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Old February 1, 2020, 12:05 PM   #1
Head Tomcat
Join Date: December 16, 2019
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 31
Loading for 38 Long Colt...With Heeled Bullets


Now that Mike and I have talked several times and he is well on the way to making my Uberti 1851 Colt Navy London – with the Kirst gated converter assembly for 38LC – what it should be, it is time for me to sort out reloading the cartridges for it.

I already have 500 lead 155gr RN heeled bullets from AlphaBravo which are unsized, as I will do that myself in the loading process and fit them to the bore of the pistol. The bore is unlined and is why I am using heeled bullets…plus, that is how it was done when these conversions first came out. I really want to get the “full effect” of what it was like when C&B pistols were first converted to metallic cartridges while still using black powder!

Here are my planned specs for the 38LC cartridges:

• 155gr RN heeled bullet sized to bore
• 38LC brass cases from Buffalo Arms….trimmed to 0.88” long for heeled bullets
• 20gr Swiss 3Fg powder
• Winchester SP primer
• COL is optimum combination of what fits the cylinder and allows rotation, while giving moderate compression on the 20gr of powder
• Crimp will be done by the modified Lee collet die and adjustable case holder from Old West Bullet Mold

Now, the questions I have are with regard to the dies themselves….I do not have 38LC or 38 Special dies….but have a number of RCBS and Redding carbide 9mm dies. Can these be used?

I have read that sizing of the 38LC case can be done by a carbide 9mm die as their dimensions are so close. Also, case mouth belling to accept the lead bullet and then seating can also be done by 9mm die. The final steps of crimping and lube/sizing would then be done.

Is this a reasonable/safe way to go?


Head Tomcat getting ready for Goon’s wonderous work

Last edited by Head Tomcat; February 1, 2020 at 03:51 PM.
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