Hornady 158gr. FTX HP
I have loaded a lot of these for self defense use and for target shooting...am wondering what loads have worked best for you, and what type of chrono readings have you had?
I assume by the description of the projectile, that you are shooting a .38 special or .357 magnum. Before advising any load recipes, i need to know the following:
1. What length is the barrel ?????
I have been reloading the cartridges for over 30 years & can help you with your reloading questions.
I have two revolvers I use these in.....S&W .38 Special (Chiefs Special snubby, 2 inch) and
Model 66 with 4 inch barrel. I have many powders to choose from. My main concern is getting
a load that will expand reliably out of the snubby, and I don't know if the 780-820 FPS I
get using Titegroup or AA#2 does the trick. Thanks in advance for any advice.
2" barrel .38 special----bulls-eye or red dot
125 grain jhp for defensive purposes & a 158 grain lead swc for practice.
4" barrel .357 magnum----5.0 grains of unique & a 158 grain lead swc for practice
----125 grain jhp hornady or nosler for defensive purposes
bulls-eye & red dot are fast burning powders suited for the 2" barrel, while unique is the better choice for a 4" barrel as it is a medium burn speed powder.
Contact me for any further assistance with your reloading questions.
I think there is probably no way of knowing about the expansion from a snub-nosed .38 revolver, without doing your own testing. If you can't do that, it might be better to scale back to a lighter bullet, with more velocity, to be a little bit more certain of expansion.
You should have no trouble getting the 158 grain FTX to expand, when fired from a 4" .357 magnum, although I am at a loss as to why you spend extra for a ballistic tip bullet, in a revolver. I use Hornady XTP's in some 9mm loads, which are basically the same thing, without the plastic tip. As far as I know, that tip serves a purpose only for use in a rifle with a tubular magazine. Correct me, if I'm wrong.
To: Mr. Desert & mr. Bisley
Here is an old rule-of-thumb regarding the loading of handgun ammunition:
2" barrel + light bullet + fast burning powder = an efficient load
4" barrel + light / medium weight bullet + moderate speed powder = an efficient load
6" barrel + medium / heavy bullets + slow burning powder = an efficient load
one of the best signs to look for is the size of the muzzle flash. If you see a huge muzzle flash from any length barrel, then that indicates the burning speed of the powder was too slow. Shoot a charge of slow burning powder from the 2" barrel & the resulting fire-ball is a sight to behold, but that huge fire-ball is nothing more than the propellant being consumed outside of the barrel instead of inside the bore. This wastes your powder, primer, & bullet. The goal is to load ammo that is safe, efficient, & satisfies the need we wish to accomplish.
Mr. Bisley you are correct regarding the flexible polymer tipped bullets. They were primarily designed for use in tubular magazines.
Bullet choices: 158 gr. Hard cast lead semi-wadcutters (swc) are the best choice for practice, plinking, target, & small game harvesting. Loaded to a velocity of 800-1000 fps, they are comfortable to shoot, easy on your revolver, & cheap to shoot.
For personal defense loads: .38 special, 110 grain jacketed hollow points (jhp) would be advised for the 2" barrel, as to get the bullet up to defensive velocities as quickly as possible. In the 4" .357 magnum, a 125 gr. Jhp at about 1200 fps will get the job done. For hunting purposes, use a 158 gr. Jhp in the .357 because of the additional penetration it affords for the ethical taking of medium size game animals.
Cases: Use the magnum length cases for all light, defensive, & hunting loads in the .357. The additional length of the case (.135") more completely fills the length of the cylinder chamber, than using the special length cases in the magnum cylinder.
Hopefully this info helps fellows. If either of you have any additional questions on this subject, just ask. I will be glad to help anyway i can.
I apoligize, gentlemen....my bullet is an XTP.....wrong info from the get go.....
Maybe I should do some more testing with the 110gr. XTP and AA#2 or #5....as I use my .38 2-inch Chiefs Special as my main carry....way more often that the longer barreled revolvers I have.
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