New to loading 38 spl

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by buster40c, May 3, 2016.

  1. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

    When I had my problem I called Hodgdon and customer service was very helpful as well as respectful with a novice re-loader.
    I found out my local gunsmith didn't know squat about Hodgdon Clay powders. His idea was pitch the Clays for a decent powder and my problem would be over with.
  2. Carl Crosby

    Carl Crosby Member

    I don't reload .38 special...just 38 Spl. +P level loads in 357 brass. I use Berry's plated 125 gr. HP bullets with no cannelure, and chamfer the inside of all my newly-trimmed cases...just enough to remove the sharp edge, then set my crimp until I have removed the case belling, then just a skosh more, to give a slightly rounded profile so not to hang up using speedloaders. It has worked just fine, and the bullets I have pulled all have a slight depressed ring where the case mouth is, but no cuts in the plating. I finally bought a Dillon Pro Crimp die, which provides a taper crimp, and then with further adjustment, a roll crimp. BTW, I asked a Berry's customer service rep if the Hollow Point bullets would expand, he said "If you hit a steel beam!" But, that was in the "old days," but now, I understand they make a 125 gr HP that does expand. I haven't tried them, so can't say if they really do.
    It is a Fine and Peasant Madness!:D

  3. MagBlackhawk

    MagBlackhawk Patriot

    I also load .357's down to 38 spl levels for use as my mild plinking loads, but with lead bullets.
    Never tried plated bullets in a revolver thinking they might not stay put well enough without a crimp.
    Considering your experience with plated/revolver bullets do you think neck tension alone would be enough to keep 'bullet pull' from being a problem under mild-ish recoil?
  4. C. D. Bates

    C. D. Bates Member

    I like Clays powder. One caveat, as you found, it is easy to double charge.
    In .38 Spl, I load 3.2gr with 125gr bullets.
    Loaded some down to 2.6gr and got the same powder fouling. Just too light of a charge to seal. 2.8gr sealed and shot clean, but not as accurate as 3.2gr.
    Never went to the max, if I want mag loads, I load .357mags.

    5.0gr Unique is the classic .38 Spl target load.

    For light loads, 2.0 gr Trail Boss is very mild and a bulky powder, making double charges very noticeable.
  5. Carl Crosby

    Carl Crosby Member

    I don't know for sure, far, so good! I have not had the problem with the combination of +P load/ taper/roll crimp I use. That's not saying that the next time I shoot Berry's bullets I won't experience the problem. I have 50 Berry 125 gr. HP boolits over 5.9 gr. Unique ready to go to the range. We will see. Not trying to be smart, but try it and see. Measure the overall length of each cartridge, load 6, shoot 3, and measure the rest. A couple of times should give you some indication of "creep" if it is going to happen, and shouldn't lock up your gun if you catch it early. Just my opinion, and worth exactly what you paid for it. :) Good luck!
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019