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Old March 14, 2011, 08:39 AM   #26
Brian Pfleuger
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The bullets must be the right size, .355 125gr XTPs do not have a cannelure and the next size up would .400 and not 125gr. The only option for a 125gr XTP with cannelure is .357. Theoretically, they could be 100gr .312, but I would think that would be obvious to a blind man. So, I suspect the bullet is correct.

However, you should definitely NOT be able to seat a bullet with your fingers. I assume you ARE running them through a sizing die, correct?
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Old March 14, 2011, 09:34 AM   #27
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Your loads should have at least push the bullet out the barrel, I think your primers might be the problem. Try a different brand.
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Old March 14, 2011, 10:28 AM   #28
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There appears to be a sizing issue here. There should be no way to easily "thumb" the bullet further into the case on a properly sized case. What dies are you using? Check the engraving on the sizer.
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Old March 14, 2011, 10:32 AM   #29
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Just one more thought, and that would be to use the Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD) for crimping. I think it gives a much more consistent and positive crimp to my .38s and .357s.
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Old March 14, 2011, 11:17 AM   #30
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Certainly! I'd actually LOVE it if it were as simple as 'you're reading your scale wrong' hahaha

As for the primers, are you referring to how they look so round and 'puffy'? My friend mentioned how that was a sign of low pressures, as the pressure wasn't enough to flatten the primer against the breechface. Is that correct, or even what you're referring to?

I zeroed the scale before measuring. shown with 4.5 grains of titegroup.


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Old March 14, 2011, 11:59 AM   #31
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Quote:
@RG1... best answer yet, and is what I'm betting on at this point... I definitely recall being able to fully seat a few bullets with thumb pressure alone, and I've no doubt that any of them could be seated by pressing them into the bench...
This is not right, especially with a jacketed bullet.
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Old March 14, 2011, 01:44 PM   #32
lostinperiphery
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here's a quick video I threw together too, showing resizing the case, very minimal expansion, and then fully seating (and then some) with my thumbs.... pretty easy to seat to the cannelure with one thumb. with two hands i could seat it even deeper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80fAPFHrP34

Last edited by lostinperiphery; March 14, 2011 at 01:51 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 02:21 PM   #33
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Based on what you're describing, particularly the ease with which you're able to seat bullets in sized cases, I'd also look at how much flare your putting on your cases. Remember that neck tension and not crimp is what holds a bullet in place. So, if you're putting too much flare on a case, then you're going to have problems getting the finished cartridge to hold the bullet in place no matter how much crimp you apply. So check to make sure you're using the minimal amount of flare needed to start the bullet and no more.

If that doesn't help or you're not using too much flare, you might want to check the expanded plug on your die to make sure it's in spec. I'd especially recommend this if you're using Lee dies. I've got nothing against Lee, and use lots of their products. However, within the last year I had a similar problem with setback in .45 that I ultimately traced to a Lee expanded plug that was out of spec. It's as simple as a phone call to Lee with the plug and some calipers in hand to verify, and it could well be the culprit if you're simply not getting enough neck tension to hold the bullet. Another way to check that, what I did in my case, was borrow dies from a friend and verified that I didn't experience the same problems using his expanding die.
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Old March 14, 2011, 02:21 PM   #34
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The appearance if the primer is an unreliable indicator of pressure. I have used Federal SP primers that are so soft that they will flatten and mushroom at any charge level I have ever tried, while CCI SP primers show absolutely no signs of flattening at load levels considerably over published max loads.


Judging from that video, you have a major problem with your sizing die or those bullets are severely undersized. Do you have calipers? You should measure the sizing ring in that die, the size of your cases before and after sizing and the diameter if the bullets.
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Old March 14, 2011, 05:38 PM   #35
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OK... that's about the right amount of TiteGrp in the pan (pic), but something is happening where it's not getting ignited.

Even tho' Peetzakilla thinks I disagree w/ him, I do agree that primers aren't a tell-tale indicator of specific/relative pressures. BUT that amount of TiteGrp generates almost 12,000 psi and those primers don't show anything .... (and the bullet-in-barrel results tend to agree w/ that.)

Even the relatively easy bullet fit in the case you show wouldn't explain the total lack of ignition (or pretty darn close to it.) Still, it looks like you need to check out the expander plug diameter vs the bullet's and call sombody at the manufacturer before this is over.

You've already tried two powders (Unique & TiteGrp), so it's likely a case and/or primer problem.

Check1: In a darkened room using a case with primer only, fire the pistol. You should see a 6-8" flame out beyond the end of the barrel. (I just did this with my 5-1/2" GP100 and got at least that much flame again out its muzzle -- using 55-year old military 38 ammo.)

Last edited by mehavey; March 14, 2011 at 05:57 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 06:18 PM   #36
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Forgot to mention something I learned from another poster. IF you have cases that will not size enough to tightly grip your .357 diameter bullets you can use a carbide 9MM Luger sizing die then use your .38 Special expander die. There is only .002" difference in the diameter of 9mm versus .357 bullets. Size 1st with your 38/357 sizer then size with the 9MM sizer only part way down the case, just past where the bullet when seated would stop. It works fine and I've tried it with no issues and it will salvage thin walled .38 Special cases but it'd be better to have a 38 Special die with a minimal sizer diameter.
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Old March 14, 2011, 08:04 PM   #37
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Quote:
Judging from that video, you have a major problem with your sizing die or those bullets are severely undersized. Do you have calipers? You should measure the sizing ring in that die, the size of your cases before and after sizing and the diameter if the bullets.
case OD at mouth before sizing: .378
case OD at mouth after sizing: .374
bullet D: .357

D at tip of expander plug: .352
D .100" from tip of plug: .354
D .200" from tip of plug: .356

Last edited by lostinperiphery; March 14, 2011 at 10:15 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 09:02 PM   #38
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My own .38 dies & bullets . . .

Case OD after sizing: 0.373/4" (Check)
Barrel section of expander: 0.357" diameter (even larger than yours, but brass springs back) and and 0.325/6" long -- your barrel section is only 0.2" long?
Case OD after expander: 0.376/7
Case ID after expander: 0.349/0.350"




Bullet (HNDY 158 FP/XTP) OD: 0.357
What was your bullet diameter again?/You sure it isn't 9mm (0.354)?

Last edited by mehavey; March 14, 2011 at 09:18 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 09:04 PM   #39
Brian Pfleuger
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What is the ID of the case after sizing, before and after expanding?
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Old March 14, 2011, 09:30 PM   #40
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This really intrigues me. I just resized a couple of 38spl cases. The OD of the case at the mouth is ~.373 using my Lee die. Similar to your readings but maybe a bit smaller. I also took a couple of bullets -- Speer and Hornady jacketed. There is no way I could push the bullet into the case with my bare thumb. I'm 6'3" 235lbs and have hands like vises.

What media did you tumble your brass in? Did you add anything to the media that possibly could have lubricated the cases? I've never been able to push any copper bullet into any case -- regardless of caliber.

I'm lost.
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Old March 14, 2011, 09:35 PM   #41
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Quote:
D at tip of expander plug: .352
D .100" from tip of plug: .354
D .200" from tip of plug: .456
Really? If you're expanding plug tapers from .354" to .456" in .1" then that's likely your problem. I just measured the expander plug from my Lee die and it maxes at .370" at it's widest part.

Last edited by scsov509; March 14, 2011 at 09:59 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 09:35 PM   #42
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehavey
What was your bullet diameter again?/You sure it isn't 9mm (0.354)?
There is no .355 XTP bullet with a cannelure. The cannelured bullets go from 100gr .312 to 110gr .357, there are none in between.
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Old March 14, 2011, 10:15 PM   #43
lostinperiphery
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measured 5 cases ID before/after mouth expanding:
ID before expanding /ID after expanding
.353/.356
.353/.356
.355/.357
.354/.356
.353/.356

I hadn't realized the expansion actually works the whole area holding the bullet, I thought it only flared the very edge of the case to help get the bullet started... When I first set the flare amount, I thought I was setting it a minimal amount (to preserve case life), but perhaps it is still to much? the flare cannot be felt or seen

@scsov509, that was a typo, and I corrected the post
@RB98SS, I don't clean or tumble. don't have the equiptment yet


mehavey, mine looks very different than yours, it seems. but i guess they work the same...

Last edited by lostinperiphery; March 14, 2011 at 10:38 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 10:30 PM   #44
lostinperiphery
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with all these measurements posted, here's one that raises a flag:

mehavey's ID's case ID after expander: 0.349/0.350"
mine are around .356... thats a rather hefty jump

Though my expander seemed to measure similarly to his. Is it possible I have mine adjusted wrong? Like I said, no flare can be felt or seen at the very edge, but how exactly SHOULD I go about adjusting it correctly?

though, my ID before expanding is bigger than his ID after... what could that indicate? cases not springy enough? resizing die not resizing enough?

Again, thanks EVERYONE for all the help with this. I feel we're getting closer!

Last edited by lostinperiphery; March 14, 2011 at 10:40 PM.
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Old March 14, 2011, 10:57 PM   #45
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Lee has excellent short videos on their web site. I took the time to copy almost word for word what each one says for die set up. Here is what I printed out for my purposes:

1st stage Sizing/Depriming die adjustment

o Turn the lock ring as far to the top of the die as possible.
o With the ram raised and the shell holder in place, turn the die into the press until it makes firm contact with the shell holder.
o Lower the ram and turn the die in ¼ turn further into the press. Raise the ram which locks the die in place and tighten the lock ring.

2nd stage Expanding die adjustment

o Turn the lock ring as far to the top of the die as possible.
o With the ram raised and the shell holder in place, turn the die into the press until it makes firm contact with the shell holder.
o Back the die out of the press about ¾ of a turn and set the lock ring.
o Minor adjustments from this point may need to be made.

3rd stage Seating/Crimping die adjustment

o With an empty case in the shell holder, raise the ram to the top and turn the die in until it stops. This is where the crimp shoulder meets the case.
o Place a bullet on the empty flared case. Raise and lower the ram checking bullet seating depth.
o Rotate the adjustment knob clockwise while holding the die. Raise and lower the ram to confirm seating depth.
o Lower the ram and turn the die in one additional half turn. Raise the ram to complete the crimp depth. If using a factory carbide crimp die, omit the half turn!

4th stage Factory crimp die adjustment

o Turn the lock ring as far to the top of the die as possible, and the adjustment knob outward.
o With the ram raised and the shell holder in place, turn the die into the press until it makes firm contact with the shell holder and tighten the lock ring.
o Place a cartridge with a seated bullet in the shell holder and raise the ram.
o Turn the adjustment screw clockwise until it stops.
o Lower the ram and turn in the adjustment screw a half turn.
o Raise the ram to apply the crimp.
o Adjust the screw clockwise for additional crimp.
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Old March 15, 2011, 06:50 AM   #46
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I just remember something about my Lee expander plug that I originally received in my 38/357 die. The die shipped with a 357 maximum expander plug in it. The reason I noticed is I could not get my Lee pro Auto powder dispenser set correctly. The difference was in the length of the body of the plug. The portion that expands the case I believe was the same length.


lostinperiphery posted a picture of his Lee plug in this thread, can someone look at their Lee 357/38 plug and see if it looks the same proportionally? I cannot as I'm away from my equipment. Although you would think just the opposite of his issue would result

Last edited by RB98SS; March 15, 2011 at 06:57 AM.
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Old March 15, 2011, 07:52 AM   #47
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Same problem

I too have the same problem. I started at 4.6 of Unique and have had several squibbs. Double checked my loading procedures and double verified each case was charged and still had a squibb this past weekend. Pulled the remainder of the bullets and will load them at 5.1 instead.

I have used the 5.1 without any problems whatsoever and the 5.6 is a +p load, too heavy for the wife to shoot. The 4.6 must be too light. My cousin checked his manual when he got home and his starting load was 5.1 for Unique with the same bullet. I use the same Unique powder for 9mm, 10mm, 40 S&W, and 380 ACP so I know the powder is good.
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Old March 15, 2011, 07:53 AM   #48
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostinperiphery
I hadn't realized the expansion actually works the whole area holding the bullet, I thought it only flared the very edge of the case to help get the bullet started... When I first set the flare amount, I thought I was setting it a minimal amount (to preserve case life), but perhaps it is still to much? the flare cannot be felt or seen
My guess is that you're over expanding. Can you seat a bullet by hand before you expand the case? If not, expansion is your problem.

Remove the die from the press, leave the bushing in the press. Insert a sized case. Raise the ram all the way. Screw the die back into the press until it contacts the case and pushes the expander rod to "full stop". Lower the ram. Screw the die in 1/4 turn. Raise the ram. Now, try to seat a bullet. All you need is enough flare to seat a bullet without crushing the case. If you can't seat a bullet, screw the die in a tiny bit more. Keep trying until it works. If you CAN seat a bullet at 1/4 turn, go back to 1/8 or so. MINIMAL flare that functions is what you want.
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Old March 15, 2011, 11:49 AM   #49
lostinperiphery
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I may be misunderstanding what is actually happening during expansion... how much of the case is actually being worked? just the very edge, or the whole area of the case the bullet ends up sitting in, in addition to the edge?

Originally, I had thought that the action would flare the very edge of the case, like the edge of the liberty bell... then, after looking at the plug itself, I thought maybe it does both that, as well as cylindrically expanding about .25" of the case itself.

I rebuilt my benchtop last night as to be more rigid, and need to pick up some longer mounting bolts for the press... once I do that, I'll experiment with adjusting my flare as you mentioned.
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Old March 15, 2011, 12:03 PM   #50
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Last edited by RB98SS; March 15, 2011 at 07:47 PM.
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