38 special wadcutter brass

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38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:06 am

I am considering buying a S&W model 52-2, so I started looking at feeding it.  I found a lot of information on reloading for accuracy with the model 52.  I already load 38 special for plinking, but loading for accuracy is apparently a different ball game, starting with using "wadcutter" brass.  I cannot find any information on where to buy the wad-cutter brass.  Any suggestions?

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Jon Eulette on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:13 am

.38 special brass is not 'special' for wadcutter or other bullet types. It's all the same. 
Jon

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Wobbley on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:18 am

The thought here is that wadcutter ammo is loaded with special thinwalled brass.  I have no idea where that notion got its start.  Dimensional analysis seems to indicated that Remington and Winchester don't make special "wadcutter brass".  But they do make "+P" brass which does have internal taper different than their regular 38 special brass.  So just avoid RP and Winchester brass stamped "+P" and you'll be fine for the most part.  

All that said, some brass IS thicker and they might be less than ideal to work with.  

Also, there are differences in wadcutter ammo.  Remington, Winchester, and Federal are the gold standards.  One of those brands should shoot very well in your pistol.  Mag tech is OK as is Sellier and Bellot.  Fiocchi doesn't function in my pistol.  It shoots ok but doesn't function.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by KB2MBC on Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:16 am

Buy 1000 Starline .38 Special cases, they'll last forever, or until you lose them.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by AllAces on Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:19 am

KB2MBC wrote:Buy 1000 Starline .38 Special cases, they'll last forever, or until you lose them.
+++ on Starline.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:16 pm

KB2MBC wrote:Buy 1000 Starline .38 Special cases, they'll last forever, or until you lose them.
The Starline brass would be my preference.  I bought 1000 Starline cases two years ago when I got my first 45 and could not be happier.  So, when I first started thinking about buying a model 52 I intended to buy another lot of Starline casses.  Then I started reading the many articles/posts about "wadcutter" brass (see typical link below).  I have been to several of the manufacturers websites looking for wadcutter brass and there is no mention of it.  I would think that if it exists, they would sell it.  After reading the comments on this forum (which I consider the most knowledgeable when it comes to accurate pistol shooting) I am wondering if wadcutter brass is just regular brass that has been sized differently during the manufacturers loading process as opposed to brass that is made differently.


http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?156622-75-000-Wadcutters-in-a-Model-27

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Wobbley on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:31 pm

If you look at loaded ammo, the wadcutter rounds sometimes have a cannelure in the case just under the bullet.  That is about the only difference.  Buy the Starline brass as you absolutely know its history.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by fc60 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:39 pm

Greetings,

If you have access to a tube micrometer, you will discover that not all brass is the same.

Brass I have measured from once fired Western, Federal, and R-P WadCutter ammo has consistent wall thickness the length of the HBWC bullet.

With R-P brass, my favorite, you sometimes get lucky at a Gun Show or an Estate sale of a shooter. R-P has two cannelures that were rolled into the case after the bullet was seated. You need to carry a factory loaded round for comparison as the old 200 grain service ammo also have two cannelures; but, in a different location.

Service ammo and the +P ammo is thicker in the area from the middle of the case to the head. It will be apparent when you run a case expander designed for HBWC bullets as a bulge will appear in the middle of the case.

Ask around at the local range if any of the old shooters have a stash of once-fired 38 WadCutter brass.

Another source would be a Police range. They used to shoot pallet loads of factory wadcutter ammo in their Police Matches.

I would avoid buying brand new brass unless you can measure it first hand.

Cheers,

Dave




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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by jglenn21 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:04 pm

old Remington was always my favorite for the wife's 52..

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Jack H on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:11 pm

L>R
Remington Targetmaster  (Green box)
Western Super Match  (Yellow box)
Winchester Super X  (Silver box)
Federal Gold Medal Match  (White/blue box)


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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Jon Eulette on Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:37 pm

I used to get 1.5" 50 yd groups with red/white box Federal Match. Really good ammunition. In near future hope to Ransom some new Winchester Super X.
Jon

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:17 pm

Service ammo and the +P ammo is thicker in the area from the middle of the case to the head. It will be apparent when you run a case expander designed for HBWC bullets as a bulge will appear in the middle of the case.


Dave,
I have a couple of newbie questions about your the above reply.

1.  By service ammo do you mean the cases I would buy from Starline?

2.  Will the bulge in the middle of the case affect feeding?

3.  Will the bulge in the middle be eliminated or reduced by a Lee factory crimp die?

4.  By case expander, I assume you mean the die that sizes the case and flares the case mouth to receive the bullet.  Is it like a Lyman M die?

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:19 pm

jglenn21 wrote:old Remington was always my favorite for the wife's 52..
Any idea if the new Remington is the same as the old Remington?  I see Midway USA has a sale on Remington.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by jglenn21 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:39 pm

Sorry don't know about the new Remington brass. 

Mine is all from the early 80s.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by fc60 on Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:12 pm

1.  By service ammo do you mean the cases I would buy from Starline?

I do not use StarLine. You would have to measure the cases first hand.

2.  Will the bulge in the middle of the case affect feeding?

Sometimes the bulge will hamper chambering. This is more noticeable with a tight chamber.

3.  Will the bulge in the middle be eliminated or reduced by a Lee factory crimp die?

The Factory crimp die does reduce the outside diameter of the case. It also squashes the bullet inside.

4.  By case expander, I assume you mean the die that sizes the case and flares the case mouth to receive the bullet.  Is it like a Lyman M die?

I load on a Star. The expander plug is machined to match the length of the wadcutter bullets we load.


Cheers,

Dave

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by LenV on Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:29 pm

I bought new Starline and it works great. I also have a bunch of older Remington cases and they have the same dimensions as the new Remington brass I have from recent DR purchase. When I think of "service brass" I think of used military with crimped primer pockets and sealed. Starline is not service brass.

Len

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:18 am

LenV wrote:I bought new Starline and it works great. I also have a bunch of older Remington cases and they have the same dimensions as the new Remington brass I have from recent DR purchase. When I think of "service brass" I think of used military with crimped primer pockets and sealed. Starline is not service brass.

Len

Thanks for the information regarding service brass.  Starline is sounding better all of the time.

What type of bullet do you use with your Starline brass?  It is cast or swaged?  Does it cause a bulge in the brass?  If so, what do you do to prevent the bulge from causing chambering problems?

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by LenV on Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:48 am

I use the Magnus 148gr HBWC swaged. I have never had a problem with bulging. These are Starline loaded bullets.

My bullet choice #514  http://saas.shopsite.com/magnusbullets/store/page11.html


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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:09 am

Thanks to everyone for your help on loading for the model 52.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by s1120 on Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:23 am

LenV wrote:I use the Magnus 148gr HBWC swaged. I have never had a problem with bulging. These are Starline loaded bullets.

My bullet choice #514  http://saas.shopsite.com/magnusbullets/store/page11.html



I really want to try those one day. Right now im shooting lyman 358495 WC that my dad left me. I started with a few thousand that he casted up back in the 70's. They shoot well out of my model 19...at least as good as I can shoot... but they are a bit undersized having been sized for a 52. When I fire up the mold, ill be sizing them a bit fatter, but I want to try a HB WC for the long line.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Sa-tevp on Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:47 am

I ran across a good discussion on 38 Special brass this morning. A lot of cutting and measuring done.

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_topic.php?id=12334&forum_id=37

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:10 am

Thanks for the link.  It was a very interesting read and good timing for me, since I did buy the model 52 and am in the middle of learning how to make accurate ammo to feed it.  So far I have done the following:
Purchased 500 starline cases
Purchased 500 Hornady HBWC bullets
Purchased a Lymans M die for seating (I already have a Lee 38special 4 die set)
Decided to use HP-38(win 231) powder
   I have made 10 rounds each of 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2g with the HP-38 powder and will be testing them Tuesday.

I am not sure what to do about sizing the brass once it is fired.  The Lee carbide die resizes too small for the HBWC bullet.  Once I see how much the fired case expands I will make a decision.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Sa-tevp on Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:34 am

I size/deprime with a Lee Carbide 38 Super die and expand with a custom .357" diameter M die style expander a friend with a lathe made for me that expands for the full depth of the HBWC (.620" if I remember correctly). Case OD with a Magnus swaged bullet comes out at .377" instead of .375" seen in commercial loads. The Lee sizing die also smooths out the M52 bulge so my loads fit in Colt revolvers also. Using a wooden dowel I haven't been able to push in HBWC by hand after loading flush so case tension seems ok.

The Lee 38 Super sizer is larger than the Dillon 38 Special sizing die I started with. Since I like swaged lead, I use larger sizers and expanders than normal, such as a Hornady 454 Casull to size 45ACP, to make the brass less likely to squeeze my bullets.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by Sa-tevp on Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:37 am

Forgot to add I turned down the bullet seater OD to fit inside the case to prevent accordianing (sp?) the case if the seater goes below flush on the brass.

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

Post by djw1cav on Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:22 pm

Sa-tevp,
Thanks for the tips.  I expect I will be heading in the same direction you have gone.  I never thought about it for the 45, but I use swaged bullets there too.  I probably have been crushing them all along.  That may explain my high SD when I check velocity.    I will be looking into that in the future too.
Thanks again,
DJW 1CAV

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Re: 38 special wadcutter brass

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