.38 Spl. Loads for wife to practice.

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My wife has a .38 Spl. air weight. Would like to reload some ammo for her that she can shoot at targets without having the recoil of manufactured rounds. Would like for her to practice and be familiar and comfortable shooting this handgun with low recoil rounds so if SHTF she can respond with confidence. What recipe would you recommend along with bullet?

Thanks,
Edmon
 

orygun

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I don't have a manual handy at the moment, but I'd use a light bullet (125gr ish) and would look at Bullseye for the powder. A light end charge of Bullseye makes for a very pleasant shooting round.
 
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i would recommend the same load you would use in whatever situation you might need to fire the handgun. no point in getting her used to firing light loads only to freak out when she pulls the trigger on a +p load when the cylinder is full of +p and her life or the life of a loved one might depend on multiple trigger pulls
 
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I use 3.5 gr of Clays (Not Universal Clays) with a Berry's 125 gr Plated FP. Extremely light. I have tried as low as 3.0 gr, but, the "new" shooter complained they were too light in a 4" S&W .38. Accuracy was ok, though. Clays is pretty clean burning - a plus. The starting load is 2.5 - that would truly be just a pop.

After shooting a bunch of this, the shooter worked up to 4.5 gr of HP-38/Win231 - a 125 fps jump.

Sheepdip: I try to use lighter loads and then work up to the full house stuff. More trigger time is better, in my opinion. If you are only going to shoot a couple of cylinders, though, they might as well be the real deal.
 
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my wife doesnt shoot much, i want her to know what happens when she pulls the trigger. if i could get her to shoot more maybe i would look into lighter loads. or maybe if i provided lighter loads i could get her to shoot more. what is a guy to do, LOL
 

Mark W.

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light loads might get her in the mood for more shooting. I learned early on with my wife when we started shooting blackpowder in competition that even though her rifle shot more accurate with 70 grs of 3F that she was doing better with a 50gr load. So instead of trying to get her to shoot the heavier load she learned how to hold a little higher on the long shots and let the ball arc a little. She was much happier and her scores jumped.
 

orygun

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my wife doesnt shoot much, i want her to know what happens when she pulls the trigger. if i could get her to shoot more maybe i would look into lighter loads. or maybe if i provided lighter loads i could get her to shoot more. what is a guy to do, LOL
Load her up some light loads and get her shooting. The more pleasant the gun is to shoot the more likely she is to shoot it. The more she shoots the better she gets.
That's the reason for the light loads.
She can shoot a cylinder or magazine of the full power stuff if she likes, just so "she knows what's going to happen".
But, it more than likely that if she ever needs to use the gun in earnest, she won't feel or remember the recoil or the noise.

I have the same problem here. My wife has a snubbie and the recoil with normal loads does bother her and usually only shoots 10-15 rounds. (The last time we shot, we were with the daughter at the PTSC in Clackamas and she put 75 rounds downrange.)
I know that if I load up some lighter loads she will shoot it more, but she really liked the daughter's TCP and has asked for one. I'm a lucky guy to have a wife that wants a new gun and it's hidden in the safe until our anniversary in a couple of weeks:s0155:
 
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I use 3.5 gr of Clays (Not Universal Clays) with a Berry's 125 gr Plated FP. Extremely light. I have tried as low as 3.0 gr, but, the "new" shooter complained they were too light in a 4" S&W .38. Accuracy was ok, though. Clays is pretty clean burning - a plus. The starting load is 2.5 - that would truly be just a pop.

After shooting a bunch of this, the shooter worked up to 4.5 gr of HP-38/Win231 - a 125 fps jump.

Sheepdip: I try to use lighter loads and then work up to the full house stuff. More trigger time is better, in my opinion. If you are only going to shoot a couple of cylinders, though, they might as well be the real deal.
I totally agree with the "start light then work up" approach. Most new shooters are afraid of more than the recoil, often they are afraid of the gun itself.

Start with some light bullets, 125 is a good start and then don't load ever hole in the cylinder. leave one or two empty. A good way to train out the "flinch".

The more they shoot the less the recoil will matter. If the person is like my wife, with small bones and lacking a strong wrist your full strength loads may still be 125 grain sized. Just move them up to around 800 fps and use the Gold Dot Hollow Point bullet. Will be a fine defense load for a small .38 pistol.
 

darkminstrel

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I totally agree with the "start light then work up" approach. Most new shooters are afraid of more than the recoil, often they are afraid of the gun itself.

Start with some light bullets, 125 is a good start and then don't load ever hole in the cylinder. leave one or two empty. A good way to train out the "flinch".

The more they shoot the less the recoil will matter. If the person is like my wife, with small bones and lacking a strong wrist your full strength loads may still be 125 grain sized. Just move them up to around 800 fps and use the Gold Dot Hollow Point bullet. Will be a fine defense load for a small .38 pistol.
I can not agree with this more. Get the basics drilled and perfected before working up the heavier loads. Competition lifters don't just go out there and warm up on those 1k+ bars, you gotta work up to it with intense training. I never did understand the whole 'toss your kid in the pool so they learn to swim' mentality.
 
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Federal is again making its famous Nyclad round, a light standard-pressure .38 Special load which is remarkably effective on target even for such a light load. The lead bullet is jacketed by nylon instead of copper, and expansion is great even at low snubby velocity. It's a great low-power load from a commercial maker good both for practice and carry............................elsullo
 
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For my wifey's titanium frame Taurus .38 spec, I made up a batch of ammo with 105 gr FP lead bullets from Badman Bullets. And I used 4.3 gr of AA #2. It's a nice light load, shoots accurately and has little or no recoil with her revolver. I've also shot it in my 6" Dan Wesson .357 but it's a lot like shooting 22 LR. We chronoed it at a bit over 700 fps with my .357.
 
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Another way to interest new shooters is to shoot something other than plain paper with black circles. If you have the option, cans, clay pigeons, balloons, just about anything makes for more interest and less boredom (and frustration).

One of the clubs I belong to only allows one type of target for handgun and only allows you to shoot 25 yards. It isn't particularly interesting for anyone except a few bullseye shooters.
 
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Another option for beginners is the Speer Plastic bullets and cases. I bought a bunch of these years ago for practice in my garage. They consist of a plastic case that you prime with a large rifle primer. Using NO powder you merely snap the bullet, which is also plastic and shaped like a wadcuttet, in place at the mouth of the case. No press required, just a priming tool and a box of primers.

These "primer powered" bullets are pretty accurate at 15-20 feet, yield NO recoil, and cut a target just like a paper punch. For a "backstop" or trap, just take a large TV box and hang some carpet from a broom handle inside it. These are still loud so ear protection is highly recommended but inside a closed garage it won't bother the neighbors. Think LOUD cap gun. Everything is re-usable so it's an economic practice tool. Beats boring old snap caps. Since there is no recoil it's for revolvers only.

PS: I know of a stray cat or two that knows how bad these can sting so be careful.
 
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Don't underestimate the snap caps. They will put a pretty big gouge/hole in paneling and drywall if you miss the trap.

... or so I've heard.
I've heard that too. I've also heard that it's a good idea to hang a piece of carpet over the inside of your steel garage door. That is unless you like the "pimples" that mysteriously appear on the outside.
 

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