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Old 06-01-2020, 10:24 PM
Biggie Z Biggie Z is offline
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Default .38 S&W Reloads bulging

I have a British lend lease Victory model in .38 S&W and I'm trying to load some bullets for it. This is my first time reloading this cartridge and I'm having some trouble. The bullets seem to be larger in diameter than the brass because when I seat the bullets it bulges out the brass. I am using Starline .38 S&W brass, Lee .38 S&W die set, and Matt's Bullets 200 gr .361 LRN. Could this be a problem with the sizing die sizing the brass too small or am I doing something wrong? I am using the same procedure as I normally would when loading other straight wall revolver cartridges and I've never has this issue before. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Pics below:





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Old 06-02-2020, 02:18 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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Maybe just the long bullet and a tight sizing die. I don't think you have
a problem as long as the loaded rounds will chamber in your gun.
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:01 AM
scooter123 scooter123 is offline
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I would consider that perfectly normal with Lee reloading dies, they seem to be made so they size the cases at the low end of the tolerance range. Almost all of my sizing dies are Lee Carbide Dies and all show that bulge that you observed. BTW, for handguns I reload every semi caliber from 380 to 45 ACP and 38/357 Magnum and all function perfectly.
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:44 AM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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It has been my experience that resizing dies usually reduce brass diameter to the minimum SAMMI specification, the end result are rounds that have a bit of a wasp waist appearance.
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Old 06-02-2020, 06:53 AM
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Re: OP. Normal. Should chamber in your revolver just fine. Nothing to be worried about. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:08 AM
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always like that
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:13 AM
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The lead .361 bullets are just a little fatter than jacketed bullets , that's why you see the slight expansion . Normal and OK !
Actually that's good ... the case is gripping the bullet tightly .

If the lead bullets wants to creep forward during shooting , apply a bit of crimp to the bullet to hold it in place .

Lee carbide dies all tend to size on the tight side so they will grip the smaller diameter jacketed bullets (.360") tightly , it's common .

Loads are looking good ... it's range time !
Gary
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:14 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I think you reloads look fine.

I bought 38 S&W loads from a commercial reloader, they shot with fantastic accuracy! The problem was he sized the cases in a 38 Special die! Every case split! (I think he tore the wall loose from the web junction on the inside!) But they were the most accurate purchased loads I ever had!

in the 30 year ago time frame: I had a box of 38 (.357) 146grain wadcutters that had the huge hollow cavity and post of Hydra-Shok fame.
I loaded 25 in 38 S&W cases with WW231 and seated the bullet out to normal overall cartridge length. In an Iver Johnson hammerless top break (heavy trigger pull) @ 25 feet all 5 shots could be covered with a 50 cent piece! I still have 25 of those bullets left!

Ivan
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:04 AM
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If they can be chambered, they will be OK. I have been loading .38 S&W since the early 1970s, and have always used a .38 Super resizing die and 9mm dies for neck expansion and seating. Never had noticeable case bulging. Also, I don't remember having any case splits.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:47 PM
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Some cases have different wall thickness and case volumes, that can cause a bulge if a lead bullet is on the "Fat" side of the standard "O/D" of the bullets dia.

A die can "Size" that bullet down a little when seated if the bullet is soft enough but there might be a slight bulge if it enters "No mans land" deeper in the case, that is seldom seen by shorter bullets.

One must be careful if the bullet is seated deeper than manual spec's, since there will be higher pressures if seated deeper.

However, that round looks good to me..............
have fun.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:19 PM
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I've had the same problem,I found the bullet seating die was the villian. I had mixed brass of varying lengths and when the roll crimp did it's job,some cases would bulge.cure is trim your case to correct length and set the die correctly. Dennis V
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:46 PM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is offline
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Lightbulb .38S&W

I bought the LEE dies and am not sorry. I use Missouri coated bullets and have no problem. I acquired Starline brass and in the beginning two boxes of the new Remington loadings. The Missouri bullets are .361. If I was using uncoated bullets I might look for a Lee .360 re sizing die, but dont know if it is even made.?? My guns for this are "I" frame and over 100 years old so no hot rodding of these. I ran across a case of 38 Super brass for a long sold gun and may try and use a few to make some shot shells. The brass along is of course too long, but I would be crimping them so we will see. Georgia arms makes a loading as well as others. Seems they dont have a current offering

Last edited by J. R. WEEMS; 06-06-2020 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:55 PM
Injunbro Injunbro is offline
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.38 S&W is NOT a straight walled case. Like the 9mm it's slightly tapered, in fact 9mm can be chambered in a .38 S&W but NOT FIRED SAFELY. At any rate the cases you loaded should fire form to the chambers just fine.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:03 PM
J. R. WEEMS J. R. WEEMS is offline
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Lightbulb ANOTHER TRY

Well I ran a few of those .38 Super cases throughout a sizing die, just because I could. Then 4.0 gns of W231. Made the over the powder shot cards out of a half & half carton the wife uses in Her coffee. They have wax on them and I put that side down against the powder. #9 shot works for this loading and after crimping, every thing loaded and ejected just fine. Test firing will take place tomorrow. All looks good so far. I guess a disclaimer is in order here, so if you wish to do this you do so at your own risk.

Please allow me to add: The dipper that came with the Lees die set will take TWO scoops of #9 shot to fill the shell properly before crimping. No guesswork needed

However, as my habit, especially for such projects, all rounds were tested for fit in the gun. Because there was a bit more shot than was needed in a couple of them, I just started them through a 9mm seating die just a touch. This corrected the slight problem.

Last edited by J. R. WEEMS; 06-04-2020 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:28 PM
Biggie Z Biggie Z is offline
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Thanks everyone for putting my mind at ease. They chamber fine in my revolver so I'll take them to the range and try them out. One other question, will the case bulging shorten the life of the brass?
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Old 06-04-2020, 03:16 PM
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I don't think that bulge you have will severely reduce the life span of the brass.

Most brass I lose over time is from the belling/flaring stage. It gets worked over pretty good on every loading. That's why I keep mine to the bare minimum to get the bullet in the casing without scraping.

I see more case ring bulging from trying to crimp too hard.

If you don't like that bullet being swaged down; try getting a new, larger size plug/stem for the expander die. The "nest" will be larger and not swage down the bullet.

Prescut

Last edited by oddshooter; 06-04-2020 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 06-06-2020, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Injunbro View Post
.38 S&W is NOT a straight walled case. Like the 9mm it's slightly tapered,
Bur only very slightly (less than 0.001"). And that taper is within the overall case diameter tolerance specs. If you measure case base and mouth diameters on a new .38 S&W factory round, you will probably be unable to discern any taper.
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