dillon999
dillon999
34 posts
Joined January 2012

38 special

I started to reload 38 special and noticed that the spent casings had traces of unburnt powder. I am using 3.5 grains of 231 behind a 147 grain plated bullet, also using Winchester small primers. The crimp is .379 and the OAL is 1.504. Gun is an S&W model 15.

Since I am just putting holes in paper it is not a big deal but am curious as to the cause of the leftover flakes of powder, not much but some. Thanks in advance.

cliffspot
cliffspot
8 posts
Joined September 2012

RE: 38 special

First, 147 are usually 9mm bullets. Check the size, should be .357-.358. I have used 9mm bullets in 38 loads, not a big deal but you will not get optimum accuracy. Check your crimp. True 38/357 bullets for revolvers have a crimp groove. The combo of insufficient crimp and an undersize bullet be be causing incomplete ignition.
dillon
Administrator
dillon
2,995 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: 38 special

I am unsure of the origin of your loading data, but it seems a bit light. With lighter loads it is common not to get 100% burn of the powder. 38 Spl is a low pressure cartridge to begin with, and has a lot of case volume.  Upon ignition it is easy for a few granules of powder to get pushed around and avoid burning. A hotter load will give you a more complete burn.
dillon999
dillon999
34 posts
Joined January 2012

RE: 38 special

Thanks for the reply and yes this is sold as a bullet for a 38 special. The manufacturer states that you need to taper crimp this bullet as it has no cannelure.

Load data for plated bullets are not published as I see it. I have the latest Lyman, Speer and Hornady books plus I use the Winchester/Hodgdon web data. Only help is if you can find lead data for the same bullet and start testing. I also do a Bing search and search forums such as this but usually you get close to a starting point. By the way these are round nosed plated 147 grain bullets. Sometimes I get the feeling I am the only one using RN bullets as most of the data is for flat nose, usually wade cutters, and hollow points. May have to switch just to get more data.

I would have logically guessed that I had too much powder since some was left, seemed to make sense. But I do see your point about the powder being moved around. I'll try going up a few grains. As I said, not a problem but was curious. Thanks again.
dillon999
dillon999
34 posts
Joined January 2012

RE: 38 special

Just an update using my new toy, a chronograph. I bumped the 231 up to 4.0 grains. Still seeing unburnt powder, orange in color. My speeds are around 649 fps.
wkuban
wkuban
1 post
Joined July 2009

RE: 38 special

I shoot 3.4 of 231 with a Horn. 148 HB wadcutters in .357 cases. There is unburned powder but the load is very accurate in my 6" model 19. WST seems to burn cleaner and I'm in the process of working up a load with it with  158 RN bullets. It'll be for IDPA in 4" guns. You might give it a try with your 147 gr bullets.

azgriz73rph
azgriz73rph
17 posts
Joined January 2013

RE: 38 special

Looks like you've rec'd a few good & acceptable responses& all make sense for 'just punching holes in paper"-- & your chrono data probably ok for snub nose or 2" barrel & < 10 yds shooting/accuracy; if a 4" or 6" barrel, in my opinion, it's a very light load and probably drops about 1.5-2" @ 25 yds, 4-6" at 50 yds ? with the 147gr bullet at that velocity. As for the Win 231 powder, I've shot factory Win. 38 special ammo & have observed same issue,'seemingly, unburnt powder granules, so who knows for sure. If you really wanted to 'test it', you could try a few loads with a
small mag. pistol primer & your 3.5 gr of 231, but I personally would switch to another powder & 158gr LSWC bullet.. but it depends on how many 147gr plated you have left. My preferences are Bullseye, Red Dot & Unique powders & 158GR LSWC bullets @ 800-900 fps in 4" S&W 19's & throttle loads down to 700-800 fps for the snub nose & 2" revolvers--again, were talking 'practice ammo'/paper targets. Sure, Bullseye is a 'dirtier powder' & lead bullets will leave traces of lead in the bore, especially if you crank'um out over 1000-1200 fps, but I'm not there with these loads. And you've have to clean your gun anyway, so to me it's a non-issue.
-->Also, depending on where you can located powder these days and if the retailer has same mark-up, these powders are usually less expensive than 231.
--> As for your 147gr plated bullets, I don't know if you took a random sample of say, 10-20 bullets & 'mic'd' them to ck if dia. ~ 0.357-0.3575 & also ck'd them
for grain-weight variance ? (this probably more important if you want more precision with your accuracy) All depend how relevant the target is or if you're
competing for money or 'bragging rights", etc. Also lots data for these powders
and you can load your 9mm & 45ACP ammo with them, so you can buy in bulk,
not have multiple can of various powders + not have to change switch/powders
as often and you'll be more accustomed to the similar recoil. Hope this helps !