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IMR 700x and .38 special
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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 01:50 AM
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dhooton
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I was curious about the charges anyone else uses when loading .38 special with IMR 700x.  All of the recommended loads I could find suggest somewhere in the region of 3.8 grains of 700x when loading a 140 grain JHP.  When I tried that, the bullets got stuck halfway down the barrel of my 6.5 inch Taurus Tracker.  I had to up the charge to 5.6 grains for it to work properly.  Anyone else experienced anything like this?



 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 02:04 AM
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Rockydog
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dhooton, Welcome to HB. My Hornady manual says 3.9 Grains for starting loads of 700X and 140 Gr. Jacketed HP-XTP and a MAXIMUM LOAD OF 4.5 GRAINS. They even designate the 4.5 Grain load a a +P load.

The IMR website says 38 Special 140 Gr Hornady XTP starting loads of 3.3 grains 700X and Max loads of 3.8 Grains of 700X. +P loads are listed at 4.1 grains of 700X Max.


Even .357 loads are only at 4.0 start to 6.0 MAX of 700X!


Based upon this I'd say you are way over load limits for this powder. Are these weighed, thrown or dipped powder loads. Sounds like your scale might be off. Frankly, if they truly are 5.6 grains of 700x in a .38 Special I don't think I'd want to be at the next range bench. Not trying to be rude here on your first post. Just answering your question truthfully. RD



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 03:27 AM
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fryboy
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my fav 38 special load uses 700x albiet with a 148-150 grain lead wadcutter - extremely accurate from all my 357/38's !!!
i have to concurr with R.D. , hodgdon's website ( the current supplier of powder and data ) is freely available on the web and has lots of data , you'll have to click accept the terms and conditions and then chose the bullet/boolit weight and cartridge etc but ...
http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp

even the second edition lee doesnt list anything close to the combo you seem to be loading ...if one is familiar with the way lee presents the data it is on the bottom of the lisy meaning that many other powders produce greater velocities without going overboard on pressure
i also concurr plz do not shoot these rounds around me or any other unsuspecting person in a public range or setting

i cant for the life of me figure out why 3.8 grains would stick on your 6 1/2" bbl yet 3.2 does great in my 10" tc bbl with a 158 grain jacketed soft point ( 2.4 grains with the 150-ish lead wadcutters ....) do you crimp firmly ?



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 05:03 AM
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dhooton
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I was afraid it was an overload, at first, too.  I measured the loads by volume and then double checked them on my scale, and the numbers came out even.  Then again, my scale is a finicky bastard.

These rounds don't feel loverloaded.  The recoil is still less than the factory rounds I buy.  But I might switch powders just to be safe.

Thanks for the help.



 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 11:57 AM
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swampshooter
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Are you using fresh powder? I had that happen once when the humidity got to some 700x powder in storage.



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 03:41 PM
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fryboy
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i've slept on this and my mind keeps coming back to " why didnt the bullet clear the barrel" ....i could speculate forever , sadly possibilities are endless , my first thought this morning was cylinder gap - is it excessive ? and then actual bore condition and size , have you slugged the barrel ? some barrels have a tite spot where they are screwed in , and then bore fouling ,as well as the actual size ( dia. ) of the projectile , i have seen some thatmissed the supposed to be spec's ...if all four i just listed were present it could indeed possibly slow the travel down the bore ( especially if the cylinder gap had enough room to vent the pressure , that and the possibility of a undercharge ...granted all speculation , if it's a 357 revolver using 357 brass would work with your load as it's listed as a almost max load then , in years past quite a few folks have tempted fate with hot rodded loads , some we have new cartridges because of and many quietly slipped by the wayside as well as did most the damage done by the loads



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 06:06 PM
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dhooton
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I was thinking this over all night last night and this morning.  I double checked my numbers, and I am absolutely certain that it is 5.6 grains that I am using.

I tried another round at the recommended load this morning, just to make sure I hadn't made some drastic mistake.  Though the round didn't get stuck, it was horribly underpowered.  It sounded like a .22 LR and fell far short of the target at a mere 25 feet away.

As for the condition of the gun itself, it is a brand new revolver.  The bore is clean and the cylinder does not gap excessively.  It is a .357 mag, which is the one saving factor that kept me from fearing for my life when using these higher loads.  I have not slugged the barrel, so I suppose there could be a defect somewhere along the line there.  I've put several hundred rounds of factory ammo through the gun, though, as well as about 100 of these 5.6gr handloads, and they have all worked perfectly.

I had wondered about a defective batch of powder, or possibly defective bullets.  They are 140 gr Hornady XTPs.  I have a friend that has been reloading far longer than me that has had bad experiences with those particular rounds, so that is my next best guess.

Also, I have to say thanks again to everyone.  This is my first post here, and I'm glad to see how helpful this forum is.



 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 07:53 PM
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fryboy
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if you have any of the projectiles left loose mic'ing them are easy enough tho i'd imagine most are within spec's , once in awhile an oddball one makes it past QC tho and while rare it is always part of the reason we learn to pay attention to even the little details ( such if one was a little harder to seat or feels wrong etc )
possibly the powder could be bad/old/or gained weight thru humidity , the only one of those three that is easily checkable is the bad part - if it smells off ie; more acrid etc it could be in the process of being broken down
rugers are known/prone to have a restriction where they screw the barrel in ( tite spots folks call them ) it does happen with other brands as well
since it is a 357 i'd use it up in mag cases , the weak link in most loads is indeed the brass and while there is admittedly perhaps some safe factor figured in it only takes one either weakened or defective case to change something that for all appearances is safe to catastrophic ( another point for why safety pays )
in the mag when i want ummm horsepower i use mag cases and jacketed bullets and suitable powders ( usually h110 , 2400 etc ) but when i load 38's i do so for plinking , alot of these are shot by kids and women folks and while they mite be termed more powder puff loads they are a joy to shoot , trust me while a kid might be impressed by a big boom nothing is as conducive as to furthering their shooting and reloading learning as being able to hit their target repeatably and quite often the fastest velocity load isnt the most accurate , a case in point is in the lyman 49th manual ...suggested most accurate load ( with 140 grain jacketed bullet ) is their max load of ww231 , 4.7 pushes it to 684 FPS , nothing spectacular for the humble 38 for true ( BTW - listed start charge is 3.9 grns )without going to +P velocities their top listed velocity is with blue dot , start charge is 7.2 grns @ 688FPS ( already faster than max load of ww231 ) max load is listed @8.0 grns @ 838 FPS , yet thru their load workups and ballistic test ( be nice to have our own lab :P ) the lesser velocity of ww231 is more accurate for them than the blue dot loads ( in any velocity ) just for comaprison in the 357 mag thier listed best possible accurate load uses 2400 powder and is listed @ 1242 FPS , same bullet same gun and again while that is max load for that combo other powder is listed as going faster
one combo that i'm aware of problems with is the 125 grainers using blue dot , this has been know to cause problems yet with heavier and lighter bullets no problems ...odd perhaps but it happens
i have no idea what powders you have but would suggest for jacketed 140 grainers in the 38 special 800x would be a better powder ( as would be universal or unique ) g'luck



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 08:17 PM
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Hillbilly
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I have a 357 Tracker 6 1/2" barrel and the semijacketed wadcutters tended to shear off a shaving of copper jacket in cylinder #4 counting clockwise from the reference point on the cylinder until it had 350 or so plain lead bullets through it. Now it works good. Have noticed that it doesn't agree with the 38 as much as the 357. Do you have any shearing or scrub in the barrel just past the gap? Sorry...I ain't real technical.

The only data I have scribbled around here close to what you are loading is for a 158 grain XTP in a 357 at 5.5 grains of 700X and it's for a RIFLE ONLY, and that's right at max. For a pistol you are even a little high for a 170 grain bullet.

I tend to stick with the 158 grain family in that pistol. They just seem to work better. For some reason the plain old wadcutters/semiwads do best in mine, but in the 357. Accuracy is down on it in 38.


Last edited on Thu Feb 10th, 2011 08:22 PM by Hillbilly



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 08:57 PM
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dhooton
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Just fired off another few cylinders of these rounds (firing range in the back yard is lovely), and I noticed a buildup of copper shavings after about 21 rounds just inside the barrel. Hmmmmm. I don't like that at all. And I had thought the powder smelled a tad bit funny, but I hadn't thought much of it. Still new enough to this craft to not know what that meant.

Definitely going to scrap this load. My gun and my still-intact body parts will probably thank me in the long run.



 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2011 09:47 PM
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new powder often has what is termed a solvent smell powder that is going bad has a more acrid burning smell than just the solvents , to me alot of powder hardly has any but the acrid smell seems to burn my nose

here's some good ( albiet brief ) reads on it

http://www.saami.org/specifications_and_information/publications/download/SAAMI_ITEM_200-Smokeless_Powder.pdf



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 Posted: Sat Feb 26th, 2011 12:20 PM
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CapnDub
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One thing that jumps out at me:  have you checked your scale?  Try this:  chip off a piece of lead that is approximately the weight of the powder charge you are using.  Weigh it on your scale, and then have a couple of your buddies weigh it on theirs.  Perhaps the scale has a problem, and you are not actually loading the charge you think you are.



 Posted: Tue Mar 1st, 2011 07:14 PM
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dhooton
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Well, I've used this scale for other types of powder, and they've all provided the proper results based on recommended charges.  That's still not a bad idea, though.  I'll have to try it just for the hell of it.



 Posted: Sun Mar 27th, 2011 02:39 AM
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Snobal
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dhooton wrote: I was curious about the charges anyone else uses when loading .38 special with IMR 700x.  All of the recommended loads I could find suggest somewhere in the region of 3.8 grains of 700x when loading a 140 grain JHP.  When I tried that, the bullets got stuck halfway down the barrel of my 6.5 inch Taurus Tracker.  I had to up the charge to 5.6 grains for it to work properly.  Anyone else experienced anything like this?

Mr. dhooton,

I tried 700x in .38 Special in the 1960's and it worked well in my Model 14 S&W and my wife's Model 15. 

The only time I had a bullet "stick" in a barrel was with factory .45 Match ammo during a 2700 Bullseye Match.  The primer fired and drove the bullet into the bore, and did not cycle the action.  It appeared they forgot to put powder in that case.:rolleyes:

I only used one pound of 700x because it left "flakes" of powder that sometimes got under the extractor and tied up my revolver until they were cleaned out.  The loads shot fine but I went back to Bullseye because although "smoky," it did not leave the "flakes."

Sorry, but I have no experience with a Taurus revolver other than that a good friend really likes his two --- but he has had to send both of them in for service to get them to operate correctly.  Once "repaired," they seem to function fine.

Last edited on Sun Mar 27th, 2011 02:42 AM by Snobal



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