Gunked Dies With HBWCs


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Minnesota Wild
December 12, 2010, 06:27 PM
So I've been reloading for a few years, but up until now I've shot auto pistols and rifles. Becasue I was shooting these guns I've always reloaded jacketed or plated bullets. I recently got a few revolvers and wanted to really load some super-accurate stuff, so I settled on 38 Special hollow-base wadcutters.

The problem I've been having is that I've tried two different brands of bullets and both have gotten an excessive amount of lube and leading inside the die body, which has also worked to mess with the seating depth. I've been seating and crimping in seperate operations, but it doesn't seem to make a difference...lead still gets in the die body.

Has anybody had these problems with cast bullets? Dies are RCBS, using a single-stage press.

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rfwobbly
December 12, 2010, 06:48 PM
Waxy lube build-up inside the seating die is most always an issue when shooting lead. You can either remove the seating stem before each session, or move on to the slightly more expensive moly-coated or plated bullets.

Walkalong
December 12, 2010, 07:34 PM
Nothing unusual. You just need to clean the dies from time to time. Do make sure you are belling enough so the case isn't scraping lead/lube and making more of a mess than normal.

GP100man
December 12, 2010, 07:54 PM
Store bought wad cutters are the worst !!!

When I load em (Lee dies) I take the seater out every 50 & run a patch with mineral sprits then a dry one thru to remove such build up !

I found acceptable results with a SWC seater plug , the wax lube has a cavity to go to but has to be "emptied" also !

Coating em with mica powder helps !! I put em in a bowl & a sprinkle of mica , sprinkle a little & swirl em , sprinkle & swirl to taste !

Minnesota Wild
December 12, 2010, 10:24 PM
Thanks for all the replies! I thought it was something I was doing. This is really hard though; I want to make really accurate 38 loads for my S&W Model 14, but I have to believe that this is affecting my accuracy. I need to figure out a work-around like the trick with the mica powder...doesn't that promote barrel wear though?

GP100man
December 13, 2010, 06:59 AM
The mica is a microscopic lubricant , when encountering steel to lead it`ll embedd into the softer material .

& cause no more wear than runnin a dry copper bullet down the bore .

Hornadys soft swaged swc is lubed with mica/wax mix.

rfwobbly
December 13, 2010, 12:59 PM
Every time I see that waxy build up it reminds me I need to clean my ears. :D


Try some of these Berry bullets.

http://www.berrysmfg.com/products-c13-38357_Cal_.357.aspx

MrBorland
December 13, 2010, 02:06 PM
This is really hard though; I want to make really accurate 38 loads for my S&W Model 14, but I have to believe that this is affecting my accuracy. I need to figure out a work-around like the trick with the mica powder

Do you have data showing that it's affecting accuracy or seating depth? I'd be curious.

Are you sure it's lube and lead?

Shaving lead's a problem, and can degrade accuracy. From an accuracy perspective, I'm less worried about shedded lube, but I clean out my dies semi-regularly anyway because the waxy lube smears the cases and can make speedy reloads (e.g. for IDPA/USPSA) tough.

In addition to making sure I get an adequate bell so the case doesn't shave lead, when loading target rounds, such as the HBWC, I'll partially seat, rotate the case a bit, seat some more, rotate again, etc until fully seated. I may just make me feel good, but it may also help align the bullet a wee bit better with the case.

For HBWCs shot out of my 686 or K-38, I also resize the brass only to the seating depth of the bullet. All this may be minutiae, but attention to detail makes for good target loads. ;)

Minnesota Wild
December 13, 2010, 09:22 PM
MrBorland -

I do know that it's affecting the seating depth because I trimmed all my brass before I started and I can see that most of the rounds are seating to precisely flush with the case mouth, while towards the end of about 50 you can see a bit of lip. I think it is mostly lube that is coming off the rounds, but there was definitely some led with the last bullets I was using. The new brand seems much harder, but I'm still getting some gunk in the die.

I don't know if it's affecting accuracy. I have read people claiming that they can get 25 yard groups of 1.5-2 inches with HBWCs out of the model 14, but the best I've been able to do with any consistency is about 3.5-4. This is with 2.7 Gr of Bullseye and WSPs.

Thanks for all the info...I'll keep experimenting.

MrBorland
December 14, 2010, 11:36 AM
I have read people claiming that they can get 25 yard groups of 1.5-2 inches with HBWCs out of the model 14, but the best I've been able to do with any consistency is about 3.5-4.

Are your groups shot unsupported or off bags?

Yes, I think the gun itself ought to be able to shoot 1.5" 25 yard groups (or better), but unless the shooter is a very good shot, and knows they can shoot these kind of unsupported groups with a revolver, "freestyle" groups are usually considerably bigger than those shot from a support. And even off bags, it takes skill to shoot to the level of the gun.

Also, are you sure there's nothing wrong with the gun itself? Has it shot any other load better?

Minnesota Wild
December 14, 2010, 10:20 PM
I can't say on the gun. I just got it and haven't put anything through it other than the handloads (400 rounds worth). It is used, but is in near mint condition.

The groups I shot were off bags. I don't claim to be an expert shot, but I have been able to get 2 inch groups off of my Springfield XDm at 25 meters with handloads and 1" groups off my High Standard Victor with Federal's really good stuff. I would think that if the gun were shooting 1.25 to 1.5 deviations I would be able to shoot at least 2s with it.

I also did a complete de-leading of the gun about a hundred rounds after I got it. It had a lot of lead in the barrel and in the forcing cone. Removing it didn't really seem to help accuracy.

I should shoot some JHPs out of it to get a baseline for accuracy, but I haven't done that.

ric426
December 14, 2010, 10:54 PM
I reload and shoot a lot of .38 wadcutters and have run into the same buildup issues. The cleanest hollow base wadcutters I've used are Speers with some sort of hard lube coating, but they seem to be difficult to find. I never had any buildup with them. The next best have been Precision Delta's with their match lube. It appears to be some sort of dry graphite like powder and isn't gummy. I still get some buildup with them, but not nearly as much as most of the others I've tried.
The previous advice about adequate belling of the mouth is good info. I found that I wasn't belling the cases enough, but after getting the same advice here I increased it a little there was much less buildup. Just don't do more than is needed.

BigJakeJ1s
December 14, 2010, 11:21 PM
Dillon and Hornady seating dies are designed to disassemble for easy cleaning without affecting the settings, while still on the press. Hornady also has a sliding bullet alignment sleeve, crimp capability, cross-bolt lock ring, and optional micrometer seating depth adjustment.

Andy

ric426
December 16, 2010, 12:53 PM
I also resize the brass only to the seating depth of the bullet.

I've been doing that too, but it caused me some real problems last night. I was finishing up our fall PPC league and stupidly thought I'd use the new gun I just got instead of the one I'd been shooting all season. Turns out the new gun has tighter chambers than the old one and the partial resizing of the brass that had been shot in the old gun left the unsized part of the case too big to seat on most rounds. Not a good situation on timed stages.

When I got home I thought I'd try resizing some of my reloads to see if they'd drop in to the new chambers and they did. The problem is, since they are wadcutters seated flush with just enough crimp to remove the bell from the expander, the resizing seems to have swaged the bullets and the cases sprung back just enough that the bullets will drop into the case about 1/32" just dropping into the catch bin. I think those will be practice rounds for my 686 where the potential for a little extra pressure won't matter. Of course, the bullets are so darn loose now that they'd start moving before much pressure built up anyway. Don't imagine they'd be very accurate rounds though.

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