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Thread: 38 Long Colt Original Configuration with .375" Heeled Bullets

  1. #21
    Boolit Master



    Tar Heel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatouine View Post
    Your finished cartridges look superb. Did you shoot them since then?
    Did today. Summary is above. Had a great time making and shooting these. It will only get better.

  2. #22
    Thanks for sharing and for the hard-to-find chrono data. Hope you enjoyed your session.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tatouine View Post



    I really like your design. Do you think it would work in a standard 38 LC DA .375 or will it be to heavy? Do you have accurate shots with it?
    thanks, Tat. I would say there's no reason it shouldn't work as well. The key to whether it would work in your revolver would be overall length of a loaded round that the cylinder would accommodate. Then add the issue of getting a secure crimp on the heel. I would maximize the diameter of the heel, considering brass thickness and chamber dimensions. Tom's drawings (Accurate Molds) include all dimensions, lengths and diameters. Precise diameters can be specified by you for any and all bands as well as the heel. after casting I size driving bands only to bore diameter. Then after loading and crimping I dip lube with a relatively stiff black powder lube if I'm loading BP. If I could get a satisfactory smokeless load, I'd use the 45-45-10 lube from White Label Lube, applied to bullet with an artist's brush, but still trying to get a satisfactory smokeless load worked out. Annealing cases would possibly improve obturation, but may decrease bullet pull, so I'm on the fence with that, especially since pressures generated with 20 gr 3F seem to seal quite well.
    John Wells in PA

    Peabody's and Peabody-Martini's wanted
    Also shoot a 10-PDR Parrott Rifle in competition

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndnchf View Post
    I've used loctite on heel bullets. It works quite well. I call it a chemical crimp
    Curious: Which flavor Loctite?

    I may try a little DUCO cement on the heels for smokeless. Solvent based, 100% combustible when dry. OTOH, I wonder if most of it would get "squee-geed" off when seating the heel in the case mouth?
    Another experiment...
    John Wells in PA

    Peabody's and Peabody-Martini's wanted
    Also shoot a 10-PDR Parrott Rifle in competition

  5. #25
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    I use Permatex Secures Gears, just because I have it. But I think any medium strength thread locker would work fine too.

    https://www.rsci.com/secures-gears

    I just put a drop on the heel, then rotate the bullet to spread it around. It sets in about 10 minutes.
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  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    When using a repro cap n ball conversion, has anyone had better luck with one weight or another? I've 125ish and 150ish weight ones for sale and was just curious.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Tar Heel - Thanks so much for your range/shooting results - interesting!

    Your "bullet jump" obviously shows that with the Eras Gone boolit that your method of using the glue is a good way to go. It's all a matter of experimentation and what works best.

    The question the someone had (I can't go back to the post as I type this) as to if there if a difference between how a 125 gr. and a 150 gr. boolit shooting in a C & B with a conversion cylinder - I have only used the 150 gr. Old West. Apples to oranges but in a standard 38 special - both in my old S & W M & P - I have always used a 122 or so grain and a 158 gr boolit and both shot equally as well once the load was tweaked. The same out of my Uberti 357 Bisley - but those are .357 bores.

    I have a Uberti 1851 R & M conversion - but with .357 bore - and the same out of that - it shoots a variety of boolit weights very well. I'll add the they were smokeless loads - not heavy and I don't have a chronological but under the 850 fps max that is recommended for a conversion cylinder - Red Dot or Bulls Eye. I haven't had the chance to try BP loads in it.

    One of the best shooting boolits out of my Uberti '51 R & M conversion has been a 148 grain WC. (smokeless) but I haven't tried the holy black with the boolit yet.

    Again - this is apples to oranges - but my experience with those grain weights out of a .357 bore. I will at some point either get the 125 gr. heeled bullet mold from Old West or have Accurate cut one. I'm not "high tech" by any means, but with the way my Uberti '51 conversion with the .357 bore shoots the 148 gr. wadcutter - I am really thinking about having a mold cut for a "heeled" .375 wadcutter to try in the C & B conversion cylinder - just not sure how a heeled wadcutter would fly.

    All interesting stuff and fun to play with. I enjoy hearing and see what others are doing and what is working for them as there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

  8. #28
    Boolit Buddy Ajohns's Avatar
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    Thank you. Looking forward to trying this out!

  9. #29
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    No reason a heeled wadcutter wouldn't fly just like any other wadcutter - they are designed for short range after all.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    All interesting stuff and fun to play with. I enjoy hearing and see what others are doing and what is working for them as there is always more than one way to skin a cat.
    That's the bottom line I figure. I find myself saying "well this ought to work" and then it's off to the races. Most times it doesn't work well but heck, it beats bush hogging. I ordered some HB bullets from Old West Molds to see how they work in the cylinder/gun too. They should be here tomorrow. I'm like a kid at Christmas waiting for them.

    I too enjoy reading about most of the "projects" members have in process. Some sound real interesting and I have gleaned a lot of information from these pages as well as others. I just keep adding information into the mill and let it churn a while. Problem is there is probably too much information up there to catalog anymore!

    Well the little Eras Gone bullet works just fine but I will keep on gluing the rascals to seal them up tight. I still like shooting them in the percussion cylinder. They seat real nice in there. Fun little bullet to mess with and pretty darn accurate in the percussion cylinder too. Worth having that mold as well as his others.

    I'll post data on the Old West .357 HBRN bullet as soon as I can get them loaded up.

  11. #31
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    Here's the heel bullet I designed for the .38 Long. I've been using it in an original Remington Rolling Block. Check your cylinder length to be sure it will work for you if seated to the base of the bottom driving band (Tom has all the dimensions on the drawing) Nice proportion of bearing surface to overall length. Loaded and dip lubed they look like overgrown .22LR

    Heel diameter and band diameters can be modified to your needs on the order form. http://accuratemolds.com/bullet_deta...bullet=38-160H Click image for larger version. 

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    John Wells in PA

    Peabody's and Peabody-Martini's wanted
    Also shoot a 10-PDR Parrott Rifle in competition

  12. #32
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    That's nice John - a good looking boolit!

    When I get some time I'll stack up the dimensions and see if it would work in a conversion cylinder not. Mine is for a Pietta '58 .36 cal Navy but I also have one on the way form Howell for one of my '51 Uberti Navy revolvers.

  13. #33
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    Well yesterday the HBRN bullets arrived from Old West. It was quickly discovered that I can use regular 38 Special cases with these bullets if I crimp over the front driving band. That also puts the base of the bullet in the same spot as with a FB bullet so case capacity (pressure) will probably be the same as with PB bullets (ignoring the hollow cavity of course). I placed the bullets in a .358 sizing die and added bullet lube to the top lube/crimp groove, seated them over 3.0gr of HP38 and crimped over the front driving band.

    Ballistics were impressive with the average velocity just a tad slower than the Eras Gone conical bullet at 665.8 fps with a SD of 11 fps. That lower SD is certainly more impressive than the SD on the heeled conical bullets although both are certainly acceptable for a desperado stopper. On paper the Old West HBRN shot 6" high into a 4" group at 25 yards. Not at all bad.

    The ease with which these load, coupled with smokeless powder makes the heeled bullet exercise seem silly. Although I enjoy the historical aspect of the 38SC and the 38LC, shooting the conversion cylinder equipped 1861 Navy with these smokeless loads is quite fun too. The issue of course is finding 150gr hollow base bullets in .358".

    The 150gr HBRN bullets from Old West Bullet Molds coupled with regular 38 Special brass fit nicely into the 38 Conversion Cylinders for the Colt series revolvers.

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  14. #34
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Tar Heel – Congrats! That is just downright dog-gone slick as can be! It looks like that boolit worked very well for you and that you had good results with it.

    I will start by saying that “I know I am wrong” when I think of a .358 hollow base boolit. He bore of a .35 C & B revolver should have a nominal land to land of .360 and a groove to groove of .375 – thus the use of .375 “heeled”. My main experience with hollow base boolits has been with .58 minie balls – have shot tens of thousands of them over the years. In a rifled musket, “my” personal preference was a minie tht was .002 under bore size – always worked well in skirmishing relays where there were repeated shots and of course, fouling build-up. Let’s remember that the bores had primarily 3 groove military shallow rifling. In “my” experience and that of others I shot with – a hollow base minie that was too much undersize would key-hole and I saw it many times on targets, backer boards, etc. So my “concept” of hollow base boolits is in relation to that.

    Now . . .. let’s look at a .36 C & B – smallest I.D. is the .360 land to land and largest I.D. is .375 for the groove to groove. In my mind, a .358 hollow base has to expand enough to fill the .375 groove to groove. Otherwise, there would be a lot of gas leakage around the boolit as it travels out the barrel. To me . . . looking at the boolit you used . . it has a “thicker skirt” for want of a better description – and that has to expand upon firing to help fill the bore. And yes, I’m, sure that these must be out of soft lead. The same as a hollow base wadcutter that a lot of folks use for the conversion cylinders. So those boolits have to expand form .358 to .375 – or else in my mind based on my experience with minies and rifled muskets – they would not fly well – tumble and key hole. BUT – they don’t so obviously my “way of thinking” is flawed when it comes to using hollow based boolits of .358 in a C & B conversion. Pretty amazing!

    Your results shows that the .358 HB boolit performed well. Ed Harris (Outpost75) wrote an excellent article on his testing of a Remington .36 cap and ball with a conversion cylinder in which he shot a number of different rounds including .375 heeled and .358 HB wadcutters. The HB .358 rounds performed well – the same as you found out. I had been shooting .44 C & B with 45 conversion cylinders, but it was Ed’s article that really got me interested in the .36 with a conversion cylinder.

    Like you – I like the idea of using a “historical cartridge” and I enjoy loading the “helled” loads – both BP and smokeless. BUT . . . that is no reason for a person to be “closed minded” to the use of a .358 hollow base boolit if they shoot well in the .36 C & B with a conversion cylinder. Same amount of fun! I like loading and shooting BP cartridges but there are also times that it is nice to be able to shoot the conversion cylinders with smokeless and not have to worry about cleaning the revolver as soon as you get home nor worry about tossing the BP fired brass into a container of soapy water and get it cleaned too, as soon as you get home.

    The COAL of that cartridge in the 38 spl. casing and that boolit look ideal in your cylinder. I think you have a winning combination there. With 38 Colt Long brass being "iffy" to find - the much easier to get 38 spl. brass saves having to trim the 38 spl. brass down - and - with the .358 hollow base boolit - they can always be used in a standard 38/357 if needed - an additional plus.

    A few years ago, I bought two older Rapine molds from a fellow – one is for a .45 HB conical and the other for a .38 HB conical (.358). I cast a few up but never got to play with them. If I remember correctly – the .38 HB fell at around 125 grains. These molds are set up the same way as the Lee HB minie ball molds with the base pin being a part of the blocks so it’s quick to pour, cut the sprue, open and dump the boolit and start over. I also have an old Ideal single cavity 358-395 hollow base 148 gr. Wadcutter mold. It, of course, has the separate base pin. When I get back to Michigan I plan on casting in both of them as I think they would work well in my Pietta Remington Navy with the conversion cylinder.

    Thanks very much for your post Tar Heel – very interesting and certainly another great option! Great information to know!

  15. #35
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    bedbugbilly

    I too shoot real big fat and heavy hollow base bullets out of an 1861 Springfield and am familiar with the more "optimized" dimensional thickness of those large caliber Minie' bullets. The little 38's appeared to have a very thick skirt for the caliber. Apparently they obturate well in the larger bore and group as well as the 375 conicals. No evidence of key-holing was apparent.I have never had better accuracy with conicals (or HB bullets) than I have with round balls in these revolvers.

    Understandably these revolvers were never designed to castrate gnats but simply to give sufficient performance to meet the needs of the period; something fast, light, handy, and lethal at close range. I am a fan of lubricated felt wads by the way when shooting RB's. The proof, as they say, is in the video. OK, I just made that up.


    Safe Shooting!
    Last edited by Tar Heel; 03-28-2021 at 03:56 PM.

  16. #36
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    Well as it happens, the 150gr HBRN bullets from Old West Bullet Molds performed just fine in regular 38 Special cases. Care was taken to seat them below the first driving band to ensure chambering in the Taylor’s 38 caliber conversion cylinder for the Pietta C&B revolver. I upped the charge to 3.3gr of HP-38 as indicated on the Hodgdon web site. A slight increase in velocity to 705fps was garnered from the previous load of 3.0gr of HP-38. These loads felt a little more 38’ish than the previous loads too.

    From the photographs you can clearly see the bullet getting engraved along its entire length. This indicates it is obturating as advertised and delivering pretty low standard deviation across the shot string. This bullet penetrated 3 water jugs before bouncing off the 4th jug and then landing on the ground. The plastic in the pictured jugs a just a wee bit thicker than the standard water jugs normally seen in these penetration tests. The bullet base was deformed apparently as it bounced off the final jug and/or hit the jug at an angle. I believe the bullet was reflected back into the 3rd jug and it was the culprit causing slight base deformation.

    Prior to loading these bullets into cases, I ran them through a .359 sizing die to lubricate the top groove with SPG lubricant. Bullets were then seated and crimped over the first driving band. Evidence of the crimp can be seen on the fired bullet. It’s interesting to note that both the bullet lube already on the purchased bullets (the blue lubricant) and the SPG lube added by me before loading them, has been fully consumed in the bore. This was a welcome surprise to me since I assumed the blue lube on the purchased bullets would have the consistency of concrete. It actually performed exceptionally well in my Pietta 7” barrel and was completely used. No evidence of barrel leading was present whatsoever and the powder residue was easily wiped from the bore with a single Ballistol impregnated patch.

    So for the purist in me, the BPC 38LC cartridges with holy black and the Eras Gone 36 Colt Cartridge Works heeled 126gr bullet are the ticket. When I just want to bang away a little bit, the 38Spl loads with the Old West Molds 150gr HBRN bullet is the way to go. Either way – it’s all fun!

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    Last edited by Tar Heel; 04-05-2021 at 04:20 PM.

  17. #37
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    Range results for the Old West Bullet Moulds 150gr hollow base .358 bullet in 38 Special cases. These were fired out of the Taylor's 38 Caliber conversion cylinder in a Pietta 1861 Navy. Load is 3.3gr HP-38, CCI-500 primers. Bullets are seated and crimped over the driving band. The single group is at 25 yards. The two groups are at 15 yards.

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  18. #38
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by John in PA View Post
    Here's the heel bullet I designed for the .38 Long. I've been using it in an original Remington Rolling Block. Check your cylinder length to be sure it will work for you if seated to the base of the bottom driving band (Tom has all the dimensions on the drawing) Nice proportion of bearing surface to overall length. Loaded and dip lubed they look like overgrown .22LR

    Heel diameter and band diameters can be modified to your needs on the order form. http://accuratemolds.com/bullet_deta...bullet=38-160H Click image for larger version. 

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    John - I really like the looks of that bullet. How is it shooting in your rolling block? Is that a #1 or #2 rifle? I am very fond of #2 rollers and have them in .22, .32 (32 WCF and 32 XL Ballard) and .44 cal. I'm on the hunt for a 38 cal #2 now. I like the two grease grooves to provide plenty of lube for a long barrel. How long are your cases?

  19. #39
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    Regarding dip lubing. I've been experimenting with an old time factory heel bullet lube. These .44 heel bullets are dipped in the lube after loading. This lube was recounted in an interview with a retired ammunition factory worker in a 1943 issue of The American Rifleman. It is 1 part paraffin, 1 part mutton tallow, 1/2 part beeswax. It dries to a non-sticky coating, yet is soft enough to chamber without interference. So far, I'm very happy with its performance with both smokeless and black powder. The bore stays quite clean and I get a nice lube star at the muzzle.
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  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndnchf View Post
    John - I really like the looks of that bullet. How is it shooting in your rolling block? Is that a #1 or #2 rifle? I am very fond of #2 rollers and have them in .22, .32 (32 WCF and 32 XL Ballard) and .44 cal. I'm on the hunt for a 38 cal #2 now. I like the two grease grooves to provide plenty of lube for a long barrel. How long are your cases?
    I settled on a 1.000" case length. This is based on the length of the bullet bearing surface against a chamber cast that I made. I'm shooting in a Number 1 Rolling Block, marked "38", and measures out at 38 Long CF (RF had the same dimensions, I believe) It has a sliding Remington vernier tang sight, with a rocky mountain rear, and a Beach's front. I haven't shot on paper, just metal targets so far. I'd really like to get a good, well-obturating/sealing smokeless load figured out. I'm intrigued by the .358" OWHB bullet referenced above. I know the practice was common for the ammunition manufacturers and supposedly accuracy was "minute of torso" in revolvers, but I'm wondering if the under-bore front half of the bullet would ride the lands nicely, with the base blowing out enough for a bore-seal, but no so much that it would shuttlecock at the muzzle, given the low pressure loads I'm using? AT that rate, I could nearly use .357 Mag cases, though I'd have to check length against the chamber cast. The Devil's always in the details...
    John Wells in PA

    Peabody's and Peabody-Martini's wanted
    Also shoot a 10-PDR Parrott Rifle in competition

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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