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Old February 13, 2006, 09:49 PM   #1
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.38 spcl- WHAT DID I DO/ NOT DO???

I am somewhat of a new reloader, but I have loaded a few thousand 40 s&w's, so I have a decent grasp of what to do. I recently got some 38/ 357 dies (RCBS 3 die set) and all of the components to load a few hundred 38's. I tumbled the brass (all commercial) deprimed and resized it, flared and primed it, and then started charging to seat the bullets. I know that revolver cartridges are supposed to be crimped, and I set my dies up per the RCBS instructions and started seating the rounds. The bullets I am using are 125gr Berry's Manufacturing FMJFP, with no cannelure. After the first couple of rounds, I noticed that the die was not even straightening out the flared cartridge, much less putting any kind of crimp on it. I tried several things after that, and adjusted the die several times, but I still haven't had any luck. As a matter fact, the last few rounds I tried I could push the bullet all of the way in and all of the way out with my hands pretty effortlessly. What do I need to do to get up and running with my 38's???
Thanks for any help!
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Old February 13, 2006, 10:15 PM   #2
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You must be flaring the snot out of them if the bullet is sliding into the case that easily.

Back the flare off to just enough to get the bullet to sit on top of the case without falling off, it should be little enough you need to look for the flare closely.

Back the seater die body up a couple turns.

Seat a bullet to the correct OAL turning the seating stem only.

Back the seating stem out a half inch.

Screw the crimp die body down half turns at a time until it flattens the bell out. Continue screwing it in 1/8th of a turn at a time until you have a MILD roll crimp. You just want the case mouth turned in against the bullet, any more than that is a mess with plated bullets.

Leaving the correctly crimped round on the ram raise it fully, screw the seating stem down against the bullet firmly with your fingers. Lock both the die body and the seating stem.

Done. Should take care of it for you.
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Old February 13, 2006, 11:28 PM   #3
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The problem is (Besides the misadjusted seat/crimp die.) that you are using a bullet with no cannelure on a roll crimp die.
It will be very tricky to not overcrimp and still get a roll crimp without a cannelure.
Maybe there's someone who has a better sucess rate with it than I.
Maybe you would have better luck with a taper crimp die?
Don't know...
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Old February 13, 2006, 11:45 PM   #4
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You can always roll crimp past the ogjive.
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Old February 13, 2006, 11:51 PM   #5
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HSmith's reply is almost too good to follow. Only thing I have to add is that I would seat and crimp in separate steps for all the cartridges. Seat the whole batch first, and then crimp just as he suggested, but do not re-adjust the seating stem.

This adds an extra step but, without a crimp groove, the bullet will shave if it is pushed down while the crimp is applied.
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Old February 14, 2006, 08:48 AM   #6
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Thanks For The Tips!

Thank you all- I will try any/ all until I get it straightened out.
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Old February 17, 2006, 05:05 PM   #7
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as i reread your post i did notice that you didn't mention resizing the cases... that should always be the first step on the press.......also like the rest of the guys said if they are flared too much you will wear your brass out faster..........
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Old February 17, 2006, 06:48 PM   #8
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You could also check to be sure the dies are .38/.357. You can load .357 in .38 dies, but not the other way around. A .357 die may not screw down far enough to crimp a .38.
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Old February 17, 2006, 07:12 PM   #9
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if all else fails lee makes a dedicated crimping die. Several of my buds have these and swear by them.
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Old February 17, 2006, 08:59 PM   #10
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Another thought ... are you sure these bullets are designed for .38/.357? Quite often, FMJ bullets in this weight range - and w/o a cannelure - are intended for either 9mm or .38 Super. This means their diameter would most likey be .355/.356 - versus .357/.358 for the .38/.357 revolver rounds. That may not sound like much, but if you are already rather aggressively expanding your brass, slightly undersize bullets could be causing you grief.

Pull out your micrometer or Vernier caliper and check a few.

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Old February 17, 2006, 11:55 PM   #11
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Thanks! Hopefully next week I will have an off day and try to get this corrected!
Thanks again to all of you!
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