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Thread: 38 Special case resizing

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I used about 20,000 Alberts wadcutters back in the day and properly loaded they were as accurate as Speer, Hornady or Precision-Delta. They required extra care in case mouth deburring, flaring, seating and crimping to avoid scraping off the MoS2 and polymer lube, and they could not be pushed fast because they were soft.
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  2. #22
    Fascinating read.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    Wow, you guys are great. I love reading this kind of stuff.
    A box of premium carry ammo is too expensive at about $30, so I've spent $1,000 on molds, lead, lube, primers, and powder over the past 10 years to make some that's cheaper!

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    As another data point, some years ago I loaded several 5-gallon buckets full of "full-charge" wadcutters in once-fired, plain brass, uncannelured Speer .38 Spl. +P headstamped cases gleaned from a law enforcement training facility. These were loaded with Saeco #348 double-end, bevel-based wadcutters cast from indoor range backstop scrap, loaded as-cast and unsized, lubricated with Lee Liquid Alox, with CCI500 primers and 3.5 grains of Bullseye, using a Lee Factory Crimp Die as the last station to profile the rounds on the Dillon RL550B.

    I recently came into a hoard of old Remington wadcutter boxes and decided I would box and repack some of this ammo. In doing so I found two rounds which slipped through the process without being reprimed, so I decided to pull the bullets and measure their diameters to see how much their as-cast diameter was reduced by compression inside the case, when profiling in the Lee Factory Crimp die. This batch of ammo has always shot well, and there were no surprises, but it was nice to validate my "gut" that because the ammo shot well, nothing was amiss.

    As-cast diameter of the bullets was .360-.361," measuring over the lube film.

    Diameter of the driving bands of the pulled bullets measured .358-.3585", as it should be.

    Diameter of the exposed bevel base and front driving band after having been "kissed" by the seater die was a uniform .359" which is a press fit into the revolver chambers, but not enough to impair reloading with speed loaders.

    Attachment 191180 Attachment 191181Attachment 191182Attachment 191183Attachment 191184
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  5. #25
    Boolit Master Mytmousemalibu's Avatar
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    Really great thread! I'm a big .38 Special fan and in particular love wadcutters. Subscribing to this one!

    I have a fair bit of wadcutter brass but most of it is mixed in with regular brass that I need to separate out which stinks. The variation of case cannalure styles sucks to cherry pick out, not all is the same. I can tell you that current production Fiocchi .38 Wadcutter target loads are in brass that has no cannalure but it is head stamped as wadcutter, FYI. I don't know if its available as component only but Remington still sells a target wadcutter load and their 158gr. LSWCHP load is in nickel WC brass. I'd buy a gaggle of both but it's not exactly cheap. I wish Starline made WC brass. I have thought about trying to ream some regular brass for wadcutters.
    ~ Chris


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  6. #26
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Starline .38 Special brass I have measured is 0.010" thick down to a depth of 0.5 from the mouth and is comparable to Federal wadcutter brass. If doing this for serious competition, get a Sinclair neck turner with .357 pilot and outside neck turn cases to a uniform 0.010" to a depth of 0.5" from the mouth, to clean up any thick spots. Use Kroil on the pilot to prevent galling and then degrease in hot water with detergent and let dry thoroughly before doing the rest of your prep and loading.

    After firing you will have a slight interior "step" under the bullet base, just like factory wadcutter brass.
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  7. #27
    Boolit Master Mytmousemalibu's Avatar
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    Good to know, I like Starline so im glad it is serviceable for wadcutter use. I need to get a neck turner,a good one like the Sinclair. When 7.62x25 Tokarev brass was hard to find i case formed it off .223/5.56 brass which trimmed that far down presented a neck that was way too thick. So I made a bushing that fit my Redding case trimmer to hold a chucking reamer and used that to inside neck ream it. Worked very well and being a bottleneck cartridge, there was no reaming step.
    ~ Chris


    Casting, reloading, shooting, collecting, restoring, smithing, etc, I love it all!
    Quote Originally Posted by GRUMPA View Post
    This innocent till proven guilty is more like a fantasy as time goes on. I don't know about you folks, but I for 1 am getting mighty tired of having to prove I'm innocent just because of what someone else thinks....

  8. #28
    Boolit Master


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    Char-gar
    I shoot International Centerfire with a .38 special revolver. I'm in my mid 60's and don't feel I could justify the expense of a S&W 52. I am always glad to see others publish/share their work with the .38 special here, so I can get any edge I can for my .38 special revolver loads.

    Outpost75
    Glad to see you are having great results with the REM-UMC cases. I bought 200 cases of .38 spl REM-UMC a while back and am loading them for matches only.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Back in the late 1970's, I shot on a police combat league and we bought our wadcutters from a fellow club member. Even though we were only using 2.8grs. of 231..that guy casted those things HARD. Worse case of leading you ever saw! I tried to tell him about chamber pressure and obturation..but being only a kid at the time, he brushed me off. Well, that soured me on wadcutters..though I was just as wrong blaming that bullet style on leading. Never dreamed I would ever own a .38 wadcutter mould. Fast forward some thirty odd years...and now I own a bunch of e'm. I have a circa 1905 Colt Bisley 71/2" in .38 Colt, that just loves the Ideal 358344. There is just something in getting an old gun to shoot one hole groups using a bullet dropped from an equally old mould!

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Remington still sells a 38sp 148gr lead wadcutter match that they call "targetmaster" The manuf. part number is AR38S3 and it has two cannelures. Are these cases similar to the WC brass of times gone by?

  11. #31
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OuchHot! View Post
    Remington still sells a 38sp 148gr lead wadcutter match that they call "targetmaster" The manuf. part number is AR38S3 and it has two cannelures. Are these cases similar to the WC brass of times gone by?
    Yes! They are the same, from recent samples I have measured!
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  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    If anyone is interested in the rem wadcutter ammo, you can get on the "notify" list with target sports usa. This is being made and it shouldn't take long to get an opportunity to spend money. I have found good brass a bit scarce and hoard what little I have. This would be another (spendy) option.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Hit the jackpot today at my local gun club's swap meet. I got 3 boxes of Albert's 146gr Hydra-Shok wadcutters and 1 box of Albert's 148gr DE wadcutters for $80. That's 2,000 bullets at $.04 each. Got them from a relative of one of the 2 guys who designed the Hydra-Shok.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    This is an outstanding thread.

    THANK YOU Char-Gar and Outpost75 for sharing your very valuable knowledge.

    I've always felt that some type of reamer could be used to remove some of the taper from 38 Special cases and the Sinclair neck turner mentioned by Outpost may be my solution.
    And as Outpost did, I also pulled some wadcuuter bullets to check how much the brass was sizing the bullet down with my set up. Using WC cast in a RCBS mold and sized to .359" and seated in WC casings, I was getting .358" pulled bullets. My alloy is in the 10-11 BHn range which may be a bit hard but for simple logistics it will do. That setup is working pretty well in a variety of revolvers, again simple logistics dictates some compromise but I can live with that.

    I really need to find a better 38 Special expander/powder funnel for my 550B.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    I really need to find a better 38 Special expander/powder funnel for my 550B.
    Does anybody have a solution for this issue? I'm in the same boat with the Dillon expander.
    Colt's Manufacturing Company Armorer Instructor
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  16. #36
    Boolit Master



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    Has anyone tried to talk to Dillon about the problem?

    Dale53


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  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    My first inclination was to take the Dillon expander for a 40 S&W and turn it down to the proper dimensions for 38 Special.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Outside neck turning with the case wall supported by a tight-fitting, lubricated pilot is MUCH better than trying to inside mouth ream, UNLESS the external case wall is forced into and firmly supported by a DIE, otherwise the reamer will just follow the existing hole, whether or not of uniform wall thickness, and only accentuates the errors.

    Either way whether inside mouth reaming or outside neck turning the case wallk must be firmly supported by either an internal pilot, which is a forced-fit, lubricated to prevent galling, or its outside wall held in a size die, so that the result is a concentric neck wall. Otherwise the entire exercise is a waste of time!
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  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    Outpost, how do you pick the size for the internal pilot?

  20. #40
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    Outpost, how do you pick the size for the internal pilot?
    .38 Special max. ctg. dia. = .379"
    - max. lead bullet diameter=. 359"
    Twice mouth wall thickness= .020"
    Sized case OD before expand = .375" typical
    Expander plug for -0.0015 fit = .357 for 0.0005" springback of 2x fired case.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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