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Old May 29, 2013, 03:05 PM   #1
fshfindr
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How Badly Did I Screw Up (38Spl Loads Won't Fit)

How Badly Did I Scrow Up?

I have put together some .38's that I smelted. I used the TL357-148WC mold. Since I used once fired brass I ran them thru the sizer/decaper die first on my Lee 1000 3 hole press to decap them. Therefore, I thought that the sizing was correct. Yesterday I picked up my new to me 8 inch Trooper. It is beautiful. I tried to drop in one of my .38’s. It is too tight to drop in but I was able to push one in after running an oily patch thru the chamber. Pushing it in or out was much harder than I thought it should be. This is my first revolver. When I was loading the rounds in the press, I only pushed them up enough in the sizer to index it since it did not seem necessary to resize the whole shell again. Is it possible to run the completed rounds thru the sizer again or should I try taking them apart and redoing them. Or, since these are wadcutters seated almost all the way in, did the bullets expand the shell? Another or, is it possible to fire them as is? I would hate to trash them. I made over 100. Factory rounds drop right in.
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Old May 29, 2013, 04:13 PM   #2
YunGun
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Quote:
only pushed them up enough in the sizer to index it
I strongly suspect that's your issue right there; most likely you only partially-sized the brass and the 'web' of the case is still too wide to enter the chamber freely. Try measuring the case diameter with a pair of calipers or micrometer & compare to the factory round to be sure.

Quote:
Is it possible to run the completed rounds thru the sizer again
Most likely not if you've already seated the bullet. (For straight-walled/rimless cases I've read that the Lee "Bulge Buster" kit can be used like that, but I don't believe there is any such tool for the .38 as it's rimmed)

Quote:
Or did the bullets expand the shell
Possible; you'd have to measure the case diameter prior to seating the bullet, & again after seating, & compare the two values to really know for sure if that's the case.

Quote:
is it possible to fire them as is?
Probably, although I'd be leery of doing so if the fit is too tight.

Ultimately the question is always: Is a few hours of time spent pulling down & re-doing these bullets more important than the potential physical damage to your firearm, yourself & anyone who happens to be near you at the range if the worst case scenario does happen?


I'd probably try shooting a round or two (assuming you can chamber them without too much difficulty) & re-assess after that; most likely any that you can chamber will shoot OK, but I'd set aside & pull down any that won't chamber without forcing them. Chances are they'll be fine & you just need to take more care with sizing fully next time.

[EDIT] On a side note, this could also be a lesson in testing proper case/bullet fit in your firearm BEFORE loading up a bunch... It doesn't take many instances of pulling 100+ rounds to make you truly appreciate that!
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Old May 29, 2013, 04:18 PM   #3
Nathan
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I wonder if a Lee FCD would make this ok?

Frankly, I'm not sure we know what is wrong.

Can you tell us:
Cartridge OD just above rim?
Cartridge OD in middle of bullet?
Bullet OD?

For 5 rounds? Also, measure each in 3 places around and tell us the max.
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Old May 29, 2013, 04:46 PM   #4
Mike / Tx
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You might also check the diameter of your bullets as well. If they are in the .360" ish range that could easily be complicating your issues.

You didn't mention if you had checked the sizes of each chamber mouth on your cylinder to determine the sizes of them. You also didn't mention if you had sized your home poured bullets or not either. You could simply have some tight bored chambers, and some slightly big bullets which combine to give you the tight fits.
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Old May 29, 2013, 05:03 PM   #5
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I agree with Mike. I suspect the bullets are a bit large in diameter. Measure the bullet diameter. If they are pushing that .360 mark, you would just need to size them. Casting boolits is fun, no?

At this point, with the rounds you already have loaded, if they are light wadcutter loads for target practice, I'd cram them in the cylinder and shoot em.

Or maybe I would pull the decapping pin out of my sizing die, lube the outside of the cartridges, and give them a ride through the sizing die again.

But I'm a bit unorthodox at times. I've also gotten stuff stuck in my sizing die on more than one occasion. You may want to take my advice with a grain of salt.
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Old May 29, 2013, 05:18 PM   #6
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Where do they seem to be hanging up? At the bullet end or the end you didn't size?
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Where do they seem to be hanging up? At the bullet end or the end you didn't size?
^^ This!!

..At the bullet end -> Mike's right; bullets are too big... In hindsight, this is probably correct & the Lee FCD might help if you have one

..or the end you didn't size -> my initial 'partially sized' theory...
you might(?) be able to squeeze the completed round back in your sizing die far enough to finish sizing if you remove the decapping pin

Either way we all need more info to be sure...

Quote:
if they are light wadcutter loads for target practice, I'd cram them in the cylinder and shoot em.
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Old May 30, 2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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I use a TL .358" -158 SWC mold. It was common enough for the bullets to drop out as much as .361". I purchased a Lee .358" bullet sizer die. Sloved my problems. I Highly recommend it.
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Old May 30, 2013, 03:54 PM   #9
fshfindr
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First let me say that there are more than 100. I still have not counted but probably over 250. This AM I started checking them and found 50 that dropped in with no problem. There are still many that I have not checked but I think that the majority will not go in. I still have never fired this gun. I took some factory rounds and the 50 that dropped right in and took them to the range. I blew off 10 factory rounds first then the 50. One of my rounds that did not fire due to the primer. The rest worked perfectly. In the 50 there were 4 that had to be pushed in, but not hard. They all fired fine.

"Or did the bullets expand the shell" I don't think so since the bullet end seems to go in better.
"I'd probably try shooting a round or two ( assuming you can chamber them without too much difficulty"
I did fire a few tight ones and they fired fine but I don't think I'll push that too hard.
"Nathan wanted to know the OD's". Me too so I guess I'll finally get a micrometer. (Harbor Freight maybe?)
And it looks like The Lee .358 sizer die will be ordered also.

I hate pulling them all apart but I guess it's the best thing. At least I finally got to fire my new (to me) Colt. My first 3 were in the center of the target then I got a little sloppy but I saved the target and I'll keep it for a few days. A beautiful very accurate gun. Thank you all for the help.
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Old May 30, 2013, 04:48 PM   #10
kraigwy
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Get a Lee Carbide factory crimp die to run your bullets through after they are reloaded.

After you size the brass you'll find its smaller (inside diameter) then the bullet. That's why you need to bell the cases.

But after you seat the bullet it swells the case a bit, might not see it but its there. Often you can see a ring where the bottom of the bullet sets.

The Lee Factory Crimp Die has a carbide ring at the base. It sizes the case as it goes down, Crimping may put the ring in the case which would case it not to feed BUT, as you pull the round out of the case, that bottom ring once again sizes the case, making it fit the chamber.

This is critical in such a gun as the Smith Model 52 (auto loader) but it works for revolvers also.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:06 PM   #11
David Bachelder
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I hear people say that it's not always necessary to size your cast bullets. Some molds drop them right on the money and there are no problems.

Me? I size all of my cast bullets, weather they need it or not. I can size them and some will pass right through with little resistance. Others from the same batch will be difficult to pass through the sizer.

I'd rather size now and not have problems later. I cast, size, tumble lube, let dry and place in storage .... ready to load.

Works for me.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:08 PM   #12
UtopiaTexasG19
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"First let me say that there are more than 100. I still have not counted but probably over 250."

Well, that should be a lesson learned. When you change any componant of a re-load, especially when it is a new caliber to you, just make 6-12 rounds and find out how they work in your particular gun before making so many.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:50 PM   #13
fshfindr
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UtopiaTexasG19, I know you're right. But I was waiting for the gun and just had to do something.
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Old May 31, 2013, 10:46 AM   #14
Dondor
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Did you cast said bullets?

If from a multi hole block, take a bullet from each hole you cast, and check the cylinder against the bullet (unloaded).

The bullet should fit into the cylinder with no force. Good check to see if you need to size your bullets.

Also, slug your barrel and find the diameter of your cylinders.

This information will help diagnose problems related to bullets fitting as well as help you on accuracy.
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Old June 1, 2013, 03:51 AM   #15
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Loading full wadcutters can be a little different than semi's. If using +p brass, I've found the internal taper of the case can cause a bulge and be disconcerting. As a result i only load wadcutters in regular brass and use the +p stuff for other endeavors. It seems like you might have to back up and go to basics as there should be no problem with chambering. Do yourself a favor, get some more brass and discard the problem cases. 38 brass is cheap and not worth the dangers and frustration involved with your problem. You definitely have a sizing problem, be it case or bullet.
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:47 PM   #16
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I can tell a story almost identical to yours - right down to the bullet type.

I borrowed my friend's Lee Factory Crimp Die - problem solved.

I got on line and bought my own Lee FCD as soon as I was done running my batch of ammo through my friend's.

Now I have a Lee FCD for all my calibers.

And no, I don't work for Lee
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Old June 1, 2013, 10:21 PM   #17
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^ in effect, what you may be doing with said FCD is cold swaging a lead bullet down to fit. Then you may be looking at leading as a result. Suggest you get some additional research prior to problem solving in this manner. NOTE: I dont work for anyone in a related field, and use several FCDs for plated and FMJ bullets.

Suggest measuring and sizing your personally cast bullets properly, along with using sound reloading techniques. Sounds like you are entering two hobbies at the same time.
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Old June 3, 2013, 03:07 PM   #18
fshfindr
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rjrivero & Yungun suggested that I run them thru the sizer again without the decapping pin. I ran them thru with no problem and it worked. Problem solved.
Even thru I have to run them thru the sizer to remove the primers, in the future (now) they will go thru again.

Thanks
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Old June 3, 2013, 03:41 PM   #19
YunGun
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I'm confused by that last line:
Quote:
Even {though} I have to run them thru the sizer to remove the primers, in the future (now) they will go thru again.
Did you
  1. tear down these rounds & resize the primed brass again with the decapping pin removed
  2. shoot them, then resize the fired cases with the decapping pin removed
  3. something else entirely...?

I'm probably misunderstanding your comment, but if you pulled those finished rounds apart to reuse components, there's no need to remove the live primers from the brass, just resize them as needed (with the decapping pin still removed) & load them again.
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Old June 3, 2013, 04:41 PM   #20
TATER
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Have you completely removed the belling with a slight roll crimp?
This got deep, Quick.. I can't shake the feeling that you might not have completed the seating stage.
Sure would be a quick simple fix..
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Old June 3, 2013, 09:48 PM   #21
fshfindr
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Sorry Tater, well we don't want confusion, that is usually reserved for me. So I took the oversize complete cartridges that I had not fired or taken apart and ran them thru the sizer again with the decapping pin removed. Then I put them thru the seating die again to get a good crimp. Then I dropped them into the chambers and they went right in. I'm still waiting for my brand new micrometer. Like I said, problem solved. It's an adventure that I don't want to go thru again. I do thank everyone concerned.
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Old June 4, 2013, 11:07 AM   #22
YunGun
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Glad to hear it all worked out for you, & without too many difficulties it sounds... Best of luck to ya!
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Old June 4, 2013, 08:11 PM   #23
lee n. field
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Quote:
Is it possible to run the completed rounds thru the sizer again
That sounds like the perfect excuse to buy the Lee Factory Crimp Die.
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