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Ruger SP101 2 " Barrel 357 Magnum Shooting ~~~~~> 38 Short Colt

This is a discussion on Ruger SP101 2 " Barrel 357 Magnum Shooting ~~~~~> 38 Short Colt within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Anyone shoot 38 Short Colt in a Ruger SP101 (2 " Barrel) 357 Magnum revolver? I've been working on some load data that I got ...


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Old January 7th, 2017, 06:11 PM   #1
 
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Ruger SP101 2 " Barrel 357 Magnum Shooting ~~~~~> 38 Short Colt

Anyone shoot 38 Short Colt in a Ruger SP101 (2 " Barrel) 357 Magnum revolver?

I've been working on some load data that I got from my Richard Lee Modern Reloading 2nd Edition Manual which had very little load data for the 38 Short Colt. Hodgdon's website has very little load data as well plus what little I could find on the internet. So, I had to do my own research for which bullet grain weight, powder type, powder grain to start off with and which cartridge over all length (COAL). Being that I'm wasn't sure if I'd like this ammo in my Ruger SP101, I decided to start off shortening some 38 Special casings so that I didn't have much money involved in my testing stages. Already had the bullets, primers and about a pound of powder on hand that I was gonna use. After trimming down 10 pieces of 38 Special casings, it was time to put everything together. I had the bullet, powder and primer already on hand that I was gonna use plus a mixture of dies that I was gonna use to assemble this ammo.

Fast forward past all the ladder testing, chronograph testing and all of the shooting that I did for the testing of this ammo. Those 10 pieces of 38 Special brass went threw some stern serious torture testing to get me where I'm at today. After my testing of what everything I was gonna need and what I was gonna use, it was time to order somethings that I'm gonna need to reload this ammo for my Ruger SP101. I've order some Lee Precision dies, some Starline brass, 8 lbs of powder and I even ordered a new mold for casting some lead bullets. The bullets I used in the testing of this ammo was jacketed bullets. My plan is to use my new mold and cast some bullets and powder coat them from now on cause of the cost of jacketed bullets. Mainly because of how much I shoot each month. Plus, I can cast and powder coat lead bullets for less than a penny. Jacket bullets run anywhere from .15 to .20 cents just for the bullet itself. Nosler jacket bullets are not cheap because of there quality and accuracy. Gonna keep the jacketed bullets for my lever rifles.

Lee Precision does not make a factory crimp die for the 38 Short Colt but they do make custom carbide factory crimp dies for handgun cartridges. So, I'll have to call them and get them to make me one.

Custom Made Carbide Factory Crimp Dies
Pistol Factory Crimp Die - Lee Precision

Over all, I'm really happy. This project was just plain ol fun to do...!!! My load data is tailored to the Ruger SP101 2 " Barrel 357 Magnum revolver. The ammo is easy to build and it has the means to protect if one wants to pursue that. I've worked on this for a couple of months and I did allot of testing/tuning just to see what the caliber can and will do. With the right powder used and the right bullet grain weight, this caliber will burn really clean cause of case volume used. A proper crimp plays a role as well. And it does not take allot of powder to get the cartridge case to seal in the cylinder. I was like wow when I hit the sweet spot and seen the cartridge case and how clean they still looked. The recoil in a Ruger SP101 with a 2 " Barrel, is "very mild" and I'm using that term loosely so to speak. To give you an example, it like shooting a standard 38 Special round in a Ruger GP100 with a 4.2" barrel. My wife even commented how low the recoil was and compared it to my Ruger GP100 with a 4.2" barrel shooting standard 38 Special ammo. She even said it felt less than the standard 38 Special ammo. Wow, with that comment coming from her, I get to have and eat my cake too even thou I didn't tell her that.



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Old January 8th, 2017, 06:27 AM   #2
 
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This is awesome! I'd like to do some research into this for my 3in sp101. My only question is why didn't you just load down 38 special?
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Old January 8th, 2017, 06:53 AM   #3
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Good write-up and interesting story! I thought I was the only one to "run" .38 Short Colt in an SP-101! I have only used factory (Rem, $32 a box!) loads in mine, so far. I like the reduced noise and recoil, and decided to use them for home defense. We have the good fortune to live in a low-risk area. And, we've taken all of the reasonably possible physical security precautions. So, and I admit the tactical crowd will probably sneer at this, I have decided that my 3-in 101 with a CT laser grip, and two speedloaders, is adequate. If I ever do have to fire it inside the house, it will be nice to have some hearing left after the incident!! Oh, one last key point, the 101 is my backup - 20-guage pump is the go-to.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 11:40 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tstring View Post
This is awesome! I'd like to do some research into this for my 3in sp101. My only question is why didn't you just load down 38 special?
When you download 38 Special, after shooting a few hundred rounds, the revolver is filthy and the carbon ring inside of the cylinder is rather hard to remove. I don't have this problem with 38 Short Colt ammo even thou I'm using less powder than a downloaded 38 Special. Case volume is the key here. Removing the area that has no powder will increase the pressure inside of the cartridge case and give you the same performance as a downloaded 38 Special. Shooting a 38 Short Colt in a 357 Magnum revolver is like shooting a 9mm in a 357 Magnum revolver. Shooting the 38 Short Colt in my 357 Magnum revolver, I get a clean burn, low recoil and a follow up shot is rather easy. I only have 300 pieces of 38 Short Colt Starline cartridges cases and after shooting all 300 hundred of them. I can shoot 357 Magnum ammo in my revolver right after just shooting the 38 Short Colt ammo. Downloaded 38 Special, you can't do this cause of the carbon ring inside of the cylinder. That ring must be removed before you can shoot the 357 Mag ammo or 38 Special ammo. Another reason, my 38 Short Colt ammo does not smoke when fired like some of my downloaded 38 Special ammo that I have.

In my 38 Short Colt ammo, I'm using a 125gr bullet. After seating a 125gr bullet, there's not allot of space left in the cartridge case. After filling this space up with the correct burn rate powder for the barrel length. This ammo burns really clean even thou the powder charge is low. The low powder charge that I'm using plus using powder coated bullets, I will save a ton of money and be able to use that savings on buying more components for reloading. Which in return, will allow me to shoot more. Plus, I'm not the only one shooting. My wife is starting to shoot just as much as I am. With the holidays in December and it being a above average warm month, between the both of us shooting. We ended the month right at 4500 rounds between the both of us shooting.

One good thing about this ammo is, it would be some great ammo for a commercial indoor range cause of how well it burns clean and that it doesn't smoke like downloaded powder puff ammo does. The only draw back for the ammo, there reloads and some indoor ranges won't allow reloads.

I can say this about this ammo. I about ready to order a quick change kit for my Dillon progressive press for this ammo. Plus, I need to place a order to Starline Brass for 3000 piece of brass of 38 Short Colt. 300 pieces of brass doesn't take long to burn threw.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 11:56 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoJammy View Post
Good write-up and interesting story! I thought I was the only one to "run" .38 Short Colt in an SP-101! I have only used factory (Rem, $32 a box!) loads in mine, so far. I like the reduced noise and recoil, and decided to use them for home defense. We have the good fortune to live in a low-risk area. And, we've taken all of the reasonably possible physical security precautions. So, and I admit the tactical crowd will probably sneer at this, I have decided that my 3-in 101 with a CT laser grip, and two speedloaders, is adequate. If I ever do have to fire it inside the house, it will be nice to have some hearing left after the incident!! Oh, one last key point, the 101 is my backup - 20-guage pump is the go-to.
Remington 38 SHORT COLT 125 GR LEAD RN 50 RDS (RTG38SC) $25.45 In Stock
http://www.laxammo.com/handgun/38-sh...rtg38sc-detail
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Old January 8th, 2017, 12:10 PM   #6
 
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Thanks so much for all the info! Did you develop your load in quick load or just through tinkering?

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Old January 8th, 2017, 01:56 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tstring View Post
Thanks so much for all the info! Did you develop your load in quick load or just through tinkering?

Sent from my SM-G920R6 using Tapatalk
Being that the 38 Short Colt was originally a black powder cartridge, it's pressure is pretty low and the Ruger SP101 is a tough little revolver. Also the Ruger SP101 being chambered in 357 Magnum and being able to with stand high pressures of the 357 Magnum cartridges, I was not worried about blowing up or destroying the gun. The ticket here is working up a load. So, to answer your question, working up the load by tinkering is the method I used. Plus, I did allot of research before one round was even built. Determining what die's I had would work was another task that I had to decide on and I did more research on what die's could be used before a round was built. Even thou I cut down 10 38 Specials cartridges cases for my ladder testing. I did trim down several more to help determine what dies I could use.

If you decide to embark on this cartridge case, you won't be disappointed. There are several option for this cartridge case. I am surprised that this caliber is not widely used at training center or indoor ranges just because of low recoil aspect. This caliber would be great for new shooter wanting to learn to shoot. It would be an awesome round for training women that get intimidated by heavy recoiled firearms. It burns clean, low recoil and it's cheap to build.

Next is to work on some powder coated 158gr LSWC for this caliber.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 05:44 PM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Rugerfanboy View Post

Next is to work on some powder coated 158gr LSWC for this caliber.
Please keep us posted on your further loads and how they do!
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Old January 13th, 2017, 01:53 PM   #9
 
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I shoot .38 short colts in my S&W TRR8 for USPSA. So naturally I go ahead and shoot them out of everything I have in .357 including my SP101. My wife absolutely loves to shoot those rounds. We have even shot them out of her LCR .38SPCL. I run starline brass, CCI small pistol primers, 3.0gr of titegroup, and a 160gr BBI bullet.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 05:09 PM   #10
 
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Very interesting
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Old January 13th, 2017, 06:46 PM   #11
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Sure looks like a lot of hoops to jump through when you can easily use 38 Special or 357 Mag brass. With 357 Mag brass, I can load any bullet weight from 110gr to 180gr and virtually any velocity from 700 fps to magnum velocities. Why in the world would I want to buy extra dies and brass? It just doesn't make sense to use 38 Short Colt brass!!!

Last edited by Iowegan; January 13th, 2017 at 06:49 PM.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 03:56 AM   #12
 
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It's not always about logic. Some times it's about experimenting and just having fun . Not trying be disrespectful or argue.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 06:57 AM   #13
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For the first time, ever, I have to respectfully disagree with RF's premier member and expert commentator! I think the .38 Short Colt offers a few advantages: first is full ejection of spent cases from little snubbies, second is the short rounds are easier to load using a speed loader and third, the charged speed loader is smaller and easier to carry/conceal. Finally, and very importantly, what Dozermonkey said, it's something different and unique.

I really like the .38 SC, but it's a little on the anemic side so I hope to never have to engage a hostile target with it. That said, having .38 SC in a little revolver is much better than trying to use my cane to defend myself.

And, a little bit off-topic, I finally managed to pick up an S&W M360J yesterday. I have had one on my want list for months, mostly because they tend to quite a bit less expensive than the steel S&W's. This one looks to be unfired although it was on consignment out in Manassas. It's already been cleaned and lubed, and sure enough, it's in a pocket holster charged with five .38 SC's.



Edited to add: I hope to see a comment here on RF about someone ordering some brass. I don't need, and could never use up, 500, but a hundred or so would be nice (plus unprimed is mailable). Someone making an order?

Last edited by GeoJammy; January 14th, 2017 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Comment on brass and ad photo
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Old January 14th, 2017, 08:05 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aktrp View Post
I shoot .38 short colts in my S&W TRR8 for USPSA. So naturally I go ahead and shoot them out of everything I have in .357 including my SP101. My wife absolutely loves to shoot those rounds. We have even shot them out of her LCR .38SPCL. I run starline brass, CCI small pistol primers, 3.0gr of titegroup, and a 160gr BBI bullet.
That S&W TRR8 is a beautiful revolver. I've only tuned these to my SP101 with a 2 " barrel. My wife absolutely loves them as well. She's the one that told me to invest totally in this caliber (quote from her: goodbye 38 Special....hello 38 Short Colt). The versatility for this caliber is very wide so to speak. I have a jug of Titegroup, I'll have to do a work up of that powder and see what the gun likes.
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Old January 14th, 2017, 09:48 AM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Sure looks like a lot of hoops to jump through when you can easily use 38 Special or 357 Mag brass. With 357 Mag brass, I can load any bullet weight from 110gr to 180gr and virtually any velocity from 700 fps to magnum velocities.
It was allot of hoops to jump threw but it was fun and I really enjoyed it. The wife is happy and that's what counts. For me, it's another caliber to reload for. I enjoy everything about gun's, reloading, shooting and even cleaning them. This caliber is not a magnum caliber nor was I after magnum velocities. I have 357 Magnum brass just for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Why in the world would I want to buy extra dies and brass? It just doesn't make sense to use 38 Short Colt brass!!!
Reloading for this caliber is allot easier than reloading for 38 Special and 357 Magnum on a progressive press. The short casing is rather easy to see the powder charge. Most people that reload for 38 Special and 357 Magnum is gonna have components already on hand. You don't have to buy 38 Short Colt brass but I'm not going to shorten allot of 38 Special brass just for this caliber. It takes a long time to shorten the 38 Special brass casings to the right length for 38 Short Colt. Another reason and I know your gonna laugh but I also wanted to keep my 38 Special and 357 Magnum brass casings for my lever guns. I have a few loads that me and the wife shoot threw our lever guns. The 38 Special are reloaded for her and the 357 Magnums are reloaded for me. My wife had a horse accident several years ago which messed up her right arm and her right shoulder. She's not able to handle heavy magnum loads on her right side and she cant shoot left handed. So, I reload low recoil ammo just for her so that she can shoot with me. I know these are kind of off the wall examples but there some of the reasons why I'm doing it. Plus, brass and dies are not that expensive to buy.

38 Short Colt Starline Brass

Lee Carbide 3-Die Set - 38 Short Colt, 38 Long Colt
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