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Old June 27, 2013, 04:48 PM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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.38 Spl Snub reloaders. What powder do you use?

I have a 2" snub, and I reload for it: mainly 125gr plated bullets for plinking, but may up to 158gr SWC in the future. Standard pressures: NOT +P!

I am thinking of re-evaluating my choice of powder and I'd like to get an idea of the sort of burn rates I should be looking for in a cartridge for short barrelled snubs. At present I feel my choice may burn to slowly for the gun's size.

So, if you own a similar snub and load similar cartridges to mine, which powder do you use. With that information I can cross reference and get a general idea of the burn rate to look for in my locally available VV powder range.

Thanks.
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Old June 27, 2013, 05:48 PM   #2
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If you looking to load a round that's not painful to shoot try trail boss
wife has a lightweight 38 snub and with factory she's done after 5 shots
but with trail boss at around 650fps she will shoot it all day
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Old June 27, 2013, 05:55 PM   #3
chiefr
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Bullseye
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Old June 27, 2013, 06:49 PM   #4
Tennessee Jed
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Ditto. Bullseye.
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Old June 27, 2013, 07:11 PM   #5
BigD_in_FL
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Add Universal and Unique to the list, along with Clays, Red Dot, and most other shotgun powders
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Old June 27, 2013, 07:16 PM   #6
Slamfire
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Bullseye.


Code:
	
				
Colt Detective Special mfgr 1963    

158 gr LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye thrown, CCI primers mixed  cases	

24-Jul-99	T = 100 F !
					
Average 751 fps		
Standard Deviation 32 fps
Extreme Spread 90 fps
High 805 
Low 715		
Recorded shots 22		
					
158 LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases	 8-Jan-06 T = 52 F

Ave Vel =	675.9				
Std Dev =18.6				
ES	96.18				
High	723.9				
Low	627.7				
N =	50				 
					
158 LSWC 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases	8-Jan-06  T = 58 F

Ave Vel =	706.8				
Std Dev =15.55				
ES	65.87				
High	742.9				
Low	677				
N =	50


				 
					
Taurus M85 B2UL  2" Barrel  		
					
158 LSWC 3.5 grs Bullseye thrown, Mixed Brass WSP 11-Dec-04 T = 54 F

Ave Vel =	686.3		 		
Std Dev =13.63		  
ES	58.48		 
High	718.8		 		
Low	660.3		 		
N =	30		 		
shot little high and centered	

			
158 LRN  Master Factory Ammo 30-Dec-04  T = 56 F

Ave Vel =	698.2		 		
Std Dev =	20.56  		
ES	105.8		
High	753.5		
Low	647.6		 		
N =	50
shot 6" high centered,until barrel leaded
					
158 LSWC 3.5 grs Bullseye Mixed brass Fed 100 30-Dec-04  T = 56 F

Ave Vel =	706.2		 		
Std Dev =23.45		 		 
ES	81.94		 		 
High	748		 		 
Low	666.1		 		
N =	48
		 		

					
S&W M638-3 Airweight Bodyguard  		
					
148 LWC Lead 2.7 grs Bullseye thrown Mixed Brass WSP	

18-Mar-07 T = 52 °F
					
Ave Vel =	611.6		 		
Std Dev =22.04		 		
ES	75.92		 		 
High	648.1		 		 
Low	572.2		 		
N =	25				
little high					
					
158 LSWC 3.5 grs Bullseye Mixed brass WSP	
	
18-Mar-07 T = 52 °F
					
Ave Vel =	611.1		 		
Std Dev =	9.64		 		
ES	28.05		 		
High	626.3		 		 
Low	598.3		 		
N =	32				
4-6" High accurate					



S&W M637-2  2" barrel
158 LRN 3.5 grs Bullseye WSP Mixed cases	
	
6-Apr-07 T = 48 °F	
	 	 		
Ave Vel =679				
Std Dev =16.48				
ES 56.11				
High 698.2				
Low 642				
N = 18				 
					
125 Lead BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Lot BE 532 Mixed cases CCI 500 
	
6-Apr-07 T = 48 °F
					
Ave Vel =	763.9	 			
Std Dev =22			 	 
ES	78			 	 
High	806.5			 	 
Low	728.5			 	 
N =	15				 
Point aim OK					

125 Lead BBRNFP 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP 
	
9-Apr-06 T = 59 °F	
				
Ave Vel =	760.4	 			
Std Dev =27.33				 
ES =	82.1				 
High  =	798.9				 
Low  =	716.8			 	 
N =	19				 
					
					
125 Lead BBRNFP 4.5 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WSP 
	
9-Apr-06 T = 64 °F	
				
Ave Vel =	827.9				
Std Dev =23.21				 
ES =	92.27				 
High  =	879.4			 	 
Low  =	787.1			 	 
N =	20
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Old June 27, 2013, 07:25 PM   #7
Beginner 1960
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HP-38
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Old June 27, 2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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Bullseye. Good for everything.
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Old June 27, 2013, 08:25 PM   #9
rg1
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Accurate Arms #2 is another good powder for .38 Special short barrels. AA data available on-line. Gives me the best velocity and smaller velocity spreads than some other powders.
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Old June 27, 2013, 08:26 PM   #10
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Unique and 700 x
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Old June 27, 2013, 08:27 PM   #11
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Bullseye
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Old June 27, 2013, 10:12 PM   #12
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For 158gr lead I use Bullseye W-231 for standard pressure loads, For swaged lead WCs I use Bullseye.
I would like to try Accurate #2 as I hear it works well for such loadings.
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Old June 28, 2013, 02:23 AM   #13
Pond, James Pond
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Well, those of you reloading for snubs seem to be in the faster end of the burn ranges, where as I am nearer the middle with my existing choice of N350, akin to the likes of Blue Dot and True Blue.

So if i choose a powder such as N310, I'd be on a burn rate par with Trail-boss, HP-38 or Bullseye. A bit slower is N320 that is equivalent to #2.
Alternatively, I could go N330 and have burn rates comparable to HS-6, Powerpistol or Accurate #5.

So for both plated 125gr FN & 158gr SWC bullets which is better from my snub? N320 or N330?
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; June 28, 2013 at 03:39 PM.
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Old June 28, 2013, 03:35 AM   #14
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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AA-#5 _Is my choice. Much cleaner burning than Unique.
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Old June 28, 2013, 07:06 AM   #15
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I have a Taurus snubby for a CCW gun.

For target 158gr or 148gr cast plinkers, Im fine with Bullseye, or Unique.

I know it goes against conventional wisdom, but my best hotter personal protection load with that gun is with Blue Dot and a 148gr DEWC. It is just under +P level. Very accurrate as well.
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Old June 28, 2013, 08:10 AM   #16
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Pick from a list of powders that are actually available over a week's time of shopping. Even that window is more than large enough to miss what you'd prefer. Popular powders just aren't out there, especially Accurate #2-9.

My guess for availability, after watching the powder parade for a number of weeks, is Red Dot.
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Old June 28, 2013, 08:34 AM   #17
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Short Barrel = fast powder,, Bullseye or equivalent.
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Old June 28, 2013, 09:58 AM   #18
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Unique or W231/H38 does all I need outta a .38. This is with both 125 and 158 jacketed.
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Old June 28, 2013, 04:37 PM   #19
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AA2.
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Old June 28, 2013, 05:00 PM   #20
243winxb
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Use N320

Bullseye or Unique for 38 special with 158 gr cast lswc. My guns- [IMG][/IMG] Use N320

Last edited by 243winxb; June 28, 2013 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Use N320
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Old June 28, 2013, 05:34 PM   #21
Pond, James Pond
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I think I'll go for N320.

It is VV's second fastest powder, equivalent to #2 and Rde Dot, 700X etc. It also covers some .44Spl loads and I may be glad to have the choice or N350 and N320 when those cases turn up.
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Old June 28, 2013, 06:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
It is VV's second fastest powder,
I thought I'd read somewhere that VihaVitouri had gone out of business? No?
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Old June 28, 2013, 06:11 PM   #23
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
I thought I'd read somewhere that VihaVitouri had gone out of business? No?
Not as far as I'm aware.
I certainly hope not as they are the only brand sold here!! Seriously though, I doubt it. They are a Lapua company and that brand seems to be doing well enough.

In any case, I've just been liaising with the CS dept on this same topic. Their answer was not very helpful, but they did answer, so someone still works there!
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:25 AM   #24
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I don't, and have never, picked a powder based whatsoever on the length of barrel I may shoot the ammo in. In fact, I'm typically going to be making ammo that runs in MANY different guns. I love the idea of having different loads for different purposes, but I think it's a little nuts to try and tailor simple handgun loads to each different, specific firearm. (Rifle is a different story!)

.38 Special is a low pressure round. It's going to run best with a faster burning powder. I've had good luck running 158 grain bullets with Titegroup and Green Dot. I can use Universal and it runs well and gives good accuracy, but there's unburnt flakes and they always end up everywhere, and it's an annoyance (and more!) with scuzzing up a revolver.

I have some extreme .38 Special loads running a 125 grain bullet and they run balls-to-the-wall for .38 Special, so I only run them in modern guns, typically in .357 Magnum revolvers. Actually, in the interest of full disclosure -- I built the load to run my Coonan pistol with the included (very light) 10-lb recoil spring. No wimpy .38 loads will run a Coonan, so these loads run the very ragged edge of what can still be called a .38 Special+P. For that load, I get great performance out of Power Pistol.
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:50 AM   #25
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
.38 Special is a low pressure round. It's going to run best with a faster burning powder.
I'd sort of reached that conclusion myself. I'd chosen my existing powder back when I knew even less about reloading and I wanted a .44Mag/.38Spl one-size-fits-all powder. The :44s came out nicely, but I've never managed to find a dose that suited the little Astra.

As such I've not shot the Astra much, but seeing as the two revolvers are my carry guns, when I decide to, I really need to practice more with both, not just the .44.

Thanks for the info on the "sticky extraction" thread, BTW.
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