Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My LGS and reloading supply store is all out of the powders I use for Cowboy Action. However, they do have supplies of several shotgun powders. (But none of the "Clays".)

I'd like to find an available shotgun powder that can push 125gr .38 Specials somewhere between 700-850 fps. Seems to me that the burn rates of Bullseye's and Unique fall in the midst of several of the shotgun powders, so I'm wondering if one of the shotgun powders might be usable for modest loads of .38 special. I'm not after max loads or pressures. I'd even accept a rather dirty powder. Loads would be developed and shot in .357 mag revolvers.

But I've never developed a load from scratch, and I know that burn rate is far from the whole story. How does someone start load development with a powder where no info is available? Is it reasonable to substitute the same weight of a modest load of Bullseye for a same weight or less of a slightly slower shotgun powder?

I think we may all be using unfamiliar and substituted powders before the powder supply comes back. If it ever comes back....

Any and all advice appreciated.
 
  • Like
Reactions: msharley

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,013 Posts
Hey HI,

Take a look here. Burn Rate

Powders from #8, to #32 will work well for you.

And all the Hodgon Powder Data is on line. (Believe the Alliant is, as well)

The Hercules (Alliant) powders are "dirtier", than are the Hodgon/Winchester powders.

There is no need to re invent the wheel. All of these powders are someone's "favorite", for the 38 Special. Load a few (using published data) and "try" for accuracy.

Later, Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,050 Posts
Is it reasonable to substitute the same weight of a modest load of Bullseye for a same weight or less of a slightly slower shotgun powder? .
You want to be careful with substituting powders if you are not completely familiar with what you are swapping. Ball powders, flake powders, and extruded powders are all lumped into a multitude of burn rate categories, and each form has some properties that simply applying weight of charge to the burn rate can be a problem. Some powders cannot be reduced safely at all, and some will be more responsive to compression, or loading density.

Not a big deal, as most shotgun powders make great handgun powders.

Shotgun powders without handgun data, means you shouldn't try inventing anything yourself. What might be OK, might also NOT be OK.

As Cowboy level loads go, Bullseye has been king of that zone for generations. But it's scarce these days. Red Dot and Green Dot are very good if you spot some, Red Dot is what I use as it's also a great shotshell powder for light target loads. Unique or slower can be used, but as you work in the low end of the load range to get Cowboy speeds, they start to get gritty. They need more pressure to burn efficiently. IMR 700X does well with that class of .38 loads, and can be spotted quite often. The Hodgdon powders I have no experience with, so I cannot comment.

Powder manufacturers are always happy to supply data for products that expand their market, when feasible. When they don't, it suggests there is a good reason why they don't.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,170 Posts
I can think of quite a few powders off the top of my head you could look for to push 125 gr pills from a .38 Spcl... Red Dot, Green Dot, Bullseye, HP-38/W-231, PB, VV N-320 to name a few...

Look for older manuals, when you get a chance - - those usually have a bunch of info on moderate loadings that used to be real popular.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,497 Posts
As mentioned above, most shotgun powders make great handgun powders.

Figure out what your store has, look at the manufacturer's website to see if they have recipes for your cartridge and bullet combo.

You shouldn't have to 'start from scratch' and should NOT experiment with powders. In addition to the different burn characteristics between ball, flake, extruded, some powders just don't work well in certain situations. There are already plenty of published loads out there for nearly every powder. You will find one that will work for you with minimal effort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,639 Posts
Promo can be used by weight (but not by volume) with Red Dot data.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,031 Posts
Look for AA#2 and AA#5. You should be able to come up with a decent .38Spl load with either.

Speaking of the shortage and substituting powders...I have been able to do some amazing things with AA#7 and cast bullets in rifles. I now have respectable loads using AA#7 in my 30-30, 32-40 and 38-55.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
931 Posts
I use Red Dot, HP-38/W231, BLC-2, and SR7625 for all my reloading needs. Got big ol' jugs of em years and years ago and still pluggin away at em. Red Dot is great for reduced loads in 30-06 size cases, and a little dab of it behind a 173 gr lead gas checked 30-30 is pure fun to shoot. A pound of it yields about 2000 .32 magnum loads. Don't hardly even bother with .22's anymore. I use HP-38 in .380, 9mm, .38, .357, .44 mag, and .45 ACP. I forget what I used to use the SR-7625 for, just off hand. I think I worked up a good .357 load with it, ordered a keg, got distracted and forgot. A year or so later I saw a keg of it on sale at half price and ought it, only later realizing that was probably the same keg I ordered. BLC-2 for M1 Garand and the like, 30-40 Krag, 7.65 Argentine, 7mm, etc. (that reduced Red Dot load works well with these, too). Versatile powders all, so long as you work within their limitations.


But my question is, yet again...why'n the heck doesn't MO's spell checker recognize "Krag"? There!! It just red-lined it again!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,401 Posts
Take a Look at 700X Shotgun Powder. Lots of Reload Data in Older Manuals 4 Handgun Cartridges.
Seems 2 B Readily Available (At Least Around Here), Even These Days.
Same w/ SR 4759, Lots on the Shelf & I'm Really Curious about This One.
UncleSarge58
 
  • Like
Reactions: TMan51

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,069 Posts
I think it would be difficult to find a shotgun powder suitable for the 38 Special that has not been tried. There has to be data available for any shotgun powder currently available on the shelf. I just buy BIG jugs of Titegroup and AA #5 and do not try to reinvent the wheel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
723 Posts
Like was said above, 700X, Red Dot, AA#2, ,Herco, PB and several others. These days I take my manuals when I go to shop for powder, to see if they have anything that will work for my current needs.

Gary
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
565 Posts
700X works great in 38sp/357mag for low/standard velocity loads, especially for revolvers.... FWIW, I have used them in an 1894 rifle as well, where they are MUCH quieter.... (Bordering on sounding like a squib load)

No need to work up from scratch... Hodgdon/IMR has the loads right on their website:
Set your sights on pistol reloading data | Hodgdon Reloading

-Tim

125g700x38sp_load.JPG
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,537 Posts
I've used AA # 2 in my .38's but like you, I prefer Bullseye. Lotsa good recommendations here. Another thing you can do is drop an e-mail to the powder manufacturer and tell them what you're trying to accomplish. Oftentimes they can provide you with unlisted load data, along with pressure levels and approximate velocities.
I've had luck doing that with both Accurate and Alliant.
GH1:)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top