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38 special

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by drz436, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    I just received my dies and bullets today so I wanted to reload a couple of rounds. The dies are Lee and the bullets are Hornady xtp 158Gn this is the first revolver cartrige I have loaded, I usually load 9mm 45 and 40cal the problem I am having is after I resize the case the ID of the case is .356/.3565 the bullets are .357 I can push the bullet to the canalure by hand. The bullet can't be removed by hand a kinnitac hammer is needed I crimped in a seperate station and the bullet won't go in any deeper what am I missing here I know the walls are alot thinner any thoughts?
  2. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I may not be reading that right. Are you saying the brass is too tight to fit the bullet or too loose?
  3. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    The brass seems too loose
  4. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Someting isn't right if you can seat the bullet by hand to the canelure. How much are you belling the case mouth? It should only be belled enough for the bullet to just barely set on top, no more than that. And use the mouth belling plug to adjust the desired amount of bell. The further down you adjust the expander (belling) die it's self, the further down the bell will extend below the case mouth, that will cause too much of the case body below the mouth to get expanded, (belled). That would probably be the problem, I'm guessing. Can you post a pic of an empty & resized belled case so I can see how much bell, and how far down it extends?

    Or, you may have some brass that is too thin. I run into 1 or 2 now and then that simply won't produce enough neck tension, usually it's older RP brass, as in 1960's brass.

    In any case, if the bullet can't be pushed in using the bench test, you'll be OK. The down side is that your brass may not last as long due to over belling the mouths.

  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    If its R-P brass, even current production, it can be very thin and cause this. Take your calipers and measure the expander in your charging/flaring die. Being a lee its a good chance its oversize. About half of mine are.
  6. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    After re-reading my post it is a bit confusing I guess my question is compared to the 9mm 40 and 45 cal the neck tension seems very weak I don't even need to bell the mouth to start the bullet
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  7. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    Yes it's older R-P Brass I loaded up 5 rounds and crimped to the canalure they all shot fine. I was just a little worried about the very weak neck tension I want to work up to +p load which is 5.2 gn of unique i'm at the starting load of 4.7 right now, will the little neck tension be a problem at 5.2? they are ok with the bench test.
  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    2 ideas....

    • Put the expander mandril in a drill motor and polish the expander end with some fine (like #400) emery cloth for just 30 seconds. That should take it down .001 to .002 inches. Enough to do the job.

    • You said you already load 9mm. The expander in those dies may already be .001 smaller that your 38 expander. See if you can use that die more successfully.
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    You are correct, after resizing the brass should not be as loose as you're describing. There are many things that can cause this including the brass, defective dies, dies improperly adjusted and other things too. Make sure everything is set up correctly and us brass with a different headstamp and see if that helps.
  10. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    The die doesn't have a expander mandrill just the normal carbide to bring the case mouth back to dia should it have one for the 38 special?
  11. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    I will try to use a different head stamp I have alot of R-P brass I have the die set up per instructions so it just touches the shell plate I didnt want to by the Lee set but that was all I could find
  12. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    I think your sizing die is the problem; it's not squeezing down the case diameter enough. And since it sounds like you have it adjusted right, I'd say that sizing die has been reamed out too big.

    For he sake or argument, have you any .357 Mag cases? Does the die size them down enough to get good neck tension?

    Either way, if it won't size a .38SPL case down enough to grab a jacketed bullet, it's defective. Lee should replace it.
  13. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    You also might be adjusting the expander die down too far.
  14. joneb

    joneb Well-Known Member

    It sounds like the sizing die is not sizing enough. I measured a r-p 38spl case sized by a RCBS carbide die and the OD is .372"
    As mentioned in post #8, I would use your 9x19 expander flare die and see that helps, heck maybe see if you can size the case with the 9x19 sizing die.
    R-P brass is thinner than most but it has not been a problem for me with 38spl and jacketed bullets, I like R-P brass for .358" lead.
    I have had bullet jump issues with R-P brass in .357 mag. with jacketed bullets and heavy loads but not in .38spl
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  15. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    I'm not even using the expander just the resizing die I have a few fiocchi .357 casses I will try those if they wont give neck tension the die might be a little big I would need a dial bore gage to check it and I would need to know what it should be +or-.000
  16. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    Just remember that unless you bought Lee's .38 Special only dies, you bought a .357/38 Special die.

    Not being next to you on the bench, my guess is you didn't read the instructions closely enough and had it backed off more than you needed to. Remember the .357 case is longer, and you bought .357 magnum dies.

    My general rule is I screw in the expanding die until it hits resistance in a case. Then I screw it in a bit, check to see if the bullet starts. If not, screw it in half a turn more, check to see if the bullet starts. And I do that until I get the heel of the bullet into the case and it'll seat well without buggering up my brass.

    I'd put $20.00 down that you have your dies adjusted wrong.
  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    There is really nothing wrong with Lee dies but it does sound like you might have gotten that very rare defective die. If it is defective Lee will replace it for you or since they are brand new you can get a replacement at the place of purchase.
  18. drz436

    drz436 Active Member

    I just measured a R_P case after resizing and the OD is .374 at the mouth I think the die is out of tolerance, too big
  19. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

    What's the Inner Diameter?
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Readjust the dies like mentioned in Post #16 before you condemn the dies...

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