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  #1  
Old 02-15-2008, 11:48 AM
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Bullets for 38 S&W


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I would like to reload some 38S&W, not 38 Special, and am trying to find a supplier of bullets. I understand that the traditional 38 Special bullets are too small in diameter. Any help would be appreciated. I am loading them for a lend lease Victory that shoots 38-200.
Thank you,
Ted
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Old 02-15-2008, 12:46 PM
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You might want to slug it. Many of them are as tight as .359-.360" and usually work just fine with standard (unsized) cast bullets for the Special. If your bore is larger, you could even try bullets for the Makarov, which run .363" and are lighter.
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Old 02-15-2008, 04:01 PM
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What Rocky said. Use a soft sinker, the kind with the hole thru the center that is just a little to large for you bore. Tap it in with a soft hammer, brass or nylon head. Once in use a brass rod near bore size to tap it thru with a large hammer. Use good blows to so you don't need to hit the brass rod very many times. Once it comes out you can mike it with about any kind of mike to give you a good idea of what you need to shoot.

Marshall Stanton the owner of this site can size his bullets to the diameter you need for a specific bore, but I'd be surprised if standard cast .358 bullets wouldn't work. Use them on the soft side and at the velocities the 38 S&W generates they will bump up to bore size if slightly undersized.
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Old 02-15-2008, 04:27 PM
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As Bob mentioned, take a look at Marshall's bullets (Beartooth Bullets tab at the top of the page, then click on the "Bullet Selection" quadrant of the 'scope crosshairs, then pull down the bar on the left of the screen until you get to 38/357 Caliber.)

Marshall's 160 grain FN, 180 grain WLN+P, 185 grain FN, 200 grain FN+P, and 210 grain LFN+P are all available sized at .360 inch.

Also, if you're into casting your own, there is a group buy for a LEE custom mold going on now over on the Cast Boolits forum for a 200 grain .38/200 Enfield/Webley (.38 S&W) bullet available either in the original round nose or a flat nose. Target diameter is .362 inch. Link is here: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=24762

The Old Guy
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faucettb View Post
What Rocky said. Use a soft sinker, the kind with the hole thru the center that is just a little to large for you bore.
Bob, do you lube the sinker or the bore for this, and if so what works.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2008, 10:06 AM
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Lube the bore with light gun oil or 3in1.

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Jack
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:15 AM
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Another thought, Ted: Check the size of your chamber throats, too. If your throats are smaller than the bore you may not be able to get the Victory to shoot well with cast bullets,or perhaps at all. Marshall's book gives some good advice on how to correct undersized throats.

Also, many cast bullet shooters prefer to size their bullets to the chamber throats, not the bore, even when the throats are considerably larger than the bore. The theory is that a close fit of bullet to throat helps launch the bullet in a straight line into the forcing cone, whereas a loose fit will allow the bullet to tip, with the side hitting the forcing cone eroded enough to launch the bullet in a direction other than where you're aiming.

You may find you can tighten up your groups considerably by selecting bullets closely fitting your chamber throats.

The Old Guy
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  #8  
Old 02-17-2008, 06:40 PM
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One neglected bullet that have worked fine in bores all the way up to .362":

Your basic 148gr. HBWC. Such a deep hollow base, that even starting out at .358" and only kicked in the arse by mild pressure, they bump up and take the rifling in over sized bores just fine. Certainly not traditional looking, but for most of my .38sw shooting, they've worked just fine.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:24 PM
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I have a similar .38 S&W. I have not tried to slug it, as I believe it is a five groove and hard to do.
However, I have had good success with two bullets - the standard .38 Cowboy Action 130 grain Round Flat Nose. They are usually about .358", but seating them into the crimp groove allows for a nice load for targets. The other is a supply of Lee 130 grain RN for the 9mm. The bunch I have are all about .350" and again shoot nicely.
If I were really worried about the barrel diameter and ran out of these, perhaps some of the swaged 158 grain SWC from Speer or Hornady (I believe for CAS?), as these would be quite soft. They only get seated about halfway down the length of the body. I use the same Hornady CAS bullets in my .455 S&W for the same reason - a soft bullet that slugs up to bore diameter.
Try some .358" cast and see how they do.
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2008, 09:40 PM
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I would be curious as to the point of aim & accuracy with bullets lighter than 200 grains in your experience. I have both a Webley and an Enfield in 38-200/ 38 SW. They do not group very well with the 158 LRN loads I tried in them & they both shoot low.
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  #11  
Old 02-21-2008, 05:46 PM
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I have not fired any 200 grain bullets, as I have never had any of the original loadings. However, assuming that my pistol was sighted in with the 200 gr load, I find that my loads with 158 gr and 130 gr bullets tend to shoot about 3-4 inches low at 25 yards. Accuracy is fine, as I get about a 2 inch group, one handed, with these loads and this pistol. Considering the sight picture, and what I tend to use this pistol for, I am happy.
For the informal military pistol matches, which are not bullseye matches, I find that I can hold off enought to make a large ragged hole in the centre of the target.
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2008, 06:04 PM
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I now use a 200 grain, gas checked, .358 that I get from Midway. They are kinda pricey but group very well and shoot to the original point of aim with the the proper load from the old Speer number 9 book.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2008, 08:00 AM
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Thank you

Thank you all for some great advice.

TedM
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2008, 05:09 AM
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The Hornady #10208 is what I use. You can get your local guy that stocks Hornady stuff to get these on his next order or get them from Midway. This is the HBWC and are very accurate in my H&R Topbreak.
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