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Correct crimp for .38 Special?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by shovel66, Sep 18, 2008.

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  1. shovel66

    shovel66 Member

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    Hello,
    I currently reload for 4 semi-auto handgun calibers and made my first .38spc loads today. These are my first revolver cartriges I've loaded. I used Berrys 125gr plated hollow point over 5.5 grains of win 231 with CCI primers. I only made 10, but don't quite understand how much to crimp. It seems like there is still a slight flaring where the bullet meets the case.

    I'm using Dillon dies on a 550B. The cases measure .373"-.376" the entire distance up to where the case was belled by the powder die. It measures .383" there. :confused: I've tried to adjust the crimp die and doesn't seem to make a difference. Instructions that came with the dies only told how to adjust.

    Maybe there is a trick out there that I don't know yet.
    Thanks,
    Shovel
     
  2. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    First:
    Run the loaded round all the way up on the ram without the die in the press.

    Second:
    Spin the die locknut up near the top of the die body. If you're using one die to seat and crimp at the same time, back the seating stem out a ways(1/2 inch or so).


    Third:
    Run the die down on the loaded round by hand until it makes contact.

    Fourth:
    Back the ram down slightly, then turn the die down 1/4 turn. Set the locknut snug by hand.

    Fifth:
    Run the round back into the crimp die. Check crimp.

    Repeat steps four and five until desired crimp is achieved. Be careful that the seating stem does not contact the slug while doing this.

    Sixth:

    After correct crimp is achieved, leave the round all the way in the die and run the seating stem down firmly on the loaded round.

    Seventh:

    Back the loaded round out a bit, take the seating stem down about a 1/16 to 1/8 turn. Set the locknuts for the body and seating stem.

    Run a round through to verify settings. Make very small adjustments as necessary.

    By your measurements, it sounds like you're over-belling the case a bit. That will make it very hard to get started into the crimp section of the die. Might try backing your bell down some.
     
  3. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    You probably do need to crimp them a little more, but will they chamber OK like they are? The bullets are probably swelling the case; this is normal but can cause problems if they swell too much.

    You don't need a heavy crimp with those bullets; either a light roll crimp so the case just starts to bite into the copper but doesn't cut through it or distort the bullet, or you can use the taper crimp die from your 9mm set.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The 125 Berry doesn't have a cannelure for a place for the roll crimp to go like all other revolver bullets.

    SO, if you roll-crimp much at all, it will either have to cut through the plating, or buckle the case slightly.

    Sounds like you are trying for more crimp then the Berry bullet will allow.

    rcmodel
     
  5. easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca

    easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca Member

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    Dillon dies for .38/.357 will give you a roll crimp. Berry's bullets are plated and need a moderate roll crimp to prevent damage to the copper plating, and the resulting loss in accuracy. You have experience loading other calibers so you probably know the reloading procedure so do not feel insulted or impatient if the following explanation is too long-winded for you.

    You have been able to load 10 casings so I assume the first three die stations are adjusted and working properly. It seems that the crimp die is not doing its job because it is too high in the turret.

    Procedure:

    1. Empty the shell plate of all casings. Unscrew the crimping die out of the turret removing it completely.
    2. Insert one of your loaded (but uncrimped) casings into the first station (sizing-depriming die) and rotate the shell plate until it is under the 4th die (crimping).
    3. Lower the operating handle until it hits the bottom stop.
    4. Screw in the crimping die until you feel it touch the casing.
    5. Raise the operating handle a few inches. Screw down the crimp die an eighth of a turn.
    6. Lower the handle. Repeat Step 5 until the "bell" disappears and a slight crimp develops.
    7. Tighten the crimp die lock nut.
    8. Check amount of crimp to see if it changed.
     
  6. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Is that .383 measurement with the bullet seated? Or an empty case that you just belled?

    As mentioned by rcmodel, be careful not to overcrimp with that plated slug. Bad leading and poor accuracy will be the result if you do.
     
  7. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I adjust my crimp dies by lowering the die until it bottoms out on a case that has been sized but not expanded/flared and no bullet inserted yet. That's usually pretty close to the final adjustment whether it's a taper crimp or a roll crimp die.
     
  8. Jubjub

    Jubjub Member

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    Wait, 5.5 grains of 231 in a .38? Doesn't that seem a bit much? I don't have a manual that lists a load for a 125 grain bullet, but the Lyman cast bullet book here shows 5.5 as over max for even a +P load with a couple of different 121 grain bullets.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Good catch!

    Hornady #4 shows 5.0 with a 125 XTP as max +P.

    Speer #13 shows 5.9 Max +P with a 125 Gold-Dot.

    Speer #13 shows 5.6 max standard pressure load with the same bullet.

    5.5 with a 125 Berry plated is gonna be +P for sure, but probably not unsafe.

    Still, probably not a good place to start from!

    rcmodel
     
  10. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Lyman lists both 120 grain lead and 125 grain jacketed at 5.1 W-231

    Sierra lists jacketed 125 grain at maximum of 5.8 W-231...

    Personally I'd disassemble those 10 rounds and lower the powder charge a bit. Like, maybe, 4.6 and work up...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
  11. K3

    K3 Member

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    Back to crimps and .38spl:

    Would a Lee FCD be appropriate for a 158gr Berry plated bullet in .38spl? I use it with XTPs, but they have a cannelure, and it works fine.
     
  12. shovel66

    shovel66 Member

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    My Speer #13 page 521 list the 125 grain bullets (4 of them) as 5.6 granins and DNR. (Do Not Reduce).

    Have never loaded for .38 before so am taking all these posts as advice. I'm not looking for load advice as much as crimp advice as I have 5 current reloading manuals and cross check each load I work up with the other manuals. I'm not guessing with the load.

    Thanks,
    Shovel
     
  13. shovel66

    shovel66 Member

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    Yes, that is with the bullet seated and after my "crimp"
     
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "I adjust my crimp dies by lowering the die until it bottoms out on a case that has been sized but not expanded/flared..."

    That's excellant advice. Lighter .38 special loads need little or no crimp but it is always helpful to completely remove any mouth belling/flairing to ease chambering.
     
  15. shovel66

    shovel66 Member

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    Easyrider,
    Maybe I didn't adjust it down far enough because the "bell" never disappeared. I tried that procedure a few times until I gave up and was wondering what the difference was between the taper crimp and the roll crimp. Maybe the roll crimp had something special going on.
    Shovel
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I know you clearly stated you didn't ask for advice on your powder charge.

    But, Speer bullets are not Berry plated bullets.

    It follows that you shouldn't use Speer's near max load as a starting load with Berry Plated bullets.

    Speer's bullets are harder, with thicker jackets, and if you reduce the load, there is a chance you would stick a bullet in the barrel.

    Berry says:
    *How do I load Berry's Preferred Plated Bullets?
    Plated bullets occupy a position between cast bullets and jacketed bullets. They are soft lead, but have a hard outer shell on them. When loading plated bullets we have found best results using low- to mid-range jacketed data in the load manual. You must use data for a bullet that has the same weight and profile as the one you are loading. Do not exceed mid-range loads. Do not use magnum loads.


    I'm just say'n!

    rcmodel
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Berry's & X-Treme's .38 bullets do not do well at Speer # 13's max charges. Ask me how I know. ;)

    Berry's and Raniers 9MM bullets, on the other hand, do just fine at Speer #13 max charges. :)

    Light crimp only with plated bullets.
     
  18. Lovesbeer99

    Lovesbeer99 Member

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    I love my Lee Crimp die, but you need to have a cannelure. I load hard cast bullets and It works great.
     
  19. shovel66

    shovel66 Member

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    Thanks vxcvbob and others. The above method worked best for me. I was still WAY to high on my die adjustment in the toolhead. I used the method in the Dillon setup instructions and with the shellplate all theway up with a loaded round, I thought the die was making contact with the round. I kept adjusting and adjusting and still didn't get the crimp.

    Now it's perfect and all measures out great. The bell went away and the crimp area on the case is only .002" - .003" larger than the rest of the case.

    Thanks all. I live and learn.
    Shovel
     
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