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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This seems like a good spot to ask this one. Not only am I pretty new to handguns and competition, I also have a press to set up and learn to reload.

So here's the question. I'm going to be shooting a 4" 686 in SSR class in IDPA. Does anyone have a good load recipe for a 38 Special +P that they would be willing to share?

Thanks!
 

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Ronin21,


In addition to shootingbuff's comments, another thing to consider is when you move up into the hotter loaded/higher velocities, if you are using lead bullets (depending on bullet quality) you may get pretty tired of cleaning lead out of your barrel. It's been a while since I reloaded revolver but I have in the past reloaded for a 586 and had some fairly strong 38sp loads that this pistol really liked, but it didn't take to many nights of scrubbing barrels to take the fun out of the whole process. You will probably be able to get some good suggestions here on the forum for bullets that may be able to hold up a little better to the +P than others. Or I guess you could try plated or jacketed projectiles.

Have fun, be safe and good luck


laters,

gr
 

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In my experience, it may well take +P loads to get a 158 gr cast bullet to 800 fps in .38 Spl. It depends on the components and the gun. It is almost certain to take +P to get a 158 jacketed bullet to 800 fps. I don't think you can get 1000 fps with a 125 JHP and handbook .38 Spl loads. I saw it attempted last weekend and the shooter was way over any published .38 load, shooting in a .357 gun. He decided to use a low-end .357 load in magnum brass just for the comfort factor.

What you need most of all is a clean-burning load. A granule of unburnt powder under the extractor star is no fun at all. My 4.6 gr WW 231 and a 158 grain cast or moly coated lead bullet is just barely adequate. I haven't tried new-production Unique that Alliant claims to be cleaner burning than the old nasty stuff. Universal Clays disappointed, regular Clays is clean but too fast burning for heavy loads. I've got some test loads to try this summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So the general trend here is that I should use .357 Magnum brass, and a 158 grain jacketed bullet with a light powder charge. Some sort of FMJ round nose and a very clean powder.

I can try that. Now I just have to get my Dad to start setting up that press.

Thanks for the tips!
 

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I have had great luck with the Vihtavouri powders being clean burning and consistent. They tend to be expensive, but I guess it depends on how much you will shoot and how much work you want to put into cleaning your gun. I don't recall offhand what powders are recommended for .38 Spl / .357 Mag, but I'm guessing you could use N320, N340, N350, 3N37. Be sure to check the load data first.

-Pete
 

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I shoot a S&W Model 19 most of the time in IDPA.
I did a lot of load testing with my favorite powders before I found the one I like the best.
I load Berry's Manufacturing plated 158 gr. bullets over 4.9 grs. of Solo 1250 powder, in Winchester +P cases. This is clipping along at about 850 fps from my 4" barrel. Plenty of power. This is a MAXIMUM LOAD in the Scott Powder manual, but I get absolutely no pressure signs IN MY GUN.
It is a good shooting load and very clean burning.

_________________
Neil
"I AM my brothers keeper"

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeilCasper on 2001-05-23 15:38 ]</font>
 

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I disagree with it would take +p loads to get up to 800 fps with a 158gr load. Yes not all powders will get you there and in cooler climates it will be harder. If the +p brass was on hand why not use it? It would be added safety, however in standard 38 loadings I wouldn't rush out to buy any. Myself I like lead in a 38. Last BUG match I tried some plated. No problems there. best way to find out is check the manuals then chrony your loads. Proof is in the pudding or this case the chrony.

sb
 

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My all time favorite .38 load:

5.5 grains W-231
125 grain Winchester JHP

.38 Special brass

For .38 +P:
5.7-5.9 grains W-231.
1,000 FPS in a 6" barrel.

The Speer manual shows 5.9 grains of W-231 at 1019 FPS with a 125 grain JHP in a S&W 14.

The Nosler manual shows 5.7 grains W-231 with a 125 grain JHP at 1060 FPS.

Try the 130 grain FMJ bullet for faster reloads.

W-231 and the .38 +P are a match made in heaven.

I never see pressure signs and have shot a several thousand rounds of +P thorough a couple of S&W Airweights.
 

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Seems that most manuals list a 6.5 or longer bbl when listing 38 spc loads. I like to chrony mine so I know what they are doing. Hate to find out at a match I was to slow. Ok the ammo was to slow, I know I am slow.

best,
sb
 

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I used bullseye powder and 158 grain lead bullets to great success in IDPA SSR. A good hard cast bullet will get up there in velocity without going to +P pressures. A bit smoky, but soft to shoot.

I made a similar load with 231 that was equally good.

I have used Sierra 158 grain JHP's and Berry's 158grFP bullets for times when I wanted to cut the smoke. I found the pressures went up to get the equivalent in velocity.

The lawman +P 158 grain load is a good factory load for IDPA SSR too.

Ted
 

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Alot of manuals list max charges usally with jacketed bullets. Lyman makes a good cast load manual just doesn't have some of the new powders. But if their data is accurate you should have no problem hitting 125 pf with 38 spl .Because of the leading problem go with heavy and slow. Here are some examples Lyman states a 4 inch test barrel. 158 gr cast bullet HP 38 minimum charge 2.6 for 621 fps.Max charge (not +p) 4.3grs for 902 fps. +p load 4.5 grs for 944. Lyman lists 8 different powders that will give you 800 fps with a 158 gr bullet out of a 4 inch barrel without going to plus p pressure. That should give you enough room to compensate for the cylinder gap pressure loss. However Lyman states they are using a vented barrel supposedly to take that into account.
 

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I shoot a S&W 686 4" and here is my load data. Berry's plated 158gr RN 1.525" OAL, .475" Crimp, and 4.1gr Hodgon Clay. This gives you very little smoke, very little flash, and is very clean and by shooting the plated bullet you can shoot it inside also.The avergage velocity is 817fps and that gives you a power factor of 129,086. Yes it is more money than lead, however I just hate cleaning up my guns after shooting lead. Good luck....Happy reloading....Be safe...
 

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I'm shooting Montana Gold 158 Gr CMJ bullets over 4.5 gr of VV320 with a heavy crimp. This is a very clean combination. I found that W231 was really dirty. I shot that gun with w231 loads in an IDPA night shoot last year. The smoke from the first shot was so bad that the flash light could not pennetrate it. I had to change position to be able see the target.
 
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