38 Lead SWC

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Jeff H

Bearcat
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Jul 9, 2009
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I recently picked up some 158 grain LSWC .358 with the intent of loading them in the pile of 38spec brass and maybe the 357 if they don't lead the barrel of my guns (using Bullseye powder).

Question: Being new to this whole reloading thing, I noticed these LSWC have a crimping groove on the bullet. So if I happen to find contradictory info in all the reloading info I have, should I stick with published OAL or seat the bullet to the crimping groove regardless of the actual OAL?
 

Pete

Single-Sixer
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Nov 23, 2001
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B'ham,AL USA
Jeff,you can crimp in the groove or you can crimp over the front driving band.I would follow suggested OAL and especially check a round in your gun before you load a bunch.
I noticed you are loading a LSWC that has a crimp groove,something you may consider next time is the lead bullet made by Hornady.You can crimp it pretty much where you need to and by choosing the correct powder you can drive these bullets to 1100+FPS with no leading.
 

Snake45

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I'd crimp it into the groove, unless that happened to make it too long for my particular revolver. You should be able to "mock up" one and check before you load a bunch up.
 

I_Like_Pie

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I too would personally crimp in the groove and use published loads for that weight bullet.

Reasoning? .38 is an extremely low pressure round and I use a stronger, modern gun to where the reduction in overall length would not translate to any appreciable danger. most target 38 loads with 148 grain bullets are under the 15,000psi mark.

Wouldn't do it for just about any other round, but SWC .38 loads would be no problem.
 

Jeff H

Bearcat
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I loaded a few dummy rounds to check the fit/function and when seating in or around the crimping groove, I was around 1.46ish. In a few different resources I have I see min OAL somewhere around 1.42-1.44 and max cartridge length of 1.55 so I assume I'll be good right where I am at.

Thinking of a final goal of 3.5grains of Bullseye, but maybe starting at 3.2 or so.

I would think that this would be a fairly standard SWC load, but I haven't seen a ton of data on it.
 
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Jeff H":3regfj7b said:
I loaded a few dummy rounds to check the fit/function and when seating in or around the crimping groove, I was around 1.46ish. In a few different resources I have I see min OAL somewhere around 1.42-1.44 and max cartridge length of 1.55 so I assume I'll be good right where I am at.

Thinking of a final goal of 3.5grains of Bullseye, but maybe starting at 3.2 or so.

I would think that this would be a fairly standard SWC load, but I haven't seen a ton of data on it.

It's my standard 38 spcl load and has been for many years; cast 158gn LSWC over 3.5gn of Bullseye. I’ve loaded these by the thousands and shot them in every sort of 38 spcl/357mag with good results. I try to keep a 30 cal ammo can or two full of this load at all times.....don’t like to run short on these.
I always seat them to the crimp grove but use little or no crimp.

Dennis.
 

Rclark

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I'll be good right where I am at.
Yep. Thing is, OAL is not really a big thing in revolvers. What I mean is, most standard weight bullets crimped in the crimping groove will be no problem. The only time you run into OAL problems is 'usually' with 'heavy' bullets which extend further above the case. In these cases it depends on the revolver's cylinder length on whether you can shoot them or not. On the other end, some bullets are meant to be 'flush' with the case mouth which is perfectly fine although looks funny. So really the only concern with OAL is if your cartridge will be usable by the gun you are using.... Bottom Line ... use the crimp groove if there is one :) .

The OAL is more of a concern when reloading for bottom feeders I understand (I don't shoot 'em or load 'em). Could cause feeding problems.
 

I_Like_Pie

Blackhawk
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Rclark...actually there is some truth to those statements, but since the same weight bullets can have different crimp groove locations + loads developed for the resulting case capacity...you can quite easily blow yourself up by totally ignoring OAL with respect to bullets and their respective loads.

The reason it really doesn't matter with .38 is that it is such a low pressure cartridge round with such a large capacity that a dangerous combination is hard to create when referencing loads without regard to specific bullets and OAL.

Try 5 different .44 - 240 grain bullets using max loads without concern for the reduction of case capacity due to changes in OAL and you may very quickly blow up a gun or worse.
 

Yosemite Sam

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I_Like_Pie":2rmtal4l said:
Rclark...actually there is some truth to those statements, but since the same weight bullets can have different crimp groove locations + loads developed for the resulting case capacity...you can quite easily blow yourself up by totally ignoring OAL with respect to bullets and their respective loads.

The reason it really doesn't matter with .38 is that it is such a low pressure cartridge round with such a large capacity that a dangerous combination is hard to create when referencing loads without regard to specific bullets and OAL.

Try 5 different .44 - 240 grain bullets using max loads without concern for the reduction of case capacity due to changes in OAL and you may very quickly blow up a gun or worse.
Even somewhat more esoteric: I was following Speer #13 for .44 Special loads with a 240gr LSWC. The bullet I was using was a gun shop "find", a box made from a local bullet maker who is no longer in business. They were very close to the bullet in the Speer manual in overall size. However, the crimp ring was considerably thicker on these than on the bullets in the manual. I found if I followed the manual's OAL I was seating the bullet such that the crimp ring was below the case mouth, and any crimping bent the case into the ring, not in the hollow. I backed off my seating die just a bit, now I have a 1.540" OAL instead of 1.450.

In this case I'm decreasing pressure so it isn't too much of a concern. I'm not sure I'd increase seating depth by .1" with such caviler abandon, though.

-- Sam
 

Rclark

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... but since the same weight bullets can have different crimp groove locations + loads developed for the resulting case capacity...you can quite easily blow yourself up by totally ignoring OAL with respect to bullets and their respective loads.
You'll notice I didn't say anything about load developed..... I do not recommend 'randomly' moving from bullet to bullet with same 'max' loads.... Your correct, in that would be asking for trouble for sure :eek: . Each 'new' type of bullet needs to 'researched' (loading manuals?) and 'worked up' to max loads -- if that is your bag. Personally, shooting max loads isn't enjoyable ...

That said, the crimp groove is there (in my experience) to be used as such. I've yet to run into a bullet that has a AOL problem using the bullets crimp groove except in higher than normal bullet weights. I did recently load some 180g .357 jacketed bullets that had two grooves which you do have to use properly if loading hot.
 

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