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Black Powder 38spl and 357 loads

DENWADENWA Member Posts: 390 ✭✭✭
edited July 2002 in Ask the Experts
Is it possible to shoot cast bullets with charges of pyrodex?

38 spl or 357mag using 158 gr cast SWC, in a Ruger black hawk 357mag 6.5" barrel?

I was just wondering if this would be possible to get a safe load that would still work.

(I don't plan on trying this until one of you try it first!)



  • NighthawkNighthawk Member Posts: 13,100
    edited November -1
    I would not do it but that would be smoking!!

  • Ronald J. SnowRonald J. Snow Member Posts: 1,346 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hodgdon publishes a book called "Cowboy Action Data". It list loads for use of Pyrodex in modern calibers; however, none are listed for the 357 or 38 Special. However, they do list loads for the 357 and 38 Special using Triple Seven powder. If you would like a copy of this book mailed to you, e-mail me with your mailing address and I will send you a copy. I am Ronald J. Snow, [email protected]
  • Rafter-SRafter-S Member Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've shot a lot of black powder, and done quiet a bit of experimenting. Though I've never experimented with what you describe, I would not think it would be dangerous to load 15-20 grians of FF behind a 158 grain cast bullet in a 38 special and fire it in a Blackhawk revolver. I've fired a lot larger loads of FFF in the Ruger Old Army revolver without any problems. 15 grains of FF should be a mild load you can work up from.

    If you do decide to experiment, be sure to put a filler (I used Malt-O-Meal) on top of the powder charge to take up the space above the powder. You don't want to load black powder with an air space between the powder and the bullet.

    One other thing: make sure your insurance premiums are paid up. ;-)
  • mazo kidmazo kid Member Posts: 648 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hello, I was always going to try this, but haven't got around to it yet. However, I do shoot black powder in old revolvers and rifles. You got me curious so went down to the basement and weighed out some 2F (ffg) samples. I poured thru a drop tube into the case, approx. 3/16 from case mouth to allow for bullet seating and a bit of compression. Here is what I came up with:
    .38 Spl. 19.8 gr.
    .357 Mag 23.7 "
    .44 Spl. 27.6 "
    .44 Mag 31.8 "
    .44-40 31.8 "
    So you see, the .44 Mag charge is just what the old blackpowder charge was for the .44-40, and the .38 Spl charge is under what I shoot in my .41 LC Thunderers (21 gr) in the old black powder guns. You can't quote me on this, but I can see no problems pressure-wise from shooting a case full of black powder in a strong, modern gun like the Blackhawk. Make sure you are using a bullet that has enough grease grooves and use a lube suitable for black powder (helps keep the fouling soft). You may have to wipe the gun down more often due to tighter clearances. Also keep the cylinder pin lubed well. Hope this helps. I may just get out and do this same thing with my Blackhawk. Lots of boom, smoke, and FUN! I don't shoot Pyrodex, but should come out the same way as Pyrodex is loaded by volume instead of weight. Emery
  • Rafter-SRafter-S Member Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Great reply, mazo kid.

    When you say "a bit of compression," that reminded me of something. I always tried to put about 20 pounds of compression on loads of black powder. Of course, I was loading by hand using a ramrod, so the estimation of 20 pounds was easy. What folks DON'T want to do is heavily compress or hard pack black powder loads. It changes the power of the load to the plus side.
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