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Thread: Using mixed Headstamp 38/357

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Using mixed Headstamp 38/357

    Can anyone here factually state they have noticed an appreciable difference while shooting brass with mixed headstamp in 38/357 at 25 yards or less ?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    Nope. Do it all the time. Fractionally differing case lengths may result in varying degrees of crimp, but I’ll readily admit that I can’t shoot well enough to tell the difference.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master KYCaster's Avatar
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    For plinking ammo it doesn't make any difference.

    If you're trying to push the limits of accuracy or velocity, details matter.

    Jerry
    Buzzard's luck!! Can't kill nothin', nothin'll die!!

  4. #4
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    I thought about that & when shooting mixed batches of brass I trim them all to length. I "might" be able to see a difference shooting off the bench regarding accuracy. I guess I was just wondering if any one hear has done or is aware of any testing of this?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KYCaster View Post
    For plinking ammo it doesn't make any difference.

    If you're trying to push the limits of accuracy or velocity, details matter.

    Jerry
    Yup! Thats the mantra that most of us have lived by. It just makes sense in the long run when trying for perfection to leave nothing to chance.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    I sort them by head stamp for convenience (keeping track of how many reloads)-- but when I shoot mixed head stamps I don't see a difference. Of course, I don't demand a huge degree of accuracy out of my revolvers.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    It has pretty much been covered, for most handgun shooting it doesn't result in a noticeable difference in accuracy.
    If your goal is to make little tiny groups in targets, eliminating variables is a key to accuracy. Consistency = Accuracy. However, when I'm shooting a steel plate on a plate rack, mixed headstamps aren't going to make the difference between a hit & a miss.

    There's a sticky on this forum about a guy that shot 75K+ rounds of wadcutters in a Model 27. He used WW wadcutter cases for that endeavor. Not only were the casings all the same headstamp, they were in fact the same casings. I assume at some point he lost casings due to neck splits and had to replace them as they failed but the load continued to be the same bullet, same casing, same primer, same powder, and same headstamp- over and over. That kind of consistency does yield positive results.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-in-a-Model-27

    I shoot far more 38 Special than all my other handgun loads and I don't bother to sort casings by headstamp. I do segregate wadcutter brass from regular casings. I separate nickel plated casings from brass ones but that is done to differentiate loads that use the same bullet but different powder charges. I can instantly identify the load simply by looking at the bullet & casing.

    I have two different 9mm loads and they all use mixed haedstamps. Those loads often shoot tighter groups than factory ammo, which is of course has a common headstamp because it is all the same manufacturer.
    Last edited by Petrol & Powder; 11-12-2017 at 10:55 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I tried the sorting brass and even weighing charges for 38 special rounds.
    Does it make a difference? Yes
    Is it worth it? Depends
    When I used wadcutter brass with full wadcutters in my K38 target masterpiece, I found my groups were smaller by about 20-25%. Yes that is significant. Tested on both bench and handheld.
    For the majority of my shooting I will never notice the difference as the requirements aren't as strict.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I'm an accuracy nut. My favorite handgun caliber is the .357mag. I had Bill Davis build me two target guns in this caliber. Bill told me when I got the guns that they would shoot ten shots in 1" out of a rest at 50yds. I think he was probably correct, or very nearly correct. Using dedicated brass the guns shot unbelievably well. You'd have to see it to believe it. Mixing cases and shooting the same loads made some minor bit of difference, but not enough to make any difference in the real world. After shooting hundreds of groups for accuracy with different bullets, powders and primers I came to the conclusion that other than on paper using micrometers to measure groups.....it was a waste of time sorting brass. YMMV.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I sort headstamps for different loads, easy to keep track of.

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    Unless you are going for the very best accurracy not really much difference as long as every thing else such as exact case length is the same.

  12. #12
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    When i was shooting PPC, I had match wadcutter brass that was reserved for, who'd a thunk it, Matches and I had a pile of range pick-ups that I used for practice and everything else. From a Bain and Davis 6 inch PPC M-15, I got groups from the bench that were about an inch larger on average at 50 yards with mixed brass. At 25 yards or less, I don't think it matters much at all. YMMV, but I'm guessing not by much.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    Yes at 25 yards. I shoot thousands of 38 special in NRA precision pistol matches every year. I use a S&W model 15 with an Ultradot.
    Under a inch at 25 is a must.(10 shot groups) In my test off the bench, the biggest difference in different headstamps is POI changes. As far as accuracy, with the dot and off the bench the difference is not huge as long as all the cases have been trimmed to the same length. As stated earlier the different case lengths and resulting crimps are bad. Also play with different crimp amounts, I have found that using soft alloys, crimp amounts are critical. The most accurate cases I have found are Regular Federal, Starline and R-P wadcutter cases. I trim to 1.147 which is UNDER the mim, I have not found very many cases that are longer than 1.15. Most of my loads are very light target loads with soft cast wadcutters so I think thats why the crimp amounts matter more. Using regular 15 brinell boolits, like rn and swc with higher power loads(850 fps) I haven't seen the crimps make as big a difference in group size.
    Now, for average shooter, shooting Iron sights, and offhand I'm not sure you could tell a difference unless you are a Master class shooter and the gun has had some accuracy work done to it. Like others have said I am an accuracy nut and am always interested in what the gun, the person crafting the handloads and the shooter can wring out of a particular gun. Most new revolver shooters I have worked with are amazed at how accurate a production gun and themselves can be at 25 yards with cast wadcutters. Watching them shoot factory fodder and seeing the disappointment on their faces and then switching them to wadcutters it's like Christmas morning for both of us.
    Unless you are trying to build match loads my advise is to trim all cases to the same length and load and shoot. Be careful and have fun.
    Tony

  14. #14
    ABJ makes good points. Being a bullseye shooter myself, accuracy is paramount. It's all about experimentation with your loads and testing to see which works best. But with the low pressures of 38 Spl, case sorting doesn't make a difference. What's considered "the load" nowadays among us accuracy hounds is 2.7 gr WST with a 148 HBWC. I can attest to the accuracy level of that load. I tried same headstamp cases and mixed cases - no difference.

    However, with 357 Mag, pressures are twice as high, and attention to detail becomes more critical. A slight difference in case capacity can make a big difference when you're pushing the limits. I would definitely sort by headstamp for full house magnum loads.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Yes and no... from a match grade weapon from a machine reast or from a good shooter there IS a difference. Gil Hebard did work on this in the late 80's and his best group at 50 yards was right at an inch from a 52 Smith. With mixed brass the group size went up to 1 1/2" or so. With my K 38 in 72 I found that mixed brass would open groups by about an inch at 50 yards from a bench rest. Now at the time I was trying to keep all my shots in the 10 ring of a B27 so for practice I used mixed brass and for a match sorted from the same lot number. The bottom line was that I couldn't shoot good enough to see any difference other than in my head.

    You load to satisfy your mind, what makes you feel good on the firing line is what counts.

  16. #16
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    Some great info here. When asking this question I had already done some testing of my own regarding this topic over the years. It's a reassurring thing when what you think youve found is agreeable with others findings.... Thanks, Jeff
    Last edited by Kawriverrat; 11-13-2017 at 06:49 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Groo's Avatar
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    Groo here
    Sorting what?????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    In short,
    Different headstamps have different case thicknesses resulting in differing tension holding the boolit and differing space for powder/combustion in the case.

    As others have said (and if you do the math), it does make a difference, how much difference depends on a slew of variables.

  19. #19
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    DerekP Houston's Avatar
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    I personally can't shoot well enough to see the difference free hand. I've got a few ammo cans full of wadcutters to use up still in mixed brass but I'm sorting the wadcutter brass out for the next batch.
    My feedback page if you feel inclined to add:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...raight-Shooter

    Thanks Yall!

  20. #20
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    dragon813gt's Avatar
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    For me, no. But most of the shooting I do w/ these cartridges is strictly target. I do trim all cases to a uniform length since they require a roll crimp. And I do use one hedstamp for hunting rounds, Marlin 1894C. But for blasting ammo at the range the mixed headstamps have no effect.

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