noob question - .38 sp set up


October 15, 2011, 08:53 PM
Hornady Lock n Load progressive
I have the powder funnel flair addition to the powder drop.

I *do not* yet have bullets in my possession but playing with the press and starting to dial it in.

Originally, I had a huge funnel flair. I've backed off the flair so it's pretty minimal.

The case dimensions on 2 cases read: .373 and .3725

In the flaired area the readings for these two (I have a range of readings as I twirl the case in the caliper) are: .3925-.3945 and .3915-.3965

Anyone have ideas on if I'm close or way off the mark?

Again, I don't have any bullets to just test by feel yet.

Thanks for suggestions....can't wait to produce my first! :D;):what::cool::)

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October 15, 2011, 09:02 PM
I use the bullet I am using to set the case mouth expansion. Just enough expansion so the bullet will enter the case without shaving material off the bullet.

Chamfering the inside edge of the case can help reduce the expansion a little and is a one time thing. Just knock off the corner.

So, from my standpoint, you should wait for your bullets to arrive.

October 15, 2011, 09:24 PM
So, from my standpoint, you should wait for your bullets to arrive.

Or, you could pull a couple out of some factory know, just to play around with the new toys. :cool:



October 15, 2011, 09:36 PM
Both look over flared.

I have never measured a "flare", but, as posted, just bell enough to get the bullet started easily and straight.

fcullgraf pretty much spelled it out.

October 15, 2011, 09:37 PM
Unless there's a way to pull bullets out with your teeth, that's yet another toy that's on the wish list.


October 15, 2011, 09:38 PM
Pliers for me. They work fine on the occasional round. I do not own a bullet puller. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

October 15, 2011, 09:41 PM
just wait until you get your bullets and bell the neck just enough to start the bullet that way you don't ruin brass.

October 15, 2011, 10:05 PM
That's way too much flare. Honestly the flare should be almost imperceptible. Just enough so that the base or heel of the bullet will fit in below the case mouth. Run those back through the resizer and do'em again. I've loaded rounds for my 500 S&W where I didn't even flare the mouths. The bullet bases had edges that were round enough that they seated without it.

October 15, 2011, 10:09 PM
Actually your making it way more cmplicated than it really is. All you need to do is bell the mouth just enough that the bullet will seat without shaving. All I do to find the right amount of bell is use the bullet after each small adjustment to check for that very slight bell. When I bell my mouths you can barely see it with the naked eye, that's all that is necessary, and it will also help to prevent premature mouth splitting. Additionally, if you over bell the mouths it will create some frustration in trying to diagnose crimping and seating issues, not to mention the split mouths.

I actually never belled the mouths until a few years ago. When I did start belling, it helped me find the least amount of belling necessary to eliminate shaving. I still seat auto loading cartridges without belling, I just make sure they have a little bit of chamfer to eliminate shaving.

October 16, 2011, 01:08 AM
WOW, that is way too much a flare on both cases. I have never measured the amount of flare applied either. You have a lot of good advice above. that should be all you need, good luck with your new hobby.

October 17, 2011, 01:35 AM

I figured out what one of the parts is used for. The Hornady powder stop is mounted onto the powder drop to limit the amount of belling on the case.

The slotted part w/ screws at each end:

October 17, 2011, 09:37 AM
Way too much flare like others have said.

Been running a LNL for over 3 yrs without the PTX stop. If your using the PTX, make sure you do a full stork on the powder dispenser. If not you may not get a consistent charge. It takes time to set it up correctly. I have the powder drop die for each caliber that I load. This allows me to do quick change without resetting the die, I just move the upper over. If you want to use the stop set it after the die is set correctly. The supposed purpose of the stop is to limit the load on the linkage. You have limited adjust ability once the dies is set. You will find that certain mfg of brass may cause the die to stick on the down stroke. If it is sticking polish the PTX.

October 17, 2011, 11:12 PM
Ok, got the bullitz today.
With the original flair in the first post, I think the bullet dropped down and hit the primer....a bit too much.

Backed the powder funnel off completely and the bullet wouldn't sit in the case unless I really leaned on it, pushing it in. After adjusting, it slides in w/ just a bit of pressure, snug but not tight.

Then I started to play with the seating die. The Hornady seating die.

Here are a few pics at different settings. The one on the left looks best to me, but do all three seem canted to one side?

Open to suggestions, ideas...

October 17, 2011, 11:16 PM
The one on the left is a little too deep for me. I seat 'em with just a smidge of the cannelure showing...about half what is showing on the middle one.

October 18, 2011, 01:27 AM
I usually aim for dead center in the cannelure. I would be good with the one in the middle.

What do you mean the bullet dropped down & hit the primer?:confused:
With proper flare you should be just able to easily set the bullet on top of the case & it doesn't fall off. If the bullet drops down into the case something is wrong.

Unless you trim your cases you will get variations in where the mouth meets the cannelure. It's also possible that the case mouth may not be perfectly square. It's possible the cannelure is not perfect, either.

And go ahead & get the inertial bullet buller. It will make life easier and belive me, you WILL need it at some point,

October 18, 2011, 07:46 AM
The one in the middle looks the best prepared for a crimp, and the whole picture is canted.

October 18, 2011, 10:09 AM
Fishslayer: What do you mean the bullet dropped down & hit the primer?

It's called failed humor.

Where is that "fail" thread? :D:rolleyes:

Walkalong: ....and the whole picture is canted.

To me, it appears there is about 1mm of cannelure visible on the right side of the middle bullet and 1/2mm of cannelure on the left side of the same bullet. Seems like its in there crooked to me.

October 18, 2011, 11:16 AM
I see what you mean. Could be the case mouth is not square. Not really a big deal if they shoot well.

Look at where the base of the bullet shows in the brass case. If this is uniform, it is straight.

I like to trim revolver brass. That gets it all the same length, squares up the case mouth and gives a more uniform crimp, although many people do not trim revolver brass.

I have a Benelli that shoots .32 Long wadcutter ( I bought some Starline brass and it is pretty uniform as far as case length goes. All I did to it was deburr and chamfer. Shoots better than I can.

October 18, 2011, 03:33 PM
Ok, the bullets above were seated with the hornady contoured insert (they provide 2 inserts to choose from). I also have a flat choice.
Which one should be used w/ these bullets? Maybe the flat to avoid the canted result I'm getting now?

October 18, 2011, 03:50 PM
Soft nosed bullets like that are prone to tip damage with any stem that contacts the lead only. I loaded a bunch of Remington 110's that looked terrible after seating, but they still shot very well. The base is much more important than the tip. The tip is not very important at all to accuracy.

It it were me, and I wanted to use that bullet all the time I would machine the seater stem to match the bullet. Hornady might do it for you, but I think you are worrying to much about it, mostly.

October 18, 2011, 04:01 PM
Taking for granted that the nose of the bullet is actually flat (that is, dead parallel to the base) the flat insert is more likely to seat the bullet straight in the case.

October 18, 2011, 04:40 PM
I'm getting very consistent results w/ the flat insert.
Here's one that seems to fit the criteria ya'll have posted above (Thank you!)
Added a bit of crimp too.

October 18, 2011, 05:55 PM
That looks good! Forgive me if you posted this already, but what bullet is that, and what primer and powder charge are you using?

October 18, 2011, 06:41 PM
Looks real good.

October 18, 2011, 08:07 PM
I also agree that the last round pictured looks excellent.

October 18, 2011, 09:17 PM
Primer and powder are not present yet.

I'm really taking my time and dialing in each step, one step at a time.

Bullets are these (they were on sale when I ordered):

The only powder I own is power pistol. Haven't looked the recipe up yet....hoping that one exists. If not, I'll change bullets or powder.

That cartridge is for looks only. :cool:

I'll update as I move along in this set up.

Crunchy Frog
October 18, 2011, 09:24 PM
I have the same press with the Hornady dies. Most of my .38 Special loads are loaded with a lead flat point truncated cone bullet. I was getting some slight bullet tipping and switched to the flat seating stem, seemed better.

At one point I began getting load with severely canted bullets. Turns out I had disassembled the seating die to clean it and I had installed the bullet guide sleeve upside down! DON'T do that!!

October 20, 2011, 02:15 AM
The crimp and bullet depth look just right on your last picture.

As for powders, in a .38 Special you might want to use a faster powder than Power Pistol. That powder is more for loading .38 Special +P ammo than standard ammo. I use mostly W231/HP-38 but there are others that are good like AA#2, Bullseye and Ramshot Zip.

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