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Coltparch

38 Spcl. Load for USPSA minor

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Hey all, 

 

Sort of new to reloading but absolutely brand new to 38 special. I use titegroup for 9/40 and wondering if that’s a good powder for 38. I’m changing it up this year and strictly shooting revolver. I’ve read a decent amount of info but seems that I can only find loads that are less than the minimum power factor for USPSA minor.

 

Wondering what everyone’s loads are and trying to get a feel if I should buy the dies and load myself or go with a guy who sells “minor” loads. 

 

627, 8-shot, 4” barrel. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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I'm running the same revolver and starting up in Revo div in IPSC this year as well.   I found a good load for 38 "Medium" Colt at 4.0 gn Win 231.   (I'm trimming Winchester 38 Special Brass to 0.900")   I just received my Starline 38 Long Colt Brass and am starting testing for a load for it to see if I can find an accurate load with the brass at that length or else I'll cut it down to the 0.900".   I'm loading the Lee 358-158 RF I cast myself.


Obviously, you will want to start low and work up looking for signs of pressure.


Good luck and stay safe!

 

Kraken Fan #69

Edited by KrakenFan69

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I think Bullseye is a better powder than TG for the 38 Special.

 

Try 4.3gr with a 158gr Plated bullet.

 

It's a little dirty but velocity is more consistent than TG.

 

I run a 4" S&W.

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I sometimes shoot NRA silhouette with my Marlin lever action 38/357.  Using 38 cases, I tried TG, N320, and Unique, with no appreciable (to me) difference in group size from a rest at 25 yards.  These were loaded long to almost 357 cartridge length if that matters.

 

I settled on using Unique, as I had some left over and had no other real use for it.  I will use TG or N320 when the Unique runs out.

 

If you use a single stage press, and charge your cases by hand, Unique will fill the case much higher than TG.  That is one reason to stick with low density flaky type powders for 38.

 

My loads all came in around 1100 to 1150 FPS with 125g bullets (looking for flat trajectory that didn't dent the targets), so these loads would probably be hotter than you want for USPSA.  But to answer your question, I had good success with TG.

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@Coltparch - I shot IDPA SSR for several years when the power factor was 125.  For much of that time, I used TG and it worked; it made the PF and it was decently accurate.  The big downside with TG is that it's a very hot-burning powder.  That's pretty much irrelevant when shooting an autoloader but matters when shooting a revolver.  This was brought home to me when practicing Bill Drills - the cylinder and the frame and barrel around the forcing cone got really hot, really quickly.  I found a cooler burning powder (Solo 1000) and worked up a load and of course, that powder was discontinued. :( I stopped shooting competitively soon after due to job-related travel and am just getting back into it.

 

Hodgdon's website shows both standard pressure and +P data that make the power factor, as does Alliant's (though here you have to click on the products tab, choose handgun powders, and search for each powder).  Using 158-grain bullets is a good idea due to data availability and recoil.  I recommend you stick with coated lead bullets since they have all the benefits of lead bullets and none of the downsides, plus you'll get higher velocities with a given powder charge than with plated or jacketed bullets.

 

Another thing to take into consideration is how much residue is left behind after firing.  Again, this isn't that big a deal with autoloaders but can really mess up a revolver shooter when it stays in a chamber or gets under the ejector star.  Less is better.  TG, 231, Bullseye and S1000 worked okay for me here.  Unique may or may not work.  Some of the newer powders look promising in this regard, but I haven't had a chance to try them so hopefully, others will chime in.

 

Good luck in your quest! :)

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Yeah, I'm looking for a good round nose mold but not finding much I like in the 158 range in round nose in a 6 cavity mold.   I also forgot to mention I am coating with Hi-Tek so there's that.

 

Kraken Fan #69

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I'd recommend something on the medium section of the pistol powder burn chart.  I would not recommend a 158gr bullet.  You want something faster and lighter to minimize muzzle rise.  I'd use 125gr or 130gr bullets and a powder between Accurate#2 and Silhouette in burn rate.  I'd be careful about using any of the fast powders for this unless you want to go over book.  For instance, 4.4gr Bullseye only gets you 125PF at max with a 125gr.  BTW, I know lead is cheaper, but plated FPs drop into the cylinder more readily.

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4 grains of Bullseye makes a great combination with a 158 LRN bullet.  Very accurate and little recoil. 

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15 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

Current thinking is that without a comp, you want a heavy bullet and fast powder to "minimize muzzle rise".    :) 

 

That is the exact opposite of what I have found in testing.  Heavy and slow is softer feeling, but the muzzle rises more.  I'll take the hit to the hand in return for the sights to settle quicker.  That is really important in a revolver, because your grip is so far below the bore axis.

 

C, try both.  Only you can decide which you like better.

 

BTW, Alliant lists the max load for a 158gr lead bullet as 3.6gr Bullseye for 910fps @ 15500psi out of a 5.6" barrel.  I'm not sure why you would want to go higher.  I'd go lower to around 130PF.

Edited by zzt

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@zzt - Each revolver is a law unto itself.  Velocities from load manuals come from pressure guns with minimum-dimension chambers and barrels, and the barrels tend to be longer than those used in competition, so they're usually higher than we get from our guns.  The only velocity that matters is the one from the gun we're shooting, measured by a chronograph.  I've got nine four-inch .38/.357 revolvers; seven of them will give velocities for a given load within about a 25 fps window, the two others are about 80-90 fps slower.  All of them are within spec, it's just the way things are.

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On 12/23/2018 at 9:58 PM, KrakenFan69 said:

Yeah, I'm looking for a good round nose mold but not finding much I like in the 158 range in round nose in a 6 cavity mold.   I also forgot to mention I am coating with Hi-Tek so there's that.

 

Kraken Fan #69

I use this RN mold for my 38 spl. just shy of 158. Takes the coating nicely.

https://leeprecision.com/6-cavity-358-150-1r.html

 

 

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That mold is my backup plan.   I've been talking with Arsenal Molds about a custom mold.  Similar design to the Lee but a bit heavier and no lube grooves.  Been a minute since I heard form him though.   I had better email him again.

 

Kraken Fan #69

 

 

Bullet Dimension Pic.JPG

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I've used titegroup with much succes. It's clean burning, though hot, and supposedly isn't affected by the powder position. I've used bullseye in my 1911 .45, and it leaves the gun and barrel very dirty. Doesn't matter in an auto when you can just take out the barrel and really scrub it clean. But in a revolver where you're cleaning from the muzzle end, plus have 6 or 8 cylinders to clean also, that's too much work when using bullseye powder.

 

Btw, if you look at most factory 38 special ammo with 158 gr bullets, you have either 755 fps or 800 fps listed velocity. That equates to 119 pf and 126 pf. One doesn't even make minor, and the other just makes it, and that's usually in a 6" barrel. Try 3.5 gr Titegroup  with a 158 gr lead, or coated bullet, as a starting load.

 

For IDPA SSR, with PF of 105, I'm using 2.8 gr Titegroup over 158 gr coated bullet. Haven't chrono'd it yet, but should be in the 110pf-115pf range. Like not shooting anything as far as recoil.

Edited by Postal Bob

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Like someone said that each gun is it's own thing, I use 150 grain coated .358 dia. with 4.6 grains of BE-86,  set at OAL 1.445, in my 4 inch 627 Pro I get 129 PF with that combination, using the same combination in my 627 5 inch I only get 122 PF, slight differences in dimensions forcing cone/cylinder, bore cause the differences.

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2 hours ago, mchapman said:

Like someone said that each gun is it's own thing, I use 150 grain coated .358 dia. with 4.6 grains of BE-86,  set at OAL 1.445, in my 4 inch 627 Pro I get 129 PF with that combination, using the same combination in my 627 5 inch I only get 122 PF, slight differences in dimensions forcing cone/cylinder, bore cause the differences.

How cleanly does it burn?  I'm really interested in BE-86 as an all-around powder.

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2 hours ago, revchuck said:

How cleanly does it burn?  I'm really interested in BE-86 as an all-around powder.

I guess to me that is really subjective, I run a dry bore snake through my barrel and cylinders and wipe down the out side about every 600 to 1000 rounds,, I have used be-86 in 45 acp, 38 spcl., 9mm, 38 short colt and 40 s&w all with good results, so far I've used about 36 pounds of it and plan on continuing. 

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