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Different powders for 38super (Major PF)


PewPewJohnson87
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Just bought and open gun from a buddy to "dip my toe" in to the open pool and see if its something I want to stick with before I go out and buy a $5k+ gun. Its a 2011 chambered in 38super, he included 10lbs of VV N105 with the gun along with a 5gal bucket of brass. I started loading up a few hundred last night and was wondering if there might be a better powder option out there for 38super, I am still pretty new to the reloading game as I've only been loading 9mm & .40 for the last 18months. So my question is, is there a better powder option for 38super in an open gun?

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4 minutes ago, sauza45 said:

I shoot 38 super comp and load with VV N105 and 125 jhp it shoots great, but to be fair that is all have used. It works for me so no need to

chase different loads and powders.

I agree, but hear lately I have been playing with different powders/bullets in different guns to see what works best. There is definitely no loss of accuracy with the VV N105 & PD 124 JHP's, but id like to "tame" the load if possible. I am going to chrono this load this weekend and I am also going to order some new spring's to play around with.

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A couple of other shooters use  VV 3n38 they like it a lot. You can get that in 4# or maybe 8# jugs. One guy with the popple holes 

had a hard time making major power factor. He was using something like 11.2 of N105 and just making major. With 3N38 I think he is around 9.2 ish and 

making major. When I load to major I shoot for around 172 to 175 pf. It all depends how the gun is set up.

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Before you do anything, do the Brazos gas test.  Hold the gun a couple of inches from a white no-shoot and fire.  If there is more than a light splattering of debris, you are making too much gas for your comp to handle.  This shows you how, plus it is an informative article.  http://www.brazoscustom.com/Home.htm  

 

If you are making too much gas, you can add poppels or go to a faster powder.  Major Pistol powder and AA#7 are the next fastest.  Next fastest would be 3N38.  Then comes 3N37 and HS-6.  Next is Silhouette, followed by WAC and CFE.

 

You can also try different bullet weights.  115s feel softer to me than 124s.  BTW, 3N38 is only available in one and pour pound containers.

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54 minutes ago, sauza45 said:

A couple of other shooters use  VV 3n38 they like it a lot. You can get that in 4# or maybe 8# jugs. One guy with the popple holes 

had a hard time making major power factor. He was using something like 11.2 of N105 and just making major. With 3N38 I think he is around 9.2 ish and 

making major. When I load to major I shoot for around 172 to 175 pf. It all depends how the gun is set up.

I'm currently loading 10.6g of the N105 and its spilling a little when indexing to the next station and this is also part of the reason im considering another powder, I have ordered the DAA PSP brush to help with this. Wont drilling popple holes lower the current PF, so I would need to chrono and make changes potentially?

4 minutes ago, zzt said:

Before you do anything, do the Brazos gas test.  Hold the gun a couple of inches from a white no-shoot and fire.  If there is more than a light splattering of debris, you are making too much gas for your comp to handle.  This shows you how, plus it is an informative article.  http://www.brazoscustom.com/Home.htm  

 

If you are making too much gas, you can add poppels or go to a faster powder.  Major Pistol powder and AA#7 are the next fastest.  Next fastest would be 3N38.  Then comes 3N37 and HS-6.  Next is Silhouette, followed by WAC and CFE.

 

You can also try different bullet weights.  115s feel softer to me than 124s.  BTW, 3N38 is only available in one and pour pound containers.

Thanks for this info zzt, I will try this gas test this weekend and see if there's too much gas.

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pew, adding poppels will lower the PF, but not by a lot.  Two of my Open guns are nearly identical except one has two 3/16" poppels.  It is 4PF lower than the gun with no poppels.

 

If you have a lot of gas exiting the front of the comp, a pair of poppels may cure that.  They rob gas from the comp and make the gun shoot flatter.  Major Pistol and SS#7 are a lot denser than N105.  IF you decide to go to one of them, use the N105 up for minor loads.

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Longshot makes a  lot of gas and lower powder drops to make major..it is loud but flat..I run it it in my PCC..N 105 for minor (Steel) and major Tru Blue are my  go to choices after trying 6 or 7 diff powders.

Your gun bullet config will determine which powder keeps the dot movement minimal.

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I'm going to grab a pound of 3N38 and maybe one more and see where that takes me. I am definitely liking the idea of lower powder drops to help prevent spillage, that removes the possibility of inconsistent chrono results.

1 hour ago, Ofishl1 said:

Longshot makes a  lot of gas and lower powder drops to make major..it is loud but flat..I run it it in my PCC..N 105 for minor (Steel) and major Tru Blue are my  go to choices after trying 6 or 7 diff powders.

Your gun bullet config will determine which powder keeps the dot movement minimal.

is the Tru Blue reverse temperature sensitive?

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15 minutes ago, zzt said:

pew, Major Pistol is half the cost of 3N38 and is much denser, so no powder spillage.

Is it reverse temperature sensitive? also what's the consistency of the powder? flake, grain, etc?

Edited by PewPewJohnson87
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2 hours ago, PewPewJohnson87 said:

Is it reverse temperature sensitive? also what's the consistency of the powder? flake, grain, etc?

 

Supposedly it is very slightly reverse temp sensitive.  It is super fine grain and meters like water.  I've only been using it since Apr, so I can't speak to temp sensitivity.  So far it has been exactly the same from 45 to 80.

 

Here is a picture I copied from Shooters World.  MP is finer than AA#7, and 10.2 gr fills the case (9mm) very slightly more.

9majorsb-figure-4.thumb.jpg.e06779b7650069d648d838783144d81c.jpg

Edited by zzt
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1 hour ago, zzt said:

 

Here is a picture I copied from Shooters World.  MP is finer than AA#7, and 10.2 gr fills the case (9mm) very slightly more.

9majorsb-figure-4.thumb.jpg.e06779b7650069d648d838783144d81c.jpg

 

Here is the original source for that picture:

 

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2018/1/9/how-to-use-9-major-in-a-short-barrel/

 

zzt, where at Shooters World did you find this figure?  Can you find the link for that?  Thanks. 

 

 

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Just started open again myself. I've only tried 2 powders so far. I got a 5" comped gun with 4 barrel holes. 

Autocomp-8grns at 1.24 oal= 171pf

 

Accurate#7-10.8grns at 1.24oal=168pf

 

I'm liking the Autocomp better.

Edit- I'm shooting 38supercomp 

Edited by ParaGunner
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On 6/13/2019 at 2:53 PM, zzt said:

Before you do anything, do the Brazos gas test.  Hold the gun a couple of inches from a white no-shoot and fire.  If there is more than a light splattering of debris, you are making too much gas for your comp to handle.  This shows you how, plus it is an informative article.  http://www.brazoscustom.com/Home.htm  

 

If you are making too much gas, you can add poppels or go to a faster powder.  Major Pistol powder and AA#7 are the next fastest.  Next fastest would be 3N38.  Then comes 3N37 and HS-6.  Next is Silhouette, followed by WAC and CFE.

 

You can also try different bullet weights.  115s feel softer to me than 124s.  BTW, 3N38 is only available in one and pour pound containers.

What is the problem with making too much gas? I shoot aa7. If I do that test and I’m wasting gas, would it make sense to go to a faster powder? I’m trying to figure out the benefit of going to a faster powder ? Edited to add, I haven’t done that test with my current   open gun yet 

Edited by Shmella
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12 hours ago, Shmella said:

What is the problem with making too much gas? I shoot aa7. If I do that test and I’m wasting gas, would it make sense to go to a faster powder? I’m trying to figure out the benefit of going to a faster powder ? Edited to add, I haven’t done that test with my current   open gun yet 

 

No, don't change your powder.

 

My understanding is that you reduce your charge weight until it tests good on paper (minimal debris on target).

You are trying to find the highest charge weight that doesn't waste gas & un-burnt powder out the front of the gun.

This should yield the flattest shooting performance with minimal recoil and maximum use of gas.

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Just now, racer-x said:

 

No, don't change your powder.

 

My understanding is that you reduce your charge weight until it tests good on paper (minimal debris on target).

You are trying to find the highest charge weight that doesn't waste gas & un-burnt powder out the front of the gun.

This should yield the flattest shooting performance with minimal recoil and maximum use of gas.

But my question is, if it takes that much powder to make pf and it is indeed still "wasting gas" why should i switch to a faster powder?

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51 minutes ago, Shmella said:

But my question is, if it takes that much powder to make pf and it is indeed still "wasting gas" why should i switch to a faster powder?

 

If you drop your AA7 load down to a point where you don't get good combustion, or you no longer make major, move to a faster powder.  The reason is you will use less powder, so less gas is produced.  If you are willing to make hardware changes you have other options.  You could exhaust more gas by adding more side ports to your existing comp.  You could also add poppels. 

 

I'm in your situation right now.  My Major Pistol powder load makes a little more gas than my comp can handle.  So I'm dropping it off this afternoon to have two 3/16" poppels added.  I want the gun to shoot flatter, so that's why I am going that way.  It will also rob gas from the comp. 

 

Another remedy I tried but did not like was going to 124gr bullets.  So there are a variety of ways you can tune your load and gun to work together.

 

BTW, there is no law that says you have to change anything if you are making too much gas.  If you are willing to accept additional muzzle rise and a harder hit to the hand, stay where you are.

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Just now, zzt said:

 

If you drop your AA7 load down to a point where you don't get good combustion, or you no longer make major, move to a faster powder.  The reason is you will use less powder, so less gas is produced.  If you are willing to make hardware changes you have other options.  You could exhaust more gas by adding more side ports to your existing comp.  You could also add poppels. 

 

I'm in your situation right now.  My Major Pistol powder load makes a little more gas than my comp can handle.  So I'm dropping it off this afternoon to have two 3/16" poppels added.  I want the gun to shoot flatter, so that's why I am going that way.  It will also rob gas from the comp. 

 

Another remedy I tried but did not like was going to 124gr bullets.  So there are a variety of ways you can tune your load and gun to work together.

 

BTW, there is no law that says you have to change anything if you are making too much gas.  If you are willing to accept additional muzzle rise and a harder hit to the hand, stay where you are.

I have 3 holes in the barrel. my particular barrel is crazy slow and i have to load with 124 to make major with aa7. My opinion is though, say i am wasting gas, (which i would bet on it is throwing gas out the front of the comp) if i switched to a faster powder, it is going to hit harder and have more flip anyway.

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3 hours ago, Shmella said:

I have 3 holes in the barrel. my particular barrel is crazy slow and i have to load with 124 to make major with aa7. My opinion is though, say i am wasting gas, (which i would bet on it is throwing gas out the front of the comp) if i switched to a faster powder, it is going to hit harder and have more flip anyway.

 

Wow!  you really have a slow barrel.  I'm at 10.2gr Major Pistol under a 115 for 168PF.

 

Here is how this works.  As you work up a load ladder, the gun shoots flatter and softer as you go up in powder, right up until an appreciable amount  exits the front of the comp.  That hits your hand harder.  As you add more powder, it may shot flatter, but it is going to hit your hand harder and harder.  If you are getting hit and a lot of gas exits the front, try a faster powder.  Major Pistol is very slightly faster than AA7.  Next fastest would be 3N38.  After that comes HS-6, then Silhouette, then WAC.

 

The ideal scenario is all of the gas is redirected by your poppels and comp ports, and the barest amount exist the front of the comp.  That is as soft shooting as you can get.  Less powder or more powder will hit your hand harder.  Less because there is not enough gas to firmly push the comp baffles forward.  So the gun is not pulled away from you as much.  More because gas is jetting out the front and pushing the gun straight back into your hand.

 

Here is an example of the former.  My old main Open gun has two 3/16" poppels and a four chamber-five port comp.  My loads were 7.2gr WAC and 7.4gr Silhouette.  Both hit my hand hard.  I experimented with 10.2gr Major Pistol and the gun shot substantially flatter and softer.  I was now making enough gas to work the comp.

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