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Thread: .38 Special wad cutter sizing and lubing?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    .38 Special wad cutter sizing and lubing?

    Going to cast up some 150 grain dewc next weekend from a Lachmiller mold. I think they will be .360 as cast, will want to size down to .358 and lube only the bottom groove. Can I run them thru my RCBS Lam 2 without lube to completely size them, then a second time adjusted to lube only the bottom groove? I don't have the revolver yet to see if they would chamber as cast. Thanks in advance for your replies, Tom

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Is there any particular reason you want to do this in two steps, rather than do it all in one?

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
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    If you don't have the gun, I would caution against sizing a lubing a large number of bullets.

    When the time comes, you can lube and size in one step. In order to keep the mess to a minimum and and general convenience, I typically don't size/lube bullets until I'm ready to load them.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I really like tumble lube in addition to full greasing, MUCH less smoke. You could also try a few as cast but with T/L

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    It will be twice faster and easier to do at the same time. My Star lube sizer doesn't like a dry boolit. I aloxed an 8 pound batch of dewcs last week to see if the group size is different. 100=about 2 1/8 pound of 148s. I have two Lyman molds and one drops at .361 and the other at .3585 which is good for alox without sizing.
    Last edited by 45DUDE; 03-01-2021 at 12:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    No need to size the bullets smaller before loading. Instead use the Redding Profile Crimp die as a final step.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Bub


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    I would worry that during the second sizing step the “undersized” portion of the WC would allow the bullet to go out of alignment in the sizer and make the WC asymmetrical along it's axis.

    Not mention the loss of bearing surface that normally helps engage the rifling.

    I would size once and then hand dip or pan lube up to the grove your looking for.
    73’s DE
    Matthew

    “Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I do have BLL for tumble lubing. I will see how large they are 'as cast'? I will try them in the Lam 2, and see how it goes? If they don't require sizing, I would prefer the tumble lubing. I don't have a Redding Profile Crimp die at this point for .38 Special. hc18flyer

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    My Saeco DEWCs drop from the mold .360 diameter. I use a 50-50 dilution of Lee Liquid Alox or LSStuff in mineral spirits and give the bullets a light wash all over just enough to turn the bullets a uniform brassy color. I load the bullets as-cast and unsized then use the Redding Profile Crimp die in the last die station on the Dillon.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Bub


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    Pan lubrication will let you use a harder wax if the Alox is too tacky after.
    73’s DE
    Matthew

    “Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Just a thought..before any sizing, I would try unsized bullet for fit in each chamber throat. Throat fit trumps groove dia. for gas cutting prevention & accuracy.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I went through this last year with a Lee 358-148 WC for a Colt Officer's Model Match and a S&W K-14. I went tumble lube with BLL and a Lee .358" push through die. Very much faster and easier than using my LAM.

    Especially if you turn the boolit sizing press upside down and run a piece of 3/4" vinyl tubing from the die to the collection coffee can.

    Another thing that helped me was getting a Lyman M-die, the RCBS expander that I had wasn't expanding the case deep enough to fully seat a WC. The Redding Profile crimp die is also a very nice addition to my conglomeration of .38 Special loading dies.

    Robert

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I will see if I can get a Lee .358 sizer. I do have the RCBS Cowboy expander mandrel which is similar to the Lyman M-die. Midway does have the Redding Profile Crimp die in stock, wish they had other stuff on my wish list. Tom

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Listen to Ed (Outpost75). Bullseye competition shooters for years have known that Remington wadcutters were the best. Size? .360".

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor
    NRA Life Member

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    No need to size the bullets smaller before loading. Instead use the Redding Profile Crimp die as a final step.
    I do have a .357 Magnum Redding PCD, for my Max. I hope it will work on .38 Special? I should have my wc mold this coming weekend. Tom

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I've used Lee push through sizer dies to seat gas checks and then run them through a Lyman 450 to lube. It works and puts less stress on the Lyman.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hc18flyer View Post
    I do have a .357 Magnum Redding PCD, for my Max. I hope it will work on .38 Special? I should have my wc mold this coming weekend. Tom
    It will profile the parallel sides of the case, but probably will not taper or roll crimp .38 Special.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Yesterday I had a chance to cast about 200 of the 150 grain dewc bullets. I sized and lubed some at .359 in my Lam ll. The rest got their first coat of bll. Hope to get some loaded later this week? Thanks for your help, hc18flyer

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    For years I lubesized my wadcutters .358, which worked very well. On Ed's advice, I now just tumble lube, load in unsized cases, and use the Lee FCD as the final step. That system is much easier and faster for me. The guns like the ammo as well as or better than with the lubesized bullets.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I have a unsized group with their 3rd light coating of bll too. I never thought of using unsized cases too? Sunday our weather will be ugly, I will try loading some that way. Thanks for everyone's help, Tom

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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