View Full Version : 38 Special
08-09-2002, 08:12 PM
I looking for any suggestions for 38 special loads. Basically target/range and carry loads. My wife carries a Ruger SP101 38 Special 2 1/4" and I carry a Ruger Security Six .357 with a 4" barrell.
08-10-2002, 11:28 AM
Miked: The 38 Special is one of those cartridges that reloading manuals seem to have jillions of loads for. Like the 30-06, the 38 Special is a cartridge that you could spend a lifetime of weekends testing the already established loads that have been published for it and never get to the end of the list. Still, since you asked, I'll toss in my two cents worth. For target and defense loads I like CAST wadcutters or semi-wadcutters. The pure-lead swaged stuff leads like mad at all but ultra minimum velocities and hollow based wadcutters are known for coming apart in the forcing cone if the load is the least bit too heavy for the pure lead bullet. A semi wadcutter would be the best choice, probably. Commercial cast bullets are available quite inexpensively at gunshows or the better gunshops. My favorite powder is Alliant brand "Unique" in charges from 3 to 5 grains with bullets from 125 to 160 grains. I use a standard primer. The beauty of the 38 Special is that the same loads used for "target" shooting also work quite well for self defense so there will be no need to learn two different points of impact, etc. Have fun! ~Andy
09-10-2002, 07:02 PM
I have found that copper plated bullets are the cleanest to shoot, even though they are slightly more expensive. I never understood why my lead reloads were so dirty, until someone pointed out to me that the bullet lube was combusting and leaving a dirty, hard to clean, residue.
I have used Bullseye, Winchester 231 and HP-38 with good results (although I think that the Bullseye is a little smokier). If you load to about 800fps, you should have a good target load.
Since every gun likes its own recipe, vary the charge weight in .2gr steps (do not exceede maximum charge weight!) and make about 20 rounds each. Shoot them and record the date, conditions and the bullet specifications on the target. Pick the best load and make up a whole batch.
I didn't know to do this my first time, and I make 500 rounds of a very inaccurate load. Now I follow this proceedure each time I use a new production lot of powder.
09-11-2002, 08:03 AM
The "classic" target load for the .38 spl. is 2.8 gr. of Bullseye under a 148 gr. ,lead wadcutter. ACCURATE AS SIN. But, you can use a multitude of powders for it. An Intrinsically accurate round.
09-11-2002, 09:56 AM
El Viejo: Your observations about 38 cast bullet loads are interesting. I have been shooting cast bullets in 38/357 for 25 years and never noticed that the lube redisue was hard to remove. It's a wax and generally wipes off with the application of any solvent. What I think you might have-if we're talking about the bore here- is leading. Lead can be a bugger to remove! It's caused by a number of things that most shooter's are familiar with: High pressure, undersized bullets, etc.... BUT! One thing that many non-cast bullet shooters overlook as a cause for leading is the nasty copper jacketed bullets that were previously fired in the weapon. Copper jacket fouling adheres to the land of the rifling and under magnifiation, looks like jagged saw-blade teeth. This copper fouling rips lead from the passing cast bullet and hangs on to it. The blame is all too often placed on the lead bullet instead of the real culprit: the jacketed round. Try taking a good copper fouling solvent like Sweet's 7.62 to your bore and remove the copper fouling before shooting the cast bullets. You may see an inprovement. ~Andy
PS: SGT- I agree about the 2.7 Bullseye. Used it in my Colt Officer's Match for years. I got away from Bullseye a few years back. Too narrow of an application band. Hell! It took me 14 years to get through the two pounds I had! ~A.
09-11-2002, 10:02 AM
That is without a doubt the most accurate 38 load I have found 2.8grs of bullseye with a 148gr WC http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-biggrin-aqua.gif http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-faces-toast-beers.gif
As far as a self defense load I would go with some factory stuff that was made for SD.
09-13-2002, 05:24 PM
Thanks for the reply. The soot I am talking about forms on the cylinder groves. About the only thing that would take it off is a citrus based cleaner (SS Ruger).
Also, I have noticed a lot of smoke when I shoot in indoor ranges. When I use the plated bullets with the same load, very little smoke.
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