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Old January 30, 2012, 05:24 PM   #1
GregInAtl
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Load data needed for .38spl wadcutters

Can someone suggest some load data for .38 spl wadcutters using Win 231. These are double ended wadcutters, not hollow based or semi wadcutters. I was able to find some load data on Hodgdon's web site for Win 231 but it was for hollow based wadcutters.
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Old January 30, 2012, 05:54 PM   #2
Unclenick
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HB, DE, Makes no difference. If the weight is the same and they are both made of the same material, they have the same total volume. The extra seating depth into the case of the HB is compensated for by the space in the hollow, leaving the net powder burning volume, which is what affects pressure in this instance, the same.

You should end up around 3.0 grains. I notice Hodgdon starts at 3.5, but the velocity they get is higher than most target shooting runs with, which is around 750-800 fps from a 6" barrel revolver.
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Old January 30, 2012, 06:34 PM   #3
PawPaw
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The standard load for .38 special wadcutters is 2.7 grains of Bullseye and a standard pistol primer. That load has worked great for years and many thousands of rounds.
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Old January 30, 2012, 07:34 PM   #4
ScottRiqui
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I just finished shooting a batch of 148 gr. DEWC with 3.0 gr of W231. They worked well, but I don't know if that's the optimum load for my gun. I'm going to do up a couple more loads soon - 3.2 gr and 3.4 gr - and see if they do any better.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:26 AM   #5
m&p45acp10+1
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I shot about 250 Berry's with 3.1 grains of Bull's Eye, and they shot just dandy fine. For 231 I have info from Lyman's Pistol and Revolver 3rd Edition.

Starting load for a 150 grain Lead DEWC is 3.7 grains with a velocity of 872 fps with a pressure of 14,400 CUP

Max load is 4.2 with a velocity of 942 with a presure of 16,200 CUP

OAL for both is 1.317 with a trim length on the brass being 1.149, A light taper, or roll crimp is recomended. I used a light taper crimp to remove the case flare, and seated just slightly above flush.

OH and the load is safe to use with a 148 grain bullet, just start at the starting load, and work up. I found the starting load to work so well I have just decided to stick with it.
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Old January 31, 2012, 05:24 PM   #6
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m&p45acp10+1,

Even that starting load you mention is shooting faster than the long time wadcutter standby 2.7 grains of BE mentioned by PawPaw. 2.9 grains of 231 is about equivalent. The higher velocity loading is fine with a DEWC, but put an HBWC in and fire it from a snub nose or other short barrel, and the skirt may blow out and destabilize it.

It's a funny business originating, as near as I can tell, from Hodgdon's load data. Go to Hodgdon's site and look up the 231 loads they give for 148 grain HBWC over 231 and note both the peak pressure and velocity of the maximum load. This was shot in a 7.71" test barrel according to what you see when you push the Print button at the top of the page. Now switch the chambering to .357 Magnum with its longer case and COL, which should lower the pressure. Look at the smaller starting and maximum loads and note the maximum load pressure and velocity. This was fired from a 10" barrel. Smaller loads for .357 getting higher peak pressure with more powder burning space but producing lower velocity in its longer barrel. Huh?

My first thought was maybe it's the magnum primer in the .357. But, make the same comparison for Hodgdon Universal, a flattened-sphere "flake" that burns at the same rate as 231, and it reverses, with the magnum case needing more powder, as you'd expect. The smaller loads given for Universal in both cartridges, are just about exactly what I'd expect to be right for 231, but the .38 data is still odd. I can't come up with any scenario to explain it that would not have brought similarly odd results to the other powders listed for both cartridges.

I wrote Hodgdon about this, saying it looked to me like their .38 Special and .357 Magnum load recommendations for 231 had been reversed. They took the time to look up the test sheet filed by their ballistic technician, who'd apparently been told to load to specific pressure readings. They said whether it makes abstract sense or not, this is what they got, and it's what they are sticking by. The subtext I infer is this is how the lawyers want it done. I prefer to run the 231 lighter with .38 Special wadcutters for target shooting, to get the old standby 750 fps from my 6" K-frame. 2.9 to 3.0 grains depending on the brass and crimp. It's an oddball case of the chronograph being more useful than the published data.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:05 PM   #7
m&p45acp10+1
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Unclenick thanks for the info. I used the publised data from my manual.

I can warn about Trail Boss, and plated HBWC in .38 spcl. I had two squibs using a max load which is a full case to the bullet. I switched to Bull's Eye and the results were good out of my 4 inch Mod 67-1.
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