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Old June 16, 2011, 06:48 PM   #1
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.38 special wadcutter single stage?

using 148 wadcutter hornady. Im using a single stage press and having trouble with expanding the case enough where the bullet is flush with neck....if I expand it too far the seating die will crush the casing because its too far expand to fit into the seater die??? does the wadcutter have to be flush with the casing or what??
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:08 PM   #2
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OK, first off you want to flare the case mouth JUST enough for the base of the bullet to fit in. Too much flare will overwork the brass and lead to split necks.

If you don't have your seating die set up properly you may be applying too much crimp and buckling the cases.

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Old June 16, 2011, 07:11 PM   #3
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I don't seat them all the way flush. I leave maybe 1/8" protruding. I have some, .38 Special DEWC's loaded for .357 Magnum, with about 3/8" out.
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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When expanding the case for seating the bullet`s, you only want to expand the case just enough so that there is a slight bell at the top of the case mouth. This is done so the case does not scrape on the sides of the bullet when seating it. If you expand the case too much, it will shave the bullet and can crush the case as you said.
I seated wadcutter bullets so the bullet is slightly above the case mouth. This way I can crimp the case if I desired a crimp. You can also seat the bullet flush with the case and no crimp. Try different techniques to find what gives the best performance.
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:17 PM   #5
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The diameter of the seating stem has to be small enough so the case can be crimped. If it is not then crimping should be a separate operation after seating of the bullet. That is if you are seating the bullets flush with case mouth.

If the wadcutter has a crimping groove, as some do, then crimp into that groove. It all depends on what your gun likes, cases with the bullet flush with case mouth or cases crimped in a crimping groove on the bullet.
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Old June 18, 2011, 02:49 PM   #6
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Crushing of the case is most often caused by applying too much crimp. I seat the wadcutters flush with the case mouth and then apply a taper crimp. With the taper crimp you don't have to worry about the bullet being pushed back into the case.
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Old June 18, 2011, 05:36 PM   #7
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You only have to seat wadcutters flush for the special semi-auto's made to shoot them in Bullseye matches, like the Smith & Wesson model 52. They won't fit in the magazine or feed properly if you don't. Revolvers don't care all that much how you do it.

It sounds to me like you are adjusting the whole die body just to change seating depth. The seating die should have a separate smaller threaded screw or knob on top to adjust the seating depth. That allows the crimp and bullet depth to be adjusted independently.

Tell us whose make of die you have and we can tell you how to set them up. This Lee video is good for general purpose seating die adjustment. Pay particular attention to the fact he does not let the die body turn when he adjusts the smaller seating depth knob on top.
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Old June 18, 2011, 07:26 PM   #8
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Based on advice I received here, I don't crimp my wadcutters at all and usually seat them to a COL of 1.24 to 1.28 inches, which works fine in my .38 specials. There's plenty of bearing surface to hold them tight without a crimp.
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:34 PM   #9
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Tell us whose make of die you have
That would be good to know.
I have RCBS dies and they will send you a longer expander plug for waddcutters.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:49 AM   #10
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"...expanding the case enough where the bullet is flush with neck..." I think you're confused a bit. Or I am. You flare the case mouth just enough to sit the bullet in the case so it stays there. The seating plug, that should be for WC's(you can tell by looking at it. It's flat inside vs round. It's not longer though. Nor is the expander button.), seats the bullet. You adjust the seating plug so the bullet is flush or a wee bit above the case mouth and the flare is gone. One of the many things that are easier to do than explain.
WC's don't need any crimp. Crimping a WC is detrimental to accuracy.
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Old June 20, 2011, 07:17 PM   #11
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I got it figured out guys....Ive got both seater plugs for the RCBS die set, the round nose seater plug and wadcutter plug! I went away from the wadcutters for the time being and trying the hornady 125 xtp hollow points with 5.1 grains of win 231. Ive not shot them yet but thats the plan for this weekend or independence day weekend! Might fashion up some wadcutters as well!
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Old June 21, 2011, 03:20 PM   #12
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Lyman "M" die. Specifically for cast boolit seating.
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Old June 22, 2011, 06:39 AM   #13
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Lyman 'M' flare die, Redding Profile Crimp die set to add a gentle taper.
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Old June 22, 2011, 08:32 AM   #14
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"does the wadcutter have to be flush with the casing or what??"
Only if you're going to use an auto-loader like the S&W Master, Model 52. Otherwise, they won't fit in the mag. I seat my WCs flush, for revolver and auto, over 2.7-grains of Bullseye.
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