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Quavodus

158 gr cast hp for .38 Special +p loads

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What I'm really looking for is a 158 gr. hp that will expand at .38 +p levels. I don't cast, so it'll be something I can buy. I've tried Hornady 158 gr. swchp and they just ain't got it. Shoot good though. Thanks

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Nothing expands well out of snubs according to Greg Ellifritz.  Also +P  only adds recoil making follow up shots more difficult.  He also carries 38 hbwc in a snub 357 for same reason.

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On 2/21/2020 at 5:22 PM, Quavodus said:

What I'm really looking for is a 158 gr. hp that will expand at .38 +p levels. 

I assume you are searching for these to handload? If so, what medium and process do you use to test them?

As chance R mentions the 158 gr LSCW Hp (Old FBI load) rarely expands in snubs and iirc was originally aimed at 4" plus barrel length...but still kinda iffy expansion.

Jim Cirillo of the old NYPD Stakeout Squad, (Guns, Bullets and Gunfights on Amazon) recommended a full wadcutter bullet with a sharp ogive for revolvers, 148 gr in .38 spl. He collaborated with Fuzzy Fletcher of the old Village Metalworks to produce the Safestop Round years ago. These used a plated 148 gr DEWC that ran at 720 fps (my chrono data from 2005).

There's a lot of good current data and recommendations around right now as we seem to be in a bit of a "Revolver Renaissance" (to borrow a current phrase). Trainers like the aforementioned Greg Ellifritz, Daryl Bolke, Wayne Dobbs and others are recommending wadcutters as functional self defense ammo in snubby's as they yield accurate rounds with adequate penetration and allow non-punishing, fast shot to shot times.

Federal Gold Medal Match is one I often see them recommend.

I use both Rainier and Berry's plated 148 gr DEWC for handloads in .38 spl. The Rainier's have the sharper ogive.

Oh, Michael de Bethencourt mentions Buffalo Bore, but I don't have any experience with these or know if the bullets alone are available for handloads.

https://www.imwithroscoe.com/2009/08/27/snub-training-ammo-questions/

 

A factory round you might consider is the Speer 138 gr Gold Dot for snubbies.

https://www.luckygunner.com/20rds-38-special-speer-gold-dot-short-barrel-135gr-p-hp-ammo

 

I have loaded Speer 158 gr LSWC HP in the past and ran them at +P velocities without noted leading. But I never had any reliable medium for testing expansion. IIRC they are, or were, relatively soft lead.

Cirillo's book.. highly recommended! :)

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Bullets-Gunfights-Modern-Day-Gunfighter/dp/1976745160/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Edited by Jamie Jackson
typo

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Your lead is way too hard. Try some softer stuff and don't try to push it max velocity

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Most of the  SWCHPs that I've ever seen available for reloading were swaged bullets. They're a good bit softer than cast, but I think would be a better choice as they have a better chance of expanding. I also think I'd just load them at standard velocity as +P speeds may cause excessive leading. 

Years ago I used some of the Speer bullets that shot quite well, but I never did any expansion testing on them. Now days I generally load a fairly hard cast plain SWC for range use and use the old FBI factory loads for carry. 

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I don't really have any good expansion media, just wet newspaper and phone books or catalogues. Another thing I don't like about Hornady swc are they have a narrow meplat. I wish the Buffalo Bore bullets were available.  They'd probably cost about as much as loaded ammo though. Lol.

 

 

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Could try loading the 158 gr lead hollow base backwards and see how they perform.

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14 hours ago, owejia said:

Could try loading the 158 gr lead hollow base backwards and see how they perform.

it would kinda have a wadcutter action going.

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Q....

I'm kinda late to the party, but ill add my experience in on this one... We regularly load 158 grain LSCWC 38 special loads with 5.3 to 5.5 grains of unique with anybody's brass and std primers, and secure em with a heavy roll crimp...  They will do about 900 to 950 fps out of our smith steel frame snubbies and be!oved ruger single actions.  They shoot well, buck hard (.. In the stubbies... Not so much in the rugers...), but do not expand for the simple reason they are hard n they ain't goin fast enough... 

I'm thinkin ya are drillin a dry hole tryin to get expansion with these bullets n loads.  I don't think the old FBI load expanded either... As others have stated, Speer n Hornady used to make soft swaged LSWCS.  We tried them too, but the lead is too soft for velocities over about 800 fps... The old time loading manuals (..70s n 80 s..) cautioned against usin em for anything other than target velocities... Driving em hard just leads the barrel, ruins accuracy, and makes a mess.

All that bein said, the LSWC is a great bullet, ya just can't get em to expand... Check out luckygunner labs for some good info on 38 special loads.  Ya might want ta look on the leadboolets forum as well.

Hope this helps a bit.

leroy 

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Oh yeah. I've read about these and saw it in my tests too. Kinda sucks really.  Buffalo Bore uses a neat bullet. Its wide mouth hp and cast pretty soft with gas check.

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8 hours ago, Quavodus said:

Oh yeah. I've read about these and saw it in my tests too. Kinda sucks really.  Buffalo Bore uses a neat bullet. Its wide mouth hp and cast pretty soft with gas check.

Q... I had forgotten about the gas checks...  They help with the leading, but its hard ta get the casting guys ta make em...  Ya might Google " leadheads bullets "... He used ta cast some great stuff... We used lots of his bullets in all flavors, as im too old n lazy ta cast myself when we were shooting alot... 

If ya can find em. Speer used ta make some half jacket dead soft lead bullets that worked pretty well, but they were expensive and time may have passed em by...  We shot the 140 grain 357 by the hundreds in the long ago thru our 357s.

leroy

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If you can get your hands on some hollow base wad cutters and powder coat them with a good polymer you do not need a gas check to prevent leading in the barrel. But you can only get so much velocity out of a revolver. Those  Hornady 158 gr swchp could be driven faster if powder coated. I have no hollow point 38/357 moulds , only 44 and 45's, or would send you some to try. Anybody local that casts 38/357 hollow points that you know of, maybe they could help with experiment with different casting alloys. Where do you buy the Hornady 158 gr swchp boolits? Do you know the alloy used in the Hornady boolits? 

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On ‎2‎/‎26‎/‎2020 at 8:11 AM, owejia said:

If you can get your hands on some hollow base wad cutters and powder coat them with a good polymer you do not need a gas check to prevent leading in the barrel. But you can only get so much velocity out of a revolver. Those  Hornady 158 gr swchp could be driven faster if powder coated. I have no hollow point 38/357 moulds , only 44 and 45's, or would send you some to try. Anybody local that casts 38/357 hollow points that you know of, maybe they could help with experiment with different casting alloys. Where do you buy the Hornady 158 gr swchp boolits? Do you know the alloy used in the Hornady boolits? 

I've been buying the Hornadys at Gamaliel, Ky. and academy in Cookeville. I can't think of anybody local that casts anything like what I really want. I keep saying I'm gonna get into casting but, just ain't took the plunge yet. I have a Lyman single cavity 358156 that can be fitted with a hp pin and its gas checked. 

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Was digging through some of my moulds last night and guess what, I do have a MP 359-640 2 cav Cramer style hollow point mould with all the pins. Cast 170 gr solid and a 158 gr hollow point. Remember buying some moulds  on Cast Boolits  last year but thought they were 45's. Will be casting some of the hollow points in the next week or so. Will be doing some experimenting with my alloy for expansion. Pb 98.29%,Sb 1.29%, will probably add 1% tin and go from there, or maybe use pure lead and just add some tin. Can shoot them in my Rossi 92 .357 mag. Never an end to this madness of making your own ammo.

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