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Old 04-22-2010, 07:58 AM   #1
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800-x for .38 special

Hi folks,



I've just started reloading .38 special practice ammo with the Lee classic loader. Money is tight so I didn't want to invest in too much equipment to start, though I did buy a safety prime as using a hammer to seat primers made me wince every time! My choice as a first powder was AA#2 and I'm confident I didn't make a bad one.



However, I have an opportunity to pick up some 800-x on the cheap, and wanted to get some opinions as to its suitability for my purpose. While I have no plans to use it right away, I do want to get a good feel for one powder before experimenting, I don't want to miss an opportunity for something I can use down the road either.



FWIW, I'm shooting a 3" SP101 and the wife's S&W 642 for the foreseeable future. As for bullets, I have 125gr plated right now, but plan on buying 158gr SWC's from a reputable caster. I also may be able to score some 700-x also. Thoughts/suggestions welcome.



Regards
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:43 AM   #2
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800-x for .38 special

scwv67 -



Boy does that bring back some memories! Slow, very slow but it will give you an appreciation for the steps involved in rolling your own. Couple of thoughts to share.



First, based on a quick tour of my available manuals I found a bunch of Hi Skor 700X recipes for 125 grain bullets. They begin about 3.6 grains and level off at 4.3 or so. Plated bullets should be used with data for cast lead I am told. But I did not find anything for 800X until I found an old IMR guide. It shows 800X for a 125 JHP at 6.9 grains. Humm....It also lists a 148 LWC with 5.5. I would load it like lead until proven otherwise. Go to the web site if there is one.



I have used AA2 before and used to always use cheap powder when I could find it. I once lucked into a pile of Scot Solo or something for cheap and shot it for the longest time. Data was a bit hard to find.



Finally, I load a lot of everything for practice on my Lee 1000s and LoadMasters. It has been a long, long time since I used a Lee Loader or even a single stage RCBS for anything but rifle cartridges. When you decide to go for it, start with an RCBS Rock Chucker - you will thank me later.



But, I prime every single case using the Lee handpriming tool. It is cheap and does better than the expensive RCBS one I have. I never, ever use a priming tool on any machine to include wacking it in with a hammer.



Reloads are for practice and as long as you hold down to moderate velocities you will do just fine. Lee Loaders, I had forgotten about them!



Good luck.
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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800-x for .38 special

scwv67-

I couldn't find any 800-x loads for the .38 only the .44 Rem mag. http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp

Good luck,

Gib
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:55 AM   #4
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800-x for .38 special

oberstlt,



Thanks for the advice. I snoozed too long on the 700x but went ahead and purchased the 800. I figured at $10 for a pound, why not?



I remembered that an uncle of mine does some reloading and I thought if nothing else he might be able to use it. Upon calling him last night, he consulted what he said was his Lee 2nd Ed. which he says has some recipes for 800x/.38spc. I'm ordering one from Midway today. Can't have too many manuals can I?



Anyway, while I may upgrade to a press at some point, the Lee loader is working fine while I learn this new hobby. I used to do construction, so I'm used to swinging a hammer! Even when I can upgrade, I figure it will still be handy for knocking out some rounds while target practicing at our farm.



I do like the Lee handpriming tool though, doesn't make me squeamish like the hammer method. I've just learned to be careful about a double feed.



Regards.
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Old 04-23-2010, 04:58 AM   #5
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800-x for .38 special

gib,



Apparently, Lee's newest manual has some recipes for this combo, so I went ahead and purchased the powder and ordered the book. The price was right, and if I don't use it, an uncle of mine will take it off my hands. Thanks for looking though!



This reloading stuff is fun.



Regards
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:25 PM   #6
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800-x for .38 special

I think Ken Waters' book(s) Pet Loads has some 38 Spl loads using 800X. I think I have some loaded up to try (somewhere).

My copy is upstairs and I'm not, so I will look later.
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Old 05-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #7
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800-x for .38 special

OK, it wasn't in there, but it was in a 1987 issue of Handloader. I happened to have it nearby.

This is an article on jacketed bullets in the 38 Spl. He had an article on cast and swaged lead bullets in 38 Spl the previous month.

These were intended to be standard pressure (non +P) loads.



In this one, he only used 800X with two bullets; one 140 grains and one 158 grains.



With the 140 Sierra:

5.5 grains of 800X gave 776 fps in a 6" barrel and 804 in an 8-3/8". Case expansion was "near max". The comment was "very accurate".



With the 158 Sierra JHC:

5.5 grains of 800X gave 615 fps in a 2" barrel, 804 in a 6", and 816 in an 8-3/8". Case expansion was "maximum". Comment: "Reduce to 5.3 grains".
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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800-x for .38 special

Barry,



Thanks for the info. I also came across and old pdf from IMR with several loading for 800x/.38spc



Regards
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