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Thread: Update on .38-45 Clerke project

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    A fellow I knew got into this caliber and we discussed various minor functional issues he had with it, including chambering of some newly converted cases. A veteran bullseye shooter commented that it was very helpful to use an M-die when prepping the cases for loading. This fixed the chambering problem and the chamber catching on and deforming the case neck. It was pleasantly accurate, but leading seems to be an ongoing problem. I get the impression a different lube and a softer alloy would have been helpful.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master


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    Both good suggestions, thank you!

    I plan on ordering some virgin .45 ACP cases to play with over Christmas break. I currently was using an old RCBS .357 expander die, but I do like M dies for lots of other calibers, so maybe I'll grab one for this.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


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    Ok, brass and M die ordered!!

  4. #24
    Boolit Master


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    Robert, you hit the nail square on the head!

    I had 30 loaded rounds and 20 fired cases, so I first took my barrel out of the gun and used it as a drop gauge. All of the loaded rounds were a tight fit in the chamber. So I did as you suggested, ran them into my .45 ACP carbide sizer with the decapping rod removed. All the rounds now dropped into the chamber with a satisfying "plock" and the back of the case dead even flush with the rear of the barrel hood. Ditto on the fired cases.

    It remains to be seen if I need to do this as a final step each time I reload, or if doing it once during the case forming is sufficient

  5. #25
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    I'm glad it worked for you.

    Like I said, I had to do that when making .45ACP shot shells the cheap way. I don't remember all the dies I used but I know the .30-30 and .22-250 dies were involved. Fortunately, thanks to an estate auction I am past that now, I ended up with both the form die set and the loading die set for a total expenditure of $20.00.

    Those two boxes made just about everything else I bought that day basically free. I really hope when my daughter sells all my stuff that she does some homework and gets a knowledgeable auctioneer.

    Robert

  6. #26
    Boolit Master


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    OK, 100% success today. 30 rds ran without a hitch or hiccup. Pretty accurate little round too. Shot on the indoor range (50 foot) at real 50 foot national match course. Slowfire 9 out of 10 in black (pulled last one JYST outside). Timed fire 8 out of 10 in black, rapid 5 in the black, pulled 5 a bit low but I do that with anything.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master


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    I spent some time over the last few days forming cases. I had purchased 100 new Starline cases in anticipation of this. Absolutely no lost cases, and using my barrel as a case gauge, every formed case dropped in with what Dean Grennel used to call a "plock" fit. And I didn't have to use the .45 ACP Carbide die for that final sizing to achieve that. It will remain to be seen what happens after I fire the cases, whether that extra sizing will be necessary.

    Now I just need to play around with boolits to see what this cartridge likes best. The 147 gr FPs were store bought, so once they're gone I will need to cast something. I have three .38 caliber molds, hopefully there's something that it will like. Then again, to keep recoil to an abslote minimum I might want to try something in a 9mm 125 grain range. I don't have anything that light, all my .38 molds are 148-158 grain.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master


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    I tried each of the three boolits I have, all with success, but also a few quirks. I fired a 10 shot group at 50 feet (our indoor range distance) from a bench rested position.

    The first was our plainbase clone of the 358156 Lyman. It shot well, but with one interesting peculiarity. 6 of the 10 went int about 2 inches, right to the sights, BUT, the other four printed a tight group of their own (maybe an inch) low and right, making the total group about 3 inches. I was very carefully watching the sights, and I really can't account for that. But I don't consider them fliers when they land right on top of one another. It was like two separate groups.

    The second was the Lee 158 gr TLSWC. It shot very well, 10 shots under 2 inches, and really 9 went about an inch and a half, with 1 flier making the total group just under 2.

    The third boolit was the Lee 148 gr TLWC, a full wadcutter. I loaded it with 1 band outside of the case mouth. It was very accurate too, also doing 9 into about 1 1/2 inches plus a flier that made the group total just under 2 inches. And of course the holes in the target were cut cookie cutter perfect. Unfortunately there were feeding issues. The rounds fed , but they were so stubby that rounds 3, 4, and 5 would move forward in the magazine under recoil and not feed correctly.

    I really need to figure out this picture thing and post some pictures.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master


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    This project continues to be one of the most enjoyable things I've messed with in a long time!

    I did order a Lee TL124TC mold, and yesterday got a chance to fire a few. Accuracy was exceptional, equal fully to what I got with 148-158 grain boolits. 3.2 gr Bullseye went into a really nice little cluster, but function was not 100% with my current 10# spring. 3.5 of Bullseye functioned 100% and shot nearly as well.

    I think ultimately I will get me an 8# spring and use 3.2 gr. with the LEE boolit. To say that combination felt like shooting a .22 might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. For now I have about 500-600 of the heavier boolits to use up. I have another 100 virgin Starline .45ACP cases so I think on my next vacation I'll form them up and that will give me 200 pieces of brass.

    Still trying to figure out the picture posting thing. Darn Photobucket!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check