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Reloading The .38 Super Auto


SWC= Semi-WadCutter, FMC= Full Metal Case, FMJ= Full Metal Jacket, JHP= Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet.

Loads for .38 Super Auto: *
These are NOT for the .38 ACP (same case length) and certainly not for the .380 Auto/ .380 ACP. (Note: These ARE MAXIMUM loads, you may want to use 10% less to start.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.

These are ALL MAXIMUM LOADS: Start at 10% less and work up! Bullet size is .355" (9mm) (jacketed or lead) in diameter. Some loads use a .356" bullet.

Note, where you see HP-38 you can use Winchester 231.
They are the same powder (2009)
----------------------------------------
90 grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)
    HP-38        7.0 gr.   1,448
    Universal    7.0 gr.   1,379
----------------------------------------
100 grain FMJ (Full metal jacket)
    HP-38        6.6 gr.   1,374
    Universal    6.6 gr.   1,342
----------------------------------------
115 grain JHP
    No. 2        5.7 gr.   1,200 FPS
    No. 5        8.3 gr.   1,321
    No. 7       10.3 gr.   1,340
    No. 9       13.0 gr.   1,395
    Bullseye     5.5 gr.   1,240 
    Unique       6.6 gr.   1,265 
    HP-38        6.6 gr.   1,374
    Universal    6.6 gr.   1,342
-----------------------------------------
115 grain Lead
    No. 2        4.8 gr.   1,133 FPS
    No. 5        7.6 gr.   1,267
    No. 7        9.8 gr.   1,320
    No. 9       12.5 gr.   1,374
-----------------------------------------
124 grain FMC
    No. 2        5.4 gr.   1,163 FPS
    No. 5        7.6 gr.   1,230
    No. 7        9.6 gr.   1,263
    No. 9       12.5 gr.   1,346
    HP-38        5.6 gr.   1,109
    Universal    5.7 gr.   1,177
    HS-6         8.2 gr.   1,237
-----------------------------------------
130 grain FMC
    No. 2        5.2 gr.   1,116 FPS
    No. 5        7.3 gr.   1,201
    No. 7        9.2 gr.   1,209
    No. 9       11.9 gr.   1,305
    Bullseye     5.1 gr.   1,170 
    Unique       6.2 gr.   1,200 
    HP-38        5.3 gr.   1,004
    Universal    5.5 gr.   1,142
    HS-6         7.1 gr.   1,169
-----------------------------------------
130 grain Lead
    No. 2        4.4 gr.   1,1026 FPS
    No. 5        7.0 gr.   1,185
    No. 7        9.0 gr.   1,244
    No. 9       11.5 gr.   1,257
-----------------------------------------
147 grain FMC or JHP
    No. 2        4.8 gr.   1,038 FPS
    No. 5        6.5 gr.   1,075
    No. 7        8.5 gr.   1,148
    No. 9        9.7 gr.   1,111
    Bullseye     5.0 gr.   1,095 
    Unique       5.8 gr.   1,105 
    Universal    4.5 gr.     961
    HS-6         7.0 gr.   1,040
    HS-7         8.1 gr.   1,114
-----------------------------------------
158/160 grain FMC or JHP
    No. 2        4.3 gr.     970 FPS
    No. 5        6.2 gr.   1,026
    No. 7        8.0 gr.   1,064
    No. 9        9.7 gr.   1,121
    Bullseye     4.8 gr.   ----- 
    Unique       5.8 gr.   ----- 
    Universal    4.1 gr.     811
-----------------------------------------
158/160 grain LEAD
    No. 2        4.5 gr.   1,025 FPS
    No. 5        6.0 gr.   1,048
    No. 7        8.0 gr.   1,115
    No. 9        9.5 gr.   1,116
    Bullseye     4.6 gr.   1,030 
    Unique       5.9 gr.   1,085 
    Universal    4.1 gr.     901
    HS-6         6.2 gr.   1,064
    HS-7         7.2 gr.   1,083
    HP-38        4.5 gr.     904
-----------------------------------------
These are ALL MAXIMUM LOADS:  Start at 10% less
and work up!
* Discussion: The 38 Super is a very high power version of the 38 Auto or 38 ACP. (Thanks to Ross for info on 38 Auto) The case is much longer (.680" vs. .900") and the powder loads are almost double in some charges. Since the 70's, the 38 Super cases have been designated +P, showing they are more powerful that the .38 Auto (.38 ACP) that appears the same size. The 9mm Luger with a shorter case (.754") matches the loads pretty closely, but 38 Super+P is still more powerful than the Luger. The .380 Auto is a shorter case(.680") and should not be confused with this caliber.

Unique, Universal and No. 5 which are moderate fast powders are well suited to cases like the 38 Super Auto. Even slower powders with these big charges for this small round can produce higher velocities and lower pressures.

A bullet with a copper gas check or copper plating is best for INDOOR ranges to keep lead vapors out of the air.

*
Power Pistol, Bullseye, Unique and 2400 are products of Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders.
Clays, Universal, HP38, HS6 and H4895 are products of Hodgdon Powders.
IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 are products of IMR (formerly DuPont) Powder Company.
No. 2, No. 5, No. 7, No. 9, #2230, and #2460 are products of Accurate Arms Company
WAP (Winchester Action Pistol), WMR, WSF, WSL, 760, 748, 231 and 540 are products of Winchester, Components Div.

References: Accurate Arms Co. 1996 Reloading booklet - - Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders' Guide (1995) - - Hodgdon's Basic Reloaders Manual (1996) - - Speer Reloading Manual, #12 - - Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition - - Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. - - VihtaVuori Oy Company,reloading booklet (1995) - - Numerous magazine articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted.

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This page created 5/15/96 by M.D. Smith and last modified on June 8, 2009 ©