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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 2:59 PM
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Default 38 Special +P with Clays

I've got about 4lbs of Clays that was given to me and a bunch of range brass. That, combined with nothing but 357 magnum firearms in the house has led me to search for a +P+ load for Clays in a 38 Special case.

Hodgdon's website shows the following for 38 Special with LRNFP 125gr:

2.5gr start, 3.5gr max

Switching over to .357 mag with the same bullet, it shows:

3.5gr start, 5.3gr max


Now, I have fired max 357 loads out of all of my guns with no problems (not often, but from time to time); so is there any reason that I can't continue on from the 3.5gr max listed on their site? I understand that the reduced case capacity will contribute to spiking preasures before I reach the .357 max load. I'm thinking of starting at 4.0gr and testing with my wife's S&W 13 4"

Am I crazy?

Also, does anyone have a link to +P or +P+ data for Clays in a 38 Special?

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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 6:44 PM
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I am curious as well because I have 2 pounds of the stuff laying around... I am currently under the impression that because clays is very fast burning, you will hit max pressure before achieving a good velocity. I loaded up some target loads for my 45 with clays but am curious to expanding its usability.

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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 7:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdawg86 View Post
I am curious as well because I have 2 pounds of the stuff laying around... I am currently under the impression that because clays is very fast burning, you will hit max pressure before achieving a good velocity. I loaded up some target loads for my 45 with clays but am curious to expanding its usability.

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I think that it will hinge on the reduced case capacity of the .38 compared to the .357 case.

In my case, the pressure can reach 357 mag levels without issue as NONE of my firearms are .38s. The question is, how much powder in a .100" shorter case is required to reach max pressure?

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Old 11-25-2012, 7:54 PM
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Caution: Non-published data, load at your own risk.
A run with Quickload says that 4.0g Clays under a 125g lead bullet seated at .35" depth (seating depth is a very important parameter) generates 25k psi and 975 fps in a .38 special case while the same bullet generates 21k psi and 930 fps in a .357 case. This is in a 4" barrel. Extrapolating this into real world experience says that you will probably exceed 1000 fps in the .38 special as I got more than +80 fps comparing QL to real chrony data using 5g Unique under a 158g bullet. 4g Clays will far exceed the SAAMI specs for 38 special, but will be below the specs for .357 magnum.

If you want to stay safe with the .38 special case, you need to stay below 3.0g Clays. Yes I know that will feel like a BB gun, but that's what you get with a high pressure powder in a low pressure cartridge.
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Old 11-26-2012, 4:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
Caution: Non-published data, load at your own risk.
A run with Quickload says that 4.0g Clays under a 125g lead bullet seated at .35" depth (seating depth is a very important parameter) generates 25k psi and 975 fps in a .38 special case while the same bullet generates 21k psi and 930 fps in a .357 case. This is in a 4" barrel. Extrapolating this into real world experience says that you will probably exceed 1000 fps in the .38 special as I got more than +80 fps comparing QL to real chrony data using 5g Unique under a 158g bullet. 4g Clays will far exceed the SAAMI specs for 38 special, but will be below the specs for .357 magnum.

If you want to stay safe with the .38 special case, you need to stay below 3.0g Clays. Yes I know that will feel like a BB gun, but that's what you get with a high pressure powder in a low pressure cartridge.

Excellent info, thank you.

That is still far below 357 magnum's max pressure of 35,000 psi. As such, am I correct that a 25K load should be safe all day long in firearms designed for .357 magnums?

I think that I will load 6 each of 3.8, 4.0, and 4.2 and then test over the chrony. The 4.2 is simply to check behavior on loads that go over 4.0 to see if there are signs of pressure.

Maybe I should do my testing in my Llama 6". It has hundreds of full power 357 mag loads with 296 down the tube. If something goes south on me, blowing up the wife's gun might note be such a good idea
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Old 11-26-2012, 7:01 AM
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The only draw back I see with your +P+ load is a shorter than normal case life.

Yes your 6 shooter will be good with shooting the +P+ all day long since it's chambered for .357 mag.
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Old 11-26-2012, 6:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ireload View Post
The only draw back I see with your +P+ load is a shorter than normal case life.

Yes your 6 shooter will be good with shooting the +P+ all day long since it's chambered for .357 mag.

Are .38 cases thinner than .357 cases?

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Old 11-26-2012, 6:40 PM
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Check yourself with a pair of calipers. I don't see much of a difference. Besides, its the chamber (cylinder in a revolver) that holds the pressure in, not the brass. In a revolver, everything is supported unlike the feed ramp area of a Glock.

Besides, if the case were thicker, either the bullet would have to be smaller or the cylinder would have to be larger than for 38 special, right?

Last edited by rsrocket1; 11-26-2012 at 6:58 PM..
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Old 11-27-2012, 6:26 PM
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More opinions welcome.

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Old 11-29-2012, 2:23 PM
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Ok, here's mine. You wander over the SAAMI specs for a cartridge without all the pressure goodies and chronographs, and I call it irresponsible. The limits are there for a reason. Yes, maybe you can go over the limits for .38 when you have a .357. But without a way to precisely know what your pressures are, when they spike and all the rest, you're playing russian roulette. My opinion - don't do it.
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2012, 4:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtkaiser View Post
Ok, here's mine. You wander over the SAAMI specs for a cartridge without all the pressure goodies and chronographs, and I call it irresponsible. The limits are there for a reason. Yes, maybe you can go over the limits for .38 when you have a .357. But without a way to precisely know what your pressures are, when they spike and all the rest, you're playing russian roulette. My opinion - don't do it.

Always sound advice and thank you for posting.


Can anyone comment on the background, accuracy, reliability, and trustworthiness of Quickload software referenced in post #4 above? Important to know I do believe.

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Old 11-29-2012, 6:49 PM
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Have you loaded the 3.5gr and seen how you like it?
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  #13  
Old 12-01-2012, 10:53 AM
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Problem solved.

Took the Clays to my gun store and traded for some RamShot True Blue.

Best solution I believe.

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