38 loads

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by duck32man, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. duck32man

    duck32man Member

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    I have been loading 38 loads with speer 158 grain Semi wad cutter and have had no problems. However, cleaning after shooting 100 rounds of lead is not that fun. I bought some 158 grain jacketed bullets, same diameter and i cannot get the bullet seated correctly without bulging the brass. I mic'd the brass @ .357" and actually think I was shearing a little lead off when loading the swc. I have adjusted my dies and made several brass to bullet only attempts to no avail. In order to seat properly the brass neck is flared too much and then when bullet is seated the brass bulges. I feel dumb asking this but I cannot figure out what I need to do. Is it that lead is just more maleable or do I have the dies set wrong...? I am definietly no expert but I would love to figure this out. Thanks in advance.
  2. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    If you're talking about being able to see where the base of the bullet is (pics would be nice), this is normal. Your dies actually size a bit smaller than factory rounds and this is what gives you bullet tension. One of the smarter than me guys will be along to explain in detail.
  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    Yup, it is normal to be able to see the case bulge where the bullet is seated.
    As long as your loaded rounds outside case diameter measures less than .379" (ref. SAAMI drawing specs for the .38Spcl & .357Mag) and they fit in the chamber okay then you are fine.

    When you're loading lead, you should still see that bulge too since most lead bullets for the .38/.357 are .358 diameter where jacket bullets are spec'd to .357" diameter. When seating the softer lead bullets you might displace a bit of the lead and swage down the bullet down to a little under the .358" diameter.


    You might be interested in trying some of the copper plated bullets instead of jacketed. They're a little more expensive than plain lead but cheaper than jacketed, and they pretty much eliminate the leading problem.
    Rainer TCJ for one example, but there are other brands of plated bullets too.
  4. jim brady

    jim brady Active Member

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    I guess I might be a little slow today, but I gather you have at least 2 issues with those .38 Special reloads. The first being the tough cleaning after 100 rounds of cast lead bullets? Yup, you can go with the plated bullets and that would help greatly in reducing bore fouling. I do that with a couple of old German pistols that saw too much trench time and not enough oil in the bores. They lead-up like crazy with lead bullets, but the plated ones are fine.

    The second being that bulge in the cases when seating jacketed bullets? That is normal to see a slight bulge. If you are comparing your reloads to factory ammy - consider this: the factory cases are new and never fired; Your reloads are sized back to be within tolerance. When you seat a bullet into a re-sized case it can be expexted to see the bulge where the bullet expands the brass case.

    You only need to 'flair' or bell the case mouth enough to start the base on the bullet when you seat them. Just a tip - if you trim your cases to a standard length, it takes the guess work out of how much of a flair you need. Just enough to allow the bullet to start into the case.
  5. duck32man

    duck32man Member

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    Thanks Guys... I saw the bulge and was worried this was a danger. I will try the plated bullets. They did chamber with the bulge.
  6. old semperfi

    old semperfi New Member

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    i live in southern indiana,old country boy at hear
    although some bulge is normal,i have seen people have the crimp too soon and then when the bullet is finally seated it will bulge the case lower down toward the middle. old semperfi
  7. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    Good point old semper fi, I hadn't taken that into consideration. I often forget about that problem because I seat and crimp seperately.
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    duck32man:

    With bare lead bullets you'll get leading of the barrel if you shoot them much faster than about 1000 FPS. Swaged lead bullets are the worst because they are pure soft lead. Some of the harder cast bullets lead less. The addition of tin and antimony make them harder. But the copper plated (not jacketed) bullets are better still about leading. They are just lead bullets copper plated to protect the lead during firing. They too need to be kept at lead bullet velocities (below 1000 FPS). Jacketed bullets have a jacket cup made out of gilding metal, 95% copper and 5% Zinc which Wikipedia says is technically a alloy of brass. They, of course, leave little residue of anything behind in handguns.

    For target work and plinking, plated bullets are the best solution if you keep the velocities below about 1000 FPS. The two most common sources are Rainier and Berry's Bullets. All the major sites who sell bullets have one or the other or both. Rainier, I believe, was the first on the market. I have been using the Rainier plated bullets for nearly 20 years. I found out quickly that I don't like to have to dig lead out of my barrels with a pick.

    LDBennett
  9. duck32man

    duck32man Member

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    Thanks LD...I purchased some Ranier plated bullets and will give it a go. Powder wise, I can use same as I was with 158grain lead as 158 grain plated correct? plating makes no difference as long as weights are the same? And I had to laugh at your pick comment.
  10. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Speer lead SWCs are swaged, very soft lead; leading +. Shooting lead is easily done with out leading in your barrel if the bullets fit the gun. Measure the cylinder throats and shoot bullets of that same diameter (if the throats measure .358", size bullets to .358"). Slug the barrel to find the groove diameter, which will normally be smaller than the throat diameter. My .357 Magnum has throats of about .359" and groove dia. of .357" and I can shoot max. loads with plain base lead SWC bullets, @.359", with no leading. With your measurements in hand you can easily order bullets from Beartooth Bullets that will fit your gun. http://www.beartoothbullets.com/
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    duck32man:

    Yes, just use the lead bullet loads for the same weight plated bullets.

    I was not kidding about the pick. I had to use a pick to get the lumps of lead out of my barrel every time I used cast bullets. This was after a bunch of time using a lead removal cloth too, and a lead removal tool.

    Sizing the bullets to match the barrel sounds good but buying plated bullets is easier although not less expensive. I go for easy. I don't cast my own either... been there done that... but not again. It s too dangerous and way too much work for too little savings.

    LDBennett
  12. mikld

    mikld Member

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    I can buy jacketed or plated bullets, but have found much more satisfaction shooting cast lead boolits. Money isn't a motive for me shooting cast, as cast cost nearly as much as plated from most vendors. I bought a lot of bullets from Beartooth Bullets and Missouri Bullets.

    I cast my own because I can make boolits with various alloys to suit any type of shooting and I can size each boolit for a "custom" fit for for each particular gun. Once you understand boolit size vs gun dimensions, leading is rare (I have 5 revolvers, two single shots, and 2 auto pistols that I cast/reload/shoot only lead boolits and rarely have leading problems). Any boolit of nearly any lead alloy that is too small for cylinder throats/groove diameter will lead the barrel. Casting boolits is about as dangerous, for me, as standing in the bath tub. If you have any common sense, smelting/casting lead for your guns is as safe as any part of the reloading hobby. And there aren't many things that are more satisfying than casting, lubing, sizing, reloading and shooting lead boolits in your guns. And then you get into home made boolit lubes...
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    mikld:

    To each his own.
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I very much agree! And I happen to have developed a lube recipe thats better than any commercial lube Ive tried. PM me, ill send you some if you wanna give it a shot or three.. )
  15. skyfire1

    skyfire1 New Member

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    In my experience leading is mostly caused by too slow or too fast velocity. Saying that there has been a time or two that I had to use a Lewis lead remover patch and it worked great for me. Give it try.
  16. duck32man

    duck32man Member

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    Loaded up 100 rounds of the Ranier plated 158 grain. Everything went fine once the dies were adjusted. Haven't shot any yet. Thanks Guys.
  17. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    You loaded up 100 without doing a test first? I hope they work out well for ya.
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