Regular .38 spcl --- .38 +P

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by SWO1, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. SWO1

    SWO1 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting

    In wanting to get the most out of my SD pistols I have embarked on reloading the best performer in 3 different pistols, Taurus Mod. 605 .357 2 1/4", Taurus Mod. 85 .38 +P 2", and an Armscor .38 spcl. 4".

    In the factory rounds the mod 605 and Armscor both like the Rem .38 125 gr. JHP +P round. I loaded up some .38s from the Sierra data book ( 5th edition) using Sierra 140 gr. JHP with 6.2 gr. of unique and both guns loved it. However the Mod 85 seemed to be picky and didn't like any of it too well. So a load of 5.8 gr of unique along with the 140 gr. JHP was great. As was the same bullet with 6.0 gr of unique. Question is --- are my loads considered +P or standard .38 spcl. loads ???

    Here is what I have been able to find:

    According to data (all on the internet) standard .38 spcl. has a muzzle velocity of 700-850 fps. That is for data published post 1972. Supposibly in 1972 munitions manfactuers reduced loads across the board. Same data mentions that the SAAMI standard were also adjusted in 1972 to reflect said chance.

    In 1972 the .38 +P load was introduced. It was known as the FBI load. This pushed a 158 gr bullet out of a service revolver (both 2" and 4") at 1000+ fps. Interesting is the fact that it is said that standard loads prior to 1972 for the .38 spcl. were also in that range. I cannot find a SAMMI spec from that period to confirm.

    This post is getting quite long. So I will do another to list what I have in 4 different manuals for ballistic data.
  2. SWO1

    SWO1 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting

    Of the 4 manuals/data sheets I have only 1 list .38 +P data. That is the Barnes 4th edition of 2008. Barnes has VERY LIMITED DATA. They only list 1 bullet, 110 gr., for +P and NO regular .38 spcl.

    The other 3, Sierra 5th, Lyman 49th, and Lee spec sheet for .38 spcl that I got with the Dies.

    It is kind of hard to match like data from all 3 as they list different powders. There is one that is common to all three. I will list the loads for the 140 gr bullet I am using.

    Sierra ------------ HS-6 .......Min. 6.0-850 fps Max. 7.4-1050 fps
    Lee --------------- HS-6 .......Min. 5.8- (?) Max. 6.5 -933 fps
    Lyman ----------- HS-6 .......Min. 5.6 -526 fps Max. 7.2- 777 fps

    Lyman used a universal receiver, Lee ???, Sierra a 6" S&W

    This spread isnt to bad with the exception of FPS. The LARGE disparity is between Lyman and Sierra using unique. Lyman starts at 4.3 gr....Sierra starts at 5.6 gr. Lyman tops out at 5.3 grs. ..... Sierra limit is 6.4. FPS Difference is 350 fps. Lee dosn't list unique for the 140 gr.

  3. Spoon

    Spoon Well-Known Member

    @SWO1 - I'll buzz by Sierra again this coming Monday...if the weather and other things allow, to help insure you might get a few more items to X-periment with ;)
  4. SWO1

    SWO1 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting

    Thanks Spoon...:cool:
  5. oldbrass

    oldbrass Well-Known Member

    the local shop has a few taurus 85 in 38 and some charter arms stubbies..I always look at them but haven`t pulled the trigger (pun intended)
  6. Hyphenated

    Hyphenated Well-Known Member

    That's a good question. Loading data has evolved in direct relationship to the number of lawyers involved. Standard loads in the 38spl and 357mag use to be much hotter in general. Some of the changes may be attributed to formulas in the powders themselves, but surely some of it is liability concerns.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about putting a label on your reloads. If it's published data and your guns like it go with it. If you want serious thump in a 38 spl reference Lyman's 45th Edition manual. Check out the data for the 195gr cast bullet.