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Thread: Some info on .38 SPL brass

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Dieselhorses's Avatar
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    Some info on .38 SPL brass

    I recently acquired some 38 special brass and as usual I sort all the head stamps, most of which are Winchester, Federal and Remington Peters. As the night went on, I discovered a number of other brands listed below. Aside from all the "proprietary" stamps, my question is- would you sort the "R-P from the Rem-UMC" and separate the "Winchester from the WW or Western"?

    Federal
    Winchester
    R-P
    PMC
    WW
    Western
    Rem-UMC
    Starline
    Midway
    Super-X
    US 38 Special
    WRA Co.
    3-D
    Speer
    S&W
    USC Co.
    MRP
    Buffalo Rock
    Hi-Per
    STAR
    Zero
    W-Super-W
    Frontier
    HAI (+P)
    Markell
    Norma
    IVI
    WCC
    Precision
    H&S

    I'm sure most of you heard of these. Thought it was interesting to see if one ranked way above the rest.
    Last edited by Dieselhorses; 08-19-2019 at 12:46 AM. Reason: add
    The unexamined life is not worth living----Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body...
    It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not (ask DJT).

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'd load them all and maybe separate the head stamps for some real serious target shoot'n.

    From a small or medium frame revolver, and even DEWC from a S&W model 59 auto pistol.
    I never could tell enough difference to really matter at handgun distances.

    If you're loading for a lever action to shoot at 50-100 yards,
    I'd keep the head stamps separate like almost everyone does bottle neck cartridges.
    For 2-4" handguns inside 25 yards, I wouldn't bother.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.


    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

  3. #3
    I agree with Winger Ed. Unless you are shooting a million $ precision firearm. and loading as close to exactly as possible, I doubt you would be able to tell the difference in cases. Load them, shoot them and enjoy the fun.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Jimbo View Post
    I agree with Winger Ed. Unless you are shooting a million $ precision firearm. and loading as close to exactly as possible, I doubt you would be able to tell the difference in cases. Load them, shoot them and enjoy the fun.
    I know what you all are saying as far as performance is concerned... I'm a little nostalgic when it comes to head stamps I guess. For the purposes of shooting, I don't even trim revolver brass most times.
    The unexamined life is not worth living----Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body...
    It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not (ask DJT).

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselhorses View Post
    . I'm a little nostalgic when it comes to head stamps I guess.
    Me too. I've got a bowl with unusual things in it too.
    Paper shotgun shells, a 12ga. all plastic Wanda, some steel .45 cases from WWII, a issue box of 20 WWII Carcano rounds, etc.

    I'd toss a couple of the oddball .38s in the bowl, but just load & shoot the rest.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.


    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    Me too. I've got a bowl with unusual things in it too.
    Paper shotgun shells, a 12ga. all plastic Wanda, some steel .45 cases from WWII, a issue box of 20 WWII Carcano rounds, etc.

    I'd toss a couple of the oddball .38s in the bowl, but just load & shoot the rest.
    Yea I'm gonna do that. Wife says I accumulate too much "stuff". I have "half" the stuff I had with the first 2 wives! A man needs tools, guns, gun accessories, ammo, camo and other hobby related things.
    The unexamined life is not worth living----Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body...
    It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not (ask DJT).

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    3D from what I remember is a commercial reloader and used to take your cases in exchange for loaded ammo and some money. So having said that, there is no way to tell how many times they were reloaded. So in it just might prudent to scrap them. There are some headstamps I've never heard of. IVI is of Canadian MFG though.I would separate according to headstamp. used a lot of the 3D stuff when I lived in NYC. But did get case splits and cracked cast mouths. Frank

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Winchester and RP brass (no nickel, no +P) go in my “Wadcutter Can”. Everything else goes in the “Everything Else Can”.

    I have had problems with some brands of brass bulging and not chambering when I seat wadcutter deeply. Since I started sorting this way I have had no more chambering issues.

    The “Everything Else Can” brass gets loaded with other boolit types that don’t need to be seated as deeply. I haven’t noticed an accuracy deficit.I should probably do a bench rest accuracy test; sorted brass vs the “Everything Else” brass.

    JM

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    For me I would load them all and just take the WC brass out to use it just for WC . Like stated just load and shoot.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Land Owner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselhorses View Post
    Wife says I accumulate too much "stuff". I have "half" the stuff I had with the first 2 wives! A man needs tools, guns, gun accessories, ammo, camo and other hobby related things.
    So, you are married to your next "Ex-" already? Tell me about "half" the stuff, which amounts ONLY to half the money and ALL the previous stuff for reloading, casting, shooting, hunting, fishing, food plotting, camping, home repair, tools, mowing, trucks, trailers, boats, golf cart, you get the picture...money, like wives, can be replaced - but I do not recommend it. Sometimes it takes a few "false starts" to find The One.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    All I've ever used is mixed head stamp range brass - most of which I've purchased on here in the S & S - I've never really noticed any difference and I shoot it out of the half dozen or so 38s that I have - but I'm a "plinker" and not a competitive shooter. I even use nickel and don't mind it though I find the life of it is shorter than brass - but at the price of range brass and the number of times I can reload it before it splits - it's pretty economical. I just bought a 357 lever gun a few weeks ago and I do have several batches of Winchester and 500 Starline stashed away which I will keep separated for the rifle.

    The "collection" of different headstamps you encountered is interesting. Years ago, when I was a kid, I collected cartridges but sold the collection maybe 25 years ago. I found myself "collecting" again when I found a headstamp a little out of the norm - so you aren't the only "accumulator"! LOL At some point I'm going to try and put together a display of 38s to show the different headstamps - I have even run across a few pieces of "balloon" brass as well.

    Enjoyed your post!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselhorses View Post
    Yea I'm gonna do that. Wife says I accumulate too much "stuff". I have "half" the stuff I had with the first 2 wives! A man needs tools, guns, gun accessories, ammo, camo and other hobby related things.
    IMHO, you're lucky to have half with 2 ex-wives
    ...Speak softly & carry a big stick...

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig556r View Post
    IMHO, you're lucky to have half with 2 ex-wives

    I was always the attorney in my past relationships...
    The unexamined life is not worth living----Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body...
    It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for who you are not (ask DJT).

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If your pushing the upper limit of powder then cases could be an issue and accuracy can be off. If your at the lower limit to mid powder charges, then it's not worth the trouble unless your shooting for score.

  15. #15
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    I am a bit OCD with sorting by HS (in all calibers), but I have a reason. When loading brass with matching headstamps, the press 'feel' will be the same, case to case, so when something 'feels' amiss, then there is likely something wrong and it's time to check that out. When I'm loading mixed HS cases, there can be some very different 'feels' case to case, and it more difficult to 'feel' a problem.


    my question is- would you sort the "R-P from the Rem-UMC" and separate the "Winchester from the WW or Western"?
    To that question, I answer YES.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I understand "just 'cause I wanna" as for sorting our brass. Besides, inspection is of major importance when reloading so it's no big deal to glance at the case head and toss the case in a separate pile. At one time (maybe even still) one could get their own "custom" headstamp with a minimum order so you are likely to find 38 Special brass with anything for a headstamp. I have seen most of those you listed, but if you want to, you can keep the "major" headstamps together (R-P, with Remington, WW, Western with Winchester, etc.). But I wouldn't try to use specific load for each different 38 Special headstamp. Unless you have some old balloon head cases, there won't be enough difference between headstamps to make much difference. I have been reloading 38 Special since '69 and while I sort some cases (I have way more time to play in my shop than I have time to shoot), I don't have loads per headstamp.
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I’m going thru 4000 right now and sort Winchester and Federal the rest go into other box, Winchester seems to be predominant amount 10 to 1.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I used to sort head stamps on handgun ammo when I could read headstamps. Now I can't so I don't.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Some of those headstamps go waaayee back in time.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    This subject is getting to the point of being pretty well covered, but my 2 cents worth is that I do separate brass of Winchester and Remington origin, but not into the subcategories of WW and R-P. I use the Win. and Rem. brass mostly for wadcutters, and do have an "everything else" category that I use for just general target practice and plinking loaded with such fodder as 158 gr. LRN. I have a fair supply from days gone by of Win. +P+ brass that I reserve for hotter self-defense type loads. I discard almost nothing because of the headstamp, but will discard almost anything because of condition.

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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