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Old January 29, 2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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How do you work 38 spl loads for multiple guns

When you have multiple 38 spl. ,1 7/8 in 3 in and 4 in barrels, do you work up loads for each barrel length? If you have multiple guns with the same barrel length, do you find a load for each gun or one that works best on average? These would be for punching paper at the range and not any competition.

It seems like a lot of work and things to keep up with, so is it worth the effort to load for each gun?
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Old January 29, 2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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I probably shoot more 38 than any other centerfire cal. Most of it is my "cowboy" load, which is a light weight lead bullet at a sedate 700 FPS or so that covers most plinking and SASS duty, and a regular 158 grain SWC at max (not +P) to handle any serious practice. Other than that are a few SWCHP loads at full +P levels, and the occasional jacketed load for less smoke on indoor ranges. That's about it.
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Old January 29, 2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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1 load for all.- 38 spec.-158gr lswc-3.2gr Bullseye-Std. Primer-any brass.
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Old January 29, 2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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I use either short bbl Golddots or the 158gr FBI load in everything. I have reloads that approximate each load.
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Old January 29, 2012, 08:17 PM   #5
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No, a max 38 Special load of any bullet weight will shoot good in any 38 I've ever tried. Load em up up and shoot in all of them.
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Old January 29, 2012, 08:33 PM   #6
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All my 38 Special five/sixguns shoot the same thing, a 158 grain SWC or RNFP with 3.5 grains of Promo.
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Old January 29, 2012, 08:42 PM   #7
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I have 2 loads. Both use 158gr. LSWC or JSP bullets. For regular shooting, I load 4.5 grains of Unique. For +p, I crank it up to 5.2 grains of Unique.

I don't think you need multiple loads for what you are working with, unless you want to go +p or +p+. If that is the case, you'll have to keep the rounds carefully segregated so you do not wear out a gun that is not designed for high pressure. You can shoot +p's in a non-rated gun but it will get beaten up quick.
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Old January 29, 2012, 10:47 PM   #8
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I use the same loads in all my 38 Special guns. Different bl lengths don't matter to me.
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Old January 29, 2012, 10:51 PM   #9
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Same here, 1 load, probably 10 different guns from 2 inch to 8-3/8 inch barrels.
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Old January 30, 2012, 06:38 PM   #10
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Same here. I use one load for my .38 special revolvers and we have several of them in the family. Probably a dozen. They all get the same load. 4.3 grains of Unique and a 158 LSWC bullet.
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Old January 30, 2012, 10:28 PM   #11
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OK, I will take the opposing position

Each gun will be a law unto itself. One load may work really well in your long barrel, but not shoot well in the short.

On the other hand, having said that, most handguns will shoot more accurately than most people can hold them, so the differences in accuracy will be hidden behind your (in)ability to hold the gun as precisely as the gun can shoot. Mount a gun in a Ransom rest and try it.

On the OTHER other hand. A load that is efficient in a long barrel will leave a lot of power unused when fired from a short barrel. A powder (and charge weight) that is "tuned" to wring the best amount of power out of a short barrel will leave a lot of potential unused when fired in a long barrel. Compare a 2" barrel to an 8" barrel. A load that burns up all its power in a 2" barrel essentially wastes the extra 6" when used in the long barrel. It isn't quite that simple, but the concept is valid. (For example, 2400 in a longer barrel and bullseye in a short one.)

On the OTHER Other hand, keeping track of a a lot of different loads IS a lot of work, record-keeping, trial and error and will almost certainly involve investment in a Chronograph.

But, that's what hobbies are all about, right? Kind of like enjoying the meal of a $6,000 Largemouth Bass. (Boat, trailer, tackle, fuel, etc) But GOOD eating.

Lost Sheep

P.S. I warned you I would take the opposing position. But like adding cartridges and firearms, I don't know when to stop.
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