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Reloading 32 S&W Long Wadcutters

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Reloading 32 S&W Long Wadcutters Empty Reloading 32 S&W Long Wadcutters

Post by Reloading_Newb 5/6/2023, 1:38 pm

Hi All,
I'm a new reloader that started with various 32 caliber revolver loads (just plinking) and things have went well with various JHP and Lead RN reloads but I enjoy shooting wadcutters so I've recently tried reloading some but it hasn't went well. I am hoping for some advice to create some shootable 32 S&W Long wadcutters for plinking (not competition), preferably using the equipment that I have but I am willing to buy some additional equipment, if necessary. 

I'm using a Lee Single Stage Press with Lee Carbide 32 S&W Long dies. New PPU brass, CCI 500 primers, Missouri Bullet Company .313 98grain DEWC with a starting load of 1.8grain of TiteGroup. The actual load recipe calls for a 98 grain Speer LHBWC but I've read that I can use these interchangeably and thought it would be safe by starting at the lowest charge (please let me know if you disagree). My issues/questions:
  • Expander die/Bullet Seating die- I wasn't sure how much to flare so I created a similar flare to my other JHP/RN rounds and I tried using the standard bullet seating die which is not flat and it didn't go well. The bullet only went in a short way and the brass seemed to catch in the first groove (looks almost like it's crimped). 
  • On my second attempt, I flared the case a bit more and (on advice I read on another forum), tried using the expander die to seat the bullet and it did seat to the appropriate depth but I see lead shavings and even some flakes of brass around the edges.



I've read on this forum about custom Lee dies but not sure if that's only for serious, competitive reloading or it's needed in general for wadcutters. I do apologize if my limited understanding of this subject is too basic for this forum but as they say, we all have to start somewhere. Thank you all in advance for any guidance!


-David

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Post by WesG 5/7/2023, 10:20 am

Photoescape. Linked above.

Get the appropriate powder thru expander, and the die body for it.

I'm working my way towards using this method for any and all lead bullets I'll be loading. The biggest problem being 358 bullets in 9mm for a revolver.

WesG

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Post by NuJudge 5/7/2023, 11:37 am

I believe most of us talking here about reloading the .32 S&W-L, are shooting most of them through a European semi-auto with .314" groove diameter, and shooting very soft and longer swaged HBWC.  You are shooting them through a revolver, and shooting harder-but-shorter cast flat based wadcutters, so you have some additional/different concerns.  

For revolvers, certain dimensions are critical.  Amongst those dimensions are the cylinder throat ID, as well as the barrel groove diameter.  Probably what would be best is the bullet being tight in the cylinder throat but able to be pushed through, and the barrel groove diameter being the same or slightly smaller.  Also, it is important that each cylinder throat should line up with the barrel (rarely a problem).  What would be bad always is the bullet being significantly smaller than the throat diameter (allowing bullet tipping) and/or the groove being bigger than the bullet diameter (allowing gas blow-by).  Some other dimensions are useful to know, such as the ID of the case after firing, and how much bigger than that was The the flat based wadcutter OD (telling you how much sizing down/expanding up you need).  You need the ID of your case to grip the bullet and keep it from telescoping into the case, which might result in much higher pressures.  You do not usually want the ID of the case to grip the bullet really hard, especially with a really soft swaged bullet, as the hard grip will probably act to swage the bullet smaller, maybe too small for your cylinder throats or our barrel groove diameter.  

Try gently pushing one of your bullets through all 6 cylinder throats.  I expect slight differences, but they should not be really loose.  If they don't match, you determine your revolver cylinder throat diameter by using an assortment of pin gauges.  I have not pin gauged many .32 revolvers, but would not be surprised to see anything from .309" to .315".  I would not trust measurements of bullet diameters with a vernier caliper, trusting only a micrometer.

NuJudge

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Post by WesG 5/7/2023, 12:28 pm

My 16-4 32 HR  has .314 cylinder throats. Leads like crazy with a typical .312 bullet. At some point I'll try larger. Maybe just HBWC and call it done. If the brass will work ...

My 929 9mm is .358, .3575 bore. Same problem. A late 70's Browning HP slugs at .357, but the .358 reloads won't chamber ... Mad Oh well, I can't see the teeny 'Tangent' sights anyway.

44's:
M29-2, .433. 29 Classic & 696, .429 OM Super Blackhawk, .432. Ruger Silhouette, .432. Colt New Frontier 44 Sp, .434. My original RCBS expander was .426, the newer Redding .428/.432.

45's:
3rd Gen SAA, .457. Boxed Commemorative, .455. RCBS expander .4485.

2 Ruger Blackhawk 30 Carbine, both .309.

So for most of these, I'd need a custom mold, or swage HB's of some type, assuming they'd chamber. I haven't measured. I pretty much don't shoot them anyway, and several are already gone ...

WesG

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Post by Reloading_Newb 5/7/2023, 3:08 pm

NuJudge wrote:I believe most of us talking here about reloading the .32 S&W-L, are shooting most of them through a European semi-auto with .314" groove diameter, and shooting very soft and longer swaged HBWC.  You are shooting them through a revolver, and shooting harder-but-shorter cast flat based wadcutters, so you have some additional/different concerns.  

For revolvers, certain dimensions are critical.  Amongst those dimensions are the cylinder throat ID, as well as the barrel groove diameter.  Probably what would be best is the bullet being tight in the cylinder throat but able to be pushed through, and the barrel groove diameter being the same or slightly smaller.  Also, it is important that each cylinder throat should line up with the barrel (rarely a problem).  What would be bad always is the bullet being significantly smaller than the throat diameter (allowing bullet tipping) and/or the groove being bigger than the bullet diameter (allowing gas blow-by).  Some other dimensions are useful to know, such as the ID of the case after firing, and how much bigger than that was The the flat based wadcutter OD (telling you how much sizing down/expanding up you need).  You need the ID of your case to grip the bullet and keep it from telescoping into the case, which might result in much higher pressures.  You do not usually want the ID of the case to grip the bullet really hard, especially with a really soft swaged bullet, as the hard grip will probably act to swage the bullet smaller, maybe too small for your cylinder throats or our barrel groove diameter.  

Try gently pushing one of your bullets through all 6 cylinder throats.  I expect slight differences, but they should not be really loose.  If they don't match, you determine your revolver cylinder throat diameter by using an assortment of pin gauges.  I have not pin gauged many .32 revolvers, but would not be surprised to see anything from .309" to .315".  I would not trust measurements of bullet diameters with a vernier caliper, trusting only a micrometer.

I tried your advice about gently pushing the bullet through the cylinders. I started with the Ruger SP101 in 327 Magnum and it was quite a tight fit. I definitely had to use more than gentle force to push it through although the bullet doesn't seem deformed nor is the coating marked or damaged. Not sure if I should proceed or is it not recommended for shooting in this particular revolver?

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Post by Reloading_Newb 5/7/2023, 3:54 pm

Maybe that is fine. Lee recommends going .001 over your jacketed rounds and the Hornady XTP's I use are .312 so maybe the .313 for cast is the right choice and what I consider "gentle" might be different than others. The Hornady rounds fall right through the cylinders easily.

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Post by Reloading_Newb 5/7/2023, 4:45 pm

WesG wrote:Photoescape. Linked above.

Get the appropriate powder thru expander, and the die body for it.

I'm working my way towards using this method for any and all lead bullets I'll be loading. The biggest problem being 358 bullets in 9mm for a revolver.
Do I need the "32 caliber Powder Funnels", "Powder Transfer Unit/Powder Funnel for 32 S&W Long Wadcutter" or both?

I see a lot of posts about the Lee +1 and +2 Dies as well. Do these perform the same function?

Again, I really appreciate all of the guidance. Thank you all again for your patience.

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Post by WesG 5/7/2023, 5:24 pm

I think 32 S&W Long. These are configured a bit different than what I have, 9mm, 38 Sp, 45 ACP. I'm *assuming* they'll work in the Single Stage Powder Die the same way mine do, using one of the included spacers on top.

Not familiar with the Lee + dies, but I'd guess they're basically the same effect as using a bushing die to change neck tension on a rifle case. Depends on the wall thickness as to what you're going to get. I think the expander is a better way to go, plus you need to flare the case anyway.

Not sure on powder charge with the bigger case. Might need a bit more, or maybe even a bit heavier with a slower powder for good results. But you have to start somewhere. A 327 ... I don't think you need to be concerned about blowing it up with ammo like this. Just make sure they leave the barrel before thumbing another one in ;-)

WesG

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Post by NuJudge 5/7/2023, 6:58 pm

Reloading_Newb wrote:
WesG wrote:Photoescape. Linked above.

Get the appropriate powder thru expander, and the die body for it.

I'm working my way towards using this method for any and all lead bullets I'll be loading. The biggest problem being 358 bullets in 9mm for a revolver.
Do I need the "32 caliber Powder Funnels", "Powder Transfer Unit/Powder Funnel for 32 S&W Long Wadcutter" or both?

I see a lot of posts about the Lee +1 and +2 Dies as well. Do these perform the same function?

Again, I really appreciate all of the guidance. Thank you all again for your patience.
There are some shooters that are so blessed with their .38 Special or .32 S&W-L pistol that fired brass drops from the pistol with an ID the same size as a new bullet, particularly the .360 Remington HBWC for the .38 Special.  I am not so blessed with any of my .32 or .38 pistols.  

The powder funnel for a short bullet, the PTU for a long (DEWC or HBWC) bullet, as well as the Lee +1 or +2 FL sizers are all ways to achieve the same thing.  You want the inside of the case to be the same diameter as the bullet, down to the  base of the bullet.  If you are using the Lee +1 or +2 FL die, you have to have uniform brass case thickness, and if you know the brass thickness and pick the right sizer die, you may need to Full Length size and bell the case mouth, but not need to expand, because the case ID is already right.  

If you are not so blessed, you'll probably need to both FL size and expand.  The .32 funnel is intended for short bullets.  The PTU is meant for long (eg WC or HBWC bullets).  

Note that different makes of brass are quite variable, especially wall thickness and where the web starts to get a lot thicker.  A lot of cases intended for Round Nose or SWC bullets gets pretty thick not far below the case mouth, and with such cases if you run an expander intended to prepare for HBWC bullets, you will form this huge belt in the middle of the case, which will prevent chambering.  For .38 Special brass, I assume none of it is compatible with wadcutter bullets if it did not come loaded with wadcutters initially, indicated by mid-case cannelures.  For .32 brass, some makes are compatible with DEWC, some with HBWC, and some with neither.

NuJudge

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Post by Reloading_Newb 5/7/2023, 7:08 pm

NuJudge wrote:
Reloading_Newb wrote:
WesG wrote:Photoescape. Linked above.

Get the appropriate powder thru expander, and the die body for it.

I'm working my way towards using this method for any and all lead bullets I'll be loading. The biggest problem being 358 bullets in 9mm for a revolver.
Do I need the "32 caliber Powder Funnels", "Powder Transfer Unit/Powder Funnel for 32 S&W Long Wadcutter" or both?

I see a lot of posts about the Lee +1 and +2 Dies as well. Do these perform the same function?

Again, I really appreciate all of the guidance. Thank you all again for your patience.
There are some shooters that are so blessed with their .38 Special or .32 S&W-L pistol that fired brass drops from the pistol with an ID the same size as a new bullet, particularly the .360 Remington HBWC for the .38 Special.  I am not so blessed with any of my .32 or .38 pistols.  

The powder funnel for a short bullet, the PTU for a long (DEWC or HBWC) bullet, as well as the Lee +1 or +2 FL sizers are all ways to achieve the same thing.  You want the inside of the case to be the same diameter as the bullet, down to the  base of the bullet.  If you are using the Lee +1 or +2 FL die, you have to have uniform brass case thickness, and if you know the brass thickness and pick the right sizer die, you may need to Full Length size and bell the case mouth, but not need to expand, because the case ID is already right.  

If you are not so blessed, you'll probably need to both FL size and expand.  The .32 funnel is intended for short bullets.  The PTU is meant for long (eg WC or HBWC bullets).  

Note that different makes of brass are quite variable, especially wall thickness and where the web starts to get a lot thicker.  A lot of cases intended for Round Nose or SWC bullets gets pretty thick not far below the case mouth, and with such cases if you run an expander intended to prepare for HBWC bullets, you will form this huge belt in the middle of the case, which will prevent chambering.  For .38 Special brass, I assume none of it is compatible with wadcutter bullets if it did not come loaded with wadcutters initially, indicated by mid-case cannelures.  For .32 brass, some makes are compatible with DEWC, some with HBWC, and some with neither.
Thank you for this detailed explanation. I think that this advice along with some trial and error will help me find a solution that works for me. With everyone's advice so far, I think that I have a good starting point and at least know what I should be looking for.

-David

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