Who Loads and Shoots for the .38 S&W (Not Special), .380 Rimmed, etc.

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Ed Harris posted this 17 January 2017

As FYI, now in the Accurate catalog 36-151H is based on the 45-240H1 for the .455 Webley, simply reducing the diameter to .360” with tolerance positive to provide correct fit for .362” cylinder throats as-cast without sizing.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 17 January 2017

I do as I collect Iver Johnson revolvers and like to shoot them. I have over 75 IJs, most of which are too old and nice to shoot. However I have made sure I have some shooters of the various models. I am hoping to do a FS article featuring some of my one-of-a-kind prototypes, rare models and on handloading/shooting them. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Larry Gibson posted this 17 January 2017

I have two 38 S&W revovlers; an Iver Johnson and a Harrington and Richardson, both hammerless DA only.  I shoot them occasionally for fun.  I load a 105 gr Lee SWC as cast (.360 - .361)  over just enough Bullseye to poke holes in paper or to penetrate both sides of a pop can........

 

They are fun to shoot. 

 

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Ed Harris posted this 17 January 2017

Larry,

What would you recommend as a safe charge of Bullseye in the top-breaks with Bullseye using 125-155 grain bullets?

A friend is using 1.8 grs. of Bullseye with Accurate 36-155D and 2 grains with 36-125T in his British Bulldog, in Fiocchi .380 Rimmed Short brass (.687” case) with good results on barnyard pests, skunks, etc.  But he hasn't tried these in his S&W New Departure Safety Hammerless yet.  I think they are “probably” OK, but we don't want to risk a valuable collectible without validation from somebody who has stepped in this pool already.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 17 January 2017

Ed,

I load these for my IJs break-tops. They are all chrono at about 550 - 630.

2 gr.- Red Dot,

2.8 gr.- Unique,

2 gr.- Bullseye,

1.9 gr- WW-231

2.2 gr. -700X

with Arsenal 360-135 RF

and 

1.8 gr. - Bullseye

1.8 gr. - Unique

2.2 - WW-231

with Arsenal 360-162 RF

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Larry Gibson posted this 17 January 2017

Ed

 

My pressure testing of the 38 S&W is incomplete at this time.  I've pressure tested 2 loads of 38 S&W with an Oehler M43 using a Contender .357 barrel.  The extra length of the 357 chamber also approximates the cylinder throat length.  Granted there is no barrel/cylinder gap but that means the measured psi will just be a bit higher in the Contender barrel.  Given the nature of strain gauge psi measurement it requires about 7 - 9000 psi to get a measurement.  SAAMI MAP for the 38 S&W is 14,500 psi (transducer/strain) which is intended for solid frame guns.  As a reference the 38 SPL has a MAP of 17,000 psi.  Most all factory 38 SPL psi's I've measured run 14,500 to 16000 psi.....that's a typical fudge factor between the SAAMI MAP (Maximum Average Pressure) and actual measured factory psi's.  Contrary to popular belief most factory ammunition is not loaded to SAAMI MAP.

As to my tested loads;  while 38 S&W cartridges do not chamber I used R-P match 38 SPL cases trimmed back to 38 S&W length. They are the thinnest back to the web of any 38 SPL cases I've found cut back to .38 S&W length and are very close in dimension to modern 38 S&W cases.  I loaded the same load as I load in 38 S&W cases using 2 gr Bullseye under the 105 gr Lee SWC and the 150 gr Lyman 358477 with a CCI SPP.  After 10 rounds tested with the Lee bullet I got no psi measurement.  That means the psi was less than the required 7 - 8000+ psi needed to put a strain on the barrel to measure.  After 10 test shots of the 358477 bullet there were 2 very low erratic measurements indicating barely any consistent strain on the barrel at all. 

 

Thus I have had no problem shooting either bullet with 2 gr Bullseye in either of my revolvers. I prefer the Lee bullet simply because it uses 2/3 the alloy per shot and hits to point of aim at tin can distance.........

 

If you'd like to send me some of your bullets or your friends bullets and load info I'd be glad to pressure test them?

 

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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RicinYakima posted this 17 January 2017

Data! We need Data! Watching closely for this information. Best wishes, Ric

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M3 Mitch posted this 21 January 2017

For my old top-break 38 S&W, one so old the cylinder revolves in the same direction as a modern Colt, based on the Lyman 45th handbook, I stick with a starting load of Unique.  I have not tried Bullseye, but no doubt it works well too, although, I would stick to a starting load here too.

 

This is a very small, old revolver, 5-shot, and I don't want to over-stress it.  I have shot it quite a bit with the Lyman 133 grain bullet, which casts a big fat .360, and with the starting load of Unique it shoots “minute of beer can” out to say 30 yards anyway. 

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tturner53 posted this 21 January 2017

My old S&W top break .38 S&W is accurate enough with a cast 128 gr RNFP over 3 gr. of Unique. My notes say it's a 'light' load. Done with .38 Special dies. The primers do look a tad flat, may back off a bit.

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Ed Harris posted this 21 January 2017

The flat primers are probably not due to pressure alone, but likely from the primer cup being forced back during the initial primer blast, followed by the case head being slammed driven against the recoil shield as pressure builds and drives the case back to take up any existing head clearance and/or end shake.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 22 January 2017

Tim, I solved that by using a thicker primer cup, as in Fed 200. Small pistol power but thicker cup, and still my oldest single action Baby Russians will pierce one once in a while.  HTH, Ric

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Ed Harris posted this 22 January 2017

+1 on the Federal 200 primers.  I also use these as a reliability check on carry guns to ensure adequate striker energy.  A revolver which has 0.010” copper indent on the government gage might misfire once in 100 with Federal 200s.  If your gun runs 100 straight of these you have no worries.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Larry Gibson posted this 24 January 2017

Ed

 

Rummaging through my brass I found some actual Starline 38 S&W cases I didn't know I had...

 

Sizing them in a steel 30/357 FL die the chamber in the Contender test barrel.  Have them all prepped ready to load and test.  Just waiting on the bullets.

 

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Ed Harris posted this 24 January 2017

The Accurate 36-151H mold blocks arrived today, tomorrow I plan to cast bullets for you, Ric Bowman and Joe Gifford to test and get them all in the mail by the end of the week.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 24 January 2017

We will be awaiting their arrival.

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Ed Harris posted this 25 January 2017

Multiple boxes of sample bullets out to everyone this morning.  

Watch your mail.

Ric, you got a double-ration to share with Joe Gifford.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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tturner53 posted this 25 January 2017

I think Ed's right about the flat primers on my S&W brass. Not terrible flat. Compared them to fired Winchester factory ammo (148 gr. lead) and there's little difference. That old girl really smacks the primers and leaves a deep firing pin indent. I used Fed 100's in my handloads, no 200's on hand. I save most of my Fed. 100 primers for 'carry' ammo for my Charter Arms Undercover. Next time I load the .38 S&W I'll try different primers.  _On a side note years ago Sacramento was a manly place. One of my favorite gun stores was also a major importer of surplus guns. I recall buying S&W .38 revolvers for give away prices. Many were Lend Lease returns, I believe. Got a batch of 5, 2 were .38 S&W. Shoulda kept them.

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Larry Gibson posted this 01 February 2017

 

Bumping thread; received bullets from Ed yesterday and loaded the test loads.  Ran the test today. compiling data sheets for write up.  Trying to figure out how to post picture and data sheets.  Obviously I haven't figured it out........

 

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Ed Harris posted this 01 February 2017

 

Bumping thread; received bullets from Ed yesterday and loaded the test loads.  Ran the test today. compiling data sheets for write up.  Trying to figure out how to post picture and data sheets.  Obviously I haven't figured it out........ 

LMG

THANKS for the effort!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Larry Gibson posted this 02 February 2017

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Larry Gibson posted this 02 February 2017

38 S&W Pressure Tests 

Earlier in this thread I offered to test some of the loads mentioned for pressure to determine what level of safety there was for the different strength of revolvers made for the 38 S&W cartridge.  Ed Harris graciously sent me some bullets and the data for several test loads.  I also had on hand three 38 S&W factory loads plus my own 38 S&W load I use in my Harrington & Richardson revolver.

 

The test handgun is a TC Contender with a 7.94” long 357 magnum barrel. The bore is .347 and the groove is .357.  A strain gauge is attached over the center of the chamber (as per SAAMI specifications).  With a 38 S&W cartridge chambered the gauge is over the case just below the base of a factory seated bullet.   The strain gauge is attached to an Oehler M43 PBL that is interfaced with a laptop computer which has the software.  As you will note on the Oehler data sheets there is considerable data input on the conditions, test firearm and load information prior to testing.  Each strain gauge is calibrated by the manufacturer and that is also input.  I also use factory ammunition as a “reference”.  Before each test the M43 runs a check on the gauge to ensure all is correct.  A test cannot be done if that test is not correct.

 

 

 

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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