Help w/Winchester 231

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by azleite, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. azleite

    azleite Member

    Sep 8, 2009
    N. Texas
    Hi Folks, I'm new here & need some help. I've been reloading for about a year now & have used the Lee 2nd Edition manual as a guide. I only use Winchester 231 for all my pistol loads.It works great. Recently I was told that Winchester powders are now Hodgdon & that 231 & HP38 are the same. Well, over the weekend I loaded up some .38's w/158 gr LSWC bullets. My Lee manual lists 4.0 grs as starting & 4.5 as max. I loaded them at starting(4.0) Today I went to Hodgdon's website & they list their loads for this bullet at 3.1 starting & 3.7 max w/231. Are these going to be safe to shoot out of my Speed Six? Do I need to pull the bullets & start over? Should I ignore the Lee data from now on & trust the powder makers only? In all honesty I've not had any issues with the Lee data thus far when loading for:.45ACP/ 9mm/.38-.357 all w/231 & .223 w/Varget. Thanks for any help-Dave
  2. Lotsdragon

    Lotsdragon New Member

    Apr 5, 2009
    Potosi, Mo
    If it were me I would pull them. No need to stress you gun or your casings if you dont need too, thats just me though I use lite loaded 38's in my 357 anyways. I only depend on the powder recommendations. Most times they are the same but not always.Good luck and be safe.........

  3. jdon72

    jdon72 Member

    Feb 3, 2009
    Keep in mind when using lead bullets, you will use a little less charge compared to to jacketed bullets...Was your 4gr load for jacketed and not lead? You may have tooo much pressure for the load but there are always different recipes from different manufactures of powders and bullets.

    I use 231 as well as some others and it is a faster burning careful
  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Dave, welcome to the Forum.

    Personally, I would leave them alone and shoot them. I just looked at Hornady #7 manual and they show a range of 3.2 to 4.4 grains of Win 231 for a 158 grain Lead Semi-Wadcutter. The Lyman # 49 manual shows the range as 3.6 minimum to 4.0 maximum of Win 231. I think that if you looked at 10 different manuals you would probably get 10 different recommendations!
  5. Oohrah

    Oohrah New Member

    Mar 1, 2008
    Stay with the loading manual data. Even though powder the company has combined with another, if it is Winchester 231, use only that data that is stated for that powder. There may be confusion with the H and IMR powders that are close, but burning rates can differ, and the maximum loads may or may not be safe if your firearm. They may have little or no effects on the lower loadings. You should be fine with the 4.0 grs of 231. Max on the smaller 38 Special case with 155 gr to 160 gr lead is 4.7 to 4.9. The only load listed for .357 Mag with the 231 powder is 90 grain with a start of 8.1 grs and a max of 10.1. This comes from Lyman 49th Edition. The little longer case it recomments other powders, and they may give better results for some reason.
  6. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    4.0gr of WW231 with a 158 LSWC on top should be an acceptable load. The Speed-Six is strong enough to stand up to +P .38 Spcl loads and these cast bullet loads shouldn't be too stout.

    In addition to the Hornady and Lyman loads that gd posted, Speer has 4.0-4.4gr listed for their WW231 min/max loads.

    And yes, HP-38 and WW231 are indeed the same powder.
    Hodgdon used to buy it from Olin and rebrand it as HP-38. Hodgdon now owns the Olin plant that used to make it and their other ball (spherical) powders and also the Olin ball powder formulas. Makes for an interesting twist on things, but the end result is the same...HP-38 used to and still does equal WW231.
  7. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    SW. Florida
    You're good to go with 4.0 gr's. of W231 in a .38 spcl. using a 158 gr. lswc. Shoot'em up and enjoy. I wouldn't be surprised if you find that it's a pretty good formula. Let us know how you like them.:)
  8. azleite

    azleite Member

    Sep 8, 2009
    N. Texas
    Thanks Folks, I got some great info out of this thread-plus ya'all helped calm my fears. I should be able to give a range report Sunday, weather permitting in Poolville-Dave
  9. azleite

    azleite Member

    Sep 8, 2009
    N. Texas
    Hi Folks, just a quick range follow up-went to the range & shot 50 rds.of this through my .38 speed six-not so hot accuracy & pretty bad leading.Luckily a guy at the range took the time to show me the effectiveness of a bore snake.I'm sold-I was really dreading that clean up.I pulled the bullets on the other 50 & repowdered them at 3.1 grains.Will see how they shoot.
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