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Old 02-06-2017, 08:34 AM
Hotshot9 Hotshot9 is offline
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Default Loading 38 Special wad cutters.

Hello folks, I going to load some 38 Special wad cutters for PPC. I'm fairly new to reloading but putting in my time in the books and I have loaded 9 mm. Heres a break down of what I'm going to use for loading, Hornady 38 Special 358 dia. 148 gr. lead hollow base bullets, Remington 1-1/2 primers and either Tite group or Universal powders and brand new brass by Starline So any suggestions and tips ?

Thanks In Advance.
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:40 AM
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Use 2.8 grains bullseye, seat case mouth flush and use a factory taper crimp die.

Forgot to mention, do not try to push the HBWC too hard as you may blow out the skirt. Strive to keep the volocity under 850 fps.

I found for PPC shooting in a K-38, using standard DEWC and seating to the crimp groove proved easier to speed load then HBWC seated flush (unless you are suing a semi-auto wadcutter gun like the model 52.

Last edited by elpac3; 02-06-2017 at 08:47 AM. Reason: forgot to mention - velocity considerations
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:42 AM
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.38 special wad cutters is a good place to start your reloading journey, and one of the easiest rounds to get good results with. I've loaded probably 50,000 rounds of 148 grain wadcutters over the last 40 years but have always stuck with Bullseye, Super Target or my all time favorite, WW 231. Any of the loads from a reputable manual for your powders of choice should start you of right.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:03 AM
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Given the two powders on the list, I think Universal is a bit slow for HBWC. I would recommend Titegroup, if those 2 powders are the choices. I also use Bullseye - if I can find it, or Reddot (Promo), or even 231.

The thing with HBWC, they like small charges of fast powders, which is one reason they are popular - economy ( read : cheap !) .

Keep the velocity under 850fps to maintain projectile integrity. The HBWC may come apart at higher vels.

Have fun !
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:23 AM
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Wow.. thanks for the fast response folks and all the info!
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:11 AM
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I know you mentioned wanting to use TG or Universal, but FWIW here is what I like:
148HBWC (Zero) 2.7gr Bullseye FED100 unbelievably soft, but accurate. Also used 2.7gr of WST with excellent results.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:06 PM
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I also like cast DEWC bullets better than the hollow base WC bullets.

I'm using W231/HP-38 but Bullseye is also very good. You can also use Zip, AA#2, Red Dot and similar speed powders.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:07 PM
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I load that same Hornady wadcutter with 2.8 grains of Bullseye and get great results. I'm sure that getting equal results with Titegroup will be no problem.
I don't have a taper crimp die for .38 so I just set my roll crimp die to just close the flair of the case. These bullets are sized at .358 so you really shouldn't need much, if any, crimp at all IMO.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:44 PM
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Just a quick note - since you said you were fairly new to reloading but have done some 9mm, when moving up to larger, straight wall cases such as .38, .357, .44 special, .44 mag and using relatively fast buring powders such as bullseye, 231, red dot take special care when charging the cases.

I know some people will charge a loading block then seat bullets. I also know more than one person has double charged a .38 case and had less than desirable results.

I was trained that you handle only one round at a time. Once the cases have been primed, I will charge a case with powder, then without letting go of the case in my hand, place a bullet on the case and place it in the seating die. Have never had a double charge incident following this procedure. With shorter cases like 9mm, even with 4 grains of bullseye the case is pretty full and a double charge would over flow the case. Not so with the .38.

Good loading
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:58 PM
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I use 3.2 grains of Bullseye pushing a 158 grain plated semi-wadcutter. I suggest you use semi-wadcutters if you're shooting a PPC course, they're much easier to reload into the revolver. Whatever powder you're using, begin with the lightest load recommended for the bullet you're using.

Last edited by OldChief; 02-06-2017 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 02-06-2017, 01:04 PM
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2.8gr Titegroup, seat flush, barely crimp.
As said, ONE charge per case! A triple charge would fit, with BAD results.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:11 PM
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Use the Tite group for the light 148gr loadings and
save the slower Universal for when you buy 158gr lead bullets.

There are better and worse powders but those two will work.
If you do get a chance, pick up some bullseye or 231 type powders.
They are the old stand buy's in every loading manual.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:17 PM
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As a recent convert to WC as a boolit style, I've tried all the powder recipes noted above on 148 DEWC and have great results regardless.

I'd suggest a procedural consideration: only load a small given quantity of each powder or charge weight, say maybe "24" or so clearly marked. Go to range ON PAPER evaluate which gives the best groups from each gun in which you may use them.

Color me surprised, I discovered 2 very similar 4" revolvers, which otherwise seemed to produce very similar results, displayed considerable difference in group size with same recipe.

They both would hit the falling 6" plate rack with few misses, yet on paper one grouped into 4" and the other groups less that 2". Even from the bench I was unable to overcome this anomaly.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:18 PM
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I realize you are asking about loading WC in this post but for PPC, have you considered using Round Nose bullets? You may find they will load much easier with the speed loaders than wad cutters when using something like Comp 2 or comp 3 cylinder loaders.
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Old 02-06-2017, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpac3 View Post
Just a quick note - since you said you were fairly new to reloading but have done some 9mm, when moving up to larger, straight wall cases such as .38, .357, .44 special, .44 mag and using relatively fast buring powders such as bullseye, 231, red dot take special care when charging the cases.


I was trained that you handle only one round at a time. Once the cases have been primed, I will charge a case with powder, then without letting go of the case in my hand, place a bullet on the case and place it in the seating die. Have never had a double charge incident following this procedure. With shorter cases like 9mm, even with 4 grains of bullseye the case is pretty full and a double charge would over flow the case. Not so with the .38.
That second paragraph is excellent advice.

I used to take a case and hand prime it,then flare it and put it back in the loading block.
Then, take the cases in the loading block, one at a time, put the charge in, and immediately set a projectile on top.

Then it can go back in the loading block, or onto the seating die - however you are set up.

With the small charges in a large case, be extremely vigilant to not over-charge the case.
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Old 02-06-2017, 03:03 PM
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One at a time, all the way through, is much too slow for me. I have done it that way, but just don't care to, these days.

If I'm going to do a hundred or so of 38's, 44's, etc., I'll size them, usually hand prime, and flare them. I just toss them into a tin can. We feed the dogs green beans to supplement their dog food, and have plenty of bean cans.

Then I'll put 50 of them on a loading block, & either load them all with powder, or 15 or 20 at a time in rows. I use the RCBS uniflow powder dispenser with stand, which makes it easy to load the block. I'll then look across the block with a flashlight & my reading glasses. I do not put any bullets on top, at this point.

I grab each one individually, once again noticing the powder charge, and then placing the bullet on top, as I reach to put it in the press. I'll seat all of them, before changing the die, for any crimping, which is done separate from seating.

If I really want to slow down, as well as being too lazy to change primer sizes on my hand primer, I'll place individual primers in the SS press, and press them in in, before the pulling the handle all the way down, for the flare.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:41 PM
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For the hollow base wadcutter, I like Bullseye or 231 powder, which is a pretty conventional choice.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:21 PM
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I use the Remington LHBWC and Hogdon CLAYS.
Very clean burning powder and excellent accuracy.
Wonderful in my 52-2's for 25 yard bullseye and also in revolvers.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:39 PM
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For me I always turn the case upside down and tap it on the table before charging it. I have also placed the cases in the loading block upside down and only charge a case if it is in this position in the block. If a case is right side up in the block, I check and find out why.
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:05 AM
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If you get tired of cleaning your hands, try the Speer HBWC. Very clean to work with.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:29 AM
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As with most here, I too use 2.8 grs. Bullseye with the Hornady 148 gr. HBWC. 3.0-3.2 grs. Bullseye works well for 158 gr. LSWC/LRN loads, and is easier to load with speedloaders. I use TiteGroup in my 9mm/40S&W loads with plated bullets and it works very well. Good luck and happy shooting! :-)
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:15 AM
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Default American select

I've been using 3.0gr american select for the last couple years with my home cast 148gr hbwc's.



The wc/hbwc was developed to not only cut clean holes in paper. They take up more case volume which leads to less position sensitive loads. Am select is a real bulky powder which fills the 38spl cases when using hbwc's.

Powders like titegroup are not that bulky and rely on high nitro content to keep them from being position sensitive. The trade off is that the titegroup is a high energy/hot burning powder that tends to do better with plated/coated/jacketed bullets.

I've shot countless 1000's of bullets using the 38spl/univeral clays combo. Universal didn't start performing until I got to p+ levels then it was an excellent powder for the 38spl's. Any 158gr rn/fn/rnfp/swc 158gr bullet and 4.7gr of universal clays (P+ LOAD) were accurate
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:34 AM
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With regard to loading blocks I too will charge say 50 cases at a time but I have found it much easier to use the plastic trays from a box of .45 or .40 ammo as loading blocks for .38/.357 as opposed to the standard blocks which some are rather large and bulky. A check (and double check) of power level with a small light is never overlooked and they get bullets seated immediately.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:21 AM
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As has been said, some of the fast-burning smokeless powers are not very dense, i.e. they don't take up much space in the cartridge case. I throw twenty cases, check for consistent weight with a scale, throw twenty more, check, etc. When I have fifty or one-hundred charged cases, I then place the block containing the charged cases beneath a light and make certain that each case has the same powder level. I've been reloading since 1972 and have only had one "double-charge" with Bullseye powder. Had I not checked the level of the charged cases, I would have no doubt damaged a Model 10 revolver, and possibly injured myself.

Lastly, this should not be a problem, but if you encounter bullet deformation with the lead bullets or for that matter any bullet, you may wish to consider adding a step to your process....seat all your bullets to the desired depth, then in a final step, crimp them.

HTH.

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Old 02-07-2017, 10:19 PM
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JPJ imparted some good sage advice. I load 2.7 gn. BE with a 148 gn. Lyman 35891 BBWC. I weigh every 10th load and then visually check all 50 charged cases with a small penlight. Never had a mishap but know those that have. Maybe I can load another 40 years without one.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:42 AM
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I guess I should have added that I will be loading on my Hornady Lock N Load progressive press. I have found the powder drop to be good and accurate while loading 9mm. I just check every 10th round as a caution.
I think I'm going to pick up some Bullseye powder seems to be the most popular here.
Again thanks for the tips!!
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotshot9 View Post
I guess I should have added that I will be loading on my Hornady Lock N Load progressive press. I have found the powder drop to be good and accurate while loading 9mm. I just check every 10th round as a caution.
I think I'm going to pick up some Bullseye powder seems to be the most popular here.
Again thanks for the tips!!
I'm more a fan of W231 than Bullseye and it will meter better than Bullseye since its a ball powder.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:31 AM
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I've used W231, bullseye, and Titegroup loading Hornady HBWCs. I've settled on 2.8 gr bullseye as my favorite, although 3.2 gr W231 is probably as good. I didn't like Titegroup as much - it burns very hot and leads worse than the others.
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:19 AM
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I realize you are asking about loading WC in this post but for PPC, have you considered using Round Nose bullets? You may find they will load much easier with the speed loaders than wad cutters when using something like Comp 2 or comp 3 cylinder loaders.[/QUOTE]

Great advice. I love 148WC, but in my 627 with moon clips they are darn near impossible to line up and speed load.
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Old 02-08-2017, 03:56 PM
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During my IPSC days, I used cast 150 gr. RCBS SWC bullets exclusively. 357 brass/5.5 gr. Unique/860 fps/4" barrel, chronoed. My standard load for 150-158 gr. bullets.

Like the previous poster, I found that even SWC bullets could hang up on the cylinder, slowing the reloading process significantly. RNFP or just plain round nose bullets will chamber more easily. Revolver and all, I usually finished somewhere in the middle of the pack, and never last.

My latest efforts "revolve" around hard-cast 147- 155 gr. full wadcutters, at about the same velocity, for daily use. The other powders have long and successful histories, but, since the first, I have not wished to take the chance of a hard-to-see double-charged case, so have stuck with bulkier powders...2400, Unique and Universal.

Good luck with your efforts
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:05 PM
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You mentioned you want to use Universal powder...... 3.7gr of it is a wonderful 38 wadcutter load I highly recommend. Superbly accurate.

Last edited by bluetopper; 02-08-2017 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:32 AM
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Went to the range yesterday with 40 rounds that I loaded...my gun is still in tact, I still have all my fingers! Seriously every one of my rounds went boom and did well on paper. used 2.8 gr of bullseye.

Thanks again for all your input!!
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:30 AM
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As mentioned above be VERY careful not to double/triple charge with low volume powders, and you should be good to go. Start at the bottom end of powder weights an work your way up to what works best for you.
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Old 02-18-2017, 03:54 AM
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I'm loading 4.2 gn Tightgroup under a jacketed 148 gn HBWC in my 6" 686 AFS. Great grouping out to 50 meters and makes just under 130 power factor.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kiwi cop View Post
I'm loading 4.2 gn Tightgroup under a jacketed 148 gn HBWC in my 6" 686 AFS. Great grouping out to 50 meters and makes just under 130 power factor.
With .357 brass or .38spl?
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  #36  
Old 03-18-2017, 08:39 PM
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gwpercle gwpercle is offline
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Originally Posted by Hotshot9 View Post
Went to the range yesterday with 40 rounds that I loaded...my gun is still in tact, I still have all my fingers! Seriously every one of my rounds went boom and did well on paper. used 2.8 gr of bullseye.

Thanks again for all your input!!
I find loading solid base cast wadcutters , easier than the soft swaged lead . Sometimes the case will size the soft bullet down, as it is being deep seated , this makes it undersized which leads the barrel . If you run into this give cast solid base wadcutters a try. I size mine .357 .
I don't know what it is about 2.7 - 2.8 grains of bullseye , it just works ! I haven't found any powder better.
Good luck,
Gary
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  #37  
Old 03-19-2017, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by johngalt View Post
I've used W231, bullseye, and Titegroup loading Hornady HBWCs. I've settled on 2.8 gr bullseye as my favorite, although 3.2 gr W231 is probably as good. I didn't like Titegroup as much - it burns very hot and leads worse than the others.
That is the same charge of W231 I use with a 148gr HBWC. When I load a DEWC I up the charge to 3.4gr W231.
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