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Old 01-10-2020, 11:08 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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Default Powder recommendation for 38 +P?

I have a Model 686 that is the wife’s home defense gun. She doesn’t want to shoot full 357 Mag so I am trying to brew up a good 38 +P load, using 158gr JHP in 38 special cases.

Load manuals led me to believe that 2400 would be a good choice, but my experience (10.0 grains, with the aforementioned 158gr JHP and magnum primers) is that it’s not burning clean, and leaving lots of unburned powder flakes.

I currently have WW231, 296, Blue Dot and 2400 in the house but I suspect there is another powder that is better suited to 38 Special +P. I have been very rigid about avoiding the latest generation of modern powders, and I think it’s time I broaden my horizons.

Looking forward to words of wisdom and sub-magnum +P load data for 158gr JHP.

EDIT: All other things being equal, a low-flash powder would be preferable.

THANKS!

Last edited by Pantera Mike; 01-10-2020 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:39 AM
scooter123 scooter123 is online now
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Try Accurate #5. There is load data for this powder for 38 special AND 357 Magnum, so you can load from the minimum 38 special all the way to the maximum charge for 357 Magnum. I have what I call my "Magnum Lites" which puts a 158 grain Hornady XTP out of a 4 inch barrel at 900 fps. For me it's just the ticket for when I want to run some "magnums" thru my highly cherished 1972 vintage model 19-3.

BTW, I would suggest using 357 Magnum cases. You'll reduce the pressure a nudge and you wont have to deal with the powder ring left in the cylinder by the shorter 38 special cases.

Last edited by scooter123; 01-11-2020 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:33 AM
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Look into Unique and I think you may like what you find. It does very well for 38+P but in a 686 7 grains in a 357 magnum case under your 158 jhp may just be what you're looking for. Sort of a "magnum light". Not a lot of blast and flash but it should get around 1200 fps and shoots fairly clean too. I know a lot of folks don't like Unique but it really works well in a lot of different loads and in some calibers it's as good or better than some of the new whiz-bang powders IMHO.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:09 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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From published data 6.0 grs of Power Pistol or Hodgdon Longshot will
yield over 1,000 fps out of a 4" barrel with a 158 gr cast SWC. My own
tests do the same with 5.1 grs of 231. These are +P loads and stay
within +P limits. If you choose 158 gr JHPs for +P loads you have to
realize that you are not likely to get much if any expansion at 1,000
fps.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:28 AM
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I have found HS-6 to work very well for plus P loads. Need to use a magnum primer with it.
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:10 PM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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You never said what bbl length your 686 is. Typically, the shorter the bbl, the more attention to detail is required.

Things like cylinder gap come into play taking +/- 10fps per 1/1000" of gap. Same goes for using 38spl cases in a 357, you'll loose +/- 10fps. Doesn't sound like much but if you have a 6/1000th cylinder gap and are using 38spl cases/loads in your 357 expect to loose +/ 70fps from the published data.

Bullet selection is also huge with plated being the slowest, then jacketed and finely cast/coated bullets. There is easily as much as 50fps+ difference in the same loads by something as simple as a bullet choice.

Add to that the difference in bullet designs play a huge roll. A couple years back I did a bunch of testing 38spl p+ loads in a 2" snubnosed revolver. I used these 8 bullets pictured below along with 2 others for a total of 10 different test bullets.


At the end of the day these 4 bullets consistently out performed the other 6 with 5 different powders tested.


What they have in common is (hbwc loaded backwards) that the bullets base/body/bottom drive band is larger then the rest of the bullets and they sealed the cylinders/bbl better letting less pressure go buy to the front drive bands and past the front of the bullet. There was as much as 70+fps difference in those bullets and the worst performing bullet {top picture bottom row far right).

If your shooting 38spl's in a 8 3/8" bbl'd 686 it makes a huge difference compared to a 2 1/2" bbl'd 686. If your thought is to keep recoil down and performance up I'd be looking at a rimrock lead gas check 158gr hp along with 6.3 gr of power pistol or bluedot in 38spl cases.
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:27 PM
cowboy4evr cowboy4evr is offline
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Unique will get you there , but not current load data . In older manuals 5.4 grs was the +P 38special load using a 158gr bullet . One of my favorites is 7.0grs of HS-6 with a 158gr cast bullet . It needs a magnum primer , CCI 550 etc . I got the HS-6 load from one of the forum members here years ago . I hope this helps , Regards Paul

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Old 01-11-2020, 01:51 PM
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OP says he has Blue Dot on hand. Excellent powder for high performance in .38 Special (also 9X19, .38 Super, .357 magnum, and several others). In addition to very good velocities Blue Dot provides clean burning and reduced muzzle flash (compared to many others).

Personally, I would prefer a good cast SWC over the jacketed bullet. A quick reference to the Lyman handbooks shows significantly higher muzzle velocities (hence muzzle energy as well), which is understandable because of the greatly reduced friction in the bore between lead and copper jacket materials.

Lyman's data shows a top load of 7.8 grains Blue Dot for 919FPS (4" test barrel) with 158-grain cast, at 16,400 CUP (standard .38 Special pressure, not +P). Compare that to 7.1 grains Blue Dot for 721FPS with 158-grain JHP, at 16,300 CUP (also standard pressure load). That amounts to 198FPS increase (27% greater) comparing cast bullet to jacketed, and that is without even stepping into +P territory.

I used Blue Dot extensively years ago, then it became difficult to find for a number of years. It was my favorite for performance loads in several handgun calibers. Since then I went back to Unique (due to general availability as much as any other factor), and my .38 Spl. +P load has been a 150 LSWC-HP with 5.4 grains Unique. That load shoots very well and is easily controllable in the medium-frame revolvers.

NOTE: Do your own research. Please don't accept my handloading experience as definitive for your uses. I have offered the above only as examples for comparison. Your methods and results may vary.
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:06 PM
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Power pistol if you have it on hand. I personally stray away from blue dot (blue dirt), it doesn't perform well until you get near max loads and its been very dirty to shoot for me.

I had the misfortune of using it as my first handgun powder and had all sorts of problems with it, I thought I was doing something wrong until I got up near my max loads.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:00 PM
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Well, if you are interested in a trying a whiz-bang powder, I recommend Vihtavuori and specifically their N340. It is a versatile powder and can be used in almost all standard calibers. VV shows 5.2 hitting 856fps and max of 5.8 hitting 1017fps for a 158gr HP/XTP.

N340 is Very accurate and clean burning. More expensive powder, but you get what you pay for. The extra cost per round is negligible.


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Old 01-11-2020, 03:33 PM
Abflyboy Abflyboy is online now
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HS-6 would be my #1 choice for .38 Spl +P, full charge under Hornady XTP. This is actually my absolute favorite load to take out and shoot. Extremely accurate with excellent performance on target, minimal recoil, minimal flash, very good performing but well-mannered load.

VV N340 would be a very close #2 choice but increased cost and lack of availability relegate it to second place.

OP specified JHP, Hornady XTP would be an excellent performer over a full charge of HS-6 as a +P .38 Spl load. I would personally choose 125 gr XTP but the 158 gr XTP will work wonderfully.

2400 is best suited at full charge for medium magnum load
W296/H110 is for HOT magnums and is super temperamental at reduced charge weights
My experience with BD and W231 are limited as I was never able to get good results and stopped using them for anything but fertilizer on the lawn.

Last edited by Abflyboy; 01-11-2020 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Edit to add
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:34 PM
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WW231 - No complaints for a hot 38 load
296 - no experience
Blue Dot - Burns a bit dirty as a +P load but does well in the 357mag range
2400 - probably what I would go with out of this group but lots of flash.

I am using CFEpistol in a low end 357mag load for plinking coated cast 125gr and 158 heavy plated bullets. It burns a bit dirty if I drop the load but I can push it much faster if necessary. My other favorites are Unique (slow 38 all the way to hot mag loads)and Blue Dot (Mag loads).
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosquebass View Post
Look into Unique and I think you may like what you find. It does very well for 38+P but in a 686 7 grains in a 357 magnum case under your 158 jhp may just be what you're looking for. Sort of a "magnum light". Not a lot of blast and flash but it should get around 1200 fps and shoots fairly clean too. I know a lot of folks don't like Unique but it really works well in a lot of different loads and in some calibers it's as good or better than some of the new whiz-bang powders IMHO.

Respectfully, 7.0 grains of Unique under a 158 gr. JHP in a .357 mag case will not get you close to 1200 FPS. I load that exact combo and get an average of 950 FPS from a 4" BBL. Alliant says 7.7 grs. of Unique with a 158 gr. Speer Gold Dot yields 1040 FPS in a 10 " test BBL. Sierra says 7.7 grs of Unique under their 158 gr. JHC in .357 mag cases results in 1050 FPS from a 6 " BBL and 8.2 grs gets 1100 FPS.

Last edited by geo57; 01-11-2020 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantera Mike View Post
I have a Model 686 that is the wife’s home defense gun. She doesn’t want to shoot full 357 Mag so I am trying to brew up a good 38 +P load, using 158gr JHP in 38 special cases.

Load manuals led me to believe that 2400 would be a good choice, but my experience (10.0 grains, with the aforementioned 158gr JHP and magnum primers) is that it’s not burning clean, and leaving lots of unburned powder flakes.

I currently have WW231, 296, Blue Dot and 2400 in the house but I suspect there is another powder that is better suited to 38 Special +P. I have been very rigid about avoiding the latest generation of modern powders, and I think it’s time I broaden my horizons.

Looking forward to words of wisdom and sub-magnum +P load data for 158gr JHP.

EDIT: All other things being equal, a low-flash powder would be preferable.

THANKS!

Hi Mike. For my wife's 4" Ruger Security Six I load 7.0 grs. of Unique under a bulk 158 gr. JHP in .357 mag cases. I have a hunch that it may be suitable. It averages 950 FPS and while it's a little stouter than 38 SP +P it is still mild from medium to med. large steel framed revolvers. As someone else mentioned no carbon rings left behind in chambers and less pressure concerns using mag cases vs the shorter .38 cases. Best regards.

Last edited by geo57; 01-11-2020 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:46 PM
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I suspect 231 will work. You may have to try some different weights to see what you like.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:00 PM
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10.0 grs. of 2400 under cast 150 gr. SWCHP's yields 1062 fps out of my 4" Model 10's and wonderful 25 yd. accuracy. Since the load works so well, it never occurred to me to look for unburned powder.

I would suggest a subscription to Load Data | The Best Reloading Manual Online. Therein you'll find reams of .38 Special +P data not only from loading manuals but from the pages of Handloader magazine. Since subscribing a few years ago, I haven't bought a single reloading manual, and I guess I won't ever again.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:05 PM
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10.0 grs. of 2400 under cast 150 gr. SWCHP's yields 1062 fps out of my 4" Model 10's and Model 15 and wonderful 25 yd. accuracy. Since the load works so well, it never occurred to me to look for unburned powder.

I would suggest a subscription to Load Data | The Best Reloading Manual Online. Therein you'll find reams of .38 Special +P data not only from loading manuals but from the pages of Handloader magazine. Since subscribing a few years ago, I haven't bought a single reloading manual, and I guess I won't ever again.

Above mentioned load at 25 yds. offhand.


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Old 01-11-2020, 09:38 PM
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Most of the medium speed pistol powder will work well.

IMO some are AA#5, HS-6, CFE-Pistol, Unique, Universal, True Blue, LongShot, BE-86, Power Pistol and many others.
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Old 01-12-2020, 05:41 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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Thanks all. My 686 has a 4-inch barrel, ideal for a Ďhouse guní IMHO.

I have thousands of 158gr generic JHP bullets on hand that I use for 357/44 B&D and 357 magnum, as well as a bunch of 158gr Hornady JHP I save for use in 357 Auto Mag. And I have thousands of 158gr SWC I use in 357 mag as well. So Iím kind of wedded to that bullet weight, although I suppose I could try lighter weights.

Sounds like AA#5 or HS6 is what I should be trying. I recall reading that AA meters extremely well from a progressive press powder loader (Dillon). Is HS6 similar in that regard? And is one or the other likely to result in less muzzle flash?

Thanks again for the words of wisdom!
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:44 PM
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Personally, I like Power Pistol for +P loads using 158 gr lead/cast bullets. However, 158 gr JHP bullets cannot be driven at high enough velocities using published 38 Spl + P data to ensure expansion. I would load the 158 gr JHPs in 357 Mag cases using 357 Magnum mid range power loads (1,000-1,100 FPS). Alliant Powder has some nice 357 Mag mid range loads for the 158 gr JHP using Power Pistol, BE86 and Unique on their website. You could approach 1,000 FPS with these in your 4 inch revolver.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:55 PM
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There was a thread with a lot of good data for duplicating the old 158gr "FBI +P Load". IIRC the best results anybody got was with HS-6
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:57 PM
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CFE Pistol..
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:01 PM
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I agree with those other posters that a 158 gr bullet is probably not optimal for a defense load in a .38 Special or .38 +P. If you are going to shoot 158 gr weight in a .38, you might just as well load a cast SWC, since expansion below 1,000 FPS would be minimal, at best, and the lead bullet might even achieve higher velocity and improved penetration.
As for your powders on hand, I found 2400 and Blue Dot very dirty with lots of unturned powder at less than maximum loads in .357 Magnum. I expect it would be even worse at .38 Spec load levels. Of those you listed, W-231 would be okay. I would go with Power Pistol, for performance, but since you also mention a desire for low flash/muzzle blast, I would consider trying some BE-86, which is supposedly Power Pistol with a flash inhibitor.
Oh,and if it was me, I would also opt for some 125 gr or even 110 gr JHP designed to expand at .38 Special velocities.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:07 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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I am being convinced that lighter bullets are the way to go. Probably less recoil too. The list of powders is narrowing too. Thanks again!
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:03 PM
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If I were able to start anew, I'd buy only Wihtavuori powder.

I do not load .38 Special +P. Truth be told, I do not like to load much above minimum loads. If I stay at the mimimum end, I can use my powder thrower and not have to sweat standard deviation. A couple tenths over won't matter.

I use +P for self-defense. A box of self-defense loads will last me a lot longer than the rest of my life. It makes far more sense for my needs to buy a box of factory +P. It keeps we away for precise powder measurements that are required for big game hunting ammo.

Now if I were going to load +P, I'd probably use the cleaner burning version of Unique, Longshot, or Power Pistol unless I could get my hands on VV powder. The less + in my P the better.

Also this might help you, once you hit threshold velocity for you application, more velocity might work against you. That's why I don't get nutted up of FPS.

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Old 01-13-2020, 01:18 PM
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I have a 686 6" that I have loaded 38 special cases in with w231 powder.

Generally, I use the fast powder and lead bullets for light target loads and step up to the medium to med-slow powder for the +p loads but w231 can work.

With a full load of w231 in a 38 case and a 158 lead wc design in my 6" barrel I can reach 950fps.
Blue Dot can reach 1024fps with a full load but this extra recoil is not needed since the lighter load will work for a SD loading.

Lighter bullets have Pro's and Con's that you have to address.
Good luck.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:46 PM
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SixGunSancho wrote:
If I were able to start anew, I'd buy only Vihtavuori powder.

I totally agree with your statement. VV is the best, IMO; but someone already said it; ya can't find it and when ya do, it's expensive.

Still, in a fit of candor, I must say I have over 20 powders currently on the shelf. I love variety and I love to experiment. Trail Boss donuts are just too scrumptious. and what Big Bore guy could live without H110.

But, I will always have VV on the shelf.


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Old 01-13-2020, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantera Mike View Post
Thanks all. My 686 has a 4-inch barrel, ideal for a Ďhouse guní IMHO.

I have thousands of 158gr generic JHP bullets on hand that I use for 357/44 B&D and 357 magnum, as well as a bunch of 158gr Hornady JHP I save for use in 357 Auto Mag. And I have thousands of 158gr SWC I use in 357 mag as well. So Iím kind of wedded to that bullet weight, although I suppose I could try lighter weights.

Sounds like AA#5 or HS6 is what I should be trying. I recall reading that AA meters extremely well from a progressive press powder loader (Dillon). Is HS6 similar in that regard? And is one or the other likely to result in less muzzle flash?

Thanks again for the words of wisdom!
HS-6 or AA-5 meters excellent through my LNL powder measure. I havenít had time to work up a good AA-5 load as still recovering from shoulder surgery but HS-6 with XTP 158 grain bullet is the most accurate load Iíve shot in 38 special from my 14-3 with a 8 3/8Ē barrel.
I also have a very accurate load using HS-6 in 357 magnum from my 28 with 6Ē barrel as well.
Others have used lots of other powders and bullets that work for them but HS-6 has worked very well for me.
I also use Speer 158 LSWC bullets with HS-6 that are very close to the XTP for accuracy and do not lead barrel at 38 plus P or mid upper 357 loads.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:59 PM
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To the OP - you are wise to avoid unburned powder flakes. Unburned powder under the extractor can tie up a revolver.

My guns like Unique in heavy loads.

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Old 01-13-2020, 07:13 PM
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For my fiancee I load 158 grain Hornady XTP with 4.3 grains of Hogdon titegroup. Its a fast burning powder that works good with short barrel revolvers, less muzzle flash.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:35 PM
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FWIW, HS-6 under a 158 gr XTP is my .357 Magnum plinking load.

HS-6 meters extremely well through my Dillon XL650.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
To the OP - you are wise to avoid unburned powder flakes. Unburned powder under the extractor can tie up a revolver.

My guns like Unique in heavy loads.
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.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Howe View Post
For my fiancee I load 158 grain Hornady XTP with 4.3 grains of Hogdon titegroup. Its a fast burning powder that works good with short barrel revolvers, less muzzle flash.
Realize that the velocity of your load is going to be very low out
of a snubby, expansion will be zero and you may be taking a
real chance of sticking a bullet in the bore.
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:43 AM
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To the OP - you are wise to avoid unburned powder flakes. Unburned powder under the extractor can tie up a revolver.
True...don't ask me how I know this!
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:59 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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A couple of days ago I picked up a pound of AA#5 and a box of Speer 125gr Gold Dot Hollow Points. The Speer reloading manual has a max load of 7.8gr for +P while the older AA data has a MINIMUM of 8.3 with a warning not to reduce any further? The current AA data has a variety of loads for different 125gr bullets with a curious split, as the min and max charges vary quite a bit with different bullets. The two highest show a max of 7.8 which mirrors the Speer data. The minimum 357 magnum loads with this same bullet and powder combination are all substantially higher. So I felt safe starting off with 7.8. I won’t be able to try it until next week but will let you know how it turns out.

I did shoot a hundred rounds of my 2400 load last week, which rendered the gun filthy. It was accurate and recoil was authoritative leading me to believe that whoever was on the other end would definitely rue the day, but the gun and bench were sprinkled with unburned powder flakes. I have 150 more rounds of this stuff to get rid of and will never use that load again.

I actually bought eight pounds of 2400 last year because the reloading manual data indicated it was suitably flexible for downloading 357 and 44 to lower-than-max velocities. I have found that once the charge is reduced it no longer works effectively. I guess I can turn up the steam, but that’s why I have eight pounds of WW296?

First world problems....
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:21 PM
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2400 is a good powder, but like all other powders with a relatively slow burning rate, you must use them properly.

First, a magnum primer would be preferred for 2400. Second and most important a good, HEAVY roll crimp on the bullet. If you didn't crimp the bullets already I'd suggest you run the remaining round through the seater die crimp the bullets.

As I mentioned above, I loaded 10 gr. of 2400 for my Model 10's and 15 and haven't noticed any unburned power.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:13 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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Actually I have been applying a heavy taper crimp. Good enough, or no? I’ve had problems with excessive roll crimp leading to case bulge and difficulty chambering (when deliberately trying to see how far I could go). Taper crimping seems more forgiving. But is a good taper crimp as effective as a good (not excessive) roll crimp?
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:39 PM
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Actually I have been applying a heavy taper crimp. Good enough, or no? Iíve had problems with excessive roll crimp leading to case bulge and difficulty chambering (when deliberately trying to see how far I could go). Taper crimping seems more forgiving. But is a good taper crimp as effective as a good (not excessive) roll crimp?
I don't think a taper crimp holds the bullet as well as a roll crimp. Like I said, I'm using 2400 in my .38's with zero problems, BUT I'm loading cast bullets that have a deep crimp groove. Are these jacketed bullets?
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:54 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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I don't think a taper crimp holds the bullet as well as a roll crimp. Like I said, I'm using 2400 in my .38's with zero problems, BUT I'm loading cast bullets that have a deep crimp groove. Are these jacketed bullets?
Perhaps youíre right? But the taper crimp is fairly aggressive.

158gr JHP on the left, Speer 125gr GDHP on the right.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:49 PM
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If it were me I'd seat those bullets to the very front of the cannelure and apply a good roll crimp. Nothing to lose by trying.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:37 PM
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If it were me I'd seat those bullets to the very front of the cannelure and apply a good roll crimp. Nothing to lose by trying.
Well, almost.

When trying to both seat the bullets further and apply a roll crimp to already-taper-crimped rounds, within the first ten rounds I had two episodes of cases collapsing. Neck tension was strong enough that when the seater plug tried to press the bullet further into the case, the case body collapsed.

So I raised the seating stem so that it no longer touched the bullet, accepting their current position in the case, and just applied a roll crimp which seemed to work okay. Itís still not a perfect-looking roll crimp, but I guess itís better? As these are basically throwaway rounds anyway Iím not overly concerned.

For my next batch though, I will forgo taper crimping and attempt a conventional roll crimp. I prefer to fully seat the bullet and then crimp separately which hopefully leads to better results.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:33 PM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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BTW itís difficult to convey how filthy this thing is running with 2400. The photo below show unburned powder on the frame (also all over then rug below, but difficult to see), and soot all over the crane and cylinder. The back of the cylinder is shiny only because of my fingers wiping it off while opening and closing.

This is after 100 rounds.....
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:00 PM
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I find that W231 works very well in just about any non-magnum revolver cartridge and burns very clean. Its my "go to" powder.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:50 PM
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BTW itís difficult to convey how filthy this thing is running with 2400. The photo below show unburned powder on the frame (also all over then rug below, but difficult to see), and soot all over the crane and cylinder. The back of the cylinder is shiny only because of my fingers wiping it off while opening and closing.

This is after 100 rounds.....
That's strange. I've been loading it in the .357 for about 35 years, then in the .38 Special for 4 or 5 years, as well as the .44 Special and 45 Colt Only the .357 loads have been really high pressure loads. Never had any issues with this powder.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:05 AM
Pantera Mike Pantera Mike is offline
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I find that W231 works very well in just about any non-magnum revolver cartridge and burns very clean. Its my "go to" powder.
Yeah, me too. I use it for powder puff 38 HBWC target loads, as well as 45 ACP, 380 and (soon) 9mm. Itís fantastic.

But I always thought it would be too fast to be optimal for a magnum or magnum-ish revolver cartridge. I suspect AA#5 will be better suited to this task, especially in light of all the testimony above. Time will tell.

And I also have 8 pounds of 231 in the powder cabinet so Iím not ruling anything out...
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:38 PM
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There was a thread with a lot of good dat a for duplicating the old 158gr "FBI +P Load". IIRC the best results anybody got was with HS-6
There was a good thread discussing duplicates for the FBI Load. I was 1 of the group of handloaders who worked on the project.

There were several powders that "worked" but IMO HS-6 was best at the time. There are several new powders available since then which I have not tried.
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  #47  
Old 01-19-2020, 01:01 PM
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Groo here
As you stated a HP bullet, you should try fore an impact speed of 1000 fps.
I would NOT use a jacket bullet at such a low speed unless it is a SJHP
with A LOT of lead exposed.
GT bullets has cast lead HP bullets.
I would get a selection and try them...
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Old 01-19-2020, 02:00 PM
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A couple of days ago I picked up a pound of AA#5 and a box of Speer 125gr Gold Dot Hollow Points. The Speer reloading manual has a max load of 7.8gr for +P while the older AA data has a MINIMUM of 8.3 with a warning not to reduce any further? The current AA data has a variety of loads for different 125gr bullets with a curious split, as the min and max charges vary quite a bit with different bullets. The two highest show a max of 7.8 which mirrors the Speer data. The minimum 357 magnum loads with this same bullet and powder combination are all substantially higher. So I felt safe starting off with 7.8. I wonít be able to try it until next week but will let you know how it turns out.

I did shoot a hundred rounds of my 2400 load last week, which rendered the gun filthy. It was accurate and recoil was authoritative leading me to believe that whoever was on the other end would definitely rue the day, but the gun and bench were sprinkled with unburned powder flakes. I have 150 more rounds of this stuff to get rid of and will never use that load again.

I actually bought eight pounds of 2400 last year because the reloading manual data indicated it was suitably flexible for downloading 357 and 44 to lower-than-max velocities. I have found that once the charge is reduced it no longer works effectively. I guess I can turn up the steam, but thatís why I have eight pounds of WW296?

First world problems....
Mike, FWIW 2400 can be reduced somewhat and still burn at nearly 100 % efficiency. In .357 mag cases I load a bulk 158 gr. JHP on top of 13.5 grs. of 2400, employ a firm roll crimp and use standard primers. It is a 90% full power load and burns clean. If I reduce the powder charge to 12.8 grains I get a modest amount of powder granules in varying stages of burn.
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:31 PM
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Power pistol if you have it on hand. I personally stray away from blue dot (blue dirt), it doesn't perform well until you get near max loads and its been very dirty to shoot for me.

I had the misfortune of using it as my first handgun powder and had all sorts of problems with it, I thought I was doing something wrong until I got up near my max loads.


+1 on Power Pistol. 6 grains will get you there with a 158 lead bullet.

As always, work up to it.
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:05 PM
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I've been using CFE-Pistol as of late, and getting some impressive velocities even without getting into +P. Honestly, for what I am doing, a little too much velocity. But it would make a great defensive load, and burns clean to boot. I wouldn't sweet shooting lead 38's in a 357. I've been doing it since 1988 and haven't had a problem yet.

The latest Speer book as some good lead 158gr +P loads. They list HS6 as a good performer.
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