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.38 Special Reloading

 
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John
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:41 pm    Post subject: .38 Special Reloading Reply with quote

I hand load 45 ACP wadcutters for bullseye, but have never hand loaded .38 Special.

I've got 2-300 nickle plated "W-Super-W" / "38 SPL + P"; and I'm wondering about their suitability for handloaded .38 Special for Distinguished Revolver practice in my Model 14.

Specifically: 1) Is the "+ P" detrimental for reloading regular .38 Special; 2) Does the nickle plating have any impact; 3) Does .38 Special brass ever have to be trimmed, or is it like .45 ACP which seems to shrink?

Also, any receipes for 158 grain LRN and LSWC would be appreciated.

Thank You.
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jmessina



Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:48 pm    Post subject: 38 reloads Reply with quote

2.6 grains of Bullseye will work fine. Why not use 148 gr wadcutters? The cases should work fine. Sometimes the nickel plating will cause the shells to fit a little snug in the cylinder. I just run them thru a sizer without the decapper for a final size. Works great
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John
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

158 grain to duplicate the Distinguished Revolver requirements. What the heck is "+ P" anyway? I've heard of it but haven't a clue what it is.
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jmessina



Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+p were the hottest loads available for defensive belly guns (38 spec). Still around but not that popular any more.
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Fred Mannis



Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Delaware

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmessina wrote:
+p were the hottest loads available for defensive belly guns (38 spec). Still around but not that popular any more.


On the contrary, still quite popular with those of us who like revolvers for carry/self defense but want something a bit less punishing than factory 357 ammo. The ammo manufacturers use a +P head-stamp on this ammo because a steady diet of it is not recommended for some of the older guns. Same holds true for 9mm and 9mm+P.

Fred
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John
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fred, due to these higher pressures (this nickle plated brass was fired at least once as "+P"), in your opinion should I then refrain from reloading it for use in my S & W Model 14 K38?

Do you know if "+P" brass is different than regular .38, or considered over stressed for reloading, etc.? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I really don't know the answer and don't want to take the chance of wrecking my K38 (or my hand/fingers)! Thanks.
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Fred Mannis



Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Delaware

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John wrote:
Fred, due to these higher pressures (this nickle plated brass was fired at least once as "+P"), in your opinion should I then refrain from reloading it for use in my S & W Model 14 K38?

Do you know if "+P" brass is different than regular .38, or considered over stressed for reloading, etc.? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I really don't know the answer and don't want to take the chance of wrecking my K38 (or my hand/fingers)! Thanks.


John,

I would be cautious also, if I had a nice old K38 :-)

There is no difference in the construction/dimensions of the cartridge cases and the case would not be overstressed by the pressure difference (20000psi vs 17000) in the two loadings. I assume that you have once fired brass i.e. that it has not been reloaded by some other reloader who might have used an incorrect load and overstressed the case. Usually the first sign of this kind of situation is an enlarged primer pocket. I have reloaded thousands of 38Spl brass with and without the +P headstamp without any issues.

Since you will be reloading for best accuracy, I suggest that you trim all the cases to the same overall length. This will ensure a nice uniform roll crimp. Can't recommend any loads as I have never reloaded 158gr SWC/RN for target work.

Fred
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6string



Joined: 14 Aug 2007
Posts: 205

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+P 38 special ammo is loaded to SAAMI specifications. The only difference compared to standard loads is the pressure to which it is loaded. Dimensions for the cartridge, including brass specifications remains unchanged. Of course, different manufacturers use brass with various specifications such as case wall thickness and case head thickness which may affect internal case capacity. But this will not have any problematic implications for target reloads. There is debate on the merits of the nickel (actually cadmium) plating. It can make case cleaning easier and resizing easier, but can slightly increase case wall thickness. You will have to consider the chamber dimensions of your revolver and the dimensions of the case after resizing. If your chamber dimensions are on the generous size and you use a resizing die that doesn't overly squeeze down the case (such as Redding) you might find the plated cases to be an advantage. Plated cases often require less case trimming due to the reduced friction when being resized. Also, check the neck tension of a resized and neck flared case. Can you push a bullet in easily with thumb pressure? If so, you may have insuffucient case neck tension. A thicker case wall would be an advantage. You need enough neck tension to hold the bullet in place to ensure uniform ignition, but not so much as to distort the bullet when it is seated. The +P cases may be perfect and are certainly not harmful. Worst case scenario is that the cases have been used enough that you may only get a few reloads out of them.
Best Wishes
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Allgoodhits



Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Clifton, VA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject: .38 spl Reply with quote

.....and only to add that in my experiences, nickel cases do not last as long. They tend to crack with greater frequency than do brass cases.

158 gr LSWC or 158 gr RNL will do very well with BE, or W231 or CLAYS. CLAYS is an outstanding powder for soft lead target loads. I believe you need to run the 158's around 800 fps for best accuracy, and that should be around 2.8 - 3.2 gr CLAYS. CHECK MANUALS for safe starting points.

I got my NRA PPC DISTINGUISHED with a K-38, but that was back in the day when they actually issued the ammo (always 158 RNL or LSWC) on the line.

Also ZERO & PRECISION DELTA load a special BE revolver load for those NMC Revolver Distinguished matches.

Martin
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John
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the excellent information. John
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Spencer



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 1608
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the old wives tales around is that nickel cases do not give accuracy with lighter loads.

I do not know if there is any factual basis, but I cannot get accuracy with nickel cases for ISSF (i.e. lighter) loads, but the nickels give better results for my 120 000+ PF loads.

Spencer
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38HBWC



Joined: 02 Jun 2008
Posts: 95
Location: Twin Cities

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: .38Spec Brass Reply with quote

I look for US military fire 38 Spec. Brass. I know it needs extra labor to bring it around to go thru the Dillon, but the thicker sidewall is something thjat I have found in my favor. Especially so in the M-52, with DEWC or HBWC 148gr.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had experience with nickle cases, and do not wish to load any more of those critters. Bear in mind that this is just my opinion. I found that the nickle cases being much harder than brass seemed to have an undesirable effect on the "skirts" of a 148 gr wadcutter.I found a bunch more shavings in my empty cases after they were shot VS. a brass case.I used the very same tool head on my 650 as I do when I load brass, so everything( crimp ) was identical.Any one else have such experience. I loaded them with 2.7 of VV I might add.
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