38 Special-need your thoughts

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Kentguy, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    Greetings,
    I have loaded some 158g PRN (Rainier) bullets for general target use with my S&W revolver but recently I switched to a 158g PFN (Rainier) bullet to run in a lever action carbine I purchased. I didn't like the idea of round nose bullets stacking nose to tail in my lever action's loading tube.

    Now the Rainier bullet folks used to recommend using lead bullet data, but they have change that as of late;
    - Start at 3:15 through 4:20 for more information on this.

    I had a hard enough time finding data for Jacketed or plated bullets, now with a difference in bullet length...

    158g PRN bullet length - .670"
    158g PFN bullet length - .630"

    Well I have some ideas but before I begin this project I was interested in what you folks would advice concerning load data for these flat nose bullets or where you found some published data. If any of you have a favorite powder/charge amount, that would be great as well.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

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    Seat the bullet to the crimp groove and call it good if it runs through the rifle without problems. Develop the load once you have functional dummy rounds.

    As to what load might suit you, you'll have to tell us what you want to use the load for and, just as important, what powders are available to you.

    The 38 special can be quite versatile, so we really need to know more about your intentions and fortunes to give useful advice.
     
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  3. fredj338

    fredj338

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    As noted, bearing length will be very close, the diff is nose length. I never worry about oal in a Rev, just load to crimp groove. As to data, use lead data & work up. As long as you are not pushing max, not gonna matter that much.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  4. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    For this caliber/load, general target shooting and "perhaps" some competition (not sure about that), as for powder, I am most likely going to start with something like Hodgdon Universal. It is a good middle or the road powder. Other slower burning powders I have on the shelf right now;
    Power Pistol, WSF, AA #5, HS6, AutoComp, CFE, LongShot & 2400.

    Fredj338 - "As noted, bearing length will be very close, the diff is nose length..."
    Fred, thanks for the input, as always, I do appreciate your advice. This was my initial concern, however both of you guys stated the same thing that I was thinking, hit the crimp groove and let that part of it go.

    Hornady's 9th Edition has load data for a 158g FP XTP/Universal starting at 4.1g up to 4.8g. Their 158g SWC starts at 3.4g up to 4.4g. With the round nose bullet/Hodgdon Universal, I am getting 944 fps with my lever action carbine. I would like stay in the neighborhood.

    Thanks again fellows, any other advice would be appreciated.
     
  5. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Not that they are identical shaped bullets, but in loading 230gr bullets in 45acp, identical loads, the vel, thus pressures are pretty much linear. Lead, then plated, then jacketed. So using lead data for plated is very valid advice.
    4.5gr WST, oal =1.255"
    Lead = 825fps
    Plated = 805fps
    Fmj = 780fps
    Another example; 4.9gr WST, oal = 1.210"
    Lead = 875fos
    Plated = 850fps
     
  6. First shot

    First shot

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    This is off the grid, but, I keep a 38 spc between the seats in my truck. Worked with a guy in Fla. in 73, who'd been shot twice in the stomach with a 38 spc. Two big pucker holes. He said both shots felt like someone hit him with a sledgehammer. Off the topic, First shot.
     
  7. jmorris

    jmorris

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    What rifle are you using it in?
     
  8. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    :thumbsup: Thanks my friend.
     
  9. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Well getting shot with anything would suck. The 38sp with a good +p load is no slouch. The 158gr lswchp +p is old school as it gets, but still very effective.
     
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  10. Kentguy

    Kentguy

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    :agree: Bought my S&W model 10 back in the late 70's and still have it! It's just a great revolver, nothing fancy but still rings the bell every time I send one down range.

    I do have some nice 158g LSWC loads for this and other revolvers as well as this new carbine I just bought. I was hoping to incorporate some plated flat nose rounds into the mix. I have experimented with 125g plated bullets, both PRN & PFN bullets - not bad but nothing to really write home about.
     
  11. papershoot

    papershoot

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    I loaded some 158g lead RNFP 38 specials with 3.9g of 231. In a small sample, I averaged ~710fps out of my snub nose and ~970fps from a 20" rifle. I typically shoot more wadcutter behind Titegroup, through the 38 and jacketed .357 mag through the rifle.
     
  12. cliffspot

    cliffspot

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    Any 158 lead data is fine. Lots of load books will have specific data for plated bullets. Lee and the online Hodgdon come to mind. I have used Lyman lead data wit great results. http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/