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Need a Recipe for Soft Point Bullets

5643 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Charlie Petty
I'm new to re-loading and my supplies are somewhat limited. As a point of reference, the powder I have on hand is Hodgdon HP-38. The caliber I want to re-load is .38 Spl and .357 Mag. The thing is I have a box of Speer bullets, 158 gr. Soft Point, #4217.
The books I have do not list this particular bullet. My question is this: Am I safe to load this bullet like a regular jacketed hollow point, even though the soft point itself is not a hollow point? Or should I treat it as something else? Also, what recipe would be safe to use? Since I just started re-loading, I don't want to go out and buy all kinds of different powders if I don't really have to. Besides, my wife is nervous enough as it is with the one bottle that I already have, let alone have two or three!
And to top it all off, I have to keep my re-load materials somewhat mobile. In other words, when I'm done with my re-loading session, I pack up everything and stow away in my closet. I do not have room to devote specifically for re-loading.
Thank you for any and all help.

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Frank, there shouldn't be any problem in using data for a 158 JHP with a 158 JSP. In fact, most bullet manuals (e.g., Speer, Hornady, etc.) use the same data for both types within a given weight in most cases. And as long as you're not pushing maximum pressures, you can usually substitute one brand of JHP or JSP. That is, if the data you have uses a 158 Hornady JHP, you should have no problem using that data with a Speer 158 JSP in loads below maximum.

If you want to use HP-38, go to the Hodgdon web site and get the data there:
Using a 158 grain Hornady XTP/HP, they show 6.9 grains as maximum in .357 Magnum; 4.6 grains as max in .38 Special +P, and 4.3 grains in .38 Special.

A couple of notes. First, the above loads are considered maximum. It is usually a good idea to start 10% lower and see how the loads perform. Half a grain below max is often a good starting place with loads like these. That said, there are obviously no concerns if you used 4.3 grains of HP-38 with your 158 JSP in a modern, quality .38 Special revolver rated for +P, and certainly not in a .357 Magnum revolver, since such a load is well below +P and magnum levels.

Second, HP-38 is the same powder as Winchester 231. There are slight differences in the loading data due to normal lot-to-lot (and load-to-load) variations in powders. But again, if you're below maximum, you can usually use W231 data with HP-38.

Third, a piece of gratuitous advice. If you don't already have one, buy -- and read! -- a good, comprehensive reloading manual, like the latest from Speer, Sierra, or Hornady. Not just the loading data, but the sections on reloading basics.
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HP-38 probably isn't the best choice for jacketed bullets in either .38 Special or .357 Magnum but you can use it.

Hodgdon has a free "Basic Reloading Manual" that you can get at most gun shops or through their web site or you can look at data there too.

Tell your wife not to worry. Smokeless powder, properly stored, isn't going to explode or create any hazard at all unless you expose it to something bad.
One more note: HP-38 / Win 231 is an excellent powder, and I use lots of it. However, if you are looking to load full-power magnum loads, this is not the powder you want. You'll want to consider something slower burning, like Hodgdon 110 / Win 296 (another pair of twins), Alliant 2400, or Accurate #9. My personal favorite for full-power magnum loads is Win 296.

For example, for the max load of HP-38 with a 158 JHP, Hodgdon lists 1220 fps, but 1591 fps with a max load of H110.
Thank You!!!

Thanks Fellas,
I knew I could count on you guys to come through for this re-loadin newbee!
Lots of good info here! I didn't know the HP-38 and the WIN-296 were basically the same! I guess it makes sense though. Why would you only have one mfr. making one particular powder for a specific caliber?
Is this kind of, "Inside the beltway" type of info written down somewhere? How in the world did you figure this out?
And lastly, I do have some books on re-loading. Namely the Lee book that comes in the Anniversary Kit, and I bought the Nosler bullet book. That had some basics in too! I'm waiting for the "ABC Book" to show up. I bought it from Amazon. None of the gun shops around here had this book in stock.
Now to get back to the powder thing. I don't re-load alot as I said before. But wouldn't it be a little dangerous to keep more than one bottle of powder cooped up in my closet? I mean, I have re-loaded close to 200 rds. already and my little bottle is still almost full? To go through TWO bottles would probably take me five years!
Well anyway, I guess I'll figure that out later!
Thanks again guys! And may God Bless you!
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Careful, Frank.

Win 231 = HP-38

Win 296 = H-110

Hodgdon doesn't make their powders. They buy them from bulk producers, primarily Primex Technologies. Primex was a spinoff of Olin, which also still owns Winchester (the ammo end, not the guns).

There are other bulk suppliers as well, and several are foreign. Sometimes the powder suppliers change. For example, some Accurate Arms powders that were made in Israel were later made in the Czech Republic.

As for how we know this stuff, there are various ways. Some here, like Charlie Petty and Dean Speir, are bona fide industry insiders. Some here (like me) are long-time shooters and reloaders, or just plain ammo geeks. My first tip on the similarities was in studying loading manuals, and comparing the data for HP-38/W231, H110/W296, etc. As a certain friend of some of us on this board has been known to say, "In police work, we call that 'a clue.'" :wink:

But you can find out much of this stuff for yourself if you have halfway decent research skills and are willing to spend the time. For example, Hodgdon's own site explains Primex is a supplier:

Finally, don't worry about having a few pounds of powder on hand. Some of us who do volume loading will buy 4 or 8 pound kegs. As long as you store your powder in the original containers, and in a cool, dry place away from sparks and flames, you'll be just fine. Remember, smokeless powder is a propellant, not an explosive.
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Actually there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in the powder business

Early this year Hodgdon purchased IMR Powder Co., the distributor of the former DuPont powders that were actually made in Canada.

Most of Hodgdon's extruded powders come from Australia.

Alliant's "Reloder" powders come from Sweden

Accurate powders is being purchased by Western Powder Co. At the present most of Accurate's powders are made in South Africa.

Western Powders brand "Ramshot" powders are made in Belgium.

The only powders available to reloaders that are actually made in the USA are Alliant's pistol powders such as Bullseye and Unique, plus all the various "Dot" labels and the assorted Winchester numbers.

The former Winchester plant in St. Marks Florida is now called Primex and is owned by General Dynamics (I think). Their products are sold under the Winchester label and they're the only ones who can say "Ball Powder" which is a trademark. Hodgon's name for the same stuff is "Spherical" - clever eh?- and most everybody just says "ball type"> If you don't you might get a nasty letter from the lawyers.

Confusing ain't it?
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Charlie - Primex also goes by the name St. Marks Powder and you're right, they are owned by General Dynamics.

I thought Hodgon's H110 also came from Primex?
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