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Old 05-08-2018, 01:46 PM
RGVshooter RGVshooter is offline
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Default Check my load 38 sp +P

These specs came straight out of "Handloader" magazine. Winter 2017.

In there was an article regarding 38 special, standard & +P loads.

The revolver I will be shooting these out of is a 4" model 686 for general outdoor steel plate plinking up to 25 yards and a few informal bowling pin matches. Specs are as follows:

38 special +P

4.0gr Titegroup

158gr Hornady LSWC/HP

COL 1.433"

Winchester small pistol primer

In the article the writer stated that he got an average velocity of 829 fps out of a Ruger LCR w/a 1.8" barrel. It should be pointed out that the above load produced a greater velocity than most popular commercial +P loads from Winchester & Remington that feature a 158gr LSWC-HP style bullet.

In addition although the load is listed under +P data, it is still under max load to help prevent lead fouling the barrel.

It's interesting because my Hornady 9th edition shows a max of 3.8grs Titegroup with a 158gr LSWC-HP for 357 magnum at a est 850fps and no Titegroup shown in the 38 special data.

What say you?
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:19 PM
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I recall the article, but can't put my hands on it at this moment. I'll grant you, the loads listed in Handloader don't always agree with the loading tables provided by the manufacturers.

I DO happen to have a couple of kegs of Hodgdon TiteGroup on hand, and listed right on the front label is the following in reference to 38 Special: CALIBER 38 Special CHARGE 3.8 gr. BULLET 158 gr. CAST LSWC CASE Win. PRIMER Win. SP C.O.L. 1.475" VELOCITY 920 f.p.s.

There is load information for 9mm Luger, 357 Magnum, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and 45 Colt on the label as well as the above listing for 38 Special.

At the bottom of the label: MAXIMUM LOADS - DO NOT EXCEED - REDUCE BY 10% TO START

So I guess we can at lease recognize what Hodgdon considers the maximum for TiteGroup. Is it based on any kind of hard SAAMI number? I have no idea.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Brown View Post
I recall the article, but can't put my hands on it at this moment. I'll grant you, the loads listed in Handloader don't always agree with the loading tables provided by the manufacturers.

I DO happen to have a couple of kegs of Hodgdon TiteGroup on hand, and listed right on the front label is the following in reference to 38 Special: CALIBER 38 Special CHARGE 3.8 gr. BULLET 158 gr. CAST LSWC CASE Win. PRIMER Win. SP C.O.L. 1.475" VELOCITY 920 f.p.s.

There is load information for 9mm Luger, 357 Magnum, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and 45 Colt on the label as well as the above listing for 38 Special.

At the bottom of the label: MAXIMUM LOADS - DO NOT EXCEED - REDUCE BY 10% TO START

So I guess we can at lease recognize what Hodgdon considers the maximum for TiteGroup. Is it based on any kind of hard SAAMI number? I have no idea.

Best of luck.
I had a bunch of hardcast 158gr SWC and i used that exact recipe. It worked great. it was warm, but not too hot...
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:30 PM
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The Hodgdon website shows max standard pressure load of 3.8gr Titegroup gives a 158gr LSWC 920fps at 15,400 CUP in a 38 SPL case with a 7.7" test barrel. Hodgdon doesn't give +P loads for lead bullets, which bugs me.

As I recall, the max CUP for 38 SPL +P is 18,500 CUP, so I'm quite confident 4.0 gr of Titegroup would be ok, and might hit that 829fps out of a snubbie.

I have to say I didn't know Titegroup could be loaded that aggressively in 38 SPL, and it makes me think a 158gr Rimrock soft LSWC-HP over ~4 - 4.2 gr of Titegroup might be a very good short barrel 38 SPL self defense load that gets dang close to the FBI load.

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Old 05-08-2018, 04:58 PM
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The Hornady bullet is a soft, squishy swagged bullet for target shooting. It is not a Hard Cast bullet.

So thumping them up with a fast powder you will probably get leading. Pressure wise the M686 is fine it is meant for full house 357 mag loads.


But then we can get into the TG debate again.

Why use expensive Hornady bullets for shooting steel??

JMO but perhaps use 357 brass and a hard cast lead bullet and use start 357 mag loads or just change the bullet if you want to use 38 brass.
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:06 PM
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RGVshooter,

With all due respect to Handloader magazine, Titegroup is not a good choice for .38 Special +P ammo. It's basically in the same burn rate range as Bullseye (another poor +P powder). The problem is, you will reach your maximum +P pressure before you are able to get a good velocity. Better powders are Unique, AA#5, and especially HS-6. Regarding swaged bullets and leading, it's not the softness of the lead that will cause leading (I cast bullets that are just as soft for my FBI load), but rather if they are not a proper size for your throats. Hope that helps.

Don
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:39 PM
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Yes SIZE matters but so does BHN or lead hardness otherwise there would not be all the threads, posts and debates of hard vs soft lead.

Swagged bullets are indeed softer. So use that info however one wants to,

Here on this never ending thread, post #28

If one wants to send a bullet of 5.5-6 bhn down the tube at high velocity then go for it. Maybe they are harder perhaps 8bhn? Maybe they will lead maybe not?Whatever if one wants to splatter steel plates with them so be it.

Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets.....
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:23 PM
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Default Being a swaged bullet.....

...changes the whole picture. Hornady and Speer's lead bullets are swaged and some other bullet makers supply them swaged also. These bullets are made for target velocities.

Were the bullet hard cast, plated or coated I'd say, "Load 'em up."

Bullseye and Titegroup and capable of making warm loads, but be careful not to overload with a fast powder or your gun will be 'broke'.

There are other much more suitable powders to make a warmer load.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:46 PM
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Swagged bullets are harder than you think. In the following link, go to post #21 where a guy contacted the various manufacturers and asked the question:

Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets.....

Size, not bullet hardness, is the primary cause of leading.

Don
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR View Post
RGVshooter,

With all due respect to Handloader magazine, Titegroup is not a good choice for .38 Special +P ammo. It's basically in the same burn rate range as Bullseye (another poor +P powder). The problem is, you will reach your maximum +P pressure before you are able to get a good velocity. Better powders are Unique, AA#5, and especially HS-6. Regarding swaged bullets and leading, it's not the softness of the lead that will cause leading (I cast bullets that are just as soft for my FBI load), but rather if they are not a proper size for your throats. Hope that helps.


Don
I agree 100%. I went barking up that fast burning powder tree a while back and someone here suggested Universal which I've found to be a great +P powder. Easily push coated 158gr to 1000fps. Very mild shooting. Clean and Accurate too. Get way more velocity and a lot less "bang" than with Titegroup.
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:39 AM
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If I can get my snub nose J frame to push a lead 158gr to 800fps with 4grs of fast powder.........

You should not have any problems with titegroup and your 4" barrel getting a 850 to 900fps load and still reach a safe chamber pressure.

As a note, my 6" 686 shoots little holes in targets with the 158gr Lwc only doing 755fps.
Kills paper but a little light for steel use.

850-900 might be doable for steel but with your weapon you
should be able to get up to 950fps if needed with other powders.
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Old 05-09-2018, 02:04 AM
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Normally I only use titegroup for loading my 148 gr. wadcutters.

For my 158gr 38 special I like using Power Pistol. In fact my favorite 38 special load that I make is:

158gr hornady LRN or SWC-HP
4.9gr Power Pistol
COL 1.455"

For 357 magnum I like using Hornady's 158gr XTP's & 13.9gr H110 @col 1.575"
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:30 AM
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+1 on Universal. The more I play with it, the more I like it. For these olde hands, the recoil pulse at full loads is easier to deal with.

Stu
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:34 AM
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Going to some of my older manuals I found a 38spl+P load that I like most . I use 5.7 grs of Unique w/the " Keith " 173 swc (Lyman 358429) seated on top and crimped in the crimp groove , fired with a small pistol primer .
I realize this is more than modern load manuals show . I fire these in a 357 magnum revolver as I have no designated 38's . This load is very accurate and has plenty of power , cases literally fall out of the cylinder . Regards, Paul
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR View Post
Swagged bullets are harder than you think. In the following link, go to post #21 where a guy contacted the various manufacturers and asked the question:

Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets.....

Size, not bullet hardness, is the primary cause of leading.

Don

Geesh read post #7 of THIS thread.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:04 PM
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My NEI SWC casts a 154gr bullet.On top of 3.8 Titegroup,it'll fly over the screen at a little over 900fps(904 if I remember correctly;excuse me if I don't run out to my shop to retrieve my notes)out of a 6''tube.
When I want to go +P route(which I use in my 4'' model 13),I go the 6.0gr Power Pistol way with the same bullet.Using slower burning powder makes me feel better insured against sudden sharp pressure increase of the quick burning powders.

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Old 05-12-2018, 02:04 PM
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One of my "rules" is I don't pay much attention (none) to load data from any forum expert, range rat, magazine article, gun counter clerk, pet loads web site, or gun shop guru. I still, after 30+ years of reloading, get my data from published reloading manuals. Mostly starting load data and OAL, and use them for reference for max. loads. I do occasionally look at powder manufacturer's websites, but usually double check that data against my manuals. And I ain't missing nuttin'...

The only load data I've considered or used other than reloading manuals is the "NRA M1 Garand load data". Never needed to try a magazine article author's load data...
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:45 AM
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Went downstairs and excavated the data drawer. SAAMI MAP pressures for .38 Special are:

P: 17,600 cup/17,000 psi +P: 20,0000 cup/ 18,500 psi

Lead (swaged) bullet data is usually mild to minimize the chance of leading.

About powder company data, this is virtually always from specially made test barrels in universal receivers. The barrel creates an absolute worst case in terms of elevating pressures: tight bore and groove dimensions and minimum chambers & headspace. They'll generally hit max pressure for a given charge long before most production firearms. Then, there are the occasional surprises.

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Old 05-23-2018, 08:54 AM
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Default "FOR STEEL PLATE & PLINKING."

WHY push the envelope??? Surely you could find an acceptable accuracy sweet spot at a lower pressure. NO MAN POINTS for running the hottest loads. Got hot loads? Run them thru a STRONG/less valuable gun. ALSO look at what gun & barrel length they are testing those loads in. A 8" universal receiver is different from an alloy/light wt snub.

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Old 05-23-2018, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld View Post
One of my "rules" is I don't pay much attention (none) to load data from any forum expert, range rat, magazine article, gun counter clerk, pet loads web site, or gun shop guru. I still, after 30+ years of reloading, get my data from published reloading manuals. Mostly starting load data and OAL, and use them for reference for max. loads. I do occasionally look at powder manufacturer's websites, but usually double check that data against my manuals. And I ain't missing nuttin'...

The only load data I've considered or used other than reloading manuals is the "NRA M1 Garand load data". Never needed to try a magazine article author's load data...
This is very good advice.

However, there seems to be an adversity to buying paper manuals among many of today's handloaders and they miss out on a lot. Certainly there are websites with data from reputable sources, but these are often sketchy and data is limited.

A variety of published manuals serve as tools for learning to handload as well as comparison and reference. I don't know how new handloaders are educated in procedures these days, but hope it's not on YouTube or other potentially questionable "source". YouTube probably has good information, but it also may contain quite a bit that is not good. It takes some background and experience to differentiate between the good and bad, something a beginner may be incapable of doing.
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachogrande View Post
WHY push the envelope??? Surely you could find an acceptable accuracy sweet spot at a lower pressure. NO MAN POINTS for running the hottest loads. Got hot loads? Run them thru a STRONG/less valuable gun. ALSO look at what gun & barrel length they are testing those loads in. A 8" universal receiver is different from an alloy/light wt snub.
The test gun in the article was a Ruger LCR 38 special +P with a 1-7/8" barrel.
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:47 AM
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A few thoughts on lead bullets.

1) The hardness of the lead needs to be well matched to the pressure of the load. If the lead is too hard to obturate and seal the bore with the pressure available in the load, then you'll get gas cutting as the gas passes by the bullet and that will melt lead which will adhere to the bore.

2) The same gas cutting process occurs if the bullet it undersized relative to the throat. Gas cutting occurs and lead is deposited in the bore before the bullet even reaches the rifling. A lead bullet that is over size for the bore isn't a big deal as it will size down to the required dimensions - just be aware that this can increase the peak pressure of the load
and work up slowly to higher pressures.

3) At the other extreme, if a bullet is too soft for the pressure of the load it can produce leading.

4) Suitable lead bullet hardness for load pressures:

- Plumbers lead (BHN = 5-6), and stick on wheel weights - 13,000 psi (Black Powder Only)

- 1-20 alloy (1 part tin to 20 parts lead) (BHN 10), non magnum handgun loads.

- Clip on wheel weights (BHN = 12-13) 25,000 psi non-magnum handgun loads and rifles to around 1,800 fps

- Lyman # 2 Alloy (BHN = 15) 35,000 psi, magnum handgun loads and rifles to 2,000 fps

- Quench-cast wheel weights and Linotype (BHN = 18) (dropped from mold into a 5 gallon bucket of water) 48,000 psi, Magnum handgun loads and rifles to 2,200 fps.

- Oven heat treated wheel weights (BHN 30-32) 55,000 psi, Jacketed velocities in hand guns and rifles with a quality bore & balanced load. (Note it will take about 3 weeks of aging for the alloy to reach maximum hardness).

5) To find the minimum pressure for an alloy multiply the alloy BHN by 1,400. For example an alloy with a BHN of 12 multiplied by 1,400 = 16,800, so an alloy of 12 BHN should be used with a load that develops a minimum of 16,800 psi.

6) There are a couple different bullet hardness indexes. The Brinnel hardness is most common but a lot of shooters have Saeco lead hardness testers and they do not use the same scale. For example:

Pure lead = Saeco 1 = BHN 5-6
1-20 alloy = Saeco 6-7 = BHN 10
Linotype = Saeco 9-10 = BHN 18-20

Don't get the two confused when someone references how "hard" their lead is in a load. Details matter.

7) The FBI load.

I probably see more incorrect information on this load than any other. The biggest is that you want to use pure lead for maximum expansion. Yes, that'll do it, except you are way over 13,000 psi even in a .38 special and leading is going to be a major problem. Just ask Federal. Their "FBI load" had major problems and it took then awhile adjusting the load hardness and hollow point cavity dimensions to get a version that would both expand reliably at 4" .38 +P velocities and yet not lead excessively at .38+ P pressures.

Some folks will tell you that leading doesn't matter. They've never shot the FBI's revolver course where it's an issue given the ranges and round counts.

The original FBI load in the early 1970s launched a 158 gr LSWCHP at a nominal velocity of 1010 fps from a 4" barrel.

For comparison purposes the old Remington Express 158 gr LSWCHP load achieved about 900 fps in a 4" barrel, and the current "HTP load" only turns in around 850 fps (but to be fair it will do it from a 2" rather than 4" barrel.

So there's the FBI load and then there's the commercial copies that people call an FBI load but really aren't quite the old FBI load.

That makes the original "FBI load" pretty much a handload proposition. If you're using a .357 Magnum revolver then pressure isn't really an issue and you can use .357 Mag data to get the velocity you need for expansion. The tricky part is the bullet as it needs to be soft enough to expand at a velocity in the 1000 fps range, yet hard enough not to cause excessive leading with the pressures and powders you are using to get 1000 fps.

Plan on some extensive load development and then plan on some gel testing as well to confirm the results.

On the other hand, the current Remington HTP load at around 850 fps seems to do well in gel tests with good expansion and 12" penetration so it begs the question whether you really need to cook up a copy of the original FBI load in the first place.

Last edited by BB57; 05-23-2018 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:04 AM
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A few thoughts on lead bullets
Well to make it short, the load in question calls for a Hornady LSWC-HP. As long as I stay within the load parameters of the Hornady 9th edition book that I have, I have seen very minimal leading. Hornady states in their manual to keep velocities under 1100fps to prevent excessive leading of the barrel. This load recipe that I mentioned in my first post the author stated that he got a 5 shot average of 829fps out of a Ruger LCR 38 special with a 1-7/8" barrel. I would assume shooting the same load thru my 4" 686 may produce velocities around 1050fps or so. I haven't shot them yet.But for giggles I might pull out the chromo and check them out.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachogrande View Post
WHY push the envelope??? Surely you could find an acceptable accuracy sweet spot at a lower pressure.
Handloading makes sense for rifles, it's nearly mandatory for getting the most versatility from handguns.

I load for several handguns, with very little variety in rounds I need to keep dies for. Pretty much same for rifles. I rarely shoot jacketed bullets in any of my handguns, my .380's, (my only centerfire autos), being the exception, as most of the potential from any of my revolvers can be achieved with some version of swaged or lead bullets.
I have a very light weigh .38, M637 that works best with those soft Speer 158gr LSWC HP's over a low end +P level load, the same load seems to work just as good in my new M60/.38 Spcl. They are useless at .357/.44 magnum speeds. I load my M69 up with the Speer's, as they are not a problem with leading at 850fps, accuracy is very good, and the M69 is more shooter friendly. For more serious loads, I use a 240gr LSWC with lots of Herco for not quite 1100fps. If I thought my tired old hide was in danger from bad guys, a case full of 2400 and a 180gr Sierra HP would fix the baddest of guys.

The point being, as a handloader, all of those bullets have a place. One is not better than the others, and all have a best quality that I like and use for my shooting. All of them are accurate in the right application, they can all be useless or sub-optimal in other applications.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:58 PM
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I have shot 3.7-3.8 grs of Titegroup using speer 158 gr swc lead bullets out of a 4" barrel . I don't know the velocity , but it had plenty of power / accuracy and shot clean . My only complaint about TG , the load is hardly noticeable in a 38 spl case . Regards, Paul
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:11 PM
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The results of my FBI Load Testing:

Check my load 38 sp +P-hollowpoint-testing-jpg

Middle bullet at 845fps, bullet on the right 945fps. BHN of about 8 and fired from my 2.5 inch Model 19. No leading.

Don
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Old 05-25-2018, 08:48 PM
Thomas15 Thomas15 is offline
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Perhaps for bowling pin shooting you would want a bit of power but those that shoot revolvers in static steel competitions such as steel challenge use light bullets with a small charge of a fast powder. In my opinion the only advantage of shooting revos in that cof is that you can shoot such light loads not having to cycle a slide.

Obviously for falling steel shooting a bit more fire power is needed but I use just enough to do the job.
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Old 05-25-2018, 09:45 PM
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Isn't a 686 a .357 Magnum gun?

This thing won't even sneeze with this load. You're at 17kpsi and the gun is made for 35kspi along with the brass. Believe it or not most 38 special brass have the same dimensions as .357 mag brass other than the length. Your cylinder is holding the pressure in on the sides and your breechface is holding the rim. If the gun can take it, the brass will take it.

You should be getting around 800 fps out of the gun which will be easy shooting. At 800 fps, the lead bullet can also take it.
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Old 05-26-2018, 03:42 AM
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Default That is a very good rule....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld View Post
One of my "rules" is I don't pay much attention (none) to load data from any forum expert, range rat, magazine article, gun counter clerk, pet loads web site, or gun shop guru. I still, after 30+ years of reloading, get my data from published reloading manuals. Mostly starting load data and OAL, and use them for reference for max. loads. I do occasionally look at powder manufacturer's websites, but usually double check that data against my manuals. And I ain't missing nuttin'...

The only load data I've considered or used other than reloading manuals is the "NRA M1 Garand load data". Never needed to try a magazine article author's load data...
That's an excellent rule. I adhere to it when using any loads found in books, or the manufacturers website or other reliable source.

Problem is, Everything I shoot isn't in 'published' data. If I get some advice from someone I have to check it against all the other data I can find (thank the Lord for the internet). Sometimes these are found in much older books or reliable sources. Even then I have to approach conservatively and be careful as hell. Gallery and 'Youth' loads for rifles are something that I like. I haven't managed to damage anything in 40 years and I THINK I might have enough data of my own now to cover about any shooting I want to do. I don't go over the top end with any gun, but I have found loads in old data that work well in a 'modern, strong revolver'.

Yeah, this is an old thread, but I thought this info was on a little different tack than most comments here.
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:48 AM
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My 38 spl +P load is Elmer's bullet on top of 13.5 grs of 2400!
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:47 PM
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On the Hornady 158gr LSWC:
Have shot many thousands of these over the years (Im old).
They have been mostly, and still are loaded with 4.8 of WW 231.
Average velocity has been 840-850fps out of 4" K & L frames.
They shoot well and have been great on pins, plates and bullseye.
Never had a problem with leading in any revolver that load was used in.
They used to have a powdery coating but In the last batch I bought the bullets do not have the powder. The bullet pattern is the same but they are dry. Maybe they changed the formula, I dont know. But they still shoot well.
Just my observation about the Hornady LSWC 158gr bullet.
Jim
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakebfr480 View Post
My 38 spl +P load is Elmer's bullet on top of 13.5 grs of 2400!
Yikes!

I hope nobody feeds that to one of their J Frames, as it's only about a half gr less than a hot .357 load.
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:02 AM
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Check my load 38 sp +P-hollowpoint-testing-jpg
Don, could you put an ID on those bullets when you get a chance?

They look like winners for sure.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMan51 View Post
Don, could you put an ID on those bullets when you get a chance?

They look like winners for sure.
Bullet on the left is a Lyman 454423 HP clone. Bullet in the middle and on the right are 359640 HP's. All cast from Mihec Molds.

Don
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