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  #51  
Old 01-23-2020, 07:13 PM
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Powder recommendation for 38 +P? Powder recommendation for 38 +P?  
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Groo here
PS
If the wifey wants less than 357 mid loads,,,,, I suggest
The Super Vel 38spec Super snub +p.
I have shot some from my 3in K6s and decided that they will be my "City Carry Load"
They don't drive as deep [ 8/9 inches] BUT they sure make a mess.
The kick is light , [because of weight] they are fast [ even from a snub]
Nickle brass [as all SD ammo should be]...
The light bullet should help with going through walls and the 38 case will eject easer for reloads.
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  #52  
Old 01-24-2020, 01:37 AM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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Back home from the range. AA#5 seems like a winner, burning completely clean and pushing 125gr Speer Gold Dot Hollow point out the 4-inch tube at a measured 950 fps.

However, the bullet itself proved to be a dismal failure. I was shooting water jugs set side-by-side. I have become accustomed to massive water explosions when shooting jugs with 44 mag, 45 ACP, 357/44 B&D etc. I figured I would capture the fired bullets to examine their expansion today.

Instead of the expected exploded jug, I would up with a neat 357-sized hole through six jugs and the bullet trapped in the seventh jug. There was ZERO expansion.

Thinking my protocol was faulty, I then tested Federal Critical Defense 110gr (NOT +P) which EXPLODED the first jug and was trapped in the second. It performed exactly as it should have.

(See photos of the two recovered bullets for the dramatic contrast).

Tonight I searched YouTube for videos of people shooting GDHP in 38 special, and most of them show little to no expansion. Itís a tremendous disappointment, especially as that line has a good reputation in other calibers.

Speer sells a dedicated short-barrel GDHP, so perhaps the regular one is sturdier and designed to work at higher 357 Mag velocities. It sure doesnít work at 1000 fps!

But AA#5 seems to be a winner, so thanks for that!
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  #53  
Old 01-24-2020, 01:50 AM
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Powder recommendation for 38 +P? Powder recommendation for 38 +P? Powder recommendation for 38 +P? Powder recommendation for 38 +P? Powder recommendation for 38 +P?  
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Iíve had pretty good results with Universal.
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  #54  
Old 01-27-2020, 12:44 AM
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Default 38 Spl loads

Being an old guy with two surgeries to my dominant hand I opt for lighter recoil , particularly in the airweight snubbies. I shoot Rem. 125 gr SJHP bullets in 38 Spl cases with 7.1 gr. of Herco. I like the large lead nose of this jacketed bullet, and my chrono says I get 1,017 fps. It is a very easily controlled load and extremely accurate out of my 642 and my 3" Md. 64. This load is from the Hornady 3rd Edition loading manual and is listed just below the +P powder charge. Herco is an old powder but burns clean at this powder charge and cases extract easily. I have never tested it for penetration and expansion, so I can't say what the terminal effects might be. I like this load, but in my 642 for self defense purposes I carry factory 148 gr WC loads. Accurate and easy recoil and hopefully 5 of them would change the attitude of a bad guy.
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  #55  
Old 01-30-2020, 09:33 PM
Phil_A Phil_A is offline
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I have been using HS-6 mainly for the last few years for 38 special. Hodgdon has the loading data listed for standard and +P loads.

I also like VV N320 and N340 as well for 38 special 45 colt when I can get it. Vihtavuori also has load data posted for there powders.
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  #56  
Old 02-01-2020, 11:15 AM
rsrocket1 rsrocket1 is offline
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Most HP rounds want over 1000 fps to expand. Water jugs aren't a good test for marginal rounds. If you shot those Gold Dots into a side of beef, it could expand considerably (or not).

Honestly, for you wife I would recommend 5g Unique or 5.6g BE-86. BE-86 has flash suppressants to help eliminate the flash typically seen with powders like Power Pistol. For +P ammo pushing a 158g bullet to 900-1000 fps, you don't need and don't want anything much slower than Unique. AA5 fits the bill quite well.

Personally, I would prefer a 158g soft lead cast flat nose bullet at 900 fps to a 110g JHP @1100 fps. There will be more muzzle blast and a higher chance of bullet deflection (against bone or other object other than flesh) with a fast light bullet than with a slower heavier bullet. Yes the fast expanding bullet looks nice after a gel or water jug test when it strikes nothing harder than water but most bad guys aren't homogeneous jugs of water or gelatin blocks.

But the bottom line is what does your wife feel comfortable shooting? If she's comfortable squeezing off 3 rounds in quick succession with the 110g load without flinching, you're GTG. The most important thing for a SD/HD load is that you won't be afraid to use it when it really counts, that you don't flinch in anticipation of the recoil and that you can shoot multiple times in a stressful situation.
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  #57  
Old 02-01-2020, 12:28 PM
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My stuck-in-a-rut 'go-to' .38 Spl. load for many years was a 158 gr LSWC, or when I cast, the Lyman #358156GC bullet over 5.5gr of Unique.

It was the main fodder I labeled 'Field Loads' and shot mostly in 2.5, 4 and 6 in. Security Sixes, my M19, my duty M66 (no, was not allowed to use this ammo at work), and a M28.
It was great in all those.

Remember getting my first J frame, a basic M36 2" and running them in that. After 3-4 cylinder-fulls you'd had all the fun you wanted with that.
The duty load, a .38 Spl 125 gr JHP +P was more comfy.

I have found that AA-5 works as good, and meters better and is some cleaner than Unique. But, I'm happy in my little rut. I hauled out some of that listed load for a range trip recently and saw it was loaded in 1987. Did great.
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  #58  
Old 02-01-2020, 11:23 PM
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I will second the use of Herco in warm 38 special loads, I keep on hand for shotshells mostly. It was popular a generation ago for 38 spcl, and other similar handgun cartridges.
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  #59  
Old 02-02-2020, 12:10 AM
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Good performance in the particular barrel length, with minimum muzzle flash as an important consideration would be the direction I'd go. I'm a fan of 158 gr SWC lead hollowpoints. I've run 1000's of .38 Spec +P equivalents through 686's in .38 Spl cases. Outside of reduced case life due to the +P there has been no problems.
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  #60  
Old 02-02-2020, 02:18 PM
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I will NOT fire any 125 gr. Speer Gold Dots through my 38 special snub nose, for the same reason.
Low FPS and the factory bullet did not even start to expand and could actually be reloaded again, if needed.

This bullet needs at least a 4" barrel to get the needed fps for it to maybe work right.

Any 125 gr JHP out of my 2" J frame will be the Remington or a HST bullet....... but this is my fourth choice.
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  #61  
Old 02-04-2020, 11:32 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
I will NOT fire any 125 gr. Speer Gold Dots through my 38 special snub nose, for the same reason.
Low FPS and the factory bullet did not even start to expand and could actually be reloaded again, if needed.

This bullet needs at least a 4" barrel to get the needed fps for it to maybe work right.

Any 125 gr JHP out of my 2" J frame will be the Remington or a HST bullet....... but this is my fourth choice.
I found you can learn a lot by reading the darn book....

Speer clearly states that their 125gr bullet is intended for deep penetration and less expansion. It worked just as advertised. Their 135gr GDHP has a much larger nose cavity and is designed to expand at much lower velocities. I bought a bunch and will be trying them out tomorrow (powered by 7.0gr AA #5, which seems like a real winner, burning cleanly and with no discernible flash in daylight, unlike my 2400 loads which were a bit bright.....
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  #62  
Old 02-06-2020, 03:02 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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An update:

Back from water jug testing and I’m pleased to report that the Speer 135gr Gold Dot Hollow Point Short Barrel worked EXACTLY as advertised. The Hornady 125gr XTP worked pretty well too.

I was using Speer’s max load for 38 Spl +P (7.0gr AA #5) which felt surprisingly light to me, much lighter than I expected. The book advertised 1052 FPS (although significantly didn’t mention test barrel length) but with my 4-inch barrel I only got 800-850 FPS. However that was enough to get the bullet to open up nicely.

Hornady lists 6.8gr as the max load for their 125gr XTP (calling it a +P load) But AA lists 7.5 max, and 7.8 with Remington 125gr. Since it’s a 357 magnum I felt comfortable starting off with 7.8, and that delivered 900-950 FPS, and just a tidge more recoil, still very light. That bullet expanded too but not in the same fashion.

The 135gr bullets weighed 133.8 afterwards, while the 125 weighed exactly 125.0, remarkable.

Speer doesn’t have any 357 Mag data for AA#5 for their 135gr bullet, as they only tested seven powders. But they list a million powders for their 140gr bullet, including AA#5. They list a starting load of 9.1gr, so I’m going to load up a batch of those today (using 357 Mag cases this time).

Knowing water jugs are an imperfect testing medium, and given the fact that I have been wholly unsuccessful in finding human volunteers to cooperate in my bullet performance testing I am planning on producing some ballistic gel and formalizing my testing a bit more.

This will also allow me to shoot at milk jugs one at a time, purely for their great entertainment value.

Photo of the two Speer and one Hornady bullet attached. Again, thanks to everyone for the great advice and support!
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  #63  
Old 02-06-2020, 04:56 PM
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Lots of great opinions here and some great posts. I would just like to cast my vote for HS-6 for +P 38special. It's what I use!
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  #64  
Old 02-08-2020, 11:50 AM
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Default that may be a little slow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Just for giggles I tried the very SLOW IMR4227 in the 38 special case with a lead 158gr bullet.
Ten grains out of a J frame snub nose gave me 571fps..........
was very dirty and locked up the cylinder, to where I had to take it home to clean it and get the cylinder to open again.

This might be why the Lyman book that I have, only list
Blue Dot as the slowest powder for the 158gr weight lead bullets.
First of all, I always enjoy your posts. I hesitate to comment to someone with your experience, but I ask for my own enlightenment. I would love to know if my extrapolations are correct, or dangerous.

You reported 10gr moving out at 571fps. I use a lot of 4227 in 6 different calibers and immediately thought that was too slow for 10gr.


After checking for 38 special and a 158gr , Hornady Load Center shows 10gr of H4227 hitting 864fps out of a 7.7" barrel using a small pistol primer (wrong primer). That's almost 300fps slower than you achieved with your J frame. Your short snub barrel could account for 150fps or even a little more, but not 300fps.
There is an issue with shooting a slow powder like 4227 out of a short barrel. My expectations could be off because I shoot long barrels almost exclusively. Slow powders need time (in the case and the barrel) to achieve the faster velocities they are known for.

If the above is correct, my first thought was that your crimp might not be adequate to build enough pressure to get that bullet moving.

From your dirty description, we might also surmise that there was incomplete combustion. Most handloaders use Magnum primers for slow powers like H110 and 4227 to get better combustion; and therefore more speed (less dirt). I was shocked to see Hornady even listing non magnum primers.
I would even go so far as to say they are wrong.

Does any of this make any sense?

Prescut

Last edited by oddshooter; 02-08-2020 at 12:07 PM.
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