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Old November 14, 2009, 04:54 PM   #1
EdInk
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What Would Happen

What would happen if you filled a .38 spcl case to capacity with modern smokeless powder?

Kaboom?
+P+?
Little .357 magnum?

Anyone try it?
I'm sure you'd need to shoot it from a .357?
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Old November 14, 2009, 04:59 PM   #2
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I take it from the question you don't reload? I wouldn't try shooting it even in a .357, unless you have a crush on the nurse in the emergency room. Way too much chamber pressure.
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Old November 14, 2009, 05:00 PM   #3
hickstick_10
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please buy a reloading manual :barf:
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Old November 14, 2009, 05:01 PM   #4
Tommy Vercetti
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the .38 special was around before smokeless powder really caught on and I've heard of people who still handload blackpowder in their guns so chambered, I believe smokeless powder is roughly 8 times more powerful than blackpowder so I think you would definitely see a KaBoom of epic proportions
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Old November 14, 2009, 05:23 PM   #5
SwampYankee
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Oh come on guys, this is a "teachable" moment!

While I certainly don't suggest doing it, it could be done, assuming you use the correct powder. Each powder has a different burn rate. If you were to use a fast burning powder, you would blow yourself up. If you were to use a slow enough burning powder, it would be possible.

Quickload is a good way to do this exercise without the risk of injury.

Assuming you have 17 grains of available volume (158 grain LRN bullet), you could fill the case to the top with H335, a rifle powder. This powder, at this amount, would keep you below maximum pressure. If you tried this with H110, you could only use 13 grains to keep it below max pressure. If you were to use Unique, my guess is that you would need to keep it under about 6 grains (I didn't check this one in Quickload).

Now there isn't much practical reason to use a rifle powder. You would not get any more muzzle energy or velocity past a certain point and much of the powder may not even burn.

So the answer is, yes, it could be done with certain provisions, but it would not be a useful thing to do. As the others have mentioned, if this topic does interest you, a good reloading manual would be the place to start.
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Old November 14, 2009, 05:43 PM   #6
Venom1956
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...sigh...
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Old November 14, 2009, 06:19 PM   #7
Daryl
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Quote:
What would happen if you filled a .38 spcl case to capacity with modern smokeless powder?

Kaboom?
+P+?
Little .357 magnum?

Anyone try it?
I'm sure you'd need to shoot it from a .357?
Ok, edumacational moment here, as another poster said above...

First, filling a cartridge case (ANY cartridge case) to full capacity with ANY powder without checking load data is likely going to cause more harm than good. A slow enough powder might not even get the bullet out the barrel, while another would blow up your gun.

It's not something a sane person would do "just to see what happens".

Ok, now with the extremes differences in powder mentioned...

If you filled a .38 case full with Trail Boss, and topped it with a light bullet, you'd probably get away with it. Trail Boss is bulky powder, so a little in weight fills a lot in capacity. If you filled the case with Bullseye, then kiss the gun goodbye...and maybe your hand, maybe your eyesight, or even your life. Bullseye is a fast burning powder, so it takes very little of it to reach top pressures in a .38 special (like 2.5 grains or so with 148 gr wadcutters if I remember right).

I know of one idiot...err...guy who once filled a 22-250 case with bullseye (?), and capped it with a bullet. He set it on his dresser, and called it his "hot load".

He goofed up, and got it mixed in with his hunting ammo, and it cost him a really nice rifle.

He really was an idiot though. He eventually ended up in an asylum after killing a shooting buddy who tried to kill him, and even now says that "God" sent him to earth to kill seven people. He knows he's supposed to kill them when he sees "the devil". Brent tried to kill him with a mini-14 if I remember right, but it got caught up in the steering wheel. When this guy shot him with a handgun, Brent spit blood, and the guy "saw the devil", and emptied a few magazines into him from what I understand.

Yeah, strange dude, and a good one to avoid. He was once one of my uncle's best friends, and they hunted a lot together.

Not any more, though. It's been a lot of years since that happened, and he's still nutty as squirrel scat from what I hear.

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Old November 14, 2009, 09:11 PM   #8
EdInk
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No I don't reload. I knew the case was a black powder case but was just curious of what would happen it filled to the max amount with room to allow for proper spacing.
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Old November 14, 2009, 09:14 PM   #9
EdInk
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Thank you for the reloaders who gave an answer not a--hole comment. I figured it would blow up or be super dangerous I was just curious. Thanks again to the guys who gave real answers.
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Old November 14, 2009, 10:25 PM   #10
James K
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Hi, EdInk,

The tone of some of those answers was not necessary. But your question, as written, would seem to indicate that you might be going to try an experiment that could be very dangerous, so some folks became alarmed.

Such a question does not mean you are stupid, merely that you are not knowledgable about such details as powder burn rates and reloading in general. If you wish to learn, I agree that buying a good manual is the first step.

Believe it or not, gun folks take safety seriously and no one wants to read of another shooter being killed or injured.

Jim
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Old November 14, 2009, 10:42 PM   #11
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Quote: "I knew the case was a black powder case but was just curious of what would happen it filled to the max amount with room to allow for proper spacing. "

The proper load (weight) of a given powder with a given weight and type of bullet in a specific case is directly related to the maximum pressure created when that combination is fired in the gun. If too much powder, the excessively high pressure can destroy a gun. If too little powder (squib load), the very low pressure may not push the bullet fully through/out the barrel and thus create an obstruction. If another round is fired without removing the lodged bullet, you may again destroy a gun. The shooter may also be injured if the gun is destroyed. Although room/space in the case does affect the pressure, it is still the max pressure that we are really concerned with. We typically speak of space in the case only when discussing changes in seating depth of a specific load and whether that change will increase or decrease the max pressure obtained at a different seating depth.
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Old November 14, 2009, 11:10 PM   #12
EdInk
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Not offended. Any experiment I would want to try has probably already been done. That's why ask people on this forum. Lately there have been a good number of jerky replies to questions peope ask, I wanted to make note of how unproductive they are to people. The helpful people are great and the others are trolls like you have on any web forum. Thanks again to those who are helpful to people.
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