The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 2, 2005, 11:57 AM   #1
Thirties
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2001
Location: Where the Red Sox meet the Black Bears
Posts: 561
Non-selfdefense plinking loads for 2" .38spl snubs

I hope with the title I can attract those using their 2" .38spl snubnose revolvers for plinking, at least part of the time, to comment here. This place seems to have among the most interesting and interested posters, so here goes...

I recently got into the .38 special snubnose revolver when a neighbor asked me to load him some plinking ammo. Eventually, I liked his little Colt-DS so much I bought one for myself.

I started with Berry plated 125 grain FP with W231. My first load was 3.6 grains which shot into a 2.5" group at 30 feet (10 paces). Unfortunately there has been so much snow this winter, I've not been able to set up my chronograph to fully analyze this load. I also loaded some Speer LHBWC with 3.0 grains of W231 — very tight 1.5" group.

I am going to be doing some tests of greater amounts of W231 powder as well as Titegroup powder — all with the 126 grain bullet. When I can see a pattern, I'll branch out to 148 grain HBWC.

What I want to do with my tinkering, is establish a floor for stable and accurate .38 special ammo loadings in a 2" barrel, and compare that with what I get in a 4" barrel. None of my loading books mention 2" guns. They all use data from 4" or, more commonly, 6" barrels.

My expectation is that you get into real borderline squib loads in 2" guns sooner than in 4". So I'm trying to see where that happens with various bullets. I hope my info will be usefull for some of you.

Please feel free to join me in my experiment, and share your results.

.
Thirties is offline  
Old March 2, 2005, 02:52 PM   #2
Poygan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2004
Posts: 125
Why not use a wadcutter lead bullet and a small charge of Bullseye, 231, Titewad, etc.? Clean-burning, economical, accurate, low recoil. Probably less expensive than a plated bullet and most likely more accurate. Over the years, I've concluded the vast majority of my pistol reloads can be cast bullet loads. I cast my own so it lends another aspect of the hobby.
Poygan is offline  
Old March 2, 2005, 04:23 PM   #3
Thirties
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2001
Location: Where the Red Sox meet the Black Bears
Posts: 561
Poygan,

I've loaded plenty of wadcutters with sucess. And I will be including wadcutters in my work, mostly as a standard to compare the others. But I'm starting out with plated 125 g FP because they are relatively cheap for the non-caster (me), and there is little data on them — plenty of data on jacketed 125 grain bullets, of course.

What I'm working on is not a common thing, I'm afraid. I wish it were otherwise, and I'd have my answer from others' experiences. I'm trying to see if the 125 g plated FP is worth using in a plinking situation in a 2" .38 revolver.

I'm prepared to discover that they are less than ideal. Maybe, I'll give a look at 158 g FP after . . . wherever this takes me is fine.

You see, I haven't yet encountered any writing on the subject of decent plinking loads for 2" guns (except for the standard 148 g HBWC that's been well documented).

.
Thirties is offline  
Old March 2, 2005, 07:38 PM   #4
BILLY D.
Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2005
Location: MINOT (MINDROT) ND
Posts: 81
Wc Loads

I Once Read That Skeeter Skelton Liked To Load The 148 Hbwc Upside Down For Defense Loads. He Never Reported On The Accuracy But Said When They Hit Something "all Hell Broke Loose". :d
__________________
PLEASE EXCUSE UPPER CASE TYPING I AM HANDICAPPED AND ONLY TYPE WITH ONE HAND. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

HANDLOADS ARE LIKE UNDERWEAR.....BE CAREFUL WHO YOU SWAP WITH.

HAPPY TRAILS, BILL

NRA LIFE MEMBER-1965

THE THREAD KILLER
BILLY D. is offline  
Old March 2, 2005, 09:37 PM   #5
Poygan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2004
Posts: 125
Couple more thoughts....Assume you are using a fixed sight pistol. A 125 grain will at normal velocities shoot low because its going faster. So I guess you could lower the speed and have a plinking load that shoots to point of aim. Other than punching paper or killing beer cans, I would expect it would be rather ineffectual. Also, I would expect the shorter and lighter bullet to be less accurate than a wadcutter or semi wadcutter. Certainly there are always exceptions. Maybe I'm just uncertain as to your goal.
Poygan is offline  
Old March 2, 2005, 09:37 PM   #6
Robert Allison
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: NW Montana
Posts: 146
I've loaded lots of plinking ammo for 38s (and 357s as well) over the years, including for the 2". I don't have special ammo for those, use the same thing I would for a 4 or 6" gun. I personally like the classic 148HBWC over a light charge of Bullseye. I've also shot a lot of the Speer 148BBWCs as well.....although now that I think of it, I'm not even sure Speer still makes those, haven't bought any in about 15 years as I had a big supply of the hollow base bullets. Anyway, they're great, accurate, not much more noise or recoil than a 22.
Robert Allison is offline  
Old March 2, 2005, 11:01 PM   #7
scottys1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 21, 2004
Posts: 310
Some chrono data for comparison

Bear in mind all guns listed are .357's

The load is 4.0gr of 231 behind a 158gr LRN bullet in .38spl cases.


firearm--------- average velocity (fps)


Taurus 605 2" ----------- 738

Dan Wesson model 15 2 1/2"---- 756

Dan Wesson 4"
same gun, different barrel --- 746 (this changes with .357's)

S&W 686 6" --------- 796


This was a load that made minor power factor when I used the 686 for USPSA competition and was plenty accurate. I just happened to chrono it in all my .357's so it seemed appropriate to share it here.
scottys1 is offline  
Old March 3, 2005, 07:47 AM   #8
Thirties
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2001
Location: Where the Red Sox meet the Black Bears
Posts: 561
Thanks, Scotty, very appropriate. So, from your data, it looks like the 2" barrel doesn't slow things down much, eh?

Poygan, my goal is to learn what are the most appropriate (accurate without too much recoil) bullets/loads for plinking in a 2" .38 special gun besides the 148 grain HBWC; and then to compare the best non-WC load to the HBWC. Why? Just because I'm curious, that's all.

Robert, the Speer folks still make their lead HBWC. Now they use a "dry lube" which keeps the wax off your fingers.

As to HBWC loaded with the hollow base out, that is something I've read about also, including when Paco Kelly loaded some for his wife who shot a rabid dog/coyote in W. Virginia. But I'm not including these in my quest.

Thanks for your replies. I'll provide some data when I have it.

.
Thirties is offline  
Old March 12, 2005, 08:37 AM   #9
WESHOOT2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 14,270
Charter Arms Undercover

148g HBWC, HS6........
__________________
.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
WESHOOT2 is offline  
Old March 12, 2005, 10:00 AM   #10
bobelk99
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 18, 2005
Location: Central KY
Posts: 220
148hbwc Bullseye 2.5 was one of Bob Chow's favorite loads
bobelk99 is offline  
Old March 12, 2005, 10:24 AM   #11
MADISON
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2000
Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Posts: 2,678
Plinking 2 inch barrel loads?

If you are going to load lead SWC, HBWC or BBWC here are 2 loads to try:
SWC and BBWC...148 to 150 grain 4.0 grains of Win 231
HBWC 148 to 150 grain 3.0 grainss of Win 231 Any more powder and they will KEY-HOLE on you.
MADISON is offline  
Old March 12, 2005, 10:39 AM   #12
Thirties
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 29, 2001
Location: Where the Red Sox meet the Black Bears
Posts: 561
Folks, thanks for the info. I'll be getting my Detective Special back from the gunsmith next week, and when the snow stops piling up, I'll start chronographing the loads I've made so far, and let you know the results.



.
Thirties is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09540 seconds with 9 queries