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Old 10-08-2017, 05:25 PM
Fielder Fielder is offline
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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Question Reloading dies 38 long colt?

I already have and use 38 special reloading dies (4 die Lee) for 38 special for a modern revolver.

But now I have obtained an old (1900 to 1910 I think) K frame 38 special revolver which I don't want to load with strong ammo, pre model 10.

Is it reasonable to just use reduced 38 special loads with these dies and 38 spec brass in the old S&W gun?

Or if I decide to get 38 Long Colt brass to load, will the same 38 spec dies work to reload the 38 Long Colt?

What about the Lee factory crimp die (it's made for .357 mag and .38 special), will it crimp the 38 long colt cartridges?

Last edited by Fielder; 10-08-2017 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 10-08-2017, 05:33 PM
rck281 rck281 is offline
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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The only that might not work is the crimp die. You may not be able to lower it enough without shorting the die. The rest should work.
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Old 10-08-2017, 05:35 PM
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Don’t know if the dies will crimp the shorter cartridge or not, but no reason not to load moderate loads in the Special cases. That, after all, is what the gun is chambered for.
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Old 10-08-2017, 05:56 PM
cowboy4evr cowboy4evr is offline
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If it's a factory 38 spl gun then I would simply load std 38 spl loads , no +p stuff and you should be fine . Today's load data is not nearly as warm as it was years before .
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:05 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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Welcome to the Forum.

"But now I have obtained an old (1900 to 1910 I think) K frame 38 special revolver which I don't want to load with strong ammo, pre model 10."

Your revolver is a .38 Military & Police. It has the older long action. In the late 1940s, S&W changed the internals to a short action. In 1957, Smith & Wesson assigned model numbers to its firearms.

Collectors call the short action revolvers without model numbers the "pri" firearms.
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Last edited by Muley Gil; 10-08-2017 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:25 PM
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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Reduced load 38 special is probably fine. If you are worried, and want softer, you can buy commercial 38 LC from Black Hills, or Remington makes a 38 SC. Both shoot in standard .38 Special guns. I shelled out for the Lee 38 SC/LC dies. The decapper/sizer is a 38/357 sizer, the flaring die is a 38 S&W die, and the seater/roll crimper is a 38 SC/S&W die. I wasn't able to flare or seat/crimp with the 38/357 dies.

But as a bonus, you have the ability to load 38 SC and 38 S&W loads in Short Colt brass. I shoot more of those than LC. If you want a truly soft load, nothing beats Trail Boss in a 38 SC with a 125 gr lead bullet.
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:43 PM
italiansport italiansport is offline
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I shoot target level loads in my 38 Long Colt revolvers and have done so for years. I use std. 38spl cases, Std primer, 3 gr W231 and a 158 gr wadcutter makes for a very light load

Last edited by italiansport; 10-08-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epj View Post
.... no reason not to load moderate loads in the Special cases. That, after all, is what the gun is chambered for.
This would be my thinking also. What benefit do you see in loading a shorter case? Since you determine what you put in the case, some fractions of an inch difference in case length aren‘t relevant.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:39 PM
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You will be just fine using any good loading manual such as Speer, Lyman, or others stick with 158 lead bullets such as wadcutters (nice perfect holes in target, semiwadcutters or round nosed ones. No need to use any other case other than 38 special.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:49 PM
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Given the smaller case capacity of the .38 LC, .38 Special loads will produce higher peak chamber pressures. Probably not enough to cause any problems in a .38 Special revolver. I'd recommend using starting regular (not +P) .38 Special loads from whatever manual you are using. I load .38 SC using .38 S&W loads.

I don't reload .38 LC so I don't know about whether the .38 expander and seat/crimp dies will work OK or not. With light loads you likely wouldn't need to crimp anyway. If you have 9mm dies, you might try using the .38 Special sizing die and the 9mm neck expander and seating dies. I do that for loading the .38 SC.
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:14 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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The older Hercules manuals showed 2.8 gr Bullseye and a 150 grain lead bullet for the 38 Long Colt.

A 148gr LWC in a 38Spec case w/ 2.8gr Bullseye is a classic target load from way back.
Seat the bullet out a bit if you want some more space inside the case and a bullet 'look' on top.
I wouldn't bother w/38Colt Long brass,,you'd just end up with the same load but w/all the bother of either trimming 38Spec brass or buying 38Colt brass.
If you want to do that though, you can use a 9mmLuger die for seating (and it may crimp for you too) the shorter 38Colt brass.

Last edited by 2152hq; 10-08-2017 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:21 AM
Fielder Fielder is offline
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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All right, thanks guys. Based on your replies, maybe I'll stick with 148 wc for now in 38 spec cases, and then perhaps try the other ideas later on.

My local indoor range needs bullets with no lead exposed. I see some Berry's plated 148 gr. hollowbase wadcutters on sale at Cabelas. I presume these load with same data as 148 lead wad cutters? Like the data above in the thread here where you are using lead bullets instead of plating?

Berry's Preferred Plated Pistol Bullets : Cabela's

Thanks again.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:44 AM
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Mr_Flintstone Mr_Flintstone is offline
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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Per Berry's website:

Question: Do you have load data available? COL or OAL?
We do not research or publish the load data. Please consult load data books or your powder manufacturers' website for load information. You can use published load data for lead/cast bullets or low to mid-range FMJ data, as long as it is the same weight bullet. Berry's offers our standard plate bullets which can handle velocities up to 1,250 fps and 1,500 fps for our Thick Plate (TP) versions.

For SAAMI MAX COL specs or OAL of the bullet please click HERE.

We recommend a light crimp on the bullet, just enough to put pressure against the bullet without denting or deforming the plating. If you were to pull the bullet out of a case with the proper crimp you would find no more than a scratch on the surface of the plating. If you are denting or deforming the bullet, your accuracy will suffer and the bullet may start to tumble before it hits the target.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:28 AM
Fielder Fielder is offline
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Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt? Reloading dies 38 long colt?  
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Well OK then, looks like a light crimp but enough to prevent the bullet jumping the crimp. There's a ton of data for 148 HBWC out there and I do have W231 and Tightgroup.
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:33 AM
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For light FWC loads, I do not bother with crimping the bullet in place.
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