View Full Version : case life?

02-22-2008, 03:08 PM
OK, I'm not much of a pistol shooter. I am wondering about case life and trimming of 38 spl cases. How long will they last (how many reloads)?? How often, if at all, do they need trimming??

I'm shooting semi wad cutter mostly with average loads. Nothing hot. I am working on a bunch of cases, probably a 1000 that I bought with the gun 15-20 years back. They were reloads then so I don't know how many times they've been reloaded already. All are WW cases, mostly brass with about 200 nickel.

Oh yeah, I just got a 38 spl Remington rolling block rifle with a 38 spl chamber and that's where they will get used mostly. Maybe I'll get the Wesson back out on occasion too.

02-22-2008, 03:23 PM
Pistol cases, straight walled last a long time and many shooters never have to trim them a second time. I'm not sure about shooting them out of a rifle but shooting moderate loads they should last a long time also if not just as long!

02-22-2008, 03:28 PM
I have a bit of experience with the 38 Special case. I competed in PPC for years and the only way I could afford to be competitive was to reload.

I don't believe I ever trimmed a 38 case in all the time I shot.

I am still using some of my original batch and they must be on the 20 or more loading.

I am very attentive to neck splitting and throw any splits away.

If you are going to load for the rifle and the handgun, I would recommend segregating the brass into two lots. Perhaps the nickel cases for the rifle and the brass for the handgun.

That would be an easy visual.

I have thought about the rifle but my current rolling block project is determining what barrel to put on the next one.

Do you plan to stick with the 158s or are you considering going to 200 grains in the RB?

02-22-2008, 03:41 PM
Not putting on more crimp than necessary helps alot in case life, A neck split will be the end of most straight wall cases. Over working the neck will accelerate the rate of splits, Don't over bell, or over crimp.

I'm not sure I have ever trimmed a .38 spl., and I have some with at least 20 firings, likely alot more than that. 1,000 cases will go you a while.

02-22-2008, 04:30 PM
Thanks for the replys.

I shoot mainly straight walled rifles, like the 45-70 and 45-90. They do need a trim a time or two. I wasn't sure if the pistol cal would be any different. The 1000 cases is how many times the pistol has been shot as I've never reloaded for it, just used the case I bought with it.

I'm going to try some black powder in the rifle. Should be a fun shooter. I'm not sure what bullet I'll use except for the semi wad cutter mould that I have now. Maybe later on when time permits.

Lloyd Smale
02-22-2008, 05:11 PM
Gussy i know ive got 38s that have been loaded 20 times. I too am one that never trims handgun brass anymore. Im sure it does help though if your using mixed brass to get a consistant crimp but for plinking it does nothing. When i want extream accuracy like for a hunting load what i usually do is used a batch of new or once fired brass from the same lot and load that. Then when its shot it goes into the plinking bucket with the rest. handgun brass will grow some but its very little and usually wont cause any problems. In my experience nickle brass has lasted me about half as long as the brass stuff before it splits.

02-22-2008, 07:12 PM
Listen to Lloyd good advice clint

02-22-2008, 07:36 PM
I get at least 20 reloads out of 357 brass with moderate loads
I dont trim them, but do hit them lightly with my
RCBS deburring tool and that seems to keep them from growing
Mostly Ni plated ww as well.

02-22-2008, 09:36 PM
In a single shot the crimp is not necessary unless to help ignition. You could probly not size them either if your chamber isn't too large.

02-22-2008, 10:57 PM
I shoot 'em till they split, and then throw them away.

02-22-2008, 11:49 PM
what lloyd said except i have oticed that they will grow some
you'll know when your crimps ars all over the place

shooting on a shoestring
02-23-2008, 12:45 AM
Gee some of the .38 brass in my rotation is hand-me-downs from Dad. Most of it was old military from the 50's IIRC. The 38 spl in revolver doesn't grow, it shrinks. When I trim it is to keep the crimps all the same. Therefore, the cases just get shorter. Currently some of my .38 spls look more like .38 S&Ws. It doesn't matter what length, just the same length.

Yep, do your best to not to work the mouths/necks anymore than is necessary and 20 reloadings is just a good start.

Same story for .357. I haven't seen any of mine grow, just shrink a few thousandths every year or two.

02-23-2008, 05:19 AM
If memory serves me, there was an article in SHOOTING TIMES(?) more than 20 years ago where they got some ungodly number of reloads on a single 38 special casing...like in excess of 100 cycles. They taper crimped and used some low end target loads, but it was still a lot of re-loading. IIRC they had a picture where they placed an empty in a pile and likewise on powder, primer and boolit to represent each time the casing was reloaded.

See you at the Quigley Shoot...hopefully not so d--- windy. Sunday last year wasn't very good!

:cbpour: :redneck:

02-23-2008, 02:14 PM
See you at the Quigley Shoot...hopefully not so d--- windy. Sunday last year wasn't very good!

:cbpour: :redneck:[/QUOTE]

Windy?? I'm still looking for my hat!! I'll bring the 38 spl "BPCR" roller along.