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Old March 8, 2011, 08:55 PM   #1
mrappe
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loading for .38 special (CAS Guns)

I have been loading for 38-40 (Clays), 44-40(clays),.45 Colt (Unique), 32-20 for cas shooting for many years and always just bought .38 special RNFP loaded ammo because it used to be cheep and was easy to find it loaded with lead rnfp since my son used to shoot .38 in rifle and pistol I would uses the same bullet and also I had too many othr calibers to load. In the past few years I have found it harder to find .38 lead rnfp ammo and when I do it is expensive. My son is away in college nd does not shoot with me any more but i keep the guns as backups. I am now going to load for the .38 and not the 32-20 and the 44-40 any more so I was wondering what a good load would be for the .38. I will use a Oregon trail 158 grn rnfp bullet and would like to use the same powders that i already have (if possible) either Unique or Clays. Does anyone have some loads for this. I prefer regular 'factory' type loads and not 'light' or 'cowboy' loads.

Thank you,
Mike
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Old March 8, 2011, 09:47 PM   #2
zippy13
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For a "cowboy" .38 Special load, 4.5 gr of Unique under a 158 grain cast bullet should should work for you. For a service load, Alliant recommends 4.7 gr of Unique as a maximum.
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Old March 8, 2011, 09:51 PM   #3
arcticap
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There's free .38 Special loading data on the Hodgdon website for Clays and some other powders that they manufacture.
I didn't notice any loads there for Unique powder.
Go to the link below to access the reloading data center. Then enter pistol and the caliber one at a time in order for the correct data page to load.

http://www.hodgdon.com/basic-manual-inquiry.html
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Old March 8, 2011, 10:28 PM   #4
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4.5 grains of Unique is a good load with lead 158's. That's what I'm using for a service load, but I may up it to 4.8 grains next time I make up a box.
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Old March 8, 2011, 11:08 PM   #5
zippy13
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arcticap,
You need an Alliant guide for Unique.
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Old March 10, 2011, 11:01 PM   #6
mrappe
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Thanks for the info. Since I am loading for both lever action rifle and single action pistol I am using the same load and bullet. Should I use a pistol primer or rifle. In the past i bought and used the same cartridges for both and assumed that the primers were pistol primerssince .38 special is primarily a pistol round.
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Old March 14, 2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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I have not used Clays, but I know other SASS shooters who do. I stopped using Unique for a couple of reasons, but still have some on my bench. My biggest issue was metering out of my powder measure. I have loaded .38 with 5.0 gns of Unique (under a 158 gn bullet) which I used in my .38's and .357 pistols as target loads to good measure.

I currently use Titegroup (3.3 gns w/158 or 3.0 w/125 gn bullet) for my CAS loads. Each of those gets you about 725-750 fps (my best guess as I've never chronied them). They are not "mousefart" loads, but nor are they "hot" loads. My 13 y/o shoots them (the 125's) for CAS without much trouble.

I like the Titegroup because a little goes a long way. I get over 2200 rounds per pound of powder which helps on the cost factor a bit.

FWIW.
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Old March 15, 2011, 04:33 AM   #8
mrappe
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I have always loaded my .45 Colts with Unique and have plenty of powder for that. I like the results but it does leave the brass a little dirtier. I have always used Clays for the 1873 Winchester that I have in 38-40 and the 1st Gen. Colt that I used to have in 44-40 but I felt that Unique filled up the case better in the .45. i may have been mistaken but Since I already have a good amout of powder I waill shoot them up and possibably try the Titegroup some day since I saw a magazine that compared various powders in .45 Colt and it appeared that Titegroup shot with smaller groups.
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