38spl vs 9mm loads ???

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by starman, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. starman

    starman New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    I've loaded thoustands of 38spl simi wad cutter & jacketed rounds. Just got set up to load some 9mm and was comparing powder loads.
    I was surprised when I noticed the 9mm required more powder than the 38spl
    My manual calls for:
    38spl 158g Cast Lead w/ HP38 powder, start 3.1g to Max 3.7g of powder
    Pressure =14600 cup

    38spl 125g jacketed w/ HP38 powder start 3.8g to Max 4.8g
    pressure = 14100 cup

    9mm 115g jacketed w/ HP38 powder start 4.7 to Max 5.1g of powder
    Pressure = 28100 cup

    What got my attentsion was my first drop of powder into the 9mm case filled it more than 50% full, so I've stopped until I hear some opinions from you guys, what do you think, I've always trusted my manual but this makes me scatch my head and pause.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Good to hear from you again Ken. Your info is correct, it all comes down to case volume, bullet weights and design pressures.

  3. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    Pretty much what keeps me interested, the variables that you mention are subtle yet they represent an entire science that reloaders learn over those who simply buy factory ammo to hear their gun go bang. Notice the .38 is one half the CUP of the 9mm. Your loads appear fine.
  4. starman

    starman New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Nice to see you jump in wooleyworm, I've been surfing around the net and pretty well answered my question. I guess my manual is correct it just seemed odd at first but most manuals agree w/ mine so I gues I'm good to go. Just wanted to make sure since my Son will be shooting most of these rounds. These 9mm have quite a bit more pressure taking place and the case is much more full than my 38 spl cases.
    I'm still hitting the range and shooting all I can, just haven't been posting much latley.

    Thanks again
  5. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Two very different cartridges. 38 Special; low pressure revolver originally used with black powder. 9 mm; high pressure, smokeless design, for semi-auto. When in doubt, follow reloading manual's suggestions...
  6. starman

    starman New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Thanks Mike, I'v always followed the manual w/ no problems, just wanted to make sure.
    I'm loading them at the start wt: 4.7g. I'm setting my length has follows see if you agree w/ this logic
    Max OAL = 1.169" Min OAL = 1.125 so I split the difference between Max & Min and come up an OAL of 1.147" hows that sound
    Wooleyworm & Mike or whom ever else would like to join it ?

    Thanks to all
  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth

    OAL will depend upon bullet type and your gun; seat it so that you have plenty of bullet to get a good taper crimp on.
  8. TotheTop83

    TotheTop83 Member

    Jul 2, 2012
    Southwestern PA
    You've already gotten some replies but I figure another "you're good to go" wouldn't hurt.

    I load 124 grain FMJ with 4.7 grains W231 (aka HP38) @ 1.10 OAL (really anywhere from 1.095-1.105)

    Fills that case up probably 60% the way to the top but I've put about 500 of those downrange with no problems and the recoil is surprisingly mild. Since I'm putting 124 in there, the pressure in your rounds should be even lower than mine.

    Have fun!

    EDIT: Hodgon website is a good place to look for starter loads. That's where I got mine. Is the 1.125 OAL listed specific for that load? If so, I'd stick with the listed OAL for the individual load. Loading the round too long reduces the pressure. I'd hate to see you squib one if you load it entirely too long with the minimum load. The manual's aren't interested in you getting hurt.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  9. starman

    starman New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
  10. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    When reloading for semi-autos, I like to start a bit long, in OAL, and use the "thunk test" plus a few thousandths. When the cartridge chambers easily it's good to go...
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