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Old 04-18-2017, 08:30 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Default LSWCHP in 38/357 Question

Been trying to work up a good defense load for my 2 1/2 inch mod 66. My gun really likes the Hornady LSWCHP with 5 gr Unique. I think this is close to the FBI type load discussed here in length. Question is, will I get enough velocity for sufficient penetration and expansion with this load? I've tried various JHP loads from 125 to 150gr that obviously can be loaded much hotter, but the accuracy of the lead bullet really stands out. I've heard the Hornady staged bullets are pretty soft, so I'm not sure how "hot" I can load without leading problems.
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:13 PM
Model 15-4ever Model 15-4ever is offline
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I have loaded that same bullet in .38 Special +P equivalent loads. Accuracy is acceptable for the first cylinder full at 50 feet. For the second cylinder full, the acceptable accuracy ends at 30 feet. For the third cylinder full, the acceptable accuracy ends at 10 feet. By acceptable I mean minute-of-silo target. Leading is pretty bad, as it's a typical swaged bullet: very soft.

You didn't say what cases you were using for your load, but 5 grains of Unique is a +P load in .38 Special and in my experience the accuracy is not very good. In a .357 case that same powder charge is a mid-range load and accuracy is improved, but terminal effect is nothing particularly impressive over a regular SWC.

From the standpoint of terminal ballistics, that particular Hornady bullet does not expand well at all at any velocity consistent with even passable accuracy. It acts like a soft shouldered SWC. I wouldn't want to get hit with it, but it's not the nearly equivalent in terminal effect of the Remington .38 Special +P 158 grain LSWCHP factory load.

In years past there were better 158 LHP bullets available to handloaders from various makers for defensive purposes, but they are no longer around. After many years experimenting with home-made 158 LHP loads using commercially available bullets, right now the best choice is that Remington factory load.

In handholds for defensive purposes in .38/.357, jacketed bullets are currently your best choice. If you are looking for low-recoiling alternative and expansion is not a consideration, the 148 HBWC loaded conventionally will do the job.

Last edited by Model 15-4ever; 04-18-2017 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:09 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Leading is not a problem. Maybe because I'm using 357 cases, but I've loaded the same in 38 cases with noticeable leading as well. I'm looking for a mild load that my girlfriend can shoot daily and will work for her defense load as well. While accuracy is obviously the number one priority, was hoping for a little better performance over a standard target load.
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:07 PM
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Gents,

Try the Western Bullet or GT Bullet 160gr LSWC-HP. It's a Keith-type SWC and the lead is a soft cast that resists leading up to and just over 1,000 fps.

I load that same charge weight of Unique and haven't had leading, but so-so accuracy. I've heard that modifying the charge weights up/down may off some relief.

For my snub revolvers, I'm starting to evolve to the full wadcutter (Matt's 157gr hard cast lead). The shoulder is sharp and the meplat is full caliber. They're accurate in all guns and would offer a crushing blow. I've loaded them with 5 grains of Unique and 3.8 grains of TiteGroup. Both loads offer good accuracy and decent velocity from a short barrel.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:33 PM
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Can't help you with LSWCHP loads, but can give you my recipe for 357mag defense round just as an option if you start trying other things. Personal feelings, if your going with a LSWCHP, you're going to lose a lot when it comes to expansion.

My SD load that my 2.5" Python is full of, is 140gr XTP over 15gr 2400. I haven't had the chance to chrono them yet, but will this summer.

Since Federal doesn't offer a normal HST for revolvers yet, I have heard good things about the Speer GDs for shortbarrel guns. Obviously not cost efficient for constant practice though, and neither are the XTPs really. I just shoot LSWC of equivalent weight and charge at the range for practice then carry the XTP. I will switch to HST if Federal ever gets with the program.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:01 AM
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My standard .38 special load is 5.0 grains of Unique and a Lyman 358156, sans the gas check, cast from wheel weights. Bullet weight is about 155 grains. I have had excellent accuracy and leading has not been a problem. That same bullet with the gas check and 15 grains of 2400 is my .357 magnum load. Again, good accuracy and minimal leading issues.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:17 AM
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Semiwads and wads are very good for penetration at low velocities. They are not good at all for expansion. Putting a hole in the top doesn't make it a JHP--as soon as it hits anything, it's just going to plug up with material.

Buy some decent factory defensive ammo, and load to match it for practice.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
In years past there were better 158 LHP bullets available to handloaders from various makers for defensive purposes, but they are no longer around.
OP, if you like a 158gr L-SWC-HP in your SD load (I do) you might look at Rim Rocks version (160gr avg.) which has a gas check. Additionally. the lead is very soft (BHN-5). They told me it's suggested max. is 1150fps which won't be a problem in a snubbie. Buffalo Bore uses these.

I recently worked up some loads for my M360J-357Mag using Unique. I started with 5.6grs, which is listed as a 38 Spcl. +P equivalent, & had mild recoil. I worked up in .4gr increments to 6.9grs which is a start load (Speer #14) for 357Mags. All shot well. These were loaded in S-L 357 cases.

g/ch .38/.357 158 gr. SWC-HP per 100/ in a plastic ammo box

.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:49 AM
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If you are shooting a 357 magnum....................

I don't understand why you are shooting the 158 lead, instead of the 125gr JHP?
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:11 AM
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The Hornady should expand at 850-900fps, easily done in 357mag cases & no leading. For practice loads you can use any cast 158gr lswc. I dont andload SDammo,but tje fbi loaded by Rem, Win Or Fed, if you can find them, run about 875fps in my m66 snub. If you are getting leading, check cyl throat dia.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:27 AM
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Default Yes, swaged bullet.....

Swaged bullets are VERY soft and will cause leading problems above about 1000 fps.

For SD, I could put up with some leading, but I think for practice I'd shooting something cast and harder. Some casting outfits make bullets around 10-12 Brinell, I'd like to try those. It would even be better if they were coated.
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Old 04-19-2017, 06:20 AM
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The shape/depth of your hp has a lot to do with it's performance. You have to come up with a # that you feel is where your load needs to be. Then look for a hp design for that #.



For me the magic # is 1000fps for the short bbl'd/snub nosed firearms and 45acp/1911.

2 1/2" bbl'd 44spl


3.2" bbl'd 9mm/1050fps 125gr hp


5" bbl'd 1911/45acp home swaged jacketed 225gr hp's


2" bbl'd 38spl/980fps 158gr hp


Leading is the least of your concerns!!!
If you're getting leading with your soft lead bullet simply grab any paste wax floor wax and coat the bullet and let it dry. I've taken pure lead slugs and swaged them into bullets and coated them with nothing more than johnson's paste wax and never had any leading with hot loads in the 357's.

Hot ='s 1200fps from a 4" bbl'd 357
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:02 PM
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Forrest is correct on the leading issue. 22lr are pretty much dead soft lead running well above 1000fps, no leading. If the Hornady or Speer leads, coating them with Lee Alox or something else will prevent that. It isn't the alloy but fit & lube.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:32 AM
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Eddietruett:

For practice load up what ever suits your fancy, comfort, accuracy and budget. For serious SD concerns I'd say go with the Buffalo Bore 38 Special 158 grain +P LSWCHP-GC. Out of a 2.5" barrel you should get close to 1100 fps with this BB +P 38 Spl. Penetration, accuracy, consistency, expansion and performance is excellent! POA = POI in most CCW Revolvers I've shot it from.

Using .357 Magnums in a 2.5" bbl. is no advantage over the BB load above when it comes to 158 grain bullets. Velocities and performance from the .38 Spl. OUT OF A SNUBBY is actually better than the Magnum load WITHOUT all the flash, noise, recoil and slow follow up shots. The .357 Magnum SHINES in a 5 or 6" barreled gun which is what it was made for.

Last edited by chief38; 04-20-2017 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:00 AM
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Default Five grains of Unique.....

... I about max for that load in .38 special. The velocity should be just over 800 fps. Get your GF to shoot those and see how it feels. Since the 66 is .357 I'd go up until it gets uncomfortable.

I put Pachmehr and Hogue monogrips on my 'j' frames and I can shoot them hot without much discomfort at all.

The Alliant .357 table says that 6 grains of Unique will shoot a 158 gr swaged bullet at a little over 1000 fps.

I'd work up between 5 and 6 grains to get the load you want.
I'd just guess that about 5.5 grains of Unique would get around 900 fps so you can work from there.

I'd think that somewhere in that range you'll find your load. I don't think leading will be a problem at those velocities either.

I don't particularly agree that pin point accuracy is the most important factor in an SD gun because you aren't shooting bullseye. Reliably hitting the center of mass should do the trick.

You should have a load that you can get quick follow up shots with.

Forget 'FBI'. The max load is the one that you can shoot repeat shots with quickly and accurately.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:22 PM
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I have not used Unique to replicate the FBI Load but I did produce one I like a lot.

Using the same Hornady and the Speer bullet I charge 7.0gr HS-6 with a CCI-550 primer. When fired from a 2" barrel the AV is 888.9 fps. Accuracy is very good too.
WARNING, this load exceeds current published load data but looking at older data it seems to be just under the 20,000 PSI limits.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:19 PM
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Hmm, 5.0gr of Unique behind a 158gr SWC being a +P load? My, how things have changed. My Speer #8 manual lists 5.0gr of Unique with a Maximum of 6.0gr behind a 158gr Speer SWC. Personally, I use 5.6gr of Unique, 6.4gr of AA#5, or ArchAngelCD's previously mentioned 7.0gr of HS-6 with my 158gr SWCHP's to duplicate the "FBI Load".

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Old 04-21-2017, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
If you are shooting a 357 magnum....................

I don't understand why you are shooting the 158 lead, instead of the 125gr JHP?
Ever touch off a full house .357 125jhp in an enclosed space?
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:07 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Thanks for all the replies. As always here, great information
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:23 AM
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If you can shoot lead at your range, buy some cheap hardcasts (Dardas, Missouri bullet co, etc.). They won't lead at "FBI Load" velocities. I use them and they work great. Or, buy coated bullets if you can't use lead (they're a little more expensive). Check out SNS casting. I'm about to switch to these because of the range rules.

Like others have said, don't waste money on the Rim Rock bullets for range rounds. There are far cheaper alternatives. Save the Rim Rocks for shooting people mammalian threats.

My self-defense practice .38 +P load is a 158 gr hardcast (~18 BHN) over 6.3 gr of Power Pistol. It clocks 980 from my 2" M10 and 1100 from my 4" M64. With Unique, start at 5 gr and work up to 5.5.

Good luck and have fun. It's a good feeling to have a 50 can full of SD practice rounds for many long days of training.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:26 AM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Well I'm happy to say that my situation has been solved in a sort of strange way. My biggest concern was getting a decent load for my girlfriend. She's new to shooting so I wanted something at least starting out with decent performance, but that she would be comfortable with in regards to recoil etc. wanted her to be accurate, be able to make a follow up shot and most important not get discouraged. When we were loading up to go shooting over the weekend she told me that with her eyesight she had a tough time focusing on Sights and target at the same time so she was not real sure where she was aiming. On a whim I took a 4 inch 19 with a set of crimson trace grips. Solved everything. She hits everything she shoots at. 1st try at 15 yards everything on a silhouette target every shot inside 7 ring. She's so focused on the red dot that recoil is not an issue. Even shot some light magnum loads with no hint of flinching. Only downside now is she doesn't want to quit. Normally after 20 or so rounds she was done. Sunday she shot at least 50 and was disappointed I didn't bring more! I've created a monster! Now if I can just get to reload ammo and clean guns. Well it doesn't hurt to dream.
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:38 PM
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In the Hornady #9 manual, the 357 Magnum pages recommend 5.0 gr. Unique as a max load for their swaged 158 gr. bullets @~ 950 fps from
their 8 in. Colt Python. 4.0 gr. is supposed to give ~ 800 fps. Loading 148 gr. wadcutters, the manual sez use .38 Spl. data. Of course, Hornady .38 Spl. data is for their swaged HBWC.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:57 PM
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Default For in the house use......

I load low end .357s for use in the house. Better than any .38 but not too damaging to the shooter.
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:28 PM
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Fredj has got it right..22LR bullets are soft lead and are driven at way over 1000fps without any leading.Like he says;bullet size is much more important than bullet hardness as far as leading is concerned.
I shoot only lead in my handguns and 97% of my rifles;velocity runs between 600fps and 2200fps and believe me,I'm no Mr Clean.I hate cleaning guns.If leading would be a problem in my guns,I'd drop casting as if it'd be a red hot branding iron.
To me,BHN 14 and over is pure waste in handguns;save that antimony for rifle bullets!
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Old 05-05-2017, 11:11 PM
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Hot 125 grain loads (.357 mag) should not be regularly used in model 66 revolvers. There are about a million threads concerning the topic on this forum, possible cracked forcing cones, etc.

I like either 145 grain Silvertip factory loads or a handload consisting of a 158 grain XTP with a healthy dose of 2400.
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddietruett View Post
Well I'm happy to say that my situation has been solved in a sort of strange way. My biggest concern was getting a decent load for my girlfriend. She's new to shooting so I wanted something at least starting out with decent performance, but that she would be comfortable with in regards to recoil etc. wanted her to be accurate, be able to make a follow up shot and most important not get discouraged. When we were loading up to go shooting over the weekend she told me that with her eyesight she had a tough time focusing on Sights and target at the same time so she was not real sure where she was aiming. On a whim I took a 4 inch 19 with a set of crimson trace grips. Solved everything. She hits everything she shoots at. 1st try at 15 yards everything on a silhouette target every shot inside 7 ring. She's so focused on the red dot that recoil is not an issue. Even shot some light magnum loads with no hint of flinching. Only downside now is she doesn't want to quit. Normally after 20 or so rounds she was done. Sunday she shot at least 50 and was disappointed I didn't bring more! I've created a monster! Now if I can just get to reload ammo and clean guns. Well it doesn't hurt to dream.
It sounds like you have a great problem. Load up some more,ammo and take that girl shooting even more. I'm happy to hear another revolver lover is born!
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