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Old August 4, 2012, 12:02 AM   #1
MDS
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.38 +P

I wanted to load some of my 158gr. LSWC for a little more pop. I'm running 4.0 grns of 231 for them now. I have some +P cases and looked at my manuals. Speer was the only one that gave .38+P data for that powder. It ran 4.3-4.7 grns. of 231. Now my other manuals showed this as a .357 Mag. load. The bullets are Missouri at 12 Brinnel. The revolver's are .357. Any thoughts on this?
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Old August 4, 2012, 07:20 AM   #2
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My Lyman manual #48 shows 5.0 to 5.2 grains of 231 with 155-160 LSWC for +P loads giving velocities in the mid 900 FPS range. I use 5.0 with no problems at all.

If you want more, Alliant powder shows a charge of 6.0 of Power Pistol for over 1000 fps on their website for .38 +P.
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Old August 4, 2012, 09:09 AM   #3
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Lead is best kept at 1,000 fps. 158 gr LSWC was considered a magnum load. Of course, jacketed bullets can be driven faster, but Speer holds all the .38 +P loads to about 1,000 fps.
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Old August 4, 2012, 09:30 AM   #4
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You can probably run those .38 +P cases at .357 Magnum pressures safely IN A .357 MAGNUM REVOLVER. The safety issue comes from the potential for them to get into a .38 SPECIAL revolver at some unguarded moment in the future.

With a hardness of 12, they may lead at velocities above 1,000 fps or so, but probably not as badly as the original soft-swaged lead 158 gr LSWCs the factories used to load in .357 Magnum revolvers. There are some .357 Magnum loads out there pushing similar bullets to over 1,500 fps from 6" barrelled guns, using magnum powders of course, not 231. Leading at those velocities is different from gun-to-gun, depending on throat and groove dimensions, taper in throats and bore, bullet fit, lube, etc.

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Old August 4, 2012, 09:42 AM   #5
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Not having loaded these before,will I be ok using +P cases? I assume .357 cases are longer and would change preasures etc. correct?
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Old August 4, 2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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Are those cast, or the soft lead like the hornadys lswc? If you push those soft ones very fast you are going to get a lot of leading...

For reference, from a 4" mod 10 the hornady 158 lswc, all loaded @ 1.455

4.0 W231 AVG 726 FPS
4.3 W231 AVG 780 FPS

The most accurate load I have
3.5 Bullseye AVG 794 FPS


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Old August 4, 2012, 02:47 PM   #7
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Those bullets should be fine to 1200+ fps if they fit your gun properly, and 900+ if they don't.

I can't help you with 231 powder; I have a pound of it but haven't gotten around to trying it yet. I do have loads that I like using other powders.

Do you have any .357 brass, or is it all .38 Special brass? ("+P" or not on the headstamp doesn't really mean anything)
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Old August 4, 2012, 06:45 PM   #8
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I guess i should have paid attention to the orig post.. Anyway i shoot the Missouri 158 SWC from my 357, buy I get the brinnel 18 ones. I run them to close to 1300 FPS with no leading.

From a 6" GP100
Missouri 158 Gr SWC (18)

7.0 gr Unique AVG 1200 FPS
7.3 gr Unique AVG 1255 FPS

13.0 AA # 9 w/Magnum primer AVG 1281 FPS

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Old August 4, 2012, 11:20 PM   #9
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MDS,

Yes, loading .357 Magnum data in .38 Special cases WILL produce higher pressure than the pressure testing indicated for the loads in .357 cases. SO, max .357 Magnum data in .38 Special case WILL produce pressures that exceed SAAMI specs for the .357 Magnum. NOT a good idea.

What I wrote was that you could probably push the .38 Special cases into the .357 Magnum PRESSURE range and still shoot them safely in .357 Magnum revolvers. Yes, you do have to adjust the .357 magnum data for the smaller case volume, if that is the data you want to work with. But, from your original post, I was getting the impression that you wanted a "little more" than .38 +P performance, rather than trying to get near magnum performance out of the Special case.

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Old August 5, 2012, 01:34 AM   #10
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I must have missed this...

In what reloading book will I find that it's okay to use .38 Special & .357 Winchester Magnum loads interchangeably?

I was looking in the indexs and couldn't find the words so often used in advice posts such as, ''Sometimes", "Could be", "Should be", " Just-a-Little" and "Almost".
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Old August 5, 2012, 09:11 AM   #11
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My Hornady 7th Edition says...

.38 Special
Max 4.4 grains of Win231
850 fps.

Generally, when I want an in between load in .357 I find a powder that's listed in the .38 special +P data and add 10%, careful not to exceed the .357 data for the same bullet and powder.

That way, I'm only guessing at the velocity, since I have a upward bound. If I don't have data for that powder in .357 magnum, then I don't do it.

Bonus...no crud ring left in the cylinder when I'm done.

If I suspected that I might be loading a magnum load in a .38 Special, then I'd switch to .357 cases.
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Old August 5, 2012, 09:22 AM   #12
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I just have to ask! Does one have to load +P loads in +P cases? Can +P loads be loaded in 38spl cases?
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Old August 5, 2012, 10:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poline
I just have to ask! Does one have to load +P loads in +P cases? Can +P loads be loaded in 38spl cases?
I've never seen a difference in brass marked .38 Special and brass marked .38 Special +P. There's no reason to segregate .38 Special brass, just be sure to plainly mark your handloads so that you'll know what you've got.

Years ago, there was an old handloading trick whereby you could load .38 Special brass to .357 magnum pressures by simply seating the bullet out to .357 lengths. The "safety" was that the ammo would not chamber in a .38 special revolver, because the bullet was seated out to .357 magnum lengths. The Lyman 358156 was a Ray Thompson design that had two crimping grooves, one for standard length cartridges and one specifically for seating longer in the .38 special cases. This was an old trick that we used when .357 magnum brass was in short supply.
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Old August 5, 2012, 11:21 AM   #14
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Not all .38 Special cases are the same. Some, especially those factory-loaded with full wadcutter bullets, may be thinner in the case walls down near the web/case head. Those would not be as good for magnum pressure levels as the .38 Special +P cases. Other .38 Special cases that are not marked as +P MAY be as strong as +P cases, but it pays to look at your cases carefully and think this through.

As for loading bullets long in Special cases to achieve Magnum performance, that is not quite right.

For one thing, .38 Special cases loaded to .357 Magnum COLs WILL fit in .38 Special chambers UNLESS the gun has a short cylinder that leaves those cartriges sticking out the front so that it ties-up the rotation. SO, there is no safety in the longer COLs with respect to keeping them out of guns where they might be dangerous.

And, with respect to the Ray Thompson design bullets with the two crimp grooves, even loading to the bottom groove in a .38 Special case does not produce a COL or internal powder space that is quite as large as loading to the top groove in a .357 Magnum case. So, CHARGE WEIGHT ADJUSTMENT is needed to avoid exceeding SAAMI pressure limits when going for Magnum pressures in Special cases with those bullets; it is just a different adjustment factor than if both were loaded so that they crimped in the top groove.

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Old August 5, 2012, 12:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
As for loading bullets long in Special cases to achieve Magnum performance, that is not quite right.

For one thing, .38 Special cases loaded to .357 Magnum COLs WILL fit in .38 Special chambers UNLESS the gun has a short cylinder that leaves those cartriges sticking out the front so that it ties-up the rotation. SO, there is no safety in the longer COLs with respect to keeping them out of guns where they might be dangerous.
That does work with full wadcutters. The cartridges won't chamber in a .38 Special unless maybe you hammer them in. Has nothing to do with the front of the bullet sticking out the cylinder.

I used to load .38 Special hot loads (almost magnums), like a 158 grain RNFP with 12.5 grains of 2400, and color the case heads with a red marker, but I don't do that anymore because it's a dangerous practice -- who knows what will happen to those cartridges after I'm dead or in a nursing home. I still load .357 Magnum wadcutter loads in .38 brass.
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Old August 5, 2012, 02:15 PM   #16
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Thank You!
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Old August 5, 2012, 04:42 PM   #17
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zxcvbob,

Quote:
That does work with full wadcutters. The cartridges won't chamber in a .38 Special unless maybe you hammer them in. Has nothing to do with the front of the bullet sticking out the cylinder.
Actually, it does not ALWAYS work with full wadcutters to prevent chambering in .38 Special guns. IF your chamber throats are 0.358" instead of 0.357", you can seat any lead bullet, including full wadcutters, out to the point wherre their noses are flush with the cylinder face and shoot them. So, it is gun-dependent.

In fact, some of the old black powder revolvers chambered for the "38" caliber bullets that were outside-lubricated, heeled bullets will chamber 357 Magnum rounds. And those magnum rounds are sure to blow-up those old guns.

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