Recommended powders for 38 Special

This is a discussion on Recommended powders for 38 Special within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I've been using lately lots of Hodgdon HS-6 but it is one dirty powder. Today, after 100 round of drills with my 637, the cylinder ...

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Thread: Recommended powders for 38 Special

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Recommended powders for 38 Special

    I've been using lately lots of Hodgdon HS-6 but it is one dirty powder.

    Today, after 100 round of drills with my 637, the cylinder became hard to turn. It was only noticeable when the cylinder was open and did not affect function.

    It turned out to be carbon residue built up in the cylinder's front bearing where the yoke goes into the cylinder. It is apparent that normal combustion product leakeage around the forcing cone gap was depositing this in the bearing (which is right under the gap). A good scrubbing with CLP and all was right again in S&W-land.

    But I would like some recommendations on cleaner burning powders for 38 Special loaded with 158 gr hard cast lead bullets at 850 to 900 fps. My local suppliers have a good selection of IMR, Hodgdon, and Alliant products.

    Thanks.

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    Altho a fast powder Bullseye has always seemed fairly clean - but Viht N-310 is better still - almost identical burn rate but pricey. Both can do well for a lighter type load but because fast - care with charge weight - see manuals for loads.

    I have started using Solo 1000 - very economical and altho a flake powder, it seems to meter OK. Got an 8# jug for shotshells but it goes a long way with .38 spl loadings. Does not seem too bad for crud altho I have always found some mess just from Alox type lube residue on hardcasts.

    There are plenty of powders that do work fine with .38 spl but not sure other than Viht what is cleanest overall - maybe Bullseye worth a try.
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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Bullseye

    unique

    work well and burn pretty clean

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    Member Array LastManOut's Avatar
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    I have been reloading .38 S&W Special with Bullseye for a few months now, about 1000 rounds total (400 during a training weekend without cleaning) through my 642 without a problem.

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    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Thanks. I remembered I have a jar of Hodgdon Clays for my very infrequent shotgun reloading. Any experience? I do know Clays burns pretty clean in shotguns, which is why it is a fav of semi auto shooters.

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    Lee 2nd edition gives this for Clays - with 158 cast ....... 2.8 (812 fps) to max of 3.1 (871 fps). Strikes me this will be similar loadings to Bullseye charges.

    Lyman #47 OTOH mentions Clays for 158 JHP 2.8 to 3.2 max but quotes very low velocities.
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    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Strikes me this will be similar loadings to Bullseye charges.
    Good. Being so fast burning, looks like Clays will leave a lot less junk in the 2" barrel of my gun.

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    Just be sure to work up loads anyways - usual - start 10% down. Best to play safe particularly with faster powders.
    Chris - P95
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    Senior Member Array flagflyfish's Avatar
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    my opinion only

    Here's what I do to keep my reloads clean. That "junk" in the barrel is unburnt powder, when I work up a load, I decide what is best for the bullet I'm using (velocity,CUP, etc.) and load 20. go to the range with a clean gun, and shoot a few. Check the barrel, anything in there is unburnt powder. On the next 20, reduce your powder measure by 1-2/10ths of a grain. repeat until you find no unburnt powder in the barrel. A chrono helps a lot as velocity vs. powder proportions will vary from gun to gun.
    My "pet" load for my 38's is: 148gr lead wadcutter, 3.2 gr HP 38 powder, the velocity is +/- 768fps w/ CUP of 15900

    I have found that anything over 800fps on that bullet makes it unstable in flight JMHO Rex
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    I've used a moderate charge of Unique beneath a 158 grain SWC since the mid-70's. Another favored load is Bullseye beneath a 148 grain hollow base wadcutter.

    Never worried about clean versus dirty powders. I clean the guns afterwards.

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    Thumbs up Good ole...................

    UNIQUE

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    I like Titegroup.

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    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    I'm going to try Clays next when my HS-6 is gone, because I already have it. Then I will pick up a can of Bullseye.

    I dig Alliant's rifle powder, particualry Reloder 15. With 45.5 grains of that in a Lapua 308 Win case and a Sierra 155 gr Match King, I can pound the x ring at 600 yards without mercy with my 30" barreled Remington M700 custom prone rifle.

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    JPP
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    I really like 231 for all my 9mm, .38 special and .45 loads.......
    Good price, clean burning and purty accurate.

    JP
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    Senior Member Array threefeathers's Avatar
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    I use good ol Unique a bunch, but PB is one hell of a powder.

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