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Wade Fargo

38 Special Loads, Rifle vs Pistol

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I won't be reloading because I don't have the space currently. but I'm curious as the question came up with the guy that will be loading for me, do you devise loads that seem equally effective in both the rifle or pistol or do you devise a load that runs perfectly in your rifle even if its a bit heavier then you would prefer in your pistols?

 

I'm a complete novice at this game so I'm going with the thought that only stupid question is the one I don't ask.

 

Wade 

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I personally run the same loads in both rifle and pistol. There are some people that will run a lighter-weight bullet in their pistol loads compared to the rifle load, but I don't do that.

 

I have three rifles that we have to feed for three shooters. One rifle likes the OAL a little bit long. The other two don't care. So, we load em all to the long OAL and everyone is happy.

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In most calibers/chamberings (including .38 spl), most SASS competitors load the same recipe for rifle and pistol, if they have matching chamberings in rifle and pistol.   Select a light bullet that runs well in rifle with it's Overall Length set by a good place on the slug to crimp the load, load rounds with enough powder to make the kind of velocity you want in the pistols, and test that that load works well in both types of guns.  The rifle will shoot these loads about 150 FPS faster than the pistols do, in case you want to know.

 

This lets you not have to worry about keeping rounds separately packaged and carried to the loading table so they can still be identified and loaded in the right gun.

 

Simple is really good, especially as you start out.  

 

If you find you need a few higher power loads for knockdowns, then develop a load for that and mark those rounds (sharpie on the base of case works).

 

A load that usually works for .38 special is 125 grain round nose flat point bullet loaded to make 600 to 700 FPS in the pistols, with Overall Length at about 1.550"  (for an 1866 or 1873 or Henry type rifle).  As you gain experience, you can adjust from there to what you consider "perfect."

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I totally agree. Remember keep it simple! Simple is smart, smart is smooth, smooth is fast and fast -well hell that’s just fun!

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Hi Wade,

 

     I use the exact same loads for my .357 rounds, that go in the rifle,  as  I do for the 38 Special rounds that go in the pistols.  I shoot smokeless.

 

     The only difference is I use only Starline brass and Federal primers for the rifle and I sometimes use a 158 grain bullet for my pistols.

 

     The heavier bullet makes a good clang when it hits and the bullet hits higher out of my Rugers.

 

     Your questions are valid.  Reloading your own ammo is a very big step to take and not to be taken lightly.  The folks on this forum will steer you in the    right direction.  I have been helped numerous times.

 

     All the best,

     Mo

 

     

 

     

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I do both.

 

My rifle runs real good with my pistol load. So many times I run the same.

 

But I kind of like a little heavier load in the rifle. So I also load some up for that.

Then use them for pistol and rifle KD's also.

 

Started doing that when I was in the bullet biz. I shot all my rejects. So would have some extra bullets of

different weights. So would shoot the 100-110's in the pistol and the 125-147-158 in the rifle.

 

But would have no problem shooting same load in rifle and pistol.  That's pretty much what I have the wife do

to make it easier for her.

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Same load in both.

 

I'm lazy and it works for me.  

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125 gr. RNFP for pistol, 147gr. TC for rifle. Same powder weight for both.

Edited by Marshal Chance Morgun

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Same load in both. Easy peasey!

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Previously, I had loaded specific ammo for the rifle and a specific load for the pistols.

I find it easier to have just one load that works well enough in both.  :)

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Now that we have that settled. Let's talk about reloading and space. For me, simply reloading one caliber doesn't take much space at all. I have a Black and Decker Workmate. I replaced the top with 2x6's so I could mount a Lee 4 hole turret. I only load about 2,500-3,000 rounds a year. Just something to think about. Take it or leave it. 

Edited by Marshal Chance Morgun

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1 hour ago, Grizzly Dave said:

Same load in both.

 

I'm lazy and it works for me.  

What Mr. Grizzly said.

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Same loads in both rifle and pistols. 125 grain TCFP bullet over 2.7 of Clays, Federal primers. I don’t load ‘knockdown’ ammo, my standard ammo is sufficient. 

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yes , i also developed a load and OAL of assembled case and bullet that functions in both my revolvers and rifles reliably , the rifles are what are finicky for OAL , the revolvers more to re-sizing and primer seating but you can get here relatively easily and with careful reloading approach it all works fine , its also fun and stress relieving , somewhat therapeutic time spent alone , 

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Guess I am the odd one in this.

125 gr. TC over 3.2 gr. of Titegroup, Federal SPM either gold medal or standard, crimped into the crimp groove (about 1.445 IIRC, haven’t checked in years).

147 gr. TC over 3.2 gr. of Titegroup, Federal SPM either gold medal or standard crimped to an OAL of 1.51, which runs nicely in both my ‘73 or Marlin CBC.

I use my rifle rounds as my knockdown loads in the pistols, plenty of oomph in both and while my ‘73 runs the 125’s well enough, the marlin does not seem to like the shorter rounds.

YMMV

Regards

 

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

 

Gateway Kid

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13 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

In most calibers/chamberings (including .38 spl), most SASS competitors load the same recipe for rifle and pistol, if they have matching chamberings in rifle and pistol.   Select a light bullet that runs well in rifle with it's Overall Length set by a good place on the slug to crimp the load, load rounds with enough powder to make the kind of velocity you want in the pistols, and test that that load works well in both types of guns.  The rifle will shoot these loads about 150 FPS faster than the pistols do, in case you want to know.

 

This lets you not have to worry about keeping rounds separately packaged and carried to the loading table so they can still be identified and loaded in the right gun.

 

Simple is really good, especially as you start out.  

 

If you find you need a few higher power loads for knockdowns, then develop a load for that and mark those rounds (sharpie on the base of case works).

 

A load that usually works for .38 special is 125 grain round nose flat point bullet loaded to make 600 to 700 FPS in the pistols, with Overall Length at about 1.550"  (for an 1866 or 1873 or Henry type rifle).  As you gain experience, you can adjust from there to what you consider "perfect."

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

 

 

X2-  SCJ

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125 grain RNFP or TCFP bullet over 3.5 grs of Tite-Group.

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MISTER????Grizzly???

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I used to load two different rounds, but I changed to just one. I do shoot different bullets and powder, but adjust to just one load for the components at hand.

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37 minutes ago, WymoreWrangler SASS 46187 said:

You don't need much room to set up a Dillion Square Deal B reloader, and it will pay for it self in a couple of years...

 

Or faster! Mine paid for itself in 4 months. When I replaced it with a 650 it took about 9 months to recoup the cost.

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2 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Or faster! Mine paid for itself in 4 months. When I replaced it with a 650 it took about 9 months to recoup the cost.

 

All depends on how much you reload.  My used Lee 4 hole turret paid for itself after about 350 rounds. Thing is to match your press to your needs.

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Same load in both.

Here's a compact setup my dad built into a sewing machine table.

LeeBench.JPG

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When I shoot .38 spl. I just drop-tube in as much Goex 3F as I can to allow a 158 grain RNFP to compress the powder 1/8 of an inch ...

With a loaded Length of 1.545.....

 

Jabez Cowboy

 

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One caliber, one load seems to work for most shooters!  Yes, I know that some don't follow that but most shooters do.

Your mileage might  vary by very darn little. (Yes, I hae seen some shooterw try to load a pistol alternating between knock down loads and moust fart loads.  It usually ends in a train wreck.)

Blackfoot

 

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I used to shoot 130 grn Bullets both rifle & pistol. Then tried 105’s in pistols, using a timer for comparison. The 105’s were almost 1 second faster in a 10 shot string. A bit more on a dump, a bit less on a multi-target sweep. 
8/10ths or so ain’t much on a given stage but 8 seconds in a 10 stage match can definitely make a difference! 

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My wife shoots .38's ..3.2 of Clays with a 130g conical is the load we have used now for the past 2 years..works well & no complaints so that's what I keep loading !Used in both pistol & rifle.

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On 11/2/2019 at 4:51 PM, Wade Fargo said:

I won't be reloading because I don't have the space currently. but I'm curious as the question came up with the guy that will be loading for me, do you devise loads that seem equally effective in both the rifle or pistol or do you devise a load that runs perfectly in your rifle even if its a bit heavier then you would prefer in your pistols?

 

I'm a complete novice at this game so I'm going with the thought that only stupid question is the one I don't ask.

 

Wade 

 

Wade - As you can see everyone has what works for them, you'll have to find what works for you.  If space is your only limiting factor for reloading then I think if you really want to reload it can be done with not much room, I'll let you decide which press is right for you.  If you don't start reloading ask whoever is loading for you to work up a couple three loads using different weight bullets.  Spend some time at the range and try them in both rifle and pistol to see what works.  If you can get the person that's doing the loading to go with you to the range even better.  Most reloaders have some different weight bullets but if not most bullet manufacturers offer sample packs.  Either way you'll have to invest some of your time to find what works best for you.  Good Luck and stick with it.

 

TC 

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On 11/2/2019 at 5:51 PM, Wade Fargo said:

I won't be reloading because I don't have the space currently. but I'm curious as the question came up with the guy that will be loading for me, do you devise loads that seem equally effective in both the rifle or pistol or do you devise a load that runs perfectly in your rifle even if its a bit heavier then you would prefer in your pistols?

 

I'm a complete novice at this game so I'm going with the thought that only stupid question is the one I don't ask.

 

Wade 

Good question and I think you would have to favor the rifle. Another option less common is to use .357 brass for a rifle in that caliber and stick to use of crimp grooves in both cartridges. For 45 Colt one might be using Cowboy 45 Special for pistols and pretty standard case lengths in the rifle using whatever length bullet the rifle favors but possibly the same 160 many favor for the C45S in the pistols. You can also color code using nickel cases, but they reportedly don't last for many reloadings. A workaround there is coloring the brass case heads with a marker. Nickel seems best reserved for decorating a gun belt with your on-the-clock reloads. Brass and leather don't get along.
 

When using .357 brass in the rifle, mild loads work fine, while attention must be paid to velocity limits, so a load with a heavier bullet than the pistol load may be needed. All that means that reloading and managing supplies may be complicated by wanting to work the details more than may be necessary to compete but serving ones own works-for-me sense. With 125 gr 38 Special in the pistols and 158 gr .357 Magnum in the rifle, my Trailboss loads are only .2 grains apart.

Edited by Roscoe Regulator
clarify
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Thanks everyone! great information. I’d love to start reloading my own but I have to figure out the methodology for an easily convertible space in our only spare room, I’m working with only 1060 sq ft of condo so the gear will have to disappear and stow away when not in use. It can be done but that’s not the priority for now. It’s all about the gear and actually getting out there.

 

My single actions, rifle and first 1100 or so rounds of ammo are due to be picked up Wednesday, plan on hitting the range Thursday and I plan on spectating at an event on Saturday. Exciting stuff.

 

Wade

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Good luck, Wade!   I'll betcha if the match folks are like most, you will be shooting SOMETHING on Saturday! 

GJ

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On 11/2/2019 at 3:01 PM, Branchwater Jack SASS #88854 said:

I personally run the same loads in both rifle and pistol. There are some people that will run a lighter-weight bullet in their pistol loads compared to the rifle load, but I don't do that.

 

I have three rifles that we have to feed for three shooters. One rifle likes the OAL a little bit long. The other two don't care. So, we load em all to the long OAL and everyone is happy.

I usually run 130 gn. round-nose .38 bullets in the 1873 rifle and 105 gn. flat tip conical bullets of the same caliber in the pistols. 

 

The pistol cartridges are also 0.20" shorter than the normal rifle rounds, which have to be a certain length (for my rifle, it is 1.54") to work through the rifle magazine and action without jambing. 

Like many other shooters, I carry a handful of the shorter pistol cartridges on my holster belt for stages that require one or more  mid-stage rifle reloads.  ( I find I am much faster loading the additional rounds directly through the open bolt at the top, rather than introducing them through the side loading gate). 

 

Because In a "top reload",  the round doesn't need to pass through the magazine and carrier path, the cartridge overall length can be shorter.  The shorter round, when top-loaded,  gets in past the protruding ejector, much more easily.  

 

But I will warn you not to try to side load shorter rounds.  They will jamb between the magazine and carrier and require clearing in order to continue shooting.  

 

Hope this was helpful. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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 .38 Special caliber

Same loading for rifle and pistol.  

 

-  Federal #200 Small Pistol Magnum Primer

-  3.1 grains Hodgdon TightGroup Gun Powder

-  125 grain RNFP lead slug, Moly Coated, from Bear Creek Supply

-  Make sure you get a good crimp!

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5 minutes ago, Cat Brules said:

 .38 Special caliber

Same loading for rifle and pistol.  

 

-  Federal #200 Small Pistol Magnum Primer

-  3.1 grains Hodgdon TightGroup Gun Powder

-  125 grain RNFP lead slug, Moly Coated, from Bear Creek Supply

-  Make sure you get a good crimp!

I use the same load except a 130 gn bullet and #100 small pistol regular primer.  I've not had problems.  But using magnums would sure be nice in times when regular pistol primers are hard to find.  

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11 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

I usually run 130 gn. round-nose .38 bullets in the 1873 rifle and 105 gn. flat tip conical bullets of the same caliber in the pistols. 

 

The pistol cartridges are also 0.20" shorter than the normal rifle rounds, which have to be a certain length (for my rifle, it is 1.54") to work through the rifle magazine and action without jambing. 

Like many other shooters, I carry a handful of the shorter pistol cartridges on my holster belt for stages that require one or more  mid-stage rifle reloads.  ( I find I am much faster loading the additional rounds directly through the open bolt at the top, rather than introducing them through the side loading gate). 

 

Because In a "top reload",  the round doesn't need to pass through the magazine and carrier path, the cartridge overall length can be shorter.  The shorter round, when top-loaded,  gets in past the protruding ejector, much more easily.  

 

But I will warn you not to try to side load shorter rounds.  They will jamb between the magazine and carrier and require clearing in order to continue shooting.  

 

Hope this was helpful. 

Shorter rounds allow enough of the bullet behind them in the magazine to get out onto the carrier and jam it.  The same thing happens when you have a split case that allows the bullet to get pushed back.  If you're doing a reload after you've run the rifle dry a short round will not cause a jam.  When you do get a jam due to a short round on the carrier the easiest solution is to just depress the loading gate and let it come out.  Then reload and proceed.

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