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Old January 7, 2013, 09:59 PM   #1
Richy Fiberglass
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Best Powder for .38 Special

Have a S & W 686 "Plus" and now it is time to re-load for it. I have some 135 grain bullets and want to know what you think is the best powder for this. I do some steel plate shooting and would like a mild load.

Thanking you in advance.
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Old January 7, 2013, 10:41 PM   #2
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I can't help it , but for me UNique does everything in my pistol calibers and does it well. .38,9mm,.40 s&w , .45,.45LC. No issues and plenty of recipes
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:05 PM   #3
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Lots of choices. I like Unique but also use 231 and AA #5.
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Old January 7, 2013, 11:25 PM   #4
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For .38 Special light loads, I would try Hodgdon's Tite Group or Clays. I have loaded a lot of Red Dot and W-231 over the years, as well. Accurate No. 2 would be worth a look, too. If you want a higher level of performance, then Accurate No. 5, Hodgdon's Universal Clays, Unique and HS-6 are other good ones to try.
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:13 AM   #5
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Universal, 231, Unique. All good powders for that caliber.

I lean toward Universal because it meters very well in my Lee powder measure.
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:27 AM   #7
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Unique is versatile stuff for sure. I use it in 9mm, 45 acp, 10mm and I may even give it a shot in. 223 with cast loads? That said I do use a number of other powders like Blue Dot, Tight group, Bullseye, Power Pistol and Hero.
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Old January 8, 2013, 03:50 AM   #8
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Unique is a good choice, I think Universal is a better choice.
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Old January 8, 2013, 09:31 AM   #9
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Best? Usually it is whatever there is a lot of in the powder closet from Unique faster. Red and Green Dot (and Promo) are both good'uns, as well as 231, #2, #5. When I think 38 Spl, I think 'cheap', as inexpensive. A really good cast bullet (made at home, but of course), and just about any powder that will make it go bang. I'm currently working my way through a large supply of very old Red Dot that cost nothing, and it is producing some very good 38s and 45 acp. It also is working good for Cowboy loads in 45 Colt and 44 Mag. All of these loads cost the same to put together, primer, a little powder, and a no cost bullet - and they work for their intended purpose. Can't get any cheaper than that, about .02/round, and that's mostly primer.
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Old January 8, 2013, 09:44 AM   #10
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I have worked up some nice .38 special loads using 700X
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Old January 8, 2013, 10:00 AM   #11
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Bullseye; if you want accuracy & precision.
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Old January 8, 2013, 10:05 AM   #12
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for target shooting I use Trailboss. for close to maximum loads i use Unique.
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Old January 8, 2013, 10:16 AM   #13
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For my bench? 231.
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Old January 8, 2013, 10:23 AM   #14
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I have to say I've been super super happy with Trail Boss in my 6" GP 100. it's a fast powder like BE, but (for me) has been so clean it's amazing. I've been using it with 148 wadcutters so far.

The loads are so light, the first time I fired them I thought it was a squib.

I've also had great luck with W231 and some plated bullets I picked up. Not as clean, but still light in the 6" frame.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:29 PM   #15
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With .38 special light loads it's harder to find a powder that doesn't work well.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:47 PM   #16
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HP38/W231 for me. If I cant find that, Bullseye or N320.
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Old January 8, 2013, 04:43 PM   #17
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I prefer Bullseye but that's just me. Watch for double charges though.
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Old January 8, 2013, 04:47 PM   #18
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Trail Boss

It works well, it gives great case fill. It shoots cleaner than any other powder you will find for .38 spcl. It gives me superb accuracy out of my 4 inch Mod. 67-1 S&W. The same loads have worked well in my Python, and several other guns in .38 Spcl. it makes shooting a snubnosed air weight revolver actualy fun.
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