145 grain RN NLG bullets in a 38 Short Colt case

Posted by George on Sep 15th 2018

I had been loading and shooting our the 125 grain TCFP bullet in the 38 Short colt case.  I prefer the lighter bullets (120-130grain) for competition.  We recently introduced the 145 grain RN NLG (Round Nose No Lube Groove) into our product line.  LINK I decided to give these heavier bullets a try

Because these bullets have no lube groove the seating depth and overall length is up to the user.  I choose XXX for OAL.  This gives a smaller volume for the powder to work which I hoped would be more efficient.  Also a shorter case should help in relaoding.  Quicker out and quicker in for the moon clips.

I started with Clays for my load development.  The 8 shots had 6 in the 950 fps and 2 in the 350 fps range.  The slower sounds sounded like squib loads.  The were not!!!  I tried Titegroup; same results.    I tried both new cases and once fired case...Same.  I let it all rest and started new the next day.  I checked my powder drop and all was good.  WTF!!!

I then reached for WST powder.  I don't know why I had some but heck let's give it a try.  Well 3.7 grains produced an 8 shot string of 897 fps avg, 15 fps standard deviation and a power factor of just over 130.  I believe ICORE power factor is 120.  USPSA minor power factor is 125.  So this load would make it.  But to reliable knock down steel I thinking a but more to be on the safe side.

4.0 grains of WST gave 947 fps ave 17 fps standard deviation and a power factor of 137 to 140.  I'm doing this testing at 6400 feet in altitude and not sure what these loads will do at a lower elevation.

WST is a common shotgun powder which is not very popular in handguns.  Dont know how a day of shooting it will work out.  That I will find our and report in Part 2 of this blog.