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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've been loading for ten years now and feel like I have a pretty decent grasp on what it takes to load safe quality ammo. Like a lot of you I only load practice rounds and buy quality defensive ammo. I've recently started carrying a 38 super and because of the high cost of good defensive ammo, have decided to load my own. I'm planning on using new starline 38 super +P cases, hornady xtp 124 gr bullets and vitavouri n105 powder. The data calls for 9.9 to 10.4 gr with a velocity ranging from 1400-1500 fps. This is obviously pretty hot and I plan on staying on the low side of this range pending performance and chrono results. Just wanted to know if anyone has experience with this powder in 38 super and any advice or concerns? Thanks, Torrey
 

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It sounds like it should run well.

I have been loading .38 Super for several years now. Just got a new Les Baer Custom carry in 38 Super for a carry piece the other day. My go to round for defense has been Hornady bullet #35580 147 grain XTPs on top of 7.2 grains of Blue dot. I am probably not getting the velocity that you are looking at. But I like loading heavy for caliber in certain rounds. And 38 Super is one of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have been loading .38 Super for several years now. Just got a new Les Baer Custom carry in 38 Super for a carry piece the other day. My go to round for defense has been Hornady bullet #35580 147 grain XTPs on top of 7.2 grains of Blue dot. I am probably not getting the velocity that you are looking at. But I like loading heavy for caliber in certain rounds. And 38 Super is one of them.
Thanks for the feedback USMM. Maybe I'll try some 147's over the n105 as well; compare performance of the two.
 

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OP - I don’t use n105, mainly because I can’t get it locally, so I can’t address your specific question. I can tell what I do use: 12.5 grains of Lil’Gun diving a 135 JHP XTreme at avg 1094fps. It’s an older type powder and not that hot (PF ~ 153 or so) but I can hit what I aim at. And that’s more important to me. My alternate carry is a DW 1911 Guardian in 38 Super.
Hope this was informative.
 

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Just wanted to know if anyone has experience with this powder in 38 super and any advice or concerns? Thanks, Torrey
Torrey,
I carry a 38 Super Witness when I go to the pit (range) by myself and it's always packed with 17 rounds of my 147 XTP reloads. With that and an extra mag in my pocket I figure it's enough for social work if needed. Before I went to the 147, I was using 124 XTPs regularly, but too much research made me rethink the lighter bullet in 38 Super.

Hornady designed the XTP with a specific velocity range for optimal performance (see pic). With all the data available from gel tests, and my own accuracy testing, I've concluded that the 124 performs best at around 1200fps and the 147 at 1100fps.

Since a 124 @ 1200fps out of the 38 Super was pretty effortless I decided it's muscle was best suited for the 147. I now leave the 124 duty to my 9 mils. I also settled on Power Pistol and magnum primers. This combination will give me great accuracy and consistent velocities with a SD of about 10 or less. I'd have to check my notes but as I recall I hit my target velocity of 1100fps two to three tenths under max load, and the recoil was less than the 124's at 1200fps.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That is good information, thank you!
 

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Looking forward to seeing what you come up with on the load, Pigeonracer.


.38 Super has always been a round that interested me.

What gun are you going to be using ?
 

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The biggest factors with .38 Super are whether you are using a ramped barrel or not and barrel length.

People used to make major with Supers using non-ramped barrels, Blue Dot, and 158-160 grain lead bullets back early on when they were first used in IPSC but I saw a lot of bulged cases using those loads. I also knew a guy who made major(175 power factor) with 170gr Sierra jacketed for big matches to reduce the smoke. Back then the case of choice was the Remington nickle plated +P cases. Blue Dot is in the right burning rate range but suffers badly from lot to lot and shot to shot(metering) variations. Back then Blue Dot was the only published major load I ever saw.

Later on folks started using AA#7 and the now discontinued WW571/HS7 with good success in ramped barrel pistols. I was making major with 135gr bullets and maybe with 130gr bullets but ole timers is rearing it's head. Don't remember ever trying the 124/125gr stuff. This was with WW571/HS7 and StarLine +P brass. None of these powders burned real clean but metered well.

Around the time I quit competing I heard of people using Vihtavuori powders with good success. Most recently I've seen published major loads with 124gr bullets using Vihtavuori n105 powder. Sure is a shame they love the stuff so much $$$$$.
 

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I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but this interests me as far as home defense ammo. I can’t carry. Are there any legitimate legal concerns as to loading your own defensive ammo? Can it be used against you in any way? Personally, I think carrying 38 super is a great idea, just not sure if a lawyer could spin it that you selected components and loaded with intent to maim or kill? I mean, that’s kinda the point in a defensive situation, but we all know the reality we live in?
 

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I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but this interests me as far as home defense ammo. I can’t carry. Are there any legitimate legal concerns as to loading your own defensive ammo? Can it be used against you in any way? Personally, I think carrying 38 super is a great idea, just not sure if a lawyer could spin it that you selected components and loaded with intent to maim or kill? I mean, that’s kinda the point in a defensive situation, but we all know the reality we live in?
I used to worry about that also, but the more I thought about it, the more it might work in our favor if the subject ever came up in a court of law. I load my SD ammo for two reasons. One, it is more economical, and two, I want the most accurate round possible to minimize the chance that a bullet will be off target enough to harm an innocent bystander. I've got plenty of documentation (data) to prove my concern for the innocent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm shooting a guncrafter light weight commander. It has a ramped barrel. It's a joy to carry and to shoot. So far I have been using Wilson Combat ammo which is a 124 gr XTP which chrono's at about 1350 through my pistol so I'm trying to emulate that performance but I think BC17A's comment about ideal velocity is very insightful. It's not all about velocity. I've got the powder and the bullets just waiting on the cases. I will report back with results once I have them. Thanks for all the comments.
 

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....just not sure if a lawyer could spin it that you selected components and loaded with intent to maim or kill? .....
Unless you tell someone, no one will ever know. And why would you ever tell someone??
 

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I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but this interests me as far as home defense ammo. I can’t carry. Are there any legitimate legal concerns as to loading your own defensive ammo? Can it be used against you in any way? Personally, I think carrying 38 super is a great idea, just not sure if a lawyer could spin it that you selected components and loaded with intent to maim or kill? I mean, that’s kinda the point in a defensive situation, but we all know the reality we live in?

Every time it’s brought up folks have trouble citing cases of justifiable self defense, where the person lost a criminal or civil case.

That said, anything you say can be used against you, why most knowledgeable folks suggest you acquire a lawyer instantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but this interests me as far as home defense ammo. I can’t carry. Are there any legitimate legal concerns as to loading your own defensive ammo? Can it be used against you in any way? Personally, I think carrying 38 super is a great idea, just not sure if a lawyer could spin it that you selected components and loaded with intent to maim or kill? I mean, that’s kinda the point in a defensive situation, but we all know the reality we live in?
Thanks, but I'm strictly interested in load development or people's thoughts/experiences on loading 38 super defensive rounds, in this case, with N105.
 

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Picked up a pound of BE-86 powder last week, now all this 38 Super talk got me motivated to work up some new loads. Going to test both the 124s and 147s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

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Wow, great information! Thank you for the link; exactly what I was looking for.
There was another article on that Shooting Times site called “Super Powders for the .38Super” that also has some good info in it. Copied them both for the reloading bench.
 
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