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Posted: 6/15/2009 2:52:55 PM EST

got the wife a 642. no way she can handle normal 38spl. loads to practice. can someone suggest a reduce load using a 100gr cast bullet, with ww231 or bullseye powder. thanks for any input.

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:35:06 PM EST
The closest thing I found was in Lee's book and Alliant's website. My Speer Book came up empty.

38spl 110gr jacketed bullet using BULLSEYE

Starting charge and max charge were the same: 4.5 grains.

On Alliant's website (I'm sure you've already looked there) you'll see that in the same bullet (110gr FMJ) that their max load is 4.7 grains of Bullseye with a starting charge (-10%) of 4.2 grains.

The difference in weight of 10 grains likely won't make much difference. If you wanted to extrapolate those numbers over to lead bullets (-10%) you come up with a starting charge of 3.8 grains.

the median charge weight would seem to be around 4.0 grains and I wouldn't go any higher than maybe 4.3


231 and Bullseye are both pretty fast powders. In a 38 case with that little powder of such speed I'd be concerned about the possibility of flash-over.


My recommendation would be to:

1. score some unique or Universal Clays and load up some easy starting-weight charged loads with a 158gr SWC and...

2. Buy the little woman a pair of padded shooting gloves if she doesn't have them already.

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:36:50 PM EST
My mother is in her late 40's, has rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia...and doesn't have any problems shooting standard 130 grain Rem-UMC out of her 642. That said, I loaded a box of wadcutters up for her. Try the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:41:40 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:28:48 PM EST
Originally Posted By rp85:

got the wife a 642. no way she can handle normal 38spl. loads to practice. can someone suggest a reduce load using a 100gr cast bullet, with ww231 or bullseye powder. thanks for any input.


My Lyman book shows from 2.8-4.6 of Bullseye for a 120 gr next heavier bullet I can find for you in lead. In her revolver, I wouldn't worry about much there if I did a load, starting about 3.8. I shoot 158 gr, with 3.5 for a target load and it is very gentle. I shoot a 637. Load low to start and work from there, at least she's shooting and you have a good thing going.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:37:30 PM EST
I don't know where you are with her "handgun education" but, may I suggest...........

Perhaps, you could start her on a larger frame pistol. Then after she gets a hang of it............size her down to the J Frame.

As for the load...........my SASS load is: 125 gr RNL (or flat point lead), 3.2 gr. BE, in a .38 Special case, COAL 1.50"

I've been told that mine is "stout."

Yes, some guys go even lower..........AKA: "Mouse Fart Loads."

Aloha, Mark

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:29:05 PM EST
Or how about those 148gr wadcutter target loads? (From memory they use something less than 3.5gr of Bullseye or other fast powder.) Those things feel lighter than a gentle breeze.

And seriously, women are tougher than they usually get credit for. Don't give her a combat load to start with, of course, but any light load should be easy to deal with, even with a very light pistol.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 6:17:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/15/2009 6:18:22 PM EST by ma96782]
Standard for PPC...........148 gr HBWC are usually loaded with 2.8 grs BE.

Aloha, Mark

Link Posted: 6/15/2009 6:22:48 PM EST
Federal makes a 110 JHP reduced recoil Hydrashok. That's what my 72 y.o. mom uses in her Colt Detective Special. They're pretty mild.

Another option would be any factory 148gr. hollowbased wadcutter target load, they are very mildly loaded and very accurate.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 3:59:29 PM EST

loaded several different loads. started with 125 cast lead bullet and 3.3gr. of bullseye. she could not handle this load. if fairness to the pistol and load, she has a medical condition with her hands.

after 7 shots she had to stop. had 5 other loads, with increased powder and bullet weight. never even tried them.

Link Posted: 6/17/2009 4:35:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/17/2009 4:36:29 PM EST by ma96782]
Being that she has a medical condition.............well, you could start her on a 22LR. Then, possibly move up to a .32 cal.

Aloha, Mark

PS.........or try the 148 gr HBWC with 2.8 gr. BE., before you give up on the .38 Special.

Link Posted: 6/18/2009 3:42:25 AM EST
FWIW - my Lyman 48th Edition lists the following .38 Special load (which I have never personally used):

Bullet : 90 grain cast lead - mould number #356242 (I suspect this bullet is actually designed for the .380 ACP and is a bit undersized)

Starting Load: 3.5 grains of W231 for 689 fps or 3.3 grains of Bullseye for 765 fps.

I’d think the W231 load is probably about as light a recoiling load as you can get in a .38 Special.

Frankly, in the long run she might be better off with a heavier all steel revolver like a Ruger SP101 (esp. if the recoil could conceivably make her medical condition worse).

Alternatively, a .32 or even a .22 LR might also be worth considering. IIRC, the SP101 is available in both rounds.
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