The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 11, 2001, 12:04 PM   #1
Bacchus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 3, 2001
Posts: 259
Bullet seating depth: 38 special, Please help

Please help a newbie to reloading: I'm loading 38 special and 357 magnum cases with a 158 grain rnl bullet. I have calipers so I can check the OAL and make sure that the round is not too long. I'm using a revolver.

But how do I know the optimal seating depth? What's too short? BTW, the bullets have a colored ring around them. One person told me to crimp them somewhere within that ring, while another suggested that I seat them deeper.

Help!
Bacchus is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 01:22 PM   #2
griz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 31, 2000
Location: Middle Peninsula, VA
Posts: 1,428
Here is a thread about that very thing:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...threadid=83715

If I'm getting the info right your bullet is cast lead. The colored ring is the lube groove with a waxy lubricant in it. There should be a smaller groove above that. The smaller groove is where you should crimp the edge of the case.
griz is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 01:48 PM   #3
swabjocky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 27, 2001
Location: upstate sc
Posts: 384
38 oal

it looks like you need a loading manual.dont load a 38 any longer than 1.550 so use your calipers.there is an old rule that says always seat the bullet at least the size of the bullet which in the case of the 38 is .357. i set my 38s at 1.471.this should work for you.i hope this helps swabjocky
swabjocky is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 02:08 PM   #4
Bacchus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 3, 2001
Posts: 259
Thank you both for your suggestions. I guess a better way to phrase my question is this:

My manual lists a minimum OAL, based on the powder, to be 1.420. And I know that the maximum OAL is 1.550.

As long as the OAL of my finished rounds is somewhere between them, I guess I'm OK...so where should I start?
Bacchus is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 03:01 PM   #5
Johnny Guest
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: August 28, 1999
Location: North Texas
Posts: 4,116
Depth - -

Most, but by no means all, revolver bullets provide some indication of crimping location. On factory/commercially cast bullets, there is normally one or more lube grooves, as griz wrote, plus a narrower, usually tapered, grove just behind the forward driving bans. This is provided as a place to cimp the case mouth. Anywhere (it is pretty narrow) in this is within normal length.

If/when you begin using jacketed bullets, you'll normally see a canalure (sp?), often knurled, into which you should crimp case mouth. I always seat and crimp using this groove or canalure, with just a wee touch of it showing beyond case mouth. Snce this works fine, I seldom pay any attention to cartridge Overall Length (COL.)

Only time I ever found it to be significant was in using some old-design .45 Colt bullets from a Lyman 454424 mould, and they were just a bit lond for the cylinder of the converted S&W M-28. I had to crimp on forward band of the bullet.

Welcome to the wunnerful world of handgun reloading. Hope you get as much enjoyment from it as I have.

Best,
Johnny
__________________
MOLON LABE!
Amendment II ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Blog: Expert Witness
Johnny Guest is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 07:30 PM   #6
Blarneystone
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 27, 2001
Posts: 152
Bacchus,

I'm loading 38 spec. too. What loader are you using? If you get it somewhere between the minimum and max OAL you should be fine. On my first time, which was just last week, I shot for a midpoint, but I was using a ruler and existing store bought rounds - I was way, WAY off. Be glad you have a caliper.

Speaking of which, I just picked up a set of calipers and found that the seating depth of my reloads yesterday resulted in an OAL of 1.38. For my powder and bullet combination, Lee Classic Loader says the minimum OAL is 1.44. That seems like quite a large difference.

Considering I am using the Lee dipper (read minimum load) it's coming out to about 4.3 gr. of Unique powder. Is there any way to calculate the pressure of my 125gr bullets set to 1.38?

Like I said before, I was trying to use a ruler and a calculator to figure out the 1.44 seating depth. I guess I messed up.

Should I just throw out these rounds and start over? I thought there might be a chance that they'd be okay since everyone says the 4.3gr of unique I am using is a pretty light load.

Thanks!
Blarneystone is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 08:29 PM   #7
Nanaimo Barr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 1,024
Blarny, I would highly recomend getting a "kenetic bullet puller", they can be had for around $15.00 at wally world, and can save you a lot in components. I must have had to take 200 bullets apart in the last couple of monthes, and was able to reuse all the parts...
__________________
"Question that Regulation, you might be suprised to find out it's Illegal"
Nanaimo Barr is offline  
Old October 11, 2001, 09:20 PM   #8
labgrade
Member In Memoriam
 
Join Date: November 29, 1999
Location: west of a small town, CO
Posts: 4,346
A quicky - after pulling bullets, you'll have to re-flare the mouth. This'll save you shaving at least one bullet & probably collapsing a case mouth. Been there.
labgrade is offline  
Old October 12, 2001, 06:55 AM   #9
Bacchus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 3, 2001
Posts: 259
Blarneystone,
I'm using the challenger press from Lee. I decided to go with Herco 2400 powder, as I have the option of using the .5 dipper to weigh my charges. But I couldn't get consistent charges with the dipper, so I'm using Lee's powder measure.

I have to second the advice to buy a kinetic bullet puller; in my experience (all two weeks' worth), I found that the first rounds I loaded were too fat for the chamber of the firearm. I had expanded them too much. The bullet puller allowed me to reuse all my components.
Bacchus is offline  
Old October 12, 2001, 11:27 AM   #10
Johnny Guest
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: August 28, 1999
Location: North Texas
Posts: 4,116
2400 powder - - -

- - is one of the slower-burning powders and is frequently used to build up hotter loads. I have no experience in using it for lighter loads. One caution--You need a good, firm crimp to get all the 2400 in a load to burn, otherwise, you'll have a lot of discolored but unburned granules left in chambers and bore of your revolver. Be sure to brush these out often, or they will build up under the extractor/ejector star and tie up your cylinder at an inconvenient time. You might be happier with moderate loads of Unique or Bullseye powder.

One of the nicer things about .38 Special is the fact that it is a rather "forgiving" cartridge--as long as you stay with loads within published data, and they will chamber, it sill work. Some loads work better than others, is all.

You mention loading both .38 and .357 mag ctgs--What kind of revolver are you using? Some will accept heavier loads better than others, clearly. It is not EASY to blow up a good revolver, but some will shoot loose more quickly than others.

For any kind of advanced reloading, you should really have a caliper. That said, though, you can "eyeball" your loads pretty well, by comparing to a factory load with a similar bullet. Goes back to the forgiving nature of the round. The major factor is uniformity. If every load has same powder charge and same bullet seated to same depth, chances are your accuracy will be pretty acceptable.

Best of luck - - -
Johnny
__________________
MOLON LABE!
Amendment II ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Blog: Expert Witness
Johnny Guest is offline  
Old October 12, 2001, 09:17 PM   #11
Blarneystone
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 27, 2001
Posts: 152
>>>I would highly recomend getting a "kenetic bullet puller", they can be had for around $15.00 at wally world<<<

Umm...dumb question. Is "wally world" Wal-Mart? I checked my local wal mart today and they said they don't stock em. Just want to make sure.
Blarneystone is offline  
Old October 13, 2001, 05:56 AM   #12
Dogjaw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 6, 2001
Location: S.W. Michigan
Posts: 560
One way to check OAL if you don't have a caliper, is to back off your seating die, insert a loaded FACTORY round, and set the seating die to the factory round. You thus use the factory round as a template. It works well.
Dogjaw is offline  
Old October 13, 2001, 08:11 AM   #13
Bacchus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 3, 2001
Posts: 259
Yes, Wally World is Wal-Mart. I've never seen bullet pullers there.

You may want to check out Midway. They have them for about 15 dollars.
Bacchus is offline  
Old October 14, 2001, 08:54 PM   #14
Nanaimo Barr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 1,024
wally world didn't carry them? wierd, then again, they just ****** me off big time, so they won't be getting any more of my reloading bussines.. (they bait and switched me on a TV and then sold me a TV they knew to be defective and under factory recall.. TWICE!)
__________________
"Question that Regulation, you might be suprised to find out it's Illegal"
Nanaimo Barr is offline  
Old October 15, 2001, 05:31 AM   #15
Dogjaw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 6, 2001
Location: S.W. Michigan
Posts: 560
You should be able to get a bullet puller from any gun shop that sells reloading supplies. Or check out these guys online. They got one for $14.79. Search with keyword "bullet puller". They have a ton of reloading supplies. You can order online or send for the catalog.

http://www.midwayusa.com/
Dogjaw is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09938 seconds with 7 queries