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.38 Special bullet seating
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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 03:47 AM
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Shadow
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I'm stumped.  :confused:  

Just picked up a 500 count of .38 special 158 grain Lead round nose bullets.  An example is in the photo below. Sorry picture isn't too good, and too big. 




The bullet has a recess or indention which you can barely make out about 1/4 from the top.  I'm guessing that is the seating depth so that the crimp can be done into the recess.  I seated one just for practice and then measured with calipers.  It is too short when seated to the recess and crimped, when compared to the minimum overall lengths with the powders I have. The minimum OALs coming from the Lee Modern Reloading Book. 

For example, the practice round measures 1.471 inchs when seated to the recess. Or what I think is proper seating depth for this type of lead bullet. For the powders I have the min OAL's for 158 grain lead bullets are as follows:

Universal - 1.475
Titegroup - 1.475
Accurate #2 - 1.481
Trail Boss - 1.475
IMR 700X - 1.475
(taken from Lee Modern Reloading Manual for 158 grain lead bullets)

There are some powders that have a min OAL of 1.440 which would work with these bullets but i don't have any of those powders.  And I'm worried about the pressure if I seat these bullets beyond the min OAL.  These look to be standard 158 grain lead bullets, and I can't imagine that they only work for certain powders.  But is that the case?  Am I only going to be able to use these bullets with Bullseye, and like powders, which has a min OAL of 1.440?  One option is to not seat to the recess, but some of the manuals say that's not a good idea because  the bullets can get loose during firing without a good crimp.  Not sure what to do.

One of these days I'm going to give something back to the forum, but for now all I got is questions.  :banghead:

Any help appreciated, and thanks guys.

Terry








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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 04:08 AM
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Rockydog
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Terry, In my book .004 isn't enough to worry about. That's why we start low and work up with most powders. It's not the OAL that always counts either. Depending on the ogive of the bullet some can seat substantially farther into the case than others. With a big fat nose like the one on your bullet it will seat to much less depth than a longer slimmer nose seated to the same OAL. With handguns it's the space left in the case or rather the lack of space that adds pressure in most instances, especially with a revolver as you can't seat a bullet too long as long as you can still turn the cylinder. Not like jamming a bullet into the lands on an auto. .38s are rather forgiving anyway. As long as you are not starting with max loads you should be just fine.  RD



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 04:41 AM
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A pause for the COZ
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Yea I went and looked at my LEE book. What they are giving you is a load that they used. But their Bullet details are just generic "158 gr lead". They dont really go into profile detail at all.

Thats why I never understood their assertion of never exceed Minimum OAL.
How the heck do they know what bullet I am using?
Like you I found that confusing at first. kept thinking I was doing some thing wrong.
I still use that book as the data is good other wise. it gives a usable load for a generic bullet profile and with some powders no one else has listed.

Just stay out of max load area and work up you will be fine. Besides I dont have any gun yet that shoots better at max loads. All mine group best under max.

Most of my cast loads are the Lyman profiles from their molds. And just so happens the Lyman books list their loads with the mold #'s they used.
When i use my mold# 358156 and it states OAL as 1.460. I set mine up that way and I match their velocity pretty much right on.

Hmmm just thinking. I use a LEE mold for some of my 158 gr bullets. I should measure them for OAL and see if thats what they did.

Other than fitting the chamber. Out side the case is not the big deal. its how much of the bullet is inside the case that counts. I measured all my 358 bullets and all the one I had of the same weight regardless of profile measured the same from crimp groove to base of the bullet.
That way I know the Lyman load details will work the same with the LEE bullets of the same weight. At least my Velocities have been the same.

Last edited on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 04:56 AM by A pause for the COZ



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 11:48 AM
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Charley
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Crimp groove. What they said about OAL and seating depth. No sweat.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 01:08 PM
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Just because it has a crimp groove doesn't mean you MUST crimp it there.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 01:54 PM
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Paul B
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Plainsman wrote:
Just because it has a crimp groove doesn't mean you MUST crimp it there.

Absolutely! :thumbs: Dunno who designed that bullet but I'd fire him if he worked for me.:shameon:
JMHO, but the lube groove and crimp groove are located a bit too high on that bullet. :sad: You can crimp below that crimp groove to give you the OAL you're comfortable with and it shouldn't hurt a thing. I'd be very uncomfortable shooting that bullet even with the fast burning powders if I had to crimp in the groove. If you use the groove, just start low and carefully work up. You should be OK.
Paul B.

Last edited on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 01:55 PM by Paul B



 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 03:43 PM
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swampshooter
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Shadow, I would shoot those bullets, but order a different bullet next time. Just use a light load. 3.2 gr. of Bullseye or the equivalent would be about right.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 04:14 PM
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Shadow
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Gentlemen, thanks for the responses.  Feel better about using these bullets. At first, thought I was dead in the water with them.  Good information, and going to load some up this weekend.  

Thanks again,   :beer:

Terry 



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 04:22 PM
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I go along with Swampshooter: shoot these up on your "learning curve" and then get a different bullet. The 158 grain roundnose is just about the most ineffective bullet around for the .38/.357 family of cartridges. Not the most accurate either.

I would recommend a 148 grain wadcutter (BB, HB, or DE) for target and even small game, and something on the order of a 150-165 grain Keith-style semi-wadcutter design (either solid or HP) for general purpose use.



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 Posted: Fri Feb 24th, 2012 05:54 PM
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lee just reprints data from other sources.
it's pretty generic.
it's a handy reference to see if a powder you have on hand has been used by somebody in that cartridge.
i like to look in the lee book, and then go find whose data it really is,then i can see what components were used to get it.
even if you cast your own hard data is not always found,so you have to look at bearing surface and how much room the boolit takes up in the case and use that to determine a starting point.



 Posted: Sat Feb 25th, 2012 12:43 AM
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jjb2
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Charley wrote: Crimp groove. What they said about OAL and seating depth. No sweat.

yep....  3.2 gr. bullseye is my model 27's favorite load in .38 spl cases.....

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 Posted: Sat Feb 25th, 2012 12:46 AM
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jjb2
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Plainsman wrote: I go along with Swampshooter: shoot these up on your "learning curve" and then get a different bullet. The 158 grain roundnose is just about the most ineffective bullet around for the .38/.357 family of cartridges. Not the most accurate either.

I would recommend a 148 grain wadcutter (BB, HB, or DE) for target and even small game, and something on the order of a 150-165 grain Keith-style semi-wadcutter design (either solid or HP) for general purpose use.


yep.....     i use the lyman 358477 mould...  casts beautiful 150 gr swcs............

 

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 Posted: Sat Feb 25th, 2012 12:48 AM
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Plainsman wrote: Just because it has a crimp groove doesn't mean you MUST crimp it there.

yep..... a lee factory crimp die is nice have..........

 

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 Posted: Sat Feb 25th, 2012 12:50 AM
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Charley wrote: Crimp groove. What they said about OAL and seating depth. No sweat.

yep.......

 

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 Posted: Wed Feb 29th, 2012 02:11 AM
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I'll disagree about ordering another bullet next time....with fast powders and low velocity loads, you may find that this bullet shots fine....or even exemplary in your firearm(s). In fact, this bullet looks suspiciously like some that shoot really well in my 38s. More important than location of the crimp groove is lead hardness, lube, etc., etc.

While I'm a fan of Lee's factory crimp die, I'm not a huge fan of their loading book. As the other posts above note, it's a compilation of better-researched load books. What drives me nuts is that there's some important info missing, such as barrel length, twist, and so on. Lee's manual should never be your only source of data.

As runfiverun says, check the Lee manual for general info, then be sure to research elsewhere.



 Posted: Wed Feb 29th, 2012 04:05 AM
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Great information guys. I do try to read other manuals, but I seem to default back to the Lee for some reason.  Habit I've got to break.

Speaking of other sources for research, wanted to follow up a little with this topic.  Got in my order of powder from Midway a couple days ago.  In the box was an advertising/loading manual for Ramshot loading powder.  what was interesting about this periodical was what it says as to C.O.L.  Quoted below from Ramshot Load Guide Edition 4.5,

"Special Note on Cartridge Overall Length 'COL'
It is important to note that the SAAMI 'COL' values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must be seen as a guideline only.
The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as 1) magazine length (space), 2) freebore-lead dimensions of the barrel, 3) ogive or profile of the projectile and 4) position of cannelure or crimp groove."

Out of curiosity, how does this jive with Minimum overall length?  And shouldn't pressure be added to the list, as this would seem to be the major factor in C.O.L.

Curious what you guys think.  Thanks

Terry



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 Posted: Wed Feb 29th, 2012 05:17 PM
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the minimum is just that with thier components.
they are giving you a recipe.
if you seat below the minimum you just decreased the case size.
i.e. you just made a 38 case [volume] out of your 357
other things influence the pressure also.
how thick a case is.
how far the bullet moves before it makes contact with the gun.
how tight the case walls are to the bullet [and a crimp]
how thick the jacket is and how long the bearing surface of the bullet is.
those are all the things on that list and they all affect pressure.
those are the things you control, or will try to match up to your guns dimensions, which changes what load you are gonna use.
if you have to seat your bullets way short to fit your magazine length then you are going to reduce your load to compensate for the loss of case capacity.



 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2012 03:42 PM
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FYI: was looking through one of my old load books:
Lyman, 42nd edition, printed in 1960
38 special load:
158 grain, lead cast w/gas check:
Powder: Hercules 2400 max grains
12.5 gn with velocity of 1240 fps
9.5 gn with velocity of 915 fps

Probably one should be careful
with the max load...pending on the
gun.....the above is very close to 357 magnum
fps and pressures? Guess back in the early 60's,
they were hot rod-ing their 38 special revolvers

This old load book did not list pressures.

Thought this may be of some interest ?



 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2012 06:37 PM
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firedog, I agree. My Lyman 45th Edition (1970) has some recipes in many calibers that seem to presume that firearms are made of some pretty hefty steel. The load you reference is in there. It makes for interesting reading, but I stopped using that manual years ago.

Re: COL - I have, for years, been a little relaxed in my COL. As long as the bullet doesn't stick out the end of my cartridge gauge (a most useful reloading accessory)as well as not out the end of my revolver cylinder, I used the as-designed crimping groove as well as loading data designated for that bullet. Easy to do.

Of course, revolvers are much less picky about COL than semi-auto/magazine handguns. And my rifles were either single-shot or very tolerable about COL as well.

That changed when I began loading for an 1873 Win replica: the loading block simply will not work for cartridges longer than factory COL. And, of course, COL is much more critical for semi-auto handguns.



 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2012 11:46 PM
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I had the same question. Thanks Guys.



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