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Old March 8, 2012, 06:27 PM   #1
dinger44
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Help with reloading 38 special

My wife wants to start shooting and take the CCW class. I have a ruger LCR 38 special +P. I have Bullseye and Unique Powder and was given a box of Rainier 125g HP bullets.
I want to load some of these at a very light load starting off till she gets used to shooting the slowly increase the loads. With what I have the powder and the bullets what would be a good light load to start or should I go with a different powder,bullets etc.

Thanks a lot
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Old March 8, 2012, 06:37 PM   #2
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I reload .38 special with Unique and with Trailboss. Light loads with Unique puts very little powder in the case. I don't like that. Trailboss is light and fluffy and a light load with it requires more volume of powder so it fills the case better. My wife also has a LCR and loves it. I use Trailboss to make her target loads. Per their information, a maximum load of trail boss is fill the case without compaction. That makes it a very safe powder to load because you can never get a double charge without overflow.
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Old March 8, 2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Both powders are Alliant powders. Here is a link to there web site http://www.alliantpowder.com/ go by there listings. Also here is the Hodgon site http://www.hodgdon.com/index.html. If you are going to do reloading I strongly recommend that you get a good reloading manual, some loads that are recommended on the internet may not be safe in your gun.
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Old March 8, 2012, 06:59 PM   #4
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Light loads with Unique puts very little powder in the case. I don't like that.
+1......

I also had trouble metering unique, red dot, and 700x (all flake powders) with a high degree of consitancy ...... used for weak start loads in .38 spec, I was thinking that I might increase the risk of a sqib/bullet stuck in the barrel- not something I want to happen when the kiddoes are doing the shooting ........
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Old March 8, 2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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I thought light loads were great, until I had a bullet stuck in the barrel. THe load was 3.8 grains of W231. The cold weather also may have reduced the ability of the charge to get the bullet down the barrel. Anyways, there is a reason why you should not go below minimum charges...

This is not a set-up, this is the actual bullet stuck in the actual gun!

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Old March 8, 2012, 07:21 PM   #6
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Lead bullets are better than jacketed for very light loads because lead (cast or swaged) is softer than copper, easier to engrave, less likely to stick.

sheepman is absolutely correct - a reloading manual or two, or more, is truly wise at this point in your reloading career.

Your approach is right - let her start with light loads and work up to more-or-less standard loads as she gets used to the recoil. Have fun!
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Old March 8, 2012, 07:26 PM   #7
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Don't go to light with the plated bullets. All these light loads you hear so much about are usually with lead loads. Find some 148 gr wadcutters with 2.8 grs of Bullseye.
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Old March 8, 2012, 07:27 PM   #8
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I understand your reasoning to start your wife out with light loads but I am of the school that believes I should always practice with what I am going to use for self defense or hunting etc. so that I automatically know what to expect when the trigger is pulled.
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Old March 8, 2012, 09:10 PM   #9
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THe load was 3.8 grains of W231. The cold weather also may have reduced the ability of the charge to get the bullet down the barrel.
I'm sorry, Swamp Yankee, but that was a round without powder. Cold can, indeed, affect powder performance, but not to that degree.

Quote:
I strongly recommend that you get a good reloading manual, some loads that are recommended on the internet may not be safe in your gun.
sheepman speaks the truth! Bullet type and weight can make a significant difference in minimum and maximum powder charges. Think of the few extra dollars and time spent reading the manual as a means of preventing firearm, fingers, and eye losses.
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Old March 8, 2012, 09:27 PM   #10
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Get some 148 grain double-ended wadcutters. Start at 2.6 grains of Bullseye and quickly work up to about 3.0. You'll have an easy-shooting load that's is still effective for self defense. And they are cheap. Save the 125 JHP's for making hot +P loads later.
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Old March 8, 2012, 09:28 PM   #11
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I'm sorry, Swamp Yankee, but that was a round without powder.
You are saying a primer alone pushed that bullet 1 7/8" down that 2" barrel?

Horsefeathers, unicorn air-biscuits and nonesuch.

I've had a powderless load once, in a .270 WIN with a magnum primer and without the barrel cylinder gap to bleed gas pressure: The bullet did not even move.
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Old March 8, 2012, 09:37 PM   #12
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YUUUUUUPPPPP! that is exactly what he's saying. I agree that was a no powder load, just primer alone. even with a light load of powder it would have exited the barrel.
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Old March 8, 2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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Swamp Yankee,

Is that a plated bullet, or a jacketed bullet?

If a plated bullet, 3.8 grains is NOT a light load.

If it is a jacketed bullet, it is a light load for 125-gr. bullets, but not for 158s.
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Old March 9, 2012, 05:52 AM   #14
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I'm sorry, Swamp Yankee, but that was a round without powder.
I posted this picture and discussed it at length on the forum when it happened, 3 years ago.

1. I think it was a plated bullet. It was 158g. According to Speer, 3.8g is the minimum for a lead bullet.
2. I pulled all the remaining bullets (I made 50, can't remember how many were left but they all had powder).
3. I hand loaded them all with an RCBS Rocker Chucker and I checked every case visually before I seated the bullet, to ensure powder was present.
4. I must have loaded a couple thousand rounds before this one, I have since loaded tens of thousands of rounds. In that time, I have never had another "squib".

So, it could have had no powder but I doubt it. We all make mistakes but I am religious about visually checking the cases when I load by hand (I use a powder cop on my Hornady LNL), so I don't think so.

This is from my earlier post Jan. 19, 2009

Quote:
I did a little more research this afternoon and found a thread on the S&W forum boards along with a couple other random ones here and there on other sites. A number of people have experienced the exact problem I am having, that is, when you try and use W231 above 32 F, it works fine. When you try and use it below 32 F, the chrono results plummet and people start getting squibs. Happens both with handguns and shotguns.

The explanation given is that double-based powders contain nitroglycerine, which becomes very insensitive at low temperatures and simply does not ignite properly. W231/H38 is apparently the worst when it comes to cold temperature malfunctions. You can either add more powder or switch to a single-based propellant. Some double-based propellants are better than others (Titegroup seems better than W231 and Lil'Gun is barely effected) but it is a repeatable effect.
I think the culprit was a combination of low powder, cold temperature, plated bullet and powder position in the case. Some manuals recommend using lead charges for plated bullets but that may not always be effective.
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Old March 9, 2012, 07:04 AM   #15
Mike Irwin
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I've burned a lot of 231 in sub freezing (and some in sub 0) temperatures and I've never experienced anything like that. I've never even noticed any loss in power.

I'm not sure why Speer shows such a hot load, but according to the Hodgdon reloading data center, a 158-gr. lead bullet (plated data is interchangeable with lead data), shows a minimum load of 3.1 grains of WW 231 and a maximum load of 3.7 grains.

The minimum load for a jacketed bullet (Hornady XTP in their data) shows a minimum load of 3.8 grains.
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Old March 9, 2012, 07:33 AM   #16
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I remember a letter in the Handloader a few years back, penned by a geezer who should know, that the recommended load of bullseye in 1917 revolvers back in the day did result in bullets stuck in the barrel, sometimes multiple. The writer was an articulate and savvy enthusiast and Brian Pearce(sp?) allowed how he had seen the same thing. Don't know if this relates, info only.
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Old March 9, 2012, 08:35 AM   #17
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The only other thing I remember was that all the successful ignitions were very low in power, the noise was minimal and the recoil was very light. I started looking for squibs after the first round and this was something like the 4th shot.

The Berry bullets also don't have a cannelure. At the time I did not have a taper crimp for .38/.357 so I did the best I could with a roll crimp but it was just a tickle, I did not want to deform the bullets. So crimp may have also contributed. The next time out I did everything the same but bumped the charge to 4.1 and had no problems. But it was also warmer....
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Old March 9, 2012, 09:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampYankee
This is not a set-up, this is the actual bullet stuck in the actual gun!
Congratulations! I've actually tried to do that with a .30-30, but couldn't get the charge just right. I was trying to see what light charge of fast powder would let the bullet run down the barrel and stick, half-out of the muzzle. I was never able to get it done and abandoned the project as unworkable.. Leave it to the knowledgeable posters on TFL to show me that it is not impossible.

No, I don't want to replicate the project. But, well done! You showed me that it is possible.
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Old March 9, 2012, 11:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PawPaw
Congratulations! I've actually tried to do that with a .30-30, but couldn't get the charge just right. I was trying to see what light charge of fast powder would let the bullet run down the barrel and stick, half-out of the muzzle. I was never able to get it done and abandoned the project as unworkable.. Leave it to the knowledgeable posters on TFL to show me that it is not impossible.

No, I don't want to replicate the project. But, well done! You showed me that it is possible.
Just to much time on your hands. I don't think I'd have the patience for such a noble endeavor.
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