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Was given a HR breaktop. Is it critical to use .38 s&w brass or will .38 spcl brass trimmed to the correct length  work and be safe. I have 100 gr hbwc  or 105 gr tc bullets...as far as powder I have trail boss ,clays,also bullseye and goex. Any info or suggestions much appreciated.

Hochbauer

 

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Why trim .38 Special?  .38 Short Colt is already the proper length.

That being said, no, I would not do it.   Short Colt's will fit in a .38 S&W, but they are undersized.  Also, the S&W round uses a .360" bullet while the Short/Long/Special/Magnum family uses a .358"  bullet.   (Unless you use hollow base bullets.  But those are pricey.)

 

.38 S&W is a great little round.   You can have a lot of fun with it and it is a very additive round to play with.   You may start out with pocket pistols, but you'll soon have a lot more things in the caliber.   Colt Detective Special, S&W Victory Model, Mark IV Webley, and yes, there are guns that you can use as main match revolvers in this caliber.    No rifles though.  :(

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Remington, Winchester and others still load this caliber.  They are all loaded light because of all the old top breaks.  Just buy a box of PROPERLY fitting brass and you can reload it numerous times.  

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4 hours ago, Sgt. Hochbauer, SASS #64409 said:

Was given a HR breaktop. Is it critical to use .38 s&w brass or will .38 spcl brass trimmed to the correct length  work and be safe. I have 100 gr hbwc  or 105 gr tc bullets...as far as powder I have trail boss ,clays,also bullseye and goex. Any info or suggestions much appreciated.

Hochbauer

 

Case dimensions are different between .38 Sp and .38 S&W in more ways than just length. .38 S&W case diameter is bigger and the rim a smidge thicker than .38 SP. 

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If your H&R is safe for smokeless power 1.2 gr of Trail Boss under a 105gr TCFP and in 38 S&W brass is a nice soft shooting load. 

 

Edited by Doc X
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Some reloading manuals list lower pressure recipes for break top .38 S&W.

 

2 grn Bullseye under a 100 grn RNL bullet is a fave of mine.  I use it for my lemon squeezers and owl-head guns.

Edited by WOLFY
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I load 1 gr. HP38 in a .38 S&W case.  82gr bullet.  It reaches way out to those 5' away pocket pistol side match targets just fine.

 

.38 S&W brass is thin as paper at the mouth.  I lose a few every time I load.  Even in a single-stage press, going easy,  you just can't feel that thin-arse case crushing.

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I used 1.5 grains of Bullseye and a 123 grain bullet sized to .358 which is undersize in the 38 S&W bore but keeps pressure down.

I have seen others use cut down 38 special cases with no ill results but I DON"T recommend it.

I sold my H&R so I now have several boxes of 38 S&W that are surplus to my needs  will probably sell them for components only at Black Gold next year.

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Lots of good information. I am going to be patient and get the right components before I shoot the gun. I just might look for some loaded ammo as suggested. This is not going to be used all that much so a box of 50 will last for a spell. This looks to become a winter project.

Thanks all for your input.

 

Hochbauer

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