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38 special too long

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jim8115, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    Bought a bunch of 158 flat point from thebulletworks.net . Seated them to the crimp groove, which made the OAL 1.480. They wont chamber in any of my revolvers correctly. That is they either wont allow the cylinder to close, or if it does it drags.

    Question is, should I attempt to seat the ones I already made a bit deeper. or just shoot them in one of my 357's, since they will work in them.

    I made up quite a few, and would rather fix them for the 38's , if possible

  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Seeing as how the SAAMI Max OAL of a .38 Spl is 1.550", you have something going on there besides an OAL of 1.480".

    Either the bullets are too big in dia to fit in the chamber throats?

    Or you are bulging the brass when crimping them?

    First thing to do is drop a bullet down the chamber and see if they will enter or can be pushed through the throats.

    Then completely color a cartridge that won't fit with a black magic-marker then force it all the way in the chamber.

    Then eject it and see where the marker ink is rubbing off.

  3. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    I have done the marker test. It is the profile of the bullet. the shoulder is hitting the throat,
    The only way that I know of to resolve it, is to seat them deeper.

    Attached Files:

    • BW38.bmp
      File size:
      21.5 KB
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    What do the bullets measure?

    Can you push them through the throats by hand?

  5. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    .358 they are snug, probably cant push them through by hand. With every other bullet I ever loaded for a 38, the shoulder doesnt hit the throat
  6. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    I wont buy anymore of them. The real question is, can i push an already crimped bullet an additional .020-.030 and go ahead and use them
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Have you cleaned the chambers throughly with a bronze bore brush & solvent??
    Chucked in an electric drill?

  8. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    The chambers are clean , havent used a brush in a drill though
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Rather than try to reseat the already crimped bullet go ahead and shoot them in a .357 Magnum like you said in your OP. (if they will fit)

    I'm very surprised any .38 Special bullet won't chamber correctly in your revolver. I agree something else is probably going on.
  10. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    I will check everything again tonight. I load and shoot 10-15 thousand 38's a year, all different bullets. This is the first time I have encountered this. Did you look at the bullet profile/ Its not a regular SWC.

  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I did look at it. I think they call that design a truncated conical bullet.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Yes, I did look at it.

    But all Keith style SWC have a front driving band that sticks out and enters the throats almost that far.

    Hornady's swaged lead FP bullets are .358" and stick out of the case that far.

    Did you actually measure the bullets at .358", or just take their word for it?

  13. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    I am pretty sure I measured them as soon as I opened the box. thats my habit. I also have some of the Hornadys you mentioned. Shot some this weekend with no problems. But seated at 1.455 they dont have as much shoulder out front as the problem ones.

  14. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    On occasion I've found that to get a rather long bullet to seat deep enough it was necessary to crimp the case mouth into the top of the crimp groove. If that is your problem I would just try seating them deeper. It should only take a very small amount to get the round to fit. Start with a small turn on the seating stem, check for fit and add a bit more until the round fully chambers. Since max COL for the .38 spl is greater than your measured OAL the problem cause may be the tapered edge of the bullet catching the cylinder throat.

    Under some circumstances I've found that a cartridge wouldn't fully seat in the cylinder due to not setting the sizing die down enough to take out all the bulge at the case base. Often the rounds will seat fine in S&W revolvers but will not in the tighter tolerances of a Colt cylinder. I now always fit test the first couple rounds off the press in a Colt cylinder to make sure they'll fit in all my revolvers.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    Is it possible you have a revolver originally chambered for 38 S&W? The originals in that chambering had cylinders short enough to not accept 38 Special rounds.
  16. 7.62 Nato

    7.62 Nato Well-Known Member

    Can you post pics of some of the problem rounds? Next to some you loaded without problems might help also. I had some reload 38s once that wouldn't load in my 38 or 357. Turns out they had too much crimp and bulged the case a little. I ran them through a sizing die with the stem removed and they worked fine.
  17. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    The dragging part is peculiar. Sounds like the problem isn't getting the round into the chamber, but having one end or the other stick out and interfere with the frame or forcing cone. Have you checked to make sure the primers are seated correctly? Are the bullets literally stick out of the front of the cylinder?
  18. jim8115

    jim8115 Well-Known Member

    They dont drop all the way into the cylinder, so they drag the frame just enough to hang things up
  19. triggerman770

    triggerman770 Well-Known Member

    38 spcl

    have you weighed them? they could be 168's. I have some kieth style 168's that are too long for the special.
  20. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    A different solution

    This may be a case where the Lee Factory Crimp die might be helpful. The function of the Post6-Sizing ring is to ensure the dimensions of the cartridge meet SAAMI specifications.
    If it is a matter of case diameter, that should do the trick.

    Of course, there might then be a matter of case mouth tension (the springiness of brass vs lead being substantially different). But that is another matter.

    If it is a matter of the shoulder of the bullet, that might be another matter entirely.

    Lost Sheep
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012

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