View Full Version : revolver short barrel loads
July 30, 2011, 02:12 PM
When loading for snubies or short barrel revolvers (or short barrel pistols for that matter) is a load that is listed as "higher pressure" going to produce better muzzle velocities than a "low pressure" load?
For .312 caliber 100 gr. XTP on the Hodgdon website: (No info about barrel length)
4227 1318 fps 30,000 psi
Autocomp 1328 fps 41,400 psi
Intuitvely, it would seem to me that for a shorter duration in the barrel, a high pressure load would outperform a lower pressure load. Any opinions/experience are appreciated!:confused:
July 30, 2011, 06:06 PM
We need to know which of the .32 cal family are you asking about? 32 auto,32 s+w long, or may be the .32 H+R long??
Better yet get the new Lyman Third edition "Pistol +Revolver" hand book , its the best $20.00 I ever spent. All the newest data is in there,trust it!!!!!
July 30, 2011, 06:29 PM
I tend to prefer longer barrels (see the web site titled "Ballistics by the inch"), but have often wondered.
Back in the '30s the 357 magnum was a 6" cartridge and a 4" magnum was considered a short barrel. Nowadays, the 4" is considered the standard. I know that powder technology has improved since 1934 and by choosing the propellant carefully, one can mitigate the compromises a short barrel imposes on the shooter.
But how to choose?
I always figured a faster-burning powder would be a natural. I also figure that faster burning powders give higher peak pressure behind any given bullet in any given barrel/cartridge combination. But I have figured wrong before, and internal ballistics is an esoteric science.
I expect the correct answers (or areas to investigate) will not depend on the specific .32 cartridge much at all, and I look forward to reading what more experienced loaders have to say. Though, as 3leggeddog suggests, knowing the cartridge volume-to-diameter ratio might be useful when you finally get down to specifics.
July 31, 2011, 12:06 PM
I also figure that faster burning powders give higher peak pressure behind any given bullet in any given barrel/cartridge combination
Sorry Lost Sheep, it is the other way around. Slower powder, higher pressures. Has more time to build up pressure before the bullet moves.
July 31, 2011, 03:50 PM
I was wondering about the 32 H&RMag and the 327 Fed Mag. Fired from a 3" SP101. As well, the Smith and Wesson 32 long is interesting to contemplate, just from the perspective of brass that is available.
As youall know the 327 mag is a very high pressure cartridge. The firearms designed for that round obviously have to be capable of handling that pressure. If a 32 S&W long case were loaded to pressures normally created by the 32 H&R Mag, would that be a safe means of loading some rounds for target shooting?
Seems there was a thread one time about loading 38 special cases to 357 pressures. The consensus was that if they were only fired from a 357 they should be good. Just don't ever fire them from a 38 special revolver.
So, to get to the point, that is what started me thinking about pressures and short barrel guns.
August 1, 2011, 08:07 AM
Generally slow burning powders ( 2400-296 range) do not work well in a 2" barrel as the bullet exits the barrel before the powder is consumed.. but if you want to also fry what you shoot at then that is a good solution.
In my 38 Specials with 2" barrels I generally look at Unique being about as slow a powder range as I care to work with. This is also with at least a 158 cast (I prefer a 165gr 40-1 bullet) as these heavier bullets let the powder get a good burn acomplished. For lighter bullets I turn to fast pistol / shotgun powders like Red Dot or 231.
High pressure can be accomplished with any powder... 231 can blow the top strap & cylinder top right off a revolver... the slower powders will give fast FPS with less pressure buildup over a longer period of time.. in millionths of seconds..
Mike in Peru
August 1, 2011, 07:11 PM
Kind of what I have been thinking.
August 1, 2011, 10:33 PM
Colarado said " Seems there was a thread one time about loading 38 special cases to 357 pressures. The consensus was that if they were only fired from a 357 they should be good. Just don't ever fire them from a 38 special revolver.
Take H-110 power for a example, max .357 load= 17gr, not sure if that would even fit in a .38 special case. Or you may end up with a COMPRESS load= not good. I've heard that the 38 cases are not as strong made as the .357 do to the pressure requirements! The lease of your worries will be trying to get them to eject. No offence meant,this is not a Ideal I'd recommend!
August 2, 2011, 10:30 AM
If you load a powder charge intended for a .357 Magnum into a .38 Spl. case, that case has less surface area than the .357, resulting in much higher pressures. If those loads got mixed up with regular .38 Spl, or for whatever reason those rounds wind up in a third party's hands, they would probably cause a kaboom. In fact, these rounds could even be hazardous to shoot in a .357 Magnum revolver. On three separate occasions I received a quantity of free ammunition from the wives of recently deceased friends.
When federal law enforcement agencies still used wheel guns, they had developed what was often called the Treasury load which was a 110 grain JHP .38 Spl round loaded to low end .357 Magnum performance. These rounds roared but they were developed by a major ammunition manufacturer (Winchester) with sophisticated measuring and testing procedures to insure they were safe to fire in .38 Specials. Even then, firing them in a 5-shot Chief Special gave one the feeling that the gun would explode on the very next round.
August 2, 2011, 12:51 PM
on the Hodgdon website: (No info about barrel length)
Click the "print" button for more info. The gap between the cylinder & barrel might be more important then pressure of the load. :confused:
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