200 gr blunt round nose .38 special ammo

This is a discussion on 200 gr blunt round nose .38 special ammo within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; BMC, Thanks for the info on 2400. Like you, I've certainly noticed that older manuals pushed .38s a lot harder than today! It makes you ...

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Thread: 200 gr blunt round nose .38 special ammo

  1. #16
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    BMC,
    Thanks for the info on 2400. Like you, I've certainly noticed that older manuals pushed .38s a lot harder than today! It makes you wonder how much of the change is due to improved pressure-testing techniques, and how much of it is a function of lawsuit-happy modern times.

    BMC & Landric,
    You can get the 200g LSWC-K bullets from Mt. Baldy Bullets--they're on the Internet. They have prices for 100 and 500 bullet lots. "Mikey" on another forum says that this bullet is the same one offered by Colorado Cast Bullets, also on the Net. They sell 2000-bullet minimums.

    FYI, this bullet profile does not chamber reliably in .38SPL chambers--it's too long unless you seat it very deep and crimp over the front shoulder. That gives you a case OAL far shorter than those used in reloading manuals. To keep velocities (and hopefully pressures!) to the same level, I reduced the 3.8g Win231 charge Mikey uses as a factory duplication load to 3.4g.

    So far, I've only loaded a few of the 358430s I got my hands on, but I specifically wanted to see if this LRN blunt-nosed bullet chambers when seated to the same case OAL used in the manual (1.540, I think). Turns out that it fits just fine in my Colt D.S. I didn't measure the length of the Mt. Baldy LSWC-K and compare it to the 358430, but I suspect it's a bit longer & that is what causes the problem in a .38. I would imagine you could chamber it in a .357 revolver with no difficulty.

    I recently stumbled across a group buy custom mold on another forum for a slightly modified 358430 6-cavity mold. I believe they still have some left--PM me if you want info on how to contact the honcho on that group buy. Delivery time is very uncertain right now, by the way, so patience will be necessary. :-)

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  3. #17
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    Thanks for the heads-up on both the 200 grain LSWC Mt. Baldy bullet and the bullet mold. I believe I'll PM you.

    I posted my views on .38 Special here on the Forum a while back.
    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...onspiracy.html

    Heresy I know but in my opinion, for the hand loader the .38 Special is the better cartridge over the 9mm. It's just that 9mm handguns hold lots of ammo.

  4. #18
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    BMC,
    Great old post on the .38! I remember reading those 1970s Gun Digests with wide eyes as Super Vel ammo seemed to be the wave of the future. I've also been amazed to watch modern sources download the .38s more and more: I went to Fed, Rem and Win websites over the last couple of days and their standard 158g LRN or LSWC rounds are all listed at 755fps. Seems like only yesterday that they were all in the mid-800s or so!

    Like you, I have nothing against any of the calibers, automatics, etc.--have shot, owned and enjoyed many of them. I was career military, and obviously for miltary service a reliable automatic beats a revolver due to quick reload capacity & hi-cap mags. Ditto, I imagine, for modern-day law enforcement, where we match our lawmen against unbelievable firepower, utterly brazen crooks, and with drastically restrictive RoE. It's natural that the military & police developments influence civilian selections in weapons & ammo.

    For SD/HD/CC by a civilian, however, the dynamics of the situation and the tactical requirements are generally SO DIFFERENT from M&P requirements. Revolvers in general, and the workhorse .38SPL in particular, still fill the bill in an outstanding manner for most of us.

    To get back to the original 200g focus of this thread, I'll toss this out as food for thought. The 158g +P with soft lead (i.e. Remington, esp.) is an outstanding combination of penetration and expansion, especially in 3" bbl. or longer. However, for someone seeking to optimize penetration, or for snub-noses which may have difficulty generating velocity & thus guaranteeing expansion, a 200g LSWC-K load offers an interesting way to fill the niche. With a load I chrono'ed at 718fps from a 2" bbl., it punched through six gallon jugs of water at 10', penetrated up to the shoulder into an old piece of treated 2x12 behind the jugs. The bullet track was straight as an arrow. Obviously "unscientific," but it allows some comparison with data on water penetration provided on Steve's Pages links. (See http://stevespages.com/page8f38special.html)

    Anyone carrying concealed (I don't--schoolteacher these days) may want to slow down this load to avoid overpenetration. For my purposes, I feel pretty good that this load packs a controllable punch and that clothing or the odd piece of upholstered furniture won't intervene to defeat or turn my SD/HD slug, should that situation ever arise. The SWC-K configuration won't expand, but it will inflict a full-caliber permanent wound cavity--even more, if you agree with Beartooth Bullets "Ballisticians' Corner" on-line calculator, which predicts a permanent wound channel of .503" for this exact load. (See Beartooth Bullets > Ballistician's Corner > Permanent Wound Channel) If I have to shoot center mass on low light at a turning, twisting figure, I doubt that an intervening arm or hand will turn this slug aside, either, and that's a consideration for CCW folks, too.

  5. #19
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    OK, gents, a quick range report on yesterday's activities:

    LOAD: 200g LRN 358430, Winchester case, Federal small pistol match primer (all I could get recently!), 3.8g Win231, COAL 1.540", crimped in third (i.e. top) lube groove with Lee Factory Crimp Die.

    SAFETY NOTES: THIS IS NOT CURRENTLY-PUBLISHED DATA. I found three particularly interesting Internet references for this powder charge and bullet combination. One quotes it as the original Winchester factory load at 15.5K CUP., i.e. an older standard of .38SPL pressures which are now stated in PSI: (see "Mikey" at 200g hardcast in 357 mag ) The second is at http://www.castpics.net; Articles by Members; "Cast in the .38 Special." The third is at 38 Special 200grain LRN load data needed - THR

    I also compared this 3.8g load to the Lee 2nd Edit., but emphasize that it does NOT list Win231. In other words, I HAVE NO HARD PUBLISHED DATA, and the on-line sources I could find give varying input as to the original factory specs of this round: 703fps "factory duplication"; 730fps; 770fps. Best guess on barrel lengths was 6", maybe even from a test barrel. . . .

    So, here's what I got over my Beta Chrony at temp 97 degrees:

    1. 2" bbl. Colt Det. Spl.: avg vel 662.9fps, extreme spread 30.9, standard deviation 10.19. Muzzle energy: 195 fpe. 6 of 10 rounds hit within one inch of POA at 15 yds. (old eyes!). POI was +8.5", L 2.5" from POA.

    2. 4" bbl. Ruger Service-Six: avg 724.6fps, ES 29.28, SD 10.48. Muzzle energy 233 fpe. 5 of 10 rounds hit within one inch of POA at 15 yds. POI was + 0.25", R 1.5" from POA.

    Group sizes (about 3" x 4" with D.S., 3" x 5" with Ruger) are representative of my limitations as a pistoleer. . .you'll have to shoot for yourself to see how accurate it may be! I can vouch that it is about as accurate for me as anything else :-) It's also reliable, accurate enough for close-range SD/HD work (my personal goal), and recoil is solid but easily controlled. Blast/flash were non-issues. All bullets cut a clean 1/4" hole in the paper--no keyholing occurred. SD is only a hair above single digits. BTW, I made no effort to ensure powder was forward on the bullet or back against the primer--I took them from the box, loaded, aimed, and fired.

    I'll conduct a penetration test on milk jugs today & post the results.

    Hopefully, I am getting a dozen original factory rounds soon, and I will post what I learn from them, to include a penetration test against the wily milk jugs. . . ! I'm also expecting info soon from another source, and will let you know what I turn up. My eventual goal is to find a top-end standard pressure load, then use those velocity figures to help me fine-tune the deep-seated/short OAL loads I've used with 200g LSWC-K. Then, I'll use LRNs for practice, the LSWC-K for service loads, and everything from recoil to POI should be the same.

  6. #20
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff. Look forward to reading the follow ups.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  7. #21
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Range test update: Colt Detective Special (2" bbl.) with 200g LRN at avg. MV of 663fps vs. 6 milk jugs at 10 feet.

    Final Score: D.S. 5, Milk Jugs 1.

    I fired one test round to establish that the bullet hits exactly 2" above POA at 10 feet. I lined up 6 gallon jugs touching each other, filled to the top with water, and capped them. Each jug is 6" thick / wide.

    POA was the bottom edge of the milk label, and POI was +2", i.e. right through the fat part of the jugs where they are 6" wide. The slug passed through the first three jugs in a straight line--I think it deviated very slightly downward as it came out the back side of #3. It entered #4 on about the same level as the others, but came out the back about 1.5" lower. It penetrated #5 through-and-through, coming out the back side at the extreme bottom edge. It came to rest between #5 and #6, with the latter jug surviving unscathed.

    Friction-fit caps popped off upon impact, screw-on caps remained in position. Side dimples molded into the plastic bulged, but did not split. The bullet is undeformed; I'll relube with LLA and reload it! (Yes, it's very clean now, after passing through 30" of water. :-)

    Temp was 88 degrees at dusk--no muzzle flash noticeable.

    Not long ago I posted milk jug results of a .38SPL 200g LSWC-K at 718fps and a .32S&W Long 115g LFP at 770fps on GBO forums. Summary: both of those loads penetrated all 6 jugs and dented a 2x12 board placed behind the row of jugs. The .32 deviated slightly downward en route; the .38 bored arrow-straight through all 6 and knocked down the 16" long piece of 2x12. Future testing of the LSWC-K at same MV as this current LRN slug will allow me to determine whether that increased performance is because of the LSWC-K profile, or more a function of the higher velocity of that load.

  8. #22
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    Hey again LouisianaMan;

    The 179 fps increase in velocity that my hand load exhibited over yours only netted one extra jug. I'm pretty certain that such tests against water filled jugs aren't scientifically valid but it's fun to read about them. At least we know how 200 grain bullets fired at different velocities from .38 Special revolvers perform in them.

  9. #23
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    BMC,

    Right, nobody has yet been attacked by milk jugs, so killing them is really only relevant as a penetration comparison to other gun/ammo combinations against a single "standard" medium. The Steve's Pages water jug penetration database (see earlier post) broadens our ability to test against this medium and derive a sense of relative tendency to penetrate. I like the Brasscatcher site, too, which scientifically conducts gelatin tests.

    It's interesting to read military, SD and even hunting sources which strive to analyze "effectiveness" of various ammo types and loads. A large degree of consensus seems to conclude that shot placement & penetration are the two top concerns. Far less consensus exists when it comes to stretch cavities and the like.

    My current interest in heavy-for-caliber .38SPL rounds is a reflection of my own thoughts about the snubnose revolver's capabilities as an ammunition delivery system, as well as my abilities and those of my wife and daughters. After airweights & +P experiences with them, I started looking at standard pressure .38s in steel revolvers. That gave me a new interest in WC, SWC, and the 200g heavyweights. Of course, that was already old news in the 1930s, but it was news to me! :-)

  10. #24
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Ok, time to revive this thread.

    I ordered some 200 grain RNL Lyman 358430 bullets from Western Bullet Co. ($10.50/100 + shipping-ouch!) just to make sure that I really wanted to get a mold for that bullet. Thanks to LouisianaMan I was able to make a deal for that mold, having decided I really do want it.

    My primary interest in these bullets, other than just the usual handloaders desire to play with new loads, is to develop a mild IDPA load that makes power factor. I'm currently making it using a 158 grain RNL at +P velocities with HS6, but I'd like to see if something milder will work.

    So, with that in mind, I loaded up some test loads and headed off to the range. I used CBC (Magtech) cases, Federal Small Pistol Primers, and HS6 and Trail Boss powders. I crimped in the grove on the 358430 bullet (my, that bullet in a 38 case looks mighty top heavy), I don't have the OAL in front of me.

    My goal of finding a good IDPA load means that I have to make 125,000 power factor. A 200 grain bullet makes it at 625 fps. I'm hoping to get an average of around 650-675 from my 4" 681 so I can safely make it in case anyone ever actually checks.

    Anyway, as one can see from my results, I'm not there yet:

    4.8 grains of HS6 gave me an average velocity of 573fps
    3.3 grains of Trail Boss gave me an average velocity of 581fps

    My Chronograph was acting a little screwy today, but I am pretty sure the data on these loads was right on. I am going to replace the battery and retest this weekend (of course I didn't have a spare battery at the range today). Both felt very mild, especially the Trail Boss load. In addition to retesting the above loads, I'm going to bump up the powder charges and try those as well. I think another 100 fps with either powder is both possible and safe. I am, of course, willing to try other powders if they don't work out. I have a huge supply of HS6, and Trail Boss is one of my favorites, so I'd like to do it with one or both of those. I was originally planning to try 2400 also, but it doesn't meter well for some reason in my Lee Auto Disk Pro, and I don't want to work up an IDPA load that I can't load effectively in volume. Since the 2400 is always dead on out of my RCBS Uniflow, I'm going to just keep it for my .357 Magnum and .44 Special loads (maybe I'll try it in .45-70 also), which I load on a Rockchucker and charge with the Uniflow.

    Anyway, hopefully I'll have more data after this weekend. The search continues...
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  11. #25
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    They're pricey from Western Bullet but try the Lyman 358627, the 215gr SWC-GC. It's the same bullet I use in my .357 Magnum load on my website. Loaded in the front crimping groove gives an OAL of 1.475" with the .38 Special.

    I custom load some of this in the .38 Special to just over 700fps in a 6 inch barrel for a butcher. He uses this load to put down the cattle in a bang-flop fashion. He says to get consistent 15 inches of penetration on headshots.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    They're pricey from Western Bullet but try the Lyman 358627, the 215gr SWC-GC. It's the same bullet I use in my .357 Magnum load on my website. Loaded in the front crimping groove gives an OAL of 1.475" with the .38 Special.

    I custom load some of this in the .38 Special to just over 700fps in a 6 inch barrel for a butcher. He uses this load to put down the cattle in a bang-flop fashion. He says to get consistent 15 inches of penetration on headshots.
    15" through the skull of a cow? Is that through the front? Thats amazing!

    I was wondering does anyone load the 200 grain in a 357 mag load, it seems that you could get the best of both worlds there, heavy bullet, high speed. If you had a 200 grain hollowpoint it should do it all!

  13. #27
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I load a 215gr LSWC in the .357 Magnum to 1125fps from a 4 inch revolver. In my .357 Mag all I shoot are the two loads I sell, the 180gr LFN and the 215gr LSWC. Both leave buckets of blood on deer.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  14. #28
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    I think a heavy bullet LSWCHP would be a fantastic defense load in .357 Magnum. I loaded some of the 200 grain bullets in .357 also, but the RN profile isn't ideal for the application. I like RN bullets for IDPA since they are much faster going into the cylinder, but for defense I think a SWC or SWCHP is a much better choice.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  15. #29
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I've shot a few of the heavy RCBS silhouette bullets in the .357 Mag. They are pretty nice. Like a RNFP with a gas check.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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