38 +P Special loads

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by BodieBill, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. BodieBill

    BodieBill New Member

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    What are your favorite loads for
    38 Special + P
    357 Mag + P
  2. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    hard question to answer without knowing what type of handgun they are going to be fired out of. a 2in bbl 3in bbl . steel or some type of lite weight alloy etc.... for my 2in bbl colt detective special i use 158 gr swchp +p for my lite weight s&w model 37 hornady 125 gr jhp non +p for my python 6in bbl i use 180 gr jhp so the answer depends on gun , bbl lenght, etc....
  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Bodie Bill:

    In general +P loads are a bad idea. They stress the gun to the max. If it is a defense gun then the risk of gun damage is trumped by the desire for a long personal life. But even if you use +P loads for defense it is not a good idea to give any gun those loads regularly for general target practice.

    I say use 38 Special loads in a 38 Special gun and use 38 special loads, 38 +P loads and regular 357 mag loads in a 357 gun. The guns will be much happier for it.

    LDBennett
  4. I pretty much agree with LDB on this one. The only time I will use +P loads in a .38 is when the weapon is factory rated for their use and I am carrying the rounds for defensive purposes. I do believe +P ammo gives one a slight advantage in bullet performance over standard velocity, especially when using hollow-point defensive rounds out of a short barreled snubbie. To me, that seems a reasonable precaution. Otherwise though, like LDB, I shoot standard pressure rounds in my .38s and reserve the "hot" stuff for a .357.
  5. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    Regarding your question on the 357 mag there is no +P rating for 357 mag. The Industry average maximun pressure for the 357 is 35,000 psi so I stay within that range.

    For 38's I have two that are not rated for +P so I stay within standard pressure for those. On ones that are rated for +P I usually shoot cast lead and don't horse the loads too much. For jacketed bullets I have had good luck with blue dot powder and try to use the most accurate which is usually not at max.

    For self defense I like the factory load of the old FBI load of 158 gr LSWC-HP.
  6. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

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    .357 Mag +P? I didn't know there was such a creature.


    Anyway. .Remington 38 Spl.+P Lead Semi Wadcutter Hollowpoint 158 gr. (and for backup a speedloader of Buffalo Bore LSWCHP)
    and Remington .357 Magnum 180 gr SJHP (and for backup a speedloader of Buffalo Bore .357 Magnum 180 gr flat nose)
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Doug.38PR said:

    ".357 Mag +P? I didn't know there was such a creature."

    There is if you foolishly reload it that way!

    +P anything is not a good idea.

    LDBennett
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    it was one of those ".357 +P" loads that bulged the barrel on my mod. 586... My fault, i misread the reloading data, i now double check the data and write it down on a separate piece of paper then triple check the data before starting.
  9. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

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    Whooo. Well, it's my understanding that handgun rounds today are not waht they were 50 years ago, that ammunition companies have been quietly reducing their loads for years. In other words, if you found a box of standard .38 Special LRN from 1942, you'd get probably around 890 ft per second instead of today's 750 ft per second. The former actually being right around what modern day +P ammo is in the same bullet weight. Same thing with the .357 magnum. Not that I'd want to go take a .357 magnum and turn it into a howitzer. (although I do like Buffalo Bore rounds www.buffalobore.com if you look at their ballistics for some reason they are way over regular factory rounds)

    Now, this doesn't mean I'm going to take a 1940s gun and put 50 boxes of +P ammo through it on the range.

    From what my understanding is, it's safe for you...it's just not as healthy for the gun in the longrun. The factories (Colt, S&W, et al) will tell you "it's safe but it will just cause accelerated wear on the gun."

    I plan on getting into reloading as soon as I can (to try to save money shooting). Looking forward to it, but am going to proceed with caution.

    For rangetime, I'll probably put 1 +P round through my gun for every 20 standards as far as my Colt OPs and S&W M-15s go. For my D frame Detective Special...maybe 1 cylinder full of +P every 6 months to handle the slightly greater recoil.
  10. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    357 Magnum two reasons:

    First the powders have changed over the years.

    Secondly the testing is much more sophisticated and the pressure measurment devices more accurate to determine what is safe. What was loaded 50 years ago may not have been safe because they couldn't effectively measure safe. Elmer Keith went to the 44 Special after blowing up a 45 LC with a seat of the pants style. If that is what you desire then go for it, just be sure to warn everyone when you go to the range that there could be schrapnel flying.
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    hmmm
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  13. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

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    How is that? If it doesn't save you money, then that just means that yous pend 3 hours reloading and 1 hours shooting when you could have spent 3 minutes buying ammo and 4 hours shooting.
  14. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    You don't save any money because you shoot more, up to the point that your previous ammo budget is consumed and maybe more. While not all of us do it that way, most find the easier availability of reloaded ammo conducive to shooting more. Its just a fact of life.

    LDBennett
  15. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    Reloading saves you in cost per shot... but it seems that if your overall ammo budget is $100, you're likely to spend all $100 whether you use factory ammo or reload either one.
  16. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    The initial entry costs can be high if you buy new. Once you get set up then you'll start thinking about an electronic scale, or complete electronic powder dispenser system, tumbler, off line priming, power station, more reloading manuals, ... Then you realize how much faster a progressive press would be.

    When that all makes it easier to load then you can load many more rounds and if you sit down and figure out just the component cost per round you can fool yourself into thinking you are saving money. If you amortize in all the fixed costs into the per round cost it's unlikely you will cover your fixed costs for a very long time. By then you will convince yourself you need new equipment. In addition you will shoot more often as you just have to see how that new load performs.

    The bottom line is starting reloading just to save money is the wrong reason. What you will get is a great hobby that is alot of fun and provides you with inventory for another great hobby, shooting.
  17. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    The reloading manuals vary alot i.e. sierra,speer,hornady,lyman,alliant,etc. on what are +P loads. The Hornady manual lists for 125 grain hpxtp bullet, 4.2 grains to 5.0 grains bullseye for "regular" 38 special loads with +P starting at 5.3 grains.BUT Speer says for 125 grain jacketed bullet,+P loads are from 4.5 to 4.8 grains of bullseye.
    So by one manual, 4.5 grains bullseye is medium 38 spl. load in other manual it is +P load.
  18. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    38Special:

    The different manuals specify different components and hence have different loads. You will find that as you proceed you typically rely on one manual more than others. Whatever you do the important thing is to diligently check for signs of pressure as you are firing. If you are showing pressure then back off and pull bullets if you have to. I remember last summer I had a 38 Spl day for myself at the range and one of my loads was a relatively mild loading of a cast DEWC bullet. I had one revolver that was showing signs of pressure for that load so I stopped using it in that one. The others would fire it without any issue so each firearm is unique and that revolver just didn't like that type of bullet.

    The manuals are a guide to operate within but be aware of what is going on with your firearm. My goal is always the best accuracy and you will usually not find that at the very top of the range.
  19. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I got into reloading because it does save you money. It won't if you must have the very best, and the very latest in reloading equipment. Start with a reloading manual, and read it! Then when you are ready, purchase a simple progressive press, powder dump, and hand held auto priming tool. Go by the book! Will you shoot more? Yes, but you will still save money if you load right, and don't try shooting everything you can load. Put some back. I reload around 500 rds. at a time, and can make that last for several months, as I reload in 6 different calibers for hand guns only. All of my reloads are for target practice, or hunting. I reload nothing that I will carry in a SD long gun, or hand gun. Those I purchase over the counter. .380, .38, .44 spc., 44 mag, .45 auto, and .357 for SD in pistol and rifle ammo. You do what you want to, but I strongly recommend that you never carry reloads in a SD gun of any kind!
  20. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    There is in no way I could buy ammo and shoot as much as I do, I mostly reload ammo for the gratifacation of being able to build better then factory ammo. I can tweek my ammo to the particular weapon I'm loading for, but by all means I don't save money. You will shoot more and have another addiction though..
    Tim
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