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Old May 7, 2013, 07:56 AM   #1
JefferS
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I'd Like to Load 38 S&W Lead Magtech Bullets

Of course I'm new to reloading. I've loaded .30-06 successfully, so I'm not brand new, but I haven't done anything with a pistol yet.

When I'm searching for lead info, I'm usually getting into casting, which I'm not doing. I was able to obtain some Magtech Bullets 38 S&W (360 Diameter) 146 Grain Lead Round Nose from MidwayUSA because I wanted to learn how to reload lead.

Since these bullets are already cast, can I load them like I would jacketed bullets? Or do I still need to go through sizing/lubricating? Reading through my "ABC's of Reloading" isn't making it clear to me, as it seems to be coming from a casting perspective.

I intend on using a S&W K frame (model 15) revolver for my loads, if that makes any difference.

I've only been able to get Bullseye powder, so that's what I guess I'll start with.
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Old May 7, 2013, 09:27 AM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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Are you Shooting them in a .38 special? If so they won't chamber. They're too fat. .38 special is smaller in diameter. If you are loading for. 38 S&W they'll work just as they are.
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Old May 7, 2013, 10:19 AM   #3
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Many things to cover...

The 38 S&W is an old black powder loading.
The .38 Special is an older smokeless powder loading.
One is short, one is long, one is fat, one is not, one was the standard for police for years and years.

A Model 15 Smith and Wesson revolver is a great classic. I have never seen one that was not a .38 Special (have seen some Model 14s and 10s in .38 S&W). The "Special" uses a bullet from .355 to .360 with the target diameter of .357 for jacketed bullets and .358 for lead. The smaller bullets may not seal off and would lead the barrel excessively. The larger diameter bullets will generate greater pressures and will lead the barrel excessively. This is for lead bullets. Jacked are another ball park.

The .38 S&W is a great old pea shooter. The actual bore diameters vary greatly. The standard bullet diameter is .360 for lead.

Yes you could load .360 bullets into a .38 Special. I see a number of potential problem. First, you are learning to load lead and loading over sized bullets would not be a beginner's project. The bullets may well bulge your .38 Special cases to the point that they will not chamber. Expect a lot of leading and the loads would have to be reduced because of the swaging down process. I would advise against using those bullets and more so as a beginning/learning bullet.

Next up, bullet types. All bullets are bullets. But they don't all load equally. Lead is slick, jacketing is hard, plated bullets are someplace in between. Get several loading data sources (books/manuals/powder company information/bullet company information - paper and or on-line), read them. Use the 'Starting' load specs to 'start' for the components you are using and work up till you get the results you are satisfied with. The 'Starting' load specs will be different between lead and jacketed and plated. With lead, lighter weight bullets may be substituted if the spread isn't too great. Jacked bullets have more variables to deal with. Length of bearing surface, hardness of the core lead, stiffness of the jacket material all may have great impact upon the 'safe' loading point. Remember, the listed "MAXIMUM' loading is not a challenge.

I used multiple loading sources and compare them to each other before ever loading. Tpyos happen all the time.

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If you get bogged down, PMessage me. I'm in the south part of Cass County.

Please load with safety and enjoy,

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Old May 7, 2013, 11:09 AM   #4
JefferS
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Well, the revolver I have was purchased new last year, and I think it was manufactured in 2011. It will chamber and shoot both 38 S&W and 38 Special.

I was planning on just reloading for 38 S&W because that's what it has been shooting, and so I have empty cases. The Remington 38 S&W 146 gr lead RN.
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:14 PM   #5
oldpapps
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Jeff,

Can't argue with what you have in your hands and say.

I must admit that I have loaded .38 S&W brass (it was actually all copper cases) with cast .355 HP 9MM bullets and used .38Spec/.357Mag sizing dies. But those were to fire in a Marlin top break .38 S&W revolver, circa 1886 and didn't want to tax it at all.

As I no longer own any .38s/.357s, I can't try factory .38 S&W in one/any. But the SAAMI specs list a fatter case body.

(I may come into a P225 next month, was IPD I think)

Be safe,

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Old May 7, 2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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I appreciate the input, oldpapps. I hope I wasn't arguing--I didn't mean to.

Since I haven't been the one firing this gun (yet), I'm going to follow your last piece of advice for now (be safe) and do a little more research. Last thing I want is a stuck bullet where it shouldn't be stuck. Maybe the last fella shooting it just got lucky.
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Old May 7, 2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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Jeff if that gun will load .38 S&W, and is chambered for .38 Special then there is something wrong with it. Accuracy with .38 Speicial ammo would be horrid as the cylinders would be way over spec size, and you would have a very hard time extracting the the fired brass.

I have 6 guns that are either .38 Spcl, or .357 Mag. and .38 S&W will not chamber in any of them. It is too fat to fit in the cylinder of any of them.

I would suggest before making up a bunch of bad round to make one dummy round with no powder or primer. See if it will chamber. If the gun is a .38 Special with all chambers in spec it will not work, it will start to go in a wee bit, then get stuck.

I jsut looked at the pics you posted. The gun is a .38 Special. (.38 S&W Speical is a .38 Special.)
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Old May 7, 2013, 03:05 PM   #8
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Is it possible Remington is deliberately making R38SW undersized so it will chamber in more guns? Or maybe they put .38 Shorts in the wrong box.

Jeff, can you measure an unfired factory .38 S&W cartridge with a micrometer or calipers and tell us the diameter of the brass?
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Old May 7, 2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
I have 6 guns that are either .38 Spcl, or .357 Mag. and .38 S&W will not chamber in any of them. It is too fat to fit in the cylinder of any of them.
Quote:
Is it possible Remington is deliberately making R38SW undersized so it will chamber in more guns?
Interesting. I have a couple dozen revolvers (and one semi-auto) in .38 Special and/or .357 Mag. I also have an old S&W Terrier in .38 S&W, so happened to have an unopened box of Remington .38 S&W 146 gr LRN cartridges on the shelf. I just took one of the factory-new .38 S&Ws and it fit into every one of the revolver chambers I tried it in (and I tried most, but not all of them) - in most cases it dropped right in, in some guns (my Colt Python and 357) it needed a little push, but it fit easily.

So, I hunted up my micrometer and I find that the Remington .38 S&W cartridges are .3808 at the neck and .3818 at the base, vs.the specified .3855 and .3865 for the cartridge. Looks like Remington may indeed be making them a bit undersized.

That said, I'm a great believer in shooting only the caliber a gun is chambered for, no matter what may fit, so I wouldn't dream of firing any of the .38 S&Ws in any of the .38 Specials and .357s - but I suspect nothing too onerous would result.
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Old May 7, 2013, 06:53 PM   #10
JefferS
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Forget it

Since I don't have a real 38 S&W, I'll give this one up for now. Maybe I'll be able to do something with 38 Special someday. Looks like I'll have to wait longer for the components.

Thanks a bunch for all the input!
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