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Old March 24, 2012, 06:54 AM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: September 20, 2009
Location: SC Missouri
Posts: 511
I do not believe I saw Kraigs powder charge listed. I to started in Law Enforcement in 1974, carrying a Model 28 Highway Patrol revolver all but a month on that first job. The first month I carryed a Browning Hi Power. It would not feed any good HP ammo, and was not very accurate at all. The very next Gun Show I traded the Hi Power for the Model 28, and I was a very happy camper. The S&W 28 was, and still is very accurate, and had no feed issues at all. I sold it to a buddy years ago, who still has it. Kraig and I are normally on the same channel on almost everything I see him post on. My guess is he has been loading 5 grains of Unique under the 150 and 158 semi wadcutters for the last 40 years like most of us old timers. That was considered to be the General Purpose 38 Special load forever.
Just looked at my old bullet mold. It is a 2 cavity Lyman 358156, which is still made by the way. That is an old tryed and true 155 grain Gas Check Semi Wadcutter bullet designed by Ray Thomas. My Lyman 3d Edition Pistol & Revolver Handbook lists the Maximum Standard Pressure load with this bullet at 5.1 grains of Unique for a velocity of 895 fps with a pressure of 16,100 CUP. The +P Loading is 5.4 grains for 954 fps at 18,000 CUP.
I ran the numbers on Quick Load and came up with 5.1 grains of Unique = 937 fps and 15,254 psi with no consideration for velocity loss from the cylinder gap. The +P Loading of 5.4 grains of Unique was listed at 978 fps at 17,005 psi.
Like Kraig I have been buying my bullets most of the time lately. As I have been shooting in Defensive Pistol Matches, I have went to 158 Round Nose bullets for faster reloads using Safariland Comp III speedloaders.
I am using 2 loads at the moment:
My light load for the J Frame Air Weights in BUG Division is 2.8 grains of Clays under the 158 RN shooting Silhouettes only.
My heavy load for My S&W 64, LCR 357 and my brothers WC GP100 is 4.7 grains of Unique.

We have just started shooting a Steel Challenge match the first of the year. My brother is shooting his Willy Clapp GP100 in the Steel Challenge. I loaded him some 158 RN with 5.0 Unique for the next match. If this does not take the 42" Pepper Poppers down with no problem, I will up the dose to +P with 5.4 grains of Unique for the next match.

Unique may be over 100 years old, but it still works fine for us old guys. I do load some Power Pistol also. Just filled the hopper on the 550 with Power Pistol to load some 38 Special +P 125 HP ammo.

Bottom Line for Range use, about any bullet will work fine from 125 grain thru 158 grain. For powders Unique, AA #2, AA #5, WW231, Clays, Tightgroup, Red Dot, 700X, Bullseye, and Power Pistol will all work. I like Unique because it will work fine in almost everything I reload. It is not the best for light loads, and will not go up to Magnum velocitys, but for Standard all purpose loads it really shines. I even load a 400 grain over 8.0 grains of Unique for my Summer Plinking Load in my 480 Ruger Super RedHawk.

The 38 Special works well with lots of different bullets, and several powders, as evident by the loads listed by others above. You will probably be happy plinking with about any of them.

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