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Old March 19, 2001, 06:59 PM   #1
Guy B. Meredith
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Join Date: August 29, 1999
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 1,578
Hoy! That's Australian, not Spanish. Got a whole load of thoughts to put down. I'll be posting elsewhere, too, so Mike Irwin can ignore this one. I am looking for comments on the dies and load data.

For .38 spl. I have been using 158 gr. West Coast copper plated bullets over 4.8 gr. AA#2 with WSP in either Federal or R-P brass in my PC 627 V-Comp and 686+. I have been using an RCBS taper crimp. This produces a velocity of around 850 fps.

I don't know how accurate this load is as I am not a good enough shooter to be able to separate out my error from the equipment error.

I wanted to see about being able to reduce powder usage and play with accuracy so picked up the recommended roll crimp and dug out a bottle of Bullseye I've had on the shelf.

The roll crimp die is the Hornady pistol die. I set it up but could see no exterior roll on the case mouth, nor could other more experienced reloaders. I then set crimp until the case crumbled and then backed off to pre-crumble. Still no external roll and I began to think I'd received some sort of taper die.

For some reason I decided to pull some bullets, probably in fussing with the setup. On the pulled bullet I found a crease in the canalure that I imagined would be expected of a roll crimp. I backed off until pulled bullets showed just enough crease in the copper plate to be noticed with carefull inspection. Not enough to separate the lead and copper.

So the first question is whether anyone else has experience with the Hornady die and can verify my observations on the crimp.

Load data for the copper plated bullets is almost nonexistent. The results I get just don't match anything in the books or tables. The 4.8 gr. AA#2 is at least .8 gr. over any max I see suggested and .2 gr. over what a fellow shooter is using for the same velocity.

I put together 10 load variations and tried some accuracy testing at 15 yards which are totally inconclusive. Shot from seated position and hands supported on the table, but no support for the barrel:

4.6 gr. AA#2 with taper crimp 2.3"
4.6 gr. AA#2 with roll crimp 2.8"
4.8 gr. AA#2 with taper crimp 1.5"
4.8 gr. AA#2 with roll crimp 1.6"
3.9 gr. Bullseye with taper crimp 1.4"
3.9 gr. Bullseye with roll crimp 1.45"
4.1 gr. Bullseye with taper crimp 2.4"
4.1 gr. Bullseye with roll crimp 1.8"
4.3 gr. Bullseye with taper crimp 2.1"
4.3 gr. Bullseye with roll crimp 1.1"

You will notice that the Bullseye loads are high. I have not had a chance to chrono these loads, but just went with the generalization that most charts seemed to list Bullseye at 4 to 5 gr. under AA#2 for 158 gr. bullets. With the exception of the last feeling rather brisk (scary considering fast powder and potential for pressure problems), all seemed in the normal range.

The second question is whether others using copper plated bullets have noticed a similar discrepancy in load weights. I would really like to get the velocities with less powder, as advertised. The third is whether more experienced shooters can see information in the groupings that I am missing (I assume not).


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