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Old June 29, 2012, 10:12 PM   #1
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38 Special bullet depth?

Hi everyone -

I am new to reloading - I've had some experience with 9mm, and am moving onto 38 Special. I just loaded 10 rounds of 158 grain LSWC. I seated the bullets to the depth listed in one of my manuals and then crimped them pretty tight using a Lee Factory Crimp die. I stupidly did not realise that I should have seated it a fair bit lower - so the crimp would go into the grove in the lead.

Should I pull these and start over or are they usable?ImageUploadedByTapatalk1341025927.197457.jpg

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old June 29, 2012, 10:16 PM   #2
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They are shootable. But seat the bullet down to the crimp groove next time and they'll work better.
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Old June 29, 2012, 10:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice - it's really appreciated.
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Old June 29, 2012, 10:32 PM   #4
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Yes. No problem shooting unless you have a cylinder too short and the bullet sticks out of it. That would jam the cylinder. But it doesn't look to me like you've exceeded the max COL, so you should be good to go. That bullet's crimp groove is likely placed so it can be used in the .357 Magnum, whose longer case does not allow the bullet to stick out as far beyond the case mouth. The maximum protrusion beyond the case mouth for .357 Magnum in a standard length cylinder is 0.300". For .38 Special it is 0.395". So 0.095" inch more protrusion for .38 Special. Occasionally you will find cast bullet designs with two crimp grooves to accommodate both cartridges optimally. Those are best because they give you the most powder space in the .38 Special, and, for a given charge weight, that extra space lowers the peak pressure a bit. Because of this, when you seat the bullet deeper, reduce the charge about 10% as a first guess at being close to the same peak pressure with the bullet 0.095" further in.

If you cast your own, try the Lee tumble lube bullet design. Its microbands give you a whole string of crimp grooves to choose from.
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