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Old 03-26-2020, 03:33 PM
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148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique  
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Default 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique

Does anyone know the ballistics of this load out of a 2 inch barrel? I don't have a chronograph. The reason I ask is I'm thinking of using this as a SD load in my S&W 638 and I'm wondering what the power factor would be. It shoots well - easily staying on a sheet of paper at 50 feet, double action. I could go higher if need be. Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:10 PM
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148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique  
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I love a 148 wad cutter with Unique. This old Lyman chart may help. You can use the same data for a 148 DEWC like you have. I do. I crimped these in the last crimp groove. You can do lots of things with this bullet. You can turn it around and seat flush--Just back off the powder charge on the top end loads.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:16 PM
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My guess would be about 750 to maybe as high as 825 from a 2" barrel. Normally, I've seen about a 100-125 fps decrease in velocity when going from a 6" barrel to a 2", but factors like cylinder gap will affect velocity readings. A tight gap will often give you a higher figure.

If you like the load and it shoots well for you, that's far more important than a power factor.
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Old 03-26-2020, 06:51 PM
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148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique 148 grain BBWC and 4.0 Unique  
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Yes I do like it. It's heavy but not punishing. And I can hit with it so......
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:09 AM
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I never had success with Unique measuring consistently in lighter charges. In 148 gr HBWC, Iíve been using 2.7 grs Bullseye since the 1970s. With my 148 gr DEWC, I like full wadcutter loads using 3.5 grs Bullseye.

I reserve my Unique for 38-44 and 357 Mag cast loads, in higher charges which throw consistently through my powder measure rotors.

Last edited by 38SPL HV; 03-27-2020 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:45 AM
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If you want high vel. lead 148 gr bullets be sure to use the BBwc style bullets at 800fps or faster.

I have had a HBwc 148 lead bullet with Bullseye up to 757fps
and Red Dot up to 775fps that has 197 ME and a recoil of 3.99 ft/lbs in my J frame snub nose.

In the old days the 148gr at 850fps was a hot target load out of a 4" revolver that some times was brought home by "Mistake" after a practice session.

Test out a load close to 200 ft/lbs of energy and see if you like it.
You can always load for more energy but follow up shots and recoil start to do their thing.............

Unique will work, just that I did not need to get a BBwc to go any faster, than
with just using the faster burning powders....
and yes, w231 will also get your attention.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:51 AM
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I tried that load for a few years , I had Unique , cast WC's and wanted a good 148 wadcutter 38 special load ...but Unique needs a certian amount of pressure to burn completely and cleanly. I tried loads from 3.0 gr. to 5.0 gr.
the lowest I could get complete burning with was 4.5 grs. , anything less left unburned powder flakes and that was in a 4" barrel . Accuracy was nothing to write home about either !
The best accuracy and cleanest was with 5.0 grs and a cast 148 gr. WC fired in a model 64 w/ 4" bbl .
I bought a can of Bullseye and all my problems were immediatly solved.
Newer Unique might work better but if it doesn't...Use a faster powder in that short barrel...Bullseye or approved equal !
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:51 AM
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Unique's a special favorite of mine. I wouldn't use it at 4.0 grains with a 148 grain lead bullet though for the reasons gwpercle mentions above. I'd up the powder charge weight to 4.5 - 4.8 grains if I was going to create a Unique-fueled load around that 148 grain bevel based wadcutter.

I've chronograph tested lots of different combinations of Unique and bullets in .38 Special revolvers of different barrel lengths, just not that one. I'd guess that it'd make 725 to 750 feet-per-second from a 2-inch barrel. I'd also guess that the load would exhibit unsatisfying wide velocity variations and have a high extreme spread. With Unique extreme spreads tend to tighten as one increases charge weights up into the moderate to heavy load range. As was said Unique will burn cleaner with higher charges weights.

If a milder load is desired then Bulls-Eye or Winchester 231 will do nicely.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:00 PM
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How deep are you seating the boolit? That matters a LOT on how much powder you use. A crimp groove or flush? I sometimes use a 148 dewc with a bevel flush with a small roll crimp. Sometimes I use a crimp groove. Hornady #3 gives a 148 wad cutter with 4.1 Unique @ 900 fps with a 4'' barrel with 1.165 overall length. Loaded correctly you can run that boolit up to 1000 fps. LEE gives 4 different oals with a 148 wad cutter. 1.152--1.295. You need a reload manual to get the correct information. I have most of the powder distributors books but have a lot of my pet loads marked down in my first Lyman manual. It is about worn out. To me Lyman and Lee are the most user friendly.

Last edited by 4barrel; 03-27-2020 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:03 PM
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I'm actually using the Lee WC. I may have been wrong to call it a BBWC.
I use so much Unique I don't even notice the unburned grains. The 4.0 grain load gives good accuracy out of my S&W 638. I could work up to 4.5 and see how that performs. I just don't like to punish my guns (or my 65 y.o. hands) anymore than I have to.
I guess I'm wondering how these loads compare to other SD rounds like 380 or 9mm. In my 9mm I use 4.5 Unique with a 124 grain bullet. I wonder how that would compare to the 148 grain bullet and 4.5 grains of Unique in the 38?
I seat my wad cutters one lube groove from the end then apply a moderate roll crimp. I've never had accuracy issues with Unique in my revolvers. I've noticed my semi-autos like heavier loads, and my late 380 didn't like it at all.
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Old Yesterday, 03:53 PM
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That looks like a Winchester or Federal case. Your boolit looks good to me. Does the Lyman chart I posted in post #2 not show up? You can use up to 5 grains of Unique using that chart with the overall length stated.
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Old Yesterday, 04:09 PM
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From the load data post #2 [I have the Lyman manual], I can assure you that 4.3 grains of Red Dot is a BRISK load in a J-frame 2" snub nose. In K- or L-frame it was comfortable to shoot. When shooting a 4" barrel gun, the load was pleasurable.

I don't use mild loads with Unique because of the unburned powder and residue mess.
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