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Lead bullets .38 pistol #5424914 05/09/20 05:06 PM
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762fermeandyou Offline OP
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The nice thing about social distancing is time at the press. I mainly load jacketed lead in rifle and pistol, however the possibility of more accuracy and less wear is appealing with lead. I have 3 small batches of .38 special loaded to try in my .357. I have a Ruger LCR, so accuracy is in the 7 yd range. Target shooting only.
1. 158gr lswchp 5 gr Unique
2. 158gr lswchp 5 gr Power pistol
3. 158 gr swc 4 gr Win 231

Load parameters are from Lyman 50, and the cast lead book

In the future I want to add a .357 6".

Sm pistol primers are in short supply these days, but still alot of powder available with hazmat.

Any BITOG's loading for .38 caliber?


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Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5424934 05/09/20 05:40 PM
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Slick17601 Offline
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I load thousands of .38 Special with lead bullets each year. My two main loads are a 130 Summers bullet with 3.4 grains of Clay's and 148 Zero HBWC with 3.4 grains of Hp-38.

The three load you mention will be quite serviceable.


2018 RAM Bighorn 5.7
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Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5424949 05/09/20 06:09 PM
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WyrTwister Offline
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I load SWC's & RNL's from Lee molds . In .38 special cases . I tumble lube with a mix of Johnson Paste Wax + paint thinner + Lee Liquid Alox .

I shoot them in .357 Mag wheel guns and a Rossi lever gun ( I do not own a .38 Special gun ) . I load about 2/3 of a .357 powder charge w/ the bullets seated / crimped to ~ the same OAL as factory .357 ammo .

I just about shoot home cast bullets ( for hand guns ) , sized to ~ .002" over grove diameter .


Wyr
God bless
Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5425005 05/09/20 07:21 PM
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JohnnyJohnson Offline
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I make up about a three pound coffee can of these every year. 150 Gr SWC'ers. Casting season is about to get under way. Then next winter when the weather isn't so nice I size and lube them. I am just finishing up loading last years cast bullets.

[Linked Image]


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Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: JohnnyJohnson] #5425661 05/10/20 04:04 PM
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762fermeandyou Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
I make up about a three pound coffee can of these every year. 150 Gr SWC'ers. Casting season is about to get under way. Then next winter when the weather isn't so nice I size and lube them. I am just finishing up loading last years cast bullets.

[Linked Image]


Very nice Johnny Johnson!!


62 Mercury Meteor 5.0 10w30 VPB blend / FL1A
95 Jeep ZJ 4.0 5w30 Havoline Conv / Rislone ZDDP / XG8A
15 Silverado 5.3 0w20 QSUD / PF63E
17 Explorer 3.5 N/A 5w20 Napa syn / Napa Proformer
Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: Slick17601] #5425673 05/10/20 04:23 PM
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762fermeandyou Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Slick17601
I load thousands of .38 Special with lead bullets each year. My two main loads are a 130 Summers bullet with 3.4 grains of Clay's and 148 Zero HBWC with 3.4 grains of Hp-38.

The three load you mention will be quite serviceable.


All 3 loads worked quite well.

Power pistol burned completely, acceptable accuracy, recoil was fine
Unique was slightly less efficient, felt recoil was like 45ACP, acceptable accuracy
231 burned completely, acceptable accuracy, recoil was LIGHT

Between the 3 loads I fired 80 rounds. Barrel had minor leading, forcing cone was the heaviest, but I could have shot more before I had to clean it. Butch BS and CLP brushed barrel spotless.

I think I will reload with power pistol and 231, tweak the powder charge, and enjoy the hobby.


62 Mercury Meteor 5.0 10w30 VPB blend / FL1A
95 Jeep ZJ 4.0 5w30 Havoline Conv / Rislone ZDDP / XG8A
15 Silverado 5.3 0w20 QSUD / PF63E
17 Explorer 3.5 N/A 5w20 Napa syn / Napa Proformer
Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5425695 05/10/20 05:10 PM
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JohnnyJohnson Offline
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Originally Posted by 762fermeandyou
Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
I make up about a three pound coffee can of these every year. 150 Gr SWC'ers. Casting season is about to get under way. Then next winter when the weather isn't so nice I size and lube them. I am just finishing up loading last years cast bullets.

[Linked Image]


Very nice Johnny Johnson!!


Thanks. I'd wanted to do this for years and finally I finally got started about five years ago. I also load for my 9MM's and 45's.


2004 Corolla 140120
Out: Havoline Pro DS 10w-30 Purolator PureOne 10-29-19 136457
In: Pennzoil Platinum HM 5W-20 ST 4386
2006 Duramax 77077
Out: T6 5W-40 XG9100 73909
In: Rotella Dino PH9100 11-3-19
Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5429494 05/14/20 10:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
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bunnspecial Offline
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I rarely load anything other than lead(cast or swaged) in 38 special.

I will say that Power Pistol is not a favorite of mine in lower pressure cartridges(I find it comes into its own in 9mm and 38 Super, which is where I've used it) but both Win 231 and Unique seem almost purpose made for this caliber.

Many folks like to beat the drum of "hard cast" bullets. Resist the temptation, and if you start shoving 16+ BHN bullets in 38 special you might find yourself with leading that will give you nightmares. Back when I was still learning my way around this, I'd come home from the range after shooting low pressure bullets too hard and I'd end up pushing out 3" long strips of lead with a tornado brush. Most calibers(even magnums) need properly sized bullets, not crazy hard, and something like a 38 special sings with a swaged pure lead bullet(dead soft, maybe ~6 BHN) up to about a 12 BHN. During firing, you the bullet to obturate to the barrel to as to seal. 38 special doesn't generate the pressures needed for harder bullets to do that, and you can instead end up with a poorly sealed bullet that has combustion gases escape around it, melt it, and effectively solder lead to the barrel. Just say no to hardcast, especially in 38 special.

Also, please work up your loadings(although it's not an issue with any gun made probably since the 1950s if not earlier with targets in the standard pressure range) but SP Magnums and small rifle are all the same size. If you're on the bleeding edge of pressure limits, you don't want to mess with things by changing your primer type, but if you're in plinking range(which all of your loads sound like) you should be safe interchanging any of those primer types depending on what's available. I actually load 32-20 with small rifle primers. Some load data specifies it, and I find that I get more consistent velocities using the hotter primer with relatively low volumes of powder in the long 32-20 case.

Last edited by bunnspecial; 05/14/20 10:07 PM.

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Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5430762 05/16/20 03:34 PM
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762fermeandyou Offline OP
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Update!! Quite happy. Hammerless Ruger LCR 357. I chose 231 as one powder to work with. Prepped mixed cases, cleaned and tumbled, no trim needed. CCI primed. Loaded to 1.445 with Rimrock 158 LSWC. 15 Br, no gas check. Mild Taper crimp. The rounds looked fantastic.

Bumped powder charge to 4.2g, .2 over max to Lyman Cast Manual. Forcing Cone and barrel look like i am shooting Jacketed. Cases ejected well, very little unburnt powder. Primer hit was quite noticable. Recoil was reasonable. Accuracy was consistently a 3" group or less at 35 yds. Couple flyers but that was me.

Ditching the laser grip, going for the G10. Thanks everyone for all the great advice. Stay safe


62 Mercury Meteor 5.0 10w30 VPB blend / FL1A
95 Jeep ZJ 4.0 5w30 Havoline Conv / Rislone ZDDP / XG8A
15 Silverado 5.3 0w20 QSUD / PF63E
17 Explorer 3.5 N/A 5w20 Napa syn / Napa Proformer
Re: Lead bullets .38 pistol [Re: 762fermeandyou] #5430824 05/16/20 05:28 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
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bunnspecial Offline
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Thanks for the good report!

There's little to dislike about a properly loaded lead bullet, especially for range use in lower pressure/velocity calibers. They are easy to load, cheap to shoot, and aside from a bit more smoke when shooting(from the lube) are not appreciably more dirty than jacketed(or plated). 231 shoots nice and clean, too, and again is almost a perfect powder for 38 Special.


2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50
1974 Austin Marina GT VR-1 20W-50
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