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HBWC from .38 brass OK in .357 chamber?

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zanemoseley
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HBWC from .38 brass OK in .357 chamber? Empty HBWC from .38 brass OK in .357 chamber?

Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 12:23 pm

If any comes into "in stock" status, I was thinking of getting some Atlanta Arms .38 Special HBWC ammo to try in my .357 revolver.  Is there any problem with the hollow skirt running through the unsupported part of the chamber with this combination? 

I have a Model 19 with nice, tight lock-up that I can't get the groups I'd like from (mostly shoot my handloads).  Not sure if it's the ammo, the gun or just the monkey behind the trigger.  (Spoiler alert:  It's probably me that's at fault!)  I figured the easiest thing to control for would be to buy some good target ammo.

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Post by DA/SA 4/15/2022, 1:32 pm

I have two 15's and a 19. The 19 is the best shooter using .38 HBWC or SWC.
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Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 2:00 pm

DA/SA wrote:I have two 15's and a 19. The 19 is the best shooter using .38 HBWC or SWC.
Thanks.  I see Federal has Gold Medal 148 WC ammo in stock.  They're not clear on whether that's a hollow base, but I suppose yes.  Shipping a few boxes of that may be the easiest way to go.

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Post by zanemoseley 4/15/2022, 2:20 pm

Dang they're getting $50 a box now! Last box I bought as reference for reloads were $30 of course that was Summer 2019 prices.

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Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 2:24 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Dang they're getting $50 a box now! Last box I bought as reference for reloads were $30 of course that was Summer 2019 prices.
I'm seeing $20 for Federal.  Before shipping, of course.

https://federalammunitions.com/product/federal-gold-medal-38-special-ammo-148-grain-match-wadcutter/

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Post by DA/SA 4/15/2022, 2:26 pm

That's a scam site right there!

Run!!
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Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 4:36 pm

DA/SA wrote:That's a scam site right there!

Run!!
I thought that logo at the top of the page looked kinda dorky!  Lucky I didn't proceed to checkout.  Shocked

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Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 4:44 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Dang they're getting $50 a box now! Last box I bought as reference for reloads were $30 of course that was Summer 2019 prices.
That's a bit steep.  At over a dollar a round shipped, I guess I'll keep plugging away with my handloads a little longer.  I just received some Missouri Bullets coated DEWCs.  I'll bottle up some Titegroup or HP-38 with those and see how it goes.

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Post by zanemoseley 4/15/2022, 5:02 pm

Buck13 wrote:
zanemoseley wrote:Dang they're getting $50 a box now! Last box I bought as reference for reloads were $30 of course that was Summer 2019 prices.
That's a bit steep.  At over a dollar a round shipped, I guess I'll keep plugging away with my handloads a little longer.  I just received some Missouri Bullets coated DEWCs.  I'll bottle up some Titegroup or HP-38 with those and see how it goes.

Aren't all Missouri bullets cast? If you're looking for better results try some swaged HBWC from someone like Zero bullets.

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Post by Wobbley 4/15/2022, 6:14 pm

One of the most accurate guns I own is a Colt Python 357 when shot with FederalmWadcutters.  I have targets with lots of Xs at 25 yards with that combo.
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Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 10:51 pm

zanemoseley wrote:
Aren't all Missouri bullets cast? If you're looking for better results try some swaged HBWC from someone like Zero bullets.  
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1021120064

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Post by Buck13 4/15/2022, 10:55 pm

My next question would be whether better accuracy would come from putting those in .357 brass to avoid the gap between the .38 case and the throat, or to use .38 brass to minimize the powder-forward/powder-back variation?  Will the propellant gases burn the coating off the rear sides of the bullet as it crosses the gap and they flood around it?

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Post by Wobbley 4/15/2022, 11:57 pm

I tried that in my Python.  At the time I was loading 3.5 Unique in 38 Special so I tried 4.5 Unique in 357 cases.  No difference in accuracy.
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Post by Allgoodhits 4/16/2022, 8:52 am

Theory and science are worth considering, however, there have been a hundreds, perhaps thousands of very good targets and winning scores fired using .38 Spl wadcutters fired out of Pythons, Troopers, Security Six's, Model 19s, 66s, 586s, 686s, 27s, 28s and other .357 magnum revolvers. 

ZERO, Precision Delta and load quality ammo in .38 spl. Reloading .38 spl WC is also pretty forgiving. As long as the brass isn't over worked, seated about flush +/-, not excessively crimped, use a fast burning powder such as W231, WST, BE, 700X and a few others, and the load is in the mid 700+/- fps range then quality reloads are pretty easy to come by. Personally, I like HBWC by Zero, SPEER or Precision Delta, but I am sure there are others. I also prefer, lead and lubed. DEWC work well to, my experience that like going a little faster, closer to 800 fps. Then there are the HiTek coated bullets. My experience they shoot well, but my results reveal they like going a even faster. I have not found any copper coated or copper washed bullet that shot as well as any of the aforementioned.

Good luck in your quest.
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Post by Buck13 4/17/2022, 11:10 pm

zanemoseley wrote:
Aren't all Missouri bullets cast? If you're looking for better results try some swaged HBWC from someone like Zero bullets.  
Sorry, if you meant cast vs. swaged, I guess you're correct.  I'm accustomed lately to people saying "cast" for cast and lubed, and "coated" for cast and plastic coated.  These are cast and coated.

And, I think they may be garbage.  These do not appear to be strictly double-ended. Either they are made with a button-nosed wadcutter mold, or the sprue end of the mold is cut so erratically that the ends come out differently. One end of each bullet is formed consistently, but the other end is erratic. I grabbed a few bullets at random from the box for photos. It's clear that one end is not square and consistent.

I've loaded a couple dozen but have not fired them yet. These do not appear to be target-grade bullets, but that remains to be seen in practice.
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Post by Jon Eulette 4/17/2022, 11:32 pm

Those are double end bevel base bullets: I believe that’s right name. I’ve shot them before and they shot fine. You just need the right diameter for your revolver.
My semi autos did not like them. Too fat for the bore. Bore 0.355 and bullets were 0.358.
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Post by BE Mike 4/18/2022, 8:00 am

I cannot even guess how many .38 SPL HBWC were fired from .357 Mag. revolvers when revolvers ruled in law enforcement. A lot of these cartridges were used in PPC matches, as well as, qualifications. They were very accurate in revolvers and pistols. The only issue is that the bullets in these are soft swaged lead bullets which tend to leave lead in the bore and charging holes of the cylinder. That isn't a problem as long as the revolver is thoroughly cleaned after each outing. If not cleaned thoroughly, the charging holes can have a build up of residue just in front where the .38 SPL cartridge case mouth is in the cylinder. It can build up to the point that .357 Mag. ammo cannot be completely inserted into the charging holes. Put in the elbow grease to keep the revolver clean and you can happily shoot those .38 SPL HBWC rounds to your heart's content. Another plus is that it's far easier on the revolver to use those than the magnum ammo! Zero and Precision Delta bullets were some top bullet choices for reloaders involved in PPC competitions. Atlanta Arms has a very good reputation for producing top quality ammo. I've only used their jacketed 9mm ammo.
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Post by Buck13 4/18/2022, 8:12 am

Jon Eulette wrote:Those are double end bevel base bullets: I believe that’s right name. I’ve shot them before and they shot fine. You just need the right diameter for your revolver.
My semi autos did not like them. Too fat for the bore. Bore 0.355 and bullets were 0.358.
Jon
Were yours so irregular at one end?  Some of these are visibly not square, and/or have a little flange of lead/coating sticking out over the bevel on one side.  I'm really doubting that they're going to fly well.  God help you if you loaded them with that funky end down.  Surely the exit from the muzzle with one side venting so much earlier would be chaotic.  After the first couple of bullets, when I noticed how weird one end looked, I loaded them with the good base down.

I've never purchased full wadcutters before except in .429 (a SAECO #944 mold, conventionally lubed).  No other cast bullets I've bought have this much irregularity.  I've seen plenty of photos of full wadcutters on Castboolits, etc, and many of the bullets in the box I got look like someone's rejects.  Some guy in his garage sure did a better job on these:
https://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?229092-Love-my-38-wadcutter-want-help-info-on-44-or-45-full-wadcutters&p=2607662&viewfull=1#post2607662

Frankly, I'm planning to call Midway to complain.

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Post by Buck13 4/18/2022, 11:01 am

If you guys are hinting that I don't know that wadcutters are the ne plus ultra target bullet, at least out to 50 yards, that is not the problem! 

I'm not saying I doubt wadcutters, I'm saying I doubt THESE wadcutters, because they all have an end that is not even close to perfectly formed.  But we'll see when I shoot them.

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Post by Jon Eulette 4/18/2022, 11:14 am

Whenever I run across substandard bullets, I use them for training or to function fire because I’m not concerned with grouping. Some pistol drills are not accuracy dependent. So I would just go shoot them and let the results steer your direction for use. 
I once ordered some bullets from a reputable bullet maker. The bullets were cast at too low of a temperature and were heavily wrinkled; poorly cast to say the least. For the hell of it I Ransom rested the bullets. 1.75” at 50 yards. Proved to me how forgiving the 45 acp cartridge is. 
38 special revolver is always a crap shoot with cast bullets. I’ve always had great results with HBWC.
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Post by BE Mike 4/18/2022, 12:28 pm

Yes, those coated bullets you have look like crap for serious shooting. Get some that are uniform. Hollow base have been the gold standard, but many folks get good accuracy from solid wadcutters. Coated bullets may not be as accurate as lead bullets in your gun, but they don't smoke as much and don't lead like swaged bullets.
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Post by Wobbley 4/18/2022, 1:42 pm

Is that the bullets or the coating?  One of the final steps in coating is to size the bullets after coating.  This tends to establish a decent base at the bevel.  Since you’ll have to feed these bullets manually anyway, I’d look at each and determine the squarest base and load that towards the powder.
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Post by Buck13 4/18/2022, 10:33 pm

Wobbley wrote:Is that the bullets or the coating?  One of the final steps in coating is to size the bullets after coating.  This tends to establish a decent base at the bevel.  Since you’ll have to feed these bullets manually anyway, I’d look at each and determine the squarest base and load that towards the powder.
I thought at first that it might be just the coating plastic.  It's actually lead.  One of the little flanges shaved in the die, and another I pared down barely with a pocket knife.  Nice shiny lead there, where it shouldn't be.

Looking more closely at the photo on Midway's website they're clearly supposed to be button-nose wadcutters, not true double-enders, although the lube-grooves are symmetrical around the middle of the bullet.  But in the box I got, the edges of the little button are sloppy.  Definitely seems like the casting went badly.

Since the true base of the bullet is no worse than expected, I'll try some of them out.  I'm a pretty terrible shooter, so I may have trouble seeing the difference.

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