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Old October 8, 2017, 05:16 PM   #1
Arbl58
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Newby reloading questions

Sorry if posted in wrong place, I am still trying to figure out how this forum works.

I have a Lee classic turret press which works well for me to learn on. A question I have is about crimps. I am currently reloading .38 using x-treme copper plated 125 GR. I have shot about 250 of them and they seem pretty consistent.
I feel that since they are consistent I am good with that crimp, however I am getting ready to start reloading for my .45 and that could be a totally different story.

Another question concerning .38/.357, can I load the magnum cartridge the same as the .38 cartridge as far as powder measure or will it make a difference in the pressure in a detrimental way?

Sorry just thought of another newby question--how often to change tumbler media?

Hopefully I haven't embarrassed myself too much.
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Old October 8, 2017, 05:31 PM   #2
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First, read the sticky at the top of the handloading forum about learning to reload. I think it's called reloading basics.

Probably you don't much crimp if any for .38 spl.

.45 what? Auto or Colt or?

Do you mean loading a .357 mag with the same powder amount as a .38 spl? Or something else?

Change tumbling media when it gets dirty. At first your media will adequately clean a load of brass in half an hour to an hour. Much later, it may take over an hour. When mine takes more than an hour and half for the same degree of cleanliness, I dump out about half of it and add clean media. Repeat as necessary.

I've only been reloading for about 3.5 years, so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt. others will be along shortly with a lot more experience.

Oh, and welcome to the world of reloading.
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Old October 8, 2017, 05:41 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.

In general, if this is the .45 Auto, it is done with a taper crimp, so you don't curl the case mouth inward. The crimp should be set so the case mouth falls into the range of 0.467"-0.473" in diameter with the bullet seated into it. Different brands of brass have different thicknesses, so this can vary, but should always be inside that range. I set the crimp until it just barely removes the flare (belling) of the case mouth done by the expander die, then adjust the die down in small steps to get into that number range.

If it is .45 Colt, it'll be like the 38 Special but just bigger.

Your second question depends on the bullet. The .357 case is 0.135" longer than the .38 Special case, but the maximum cartridge overall length (COL) is just 0.04 " longer. So if you have a bullet with two crimp grooves, one for .357 and one for .38 Special, the bullet will end up seating 0.040" further forward in the .357 case using its further forward crimp groove, which will typically lower the pressure a little. If you have a bullet with a single crimp groove and that does not seat too tall to chamber in the .357, it will be 0.135" further forward, lowering pressure even more. There are occasional odd exceptions, like 231/HP38 powder under a wadcutter in the two cases, a situation in which both powder spaces are small but the .38 case space is so small the primer starts the bullet forward and the powder burn has to catch up, so you actually need a little more powder in the 38 Special. But that's odd. Usually it is the other way around and the .357 case needs a little more powder to match velocity.

Change the tumbler media when it doesn't seem to work well anymore. Usually this cleaning time needed gets longer as it packs up with dirt and metal polish and the kernels get rounder. I would figure that when it takes twice as long to clean I would think about fchanging it. You can sometimes bring it back to life with new polish or by tumbling some used clothes dryer softener sheets in it to collect the dust.
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Old October 8, 2017, 05:56 PM   #4
redford1
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On all my auto rounds I found this web site helps http://dillonprecision.net/crimp-calculator/ if you put a very light crimp on xtreme bullets that it well put a very small crimp in the plating.

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Old October 8, 2017, 05:56 PM   #5
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I would also highly recommend that you do the crimp on pistol (and I don't do any on rifle) as a separate step.

It take a whole lot of the fiddly part out of the operation.

Vastly easier to adjust
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Old October 8, 2017, 05:57 PM   #6
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Arbl58
38 / 357 revolver your using a role crimp . Revolver role crimp , Auto trader crimp . Your looking for a light load in 357 yes you can use a midrange 38 load in the 357. What powder are you using . Are you trimming your brass to the same length ? If not your crimp may vary

If your reloading for 45ACP no need to trim your brass , flare the case mouth just enough to hold the bullet seat an remove the flare. What I do is measure the case thickness in two areas , case thickness measures .010 times two , then bullets measurement .451 I remove the taper until the measurement is .471 the flare is removed an the case wall is straight.

Hope I helped , Chris
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Old October 9, 2017, 07:07 AM   #7
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cw308:
Sorry, but I disagree about trimming. The cannelure or crimp groove is wider than any case length variation and the very small variation in crimp has NO effect on ANY handgun load I have ever tried: .32 S&WL, .38 Spl, .357 Mag, or .44 Mag. I simply see no reason to trim straightwall cases, ever.
OP:
Please read your manual(s) and learn the terms so we can understand exactly what your question is.
As velocity or pressure goes up, you need more roll crimp for revolver rounds. This is because the recoil will drive the bullets still in the cylinder out of the case. A revolver bullet subjected to high recoil needs to have a cannelure or crimp groove to hold the bullet, so the regular plated bullets are NOT optimum options unless they have a cannelure. If you don't have enough crimp for the recoil forces, the bullet will back out. If you apply too much roll crimp, you cut through the plating and the bullet will be inaccurate and it could go so far as to tumble or separate the plating from the rest of the bullet in air. Beginners should ONLY load jacketed bullets made for that cartridge until they have at least a few hundred rounds under their belts.
For semi-autos, the recoil forces are much different and the only concern is bullet set-back into the case from hitting the feed ramp. Thus, the only "crimp" you need is a slight taper crimp so the flare/bell of the case mouth is removed. What holds the bullet is the case tension and NOT the crimp.
ONLY use loads from a manual. Don't go off on your own until you have some experience. Thus, for .357 Mag, you start with the start load for that bullet weight and powder from the manual for .357 Rem Mag. Even better, check several manuals and start with the lowest start load.
That being said, the start load is not a minimum load and I have often used the same charge weight for .38 Spl and .357 Mag (I don't shoot .38 spl cases in my .357 Mags). The only concern would be taking the charge weight so low (less than 400 fps), that you stick a bullet in the barrel—but, again, for a beginner, don't experiment and use only loads from manuals.
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Old October 9, 2017, 12:40 PM   #8
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Dillon's Crimp calculator is totally unnecessary. Crimps don't get measured. You can't adjust a taper crimp die to make different crimp diameters anyway.
"...reloading for my .45..." It's easier than it looks. The .45 ACP uses a taper crimp only and it's just enough to close the flare and keep the bullet in place. There's no actual measurement. However, 'enough' is usually so there's about a 1/16" or so of taper you can see shining on the case mouth.
You can forget the cannelure or crimp groove altogether.
"...don't experiment and use only loads from manuals..." That applies to everybody regardless of experience. Suggesting the start load is not a minimum load is exceedingly unsound advice and is totally unsafe.
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Old October 9, 2017, 01:45 PM   #9
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I don't want to confuse the issue , if you read the instructions on roll crimping , in order to get the same crimp in the same position the case has to be trimmed to the same length , it makes perfect sense to me that's why I advised to follow the instructions , I do & never had a problem . Some cases don't need to be crimped , 45 ACP , rifle bottle neck cases like 308. Read books on reloading an make your own decisions .
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Old October 9, 2017, 05:29 PM   #10
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On .38 sp just take the flair off the case for normal loads, +P loads a light crimp is ok but not always necessary. For .357 mag the amount of crimp depends on how heavy the load is, and yes for a good consistent crimp of course all cases should be the same length. Now, if your going to use either of these in a lever action both need a good crimp to prevent bullet set back while in the tube. I use the Lee collet crimp for my .357 mag loads with Extreme copper coated bullets, easier on the brass, a little more tolerant of small variations in case length, and much less likely to cut through the copper layer on the bullet. I do seat and crimp all of my ammo in separate steps, I just feel I get better results this way.
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Old October 10, 2017, 02:31 AM   #11
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T. O'Heir wrote:
"...don't experiment and use only loads from manuals..." That applies to everybody regardless of experience. Suggesting the start load is not a minimum load is exceedingly unsound advice and is totally unsafe.

No it is NOT unsafe. The start load is NOT a minimum. The start load, depending on manual is:
1) a 10-12 reduction from the max load (except for 296/H110, which has to be kept nearer to the max load)
2) Set for a given velocity so the table is pretty
3) Set for a given pressure so the table is pretty
If start loads were actually minimum loads, almost NO Bullseye competition load would be safe.
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Old October 10, 2017, 11:10 AM   #12
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I agree with noylj on cast length concerning handguns. There isn't enough difference in case length (out of a handful of mixed cases) to create a variation noticeable in crimping. I started reloading 38 Specials in '69 using 98% range pick up brass and did not measure one case. I then went to .44 Magnum, still no case measurement and was able to get sub 2" groups at 50' from my reloads in my Dan Wesson revolver.
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Old October 10, 2017, 01:14 PM   #13
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Just think how much smaller your groups would have been if all the rounds were exact.
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Old October 10, 2017, 08:03 PM   #14
jetinteriorguy
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Since you set the amount of crimp by varying the depth of the die in relation to the case at the top of the stroke, it stands to reason then that a longer case will get a heavier crimp than a shorter case. So it does matter that in order to get a consistent crimp, your shell cases should all be a consistent length. I can visually see this in my loads, now as to how this affects accuracy, it may not have that much of an affect. But it will have an affect on a bullets resistance to set back from recoil or in the feeding tube of a lever action. Now this is assuming your using a roll crimp, a taper crimp on the other hand isn't as dependent on shell case length to be effective.
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Old October 11, 2017, 06:54 AM   #15
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In regards to media, I tumble a lot of brass and am cheap. I use it till it absolutely is worn out before tossing. The trick with the dryer sheet works well, but also get some liquid polish or media enhancer (Frankfort arsenal makes it for example but there are others) and add it to a full bowl and run the tumbler for about 20 minutes before adding the brass to mix it in.
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Old October 11, 2017, 11:25 AM   #16
mikld
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Quote:
Just think how much smaller your groups would have been if all the rounds were exact.
I've done comparisons of a few different methods; cases within .005" length, sorted, mixed, roll crimp vs. no crimp vs. heavy crimp. For a .44 Magnum revolver if there is a difference, it's so small that I, an average to good pistol shooter, was not able to discern. The 44 Magnum is still one of my favorites, started reloading for it in 1988, and at one time I loaded and shot it 10 to 1 more than any other cartridge, sometimes averaged 400-500 rounds per month, and I got to know it fairly well and crimping on "untrimmed" cases made very little (no) difference in performance...
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Old October 11, 2017, 11:56 AM   #17
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I don't know if you have received any simple, clear answers yet.

You cannot use a regular roll crimp die, which probably came with your set. You must acquire a taper crimp die for .38, and that can be used in your .357.

You may be able to succeed without the roll crimp most of the time but YOU EVENTUALLY WILL HAVE FAILURES.

You can't use .38 data in a .357. You can get it to work, but eventually you will find one that doesn't work. YOU WILL HAVE FAILURES.

Search for light load data using plated bullets with your powder on the powder makers web site and compare that data with your .38 so you can decide what .357 load to use.

Your media needs to be replaced when your brass is no longer as clean as you want it to be as quickly as you want it to be.

Or, you can simply and cheaply renew your media by adding renewal compound that is available everywhere online if you can't find it locally.

I hope that you know the answers and can sleep soundly at night now.
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Old October 11, 2017, 05:38 PM   #18
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I bought the S&W mod 29 44mag with a 8 3/8 barrel scoped . The cylinder has a different lock cut on the cylinder. Bought it in the 80's haven't shot it much , shoot 1911's in the colder months indoors . I favor bench rest shooting 308 cal in the warmer months , just can't handle the cold. I gave the 4" 44mag to my Son , it was like a flame thrower.
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Old October 11, 2017, 07:37 PM   #19
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50 years reloading...I'll take a shot at the easy question. Polishing Media.
First , use treated walnut /nut shells. Treated with polishing rouge, it is red in color.
Other pet bedding materials (lizard / snake bedding materials) , bought at pet stores , are not ground to the proper size, usually too large sometimes too small and have no case polishing additives. This stuff and ground corn cobb are poor at case polishing.
When the media's polishing action slows down some polishing additives can be added, extending it's use a few more times. But when the media gets loaded with dirt it slows down and takes much longer to work. Toss it and replace with new.

Welcome to the forum, ask all the questions you like
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Old October 11, 2017, 10:06 PM   #20
cw308
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When talking about clean brass , nothing beats wet tumbling with Stainless Steel Pins. Cleans inside & out ,brass looks like brand new.
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Old October 12, 2017, 10:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cw308 View Post
mikld
I bought the S&W mod 29 44mag with a 8 3/8 barrel scoped . The cylinder has a different lock cut on the cylinder. Bought it in the 80's haven't shot it much , shoot 1911's in the colder months indoors . I favor bench rest shooting 308 cal in the warmer months , just can't handle the cold. I gave the 4" 44mag to my Son , it was like a flame thrower.
Reloading is the answer! I've reloaded my 44 Magnums (5 of them) with everything from 123 gr balls over a dusting of Bullseye to 300 gr T-Rex Killers over a hefty load of WC820. From mild to wild (ball loads in my SBH were like shooting 22 shorts and the 300 grainers in my Dan Wesson were really arm breakers, 20 rounds was max.).
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Old October 12, 2017, 05:05 PM   #22
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I do reload , When I bought the 44 I picked up Two boxes of full loads 240's HP's before the dies still have a box. If I remember I was using Universal mild loads , its an accurate shooter the scope an resting on the base of the grip ( cheating ) is almost like shooting a rifle . One arm I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside . Callahan I'm not.
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Old October 16, 2017, 09:18 AM   #23
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Thanks

I want to thank everyone for their responses, there is a wealth of information here. I must admit some of some of you guys have gone way beyond basic
reloading and it will take some time for me to grasp some of the fine arts you guys have developed. As I gain experience and knowledge of the finer arts I hope to be able to pass on the information I have gained from some of you.
Thanks again
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Old October 16, 2017, 10:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briandg View Post

You cannot use a regular roll crimp die, which probably came with your set. You must acquire a taper crimp die for .38, and that can be used in your .357.
Why is that? The X-Treme 125s in .38 have a cannelure to roll crimp into. While I would suggest only a light roll crimp because they are plated, I still do not see a legitimate reason for a taper crimp die for use with a cannelured bullet.

Quote:
I must admit some of some of you guys have gone way beyond basic reloading and it will take some time for me to grasp some of the fine arts you guys have developed.
Seems to be the norm here sometimes. I come from the school of using the KISS method(Keep It Simple Stupid). When it comes to reloading, there is a wealth of knowledge and sometimes folks want to impress newbies with everything they know. I suggest taking it slow and reading your manuals, not just for the load recipes, but for proper and safe practices and techniques. Plated bullets fall between the realm of lead and jacketed and for the most part use lower end jacketed data. They also cannot generally be pushed to legitimate magnum velocities, due to their construction. If and when you want to try .357 magnum, I suggest you get a jacketed bullet like Hornady's XTP . It has a wealth of published load recipes and is very easy to have success with. For plinker type, low level .357, your plated should be fine.

As for trimming cases, that is something you will have to discover for yourself, once you have become experienced. Consistent roll crimps are only possible if your cases are all the same length. Period. Whether or not your type of shooting and the powders you use demand consistent crimps is the determining factor. Not what someone else does. This holds true for many reloading practices. What bullet and powder charge works well for someone else might not work well at all in your gun, thru no fault of yours. Only experience and time will tell you what works for you. Stay within parameter of published manuals and always verify any recipe you get on the internet with a published source.
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