357 Magnum LSWC tricks?

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My brother in law just bought a bunch of 158 gr LSWC bullets, and gave me some to try. I've never used anything but jacketed round nose, and when I seat these new bullets, it goes in very hard, and wont chamber in my revolvers or levers. There seems to be a bulge where the bullet seats in the case. They measure .358 compared to all my other bullets at .357. Is there a trick to using these bullets that I am not doing?
20200808_191039(1).jpg 20200808_191119(1).jpg
 

Mygrainman

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Those look like Oregon Trail Laser Cast.. I loaded a few hundred of those several years ago... they are a made from a very hard lead/silver alloy.
I noticed the same bulging when I loaded them, but they worked fine in my Dan Wesson .357

I still have a couple hundred left... says .358 right on the box

if I recall they have proprietary load data that’s was the light side compared to my other manuals, so you might double check that online.
Also that blue wax gets all up in everything so clean seating your die regularly.
Maybe try a lee factory crimp die to get that bell all the way out?
 
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From the picture it looks like the one that is loaded might be seated too deep (past the crimp groove). Try seating them a little shallower so the case mouth is even with the top of the crimp groove on the bullet and give them a firm roll crimp. Also check your case length, they might be a little long for your chamber.
 

Lesliet

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+1 on the factory crimp die. I've no experience loading revolver, but I regularly load slightly larger projectiles, and have experienced the thing you're talking about. The other item I've noticed is that if the slugs aren't being driven down perfectly straight and concentric by your seater, you get a bulge that makes them not chamber. Switching to a Redding competition bullet seater helped on my .45 acp loads tremendously; I went from about a one in 15 no-gauge rate to maybe one in 150, if I'm picky. The Lee FCD can help clean up the bulge after it happens, if it happens.
 

ron

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I agree with @Greenbug looks like they are seated too deep. Also not enough crimp. The first caliber I started reloading
was the 357/38 in 1978. I use the 158 SWC as a low velocity 'Target' load in 38 or 357. I get about 900 fps using Unique.
For magnum loads I use jacketed bullets and H110 powder. I am currently working on a 500 rounds of 158 SWC lead in
38 special.:D
 
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Those bullets have a crimping grove. Adjust your seating and crimping dies accordingly. With lead bullets I went to seating and crimping in 2 separate steps.

Get the crimp into the groove by adjusting your crimping die. How much crimp can be influenced by your loads and anticipated recoil. High powered loads with slow burning powder will need a substantial crimp.

For consistent crimp your cases need to be the same length. When case length varies so will crimp.

You are doing fine. You he just discovered that handloading can require fine adjustments for the best product.
 
As a separate comment from the above solutions, here is a "1 in 10000" kind of problem: A buddy was having trouble with an older M10 he bought used, when loading 158 LSWC. With other loads & ogives, nary an issue. With the 158 LSWC in particular, 2 of the rounds would never quite seat into the cylinder.

Observation demonstrated this was not random, but 2 specific charge holes. Finally had his 'smith measure and found those 2 holes to be slightly under spec. The previous owner had only fired 128s & wadcutters, so no issue. The 'smith did a little buffing & made the chamber at spec dimension. All was well in the realm.

So in the future you may run into a similar oddity.
 
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.358 is the proper size for cast lead bullets. In addition to removing the bell with the crimp die you should be roll crimping into the crimp groove. swc,in general is a poor choice for a lever gun to feed smoothely. All of my reloads with cast produce a bulge, it's never a problem ,been shooting nothing but cast for decades View attachment 733460
Those are some mighty fine looking handloads. I love to see a job done right.
 

ma96782

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Say it this way.......there are many ways to solve a problem and many solutions out there. What works for me....may not work for you.

As for me.....
And speaking about smooth functioning through a lever gun like my .357 mag/.38 special Marlin 1894 carbine.

Ok, I use .358 sized lead bullets. As Throckmorton pointed out, that's the normal size for a lead projectile/bullet in the .38 special/.357 mag cartridge.

And a.357" sized bullet would be the normal size for the jacketed variety of bullets for use in the .38 special/.357 mag cartridge.

I use a 147 gr. Truncated cone-shaped lead projectile/bullet. It seems to work better for me vs the LSWC design. When I did use the LSWC bullets......it would frequently "sort of bobble" on it's way to the chamber. When you think about it....different designs of the lever-action mechanics (Marlin 1894 vs Win 1873 vs Win 1892) probably has a lot to do with the problems of trying to achieve smooth 100% functioning.

Additionally, I don't use jacketed or semi-jacketed projectiles. Though if I wanted to......well, I'd have to work on that project.

So.....
IMHO.....what a lot of people miss out on is......COAL. Lever gun users should pay attention to it. I can use .38 Special brass or .357 mag brass with my reloads. If I keep it all at 1.50" COAL, everything is usually golden. Close to 100% functioning. Rrrrright.....not everything, always goes as imagined. Reality bites.

Then.....
A good roll crimp is supposed to go in the crimp groove. And BTW, I don't use a factory crimp die. But for ME.......I'll still go with the 1.50" COAL no matter where the crimp groove happens to be. Things just works out better for me. Bottom Line: You may have to adjust/play with the COAL to suit your rifle. Try it.

Aloha, Mark

PS.....you could also use RNL if you desired. BUT some manuals say NOT TO in a tube magazine. A chain fire could result. You can decide for yourself about the amount of risk you're willing to take. And, you may still have to play (probably) with the COAL as the bullet shape has now changed.
 
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Lesliet

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It occurred to me as I was messing around checking ammo today, that another factor is how thick the brass is. I know the OP already solved the issue he was having, but just another thing to think about; if you're loading lead or poly coats, they are likely sized a thou or two larger than plated or jacketed. If you also have thick brass, it can cause enough of a bulge to be a problem. Where I'm going with this is simply to observe if there are specific case brands that tend to give issues with lead, and if they measure thicker through the walls around the case mouth and neck, maybe those should be culled for use with plated/jacketed.
I've already observed this difference in my Federal Match brass vs Blazer, the Blazer works a lot better with lead, and has thinner walls.
 

ma96782

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Yes...the thickness of the brass has to do with the visible bulge where the bullet enters the neck. Various brands of brass are better or worse for this problem.

And......a large number of complaints (observations) comes from the 9mm community of reloaders. They refer to it commonly as an hourglass shape.

Aloha, Mark
 

Certaindeaf

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Yes...the thickness of the brass has to do with the visible bulge where the bullet enters the neck. Various brands of brass are better or worse for this problem.

And......a large number of complaints (observations) comes from the 9mm community of reloaders. They refer to it commonly as an hourglass shape.

Aloha, Mark
Coke bottle.
 

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