Reloading UKMidSouth Shooters SupplyRepackboxADvertise here
Inline FabricationRotoMetals2Titan ReloadingLee Precision

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Trimming 38 Special Cartridge Cases for Use in a S&W Model 52

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    6

    Trimming 38 Special Cartridge Cases for Use in a S&W Model 52

    On May 8th I bought a Model 52-1. The Specifications list its caliber as “.38 S&W Special for Mid-range Wad Cutter with flush seated bullet only.” The SAAMI 38 SPECIAL MATCH maximum cartridge drawing shows the nose of the bullet protruding .04 from the case. The maximum case length is 1.155-.020 and the maximum cartridge overall length is 1.195.

    Factory ammo and swaged HBWC bullets are currently unavailable so I used what I had. (Winchester cases and primers, 2.7 grains of Bullseye and Lyman 35891 bullets which have a button nose that projects .062. I seated the bullets far enough into the cases so that the overall length was 1.198 and crimped lightly. This was the longest cartridge that the magazines would accept.

    75 rounds were fired and the gun functioned flawlessly. My five shot groups were about 1.5” at 20 yards from a hastily fabricated rest. The next time I go to the range I would like to have better ammunition and a better rest.

    I have never trimmed cases but would like to start. If I trim the cases to 1.135 I can seat the bullets flush and even with the nose protruding my rounds, at 1.197, will fit the magazines.

    My on-line research has befuddled me. Some folks like the Lee Quick Trim System. Unfortunately, the Quick Trim Die in 38 Special is presently on back order. Some like the Lyman Universal Case Trimmer, others say it is junk. I have also read about other manufacturer’s products. The more I read the more confused I become. I do not load rifle cartridges.

    What trimmers have you used? What advice can you give me? I know that I can buy a mold for a flush wad cutter but my Lyman four cavity 35891 mold works very well and casts great bullets.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    alamogunr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    4,130
    Congrats on the 52. I like the Wilson trimmer but have never used it on pistol cases. I think a different type case holder or a spacer is required. I also have a RCBS trimmer but prefer the Wilson.
    John
    W.TN

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Butler, MO
    Posts
    7,610
    I loathe and detest trimming cases for ordinary rounds. Oddly enough, I don't mind doing when converting brass from one cartridge to another.

    Case trimmers are difficult to recommend, be cause almost all of them are different. That being said, all the ones I have used do work.

    I have a Lyman with a universal case holder that works okay, I converted it to use a drill for power trimming. Likewise an old Forrster that I only have one pilot for, I do like the collet case holder. I have also used Lee handheld trimmers, they work fine if the length that Lee sets the stop at works for you. The Lee setup is the least expensive also.

    Myself, I wouldn't bother trimming cases if the deep seated WC works.

    Robert

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master


    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    5,577
    If you taper crimp, the effect of slightly different length cases is minimized. I have never trimmed a pistol case and see no need to.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Posts
    9,091
    When I shot Bullseye pistol we used a Wilson trimmer set up to be run under power, set up vertically in a drill press. The trimmer was set to 1.150" and a trained MTU operator could trim 1000 cases per hour. Once - fired cases were trimmed 100% and thereafter checked in subsequent firings after sizing and decap ping with a 1.155" length gage, sorting sized and decaped cases before tumble cleaning in corncob, and accumulating the long ones in an ammo can until there were enough to trim. The Star Machine was set to meter 3 grains of Bullseye and we loaded only Remington brass with Remington HBWC component bullets and Remington 1-1/2 primers using a profile crimp in a manner similar to the Redding Profile Crimp.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 06-04-2021 at 11:00 AM.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Eureka MT
    Posts
    1,830
    Put your wad cutters in backwards and you can load them flush with the end of the case and crimp if you want.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Posts
    4,510
    I've got a 52-2, and just load it like anything else & go with a taper crimp.
    It isn't the best practice to see just how tight a group you can get, but it speeds up loading practice ammo.
    For the batches of 'be as good as ya possibly can' I just sort out the proper length cases from all the accumulated .38 brass.

    I've got the old school Lyman DEWC mold everybody raved about when the 52s were the 'in' thing. And its great.
    I almost hate to admit it, and it might just be my imagination,,,,
    but the Lee .38 DEWC shoots just as good and sometimes a little better.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Middle of the Mitten
    Posts
    384
    If I trim pistol/revolver ctgs, it is with the Lee System... Fast, Easy, Dummy Proof!!!
    I will look to see if I have an extra 38Spl pilot...

  9. #9
    IMO I've always used the HBWC with a slight roll crimp for my M52 and the Clark .38 on the 1911 frame. Your projectile and powder charge seem perfect.
    Personally, I don't like taper crimps on semi-autos because of the tendency for the HBWC (or BBWC) to move further into the chamber during the semi-auto action.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    12,773
    I dont have a 52 but my 38 spl wadcutter 1911 seems to like a very light roll crimp just over the driving band. Experiment with bullet tensions this can make a difference in these guns. Your 2.7 grns bullseye is the old go to load of NRA bullseye shooters. I run this load with Hornady swaged HBWCs. Stars and national were slightly better but they are out of business now.

    For a trimmer I normally use a redding where the case is turning. Unless its a hard to find pistol case I dont normally trim them. One of the drill press mounted trimmers is faster and easier if large quantities are to be done.

    If your interested I can walk you thru making a mount for a trimmer in the drill press. PM me. One can be made with simple home tools and some wood.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Posts
    9,091
    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Put your wad cutters in backwards and you can load them flush with the end of the case and crimp if you want.
    But accuracy is poor beyond gorilla in the phonebooth distance, You'll never win any matches with them unless they have an award for the most keyholes...
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  12. #12
    I’ve been using a Lyman universal trimmer for about 35 years and it’s served me well. Two suggestions, get the version you can use a drill to power and get the carbide cutter.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    157
    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Put your wad cutters in backwards and you can load them flush with the end of the case and crimp if you want.
    I have done that with bnwc and it works good as long as the speed is low. I have gotten some 1 1/2'' groups at 25 yards bench with 10 shots. I wonted to find out what they would stand at a higher speed and got a nice 3 feet group at 25 yards with some key holes with a wheel gun at 1025 fps. It was good for a few laughs.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Canada, Ontario, Durham region
    Posts
    454
    Wilson trimmer, after market micrometer head replacement for the Wilson OME head from Sinclair International. The straight wall rimmed pistol cases required a “Q-type” case holder.

    Without a taper on the case to jam the case tight into the case holder the Q-Type holder has a tapered square pin that cross pins through the holder behind the case head of a rimmed straight sided case, immobilizing the case so the cutter will cut rather than just spin the whole case in the holder. Mine works perfectly but it was expensive.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Fl.
    Posts
    587
    I have a Hornady L&L trimmer powered by a drill. Works ok but I wouldn’t buy another. Doesn’t produce a perfectly square case mouth unless you lightly lock the case in and then rotate it a couple times while trimming. All the 38 special brass I load gets checked for length and trimmed (if required) ONCE. I recheck length after sizing and haven’t needed to trim any again.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Fl.
    Posts
    587
    Quote Originally Posted by 45DUDE View Post
    I have done that with bnwc ....
    45DUDE,
    Forgive my asking but what’s a ‘bnwc’?
    Also, in an earlier WC thread you posted ‘never load Copper Plated HBWCs in a Model 52’. I asked why but didn’t see a response.

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=Bmi48219;5203794]45DUDE,
    Forgive my asking but what’s a ‘bnwc’?
    Also, in an earlier WC thread you posted ‘never load Copper Plated HBWCs in a Model 52’. I asked why but didn’t see a response.[/QUOTE
    Button nose wad cutter.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master MOA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Concho, Arizona. At home in the White Mountains at last.
    Posts
    1,318
    I use For Forster for all my case trimming both handgun and rifle. Never any issues yet.

  19. #19
    The recommended slight roll crimp does the two things it's supposed to do, IMO. In the semi autos (M52 and the Clark conversions) it reduces any follow-feeding problems and keeps the BBWC or HBWC pellet from prematurely moving out of the case into the chamber. Same with the .32 S&W-L in a semi-auto.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    penna
    Posts
    145
    Shot Models 52-1, and 52-2 for 12 years in a pistol league with range brass unsorted and never did I trim my 38 Special brass. Seated HBWC or DEWC flush with case crimp and shoot.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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