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VANITY CHAT: Best powder choice for .38 / .357 short barrel loads?
Vanity | 12-6-08 | Vanity

Posted on 12/06/2008 6:00:47 AM PST by OKSooner

Quick question for handloaders:

I've got everything in place and ready to go to load up a couple of decent-sized batches of .38 and .357 loads.

The .38 loads are for practice use in a couple of airweight revolvers.

The .357s are for practice use in a couple of .357 revolvers, both with 3-inch barrels.

All of the above will be loaded with 158-grain cast bullets.

The one variable I haven't figured out is this:

WHICH POWDER IS BEST FOR USE IN SHORT-BARREL HANDGUNS?


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Comments invited from experienced handloaders and everyone else.
1 posted on 12/06/2008 6:00:47 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: OKSooner; Joe Brower; Shooter 2.5; hiredhand; Squantos; Travis McGee

Ping.


2 posted on 12/06/2008 6:01:32 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: OKSooner

Accurate #5


3 posted on 12/06/2008 6:01:35 AM PST by mad_as_he$$ (Nemo me impune lacessit.)
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To: OKSooner

HP-38 for my .38 spl target load. Topped with a 158 gr bullet


4 posted on 12/06/2008 6:09:04 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: OKSooner

If the bullets are plain base(no gas check),use a quick burn powder like Bullseye or Unique.If you have gas checks on,then use something like Blue Dot in the .357 and stick with the fast powder for the .38.


5 posted on 12/06/2008 6:11:35 AM PST by Farmer Dean (168 grains of instant conflict resolution)
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To: OKSooner

I see a lot of people recommending Bullseye. You want a fast burning powder.


6 posted on 12/06/2008 6:11:53 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (Question O-thority)
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To: OKSooner

Bullseye


7 posted on 12/06/2008 6:13:05 AM PST by Elderberry
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To: xcamel

I second that. Hodgden makes the powder if he didn’t already know that.

Semiwadcutter for target shooting but a truncated bullet for speed events in IDPA.

I didn’t put this on the bang list. We’re getting too many Freepers with smartass answers.


8 posted on 12/06/2008 6:13:33 AM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA - Vote against the dem party)
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To: OKSooner

I have a model 19 S&W with a 4” barrel that shot 18” groups at 100 yards but of course I forgot what powder I used. Try different powders and find out what you and the gun like. 3” barrel may not make a difference.


9 posted on 12/06/2008 6:15:59 AM PST by mountainlion (concerned conservative.)
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To: Shooter 2.5

Oops...I added it...sorry


10 posted on 12/06/2008 6:19:08 AM PST by HiJinx (~ Support our Troops ~ www.americasupportsyou.mil ~)
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To: Shooter 2.5

The wrong or heavy load in an airweight will wreck your wrist in no time flat - and you will feel it for **weeks**


11 posted on 12/06/2008 6:21:20 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: HiJinx

That’s ok. I might have been rude to say that but lately some Freepers have been carrying their comments too far.


12 posted on 12/06/2008 6:22:20 AM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA - Vote against the dem party)
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To: Shooter 2.5
I admit we have a lot of smart asses here, but I do enjoy reading from all the knowledgeable comments that are posted here. Got to take the wheat with the chaff.
13 posted on 12/06/2008 6:24:10 AM PST by Loud Mime (We're not hateful. We respect traditional marriage - which our opponents HATE)
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To: OKSooner

I like Bull’s Eye.

Also there is a surplus (pull down) military powder called NM-4 available that is quite inexpensive and duplicates Bull’s Eye performance.


14 posted on 12/06/2008 6:24:58 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: OKSooner

For handguns I use either Unique or Bullseye.

I also stay within the limits of the latest Speer reloading manual.

A lot of guys like to load ‘hot’ rounds but if I want to shoot something with a kick I grab my Freedom Arms 454 Casull.


15 posted on 12/06/2008 6:29:44 AM PST by cowboyway ("The beauty of the Second Amendment is you won't need it until they try to take it away"--Jefferson)
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To: Shooter 2.5; Loud Mime

I’d have to agree with the Mime. I love to learn from the shooters here, and I don’t think your comment was rude at all.


16 posted on 12/06/2008 6:30:44 AM PST by HiJinx (~ Support our Troops ~ www.americasupportsyou.mil ~)
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To: Bigun

A friend bought a load of military surplus powder that was “supposed to be like bullseye”. He loaded a thousand rounds of it at the suggested weight from the copied paper he was given.

The little Kahr .40 blew up on the first shot. I was standing to his right and part of the grips flew to the left.

Powder is the cheapest part of a cartridge. I don’t see any reason to cut corners on that.

Buyer beware.

I also don’t care for any powder where the level doesn’t come up to a point where a double charge is possible.

I talked to a guy who claimed he liked one powder because “ you need so little of it so it’s cheaper”. Penny wise and pound foolish.


17 posted on 12/06/2008 6:33:29 AM PST by Shooter 2.5 (NRA - Vote against the dem party)
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To: Bigun
Also there is a surplus (pull down) military powder called NM-4 available that is quite inexpensive and duplicates Bull’s Eye performance.

Can you recommend a supplier of NM-4? Thanks in advance. :-)
18 posted on 12/06/2008 6:36:14 AM PST by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: Bigun

Oops!

NM-4 appears to be no longer available.

Guess I bought it all!

LOL!


19 posted on 12/06/2008 6:37:33 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: xcamel
The wrong or heavy load in an airweight will wreck your wrist in no time flat - and you will feel it for **weeks**

I agree. The .38 special is a good fit in and S&W Airlite, making the pistol highly useful and convenient; but I will NEVERRRRRR put .357s in it again. Talk about getting gun-shy!

20 posted on 12/06/2008 6:38:27 AM PST by Migraine (Diversity is great... ...until it happens to YOU.)
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To: Shooter 2.5

I agree with every word you said!

I have personally fired many thousands of rounds loaded with the powder I spoke of and will assure you that I approached the use of it with great caution!

I still have some on hand and will use it but it appears that I won’t be getting any more.


21 posted on 12/06/2008 6:42:00 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Shooter 2.5

I would not pass up Bullseye because double, even triple and quadruple charges would fit in a 38/357 case. One always needs total concentration while they are reloading.


22 posted on 12/06/2008 6:42:20 AM PST by Elderberry
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To: hiredhand
I used to get it here but it looks as though it is now all gone.
23 posted on 12/06/2008 6:47:01 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Shooter 2.5; All
Speaking of KB's... here's something that might help somebody else...As with all things worth knowing, there's a bit of a story, so please bear with me. :-)

My brother and I were shooting .45ACP one weekend at his house. We were practicing what we call "two shot drills". The basic intention is to retrieve the weapon from where it's holstered and get two rounds on target quickly. The shooter walks AWAY from the target until the other guy gives the order to turn and shoot.

Anyway... malfunctions are handled accordingly... drop the mag, rack the slide twice, reinsert the mag....rack the slide.

It was my turn and I fired once...twice...and the second one "felt" strange. I didn't realize that the pistol didn't cycle and that there was a bullet lodged in the barrel.

So I went through a clearing drill and noticed the slide didn't "go home" solidly on a new round in the chamber. So I STOPPED and started looking for the source of the problem.

We quickly discovered the bullet in the bore. It wasn't quite far enough in to permit the next round to chamber completely. We drove it out and set that batch of reloaded ammo off to the side. It was loaded on a Dillon RL-550B and I called Dillon the following Monday. After explaining all the details and answering numerous questions, the guy at Dillon told me that it was because we were using old Bullseye. He said that if we dumped it onto a dinner plate, we would probably see small clumps that could (and DID) interfere with the flow system on the reloader. He said if we used a small tined fork or something else to break up the clumps, it would feed!

So my warning here is with respect to older Bullseye, if anybody has any stored. There was no harm done in my case, but if I had "shooting badguys", and under stress I know for a fact that I would have probably NOT been inclined to stop so fast and examine the source of the stoppage and then damaged the weapon by firing a good round behind the projectile lodged in the barrel.

Needless to say... me and my helper weighed "about" 800 rounds out of that run of reloads and everything weighed within spec...so apparently there was only ONE squib load. Also...due to the way that the powder flow system on the Dillon is made, it won't drop a double charge into the one following the squib. Older models of the Lee 1000 did this back in the early 1990s....so not only would you end up with a squib, but the one right after it would receive a double charge! As I understand it, Lee fixed this soon after it was discovered.

For the most part, we're running out of of Bullseye and are using WST (Winchester Super Target) for .38SPCL, .40S&W and .45ACP. It "seems" to do a good job. :-)
24 posted on 12/06/2008 6:53:39 AM PST by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: Bigun

Ah! Jeff Bartlett! Right. :-) Thanks!


25 posted on 12/06/2008 6:54:41 AM PST by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: OKSooner

I’ve been using AA5 but just for giggles I bought 2 lbs. of Power Pistol.
Seems to have a burn rate in the vicinity of AA5 and Unique.

I plan on using it in 38/357, 45acp, and 44.
Not max loads but up there.

For my 342PD .38 ultralite its strictly factory loads.


26 posted on 12/06/2008 6:56:43 AM PST by Vinnie (You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Jihads You)
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To: OKSooner
Your experience may counsel otherwise but let me give you some free advice guaranteed to be worth at least what you paid for it.

A short-barreled revolver suggests a concealed self-defense purpose. If so, using hand loads could expose you to additional legal issues in a self-defense situation. An aggressive prosecutor could argue that the hand loads were specifically loaded to inflict the most damage possible and a gun-ignorant jury could agree.

Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 but at least be aware that the government is rarely on your side in such situations.

27 posted on 12/06/2008 7:05:16 AM PST by muir_redwoods (B. O. Stinks!!!)
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To: muir_redwoods
Please read my original post again.

Still a good point to mention for everyone's benefit, though.

Thanks.

28 posted on 12/06/2008 7:08:46 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; Shooter 2.5; wku man; SLB; ..
Ping for FReeper OKSooner. Let us know what you find out!

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

29 posted on 12/06/2008 7:08:52 AM PST by Joe Brower (Sheep have three speeds: "graze", "stampede" and "cower".)
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To: muir_redwoods

I heartily second that advice.

Hand loads are fine for practice but Never EVER carry a pistol loaded with anything but commercial ammunition!

In my case that is Federal Hydra-Shok.


30 posted on 12/06/2008 7:13:34 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: OKSooner; All

I dont know squat about loading except that Santa really wants to bring me some equip.

Whats a good set up?

I am looking at a dillon 550 for rifle and pistol loads and a Mec for shotgun shells

I want to load 410 buckshot .223, .308, 9mm, 45 acp and .38 special


31 posted on 12/06/2008 7:16:19 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: mylife

I use the MEC Sizemaster for .410 (shoot lots of skeet). Buckshot is a different animal though. Get a Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook and review to see if you want to mess with it.


32 posted on 12/06/2008 7:18:22 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: OKSooner

Where can I get a cheap 110 gr .38 bullet?

158 is cheap bur just to damn heavy, making recoil suck.

Widener’s seems like the best source for supplys so far from my research


33 posted on 12/06/2008 7:19:30 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Tijeras_Slim

Sigh.... I just knew it wasnt going to be easy L0L


35 posted on 12/06/2008 7:24:04 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Reflex
Sorry, I can't support bathtub chemistry nor condone breaking the law.

Welcome to FR.

36 posted on 12/06/2008 7:24:33 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I could live with turkey shot vice buck shot.
That would load easy wouldnt it?


37 posted on 12/06/2008 7:28:06 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: mylife
We bought a Dillon RL-550B back around 2004, and I can ONLY say good things about it! ...and Dillon for that matter! I've been reloading for 25 years+ and I called them and told them that I had NO experience with progressive reloaders and I did NOT want to mess around and be "accessorized" to death! I told them that I wanted to receive everything I needed in one shipment and be up and running a short time after that.

The guy I talked to was VERY helpful and they did exactly as I asked! We bought the machine, and tools, accessories, and recommended spare parts (already had dies) for well under $500 and were using it the afternoon of the day it arrived. :-)
38 posted on 12/06/2008 7:31:48 AM PST by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: hiredhand

Thats what I wanted to hear! Thanks.

Their website is very helpful as to making sure you have what you need from what I can see


39 posted on 12/06/2008 7:34:50 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Reflex
All These folks buying reloading supplies might want to set back a good book or two dealing with how to make smokeless powder and primer ccompounds. If i wanted to stop the firearms trade it would be a simple matter of just making propellants and primer compounds very very hard for the average person to come by.

How's that working out for the powers-to-be at stopping the illicit drug trade? :-) People who reload ammunition are not "average". There's an entire substrata of underlying philosophy that goes along with it. Show me a person who reloads ammunition, and I'll show you somebody who is very much above average in many, MANY different ways.

It rather goes without saying that we can make a lot of stuff.... drugs, explosives, toxins....etc...etc.... I'm just not sure this is the best place to discuss the merits thereof.

Welcome to FR. :-)
40 posted on 12/06/2008 7:38:13 AM PST by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: mylife; Squantos
Just a quick word...and you probably know this... but go ahead and get head space gages for the rifle cartridges. Squantos saved me from a WORLD OF GRIEF with this back around 2005 or so.

Ping me if you have questions and I'll help if I can!
41 posted on 12/06/2008 7:43:09 AM PST by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: All

I dont know why I didn’t think of this earlier

Recently, I bought a case of russian silver bear 5.45X39 and the damn things are loaded with 5.56 NATO bullets!

thats a dia diff of .221 vice .223 or .224. Is that safe to fire in a barrel made for .221?


42 posted on 12/06/2008 7:43:31 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: hiredhand

no. I’m a neophyte dope. Headspace has to do with how the bullet fits the chamber doesnt it?

I am a big dummy on some of this stuff but was thinking about that with .308 loads.

Thats a lot of power and there isnt room for error with a cartridge like that.

Please enlighten me. I dont need no kabooms


43 posted on 12/06/2008 7:50:25 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Bigun

Good advice and good choice! I stocked up Winchester Black Talon 9MM ammo before it was removed and use it in my carry semi-autos. I think Remington Golden Sabre ammo might be similar?

Be Ever Vigilant!!


44 posted on 12/06/2008 7:56:20 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: OKSooner
WHICH POWDER IS BEST FOR USE IN SHORT-BARREL HANDGUNS?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and recommend gun powder.

45 posted on 12/06/2008 7:57:32 AM PST by Petronski (For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden. -- Cdl. Stafford)
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To: OKSooner

For all but the 45 Colt I use Power Pistol. It was formulated for modern handguns and specifically designed for the 40 S&W. So far I have loaded for the 38 SPL, 357, 40, and 45. In all cases the velocities were excellent, the spread in velocities minimal, temperature spreads were minimal between freezing temperatures and hot temps, and pressures were within normal range by measurement of velocities and examination of casings. I’m hooked on the stuff.


46 posted on 12/06/2008 7:58:17 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: blackie

Hornaday XP’s are an excellent choice


47 posted on 12/06/2008 7:59:04 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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P.s. Power Pistol also burns extremely clean, which also reduces flash. It doesn’t seem to produce much visible smoke if any. The firearms also have very little residue such that I can field clean them without any fuss. In a typical session at the range I shoot at least 300 rounds per pistol in 38 and 357 and 500+ rounds of 40 and 45.


48 posted on 12/06/2008 8:05:02 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: mylife

Are you sure they’re not XTP’s?


49 posted on 12/06/2008 8:21:26 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: blackie

Well yes. XTP’s of course

A fine defensive load


50 posted on 12/06/2008 8:23:53 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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