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Thread: 158 gr lead SWC with N340 in 38 spl?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Here is what I learned on subsonic loads and put in an earlier thread.

    General rules for quiet loads:

    The aim is to have a high initial pressure, to minimise the amount of powder used and to take as much energy out of the propellant as you can before it leaves the muzzle. This means you get less gas at less pressure in the muzzle blast, which is quieter.

    Use a minimum case capacity. If you can load bullets deeper than normal into a 357 case then you get higher initial pressures. If not then use 38 cases.
    A crimp will also increase initial pressure. So will softish lead bullets as they upset into the bore better. Heavier bullets will be better at taking energy out of the burning gas. Use as fast a powder you can find (N310 is good but a pain to work with so N320 is nicer).

    There is lots of data for 158 grn in 38 special out there.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Near Bristol

    Secret Sause

    My secret to accurate minimal powder loads is a old case slightly expanded & sharpened to use as a wad cutter.
    Then cut a load of wads, which for me is from old polystyrene supermarket bought Pizza bases, I have loads 3-4mm thick.
    Load primed case with powder, insert wad over the powder & tamp down, then load your preferred bullet however you like.
    The secret here is to have all the powder by the flash hole which gives a very consistent burn & velocities.

    This came about from a couple that used the same pistol & same 38spl loads, but her groups were much better than his, with less vertical stringing. He was a better shot with a .22 !
    Turns out, he always held the gun barrel down on table then lifted to horizontal to shoot, she always started barrel up at 45degrees, then lowered to horizontal to shoot.

    The gist of it, is all his powder was at the front of the case behind the bullet due to gun orientation & hers was all at the back of the case by the flash hole for the same reason !
    Being near the flash hole gave a more consistent ignition & burn. I developed the wad process based on this & some mates I shoot with have adopted it & their groups have got much better too.

    There may be better things to use for the wad, but mine vanish at ignition, so no rubbish to clean up & no smell.

    As always YMMV
    Ah the Toys ;-
    Tommygun .22LR, Ruger 10/22, Erma M1 .22WMR, Rossi 92 .357Magnum, Tikka T3 Tactical .308Win,
    1858 & 1873 BPR's, Browning Gold 12G, Winchester 9410, Air Rifles, Crossbows & Longbow.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2024
    Newcastle upon Tyne


    some years ago when i first started shooting my Rossie 38/357,
    I did a of load work and trials, different powders and bullet weights,
    I found that the easiest way of finding the best combo for my rifle was to use what ever the book said for powder in 38spl,
    use a 357mag case and that was the starting point, up or down 1/2 gr at a time until you get the best load that your rifle likes,
    you will be surprised at how quick you find that sweet load,
    good luck,

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