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Old January 13, 2020, 04:01 AM   #1
TruthTellers
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Thinking of improvements to a .32 plinking load

Some time ago I had made a thread asking about improving a handload using the Berry's 71 grain .32 bullet for use in .32 H&R Magnum, even tho the bullet is meant for .32 ACP.

I hit the range recently and brought a box of the ammo I had made last year to blast thru and empty the cases for future use. The ammo was my handload in a .32 H&R Mag case using the 71 grain Berry's bullet with the 4.5 gr of Unique. To my surprise, it shot really well offhand at 7-10 yards, so well I am now going to try and use the Berry's .32 bullet as the standard plinking load for my .32/.327 Mag revolvers.

It was the first time I shot paper with the SP101, so seeing the group was exciting, especially when I was expecting it to give me a shotgun patten.

During shooting, I noticed some rounds were noticeably weaker than the rest and I have to attribute that to the weak crimp and maybe low powder charge. When I made the handload last year, I only had a .32 Mag roll crimp die, however I recently got into loading for .32 ACP and now have the seating die for that which does a slight taper crimp.

I'm now thinking of a Trail Boss load for use in both the .32 H&R and .327 case as it fills the case better (I'm thinking the inconsistancy was caused by a low powder charge and a weak crimp) and since Berry's states 1250 fps as the max velocity with most of their bullets (at least those not designated as being "heavy plated") that Trail Boss would be appropriate given it will get nowhere near 1250 fps in a revolver.

Berry's states that load data for both lead and regular jacketed bullets is fine for their bullets and Trail Boss has data for a 77 grain bullet listed on the webpage for that powder and I figure that should be sufficient.

What I'm wondering is because of the light crimp that must be applied, is Trail Boss a good powder to be used? Are their certain powders out there I'm not aware of that work best with a light, almost no crimp?

I figure I should ask this even tho I feel certain that using the .32 ACP die to put a taper crimp on the .32/.327 Mag cases will improve performance. If you're wondering why I'm so stuck in the mud with using this Berry's bullet, it's because it's the cheapest .32 bullet I can find, normally 5 cents a bullet when on sale.
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Old January 13, 2020, 11:25 AM   #2
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TrailBoss was extremely unpredictable and sketchy when I tried it in .32 H&R and .327 Federal.
I tried the powder in nearly everything I owned, after it was actually obtainable (for a few years, it was very difficult to find in stock).

I have a short list of cartridges where it just didn't work as intended, and I won't revisit the combination(s). The #1 spot on that list is occupied by .32 H&R / .327 Federal.

Unique, HP-38/W231, TiteGroup, Herco, and a dozen more pistol powders are better options ... and cheaper per powder charge, in some cases.
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Old January 13, 2020, 11:51 AM   #3
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I'm following this with interest. I also tried some Berry's 71gr with unique last year in my SP-101 .327FM, but I wasn't impressed with the results. As I recall, the lighter bullets shot about 2" high, more than I could compensate for with sight adjustment.

The next time I buy powder, which should be in the not too distant future, I would like to try some Ramshot True Blue, with 100gr bullets.
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Old January 13, 2020, 12:53 PM   #4
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I tried True Blue in .327 Mag, and .32 H&R, and was getting severe over pressure in both cartridges, in multiple guns. Flattened, flowing primers, sticky extraction, and accuracy didn’t seem to do well either.

It’s been a few years, so I don’t have the load info I used, but both loads were nowhere near max listed data. Tried a couple slower loads with similar results. Since I wasn’t interested in using that powder in anything else, and had other powders I knew worked in those cases, I traded it for some W231, and haven’t tried it since.

I believe Frankenmauser had similar results, but it’s been long enough I can’t be certain.
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Old January 13, 2020, 01:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by FrankenMauser View Post
TrailBoss was extremely unpredictable and sketchy when I tried it in .32 H&R and .327 Federal.
I tried the powder in nearly everything I owned, after it was actually obtainable (for a few years, it was very difficult to find in stock).

I have a short list of cartridges where it just didn't work as intended, and I won't revisit the combination(s). The #1 spot on that list is occupied by .32 H&R / .327 Federal.

Unique, HP-38/W231, TiteGroup, Herco, and a dozen more pistol powders are better options ... and cheaper per powder charge, in some cases.
I haven't had any issues with it, in fact it's probably my favorite powder for .32 S&W Long. I have tried it in .32 H&R and IIRC it was good with one bullet and meh with another, but I came to find out that the Henry .327 doesn't like bullets under 90 grains.

With .327, I get the sense that max charges with Trail Boss are the way to go along with a magnum primer.
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Old January 13, 2020, 02:43 PM   #6
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Any fast powder with load data will work as good as Trail Boss. Trail Boss will work great if you're looking for a very light load.

A light roll crimp is basically the same as a normal taper crimp. FWIW my Lee 32 ACP die seating die a roll crimp.
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Old January 13, 2020, 03:14 PM   #7
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Someone may make it but I haven't seen it. I think you could make a great plinking load with a mold for either a 95gr wadcutteror semi wadcutter. All I have is a 95gr RN but have a 70gr RN mold for the 32 ACP.
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Old January 13, 2020, 03:34 PM   #8
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TruthTellers,

As the crimp is made less firm, faster powders get more uniform start pressure because the bullet inertia contributes more reaction force for pressure to build against when initial acceleration is more rapid. You could try very quick powders, like Clays and N310, since you aren't looking to use enough to get to high velocities.

If you like the way Trail Boss fills cases, a compromise would be Vihtvuori's Tin Star N32C. It is less bulky but closer to acting like black powder (less the smoke) than Trail Boss, from what I've been told. It's on my own list of things to try this year.

I like the Redding Profile Crimp dies for revolvers. They have a taper crimp that terminates in a roll crimp at the top end. This keeps heavy crimping from causing the sides of the case to expand outward away from the sides of the bullet as the roll is applied.


Crankylove,

Thank you for providing an example of why people should start with the bottom load in a published load range and work up, and not just assume something in the middle of the listing range is automatically going to be an OK place to start. Sometimes it's not. Western Powders, specifically, also suggests handgun loads should begin 15% below the listed maximum and not just the usual 10% below that most people cite and which even Western finds adequate for rifle loads. So apparently they've noticed the same thing you did.
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Old January 13, 2020, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Crankylove,

Thank you for providing an example of why people should start with the bottom load in a published load range and work up, and not just assume something in the middle of the listing range is automatically going to be an OK place to start.
Glad I could help.

Although I wouldn’t recommend it, more than once I’ve just picked a middle of the road load and loaded up a few rounds for testing, instead of working up from the lowest data............most of the time it’s worked for me, couple times (like these True Blue loads), it hasn’t worked, and I end up starting over at the bottom end anyway.

I did back off the middle of the road loads, and go with a couple lower power loads, hoping the True Blue would settle down, but got the same results, and set the powder aside for a while, using powders that had already proved ok for those two cartridges. When my dad brought up wanting to try some in his 9mm, I offered it too him, and haven’t tried any since. That’s been 10ish years ago, and I could’ve played with it more, but knowing I already had powders that worked good, I didn’t have a whole lot of motivation, and took the easy way out.
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Old January 13, 2020, 11:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crankylove
I believe Frankenmauser had similar results, but it’s been long enough I can’t be certain.
We loaded a box, each, with identical components and powder charges - at least for the first go-round.

For others reading this, the test firearms were:
Me: Ruger Blackhawk 5.5" .327 Federal
Crankylove: Ruger SP101 3" .327 Federal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick
Crankylove,

Thank you for providing an example of why people should start with the bottom load in a published load range and work up, and not just assume something in the middle of the listing range is automatically going to be an OK place to start. Sometimes it's not. Western Powders, specifically, also suggests handgun loads should begin 15% below the listed maximum and not just the usual 10% below that most people cite and which even Western finds adequate for rifle loads. Som apparently they've noticed the same thing you did.
I think Crankylove is mis-remembering, or confusing some of the early trials we had with .327 Federal.
I remember it fairly clearly.

The True Blue loads were starting loads right out of the Western Powders' manual, using the exact components listed -- lot numbers / production runs being the only notable uncontrolled variables. Case brand is not noted, but at that time, only FC/Speer was available. Starline had not, yet, started offering .327 Federal.

Crankylove tried some. I tried some. We were testing on the same day, in the same place, and were able to easily compare. Results were very erratic and concerning, with just a couple cylinders' worth of cartridges fired.

One of the things that may be a source of confusion is that we did retest with different primers. Western Powders, in their Ramshot load data pamphlet at the time, called for WSP primers (I still have every bit of load data that I've ever obtained - I believe it was v4.4 that we used); and we did use WSPs. We also reloaded some of the cartridges with different primers (CCI 550 "SP Magnum" I believe), but results were just as bad. I don't remember if we were aware, at that time, that factory ammo was loaded with small rifle primers.

We were both quite hesitant to continue with testing.
The only good that came out of that, other than knowing to avoid True Blue, was the final bit of motivation to buy a Hornady Cam-Lock bullet puller.

I do remember Crankylove trying to find a way to get True Blue to work; but not exactly what he did. But, in the end, that canister of powder just ended up holding his shelf down.
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Old January 14, 2020, 07:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
TruthTellers wrote:
Some time ago I had made a thread asking about improving a handload using the Berry's 71 grain .32 bullet for use in .32 H&R Magnum, even tho the bullet is meant for .32 ACP.
.....
During shooting, I noticed some rounds were noticeably weaker than the rest .....

..... If you're wondering why I'm so stuck in the mud with using this Berry's bullet, it's because it's the cheapest .32 bullet I can find, normally 5 cents a bullet when on sale.
TT, A few years ago I was working up a practice/plinking handload for my 44spcl. I noticed a similar issue like you with some rounds having much weaker recoil. So here's the story - May apply to what your seeing.

I wanted an inexpensive practice/plinking reload that would shoot to the same POI as my PD load. So I pick a light inexpensive bullet and Red Dot powder I always have. Loaded up 5 rounds each of both an 85% and a 94% maximum. They shot OK to POA but the velocity variation was unusually high and I could feel that difference in the recoils

So next I loaded some 85%s to two different COLs. 1 was the same as above and the other was shorter:

For one group of the longer COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel up as to put the powder to the rear of the case - Velocity averaged 850 fps. For the next group of the longer COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel down as to put the powder forward in the case - Velocity averaged 571 fps.

For one group of the shorter COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel up as to put the powder to the rear of the case - Velocity averaged 896 fps. For the next group of the shorter COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel down as to put the powder forward in the case - Velocity averaged 810 fps.

I've since used the shorter COL .
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Old January 14, 2020, 01:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaySendero View Post
TT, A few years ago I was working up a practice/plinking handload for my 44spcl. I noticed a similar issue like you with some rounds having much weaker recoil. So here's the story - May apply to what your seeing.

I wanted an inexpensive practice/plinking reload that would shoot to the same POI as my PD load. So I pick a light inexpensive bullet and Red Dot powder I always have. Loaded up 5 rounds each of both an 85% and a 94% maximum. They shot OK to POA but the velocity variation was unusually high and I could feel that difference in the recoils

So next I loaded some 84%s to two different COLs. 1 was the same as above and the other was shorter:

For one group of the longer COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel up as to put the powder to the rear of the case - Velocity averaged 850 fps. For the next group of the longer COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel down as to put the powder forward in the case - Velocity averaged 571 fps.

For one group of the shorter COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel up as to put the powder to the rear of the case - Velocity averaged 896 fps. For the next group of the shorter COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel down as to put the powder forward in the case - Velocity averaged 810 fps.

I've since used the shorter COL .
I'm well aware of the benefits of reduced powder/air gap in cases giving improved performance, I was just figuring that .327 loaded with Trail Boss would fill the case well and also give a fairly high, but not too high, velocity.

Hmm... now I'm wondering if I should also try these bullets in a .32 S&W Long case. Would only be shooting in a .32 Mag and .327, so I could load it hotter than standard .32 Long, granted there is no data out there I know of loading a .32 ACP bullet into .32 Long.

I'll have to work on this.
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Old January 14, 2020, 08:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaySendero View Post
TT, A few years ago I was working up a practice/plinking handload for my 44spcl. I noticed a similar issue like you with some rounds having much weaker recoil. So here's the story - May apply to what your seeing.

I wanted an inexpensive practice/plinking reload that would shoot to the same POI as my PD load. So I pick a light inexpensive bullet and Red Dot powder I always have. Loaded up 5 rounds each of both an 85% and a 94% maximum. They shot OK to POA but the velocity variation was unusually high and I could feel that difference in the recoils

So next I loaded some 85%s to two different COLs. 1 was the same as above and the other was shorter:

For one group of the longer COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel up as to put the powder to the rear of the case - Velocity averaged 850 fps. For the next group of the longer COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel down as to put the powder forward in the case - Velocity averaged 571 fps.

For one group of the shorter COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel up as to put the powder to the rear of the case - Velocity averaged 896 fps. For the next group of the shorter COLs, I shot the pistol after holding the barrel down as to put the powder forward in the case - Velocity averaged 810 fps.

I've since used the shorter COL .
Thanks for such detailed feedback! So far I have been able to work with bullseye, unique, titlegroup, and cfe pistol. Of those, I seem to have best results with bullseye for light/medium loads and cfe pistol for heavier loads in my sp-101 4”. I haven’t been able to put enough rounds through my Henry to make any real statements.

Any other powder recommendations, primarily looking for accuracy over power?
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Old January 14, 2020, 10:27 PM   #14
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With the lighter bullets (I was testing 78g RN) AA#2 gave me good results. Hard to find good results with the 'light' bullet.

For the 100g and 115g SWC bullets AA#5 and True Blue were good for some load levels. Powder metering is very consistent with these powders unlike Unique.
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Old January 15, 2020, 07:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TruthTellers View Post
I'm well aware of the benefits of reduced powder/air gap in cases giving improved performance, I was just figuring that .327 loaded with Trail Boss would fill the case well and also give a fairly high, but not too high, velocity.

Hmm... now I'm wondering if I should also try these bullets in a .32 S&W Long case. Would only be shooting in a .32 Mag and .327, so I could load it hotter than standard .32 Long, granted there is no data out there I know of loading a .32 ACP bullet into .32 Long.

I'll have to work on this.
Not 71, but I use 78 gr .312 lead in 32 SWL with remarkable accuracy. I think that bullet would be running too fast in a 327 Federal load. In 32 H&R I use 95-100 grain, partly because that was what the data source specified, again with good results.

Unclenick mentioned Tin Star as not being as bulky as Trailboss, and while true to my findings, Tin Star calls for a higher powder weight for a given bullet and velocity, resulting in the same sort of case fill that is achieved with Trail Boss. Tin Star is reportedly the better performer, so I too plan to give it a try. I use Trailboss in all my cowboy ammo; 38 Long Colt, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 41 Magnum, 44 Special, 44 Magnum, and 45 Colt. All those are involved because of some having only backup gun roles and with pistols and rifles having different cartridges.
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Old January 15, 2020, 09:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
littlebikerider asked:
Thanks for such detailed feedback! So far I have been able to work with bullseye, unique, titlegroup, and cfe pistol. Of those, I seem to have best results with bullseye for light/medium loads and cfe pistol for heavier loads in my sp-101 4”. I haven’t been able to put enough rounds through my Henry to make any real statements.

Any other powder recommendations, primarily looking for accuracy over power?
.

Red Dot would not be my recommended powder - It's just what I had at the time.

If I had had some Hodgdon Trail Boss that's what I would have used for my revolvers.

I assume your "Henry" is a rifle.
I don't have recommendation for straight walled pistol cartridges in a rifle.
Would probably just chrono the Trail Boss load in a rifle if you liked it for your revolver load and research from there.
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Old January 15, 2020, 09:11 PM   #17
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TrailBoss was extremely unpredictable and sketchy when I tried it in .32 H&R
For me too. The chronograph told the tale here for 'light' bullets. For a tested load, my ES was 137fps with TB. Quickly moved away from it. Red Dot was much better and is what I was using before moving to AA#2 under the 78g RN bullet. I didn't mind Red Dot at all.
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Old January 16, 2020, 10:23 AM   #18
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Well...LOL
Guess I just got lucky with that old 32 and the Red Dot powder.
It wasn't on purpose. But good to know.
Thx
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Old February 1, 2020, 01:54 AM   #19
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Gentlemen... gentlemen... GENTLEMEN! I said was going to try Trail Boss in a .327 case with the 71 grain Berry's bullet and use a taper crimp and I did. How did it go? VERY WELL!

I'm going to up the powder charge to the max of 3.5 grains as some cases did have a black streak on one side, so the pressure must not be high enough to get the thick .327 case to expand fully in the chamber. Hodgdon says the PSI with 3.5 grains is under 19k, .327's max PSI is 45k, so lot of room there.

It did shoot low at 7 yards (seems a lot of my guns have been having that issue lately), but that's why adjustable sights are so nice. Also, next time I'm heading to the outdoor range so I can sit down and shoot off a rest instead of hunching over to use a rest at the indoor range.

Overall I'm very happy with this load so far and I think the adjustments will improve the performance and will be trying the Berry's bullet in .32 Mag with taper crimp and Trail Boss in all my .32 and .327 guns, Henry rifle included.

Now I really need that Lee bench mounted powder measure!
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Old February 1, 2020, 08:28 PM   #20
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If its working and you are happy,enjoy.

I'll just toss this out there as my general understanding of crimp types. Its OK to disagree.

A taper crimp is best for semi-autos as it primarily resists the bullet being seated deeper during the feeding cycle.Its also better than a roll crimp for headspacing on the case mouth.

A revolver needs exactly the opposite from a crimp. It needs for the bullet to not be pulled forward during heavy recoil.

And because of the "freebore" of the cylinder throat,the cylinder gap,and then the forcing cone before the rifling engraves to provide resistance,its difficult for the powder to get up to minimum pressure for good ignition.

The function of a good roll crimp into a crimp groove is to provide resitance to the bullet leaving the cartridge case till the pressure elevates a bit more.

IMO,selecting roll crimp vs taper crimp is usually as simple as : Revolver or semi auto?

Of course,to roll crimp a crimp groove or shoulder is required to give the crimp a place to go. Your 32 Auto bullets likely do not have a crimp groove,so taper crimp may be the only option.

In my Ruger Single Six 32 H+R,a great plinker ammo is the Fiochi 32 S+W Long wadcutter load. The bullet is seated flush with the case,and roll crimped. They shoot good for me.Quite mild

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Old February 2, 2020, 12:44 AM   #21
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If its working and you are happy,enjoy.

I'll just toss this out there as my general understanding of crimp types. Its OK to disagree.

A taper crimp is best for semi-autos as it primarily resists the bullet being seated deeper during the feeding cycle.Its also better than a roll crimp for headspacing on the case mouth.

A revolver needs exactly the opposite from a crimp. It needs for the bullet to not be pulled forward during heavy recoil.

And because of the "freebore" of the cylinder throat,the cylinder gap,and then the forcing cone before the rifling engraves to provide resistance,its difficult for the powder to get up to minimum pressure for good ignition.

The function of a good roll crimp into a crimp groove is to provide resitance to the bullet leaving the cartridge case till the pressure elevates a bit more.

IMO,selecting roll crimp vs taper crimp is usually as simple as : Revolver or semi auto?

Of course,to roll crimp a crimp groove or shoulder is required to give the crimp a place to go. Your 32 Auto bullets likely do not have a crimp groove,so taper crimp may be the only option.

In my Ruger Single Six 32 H+R,a great plinker ammo is the Fiochi 32 S+W Long wadcutter load. The bullet is seated flush with the case,and roll crimped. They shoot good for me.Quite mild
I would like nothing more than to use a traditional lead bullet like a wadcutter and a roll crimp, but Ruger seems to make all .327's with .314 throats and I can only find lead bullets are either .312 or .313, so they're undersize going, there's gas blow by, and the bore gets leaded.

There is one hollow base wadcutter .312 bullet I know of and that may be able to seal against the throat. For now tho, these .32 ACP bullets are working and they're half the price of those wadcutters.

As for the crimp, yes, I feel given that these bullets are meant for a taper crimp that that's the proper style to use. I think I tried a very light roll crimp by seating the bullet to where the case mouth was past the ogive, but it didn't look or feel right.

Speaking of the crimp, my uncle reloads and tells me that he never crimps any of his ammo because it reduces accuracy and because case lengths have to be identical. I'm not looking for utmost accuracy, but I don't want to shoot uncrimped bullets in revolvers. Does crimping a bullet reduce accuracy under these circumstances?
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Old February 2, 2020, 07:14 AM   #22
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I had two Single Sevens and shot mostly .313 lead in loads mild to wild, all 327 brass, and never had a hint of barrel leading. Smaller cases and light loads with bullets cast too hard for lower pressures might have caused leading, but I never tried it.
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Old February 2, 2020, 04:18 PM   #23
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All I shoot in my Single Seven is .313 lead. No leading in mine either. My notes do say the throats are .314, one .313 (checked with plug guages). Never have shot any .327 in mine. Only .32 H&R Mag cartridges.
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