Reload Is A Tight Fit

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sjs

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Messages
171
Just reloaded 36 cases for my NM Blackhawk .357, a new revolver. I used new Starline Brass and checked to make sure they fit in the chambers. I should have checked after loading the first one because they are a tight fit. My chambers will let a .357 Plus gauge pass through but two of them require me to push it through, it will not fall through. A .358 Plus gauge will not pass through.

The case bodies measure .377 in diameter, and fit in my GP100 chambers fine. However, the unloaded new Starline cases measure only .375 in diameter.

In the Blackhawk they require the ejector rod and a bit of pressure to remove them. Two questions.

1. What did I do wrong to cause the body diameter to expand that much?
2. Will the tight fit in the chambers cause dangerous pressure if I fire them? I am sure if I fire them the empty cases will be hard to eject but that is something I can live with. But I don't want to mess around with any dangerous pressure.
 

NikA

Buckeye
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
1,385
I don't think you've done anything wrong at this point but I believe you need to check the diameter of your bullets.

The nominal diameter of a load .357M case at the neck is .379". It will expand a bit when you seat the bullet in the case.

If your bullets are "fat," i.e. >.3575" in diameter, you may have a slight interference fit when loading the cartridges into your cylinder. This is not ideal but should not be dangerous unless you are loading near maximum loads; the firing cycle will swage the bullets down to the proper dimensions.

Ideally, you'd have your cylinder throats uniformed to the point that the .358+ gage is a tight slip fit.
 

sjs

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 22, 2016
Messages
171
Thanks NikA. I loaded Missouri Bullet Co. 180 gr coated bullets and the base measures right at .358, just as they list on the box.

I have a Lee Factory Crimp Die that I did not use on these. Perhaps I should run them all through that and they will come out a bit slimmer.
 

NikA

Buckeye
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
1,385
If you have a pin gage set (sounds like you might), you can GENTLY slip the .379+ gage into the chambers to see if it bottoms out at the taper to the throat. If it does, the FCD probably won't solve your problem because it sounds like the interference point is on the bullet itself.

A solution for future loads would be resizing the bullets to .357 or buying bullets of that diameter.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,784
Hi,

I'd be for looking seriously at the chambers soon, if not first...

When I bought my .357 Mag Blackhawk Bisley, the salesman, a former co-worker (he'd worked as a pistol smith in our shop) told me to put a "Ruger tool" in the kit when I first took it out to shoot. The "Ruger kit" consisted of a piece of dowel rod about 6 inches long and a small hammer to knock "stuck" cases out of the chambers.

That tool got a lot of use: the finish of the chambers was rough enough they looked like they'd been machined with a rock, and even mild .38 Spls would stick. The barrrel wasn't much better. The same loads, in either .38 or .357, functioned perfectly in my GP, which looked like someone had actually spent some time polishing up inside (both chambers and barrel.)

Some amateur gunsmithing in the form of polishing the chambers a lot with 0000 steel wool and whatever metal polish I had at the time did more for the reliability of that gun than any amount of fussing with my loading procedures. Just for a check, we shot a few of my loads thru a buddy's M-66 and 686 Smiths with their factory burnished chambers and the fired cases just fell out.

Just "another thing" to check while you're looking!

Rick C
 

mr surveyor

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
556
I'm having a hard time understanding the issue, and now not sure if the bullet under consideration is jacketed or cast. I don' shoot a lot of jacketed bullets, but I do shoot a lot of cast. My SP-101 was what originally inspired me to take up reloading in early 2011, and since then I'm sure that gun has seen around 1500 rounds with cast bullets in the .3575 - .358 range, Never, ever had an issue with the Ruger. Let me ask one question though : are you sufficiently expanding the case mouth before trying to seat those .358 bullets? An under-expanded case mouth, in my limited experience, can cause two issues - 1. Forcing a cast bullet to be partially resized by the case mouth, resulting in leading (among other things) 2. Forcing the fat bullet into an under expanded case mouth can cause very slight to even sever brass buckling.

I'm sure there's other here with a better grasp of that concept than me.


jd

forgot to mention the main point I was getting to ... even the slight, almost imperceptible buckling can cause major loading issues (as in loading the gun)
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,784
mr surveyor said:
Let me ask one question though : are you sufficiently expanding the case mouth before trying to seat those .358 bullets? An under-expanded case mouth, in my limited experience, can cause two issues - 1. Forcing a cast bullet to be partially resized by the case mouth, resulting in leading (among other things) 2. Forcing the fat bullet into an under expanded case mouth can cause very slight to even sever brass buckling.

I'm sure there's other here with a better grasp of that concept than me.

Hi,

I first became aware of the importance of a proper flare with a 9mm and the ammo a friend was loading for it a few years back. Cast bullets made his ammo look like the proverbial "snake ate the gopher" profile and few would even chamber. I was surprised at how little "extra" flare it took to make his recipe work like a charm. A little finesse in starting and seating the bullet can do a lot toward allowing the bullet to "self center", too.

Rick C
 

Dan in MI

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
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Aug 9, 2003
Messages
2,753
On the flip side of the flare issue is improper seat/crimp adjustment.

Where do they get tight? Do they all do it at the same point?

Does factory ammo fit?

Personally I'd start with verifying the ammo. If the crimp starts before the bullet is fully seated it will buckle/bulge the cause causing the described issue.
 

kwh

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
81
I had the exact problem with my Ruger Sp101. Cases that would be too tight for my Ruger would fit fine in my S&W mod 19-3. After much head scratching and anguish I found that the Lee FCD would fix the problem. Problem also should be fixed by polishing or reaming the Ruger's overly "tight" chambers.
My reloads were not the problem. It really was the gun.
 

Bad Barlow

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 3, 2022
Messages
160
One other possibility I don't think was mentioned.. seating a slightly large boolit too far into the case so that it goes into the area where the web thickens.
 

Enigma

Hunter
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
2,028
On the subject of bullet seating and crimp... if the cases are not all the same length and the ammo is roll-crimped, the crimps will be uneven. It is conceivable that some cases are long enough to cause a slight bulge at the crimp, which can make chambering the cartridge(s) difficult. IMHO, that is THE ONLY reason to trim revolver brass, is to insure square case mouths and identical length brass.
 

Biggfoot44

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
681
You have tight chambers and/ or leade and/ or throat . Possibly near minimum spec , possibly undersize . Are we correctly presuming that at least some factory ammo fits acceptably ?

* Usually * there is sufficient clearance in most guns , for ammo loaded with most casings , loaded with mainstream dies , using typical bullets of usual diameters . But min spec ( or undersize) chamber spec plus max spec ammo can have issues of tolerance stack .This can be addressed from either direction , or both .

Break out the micrometer and pin gages and measure everything .

The FCD is a piece of specialized equipment to deal with this , experement .

Try bullets sized to .357 instead of the usually preferred .358 .

Try different brands of brass .

OR , polish chambers and/ or ream throats .
 
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