Determining the optimum revolver bullet size?


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Peter M. Eick
October 18, 2008, 04:20 PM
I bought a pin die set recently and now after playing with it I am curious what it is really telling me.

First the basic facts. Using the pin dies, I have determined that most if not all of my pre-war 38/44 HD's are .358 cylinder sizes. I have only one or two individual chambers that are .359. Post-war .359 is more common with a few .358's.

I cannot test the barrel or the leade directly because the pins are too long. I just remembered I own a few barrels so I will go try them.

If the barrel of the 38/44 is .357, I believe that the optimal bullet size would be .358 to match the cylinder size correct? I miked out the lasercast 158's SWC's that are my standard and the average is .3585 so I expect this is near optimal.

Comments and thoughts?

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Galil5.56
October 18, 2008, 04:38 PM
Since the barrel will be the smallest diameter to deal with after the cylinder and forcing cone, what you have said considering the .3585" bullet seems reasonable... Lots of goofy stuff can happen between speculation and putting holes in paper; just the same I have ALWAYS believed bigger is better, and I want the biggest dia bullet I can chamber, and let swaging during firing work out the details.

rcmodel
October 18, 2008, 04:43 PM
It matters not what the bore size is. You want the bullets to closely match the throats.
They will swage down to fit the barrel when you shoot them.

If you have a few .359" holes then a .359 bullet would be ideal if they will chamber.

But since you have .3585" bullets, that should be "nearly" ideal.

rcmodel

Peter M. Eick
October 19, 2008, 09:43 AM
Rcmodel,

That is what I was thinking, that maybe I should try and find a .359 bullet and try them out of a few particular 38/44's. I have one in particular that seems to be so so on the accuracy when compared to the rest of them. I have never really sorted out why which is why I got the pin gauge set. It is one of the guns that has the .359 holes. My best shooters are all .358's.

My current thought is the very hard lasercasts hitting the slightly oversized throats on the cylinder are causing this 38/44 to be less accurate. Thus if I try a software or bigger 158 swc with the same load I should be able to reduce my group size.

Walkalong
October 19, 2008, 12:47 PM
rcmodel has it right. The bullets should fit your throats. With any luck, your throats are all virtually the same (in the same cylinder) and even better still if they are also no more than .001 to .002 over bore diameter. Perfection. A tight slip fit in the throats is ideal.

rcmodel
October 19, 2008, 12:59 PM
My current thought is the very hard lasercastsThere you go!

Many, if not most commercial cast bullets are way too hard, unless you are driving them at max velocity.

A softer bullet will "slug up" to fit the throats at lower pressure, and might be all you need to improve that guns accuracy.

The commercial casters seem to use too hard an alloy for two reasons.

First, the auto-caster machines run better with it.

Second, we have been brainwashed over the years to believe "hard cast" bullets are far superior, and so that is what we want to buy, even for light loads.

Truth be known, most of us would be better served with softer bullets then we can buy.

rcmodel

Walkalong
October 19, 2008, 09:40 PM
Agreed.

I got in a "discussion" about that in another thread. It was not even the OP who seemed to disagree. rcmodel, as usual, is right on here.

Unless you are shooting at high pressures (and the high velocities to go with them ;)), a soft to medium hard bullet is all you need.

.38 Special runs at very low pressures. Even the "hot" loads you may be using in your .38/44's are relatively low pressure loads.

Peter M. Eick
October 19, 2008, 10:02 PM
I know the lasercasts are very hard, but I can drive them at full magnum speeds out of my 8 3/8" pre-27 with no leading and on some of my 38/44's I can go as low as the starting load of trailboss on a 38 special and still not lead. This has a bit of appeal to me.

I am just sort of trying to figure out how get a few of my 38/44's to work better. I guess the next step is to get some very soft swaged 158's and try some mild to mid range loads and see how they do.

My wife has said "no" to casting my own for the mean time but I am starting to collect information.

Galil5.56
October 19, 2008, 10:11 PM
I guess the next step is to get some very soft swaged 158's and try some mild to mid range loads and see how they do.


Or get some Rem HBWC's/other soft HBWC's and try them at moderate velocities. The skirt will adapt to whatever diameter barrel/FC/chamber it travels through. Also could try to find some cast/swaged bullets intended for ".38 S&W" that should have a nominal diameter of around .360", which is also what the Rem 148 HBWC's could mic as well.

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