Reloading .38 S&W with black powder

Top Break Revolvers and Suicide Specials: Many were poorly made all were basic, inexpensive, simple guns which sold at modest prices . “Suicide Specials" were the "Saturday Night Specials” of their day and age. Beginning in the late 19th century, a huge number of these were sold through various retail outlets. Examples are Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson, and (H & R Firearms)

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Reloading .38 S&W with black powder

Postby Don » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:39 pm

A couple of years ago a friend of mine loaded some empty .38S&W with 12.6 grains(by weight) of Pyrodex P. They shot well and performance was close to advertised performance of the smokeless rounds though those never lived up to their advertised velocities. Any who, I wanted to load some with the holy black instead of a substitute so that's what we did. We loaded them with 11.8 grains by weight of Swiss 3f powder. I didn't have my chronograph so we tested a few on pine 2x4's. Those rounds blew through 2 boards stacked on top of each other with about an inch of space between. Recoil was reasonable and we got the characteristic black powder BOOOM! I had quite a grin on my face afterward. Now I can shoot my H&R hammerless top-break without worrying about blowing my self and the gun up. I LOVE BLACK POWDER!

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Re: Reloading .38 S&W with black powder

Postby Flowmaster » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:46 pm

I shoot a lot of 38 special cast lead bullets and sometimes they are smokey. At the indoor ranges I've had people ask me if I'm shooting black powder loads because they are so smokey at this one range with really lackluster ventilation. Its interesting because even though my loads produce some smoke, its nothing like seeing someone shoot real black powder loads.

A guy I shoot with uses Trailboss powder for low recoil/power loads. The powder looks like cheerios and is used a lot in 45LC, .45-70, and some other calibers. Here is an article about it if you're interested in low power loads.
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