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  1. #1
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    Default Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    Hello. Sorry if this type of question has been asked before. I used to reload 9mm and .223 but have not done so in a couple years. I use a Lee turret press with Lee dies. I recently purchased my first .38 special, a LE trade in S&W Model 64-8, and it's so much fun to shoot.

    I have around 800ish 9mm 124gr TMJ round nose bullets along with plenty of Federal small pistol primers and HS6 powder. So I am hoping I can be cheap and just buy the dies. I am assuming I'll also need the crimp die due to the bullet shape.

    I'm using my phone to type so I couldn't get any pictures to upload. But I measured 10 separate bullets to confirm. They measure .356 and weigh 124.4 grains. I plan on following Lee's specs for 125gr XTP bullets. I think my biggest concern will be the OAL due to the bullet shape.

    If I am completely wrong with trying this please let me know. I don't want to create anything unsafe or an increased safety risk.


    Thank you.
    Last edited by BioHazard74D; May 12th, 2018 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Title change

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard74D View Post
    Hello. Sorry if this type of question has been asked before. I used to reload 9mm and .223 but have not done so in a couple years. I use a Lee turret press with Lee dies. I recently purchased my first .38 special, a LE trade in S&W Model 64-8, and it's so much fun to shoot.

    I have around 800ish 9mm 124gr TMJ round nose bullets along with plenty of Federal small pistol primers and HS6 powder. So I am hoping I can be cheap and just buy the dies. I am assuming I'll also need the crimp die due to the bullet shape.

    I'm using my phone to type so I couldn't get any pictures to upload. But I measured 10 separate bullets to confirm. They measure .356 and weigh 124.4 grains. I plan on following Lee's specs for 125gr XTP bullets. I think my biggest concern will be the OAL due to the bullet shape.

    If I am completely wrong with trying this please let me know. I don't want to create anything unsafe or an increased safety risk.


    Thank you.
    Bullets is bullets. Weight, length, diameter, and shape are what matters, not the label on the box.
    .356 might be too narrow for your .38.
    Or they could work just fine.

    Start at the lowish end of the load data powder charge and work your way up.
    Keep good notes.
    Report back success/ failure please.
    American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard74D View Post
    Hello. Sorry if this type of question has been asked before. I used to reload 9mm and .223 but have not done so in a couple years. I use a Lee turret press with Lee dies. I recently purchased my first .38 special, a LE trade in S&W Model 64-8, and it's so much fun to shoot.

    I have around 800ish 9mm 124gr TMJ round nose bullets along with plenty of Federal small pistol primers and HS6 powder. So I am hoping I can be cheap and just buy the dies. I am assuming I'll also need the crimp die due to the bullet shape.

    I'm using my phone to type so I couldn't get any pictures to upload. But I measured 10 separate bullets to confirm. They measure .356 and weigh 124.4 grains. I plan on following Lee's specs for 125gr XTP bullets. I think my biggest concern will be the OAL due to the bullet shape.

    If I am completely wrong with trying this please let me know. I don't want to create anything unsafe or an increased safety risk.


    Thank you.
    The 38 special is a very nice range round. The brass doesn't go all over creation unless you make a semi-auto item. It's well behaved and is very accurate if loaded correctly.

    It's "iffy". The nominal diameter of a 38 special round is 0.357 inches. The nominal diameter of a 9mm Parabellum is 0.355 inches. That 0.002 inch difference is significant but is it vitally significant?

    I don't know what will happen though at least you're not shooting a wider bullet from a smaller bore, cause the first place it will encounter the smaller bore is in the thrust cone. Guess where the material might go? To the sides.


    You already have a lot of variables. Adding a larger bore to the mix will not help with accuracy. Odds are that you'll get a small amount of gas blowby which will probably do little harm.

    What will be a problem is that your load will only work with these 9mm bullets. You'll have to start all over again with .357 bullets. I would strongly urge you not to reuse this load with 125 grain .357 rounds.


    I wouldn't bother with it myself. Shot to shot consistency is tough enough to get without adding in such random factors. A box of Berry's bullets in 125 grain is about 89 bucks plus shipping. That's for 1,000 bullets. I know that's not a trivial amount of money but to me my time in developing a load takes away from my range time. Range time is very valuable.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    Myself, I won't bother trying to load the 9mm (.355/.356" nominal dia.) bullets in .38 spl cases. You probably will not get good accuracy and you may even have problems crimping them with the .38/.357 dies. I'd just sell the 800 bullets you have (if you are not going to use them for anything anymore) and buy bullets that are designed for the .38 (.357/.358" nominal dia).
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    9mm bullets will not get enough tension on the brass, you'd have to over crimp it to hold. Personally I'd just buy . 357" bullets

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    I just tried a 9mm bullet and it slid right in a sized .38 case. Your components may vary but the bullet needs to grab some or you will never get the proper seating depth. You can probably get around this by putting a 9mm expander plug in your .38 dies but this starts turning into a lot of experimenting and work.

    Also HS-6 would not be my first choice as a .38 powder. It can be used for some max and +p loads but you need something faster for target and standard pressure loads. Even with top loads HS-6 is very dirty and needs high pressure to burn properly. Try W231 first then Bullseye for accurate light loads. Unique is also good.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    If under recoil a bullet does come loose, but not enough to tie the cylinder up, you have a potential for a squib load that could lodge in the barrel. That was one of the primary arguments against it years ago when some wanting light bullets in their .38's used 9mm bullets.
    +1 on a "quicker" powder as Delkal suggested.
    It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    I can't see any point in using .355 bullets in a .358 case. Why bother? There are plenty of cheap bullet options out there for .358 cases.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    Thank you for the help everyone. I was hoping it would be close enough to work, but safety is still my biggest concern.

    What's a good target bullet design for 38spl?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Reload 9mm bullet in 38spc?

    Using 0.355" diameter bullets for your .38 Special loads might not be a great idea. And I don't think you'll like the performance of the 124 gr bullet. BUT! If you want a lighter bullet for .38 Special, contact DucatiRon (Steel Valley Casting) and he'll supply you with some very nice 147 gr coated lead bullets (originally 9mm) but sized up to 0.358" for .38 Special. Search around in this section of the forum back around summer of 2017 I tested and posted a bunch of loads using different powders for that bullet in .38 Special. It might be a help.

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