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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 6:28 pm
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Location: Indiana
I was wondering if anyone could give me a good load for .38 SPL with a 158 gr. SWCL bullet that will shoot accurately at 50 yards. I bought some Laser Cast Bullets and the Alliant reloading site recommends 3.5 gr. of Bullseye.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:07 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:20 pm
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Location: Scottsdale AZ
Your .38, as with all others, needs to be tested to find an accurate load.

Other powders to try (in varying charges) are Red Dot, Green Dot, WW231, AA #2.

If those don't work for you, there are others, but I would try different brands of bullets if you've tested several powders without good accuracy.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:09 pm 
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Location: USA
All other things being equal, do 158 grain round nose lead bullets tend to group better than 158 grain lead semi-wadcutters?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 5:51 pm
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Location: Oregon
look here for the safety range of powders.
http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp



NSK suggested
"WST or Titegroup...hint...Zero 158 gr LSWC bullets.

Hint#3: Watch your speed."

I think I would stay with WST


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Location: Va
I recommend 3 to 3.2 grs of Bullseye with a moderate to firm crimp on the bullet. This has worked well for me and some others I know.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:53 pm 
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In 2009 the NRA relaxed the rule that the ammo used must be factory made because of the ammo shortage. I don't know what they did this year, but your problem may become moot if they have reinstated that rule.

Anyway, I don't think there is any difference in accuracy between
SWC and RN bullets, but the clean holes of the SWCs are nice.

I like swaged bullets (Speer, Hornady) for their uniformity. They work very well at .38 Special velocities.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:35 am 
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Location: Rhode Island
Rover wrote:
In 2009 the NRA relaxed the rule that the ammo used must be factory made because of the ammo shortage. I don't know what they did this year, but your problem may become moot if they have reinstated that rule.


effective 1/1/2010-
Rule 3.1.4(e) Ammunition - Any safe .38 caliber ammunition
using the 158 grain round nose or semi-wadcutter
bullet only.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:45 am 
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I use 3.1 gr. of TiteGroup and it's plenty snappy. I think 3.5 gr. of Bullseye would be on the hot side. Would likely be a very good idea to borrow a chrono and as always work up from less powder watching for pressure signs as you go.

About the Zero bullets . . . I haven't ordered any because all I hear is how they are so backed up. I went with an order of Missouri cast bullets instead because I heard good things about them and they ship right away.

Anybody order Zero bullets lately and can you actually get them?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:34 am 
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Location: Indiana
BEA wrote:
I recommend 3 to 3.2 grs of Bullseye with a moderate to firm crimp on the bullet. This has worked well for me and some others I know.


Did you get to do any machine rest testing with this load at 50 yds. I am probably going to shoot these in a 6" model 66, although I have a K-38 that I can press into service.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:25 pm 
Misney,
I spent many days trying to wring accuracy out of my 66 and the best I did was 4.25 inches at 50 yards for 25 shots which is probably pretty good but was not satisfactory to me. This was with 4.6 grains of BE 84 which is supposed to be the same as Power Pistol behind a zero swaged 158. I also tried a Python and a model 27 at the same time. All of the guns will shoot a swaged HBWC real well but the 158's not nearly as well. One thing I did find is that they have to go somewhere near 800 fps to be accurate unlike the HBWC's. Now I am shooting 3.5 of 231 behind a Magnus swaged 158 in a 14-2. I only just started with it and so far it seems that some combinations of bullets and powder can really shoot crooked but I recently got a 1.5 inch 10 shot group which I think is outstanding but I only tried it once and I didn't shoot 25 shots to compare. I want to have a lot of combinations before I set up my Ransom Rest again so I can do them all the same day. If I were you I would try to get some Magnus and Zero swaged 158 SWC's and use any powder that can achieve 775 to 820 fps. I tried some cast that were available in .357 58 and 59 and they were horrible but I won't mention the manufacturer because I am not so sure they were bad bullets but possibly just not compatible with what I had; and I shot some .45 cast in my Les Baer from them that were among the best. I have used Speer and Remington swaged and while they were cheaper and they came out the front like they're supposed to I didn't think they stacked up and if you are trying to be Distinguished you need every point you can squeeze out,especially at 50 yards slow fire. If you want to try a few Magnus 158's without buying the minimum 250 and shpping to check if they work for you, send me an Email however at this time I don't have any Zero's


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:39 pm 
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Oldcaster, I've printed your post to save. Looks like sage information.

For the OP, if you already bought the Laser Cast bullets, I can't completely answer your specific question because I've never used them in a revolver. I did come across the Laser Cast Reloading Manual (they did publish one back in 1998) on my reference pile and dug it out so to test and try the bullets you have, that manual specifies 2.9 gr. of Bullseye for 756 fps for their 158 gr. LRNFP at 1.435" OAL. They do not list a Bullseye powder load for their 158 gr. LSWC. They do list a Titegroup load for their 158 gr. LSWC at 3.3 to 3.8. As I said before, I am using 3.1 gr. of Titegroup and presently futzing around with OAL using the Missouri cast with limited success but plently more parameters to try. Maybe it's just my guns but it seems .38 is a fussy load.

The "conventional wisdom" is that the Laser Cast bullets are cast too hard to use for pure accuracy loads in a low pressure cartridge such as .38 Spl. You might prove that to be wrong.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 6:28 pm
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Location: Indiana
Thanks for the responses. I'll fiddle with the Lasercast bullets for awhile because that's what I have on hand. I'll probably try some loads with Bullseye powder first, because that is one appropriate powder that I have on hand. I may try American Select if Bullseye doesn't show good results. If none of that works, I'll move on to different powders and bullets. I like Zero bullets, but they seem pretty hard to get right now.

I thought, like with the .45 Auto, there would by now be a couple of well-established loads that I could start with. I apparently assumed incorrectly.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Experimentation is the road to discovery (or something like that).

I for one would much appreciate hearing about what you discover.

Here's a couple things I've picked up through some "hard knocks" so far with the .38 --

The amount of crimp is significant; I've tried a light crimp, a firm roll crimp and so far it seems a "medium" taper crimp at .377 outside mouth diameter (using Federal brass) works best, at least with what I'm working with so far.

OAL is significant. I've tried seating them deep (shoots terrible), seating them long (shoots OK) and seating them at the crimp groove (is that what that's for ;) ) seems best.

Not that I've loaded lots of different calibers, but so far it seems the .45 is the only forgiving one out there. A mid range load with decent bullets shoots well right from the gate and fussing around with it only makes it shoot better. The rest have been very fussy with all the variables available.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:44 am 
After a lot of experimentation I have found another 38 SWC bullet that does as well as the swaged bullets from Zero and Magnus. It is a bullet that I cast from an RCBS 38-150 mould. It weighs 156 without lube so it is just about right. I shot it out of a Smith 14-2, model 27-4, model 28 and a Python on a Ransom Rest. It shot 10 shots out of the RR into 2" at 50 yards in the Smith 14 and close to the same with the Python. The 27 and the 28 didn't do so well with the best at about 4-5 " however that is about as good as they ever do ???? The Python will shoot HBWC's extremely well but the 14 won't shoot them as well as the RBCS bullets. That is sort of a surprise because I expect them to be the most accurate in all guns, but what's new. The 27 or 28 won't shoot them well at all. Again the RCBS bullet has to go fast to have accuracy. I do get away with 3.4 grains of 231 for the short line but on the long line I use 3.8 of WST which is 1 tenth of a grain over their suggested Max.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:34 pm 
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Location: Michigan
I have used a casl lead 158 gr. LRN bullet. I have always found the LRN bullets to provide better groups at 50 yards than the LSWC's. I have used WST, American Selct and Trail Boss but have finally settled on WST as my powder of choice.


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