspect they are missing the point, although the P3ATs big brother the PF9 has adjustable sites.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:47 AM
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My long time standard practice load for .38 Special is a 158-grain cast SWC with 5.0 grains Unique. As accurate as anything I have tested. Generally shoots to POA in fixed-sight revolvers. Also does well on small game.
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Old 01-10-2017, 12:11 PM
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I have a 4" model 13 that I shoot frequently. My two favorite loads are a 148gr LWC loaded with 2.8gr of Bullseye, and 158gr LSWC loaded with 3.2gr of Bullseye. Both are low-power rounds that shoot to point of aim out to 25 yards.
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Old 01-10-2017, 12:25 PM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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Jingles has already said what I was going to suggest. Try either a 148 gr wadcutter or a 158 gr SWC or LRN with something in the area of 3 grs of Bullseye, plus or minus. Just about every fixed sight .38 that is going to shoot to point of aim will do it with that tyoe of load, in my experience, if it is going to do it.

Sometimes small changes can make a difference, but usually not. If this type of ammunition doesn't work, you might have a problem that can't be addressed by load-tinkering, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. Shape and weight of the bullet will probably make the most difference, IMO.
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Old 01-10-2017, 12:54 PM
Clovishound Clovishound is online now
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I find that in my model 10 most any 158 grain bullet with a middle of the road powder load gets me pretty dang close.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:09 PM
Service Rifleman1 Service Rifleman1 is offline
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Hello there. Thank you for the feedback. I will look for some 158 grain slugs that have the round nose profile to use as much as I am a fan of Elmer Keith and the SWC bullets. I will continue to experiment with loads and bullet types to see what I can find to shoot well in the M64. I will also keep in mind to look for an adjustable sights model as well for the ability to tailor the sights to the loading not vice versa. Kind regards.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:15 PM
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There seems to be something magical about 2.8 grains of Bullseye and just about any lead bullet in the 148 to 160 grain weight.
My model 64's absolute favorite load is the Lyman #358432 ,160 grain , cast , button nosed wadcutter over 2.8 grains of Bullseye.
15 shots go into one ragged hole , 1 inch wide when I do my part .
This is not a flush seated wadcutter but extends out of the case mouth. A much overlooked target bullet. NOE still makes this design , Lyman discontinued it.
Gary
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Old 01-10-2017, 03:15 PM
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As stated, most (all?) of the fixed sight S&W 38 Specials were/are regulated for 158 grain factory loads.

An easy approach for handloaders is to check the factory load ballistics here.
Then work up a handload that delivers comparable velocity.

A 158/160 LRN over 4.0 grains of WW 231 is a popular factory duplication load. In my 4" guns it gives about 775 FPS.

Most of mine seem to shoot the round nose bullets a bit more accurately then the SWCs.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:56 AM
Service Rifleman1 Service Rifleman1 is offline
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Hello there. Anyone use Magtech loaded ammo or components? Natchez has their 158 he LSWC for reasonable price. I will source some good lead bullets as for the heavier slugs better ballistics can be achieved with plain bullets as opposed to jacketed slugs of the same weight. Since I have already loaded a bunch of 158 XTP's I will try a few out and see how they shoot. -5 F outside is a little nippy to be really enjoying a casual shooting session in the great winter wonderland these days.Cheers.
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Old 01-13-2017, 09:45 AM
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I am waiting on the mailman to deliver me a shipment from ACME bullet company. This will be my first time getting their lead hardcast. I have loaded lots of their coated loads. I will be loading their 148 wadcutter and 158 SWC. I will load a range of both from 2.8-3.5 on the 148's and 3.0-3.8 on the 158's and see how they pan out. I assume the 158's will hit POA with my 60 and my 586. POI/POA is one of the most critical. A small group that doesn't hit doesn't matter much to me.
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Old Yesterday, 11:15 PM
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Hello there. Got out to do some shooting on the weekend and was very pleased with the results. Set up my targets at 20 long paces and was shooting first single action then double action mode. Shot the 158 SWC with 3.6 gr's Unique. The Hornady 158 XTP's had a 5.0 charge with a few loads tried +P with 5.2 grains. Both loads were on target and accurate. Tempted to try some WC's but I think I will go with the SWC's along with some Winchester JHP's 125 grainers. Cheers.
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