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Old December 1, 2011, 04:06 AM   #1
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No Crimp Groove on Berrys plated 38's?

My friend has a GP100 so ordered some 38/357 Berrys bullets and they have no crimp groove. He called them to ask why and they said because it would ruin the finish on their bullets...

So we decided to try and load some light loads with them in 38 Special, thinking that maybe we can use them up without tieing up the gun. Prime, expand, Wha'? they are slipping too far down into the case. A quick check with calipers reveals .356 on many of their bullets.

Do they cast the bullets undersize, anticipating the jacket to bring it to full size when done being electro-plated?

Their bullet sizes (quality) are all over the place. I thought Berrys enjoyed a good reputation?
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Old December 1, 2011, 04:34 AM   #2
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I've bought several thousand Berry's bullets, including 1000 125 gr. 38/357 HP's and didn't find them to be generally undersized, but then I didn't measure every one. If you talk to the right guy there, he'll tell you to lightly roll crimp into the bullets you were loading, being careful to NOT break through the plating when you do so. My wife shot most of these (38's)through her LCR with complete satisfaction.

I also loaded some of these in 9mm loads and they fed and functioned perfectly. Use 'em in 9mm if nothing else if the bullet profile allows.

BTW, I once had a S&W Mod. 66 that had a bore that slugged at .3562 or 3, so try them anyway, ya never know.

edit: Don't know what brand of sizer die you have, but even .356 bullets shouldn't be so loose in the case, we're talking .001" here. Mebbee try another sizer die? Just pondering.

Last edited by Idaho Spud; December 1, 2011 at 04:43 AM.
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Old December 1, 2011, 10:00 AM   #3
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A few thoughts

1. The expander plug (in the second die) may be too large, rather than the sizer die being too large. Try pushing a bullet into a case that has been sized but not "flared" in the second die. If it is still loose, it is your sizing die that is too large for 0.356" diameter bullets. Using a 9mm sizer (only on the part of the case that holds the bullet shank) should fix that. On the other hand, if the bullet does not easily slip into the sized but not flared case, then it is the diameter of the plug in your expander die that is too big for these bullets. Using the plug from a 9mm die to expand should solve that problem.

2. Would your "loose" cases be Remington brass? Remington has a reputation for making thinner than usual case mouths, so you often hear about loose bullets in Remington brass that are not loose in other brass when run through the same die set-up. The solutions in thought 1 above will work with Remington brass.

3. The construction of plated bullets varies from company to company. Typically, lead alloy of a chosen hardness is formed into the bullet's shape by swaging dies, then the bullets are plated. That is where some companies stop, which makes bullet diameters somewhat variable. Other companies put the bullets into a final swaging die that forces them out to a specific diameter and makes the surface smoother. That techniques tends to make bullets more uniform in diameter, forcing the non-uniformities into the length dimension. That is called "double-struck". Actually, Speer takes the "double strike" process much further on its GoldDot bullets, using several dies that make hollow-point nose shapes and crimping grooves on the bullets. But, Speer's plating is much thicker than Berry's or Ranier's, so the integrity of the plated copper coating is not compromised by the process, except intentionally in the nose region where bare lead is exposed to make hollow points. The plating on Gold Dot bullets is so thick that they are treated like cup-and-core jacketed bullets for reloading purposes.

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Old December 1, 2011, 11:13 AM   #4
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if you are going to be measuring bullets, a caliper is not the best measurer, a micrometer would be a lot better. I use the Berry's bullets in my 38 special and have not had an issue. Sometimes Jay from Berry's reads this forum and might have a few (More like one or two ) tips. I too am guessing that the case mouth is being expanded too large (Just a guess). As info I have never had a problem with set back with these bullets so never needed a crimp groove/cannelure.
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Old December 1, 2011, 11:52 AM   #5
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You don't need a crimp groove. Your crimp die will push the case into the bullet. Just check your OAL before turning down the crimp die. The 38/357 roll crimp will bite into the bullet with ease.

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