Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

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Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by beeser on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:23 pm

While loading a .38 Special wadcutter with the bullet flush with the case mouth is there a potential problem with the case overlapping the bullet.  It would seem to me that it might depending on the amount of overlap.

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by jell-dog on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:49 pm

By "overlapping the bullet" do you mean seating the bullet below the case mouth?
Or do you mean the roll crimp on case is "over" the bullet?
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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by beeser on Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:07 pm

jell-dog wrote:By "overlapping the bullet" do you mean seating the bullet below the case mouth?
Or do you mean the roll crimp on case is "over" the bullet?
jell-dog
What I mean is, if you seat the bullet flush with the case mouth and then apply a too aggressive taper crimp will the bullet ...
1)  Recede a little further back in the case?
2)  Form too much of a taper thereby preventing the bullet to exit as it should?

If so, it seems to me that it would be better to seat the bullet a little short of the case mouth.

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by Virgil Kane on Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:18 pm

I have found that just enough crimp to remove the flare the best for accuracy, doesn't make any difference if the WC is located flush or slightly above the case mouth. I seat my 38WC so that there is about a business card thickness of lead just above the case mouth. If worried about bullet movement you could do the same and crimp on this thin leading edge of the WC. If you are loading for a S&W Model 52 you will have to make sure the cartridges fit in the magazine if you leave a bit of lead exposed above the case mouth.


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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by AllAces on Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:45 pm

Use a Lee factory crimp die as the final stage. If loading for a S&W 52 you will learn how much bullet to leave proud of the brass so the ammo fits I the magazine.

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by james r chapman on Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:34 pm

beeser, never had any issues with deeper seated wc's in .38. a little bits not bad. you do want enough case tension to prevent the rounds from moving forward or backward though. the other suggestions all work.

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by brassmaster on Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:12 pm

All posts have provided good and important info. As the owner of two Model 52s--the most accurate production pistol ever manufactured, I have certainly loaded thousands of .38 special fully seated wadcutters.
You did not indicate if you are loading for a Model 52 or a wheel gun. If loading for a 52, it can be the most aggravating exercise because 52s are notorious for bullet tipping/key holing when hand loaded. Never had any problems with Winchester Super Match or Federal Match factory loads, but reloading can be a hair pulling event. Gil Hebard wrote an excellent article about reloading for the Model 52s and worth the read and would save some hair too. He even said the Model 52 is the most finicky pistol to load for ever produced.
Citizen Kane has provided excellent advice--chamber check every round. When disassembling a 52 for cleaning, that is an excellent time to fasten the barrel on your bench and drop each round in the chamber. If it doesn't easily drop in, set it aside for further attention on your next batch of reloading. Better to learn that a round won't chamber at the bench rather than on the line at a match.

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by beeser on Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:25 pm

brassmaster wrote:All posts have provided good and important info. As the owner of two Model 52s--the most accurate production pistol ever manufactured, I have certainly loaded thousands of .38 special fully seated wadcutters.
You did not indicate if you are loading for a Model 52 or a wheel gun. If loading for a 52, it can be the most aggravating exercise because 52s are notorious for bullet tipping/key holing when hand loaded. Never had any problems with Winchester Super Match or Federal Match factory loads, but reloading can be a hair pulling event. Gil Hebard wrote an excellent article about reloading for the Model 52s and worth the read and would save some hair too. He even said the Model 52 is the most finicky pistol to load for ever produced.
Citizen Kane has provided excellent advice--chamber check every round. When disassembling a 52 for cleaning, that is an excellent time to fasten the barrel on your bench and drop each round in the chamber. If it doesn't easily drop in, set it aside for further attention on your next batch of reloading. Better to learn that a round won't chamber at the bench rather than on the line at a match.
Thanks for reminding me about the Gil Hebard article.  I think it's in The Shooter's Treasury, which I'm reading for the second time.  I'm loading for both the Model 52 and S&W 686.  So far I haven't had any feeding problems with the 52 but all the bullets so far have been seated flush with the case mouth.  I might try running them a little proud as mentioned earlier to see if it creates any problems.  Not exactly germane to the topic but wouldn't it be great if S&W ran production of this gun again?

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by beeser on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:19 am

I read the Hebard article again last night.  It's all there and more.  He even talks about seating the bullet recessed and heavier crimps.  So far I've used 2.7 grains of WST.  I may try Hebard's load of 2.8 grains of Bullseye next.  He also talks about DuPont 5066.  I understand it's discontinued but is there a modern equivalent?

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by Jon Eulette on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:28 am

I have some P5066 and love it. Not much difference between it and BE powder. 2.8 gr of BE works well in my .38 special pistol.
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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by james r chapman on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:52 am

I find WST to be ever so slightly better in my K frame PPC 1-14 GUN

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by Jerry Keefer on Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:22 pm

Here is a side by side comparison of 38spl. HBWC Factory ammo.
The cartridge on the left is Remington. The taper is much longer, leading to a tucked, tight, roll crimp. Those who have studied and measured the Rem HBWC projectile, can make out the tapered nose as the brass is formed around it. The cartridge on the right is made by a  manufacturer no longer in business. This cartridge broke many, many records in PPC revolvers, but it does not preform well in the 52, because of some feeding issues. Notice the crimp and taper is much less, and actually leaves a slight step. The two only vary .005 in length. If you place empty cartridges in most 52 magazines and study the position of each,  it is clear that the tolerance/clearance is a compromise.. Frankly, I think the gun/magazine is engineered on the short side.. It takes very little error in cartridge OAL to cause a round to stall or stick in the magazine. As for bullet tipping, yes it definitely occurs with the 52.. The cause is not hand loaded ammo.. It is the 18.75 to 1 twist ratio. Ridiculously slow for a 38 HBWC. Tight bores do not make for accuracy.. The 52 bore is approx. .355   Too tight..

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by noylj on Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:52 am

Ummm, best crimp I have found is a ROLL crimp and then, one made using the Redding Profile crimp die.
Either crimp over the bullet or into a crimp groove.

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by Jerry Keefer on Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:33 am

The point I am making with comparator view, is the minor differences in ammo, whether factory, or handloads..not detectable with the unaided eye. The cartridge on the right will shoot in a 52 I have on the bench, but will stall or stick in the magazine. The Remington, on the left which has more crimp, and is .005 shorter will run without a stoppage.. That, is a very suttle difference. If, as I suggested, you closely examine the magazines there is very little clearance within, between the cartridge and the magazine wall(s). Polishing, and removing all irregularities from the inside of the magazine, and mirror polishing the followers is a considerable plus..If this gun makes it to Camp Perry, it will not be shooting conventional 38 spl. ammo..

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by james r chapman on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:06 pm

Thank goodness for the revolvers ability to digest EVERYTHING!

picky eaters those m52's...

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by jell-dog on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:27 pm

james r chapman wrote:Thank goodness for the revolvers ability to digest EVERYTHING!

picky eaters those m52's...
I take pride in handloading functional ammo for my 52 Suspect 
And the 52's are SO accurate when shooter does his part What a Face
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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by John on Sat Dec 20, 2014 11:57 pm

Jerry Keefer wrote---"Tight bores do not make for accuracy.. The 52 bore is approx. .355   Too tight.." 

 
I shoot a 1911 38 special--Bore is .356---Remington HBWC will group 1 1/2---1 3/4 inches / 10 shots /
50 yards.  Perhaps not the greatest but OK for me.  Do not know the twist !  About 1/3 of the bullets tip slightly at 50 yards.   John


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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by james r chapman on Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:11 am

jell-dog wrote:I take pride in handloading functional ammo for my 52 Suspect 
And the 52's are SO accurate when shooter does his part What a Face
jell-dog

We don't get no stinkin' alibi's in PPC..... santa

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by jell-dog on Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:30 am

No alibis, a shot with my 52 that results in a "flyer" is shooters falt, not my pistols falt 


Last edited by jell-dog on Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by Jerry Keefer on Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:35 am

John wrote:Jerry Keefer wrote---"Tight bores do not make for accuracy.. The 52 bore is approx. .355   Too tight.." 

 
I shoot a 1911 38 special--Bore is .356---Remington HBWC will group 1 1/2---1 3/4 inches / 10 shots /
50 yards.  Perhaps not the greatest but OK for me.  Do not know the twist !  About 1/3 of the bullets tip slightly at 50 yards.   John


John,
That's very good..If you are happy with that, I wouldn't change a thing. The reason I say that tight is a detriment is,  bullet distortion plays a significant role in accuracy. S&W 41 s are notoriously tight.. Many in the .214 area..It has been proven on countless bench rest guns, year after year, that .217 is a better choice.   The bullet distortion is readily apparent on slugs when examined with magnification in side by side comparisons. There are numerous factors that contribute to accuracy. Bore diameter is just one. Land to groove ratio is another. Twist has a very big role, and if your 148s are tipping, it is reasonable to assume that your twist is to slow. For years, we comsumed approx. 25 to 30 thousand 148s per year, out of 10 and 12 twist .357 bore barrels.. No tipping and accuracy averaged one inch with the better guns going under an inch..Jimmie Clark, one of the very first to convert 1911s to .38 spl. advocated 10 twist
 barrels.
Jerry

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

Post by LenV on Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:28 am

I don't know why John would want to change anything. I sometimes score for John and I think it is closer to a half that tumble then 1/3. And every single one of them seems to tumble towards the next higher ring. I think he has them trained. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Potential problem loading .38 Special wadcutters?

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