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Old May 8, 2012, 07:35 AM   #1
Tom68
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Plated bullets in revolver cartridges

I recently loaded some Ranier plated bullets in .38/.357 and have had very limited success. Using a Lee 3-die set, I currently have no means to taper crimp this cartridge, and although I have not yet done any specific research as to "why", I initially experienced some wild spreads (as much as 200 fps). I suspect this is due to a lack of crimp, and some of the bullets are backing out. Not enough to tie up the cylinder, mind you... and these were very light loads, so I am reasoning that pressures are dropping in some cartridges. I did NOT shoot a few and then measure the remaining loads in the cylinder...that would be my next step to determine if they are truly backing out.

Last night I pulled a dozen from the initial set, and the whack-a-mole indicated a significant variance in neck tension--that is, if the inertia puller is any accurate way of comparing. Some cartridges took up to six whacks to unseat the bullet, while others took only two. That in itself is somewhat troubling, but not the purpose of this thread.

My question: How are others crimping plated bullets in revolver cartridges? Without a crimping groove, I consider a roll crimp out of the queston unless the bullet is seated deeper and crimped over the ogive. Are others doing this, while watching for pressure....or using a taper crimp? or, nothing at all but neck tension to keep bullets from unseating?

I load several bottleneck rifle cartridges, as well as .40 S&W, but this is my first foray into revolver cartridges, so I'm interested to see how others work this issue. I do not cast my own bullets, but if using lead is the only real solution, I'm okay with that as well.
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Old May 8, 2012, 07:43 AM   #2
Salmoneye
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You should be fine with a roll crimp...

From the Berry's website FAQ (http://www.berrysmfg.com/faq.aspx?n=71877).

Plated bullets are very difficult to cannelure. It requires an extra step after the plating and if not done carefully can ruin the plating. We only put a cannelure in two bullets (45-70 and 500 S&W). You shouldn't need a cannelure on our other bullets. If you feel the need, you can use a snug roll crimp to keep bullets in place. Just ensure you don't get the roll too tight such that it severs the plating and destroys the bullet.

I have crimped bullets without a cannelure in semi-auto rifles...
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Old May 8, 2012, 10:04 AM   #3
BigPapa4147
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I've had good success using Berry's bullrts in my 38 and 357 with Lee dies. I dont crimp the 38s and use the Lee factory crimp die on my 357 mag. As long as you dont break throug the plating youre fine, but berrys have thicker plating than raniers, so be careful.
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Old May 8, 2012, 10:42 AM   #4
full case load
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I have been using Rainier's plated bullets for practice rounds in my SP 101 327 Fed Mag and, like you experienced some bullets backing out of the case. (Like you, I never measured or counted the unfired rounds either). I bought a cannelure making tool. Doesn't take much, just enough groove to feel it with my thumbnail so it doesn't crack the plating. I'm loading a little hot for a plated bullet (to simulate recoil/recovery time of my carry rounds), and haven't experienced any problems since. (Knocks on wood.)
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Old May 8, 2012, 11:38 AM   #5
BigJimP
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Rainier electro plated bullets are very thin....so you do need to be careful on the crimp that you don't crack the plating...but you can roll crimp them tight enough - that they won't back out when you're firing them. Ive shot plenty of them in my revolvers and my lever action rifle in .357 mag ....

Berry's plated is a better bullet ..primarily because they're more consistent in terms of weight and shape than Rainier ...and the plating is thicker. Although personally, I try to keep an inventory of Montana Gold bullets on hand in .357 mag ...( and they have the cannelure - because they're a true jacketed bullet ).
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Old May 8, 2012, 08:02 PM   #6
dickttx
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I have loaded Berrys plated in 357, 41 Mag, and 45 Colt. Just set the crimp die so that it almost looks like a taper crimp.
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Old May 9, 2012, 10:01 AM   #7
MADISON
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no means to taper crimp?

Taper Crimp dies are available for the manufacturers.
Something I learned years ago is:
Remove the decapping stim from your sizing die.
Readjust the die
You now have a TAPER CRIMP die.
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Old May 9, 2012, 10:19 AM   #8
Longdayjake
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One way to solve this problem in the future is to use X-treme or Powerbond bullets. They come with a cannelure and their plating is as much as twice as thick as berry's or rainier. I sell x-treme bullets now that have been driven as fast as 2000 fps from lever guns and they still shoot really well. I try to keep my prices pretty competitive too so you may be able to get an even better deal on better bullets. Double win.
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Old May 9, 2012, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
As long as you dont break throug the plating youre fine,
I've never seen a problem breaking the plating, although I have to admit that I've never pulled the bullet to see if I'm breaking through or not. I'd think that the small line where the mouth of the cartridge crimps into the bullet wouldn't make that much different in the long run.

I'm an old cast bullet shooter and very fond of lead in my revolvers, anyway. But, I've never seen the utility of wondering whether I was going to break the plating on a plated bullet. It's a lead bullet with a skim of plating on it. If my crimp breaks the plating, I can't imagine that the plating would hold up through a trip down the rifling.
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Old May 9, 2012, 12:42 PM   #10
mo84
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Crimping should work even without a cannelure. I use berrys 500 bullets but seat the bullets higher than their cannelure as it seems to low on the bullet. I crimp them as tight as I can and load them beyond book max and never have an issue with the unfired rounds unseating. I use the crimp die that came with the set, im sure its a taper crimp. good luck trying to fix your problem
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Old May 9, 2012, 04:10 PM   #11
Bailey Boat
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Just order a taper crimp 38/357 die from RCBS just to use on plated bullets, that's what I did....
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Old May 9, 2012, 04:59 PM   #12
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Until I get a dedicated .357 taper crimp die I am using my Redding profile (roll) crimp set to give a light roll crimp. You may be expanding flaring too much, causing poor bullet tension in the neck area. You can't rely strictly on crimp to keep the bullet from pulling.

In plated bullets that I've recovered I can see the crimp mark but no evidence of peeling or other issues.

.357 is notorious for wide velocity spreads in light loads. I would suspect position sensitivity of the small charges in the large case as a contributing factor in your wide spreads. I've never had good extreme spreads in light .357 loads regardless of crimp or bullet type unless I load wadcutters (DEWC/HBWC).

Use less flare/expansion if possible.

Next time you're at the chrono, tip the gun straight up between shots to get the powder to the back of the case (if safety allows) See if your spreads don't tighten up. If they do, that's position sensitivity. Some powders are better than others for fixing that.

Last edited by Hammerhead; May 9, 2012 at 05:18 PM.
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Old May 9, 2012, 05:53 PM   #13
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A Light roll crimp is all yhat is needed on Berrys bullet, 357 Mag workd fine
behind some H110, Groups great. Good luck ; )
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Old May 9, 2012, 05:59 PM   #14
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I load Xtremes in 357 and 45 Colt. They are excellent bullets but the cannelure on them seems to really only be marks on the plating, not a true cannelure like on a jacketed bullet. I use a Lee Factory Crimp Die to put a light roll crimp on them and it works great. Just a half a turn down is all it takes. I also don't load them really hot, I get better accuracy when loading them slower, so bullets pulling has never been an issue for me.
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Old May 9, 2012, 06:42 PM   #15
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I've been using Berry's bullets for a while in my .357's without a hitch using mid-level loads. Just a slight taper crimp works fine and they are as accurate as I am.
Never understood the need to light load a .357. That's what 38's are for.
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Old May 10, 2012, 09:32 AM   #16
Tom68
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great responses all, thanks guys.
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Old May 10, 2012, 05:59 PM   #17
g.willikers
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Ditto on Madison's tip for using the resizer die for a taper crimp.
That works good.
I discovered it did when the actual taper crimp that was needed escaped behind the bench and refused to be found.
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Old May 11, 2012, 11:33 PM   #18
Steve in PA
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I've shot plenty of Rainier bullets out of my Blackhawk in .357 with no issues. My dies are RCBS .38/.357 with a roll crimp.
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:59 AM   #19
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Tom

Its possible your loading them too light for plated bullets. It seems to take higher pressures to get plated bullets to obturate, just like with harder alloys of lead. My groups tightened up when I increased the load some. The pressure has to be able to compress the bullet to get a good seal in the bore. I have also stuck a Rainier plated wadcutter in the bore of my S&W M14 due to using too light a load. Barry warns abut this with the wadcutters. I was also getting "keyholing" with some of the light loads. I am getting the best accuracy when I load .38 Special to plus P levels.

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