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Old May 22, 2002, 11:39 AM   #1
BigG
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.38 Wadcutters

I just became the proud owner of a S&W .38 Master target pistol chambered for .38 Special Midrange Wadcutter only.

I want to get some .38 dies but I wonder if the top punch will seat a wadcutter flush. It has to be flush with the case mouth as the magazine prohibits any exposed lead. Will I have to get a special die or do standard RCBS/LEE/REDDING .38 Special dies seat wadcutters flush?

Also, I want to minimize leading and wonder if the Rainier 148 gr. double ended copper washed wadcutter will do the trick?

What is the best shooting powder for this caliber?

Any other comments or tips welcome.

Thanks!
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Old May 22, 2002, 12:07 PM   #2
braindead0
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I can seat WC's flush with my RCBS dies, so I'd imagine the others will as well.

As far as loads, I've been able to get decent results with 3.2 grains of bullseye behind a hollow-base WC. These clocked out at 650fps out of .357 brass (not sure on .38 brass).

Really whimpy, but I achieved a decent seal with the HBWC's using this load.
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Old May 22, 2002, 01:28 PM   #3
Jim Watson
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I modified the seating punch of my RCBS dies to seat HBWCs flush in .38 Special target loads for either revolver or M52. RCBS will grind a punch for any Speer bullet you request. Their HBWC is about as good as any, I shot thousands of them for PPC. MY CH Auto-Champ came with a wadcutter plug. I suspect Redding will furnish a wadcutter punch upon request if their dies don't come with it. Call 'em up and get it from the horse's mouth.

A swaged lead wadcutter is just going to lead a little bit. It will not hurt accuracy until it gets bad, at which time you go after it with a Lewis lead remover.

The NEW Hornady lube on their knurled bullets is claimed to be more effective.

I have not shot the Ranier copper plated wadcutter in my M52 but it was the LEAST accurate bullet tried in a friend's revolver.

I have loaded HBWC ammo with 2.5 - 2.7 grains 700X and 3.2-3.4 gr W 231. There have been millions of rounds of .38 wadcutters loaded with 2.7 gr of Bullseye, and lots with anything from 2.5 -3.0. Any other fast burning powder will do, just look for a load in the 650 - 750 fps range.
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Old May 22, 2002, 01:36 PM   #4
LIProgun
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Unless things have changed, the RCBS .38 Special / .357 Magnum die sets come with three seating stems, i.e., for round nosed, SWC, and WC bullets. I have no trouble loading for the S&W 52-2 with the WC stem installed.

Favorite load is the old standby of 2.8 grains Bullseye. 3.0 grains Win 231 works fine as well.

I prefer the Hornady 148 grain HBWC. Speer's HBWC is good too, but the waxy lube accumulates in the seating die and can effect seating depth if not cleaned out. The Hornady lube doesn't accumulate.
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Old May 23, 2002, 08:55 AM   #5
Quantrill
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Model 52 wadcutters

BigG,
Congratulations on the "52". Mine has always been able to out shoot me. Probably the best choice for wadcutters is the double-ended ones, however since I already had the moulds for wadcutters that have the little "hump" on top, I use them. I just seat them even with the top trim rim of the case. This has always worked for me. Another possibility is to load that type of wadcutter backwards. The standard load for a 148gr wadcutter is 2.7 gr of Bullseye powder. That is what most the competition shooters around here use. I have used 2.5 of 700-X for years and it works well. Good luck with a great pistol. Quantrill
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Old May 24, 2002, 08:44 AM   #6
BigG
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Hey, thanks for all the very pertinent replies!

Quantrill, appreciate your remarks and I have lusted after the 52 ever since I started shooting in the '60s. The bright blue is really beautiful to behold and, yes, it can outshoot me easily.

I guess I may hold off on buying the Ranier copper plated. They looked like a good deal in the catalog. Guess I'll check the SGN next issue.

I've had good luck with Georgia Arms reloads so far.
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o "The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching." Assyrian tablet, c. 2800 BC

o "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain

o "They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?" Paul Harvey

o TODAY WE CARVE OUT OUR OWN OMENS! Leonidas, Thermopylae, 480 BC
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