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Old April 30, 2005, 09:45 PM   #1
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stout 38 loads

i"m looking for a stout, but SAFE 38 special load for use in a Ruger blackhawk. i have about 1500 38 cases id like to load up for plinking. plan to use lyman 358477 158gn cast bullet. no danger of these ending up in any other pistol. no one i shoot with has one, and the only one i have is my wifes office gun, kept loaded with Glasers only. Thanks, Andy.
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Old April 30, 2005, 10:11 PM   #2
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All Of The Current Loading Manuals Have A Section On 38+p Loading Data.

I particularly like the data in the ACCURATE ARMS #2 manual.
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Old April 30, 2005, 10:31 PM   #3
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Back years ago, the standard heavy .38 158 grain load was 11.0 grains of 2400. I shot a ton of them in a series of Colt Official Police. Some brave souls went to 12 grains, but I ain't all that brave.

There are claims that today's 2400 is hotter than the stuff I was shooting so I believe I would start at 10 grains and very carefully work up to no more than 11 grains and probably only to 10.5.

Insert all the usual warnings here. These are stout loads and deserve some caution. I cannot imagine them being unsafe in a .357 but they are at the upper end for .38 special.
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Old April 30, 2005, 11:03 PM   #4
Rodger Peterson
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I loaded some +p Blue Dot lead 158's once. It was real stout, but the flame was most impressive from a Mod 10 3" barrel.
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Old April 30, 2005, 11:31 PM   #5
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The hottest load data I have ever seen for .38 Special comes from the Vihta Vuori #2 load guide, it does not exceed max pressure, but it was tested in the European CIP system that is more similar to our CUP testing than Piezoelectric PSI, although VV has chosen to lower the data in more recent years, it has mainly been to comply with SAAMI testing in PSI (Pzo).

My oppinion may be different here, but I have done a lot of loading and testing in this area. In Fact, I trim .357 Brass to .38 Sp. length and have had some negative oppinions from people that just couldn't get it, or have never shot full length magnums in 7 shot revolvers or lightweight compacts in .357 and this seems to be the only real solution to extraction problems, especially with short ejector rods. Extraction is much improved as well as ballistic efeciency in snubs.

Any way if you think you'd like to use VV in .38 cases send me a pm and I can help with data from 110 gr. JHP's around 1400 fps, 125's @ 1284 and 158 cast lead at 1115. All at 21,000 PSI (CIP) in .38 Sp. cases. If you'd rather use something a little less expensive, AA#7 is great, Blue Dot, if flash is not an issue, HS-6, WSF if you can get good data, or Longshot. The Powder I most want to try in this burn area is Ramshot True Blue, for my .357 Short Magnums, 9mm and .40 S&W. It's a high load density ball powder with very low flash and will produce single digit Standard Deviations in high pressure cartridges from 9mm to .454 Casull.
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Old May 1, 2005, 06:23 AM   #6
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UTTERLY STUPID HYPOTHETICAL DATA (published in the March/April 1990 American Handgunner Taffin Tests:

Lyman #358429, standard primer, 13.5g 2400 (might be too long in Ruger Blackhawk cylinder)

Lyman #358156, standard primer, 13.5g 2400

Bull-X-type 158g LSWC, standard primer, 11.0g H4227


Yeah right.......
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old May 1, 2005, 08:24 AM   #7
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You better think about how fast you want to push that lead bullet.Most of us that have the blackhawk have all had lead fouling in them from pushing the lead bullet to fast.I had one Blackhawk foul out in 18 rounds as they get older they will get better.Friend has one that always is fouling no matter what he does.So you want to go MAX go with FMJ
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Old May 1, 2005, 11:06 AM   #8
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I use HS-6 for these type loads. I consider them .38 Spec +P+. Mine would be safe for very limited use in a heavy frame .38, and mild in a .357 magnum. Start at the book maximum foir HS6 and work up to where ever you want to be.
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Old May 1, 2005, 12:36 PM   #9
Mike Irwin
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I've tried the 2400, too. Back before the "powder renaissance" of the 1970s that started to give us literally dozens of powder choices, the ones that seemed to show up most often in loading manuals were Bullseye, Unique, 2400, and SRs 7625 and 4756, and IMR 4227 (my powder of choice for loading .25-20).

I've got my 1970 Lyman 45 sitting in front of me, and they have loads for 112-grain cast lead bullets using 2400. I've tried similar loads using a 120-gr. cast bullet, and to say it was dirty, even with a heavy crimp, would be an understatement.

This Lyman manual (remember, it's going on 40 years old, so use the data at your own peril), lists bullet 358311 with a starting load of 8 grains of 2400 for 690 fps, and 11 grains for 1010 fps.

I don't think bullet mold 358311 is made anymore.

Mold 358156, which Wil Terry references, is a gas check variant.
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Old May 2, 2005, 01:25 PM   #10
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Here's something to consider: I seem to remember an article some years back that used the .358156 and 13.5 grains of 2400 in a .38 special case. Here's the important difference: crimp the bullet in the second crimping groove so that the overall cartridge length is the same as a .357. Seating the bullet further out reduces the pressure and also avoids the potential problem of getting them into a .38 special by accident. If I was restricted to the .358477 (my book lists at 150 grains, BTW), I would crimp on the driving bank below the crimping groove, again keeping the length to a .357. Your Ruger cylinder may even accomodate a longer round.

Also note the 13.5 grains (from my VERY faulty memory) was the older 2400, not the later batches.
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Old May 3, 2005, 08:37 AM   #11
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I believe that the 13.5gr/2400 load under the Lyman#358429 was originated by Elmer Keith. At least it was mentioned in his book, "SIXGUNS". It was for the 38/44 pistol only, which was an "N" frame .38spec. Quantrill
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