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Old June 27, 2013, 07:19 AM   #1
sinter
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38 super reloading question

So I decided to try my hand at reloading for my 38 super (Taurus PT 38). I purchased 500 Missouri bullet company IDP #6 cast lead bullets. These bullets are 125 Grain TCFP. Looking at load data I decided to go with 5 grains of Universal Clays with an overall length of 1.25. When I tried shooting these in my gun, the gun seized up badly and I had to work the slide significantly to get it to eject (without firing). Closer examination revealed that the loaded cartridge didn't seat all the way down in the chamber. So going back to my loading bench I tried several experiments: a sized case without neck expansion seats fine, a sized case with neck expansion seats fine. Once a bullet is added, if an overall length of 1.25 is used, the bullet doesn't seat. 1.23... no go, 1.21.... no go, 1.20... no go, 1.8... bullet seats perfectly. All the load data I've read suggests an overall length between 1.22 and 1.25. Looking at the bullet, there's a cannulure just below where the tapered ends and at 1.8 my crimp engages that cannulure. I can see no way of using the cannulure and keeping the overall length within specs...... can somebody who's using this bullet please tell me the secret!
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Old June 27, 2013, 07:32 AM   #2
dahermit
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Quote:
...my crimp engages that cannulure...
Most of the recent manufactured .38 Super's chambers are cut to use the case mouth to head space. If yours is like that, you do not want the case mouth crimped into a channeler. My Circa 1970's Colt Combat Commander came with the "old style" head space system that head spaced on the extractor (and supposedly), little rim, cut into the barrel shroud. At latter date, I replaced the barrel with one that head spaces on the case mouth.

I would paint a loaded cartridge with lay out dye and drop it into the the unmounted barrel to see how it fits. Withdraw it and look to see where the dye has rubbed off. If it has rubbed off the case where the bullet resides, your bullets maybe over-size for the .38 Super.

I am a big fan of the "plunk test". The loaded cartridges should drop into the chamber freely, be stopped by the end of the chamber, and drop out freely. If they do not, the dimensions of the cartridges are not correct.
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Last edited by dahermit; June 27, 2013 at 07:44 AM.
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Old June 27, 2013, 08:11 AM   #3
NoSecondBest
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I used to shoot competition with a 38Super. I have a Midway 38Super max. cartridge gage that I no longer need. If you want it, I'll give it to you for free if you pay the postage. Send me a pm if you'd like it. Note: are you using a taper crimp on your loads? You can't roll crimp the 38Super and it requires very little crimp even with the taper crimp.
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Old June 27, 2013, 10:19 PM   #4
dickttx
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I am on about my third thousand of the IDP #6. I started out about the canula too. Right now I am at 1.164" OAL. I am using 5.3gn of HP38 with Starline brass.
I still have occasional problems with the pistol going into battery. I have found that it was primarily because I was not using enough lube on the gun.
I use the Lee four die set.


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Old June 28, 2013, 05:48 AM   #5
sinter
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Dickttx,

thank you so much for the information, that was exactly what I needed to hear, that I wasn't the only one who couldn't get the 1.125 overall length with the IDP #6. Also I was very concerned that seating the bullet that far down into the case would cause an overpressure situation. Looking at the load data for HP 38 versus Universal's Clay, it appears that there comparable powders. You've given me the confidence to proceed with test firing the 5 grain load seated to the cannulure. Thanks again for the info.
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Old June 30, 2013, 07:55 AM   #6
WESHOOT2
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HP38 vs Universal; Universal is 'slower', on the order of Unique.

I found great success in numerous guns chambered in 38 Super using Universal.
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Old June 30, 2013, 05:31 PM   #7
Peter M. Eick
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Interesting problem. Looking at my notes, I load that same bullet (125 TCFP) to 1.23 or 1.18. Both work well but the 1.23 feeds a bit smoother.

If you load 6.6 grns of Power pistol to 1.230 with a cci500 primer and a light taper crimp I found that to be the best combination so far. I note that it is exceptionally accurate in my guns.

Have you considered that you are over crimping it and raising a bump in the brass?

Since I can load that bullet to 1.230, I suggest you spend a bit of time with calipers and see if you can sort out the issue.
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Old July 5, 2013, 02:52 PM   #8
sinter
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okay, I'm getting really frustrated here:

2 cases were put through my sizing /depriming die. I am certain that my sizing die touches the shell plate when the platform is raised. When I saw that one case didn't seek I put it back to the sizing the priming die a 2nd time with no change.One case seats fine in my cartridge gauge, the other seats up. Below are some images to help explain what's going on.

The 2 cases sitting next to each other the one with the X doesn't seat in the cartridge gauge:

http://imageshack.us/a/img707/2891/1tt5.jpg

the 1st case seating properly down in the cartridge gauge:

http://imageshack.us/a/img819/866/xicv.jpg

the 2nd case seating up in the cartridge gauge:

http://imageshack.us/a/img577/4757/im8q.jpg

disclosing powder put on the case to show it's binding just below the extractor groove:

http://imageshack.us/a/img850/4071/e5lk.jpg

please help
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:40 PM   #9
Peter M. Eick
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Sounds like you need one of these:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/390...g-die-38-super

it just sizes the case a bit smaller and a bit deeper on the case but at the expense of working the brass more. If you need it (which it appears you do) then you live with shortened brass life.
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Old July 5, 2013, 04:43 PM   #10
sinter
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all of this is once fired brass, and the top of the case specs out fine, it's just at the bottom near the extractor groove, that the case seems to balloon slightly roughly 4/1000th of an inch
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:27 PM   #11
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It looks in your first photo like your load is giving you pregnant cases (bulge on one side where the feed ramp cut into the barrel leaves it unsupported) and that the sizing die is flowing the bulge backward, but can't get close enough to the end to actually iron it out. I wonder about the brass quality or else the shape of your chamber as a result.

The only solution I am aware of is to buy a Lee factory crimp die and remove the crimp ring and adjustment plug and use their bulge buster kit to push the case in until the semi-rim just stops short of trying to enter the carbide ring, then use a brass drift punch to knock the case back out again. Tedious.

In the meanwhile, load up some rounds with about 4 grains of Universal instead of 5 grains, and see if it shoots and the cases resize better. If they do, then the bulge hypothesis is verified and is not just an optical illusion.
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Old July 6, 2013, 06:13 AM   #12
WESHOOT2
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It ain't the load; it's the wonky chamber the case was fired from.

IME if the loads used are modest, the brass can be reused IF the bump can be eliminated sufficiently for re-chambering.

Me? I normally toss crippled brass.
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Old July 6, 2013, 11:29 PM   #13
rodfac
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You've got a bum chamber in that Taurus...good luck with the factory customer service. Rod
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Old July 7, 2013, 07:39 AM   #14
dahermit
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For Colts, there are after-market barrels that one can swap-out with the barrel that it came with (mine, a Commander length, was unsupported, caused those marks in the cases), it for one that has a supported chamber. The bulges and the chambering problems disappeared.
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