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Discussion Starter #1
For the last 10-12 years I've been shooting 40 S&W's and 45 ACP's almost exclusively. I reload 99% of what I shoot and 95% of those are cast lead bullets (although lately I've really gotten to like the coated bullets by Summers Enterprises). I recently picked up a S&W 66-1 in a multi-gun purchase and have decided, at least for now, to keep it.

It's been awhile since I've shot any big bore revolvers but I've owned a bunch in the past and reloaded for all of them. Soooooooo, I go to the brass bin and polish up a few hundred 38 Specials and found a box of wadcutter bullets. Resized, expanded the necks and loaded them up as I thought I'd done it in the past. NOT! Man I had trouble getting "things right" with those reloads. I finally got about 4 out of 5 of them where they'd drop into the chamber without any resistance, but not 100%. I never remember having this trouble in the past reloading 38's or 357's. The best performance I got was seating the WC until about 2 mm was showing above the neck and putting an ever-so-slight roll crimp on the bullet.

Any suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong? I don't think the chambers on the cylinder are tight at all. It's me, but I don't know why I can't get these reloads to drop right in!
 

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I like Summers coated bullets too. Try running a .40 caliber brass brush with your favorite solution on it through the charge holes followed by a patch and see if that helps
 

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I agree with doing the crimping separate from the seating, unless your cases have been trimmed to the exact same length, and you have a crimping groove.
I think Jonesy can be onto something as well, if the previous owner shot a lot of .38 Spl through it, it may have a carbon ring built up in it that is interfering with your length of brass or profile of your projectiles. Making sure the chambers are really clean is a good place to start.
 

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I agree with doing the crimping separate from the seating, unless your cases have been trimmed to the exact same length, and you have a crimping groove.
I think Jonesy can be onto something as well, if the previous owner shot a lot of .38 Spl through it, it may have a carbon ring built up in it that is interfering with your length of brass or profile of your projectiles. Making sure the chambers are really clean is a good place to start.
+1
 

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When I shot PPC, I reloaded all of my ammo. If I recall correctly, my first and last station both had a carbide sizing die in place. The last station was sizing only. I believe the last sizer was polished a bit larger
to not size the bullet only the cartridge.

Kevin
 

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If you're doing a lot of reloading with lead and polymer coated bullets, remember that the dies themselves will get fouled with both the lacquer / plastic coatings and lead.

They need to be disassembled and cleaned regularly. It's one reason I've shifted to swaged bullets.

Do a series of measurements along the case documenting circumference of the entire length of the loaded round, and also double check the OAL.

Unless there was a cannelure on the lead bullets, I'd probably taper crimp them too.
 

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Cases could be bulging because of crimping too soon during the bullet seating process, or the cases not being crimped at all with the flare still being present at the end of the case. Both scenarios with prevent cases from fully seating in the chamber. Are you loading mixed cases? There could be differences in case lengths which can cause the problem you describe.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great suggestions, all of which I appreciate. I guess a taper crimp die is needed. That's what I use on my 40 & 45 cases and I never have a problem with chambering. This gun hasn't been shot hardly at all and I can't see a ring in the chambers, but I'll run a brush through it anyway.
 

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Great suggestions, all of which I appreciate. I guess a taper crimp die is needed. That's what I use on my 40 & 45 cases and I never have a problem with chambering. This gun hasn't been shot hardly at all and I can't see a ring in the chambers, but I'll run a brush through it anyway.
I had not loaded 38 Special for a long time and had the same trouble you are having. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I shot PPC for years and loaded thousands of wadcutters with no problem. When I started using the taper crimp die my troubles went away. I use it always now.
 

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You've received some good advice so far. Let me add I prefer a roll crimp for revolvers most of the time. However that requires well trimmed cases that are properly crimped into the cannelure. Otherwise you wind up with bulged cases. You might look at this.
 

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Have shot a boat load of .38 Special. Occasionally have had to fiddle w/ loads, etc. Do give the charge holes in the cylinder a good look for gunk, etc. A thorough cleaning will be a good first step before any reloading/shooting. Taper crimp has been for me about ideal with both revolver and pistol reloads. Cannot ever recall a problem with chambering when using TC. As well it eliminates any concerns about case length except with the most extreme brass. Have had very good results w/ RCBS and Lee dies. As a side note, RCBS and Redding have been my go to dies for rifles. Again, problem free. One final thought. This is important. Take a Sharpie and carefully draw a little smiley face on the primer of each round. For special reloads to be used in matches, etc., add eyes and eyebrows. If these are for SD/HD, make the eyes red and add fangs hanging out of the mouth. For added confidence, draw a tongue sticking out of the mouth. This one final bit of attention to this important detail of reloading has probably had more to do with my success at the range than any other step in reloading. Sincerely. bruce.
 

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Have shot a boat load of .38 Special. Occasionally have had to fiddle w/ loads, etc. Do give the charge holes in the cylinder a good look for gunk, etc. A thorough cleaning will be a good first step before any reloading/shooting. Taper crimp has been for me about ideal with both revolver and pistol reloads. Cannot ever recall a problem with chambering when using TC. As well it eliminates any concerns about case length except with the most extreme brass. Have had very good results w/ RCBS and Lee dies. As a side note, RCBS and Redding have been my go to dies for rifles. Again, problem free. One final thought. This is important. Take a Sharpie and carefully draw a little smiley face on the primer of each round. For special reloads to be used in matches, etc., add eyes and eyebrows. If these are for SD/HD, make the eyes red and add fangs hanging out of the mouth. For added confidence, draw a tongue sticking out of the mouth. This one final bit of attention to this important detail of reloading has probably had more to do with my success at the range than any other step in reloading. Sincerely. bruce.
Is that a his smiley or a hers smiley, I'd hate to get the eyebrows and tongues wrong.
 

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if there isn't a " Canalure" taper crimp mate... 20190922_113954_resized.jpg 20190922_121057_resized.jpg

thewelshm
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The taper crimp die arrived Friday. Had time to run that "bad" batch of wadcutters through the taper crimp yesterday. Voila! Every one of them dropped smoothly into the cylinder! That was the answer (at least for my issue!) Thanks to all.
 
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