38 spl; the results of Unique vs 2400

38 spl; the results of Unique vs 2400

This is a discussion on 38 spl; the results of Unique vs 2400 within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been asked by people why I like the 38spl, and why I use 2400 in 38s brass to achieve higher than normal velocities than ...

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Thread: 38 spl; the results of Unique vs 2400

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    38 spl; the results of Unique vs 2400

    I've been asked by people why I like the 38spl, and why I use 2400 in 38s brass to achieve higher than normal velocities than Unique, Bullseye, or ect...
    So, I loaded 10 rounds of Unique, maxed out per the book, and 10 rounds loaded with 2400 that you can't hardly find in a book, and when you do, it's only a 10 grain charge. I loaded 11.3, but I have good reason to, as you will see.
    Both loads were topped with a 158 weight lswc, and packaged in individual envelopes, and shot over my chronograph.image.jpgimage.jpg
    First the 2400 load; 5 shots have me an average velocity of 996 fps, with an extreme spread of 54 fps from the highest to lowest recorded. 1030-976
    What about pressure? image.jpg
    As you can see, the primers are nicely rounded with no signs and ejected with ease.

    The Unique loaded have me an average velocity of 5 shots of 926 fps with an extreme spread of 117. 962-845. And Pressure?image.jpg
    As you can see, the primers show some pressure signs.
    To be continued ...
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Now, even though Unique works well, the 38spl is capable of so much more. My 357 mag load of 14 grains of 2400 gives me about 1200 fps. But it's not always needed.
    The 2400 in the 38spl gives a wonderful 1000 fps load that is easy on the gun, but gives just the right power to feel like you have something more than adequate but without the blast and concussion of the magnum.

    I feel like this load is perfectly fine in any k frame magnum and could be used in k frame 38 spls without issue.
    I have in the past loaded the 38spl to velocities pushing 1300 fps! There is nothing weaker about 38 spl brass, it's just limited in capacity.
    If all a guy has is a good k frame 38 spl, and really needs more than the limitations of what the store sells, take heart. If you handload, the 38 spl can be a power house, loaded well into magnum territory.
    But I think this load is the perfect balance in the k frame. It doesn't have enough powder to cause excessive erosion of the forcing cone, or flame cutting of the magnum, but still generates enough zing to give a significant boost in usable power.
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Good news I havent been buying 2400 even tho its available around here, been using autocomp an titegroup for 38spl I definetly will be trying some an curious what velocities I can achieve with my SP101 snub. Been hovering about 870 fps with autocomp loaded max. For carry been using BB 125 JHP an getting between 1125 an 1190 FPS

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    Something about the .38 I admire as well. I will be looking into testing it's abilities as soon as I get my chronograph. Very good write up!

    Which k frame were you shooting for this experiment?
    BigJon


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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy8 View Post
    Good news I havent been buying 2400 even tho its available around here, been using autocomp an titegroup for 38spl I definetly will be trying some an curious what velocities I can achieve with my SP101 snub. Been hovering about 870 fps with autocomp loaded max. For carry been using BB 125 JHP an getting between 1125 an 1190 FPS
    It's hard to beat that velocity in a short tube, such as BB and DT do with their blends.
    But, you can go to a heavier bullet and work up loads with 2400. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get 1000 fps with a 158 weight bullet.
    Elmer Keith load for the 38spl was 13.something grains of 2400 under a 158 weight bullet for over 1300 fps. So if you slowly worked it up, starting at 10.5, you should be able to get to at least 1000 which, with a 158 weight bullet would offset any terminal advantage of the 125 at 1100
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJon10125 View Post
    Something about the .38 I admire as well. I will be looking into testing it's abilities as soon as I get my chronograph. Very good write up!

    Which k frame were you shooting for this experiment?
    Model 65. I also shoot it in a model 10 heavyHB.
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    And save some money in the bargain an be able to practice with my carry load without breaking the bank. I will be getting some 2400 this week let you know how it works out. Already have the 158 Bullets
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    It's hard to beat that velocity in a short tube, such as BB and DT do with their blends.
    But, you can go to a heavier bullet and work up loads with 2400. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get 1000 fps with a 158 weight bullet.
    Elmer Keith load for the 38spl was 13.something grains of 2400 under a 158 weight bullet for over 1300 fps. So if you slowly worked it up, starting at 10.5, you should be able to get to at least 1000 which, with a 158 weight bullet would offset any terminal advantage of the 125 at 1100
    Preach on, brother! I'm with you on the .38 Special. Great thread!

    I once read where a famous gunwriter of bygone times considered the properly loaded .38 Special to be a big-bore revolver. Don't know that I'd become that enthusiastic over the cartridge but the .38 Special is way more capable than most give it credit for being today.

    And, yes Virginia there is 1000 fps to be found in the .38 Special with relatively heavy 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter bullets, even out of 2-inch snub barrels! And all done with published handloads. Well ... they were published ... by long-time reputable companies ... at some time in the past ... before water became a component of .38 Special loads, both factory and handloading data ... watered-down that is. But, that's what you get when gun makers/ammo makers got whiz-bang 9mm pistolas to push on a buying public as the next big thing, and want the cartridge to look all shiny. Not to debate the whole revolver versus automatic debate, automatics have their place and might even have some advantages in some instances but I do believe it was a wholesale conspiracy to manipulate a market (including law enforcement) there in the early 1980s into abandoning revolvers wholesale so lots of new guns and ammo could be sold.

    Some additional 2400 data, originally from Lyman contained within this linked Defensive Forum thread from a few years back. Complete with 158 grain lead slugs roaring out of the muzzle of .38 Special revolvers at the magical 1000 feet per second, or better.
    Four High-Performance .38 Special Handloads
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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I beg to differ fellas. There is a world of .38 Special revolvers out there that should not be fired with those "hot" loadings. If you are looking for .357 performance then get a .357 revolver.

    Just for conversation sake I made the above post. Your gun and your hands and eyes ! You make the decision.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecup View Post
    I beg to differ fellas. There is a world of .38 Special revolvers out there that should not be fired with those "hot" loadings. If you are looking for .357 performance then get a .357 revolver.

    Just for conversation sake I made the above post. Your gun and your hands and eyes ! You make the decision.
    Thank you for your opinion. Note the references in use are all for K frame or N frame revolvers.
    And actually, these are only hot by today's standards, but were perfectly acceptable before the invention of water. I suppose steel has gotten weaker too?
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    Yes, but there's obviously a world of .38 Special revolvers out there that work will with "hot" loadings. It must be remembered that such loadings weren't always considered "hot." "Hot" would have been exceeding these published loadings.

    No doubt about it, the .357 Magnum is a distinct step up from the .38 Special. The worthy cartridge that is the .38 Special may be made to "walk and talk" however if one doesn't constrain himself to only what is served up by most factory loads these days or doesn't restrict himself to using paltry flea-weight revolvers in which to shoot his .38 Special ammunition. The cartridge changed far less than the market and market perception of the round changed.
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    I see you got in ahead of me, Gman, but I see we're of the same exact view of the matter.
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    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy8 View Post
    Good news I havent been buying 2400 even tho its available around here, been using autocomp an titegroup for 38spl I definetly will be trying some an curious what velocities I can achieve with my SP101 snub. Been hovering about 870 fps with autocomp loaded max. For carry been using BB 125 JHP an getting between 1125 an 1190 FPS
    Careful with the Titegroup. That's my standard powder for .45 ACP, so I started loading .38s with it. After an unfortunate experience with a double charge and some subsequent consultation with bmcgilvray, I move to Unique. Big difference with this (slightly) slower-burning powder. Recoil was far less snappy, and without pushing any limits I easily got 900+ ft/sec from a 4" barrel (4.5-4.6 gr) with a 158 SWC.

    The max charge for Titegroup IIRC is about 3.8 grains with a 158... you can barely see that powder in the case, which is probably what led to my double charge.
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    The .38 spl is my favorite cartridge to reload, it is forgiving for a beginner and has the versatility for endless experimentation for old hands at reloading.

    I routinely shoot "HOT" 158 gr SWC loaded with Unique out of both my Model 65 and my Ruger Speed Six

    I'm not worried about wearing out either one of those guns
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    Between the wife and myself, there is more .38 fired, in this household than all other calibers combined. I have used the OLD Unique for years on .357 loads and lighter bullets, it makes for quite a "bodacious" load but, have never used it in .38 Special. Most of my upper level .38s were loaded with 2400. I have about 1/2lb or the "OLD" Unique left. How does the NEW Unique compare with the OLD Unique in .38 Special.
    A wise man once said: "Bugout bag?..What's that? Is that all the junk you sidewalk commandos plan on humping when the SHTF...I'll grab a Nylon 66, a box of 22s and a poncho liner and in less than a week I will have all of your stuff and everything else that I need for the duration."

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