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Old July 21, 2012, 09:16 PM   #1
joshf128
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38spc Berry's 148gr DEWC Load

Does anybody have a good load for this bullet with Unique?

There are several obstacles I'm facing:
  • Berry's doesn't publish load data
  • Berry's suggests at LEAST 800fps for these plated DEWC
  • The only data I have found suggests a max load of 3.3gr Unique with 148gr with a velocity of 750-800fps
  • My AutoDisk powder measure is not consistent throwing charges of Unique less than 4gr

I loaded about 50 rounds this afternoon and had to weigh every charge because some would come in at 1.5 randomly. I'm going to de-static the hopper and make a powder baffle to try to prevent bridging to increase the consistency of my throws. That said, it would be nice if I could get some confirmation that it is okay to load these in more of the 4.2-4.5gr range.

I think it should be fine considering that 158gr LSWC loads show a max charge of 4.7gr per Alliant's website and (generally speaking) it is safe to use lighter bullets at the heavier load data. The argument against that is that the DEWC has more surface area that contacts the bore and therefore will increase pressure.

I'd rather not change powders or buy new equipment.
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Old July 21, 2012, 09:33 PM   #2
flyguy958
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Not exactly what you are looking for but comparable.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=365855
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Old July 21, 2012, 09:42 PM   #3
joshf128
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Thanks for the reply. I saw that when I was doing my research but wanted to see if anybody could confirm that they had used these plated bullets in the DEWC.
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Old July 21, 2012, 09:55 PM   #4
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You'll be OK with a charge of 4.5 of Unique.
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Old July 22, 2012, 10:07 AM   #5
Hammerhead
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Don't use starting data for lead wadcutters. I stuck a plated DEWC in the barrel of my 4" revolver using starting lead data.
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Old July 22, 2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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If you keep an eye out on the Berry's site you should see the 800fps minimum note being edited shortly. Apparently they have determined that this is too conservative. They went with a big number as a CYA against this new bullt being stuck in very long barrels. At least thats what I heard.

I shoot Berry's 148 HBWC out of a 3" SP101 at 720 with no problem.

Please use caution if you do load beneath the minimum velocity. I can only speak from my own experiences.
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Old July 22, 2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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These should be fine with the standard loads of 2.7 grains of Bullseye or with 2.9 to 3.0 grains of Winchester 231 (also sold as HP38). The latter will meter much more consistently for you. Unique will work at 3.2 grains, but it's one of the most difficult powders to meter well in a measure.
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Old July 23, 2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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Wow, it is a rare and unhappy day -- I am going to vehemently disagree with Unclenick. Typically, in any scenario where I would do such a drastic thing...I'd most likely be DEAD wrong! I don't think I am in this case, however.

If you try to run a Berry's plated slug with the classic wadcutter load, you are VERY likely to stick that bullet in a bore...or, if you are lucky, it'll just lodge itself between the cylinder and forcing cone and end the shooting that day.

And plated bullets stuck in a bore don't come out with the same amount of vigor you'd apply to a lead bullet -- it's more like hammering a square peg down a round hole.

Run them FAST and reduce them accordingly, paying attention to your accuracy.

I am a big fan of Berry's plated slugs. I quit counting how many of them I've been through when I hit 20k. But I have a hard time recommending them for full target wadcutter loads.

If it's the extreme accuracy of a full target wadcutter...or the ultra-light felt recoil-- either way, a true lead bullet is (IMO) the best way to skin this cat.

I run -all- my Berry's bullets to mid-range jacketed specs. I run them in .380, 9mm, .38 Spl, .40 S&W, .45 Auto and .30 Carbine. With terrific success.

Don't run them slow.
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Old July 23, 2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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I agree. I stuck a plated DEWC in my .357 using starting lead data.

I get excellent accuracy with SR 7625 and Universal. Unique should be perfect. I don't see any need for a faster powder with plated wadcutters. I would stay far, far away from Bullseye, Clays and the like.

I load mine long (1.430" in .357 brass), so that the base of the DEWC is seated to the same depth as the base of a 158 JHP. Then I can compare my DEWC loads to 158 JHP data for a margin of safety and more realistic starting loads.

I use 5 grains of Universal or 7625 with the wadcutters seated out long in .357 brass. Travel this road at your own risk.
I also agree that the plated DEWC isn't really a substitute for a light lead wadcutter load. They end up being more of a mid-range load because of the extra pressure required.
But the good news is they seem to be more stable and accurate at 50 yards than the cast DEWC's I've tried. Plus you rarely have to clean your gun.

Last edited by Hammerhead; July 23, 2012 at 04:46 PM.
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Old July 23, 2012, 04:45 PM   #10
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I've been using 3.5 grains of Trail Boss for quite some time now with excellent results.
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Old July 23, 2012, 05:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Wow, it is a rare and unhappy day -- I am going to vehemently disagree with Unclenick. Typically, in any scenario where I would do such a drastic thing...I'd most likely be DEAD wrong! I don't think I am in this case, however.

If you try to run a Berry's plated slug with the classic wadcutter load, you are VERY likely to stick that bullet in a bore...or, if you are lucky, it'll just lodge itself between the cylinder and forcing cone and end the shooting that day.
I've had quite the opposite experience. I ran some through my 6 inch SW Model 28 one day and they traveled over the chronograph at 650 fps. (2.8 grains Bullseye, CCI small pistol primer, Berry's wadcutter.). Having lost all caution at that point, I took another wadcutter cartridge and single-fed it into my 16" Model 1894C. Drew a deep breath and sent it over the chronograph. 600 fps. At that point I decided that I'd had enough good luck for one day and commenced testing other loads I had for the morning.

Your mileage might vary. My revolver, my rifle, my chronograph. I have stuck lead bullets in the barrel playing with very light loads, but I've never stuck a plated bullet, nor ever wanted to experiment with very light loads and plated bullets.
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Old July 23, 2012, 05:26 PM   #12
Oldgoat03
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Re - accurate low grain powder drops

"My AutoDisk powder measure is not consistent throwing charges of Unique less than 4gr"

I had trouble throwing accurate (light) charges for my wifes .380ACP on my Lee Pro Disc Powder Measure so ended up getting the "Lee micro disc" for for charges smaller than about 3.5gr. the micro disc works great was cheap to buy and got those small drops quickly dialed in.
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Old July 23, 2012, 05:58 PM   #13
joshf128
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Thanks all for the replies.

I made up some test loads at 3.0gr, 4.0gr, and 4.5gr of Unique under Berry's 148gr Plated DEWC and they all went bang out of my brand new (to me) S&W Model 10. The 3 grainers felt like little more than a .22 but didn't have any problems with sticking in the barrel. 4 grains was about even with some BVAC 158gr LSWC factory ammo in terms of recoil. 4.5gr had a little more noticeable kick, but was still no where near showing signs of overpressure in regular 38 brass or +P brass.

As for the AutoDisk issue, I made up some powder baffles from some thin cardboard (12 pack of soda) and did some testing for consistent throws at different apertures. The smallest hole that would meter Unique consistently was 0.43cc which yields 3.5-3.6 grains. Anything smaller than that and the powder would start bridging and one out of every ten would be a very light charge around 1.5gr. I can only imagine it would be worse with the micro disk and the large flakes of Unique. Long story short, I'm going to test the 3.5gr load for accuracy and if I get good results use that as my "new shooter" and target load.

Going forward I think I'm just going to order some 158gr LSWC but these were the most affordable bullets that Cabela's had in stock and I was too impatient to wait for my normal supplier (Mike at Mastercast). I use his 200gr LSWC in my Rock Island 1911 - 45ACP and make ragged holes at 10 yards when I do my part (5.2gr Unique + 200gr LSWC @ 1.270" OAL).
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