View Full Version : Load infor for .38sw Iver Johnson pocket pistol

Clamper Ramrod
February 7, 2009, 02:38 PM
Just picked up the Iver Johnson .38sw breaktop in fine condition and want to load bp loads.
Currently using SASS minimums in my .38 rugers and 1873 for competition.
I plan on using a 95g rn pill over what charge. I don't want to shake the frame to pieces as it's just a pocket pistol.

Thanks for the info in advance

February 7, 2009, 05:46 PM
While the .38 S&W was never factory loaded with BP, it seems that a fair number of people want to give BP loads a go. You'd be hard pressed to get enough BP into the .38 S&W case to cause a problem with pressure.
I put enough BP (fffg) into the case so that it compresses very slightly when the bullet is seated. I used a 142 grain LSWC cast from a CBE mold. I usually put a veg. fiber wad between the powder and the bullet. This is a very mild load. For an even milder load use ffg granulation.
I gave it up after shooting a box full. The cartridge is low-powered enough even with smokeless loads.
Remember - the .38 S&W has a larger nominal dia. than the .38 Spl (,361 vs. .357) . My experience is that heavier bullets are more accurate.
The .38 S&W is tad larger (2 grs. of water) than the old 41 Short Colt. The .41 was a BP cartridge and was loaded with 14 grains of powder - don't know the granulation. The point, though, is that you can expect to get about that much or a bit more - 15 grains - of BP into the case. A very mild load.

February 14, 2009, 12:15 AM
My dad used to have one of those. It got traded for something a looong time ago, but I still have the original case that it came in (black hinged box, lined inside with depression for pistol to fit in- a little scuffed as I remember, but original). We're at least in the same state, drop me a PM & I'll get the box to you, if you want it.

edit: Wow, checked your profile & we're probably closer than I thought. I'm close to Tipton, off of Hwy 99.

February 14, 2009, 03:34 PM
The 38 S&W was introduced in 1877 for a Smith and Wesson break top revolver It was loaded with a 150 grain bullet over black powder. The charge would have allowed seating the bullet with little or any compression but would have filled the case to the bottom of the bullet. The smokeless standard loads generate an industry standard pressure of 13000 psi. Loaded with a flat point bullet, it was called the colt New Police and for the english service, it was loaded with a 200 grain bullet and called 38/200 or 380 revolver cartridge. Standard velocity per WHB Smith's Book of Pistols and Revolvers was 695 fps with the 150 grain bullet

This is an H&R hamerless with design variations from 1895-1909. The paricular example has a .025" B/C gap and gets only 540+fps with the factory load.