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Discussion Starter #1
Can you say "D'OH"???

I re-read these comments just before bed time. In the middle of the night,


It came to me that I had not disassembled and cleaned the sizing die. Had a bunch of crap up above the carbide ring....

I'll leave this posted a while to help the other slow learners to keep the basics and methodically work through each potential cause.

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Perhaps someone here will have some ideas on why I'm getting inconsistent ability to mount the reload in the chamber; using 2 different revolvers. Somehow case dimensions are not proper.

Below is a compilation of a couple days in the reloading room.
Ideas?
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OK, I haven't reloaded 357 for a LONG time. I have in the past with no problem. Just got done with a large batch of 38, with virtually perfect results.

Dillon 650 press, adjusted the powder, seating & crimp dies all to proper length.

Have been throwing culls in about 90% of a small 'check batch'. Most don't want to fit quite all the way into cylinder of 2 different revolvers. The case trim length is right, OAL is right. Minimal crimp or max crimp doesn't seem to matter. Some I can push with thumb against some resistance, and others won't seat leaving about 1/3 of the case out. Others just fall in slick and proper. The cylinders are clean.

A couple cases are slightly deformed near the case rim, but whether I can eyeball a defect or not, something isn't right.

OAL 125g cast lead RN length 1.610 max per Hodgdon site.

Crimp die set to zero leaves the tiny bit of flare from the powder funnel. Light, medium & heavy crimp don't seem to be an issue.

What am I leaving out?



UPDATE:

I have discovered a couple minor points which improved but did not solve the problem.

1)(Note to self) Clean crimp die more often. That's why Dillon designs it that way;

2) recheck all dies, stations, adjustments, etc;

3) check bullet size; case trim length; OAL, etc;

4) run one case at a time to isolate station, checking between each for cylinder fit; no one station converts fit to non-fit;

5) individually separate pre-sized cases into 2 groups: one that fits and one that doesn't; measure with calipers, unable to identify difference;

6) Note case mfg on the 'non-fit cases'; equal mix of 1/2 dozen common mfg; note in 'fit-group' same distribution percentage;

6) run small batch of cases that fit; after sizing they still fit; after normal loading, they still all fit;

7) run small batch of 'non-fit' cases; after sizing some fit, some don't; run rest of small reload batch....about 30% fit the rest either stick 1/3 out, or right down near rim; some can be pushed with thumb into chamber; these set aside;

8) Now have 100 reloaded 357 mag rounds; will take to range for further study;

9) ordered Lee Factory Crimp Die set as this is what cured similar symptoms on 40 S&W and 9mm loads.

The cases that fit before sizing continue to fit after being reloaded.
The cases that are non-fit before, in large continue to not fit regardless of how I resize it.

continue shaking head....

All those 38s loaded perfectly.
 

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Re: woes reloading 357 magnums

First thing comes to mind is the sizing die. How long have you had it? What make is it? Takes a long, long time to wear one of those out, but it happens - not very often. Have you tried another sizing die? Other than that, I don't have a clue.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: woes reloading 357 magnums

It's Dillon's carbide, only a few years old.

One little help was cleaning the crimp die.... but that still left a large percentage of problem cases.

I don't understand how I've got 2 separate groups---the "fit" and "don't fit" even pre-sized.

One batch is older who-knows-how-many-reloads; the other is a once-reloaded batch. Still, even in that group there will be a few glitches.

I await my Factory Crimp Die.
 

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Re: woes reloading 357 magnums

M657 The problem as I see it is your sizing die is not sizing far enough down to the base of your cartridge. I'm not familiar with the Dillon press, so I have no answer their.
 

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Re: woes reloading 357 magnums

Yeah, I agree it sounds like a sizing die problem. But, the LFC die probably will fix the situation. That's part of what that die does. I use 'em on every caliber I reload for and have no problems.

It would be nice to know what's really going on though..
 

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Re: woes reloading 357 magnums

Does the cartridge seem to stick in the cylinder at the bullet end or the base end?

Oversize bullets, thick brass, and overcrimping can cause them to stick at the bullet end. Have you mic'd the bullet diameters to see that they aren't greatly oversize?

Undersizing can cause the case to stick at the rear. Brass that has been shot in a very oversize chamber may not resize enough for a tight chamber if the carbide ring is not at the very bottom of the sizing die - and also if the sizing die is not screwed in to the proper depth. Have you mic'd the loaded cartridge diameters at both ends to see that they are to spec?

Do you have another .357 revolver to check these cartridges in?

Do you think that you might have lead and powder residue built up in the cylinders from shooting all of those .38s that might be causing some cartridges to stick? If so, you can chuck a short section of cleaning rod in your drill and scrub out the cylinders real well with a bronze brush and solvent. (Wear protective glasses!)

That's all I can come up with right now.

xtm
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: woes reloading 357 magnums

Further clarification:

Using a Colt and a S&W cylinder, some of these continue to not fit either.

Cylinders on both are shiny clean with no carbon ring.

These cast bullets (125 RNFP & 158 SWC) have been loaded with no issue in 38 special.

I've marked the cylinders in the Colt which are the tightest. No consistency of which chamber will be too tight. If load fits one chamber, it fits all. If it doesn't fit one, it doesn't fit any in either gun.

Some 357 loaded brass fits, some doesn't. Some slide in as if by magic, some needs a little push, some a harder push, and some leaves 1/3 out. Micrometer (Dillon) measures down to .01" same dimensions.

I've taken some tight cases, tapped them in carefully (no primer), then back out, then run thru press sizer. Some will then fit, some won't.

I'm going back to reinspect the sizing die. If I don't return soon, send in the Ghost Busters.
 

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You mentioned two groups...the ones that have been reloaded many times, and those that are not a problem.
IMHO, you have some deformed brass, well-past its elasticity properties.
OL and case-length might be OK, but it sure sounds to me like the diameter of the brass is suspect.
Don
;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
re: "deformed brass, well-past its elasticity properties."

I've loaded a few to take out for range test.

I will be keeping them separate from 'the GOOD stuff'.....

New problem developed:
I just replaced the case feeder motor, which has seen a LOT of use since new in 2003....and the new motor/gear box ran fine the past few weeks.

Until this morning.

Dead. Tried the old 'wiggle-bump-jiggle-swat & swear' technique. Didn't work. The switch is good. Gonna try a few other remedies today.

At least I got in a decent stock of 38!!!
 

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That's the way I understand it too.. I've never seen it happen before though.
 

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c pierce said:
I think that the die was so clogged that it stopped the die from sizing all the way to the base. :?
You may be correct! :)

If that was so, then the sizing die wasn't screwed in to the proper depth --- because the lever for the loading press would be prevented from reaching the bottom of the cycle if the die was turned all the way in and otherwise set up properly. He's operating on one of the Dillon progressives and probably should re-check all of the set-up for that rig before proceeding.

IMO, there is more to this mystery than a dirty sizing die. :?

xtm
 

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Discussion Starter #14
took 'em out for range check today. EXCELLENT results, will post photos of targets/pistols soon.

Theory:

I had just finished a large batch of 38 specials. When I changed the other dies to accomodate the extra length, somehow I didn't get the sizer die properly set. And the wax/lead/debris in the sizer die had extra room for OAL at stage one. Given the slightly plasticity of the wad, it could change from case to case. Some cases would fit, and some wouldn't.

None of them *looked* wrong, and the micrometer did not pick up any difference in the .01" range that I measured.

I fired nearly 200 rounds today and will give report tomorrow.

Can we post load data (powder charge) numbers here?
 

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Can we post load data (powder charge) numbers here?
Yes, you can.

But, if the data you post is not within the safe limits from a modern load book, please point that out.

Don't forget that anyone can read this forum.. even newbie reloaders who may not know to double check all unpublished data found on the internet.
 

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The size problem here is confusing...but clearly something isn't right.

If the sizing die is sizing .38 Spl correctly it should also correctly size .357 Mag... so I don't think your problem is there...

The problem you are having sounds more to me like a crimp problem...too heavy a crimp will result in chambering problems... and the longer the case being crimped the worse the problem... I'd be inclined to look at the crimp die for the solution to your difficulty.

While it isn't generally necessary to trim pistol brass after firing, the minor variances in case length between brands and even lots of brass from the same manufacturer can cause problems with inconsistent crimp...

FWIW

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #18
cxm:

The problem was the gunk above the carbide sizer, up around the top of the die, between the body of the die external wall and above the expander plug rod holding the decapper pin.

It would wedge itself into the mouth area of the case and made a variable OAL which deformed the brass *just enough* to not slide into the cylinder. It was so slight I couldn't even get a reading with the calipers...although in side-by-side comparison, and looking closely where the case would not pass into the cylinder, it was possible to *feel* a little something.

As soon as I cleared that plug out, I've run nearly 500 of all genre` of brass, new/used/really used thru, without ONE failure to chamber.
 
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