The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 24, 2011, 08:10 PM   #1
junker
Member
 
Join Date: January 10, 2011
Posts: 65
Did first reloads tonight, comments?

Well, I finally completed my first rounds. Took me about an hour to do 10 rounds. I did five each of 38 special and 357 magnum. They are all 158 gr LSWC from MidAtlantic Bullets (I decided to put off casting my own until I figure out reloading). The 38's have 4.6 gr of Unique and the 357's have 6.0 gr of the same. I spent a lot of time adjusting dies and frigging with the powder dippers. The .5 cc lee dipper measured 4 grains of Unique instead of the 4.6 gr stated in the table it came with.

Anyhow, I used my ugliest brass figuring I'd screw these up. Picture is below. I would appreciate input on the crimps. The 38 in the lower right pushed in too far when I was just getting started, think its ok to shoot it?

Here is what I learned...

1. Lee 357 dies don't expand or crimp 38 special. Luckily I ended up with a set of 38 dies too when I bought some used gear.

2. I don't like these Lee powder dippers. They are slow and I had to weigh each load to get what I wanted.

3. Adjusting dies is a skill to be learned.

4. I think this is going to be an enjoyable hobby to pass the Maine winter.

junker is offline  
Old October 24, 2011, 08:15 PM   #2
mrawesome22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2005
Location: Ohio, Appalachia's foothills.
Posts: 3,779
Looks like some cases have different crimps than others.

Did you trim all the cases to the same length?
mrawesome22 is offline  
Old October 24, 2011, 08:20 PM   #3
junker
Member
 
Join Date: January 10, 2011
Posts: 65
Yes, all the 357's were the same length and the 38's were too. Variances are from me adjusting the dies as I went. Keep in mind these were my first and I was trying to "get a feel" for things. I have read a lot of books and forums but it doesn't seem to help much when you get to the actual adjusting of dies and feeling of the press.
junker is offline  
Old October 24, 2011, 08:27 PM   #4
mrawesome22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2005
Location: Ohio, Appalachia's foothills.
Posts: 3,779
Good deal. Now get some H110 and some XTP's
mrawesome22 is offline  
Old October 24, 2011, 10:07 PM   #5
jim8115
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 23, 2011
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 204
For what is worth, I have found that with 38's loaded with 4.6 grains of unique and Hornandy 158 Gr LSWC/HP... a very light crimp seems most accurate from my wife and my guns. Model 67 S&W and 2 Models 10's
4.0- 4.2 grains of W231 seems like a good load also, same light crimp.
jim8115 is offline  
Old October 24, 2011, 10:08 PM   #6
jim8115
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 23, 2011
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 204
By the way, you will never get unique to dip consistently, but W231 will
jim8115 is offline  
Old October 24, 2011, 11:32 PM   #7
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,060
Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice

Sorry contradict you, jim8115, but I get Unique to mete powder within .1 grains all the time (in the range of 5-10 grains.) Consistency is vital and a good technique is key. Practice is how you get there and it takes some thought to select the right technique.

It can be done. Not easy, perhaps, but doable.

Doling out powder with dippers is a little slower than a powder measure, and the dippers deliver powder lighter than published (which is why even if you use dippers, a scale is a good tool to have). But they can be precise, if not accurate.

Junker, those crimps look a little more enthusiastic than 4 to 6 grains of Unique would need. If your bullets do not jump crimp under recoil of their brethren, you can ease up safely. Now, some powders, to get a reliable, consistent burn, require a healthy crimp. Unique is not one of those.

If you are going to shoot that 38 Special that has the bullet seated deeper than specificaion in a 38 Special revolver, I wouldn't. In a 357 magnum, maybe. Better it if you buy a $20 bullet puller (the intertial type) and give that round a few gentle raps. You can easily move the bullet out to the proper position that way and you will have bought a tool that is good to have available anyway.

Unless you have a very old set of Lee .357 Dies, they should be able to load 38 Special just as well, by adjusting the dies down in the press. However, since you already have both sets, this question is academic.

Adjusting dies, as you intimated, is a learned skill. Once learned, though, it is like riding a bicycle. It will become second nature to you.

Welcome to reloading and to the forum.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep



Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 07:46 AM   #8
Don P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,828
I too had the same problem with Unique powder. Did not would not meter with any consistency and the dippers were a pain. Thankfully the Unique is all gone. I found it to be a dirty loading powder leaving a lot of residue in the powder through die. IMO there are much better choices for powder out there. Lee's web sight even states that Unique will not meter well. For them to state that on there web sight it has to be a true statement otherwise Alliant would be all over them like a cheap suit.
__________________
NRA Life Member, NRA Range Safety Officer, IDPA Safety Officer, USPSA NROI Range Officer
As you are, I once was, As I am, You will be.
Don P is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 08:00 AM   #9
spacecoast
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Location: Sunshine and Keystone States
Posts: 4,175
Nice job on your first batch, looks like you did fine to me. I'm glad to hear that you checked your dippers, as I found that the Lee chart was "off" for both Unique and Accurate #2, but pretty accurate for H110 and Titegroup. YMMV. I've made a few of my own custom size dippers by sanding down the top surface of larger Lee dippers as well as from .25ACP and .32ACP cases.

Just FYI, and you don't have to be in a rush to try this (work up to it), but I find that 5.3 grains of Unique under a 158 gr. LSWC (as you have there) is a very good (and much, much less expensive) imitation of the .38 special Remington R38S12 158 gr. LSWCHP +P SD cartridge (aka the FBI load).
spacecoast is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 08:10 PM   #10
Jim243
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Location: Just off Route 66
Posts: 4,657
Looks like you are using your seating die to get a roll crimp. Bullet on the lower row far left looks perfect. But the next looks like you are starting to crush the cases, these will not fit in your cyclinder of the revolver.

You are doing two things with the seating die 1) setting OAL and 2) crimping the case.

Here is a little trick. With a full length resized case. Bring your ram all the way up with a empty case (no head, no powder, no primmer). Then start screwing in your die till it just touches the case. Bring your ram down and screw down the die a 1/8th turn. Bring up the ram with the empty case the remove the case and check the crimp, do the same over (down 1/8th turn) again and again till you have the crimp JUST RIGHT. You can resize that case over and over after it is set.

Lock down your die. Now with a bullet in an empty case bring up the ram and adjust the seating stem (not the die) till you get the right OAL. This will be your dummy round for testing in your gun for fit. Also can be used the next time for setting up that die with that bullet.

Now your die is setup and start loading.
Jim
__________________
Si vis pacem, para bellum

Last edited by Jim243; October 25, 2011 at 08:18 PM.
Jim243 is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 08:50 PM   #11
Chaz88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 4, 2010
Posts: 1,019
Agree with the others that the crimp is a bit too much. On similar loads for .38 and .357 I use little to almost no crimp. Just barley past making the wall straight again works for me. With .38's and say 2.5 to 2.7 grains bulls eye I just get the wall straight again and make sure they chamber.
__________________
Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
Chaz88 is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 08:50 PM   #12
junker
Member
 
Join Date: January 10, 2011
Posts: 65
Jim243,

That is very useful information, thank you... just what I was looking for.
junker is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 08:54 PM   #13
junker
Member
 
Join Date: January 10, 2011
Posts: 65
Chaz88, thanks, that clarifies thing for me... I'll try easing up on the crimp.
junker is offline  
Old October 25, 2011, 10:20 PM   #14
Miata Mike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2010
Location: North East WI
Posts: 417
I didn't check your load info, but the crimps look good enough to start with. I also think you could back off on the crimps with Unique. A stiffer powder like 2400 might require a medium crimp.

I bought some .357 brass so I wouldn't have to deal with going back and forth with .38 special and .357 magnum.

Not saying I won't, but I have several hundred of the longer brass that I might not ever use my .38 special brass. I have a very nice recoil Bullseye load that I might just try in my Ruger SP101. Unique much to my surprise had a bit snappier recoil than the Bullseye load I tried.
Miata Mike is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09283 seconds with 9 queries