What powder for 38 special / 357 mag

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by DEE50, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Hello Gentlemen,

    I am wanting to load 357 magnum and 38 special for a J frame Model 60 revolver and don't know what my options are as far as powder to use? Any help would be appreciated.

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    #1 DEE50, Sep 1, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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  3. What power levels are you looking for? Something you can shoot all day in your Model 60, or some sort of full house loads?

    The reason I ask is that it will make a difference in what powder you use.

    Unless you need the higher-energy rounds, my choice would be a load equal to about 38+P levels. You can do this in either 38 or 357 cases.

    I have always liked to use 357 cases in guns chambered in 357 rather then use 38's. Avoids having to clean out that crud ring.

    All that being said, I have used Unique and W231/HP-38 for these types of loads.

  4. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    Unique for .38 special and mid-range .357 mag.

    2400 if you want to go hot with the magnums.
  5. njl


    Universal can supposedly go all the way from mid range .38spl to .357mag. I suspect at the low end, it won't work so well, since IME, it doesn't do well at low pressure.

    Before picking a powder, you should probably pick bullets, as that will influence which powders are appropriate.
  6. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Wood butcher

    I've always been a "Unique" guy for those calibers. I agree with NPN Mike in that you should consider .357 cases for just the reasons he stated.

    Next time I load some .357, I'll have to give 2400 a try. Seems like a good choice.
  7. Yes, I would start by thinking about your goals & what bullets you want to use. I have a Mod 60, great gun.

    For the most part I'd be content topping out with 38 +p loadings, or very low end 357 mags. I'd use a 'medium' or so burn speed powder. For me that would be H Universal, similar to Unique.
  8. glockrod

    glockrod NRA-Endow. Life

    It's called HP-38 for a reason. Because it works SO well with .38 spcl(don't really know if that is why it is named that). I load all my .38 with it or its identical mate-Win231.

    You can use HP-38 for light .357 loads, but I prefer my .357 a little hotter. I use H110 or 2400 depending on the bullet size. According to the Hornady manual, lighter bullets achieve more velocity from 110 and heavier from 2400; however, they are similar and their is some economy differences between these two for these velocities.
  9. shotgunred

    shotgunred reloading nut

    for 38 special i like red dot.
  10. Okay so Unique, Universal, Winchester 231, HP-38, 2400 for 357 magnum in the j frame? And all of these plus red dot for 38 special?

    I have some 110 grain Sierra HPs that I want to use, but after that I will probably be using the cheapest FMJ rounds that I can find. (Mostly just to plink with)
  11. byf43

    byf43 NRA Life Member


    158 grain projectiles.

    Great combinations!
  12. I have found that 6.5 gr SR4756 serves well in 125 gr lead, 125 gr XTP, and 158 gr lead. This is sort of a 38 Spl +p load in a .357 case. I developed it for my Ruger SP101 3+", which is real unfriendly with true magnum loads. You can vary it from 6.0-7.0, but I liked the idea that one powder drop insert setting would serve all these options, including the 158 gr for my bigger guns (S&W 686-4 and Ruger GP100-5).
  13. In that light gun I wouldn't even mess with H-110 or even 2400 357 mag loads. Just about all the medium speed powders do fine for lower to mid 357 loads. Controllable hits on target has to be factored in.

    You don't have fresh sasquatch sightings in the area, do you?
    #12 sourdough44, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  14. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    Yep. Been a long time since I shot anything other than a 158 grain lswc.
  15. The keyword is " J-frame".
  16. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

    I am a fan of Unique for jacketed, bullseye for lead.

    However, the powder shortage caught me flatfooted and I could only get power pistol and Clays Universal (Hodgeden).

    I cannot recommend power pistol for a 2-inch - I think more powder was burning outside the barrel, rather than inside.

    The flame and concussion are impressive though, and fear of fire might scare off the badguys.... :)
    #15 DustyJacket, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  17. DustyJacket

    DustyJacket Directiv 10-289

    Me to.
    Since our .38/.357 are now exclusively snubbies (one 2" one 2.5") I am going to change my loads to something with better performance out of a short barrel, both lead and jacketed.

    Still searching. Most short-barrel loads are 110 gr, but I am looking at 125pgr.
  18. Ok do I really have to be the one to say it? I would go with gun powder lmao.:rofl::tongueout:
  19. Unique, Universal, Winchester 231, HP-38, 2400 for 357 magnum in the j frame? And all of these plus red dot DO work for 38 special, right?

    I have a lot 110 grain Sierra HPs that I want to get used up, but after that I will probably be using the cheapest FMJ rounds that I can find. (Mostly just to plink with)

  20. It strikes me that the word "plink" is difficult to associate with touching off a real magnum round. Jus' sayin'.:sigh:
  21. The first pistol I ever bought was a desert eagle (for range fun) so 357 doesn't seem that bad
    #20 DEE50, Sep 4, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

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