Neck Tension on 38 special

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by cardinalorange, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    I'm having difficulties with neck tension on 38 special. It's sizing fine, and I'm putting barely any flare on it, but I'm still having issues with neck tension even after moving the taper crimp on my seating die down a full turn. Has anyone else had this issue? It's fine for revolvers, but when attempting to load into the mag of a lever gun it's pushing the bullet back into the case. Do I need to roll crimp these? I'd prefer not to, but if that's what is needed that's what I'll do.

    4.6 gr HP38 behind a 158 FMJ
     
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  2. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Roll crimp is the way to go.
     
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  3. nofendertom

    nofendertom Member

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    If the bullet has a crimping groove---roll crimp it---if no crimping groove--- taper crimp it.
     
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  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Measure your expander ball and make it 0.001" or 0.002" smaller.

    You can chuck it up in a drill and use some emory cloth to reduce the diameter.
     
  5. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

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    Why don't you want to roll crimp? That's the correct answer.
     
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  6. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    Because the bullets I have don't have a cannelure and I don't want to have to find a new supplier... So because I'm lazy :)
     
  7. joneb

    joneb Member

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    If you pull the expander flare die plug what does it measure? I'm guessing the expander plug is not jiving with your bullet diameter. The expander plug should be at least .003" under the bullet diameter.
     
  8. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    I'm currently using a hornady PTX, but I'll measure it. I do have a separate flare die I can use if the PTX is causing the issue. I guess my bigger question was "Does 38 special have to be roll crimped, or is it something in my tooling causing the taper crimp to not be good enough. (specifically when referring to lever guns)"
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    My first thought is that the brass you're using is thin. I this happening with different headstamped brass?

    I've had this happen when loading a friend's mixed brass, and the cases with insufficient neck tension were all R-P. Running it through my Redding Dual Ring Carbide Sizer solved the problem.

    FWIW: increasing crimp, especially with non-jacketed bullets, will only make your neck tension issue worst...due to the amount of spring back of the brass as opposed to the lead
     
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  10. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I use R-P brass for cast lead bullets that are sized at .358"-.3585" it works well for that. R-P brass with .357" bullets is hit or miss for me.
     
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  11. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    .38 Special is a straight wall pistol case. You can’t force more taper crimp and expect it to perform like a roll crimp. .38 is one of the few pistol cases I measure and trim to help with consistency with the crimp step. Did you trim first? I agree with the above, back off the taper crimp until you only remove the flare and see what happens. Good luck.
     
  12. Lafitte

    Lafitte Member

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    Revolver cartridges need to be roll crimped. Cartridges loaded into a tube magazine need a roll crimp. Your mileage might vary a bit but not much.
    Lafitte
     
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  13. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    Roll crimp

    Vn0RzSE.jpg

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    especially in a lever gun

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    find some bullets with a good crimp groove, or cannelure

    O0yV3sI.jpg
     
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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    A taper crimp will be fine on a bullet with no crimp groove like the OP has, although he might be over doing it.

    Either the sizer is to big (ID), or the expander is too big (OD), or some of both, or the brass is to thin for the sizer.

    Size some cases, don’t expand them, seat a couple of bullets, and see if neck tension is OK. If it is, the expander is too big.

    I have three .38 Spl sizers because my first one was to big for thin brass.
     
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  15. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Poor neck tension could be a product of your sizing die. What brand are you running? A roll crimp is standard for any ammo used in tube fed rifles like lever actions. Factory 30-30 and .32 Special is roll crimped to prevent set-back for this very reason. Same goes for standard bullets meant for reloading in those same caliber having a cannelure.
     
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  16. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    Yes, all R-P headstamped brass, and I'm still getting the same issue with no flare (using a Hornady Full length sizing die). I backed and reset the taper crimp entirely, and it looks good to me and holds up to "average pressure" but if I lean on it, it still backs into the case.
     

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  17. mdi

    mdi Member

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    FWIW; you may be putting too much crimp on your handloads. Too much taper crimp can actually loosen neck tension and bulge cases (in all my uses of a taper crimp die, semi-auto and revolver handloads, it is only enough to remove any flare in the case mouth). Try seating a bullet, with no crimp and check neck tension. Push on the bullet, against the bench or a block of wood, and see if it is loose.
     
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  18. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    So I tried this, zero crimp and zero flare, and it actually seems to have solved it. I am guessing I am either not crimping accurately after flaring, or the process of flaring and then crimping is causing it to lose neck tension- If I try to flare and not crimp it loses it (which makes sense), and if I don't flare and crimp it does (which is over crimping). without flaring these it's more difficult to get the bullet started, but I'd rather have them work. I'll play with less flaring and less crimping and see if I can find a sweet spot
     
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  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    It's not the flare, it is the straight expanded case below the flared case mouth.
    As said, measure your expander, it should be substantially smaller than the bullet.
     
  20. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    Then why would it work with the flaring station removed? I would expect that if this was the case then removing the flare would have zero impact (because the expander had made the entire case too big).
     
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  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    You have separate neck expander and mouth flare "stations"?
     
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  22. cardinalorange

    cardinalorange Member

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    I have a full length sizing die, then a PTX. If I remove the PTX entirely, the problem goes away. I'm going to try adding the actual case flare die I have instead of using the PTX and seeing if the problem still exists.
     
  23. reloaded_in_pa

    reloaded_in_pa Member

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    What brand of bullets ? Just out of curiosity, have you tried another type or brand ?
     
  24. film495

    film495 Member

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    how clean is the inside fo the case you're seating into?
     
  25. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    A 158 grain bullet sits so deep in the case that there shouldn’t be any setback even with a weak taper crimp. Either the brass is bad or the resizing die is not in spec. Are the bullet diameters measuring.357 consistently?
     
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