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.38 cal wadcutter crimp

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 10xforever, Nov 7, 2006.

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  1. 10xforever

    10xforever Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    Northeast Ohio
    I am new to reloading metallic and wish to reload 38 cal
    for indoor 50 foot paper target. I will be using 148 gr. hbwc
    or dewc with w231 or Bullseye powder. I have read various
    sources about crimping the wadcutter. Is it correct you always
    seat the bullet flush with the case mouth or slightly above
    case mouth? Do i crimp at all? If i do crimp how much of a roll crimp is desired?
    Also if i use 158 gr. swc do i crimp these and how much if at all.
    I use a S&W model 66-3 357 with 2.5 inch barrel.
    If no crimp is required what keeps the bullet in place from round to round when firing?
    Thanks in advance for any advise you may have!
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I roll crimp all revolver ammunition, even wadcutters. My M52 NEEDS a roll crimp for reliable feeding.

    The Speer HBWCs I load have a very slight shoulder at the leading edge. I crimp on that which leaves the bullet flush with the casemouth.

    I crimp SWCs into the crimp groove thoughtfully provided by the mould maker.

    How much crimp? I guess you could look at a factory load and make your reloads about the same or a smidgen less for very light target loads. Bullet pull - brass to bullet friction - is the main thing holding the bullet in place. A crimp keeps a revolver bullet from being displaced by recoil and in heavy loads is said to provide enough resistance to bullet movement to let the powder ignite better.
  3. JJE

    JJE Member

    Jun 21, 2005
    SW Washington State!
    following up on Jim's comments -
    Supposedly the amount of crimp should match the recoil of the cartridge - heavier for heavier loads to prevent bullet movement - and also the "speed" of the powder - with slower powders requiring a heavier crimp for efficient combustion. W231 and Bullseye are fast powders, and target loads, by definition, are light - so it seems that you shouldn't need much of a crimp on your loads. I've loaded a bunch of 148 gr HBWCs with a very light to medium light roll crimp (I don't trim my brass so variations in case length result in variations in crimp) and they all went BANG! Basically, I'm just looking to produce a crimp that I can look at and say: "Yep, the flaring is gone from the case mouth and it looks to be rolled in a bit." I load the bullets flush (although sometimes they stick out 1/32" or so - still working on my consistency.)
  4. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Depends on the gun.

    My S&W Model 52 likes a healthy roll crimp over the flush-mounted bullet. That way, the autoloader feeds smoothly without hanging up on a sharp-edged case mouth.

    Revolvers won't be so finicky, obviously. ;)
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Depends upon what type of WC you use. The HBWC's have to be loaded fairly light so the skirt isn't torn off and left in the barrel. These bullets usually have no crimp groove and are loaded flush with the case roll crimped over or at the end esp. if shooting in semi auto's.

    Solid base WC's are the same as conventional bullets and can be loaded to magnum velocities if desired. These usually have a crimp groove that one uses to crimp into. Soldid base WC's, either bevel base or double ended usually are not used in target semi-auto's.
  6. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Orange County, CA.
    Good advice, all. Note, however, that Federal -- among others -- applies a fairly firm roll crimp to their very accurate 148 HBWC loads.

    Were I in the mood to experiment, I would try a range of crimps from none at all -- assuming bullet pull is high enough to hold the bullet firmly, as it should be -- to a firm roll crimp, and see what the individual gun likes best.

    Personally, I've always loaded up 148 HBWC/2.7 Bullseye with a moderate roll crimp over the "top" of the bullet and had perfect success.
  7. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    I shoot a lot of .38 Specials out of an S&W Model 14 K-38. I also shoot a lot of .38s out my .38 Special Giles M1911A1. I find that the revolver prefers cast bullets seated out and crimped into the crimp groove. I use a pretty firm roll crimp. Don't crimp TOO hard, or you'll deform the bullet.

    In the K-38, I use hard cast Penn or Magnus 148gr. DEWCs or Magnus 148gr. WCs with the small ogive. I use 2.8gr. of Bullseye.
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