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Problem with wadcutters

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by WillametteWill, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. WillametteWill

    WillametteWill Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I recently ran into an issue with a batch of 38 wadcutters that is a new experience. About 40% of the loaded cases have a bulge at the base of where the bullet seats in the case. I know many rounds will have a slight deformation (that's what holds them in the case) but these are not anywhere close to chambering in any of my 38s.

    I have loaded many other bands of lead wc and swc, jacketed etc. without ever having this issue. I tried different cases (brands) +P, non +P, brass and nickel cases...I'm at a loss. I do not have a good micrometer but my calipers show the bullets at .358 to .3585, within the same range as other rounds I load without problem.

    The bullets are BBWC, not hollow and are really hard. I'm wondering if it is because they are so hard that this is perhaps the issue. I called the manufacture and they said I could send them some sample unused rounds for them to mic but they basically said that it must be something I'm doing. They could be right...but it only happens with these loads, not the previous 10,000 or so in 7 different calibers. Any suggestions are welcome.
     
  2. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Roll crimping? I don't load wad cutters so I don't know. I'll have an issue on occasion with a bulge in the case at the base of the bullet. Seems to be from, one or both,....Cases with harder/thicker brass and/or a tad too much roll crimp. Maybe.

    Pictures?

    Mike
     
  3. WillametteWill

    WillametteWill Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I crimp separate from seating but the bulge is present before I ever get to crimping. I'll post some photos once I return home (Friday night). Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Kinda need to see photos on this, my guess is the bullets are slightly oversize (.3585 is a touch big, but largely still spec) and it's possible you may have issues with the belling step, I've personally seen problems if the bell stem isn't hitting evenly which can cause off-center seating, which ends up actually seating the bullet slightly bent in the case. Have to take a look, if you have a chamber gauge this could help in debugging it.
     
    Certaindeaf likes this.
  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Well, if that load fits in all your other guns and not that one, it doesn't fit in that gun.. lol. You say they are +.358.. given. If you loaded a few tens or thousands of those and you're set on sending them through that rascal, you'd be well advised (as compared to pulling them all) to "post size" them with like a FCD (Lee factory crimp die etc.) but only do one/a small batch to make sure you haven't loosened up the grip dangerously and hopefully you know how to do this.
     
  6. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    When a case bulges at basically one location at the base of bullet, you have seated the bullet crooked. Full wadcutters have a real propensity to seat crooked as you are "steering" them into the case from the top--thus allowing them to move/tilt very easily. I found that using an expander die properly (making sure the case ID was expanded to 0.001-0.002" less than bullet diameter) and increasing the case mouth flare to get the bullet to sit in the case at least ⅛", improved accuracy quite a bit.
    If you are seating them flush to just barely below flush with the case mouth, accuracy improves for me with a slight roll crimp--best done with the Redding Profile Crimp die--no other die does as good a job with wadcutters.
    You may minimize case mouth flare for all other bullets, but for full wadcutters you really need a larger case mouth flare and proper case expansion. I find best sizing is done with the Lee FCD with the crimp parts removed. For my S&W M52, I don't size the cases at all.
     
  7. Pepe-lepew

    Pepe-lepew Mid Valley Active Member

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    Are you using a seater plug in your seating die that fits the bullet? Many die sets come with more than one seater plug, one for round nose bullets and one for SWC's. It is common when using a round nose bullet seater on a SWC bullet to seat crooked and bulge the case.

    reloading-27.jpg
     
  8. WillametteWill

    WillametteWill Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I think the issue could be related to not belling the case mouth enough. The Hornady HBWC I have loaded with perfect success have a very defined bottom and load into the case easily. This batch of BBWC are a bit tricky. I try to not flare the case mouth too much on my loads to avoid splitting the cases but perhaps I need to revisit this and give them some room.

    I am using the SWC seating plug but I have noticed on some different WC bullets that this is not perfect either. Thinking about modifying one for a better fit with WC...or just start shooing SWC!

    Thanks again all and I'll try the suggestions when I get back home this weekend.

    Will
     
  9. Happyguy

    Happyguy Renton, WA New Member

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    RCBS at one time made a belling plug specifically for 38 HBWC. It is longer to keep the skirt of the WC from being squished. I use that and then put very little crimp on with a Lee FCD. I shoot this in my 6 " Clark 1911 38 WC. It was actually built by Jim in 1964 and is engraved with his name and date of completion.

    Just what I do, it doesn't make it right but it works for me. David
     
    Sam Kinard likes this.
  10. WillametteWill

    WillametteWill Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Well, all of the great suggestions paid off. I tried using more of a flare at the mouth and longer into the case. These particular BBWC seem to tilt more easily in the case so I seated them with finger pressure so they were straight and then seated them without any issues (I loaded 19 as a test). Crimping was done separately but my issue in the past was with the seating.

    Thanks to all, I really appreciate your help. As you can see I'm pretty new to the forums. Hope I can return assistance!
     
    cooper likes this.
  11. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    As usual the posters get it done.
     
  12. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    You will probably find a lot of case mouth splits with .38 Spl (and with .357 Mag), but that isn't the case mouth flare, that seems to be inherent in the cases.
    If I fire 300 rounds of factory .38 Spl, I will almost always get 2 cases with splits.
    If I load my own, and I REALLY use a LOT of case mouth flare for my wadcutter loads, and shoot about 300 rounds, I will get 2-3 cases with splits. If I shoot nickel-plated cases, I will get 4-5 splits.
    With 9x19, .40S&W, .45 Auto, and .44 Mag, it is very rare to EVER get a split case.
    Making BAD ammunition while attempting not to overwork the cases seems like a very pointless activity to me.