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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all.
Need some help with loads in this because from the info i have they say from 2,2 to 4 Grain.
The revolver i have is a Smith& Wesson 2nd model, about 1882/83 with 6 in. barrel.
Also bullet weight ?
Another thing; and here i have no clue at all, load data for cal. 380 Rimfire. And where to find bullets and/or bullet moulds for this ?
The revolver involved here is an August Francotte from sometime in the 1870's.
ANY information on this matter will be highly appreciated. ! !
 

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.38S&W typically uses bullets in the 145 grain range with a .361 diameter (there's a British load that uses a 200 grain bullet). I get mine from Missouri Bullet Company.
That charge weight range sounds like it's for smokeless powder which your revolver wasn't designed for.
 

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Are you looking for a black powder load for the Smith right? If the revolver really was made no later than 1883 smokeless powder wasn't invented until 1884....something to consider.
Yes for sure, black powder only !

.38S&W typically uses bullets in the 145 grain range with a .361 diameter (there's a British load that uses a 200 grain bullet). I get mine from Missouri Bullet Company.
That charge weight range sounds like it's for smokeless powder which your revolver wasn't designed for.
Sorry i forgot to specify black powder load data
 

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Don't get hung up on the "weight vs. volume" question. IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!! What you want is a powder charge that comes up in the case far enough so that when the wad is inserted you will get a small amount of compression of the charge when you seat the bullet. You don't want to hear the powder go "crunch", a very small amount of compression is plenty in such a short case and it's possible you don't need any compression, just seat the bullet to the top of the wad so there's no movement of the charge. Experimenting with both will tell you what you need to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you very much for clearing up a little confusion i had over here !
Certainly i just load it like they do with the muzzle loaders.
I see that to reduce the load i must reduce the case length for a 135 years old gun.
I intend to use 38 special casings shot one time, just shortened down a lot. Do anyone have opinions on that matter?
Then remain the 380 rimfire. I can get bullets from "H&L Publishing" but 50 of them will cost me more than 500 of the 38 S&W bullets. Anyone who have a better idea ? Do anyone know if i can use the casings from 9 mm shot shells, cut them down to length and crimp them somewhat ?
Thanks a lot for helping someone who is not to well informed.
P.S. My avatar is now the August Francotte revolver in 380 rimfire, also posted on the "value" site. Nicer photos there.
 

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Just buy .38S&W brass! It's available out there and not too expensive (about 20 cents per piece). The body on .38 special brass is slightly smaller in diameter than .38S&W plus the wall thickness increases the further down you cut it which would make it even harder to seat the slightly larger diameter .38S&W bullets.

I don't know much about 380 rimfire but reloading pretty much anything rimfire is an undertaking compared to centerfire ammo.
 

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You don't have to reduce case length to reduce your loads.

You can either seat your bullets deeper (is there some rule somewhere that says you MUST have a bullet sticking out of the case a half an inch?)

Or you can use a spacer. Instead of using one cardboad wad, use several. Or instead of using cereal box cardboard, use corrugated from an Amazon box. Or go to the craft section at Walmart and buy a block of that green florist's foam. I know people that put the cardboard wad over a light powder charge, then put grits or cornmeal over the cardboard to take up the space.
 

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Why would you need to reduce the case length to reduce the load? If the powder charge is low enough that the bullet doesn't touch the powder, put a felt wad in between the over powder card and the bullet.

You could even use a pre lubed felt wad if you need a little more lube to help keep the fouling soft.

BTW, .38 Special casings aren't the same animal as a .38 S&W casing.
 

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Just go with the 38 S&W cases. You will be making your life a lot easier.

You mention the 380 rimfire. Do you have any more info on that cartridge? There was a pile of rimfire cartridges, foreign and domestic, and the only three I can find are the 38 short, long and extra long.

You can reload rimfire ammo but it is a first class PITA and usually with less than satisfactory results. You can make a little tool to remove the dent from the rim, make your own priming compound and often get a heeled bullet mold. I know guys doing it with the 32 RF for the Remington and Stevens rifles and it is definitely a labor of love.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just go with the 38 S&W cases. You will be making your life a lot easier.

You mention the 380 rimfire. Do you have any more info on that cartridge? There was a pile of rimfire cartridges, foreign and domestic, and the only three I can find are the 38 short, long and extra long.

You can reload rimfire ammo but it is a first class PITA and usually with less than satisfactory results. You can make a little tool to remove the dent from the rim, make your own priming compound and often get a heeled bullet mold. I know guys doing it with the 32 RF for the Remington and Stevens rifles and it is definitely a labor of love.
I know that 380 rimfire was an English calibre, if they are the same as 38 long i need some internet searches on.
Still the problem is, bullets for the 380 rimfire, H&L is too expensive, 40 Euros for 50.
 

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Just my opinion here, I don't understand why you'd want to go through the effort of hand loading black powder for your .38 and not do it right. Just buy the correct brass

$20 for 100 cases
https://www.grafs.com/catalog/product/productId/17828

And the correct bullets at $40/500
https://www.grafs.com/catalog/product/productId/21168

And have yourself a lifetime supply?

I have two old IJ's I occasionally shoot and it's fun. Enjoy bringing that old girl back to life.
Thank's for the URL's. I still want to try out the 38 Spl. option because these empty casings are free just to pick up and pocket them as long as i myself is shooting 39 Spl.

Why would you need to reduce the case length to reduce the load? If the powder charge is low enough that the bullet doesn't touch the powder, put a felt wad in between the over powder card and the bullet.

You could even use a pre lubed felt wad if you need a little more lube to help keep the fouling soft.

BTW, .38 Special casings aren't the same animal as a .38 S&W casing.
Thank's for good ideas here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When checking a little more i see now that the 380 rimfire have a diameter inside the barrel and in front of the cylinder of around 9.4 to 9.45 MM.
That's 0.370 to 0.372 inches, small bullets won't work very well here.
 

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OK, according to COTW the 38 short rimfire is the same class as the 38 short Colt centerfire and should use around 18 grs. of BP under a 130 gr., .375, heel type bullet. I don't know what you're going to do for cases but I expect there's a .375 heel type mold available from someone and, as I mentioned previously, you can make your own priming compound.

I looked into reloading rimfire fairly extensively when I was half serious about getting a 32 Long rimfire Remington roller or a Stevens 44. I haven't given up completely on the project, just haven't found the right rifle. The rifles CAN be converted to centerfire by either having a new breechblock made or converting the existing one. I don't know what, if anything, could be done with a revolver.
 
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Cooper you’ve lost me using a rimfire case for your 38 S&W. Can you help me out and explain how you’re thinking this will work? I’m always wanting to learn.
 

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Cooper you've lost me using a rimfire case for your 38 S&W. Can you help me out and explain how you're thinking this will work? I'm always wanting to learn.
He has two antique pistols, one is a Smith & Wesson chambered for .38 S&W the other one is in .38 rimfire
 
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