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Thread: New to me Colt NM 38 Midrange, what bullet?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    New to me Colt NM 38 Midrange, what bullet?

    Just curious if anyone has loaded a DEWC or something similar for one of these guns? I've heard they are pretty picky about what they eat. I hope I can find a casting solution. If not I'll have to order in some HBWC to load for it.

    I have Lyman 358063, 358087 and 358495 (reverse a button nose?) Any thoughts which bullet to start with?

    Gun is pretty much a beater from 1962 with a rather unusual parkerized finish. A really nicely done finish but I can't imaging why someone would parkerize one of the best blued guns in the world.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    HeavyMetal's Avatar
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    suggest you talk/E mail Mihec about his molds they are quite good, I own two, and one of them is a .38 calmer 4 cavity HBWC that I use in my S&W Model 52 with great success.

    None of the solid base .38 WC's will touch it for accuracy!

    HM

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The 358495 should work with the bullet seated so the sides are flush with the case mouth. The profile is essentially the same as the H&G 50 which is commonly loaded seated with the sides flush with the case mouth. If well cast and properly sized should do okay. Since there is no crimping groove you will probably need to taper crimp. Check your brass as well, some cases taper more than others and you may need to search out original wadcutter brass since the bullet will be seated quite deeply in the case. If the original was starting to get shabby it could have been rebuilt by a military armorer, either officially or unofficially, which would account for the parkerizing, or perhaps the previous owner had it done commercially.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I'd try the 358495 as Rich/WIS mentioned and see how it feeds. Typically that bullet and those like it do not feed in an S&W 52 do to the 'nose' on the bullet.

    If it doesn't feed then try the 358063, if that # is the lat nosed version it should do well.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Saeco #348 DEWC and 3 grains Bullseye
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have cast and loaded 3 different 1911/38 special wadcutter guns. One was a Clark SR., one was an AMU conversion and the current one is a 38 super conversion. I dont know who made the current one. Several DEWC cast with coww plus 2 % tin where just as accurate as commercial hbwc. My own hbwc cast with pure lead and lubed and then swedged into hbwc were about the same. The most accurate was the Lee bnwc cast with 20:1 seated flush with a light taper crimp. I have found the mag determines the OAL. The Clark gun allowed the button to stick out the case, the other two would not so I use a dewc cast in 20:1 for all my competition loads. Almost any wc would hold the x ring at 25 with normal target loads, but the 20:1 alloy was a little better in overall group size.
    Tony

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    I had really good luck and accuracy out of the 358495 when I had my MR. Seating depth is critical. Has to be flush.
    Wish I still had it. Most accurate, pleasant shooting gun I've ever owned but limited in its use./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Rapidrob's Avatar
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    I shot bullseye pistol for several decades and found the only bullet that was 100% consistent for accuracy was the hollow base wad cutter,148 grain bullet. The fact that the bullet "skirt" opens up and obdurates into the bore really made a big difference with my scores. I shoot a BO-MAR BARSTO .38 AMU 1911pistol and either Bullseye or Unique powders worked the best in my case.
    Some of the other pistols shoot the DEWC or even the FMJ DEWC very well. My pistol will not.
    Last edited by Rapidrob; 02-11-2020 at 12:14 PM. Reason: bullet weight

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidrob View Post
    I shot bullseye pistol for several decades and found the only bullet that was 100% consistent for accuracy was the hollow base wad cutter,158 grain bullet. The fact that the bullet "skirt" opens up and obdurates into the bore really made a big difference with my scores. I shoot a BO-MAR BARSTO .38 AMU 1911pistol and either Bullseye or Unique powders worked the best in my case.
    Some of the other pistols shoot the DEWC or even the FMJ DEWC very well. My pistol will not.
    I assume you meant 148 gr bullet. I'm going to have to do some experimenting but fortunately I don't have a whole lot of choices. (-:}

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by beagle View Post
    I had really good luck and accuracy out of the 358495 when I had my MR. Seating depth is critical. Has to be flush.
    Wish I still had it. Most accurate, pleasant shooting gun I've ever owned but limited in its use./beagle
    I wish it was more flexible but I've had a few S&W model 52s and sold them because they were so limited in what they did but now I'm older and finding simplicity more appealing. I'd like to find one .38 WC load that would run through this 1911 and a dozen different revolvers. One bullet and one load that would be very happy in all of them would be almost refreshing.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I built a 1911 wadcutter gun in 38 spl several years ago. I have fed is 148 grn lyman double end wc, 160 grn lyman wcs and hornady 148 hbwc. All shoot very well. My load for my pistol is 2.6 grns bullseye under the 148s. This load shoots good in my revolvers also. Is yours a lock up gun or blow back? The AMU and most builders built Lock ups and they used a 5-7 lb spring. Colt and some made a blow back that used the 13 LB spring. Ammo OAL is critical in these 1911s, not only deed and function but fitting in the magazines

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy Rapidrob's Avatar
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    I want to say it is almost a nine pound recoil spring. The empties just dribble out of the slide and land at my feet.
    The pistol was originally a .38 Super and modified in the 60's. I shot the pistol in the Navy for several years and when It was time to go home for good, my C.O presented me the pistol as a gift.
    I shot it on the Maryland State Pistol team for a few years until I moved out here to NM.
    Bullseye pistol shooting is all but dead here nowadays.
    The target was shot after a rapid-fire string at 25 yards with the hollow base wad cutter 148 grain swagged bullets.
    I have a special set of reloading dies that allows me to seat/ roll crimp the bullet just above/below the case mouth. I have never had a FTF.

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    Last edited by Rapidrob; 02-11-2020 at 07:41 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    I built a 1911 wadcutter gun in 38 spl several years ago. I have fed is 148 grn lyman double end wc, 160 grn lyman wcs and hornady 148 hbwc. All shoot very well. My load for my pistol is 2.6 grns bullseye under the 148s. This load shoots good in my revolvers also. Is yours a lock up gun or blow back? The AMU and most builders built Lock ups and they used a 5-7 lb spring. Colt and some made a blow back that used the 13 LB spring. Ammo OAL is critical in these 1911s, not only deed and function but fitting in the magazines
    Mine a blow back gun. No locking lugs. I'm sort of a 1911 fan, have a few of them. If this one shoots as well as my 9mm STI, I'll be happy with it.

    This one isn't very pretty, a little more stealthy! Made in 1961 so missing some of the later upgrades.
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    Last edited by arlon; 02-16-2020 at 05:00 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapidrob View Post
    I want to say it is almost a nine pound recoil spring. The empties just dribble out of the slide and land at my feet.
    The pistol was originally a .38 Super and modified in the 60's. I shot the pistol in the Navy for several years and when It was time to go home for good, my C.O presented me the pistol as a gift.
    I shot it on the Maryland State Pistol team for a few years until I moved out here to NM.
    Bullseye pistol shooting is all but dead here nowadays.
    The target was shot after a rapid-fire string at 25 yards with the hollow base wad cutter 148 grain swagged bullets.
    I have a special set of reloading dies that allows me to seat/ roll crimp the bullet just above/below the case mouth. I have never had a FTF.
    That is a pretty special pistol there! What a great story behind it too. Wish I knew the story behind this one!

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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