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Thread: Converting .38 Special Brass to Take Large Pistol Primers

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    So, I did this a while back for reasons that I don't exactly remember at the moment... but while I don't recall the reasons, the process I came up with worked well enough that I made about 300 LPP .38 special cases. I later turned them all into .380 rook cases, but that's probably another story.

    I got a 3/8 collet for the lathe that opened just enough to accept a sized case. I used a collet stop so that the brass would slide in and lock down consistently at the same depth +/- .001". I used a 5.3mm Carbide end mill to machine the PP to depth of .120 using a micrometer stop. Then they went into the primer pocket swager, followed by deburring the flash-hole. Primers seated fine, I reduced loads slightly, and other than slightly wider SD's all was well with the world.

    Getting everything set up took some work, but once it was all done, the conversion was easy, and it didn't take too long to do 100 pieces of brass.
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  2. #22
    Boolit Bub
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    Cool, thanks for that info!

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazoo View Post
    From my research of SPP use in 45 acp, I don't think the difference between large and small primers would be enough to warrant any reduction in powder.

    Sorry, didnt mean to contradict you outpost, we posted at the same time.
    I think that within the normal range of pressure-tested load data you are generally correct, but if the load is near max. I would still recommend the 10% reduction in an abundance of caution until the velocity can be validated and the charge adjusted.
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  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Cool, thanks for that info!
    In case it wasn't clear, I did of course trim all of the brass to uniform length before chucking them in the collet...
    Nozombies.com Practical Zombie Survival

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  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    Sinclair makes carbide primer pocket reamers in the three different sizes that are built so they will only cut to proper depth. However you would probably have to pre drill to just under .210 and then use the Sinclair tool. I would try to open some to lpp but I have more spp than I'm likely to ever use.

  6. #26
    Boolit Bub
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    So my end mill order arrived today, but they sent me the wrong one. (bangs head) Going to see about an exchange but this will delay the project.

  7. #27
    I am rapidly running out of SP and have several folks who need 9mm and 38 spl. I was thinking of doing this to some 9X19 cases but have no lathe. I could prbly rig some sort of collet on the drill press spindle or table... If one of y'all who have a plentiful supply would part with any, I have brass, powder, boolits and some odd (for me) ammo, and LR, SR and LP to trade.
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    Last edited by Old School Big Bore; 11-04-2020 at 02:45 PM. Reason: additional information

  8. #28
    Boolit Buddy

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    I bought some Federal ammo from a LGS for my 6.5 Creedmoor without checking. When I set up to reload them I found they have SRP's. I talked about doing this on those cases, this was back in April or May. Several folks said to just get some small rifle primers, but they were already gone every place I checked. I am interested if there is anyone out there with some SRP's he would let go of, who is not too far from Quincy, IL, I'd be interested in paying for them if I didn't get gouged.
    I don't have the funds to get a new set up with a lathe. I guess I could try on my drill press.

  9. #29
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I modified 50 .454 Casull cases to accept LP primers a while back. I do have a lathe, and I used an extensive set of numbered drill bits until I found the right size (which I don't recall offhand). I ground the bit as flat as possible, drilled, then used a Lyman primer pocket uniformer to insure a flat base for the primer and anvil. It worked fine, but takes a lot of time.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  10. #30
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwlongshot View Post
    Not when your prepared... I dont have any shortages.
    CW
    I learned my lesson the last time around.
    I FINALLY listened to the little voice in my head that said "...stock up".
    I probably have enough components to last the rest of my lifetime.
    BTW I am 72......
    Last edited by FISH4BUGS; 11-19-2020 at 02:50 PM.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  11. #31
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Dave M I would use a drill the dia and grind a pilot on the end to fit the flash hole 1/4"-5/16" long and sharpen the edges like a counterbore. The pilot helps keep it from jumping chattering when starting the cut. over the drill a short piece of tubing to use as a stop. Set drill in chuck to where tube only allow depth of cut. run drill in to where the tube touches and your done

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    I have found flash holes to be off center quite a bit on some brass. I would use a drill slightly larger than .210 and lightly cut a few thou into the small pp just enough to form a taper for a Sinclair lp primer pocket uniformer to start centered. Then feed in until it stops. Don't lock the tail stock which will allow a bit of movement to follow the taper to center. I might try making a few if swmbo will give me a bit of free time.

  13. #33
    Boolit Bub
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    I made some progress on this project today. The basic tool is a .210" diameter chucking reamer with a stop collar set to 0.129" reaming depth. The stop collar was made from 1/2" 6061 aluminum rod. It's held in place with an M4 screw I had in one of my miscellaneous parts bins.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    To use it, I chucked deprimed a .38 Special case in the lathe and held the reamer in a drill chuck in the lathe's tailstock.

    I found that because of the small clearances, brass chips built up between the head of the case and the collar. I had to withdraw in several times per case to clear the chips with a brush and pick. It was slow going.

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    But eventually, I converted five cases to accept large pistol primers. To test, I seated CCI LPPs. They seated easily, maybe a little too easily. It might be better to use a .209" diameter reamer because .210" is the maximum for large primers.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I plan to do another 5 cases tomorrow and then load them will mild charges so I can test them on my next trip to the range.

  14. #34
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If you have a primer pocket swaging tool you might try .208 and then swaging up to final size. The swaging would produce a very accurate size and a slightly harder smoother surface.

  15. #35
    Boolit Bub
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    I do not have a primer pocket swager but that's a good suggestion.

    I modified another 5 cases today in my lathe. I loaded those and the 5 I modified yesterday with 4.4 grains of Unique, a CCI LPP, and a .358 160 grain LSWC from Matt's Bullets. I also loaded another 50 in unmodified brass using Sellier & Bellot SPPs.

    The round on the left is an unmodifed case. The 2 on the right are modified.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I should get to try them next weekend.

  16. #36
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I modified 200 38 spl cases to large primer some years ago for wax bullet loads. but I also opened the flash holes up to .105 dia. Reason being I didnt want them getting loaded with full power loads.
    I ground the drill pilot .375 long and .105 dia on a drill the dia I needed. flat sharpened the large dia. this gave me flutes all the way back not just on the face like a uniformer. The tube over allowed chips room to get out. If I remember I could do 5 or so slide tube off and clear chips. I did mine in a hardringe lathe. The big pain was cranking the tail stock spindle in and out to change cases.

  17. #37
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by FISH4BUGS View Post
    .
    I probably have enough components to last the rest of my lifetime.
    BTW I am 72......
    How long is that, 2 1/2 months??

    Just kidding, I am 1 year behind you,,
    and I can not tell you why I bought 12,000 to 15,000 primers when they were $20/thou,,


    Luckily, my "fun round" is 44MAG, so I have the large pockets already,,

    Would it be safer to just buy a 44MAG for high volume plinking?
    One just sold in the Swappin & Sellin section for $400,,

    I guess I feel my safety is worth $400,,,

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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