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  1. #1
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    Default 38 spl/357 mag loads

    I'm getting ready to start reloading these calibers and am looking for some powder/bullet recomendations for target loads.

    Powder: Anyone have good results with win231 or power pistol? (I already use these for other loads) If not, what else?

    Bullets: I am thinking of starting with plated or jacketed bullets in the 125-148 gr. range. I have not tried cast or wadcutter bullets before but would appreciate your opinions.

  2. #2
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    For nearly forever, the "standard" target load with a .38 Spl. is a 148-grain wadcutter (in my opinion, preferably a medium hard cast bevel base wadcutter) over 2.7 gr. of Bullseye. This is a superbly accurate load and quite inexpensive to load.

    The only downside is that, because the charge is so small, a double charge may or may not be detected unless you are careful.

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    Consigliere EddieCoyle's Avatar
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    What RKG said.

    I got an insane deal on several 1000's of 125gr FMJ's a while back that I've been loading over 4.4 grains of Bullseye. While very accurate, this load shoots quite high from my fixed sight revolvers. By "quite high" I mean that it shoots to point of aim at 100 yards from a 4" Model 10.

    Since .38s seem to like faster burning propellants, of the two powders you mentioned, W231 would be better than Power Pistol. Cleaner too.

    If you go with jacketed bullets, pay attention to the minimum charge recommendations and stick by them. If you try to download a jacketed .38 load, you run a strong risk of sticking one in the barrel. Don't ask me how I know.
    Last edited by EddieCoyle; 01-23-2007 at 02:05 AM.
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    NES Member Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    I got a deal on 125gr jhp's a while back, so I picked up about 1500 or so. The load I've been using with them is 3.6 gr of red dot (.38 special). It's about the middle of the scale for the load data I had for those bullets. It's a pretty nice, light little target load.
    Kansas......good luck with that.

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    I've seen some good prices on cast bullets but was thinking that the 357 would tend to lead the barrel with the high velocities. Are lead bullets worth the hassle for the mag?

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    Both the 357 & 9mm Parabellum like very hard cast bullets if you are loading to max velocety. I use pure linotype for these, and a Keith style p.b. 158g swc bullet.

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    Thanks for the help guys. I just ordered some 125 gr jhp's, and 148 gr DEWC along with my dies and other goodies. I'm looking forward to working up these loads. BTW, has anyone tried Zero or Bushwacker bullets? The price was right but I'll find out about the quality soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MegaPlinker View Post
    I've seen some good prices on cast bullets but was thinking that the 357 would tend to lead the barrel with the high velocities. Are lead bullets worth the hassle for the mag?
    I believe that leading is not a factor of velocity, but rather hot gasses melting lead at the base of the bullet. My mid-range .38 Special loads cause leading. Some people use gas checks to prevent this.

    WW231 is fine for .38 Special. I've used it for years. I buy hard cast bullets at the local gun shop. They are made in Maine by Northeastern Bullets.

    2400 and Blue Dot (which I use) are good for .357 Magnum.

    JT

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobtowne View Post
    I believe that leading is not a factor of velocity, but rather hot gasses melting lead at the base of the bullet.
    I disagree. IME, pushing lead bullets at jacketed velocities - or even swaged lead and nominal lead velocities - strips material from the bullet and fouls the grooves.

    The Lewis Lead Remover was created for a reason.

    My target loads are swaged HBWCs over:

    3.1 of 231
    or
    2.4 of Red Dot.

    My Ruger certainly liked them. The Dan Wesson seems to, also.

  10. #10
    Consigliere EddieCoyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacobtowne View Post
    I believe that leading is not a factor of velocity, but rather hot gasses melting lead at the base of the bullet.
    Nope, not quite.

    Hot gases are in contact with the bullet base for about 3 milliseconds in a handgun. The heat transfer characteristics of lead/lead alloy bullets simply do not allow enough heat transfer to accomplish melting during this short amount of time.

    Lead deposited in the breach end the barrel (the most commonly encountered leading scenario in a handgun) is principally from gas cutting.

    Due to a poor gas seal, the gases jet past an undersized or over-hard bullet. In a revolver, this is most severe in the cylinder throats - before the bullet even gets to the barrel. These gas jets blast the lead off the bullet and deposit it into the forcing cone and barrel. The poor gas seal is caused by either undersized bullets, oversized cylinder throats, or by using too hard an alloy with too small a powder charge. In order for a bullet to properly seal and eliminate gas cutting, it has to obturate (compress and deform) to "fill" first the throat and then the rifling. With light loads or over-hard alloys, the obturation never takes place and gas cutting is the result.

    Although it seems counterintuitive, leading can often be eliminated by going to a softer alloy or larger powder charge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrivener View Post
    I disagree. IME, pushing lead bullets at jacketed velocities - or even swaged lead and nominal lead velocities - strips material from the bullet and fouls the grooves.
    This depends on what you mean by "jacketed velocities". Leading caused by pushing a bullet too hard usually occurs over the full length of the barrel, often getting worse near the muzzle. It's unusual to get that kind of velocity in a handgun. I routinely push hard cast lead past the 1300 fps mark with little or no leading. I use a properly sized, properly lubed bullet with an alloy that is correct for the velocity.

    Your HBWC recommendation is good advice. Hollow based wadcutters (HBWC) were designed so that the impact of the powder gases on the hollow of the bullet will obturate the skirt to fill the throat and bore - thus eliminating gas cutting. This is why you'll see some of the lightest charges specified for HBWC lead bullets.
    Last edited by EddieCoyle; 01-24-2007 at 05:01 PM.
    The next NRA Basic Metallic Cartridge Reloading class will be Saturday September 27th in Ayer, MA. More Info Here...

    Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.

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