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  #1  
Old 02-25-2017, 10:09 PM
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Default Couple of issues - reloading .38spl

Hello all -

I've recently loaded some .38 special using 158gr Bear Creek LRN moly-coated bullets. Everything fine - used a light charge of 3.0 grains of HP38. All went bang, very nice load.

However, I recently bought another batch of bullets, and had a couple of questions.

1. The bullets I bought are Billy Bullets 135gr. LRN (also moly coated). The difference between the 158 bear creeks and these 135 Billy bullets are that the 158gr. had a deep, wide groove near the rear of the bullet, and a smaller, shallower groove closer to the front (the cannelure, no?) Anyway, I'd seat the 158 bullets to where the crimp fit into the shallower groove.

On the 135gr. Billy Bullets, there is only the fat, wide groove near the rear. I seated the bullets to where the crimp was in THAT groove. Would these be safe to shoot, or should I disassemble these and start over?

2. I am using a Lee Turret Press. The auto-disk powder measure, which has been very convenient and trouble free before, now has this weird thing where, when I pull the lever to both expand the case and charge the case with powder, the disk doesn't slide forward enough to dump it's charge over the hole. I've followed the directions on both the expander die as well as the auto disk powder measure and have surmised that the only way to "fix" the problem is to screw the expander die in more, which doesn't seem in keeping with the instruction manual. Would it be safe to screw in the expander die more so that the charge will fully drop?
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:31 PM
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>1. The bullets I bought are Billy Bullets 135gr. LRN (also moly coated). The difference between the 158 bear creeks and these 135 Billy bullets are that the 158gr. had a deep, wide groove near the rear of the bullet, and a smaller, shallower groove closer to the front (the cannelure, no?) Anyway, I'd seat the 158 bullets to where the crimp fit into the shallower groove.
>On the 135gr. Billy Bullets, there is only the fat, wide groove near the rear. I seated the bullets to where the crimp was in THAT groove. Would these be safe to shoot, or should I disassemble these and start over?

The 158gn is a standard bullet mold made for standard lube. The crimp groove is there because is was designed for revolvers.
The 135gn bullet sounds like it is also a standard bullet mold with standard lube groove; however, it was made for 38 Super and does not have a crimp groove. If you are loading light loads, you can use a taper crimp or you can crimp around the ogive of the bullet. I would expect that if you crimp in the lube groove, the cartridge might be too long to fit the cylinder, so try them in the cylinder and find out. It is good to know the bullet and its purpose before buying it and you might want to call Billy Bullets about it.

>2. I am using a Lee Turret Press. The auto-disk powder measure, which has been very convenient and trouble free before, now has this weird thing where, when I pull the lever to both expand the case and charge the case with powder, the disk doesn't slide forward enough to dump it's charge over the hole. I've followed the directions on both the expander die as well as the auto disk powder measure and have surmised that the only way to "fix" the problem is to screw the expander die in more, which doesn't seem in keeping with the instruction manual. Would it be safe to screw in the expander die more so that the charge will fully drop?

You can screw it all the way to touch the shell plate. They give you a standard setting and the instructions should include adjusting it to get the case mouth flare you want.
One issue would be if the die is for .357 Magnum, as the longer case needs a shorter expander insert and it may not be long enough to work well with .38 Special. Again, a call to Lee will fix things.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:39 PM
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Yes, the cannelure (sometimes called the crimping groove) is where the roll crimp should go. The other "Billy's Bullets" have the larger wider groove because that's likely where the bullet lube would be but it's not needed because of the coating & the manufacturer probably used a similar mould that had a bullet lube recess. As long as the loaded rounds fit in the gun's chamber, & it's not overloaded, they should be safe. I'd load only a few & test the fit by loading the gun, closing the cylinder & (with finger OFF the trigger) moving the hammer back just far enough to allow the cylinder to turn. If it makes a complete turn, they're OK.

Another option: I bought some 44 Magnum plated bullets that had no grooves at all - no cannelure or lube. I phoned RCBS & they sent me a taper crimp die (normally used for auto pistol calibers) & it worked very well with plated bullets - excellent accuracy.

Since I've never used a Lee press, someone else will come along & help you with that question.
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:51 AM
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You're seating the Billy Bullet in/on the lube groove. Not a terrible thing if it fits in your cylinder.

But for better results I would treat it like a plated bullet and seat it to overall length. Hodgdon has data for 135gr cast round nose and they say: C.O.L.1.418"
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Old 02-26-2017, 9:04 AM
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Not always, however most bullets should be seated to a depth in the case that matches their diameter.
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Old 02-26-2017, 9:05 AM
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Ok. I tried the completed rounds in my revolvers, and they all fit fine, even though their OAL (probably due to the rounded, pointy nose of the bullet) is 1.632, instead of the recommended 1.55 as per Lee 2nd edition. (The illustration in Lee manual depicts a flat-nose bullet.
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:52 PM
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Yeah, so check the bullet anatomy of grooves...

When you see a small groove, that is typically called the CRIMP groove and you are supposed to crimp it in that spot or around that spot anyways. You can tell by looking at it and one side is squared (bottom I think) and the other side is angled. There is usually only ONE if there are any at all.

When you see wide bands that are squared on top and bottom, those are typically LUBE grooves and there can be several of them on a bullet. The resizer presses the lube into them the traditional way for folks that use the star sizer and whatever. As a PC user I pay no attention to them, but they are typically set too far back to crimp and look good, so yeah what has already been said...
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Old 02-26-2017, 1:03 PM
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I think a loose rule of thumb is that 0.10in increase in OAL doubles pressure... so we can guess the opposite halves pressure. You're almost a tenth over.

Its likely a very low velocity round now!

Its possible to put the disk into your autodisk without actually notching into the groove where its supposed to sit. It wont dump powder properly like that, but it'll kinda half-work. Id pull off the powder dispenser and double check that the disk is seated properly in the groove.
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Old 02-26-2017, 2:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomReloaded View Post
I think a loose rule of thumb is that 0.10in increase in OAL doubles pressure... so we can guess the opposite halves pressure. You're almost a tenth over.

Its likely a very low velocity round now!

Its possible to put the disk into your autodisk without actually notching into the groove where its supposed to sit. It wont dump powder properly like that, but it'll kinda half-work. Id pull off the powder dispenser and double check that the disk is seated properly in the groove.
Maybe just a typo, but wouldn't an increase in OAL *decrease* pressure? You know, PV = nRT ?

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Old 02-26-2017, 3:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomReloaded View Post
I think a loose rule of thumb is that 0.10in increase in OAL doubles pressure... so we can guess the opposite halves pressure. You're almost a tenth over.

Its likely a very low velocity round now!

Its possible to put the disk into your autodisk without actually notching into the groove where its supposed to sit. It wont dump powder properly like that, but it'll kinda half-work. Id pull off the powder dispenser and double check that the disk is seated properly in the groove.
Yeah, I think the ones I crimped in the lube groove will be taken apart and redone. Fortunately I only loaded about 15 that way before I thought to myself "Man, those just don't look right!" After the advice on this thread, I seated the bullets deeper, now they have an OAL of 1.532". The crimp now sits right below the ogive.

As far as the powder measure, per instructions, it says to screw in the die until it touches the shell holder, then back out one full turn. I did that, but then screwed it back in about 1/4 turn. That seemed to allow the auto disk powder thing to slide more such that the full charge dropped through the hole, without significantly increasing the flare.
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