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38 Special: Sort by headstamp, times fired, or not at all?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Shrinkmd, Oct 13, 2011.

?

How do you sort non-target 38 Special brass?

  1. By headstamp only

    19 vote(s)
    18.4%
  2. By number of times fired

    4 vote(s)
    3.9%
  3. Both, same headstamp and by times fired

    9 vote(s)
    8.7%
  4. Dump 'em all together, clean, load, shoot, and repeat

    71 vote(s)
    68.9%
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  1. Shrinkmd

    Shrinkmd Member

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    For 38 special practice rounds (usually loaded Bullseye 3.5gr and 158gr lswc) in a non-target gun, would you sort by headstamp, bother keeping track of how many times fired, or just dump them all together?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  3. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    My wife and I go through thousands of rounds of .38 Special ammunition per year in the SASS matches we shoot. It's all I can do to keep up with the loading, let alone sort the brass. I loaded 5,000 rounds of .38 Special just this last week, with a couple thousand to go. I also cast all our bullets, so there's a lot of time involved and sorting by headstamp would provide no advantage at all.

    The only sorting I do is separate nickel from yellow brass. The nickel cases get loaded for revolver rounds and yellow brass gets loaded for rifle rounds. The nickel cases split sooner and will tie up a rifle, but the yellow cases last longer and it's easier to see when they're about to give up the ghost.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  4. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    I sorted by both initially, but after firing a fair number of my home rolled .38s, I realized I was not seeing any difference from one headstamp to another. I still have a lot of them sorted by headstamp, but when I shoot them, unless something new happens, I'll lump them all together. This goes for those stamped +P as well.

    Like Fred, I do segregate the nickel-plated ones, and I've never loaded a single one. I will load a bunch of these someday with some sort of bullets that are silver--nice shiny lead or maybe Winchester Silvertips, just for aesthetic appeal.
     
  5. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    I like rcmodel's response.

    I sort by headstamp also because of primer seating and crimping consistency.

    It also makes the finished product look professional.

    I also wear matching socks, matching shoes, etc. :)
     
  6. Shrinkmd

    Shrinkmd Member

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    Maybe next time I hit the range I will fire off some batches in different brands and see if they are statistically significant. I have my new infrared addon to my CED M2 chrony so maybe it will be more accurate than before.

    Any people remember enough statistics to figure out the power calculation to determine what sample size I need to find a significant difference in ES or SD. Maybe a difference of 5 SD would seem worth finding?
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    It's also worth noting that some brands of P+ cases, and all military .38 Spl has thicker case webs & less capacity then standard brass.

    rc
     
  8. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    RC, I don't load to +P levels and am not at risk either way; that's why I don't sort them separately. I guess I've never seen any military .38 SPL brass.
     
  9. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    I sort by headstamp for sure AND number of times fired if possible.
    But every once in a while I'll forget & get 2 boxes mixed in the tumbler.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    See the link in post #2.
    That RA 67 in the photo is GI .38 Spl brass.


    rc
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I used to sort .38 Spl, but now I do not, although I still trim it, and it still shoots better than I can most of the time.
     
  12. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Thanks, RC. Might be some of that in the GA stuff I've bought and not shot yet. Would factory RA 67 have crimped primers?
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No.

    rc
     
  14. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I sort by headstamp, mostly because the primer pockets are different. (and they look a little better in the box that way) Load one brand at a time so I don't have to resort them. Currently my target brass is RP and my full-power loads are S&B. Load until they split -- some may have hundreds of firings, other only 2 or 3, and I don't care.
     
  15. brow_tines

    brow_tines Member

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    I really don't think it matters in pistol rounds, but in rifle rounds it makes a different. IMHO
     
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I wouldn't worry about the times fires especially with .38 Special brass. If you don't overwork .38 Special brass it will last almost forever. I have been using the same 1,200 pieces of Remington .38 Special brass for well over 6 years now and have not had to scrap one piece. (30X or more reloads) I have heard of reloaders loading their .38 Special brass so many times the headstamp is no longer readable.
     
  17. noylj

    noylj Member

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    I shot a couple of S&W M52s in .38 Special Wadcutter.
    Working for accuracy, the important considerations turned out to be:
    1) diameter of the bullet. The Rem L-HBWC was the best with its 0.360" diameter (provided the case was expanded enough not to swage the bullet diameter down)
    2) powder and powder charge
    3) Seating stem that matched the bullet better than just a flat seating stem
    4) The use of a Redding Profile Crimp die
    5) NOT sizing the cases. For a revolver, you will have to size to fit the cylinder. The light loads I fire, however, just expand the case enough that the Profile Crimp die reduces the case diameter enough that just the last 1/2" of the case is still large enough that the rounds are a tight fit. However, the slide always shoves the rounds in and the gun chambers just fine.
    In all my testing, case weight, case head stamp, and case length had NO statistical effect on group size. I fired many sets of rounds with one set consisting only of R.P. or Win brass and the other consisting purposely of ever weird head stamp I could find. More than 50% of the time, the mixed cases shot smaller groups.
    I decided that the thin walls of the R.P. case, in this particular case, were a plus. For match loads, I only use R.P. cases. For general practice and plinking, I still use mixed brass.
     
  18. USSR

    USSR Member

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    I tend to sort out the R-P brass because of their thin walls, and only use them for low powered target loads.

    Don
     
  19. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    If you want to drive yourself crazy, start collecting a sample of each individual .38 Spl. headstamp. I have over 150 in my collection, and still find variations. Just found some that were headstamped ".38 Special", with no brand name on them at all.

    The military cases alone will add to your collection, if you collect the different dates. Then there's the large pistol primed .38 Special cases..........

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  20. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    Headstamp

    I use headstamp for load lots so I guess that is a combo use?
     
  21. PONTIACDM

    PONTIACDM Member

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    Dump them together and go with it. My GP100 doesn't discriminate.
     
  22. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I just load em and shoot as my 38 SPL loads are always low vel target rounds.:D
     
  23. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    I have tested shooting all the same headstamp and mixed up headstamps with the same bullet, powder, and primer from a sandbag rest. No discernable difference at 25 yards. Unless you are a High Master PPC shooter shooting the 50 yard line, you probably won't be able to tell the difference.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  24. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I can't tell the difference when shooting, but I sure can when trying to prime mixed cases on a progressive press.
     
  25. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    Shrinkmd, I would be interested in your statistical study.

    Sorry but don't know how big a sample size you would need to get useful results.
     
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