Necessary to Crimp .38 Special Wadcutters?


November 2, 2012, 02:15 PM
I'm getting ready to load up 500 plinking rounds using Missouri Bullet Co's cast 148 gr DEWC and 3.5gr Bullseye. This boolit has a crimp groove about 1/10" from the end. It has been my practice in the past to reload wadcutters flush with the case mouth and using no crimp.

Is it advantageous to use the crimping groove, seating the boolit further out, and to crimp the case? Does this add to potential accuracy? Or is this step unnecessary?

Thanks for the advice!

Ron in Texas

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Wil Terry
November 2, 2012, 02:26 PM
FLUSH SEATING shot the best in my 38SPL pistols and in tests of well over 10M rounds of WC handloads.

November 2, 2012, 02:29 PM
For target shooting, I load those bullets with 3.2 BE in a 357 case and 2.6 BE in a 38 case and light crimp on the bullet cannelure (just enough that my thumbnail won't catch easily on the case mouth). I wouldn't load up 500 of any new bullet without test firing some rounds first!

November 2, 2012, 02:36 PM
You should try them both ways to see which is more accurate in your gun. Also, try lower powder charges. 3.5grs is hot in the 38.

November 2, 2012, 03:19 PM
I use a light crimp on DEWC bullet with a crimp groove. I use no crimp on HBWC bullet which are seated flush with the case mouth. I tried using a very light crimp over the front of the HBWC bullet and there was no change at all in accuracy from those with or without a crimp.

November 2, 2012, 03:58 PM
I have always used 2.7 to 2.8 gr. Bullseye behind either the 148 gr. Remington LHBWC or a casr DEWC. In both cases I seated flush with a very mild crimp in 38 Special cases for ca. 780 fps. 3.5 gr.Bullseye with the DEWC will be a significantly hotter load

November 2, 2012, 05:09 PM
Thanks for the info guys!

Re: the comment about not loading up a bunch without testing...

I have previously loaded and shot 100 rds of these with 3.5 gr of Bullseye with the boolit seated flush and a very light taper crimp. Since these are 'field' loads I wanted them to be a bit warmer than the usual target load, hence my concern about crimping. I wouldn't want boolit setback especially using Bullseye powder. I used to use Unique but it is pretty dirty in light loadings, and a lot of folks recommended BE as a cost-saving replacement.

Re: the comments about 3.5gr of Bullseye being on the warm side...

This was purposeful. I tried lighter loadings of Bullseye, all the way down to 2.5 gr. but found them to be 'weak'. These loads will be mostly used when I walk around the farm and get a shot at a turtle or other varmint, as well as perforating various targets of opportunity. I'm not a paper-puncher so like a bit more sizzle in a walking-around utility load.

This particular load and power level shoots extremely well in my Ruger Vaquero and SP101 as well as my S&W 442. No leading and enough authority for fun! The grandkids have no issues with it in the Vaquero.

Based on the comments I'll go with flush seating and a light crimp. Thanks again for the suggestions.

Ron in Texas

November 2, 2012, 07:34 PM
You won't get bullet setback with revolvers.. you'll get bullet jump if the gun's too light, etc. etc.

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