Avatar
Please consider registering
Guest
Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
Register Lost password?
Avatar
Michael Hubbard
Guest
Guests
1
March 10, 2022 - 11:21 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Hi,I am new to this site and am searching for guidance on reloading the 38-55 cartridge. I’ve reloaded several years and other than 45 and 9mm,this is my first try at this straight wall case.ive loaded and shot the rifle a couple dozen times and found a bullet that shoots pretty good.its a .378 bullet. The problem  is I have to push the round in the last little bit. It also creates  a bulge in my newly resized case. Looks as if it’s sized too small. Is the bulging normal? Thanks

Avatar
Northern edge of the D/FW Metromess
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3828
Member Since:
November 7, 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
March 11, 2022 - 2:44 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

RCBS die sets seem to size the neck of the case a bit too much in at least a few straight wall cartridges. I think their goal In the 38-55 is to have sufficient neck tension for the more common .375 jacketed bullets. You didn’t mention which dies you were using but I suspect other manufacturers follow the same line of thought. I’ve had better results with RCBS Cowboy dies. The bulge is possibly unsightly but I doubt it will affect performance. 

Who makes that bullet? What powder is working for you?

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
BBHC Member, TGCA Member
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
Avatar
South Texas
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 1178
Member Since:
March 20, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
March 11, 2022 - 8:04 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Would agree with Mike, the RCBS Cowboy dies are the way to go.  The bulge your seeing is normal, the bullets I cast are .380 and you can see where it expands the case wall. 

DSC07915.JPGImage Enlarger

Didnt quite understand your comment “The problem is I have to push the round in the last little bit”. 

sp_PlupAttachments Attachments

DSC_0245-Copy-3.JPG

1892takedown @sbcglobal.net ......NRA Endowment Life Member.....WACA Member

"God is great.....beer is good.....and people are crazy"... Billy Currington

Avatar
Easty
Guest
Guests
4
March 11, 2022 - 9:48 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Are you using the Starline 2.125 inch brass? They are the correct original length brass. Brass used for factory ammo these days are 2.080 length and the brass is to thick in the neck area to allow ease of chambering .380 or larger cast bullets. The Starline 2.125 brass are by design made thinner in the bullet seating area to allow ease of chamber throat entry. I can chamber loads with cast bulletsup to .381 diameter using the Starline 2.125 length brass.

Avatar
Michael Hubbard
Guest
Guests
5
March 11, 2022 - 3:09 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Sorry. I am using a Lee die for sizing and seating. It looks to me like the bullet is starting a little sideway because the bulge in the case is primarily on one side? The bullets are Cast Performance.

Also the rifle is a single shot and that’s how I manage to push the round the last little bit.It was a gift from my father so why not try and load for it.

Thanks again for the info and the picture has some nice looking ammo in it. I think I will get a those cowboy dies and try those. Is there any bullet makers that is recommended over the others? 

Thanks everyone. 

Michael 

Avatar
Santa Clara, CA
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 624
Member Since:
January 27, 1992
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
March 12, 2022 - 4:51 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Just a thought, back off the sizing die one turn and see how the case chambers in the rifle.  I tried doing this when I was having problems with the “bullet bulge” look.  This helped a little with the bulging appearance and I have had no problems with the cartridges chambering.  RDB

Avatar
Northern edge of the D/FW Metromess
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3828
Member Since:
November 7, 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
March 12, 2022 - 5:26 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Michael Hubbard said
Sorry. I am using a Lee die for sizing and seating. It looks to me like the bullet is starting a little sideway because the bulge in the case is primarily on one side? The bullets are Cast Performance.
(Snip) I think I will get a those cowboy dies and try those. Is there any bullet makers that is recommended over the others? 

Thanks everyone. 

Michael   

Michael-

I think Cast Performance makes a decent bullet but a mass-produced cast bullet will seldom perform as well as custom cast bullets. Getting the bullet started straight is very important, maybe a bit more flare in the case mouth will help. Short of getting into casting your own I think Dan at Bullshop makes an excellent custom cast bullet. The guy who casts my bullets is way behind on his projects and easily distracted but a big batch of .381 bullets is near the top of his list. Wink

I agree with Roger on backing out the sizing die, I sometimes use that method with 45-70 and 45-90 cases, especially when loading BP. Remember most “straight” cases actually have a slight taper and adjusting the sizer die can give you a wide variety of options if you don’t require full-length resizing. I think Lee still offers a neck sizing die. 

Good luck, thanks for inspiring me to resume my own 38-55 project!

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
BBHC Member, TGCA Member
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
Avatar
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3446
Member Since:
March 31, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
March 12, 2022 - 11:05 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Michael Hubbard said
Sorry. I am using a Lee die for sizing and seating. It looks to me like the bullet is starting a little sideway because the bulge in the case is primarily on one side? The bullets are Cast Performance.

Thanks everyone. 

Michael   

Maybe the die is not in alignment with the center of the case?  Most modern presses let the shell holder and or the die to float a little to ensure better self  centering when sizing and bullet seating.

Avatar
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 54
Member Since:
May 21, 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
March 13, 2022 - 1:02 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Hi   Lee dies are not the best for loading any calibre, but better then none.  The main thing wrong with the Lee expander part of the die is that it is too short, and the flare part is not held central.   It causes a lot of frustration trying to seat bullets straight.  Its easy to make a replacement expander die, or buy a modified expander like Lyman M die.  The EXPANDER section needs to be the right diameter,  and long enough to enter the case as far as the seating depth. This also keeps the flare even.   Seat and crimp in two steps, and you should not have any more problems.  I would buy a set of Lyman dies with M expander, or RCBS COWBOY dies.    Give the Lee dies to someone in need of education.    Hope this Helps,   Eric

Avatar
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3038
Member Since:
November 19, 2006
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
March 13, 2022 - 1:17 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

I’m not the one who posed the question but I am benefitting from the responses.  I too, have experienced the “bulging” problem and find it unsightly (using Lee dies for some of my reloading).

Avatar
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3446
Member Since:
March 31, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
March 13, 2022 - 6:00 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

I agree with Eric but didn’t want to beat up on the Lee dies.  I do have some specific Lee pieces but I rank them low on the scale when it comes to sizing and seating dies.   I use mostly Redding and RCBS dies for my old guns.  I do have a couple of presses that allow for float.  I also have a universal expander die that will take whatever diameter expander you need.  I buy individual expanders when necessary.  I recently had to make a custom expander set up for my 45 caliber rifles.  There is a lot of stuff out there that is beyond the basic die set.

Avatar
South Texas
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 1178
Member Since:
March 20, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12
March 19, 2022 - 12:14 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Easty said
Are you using the Starline 2.125 inch brass? They are the correct original length brass. Brass used for factory ammo these days are 2.080 length and the brass is to thick in the neck area to allow ease of chambering .380 or larger cast bullets. The Starline 2.125 brass are by design made thinner in the bullet seating area to allow ease of chamber throat entry. I can chamber loads with cast bulletsup to .381 diameter using the Starline 2.125 length brass.  

Ive been using the Starline 2.125″ brass for some time.  However, using the bullet I cast (Accurate Molds 38-255-SG, a gas check bullet) the brass has to be trimmed to 2.110″ to accommodate for the length of the bullet (between shoulder & meplat at 0.39″), the steep ogive shape, and wide meplat.   If I dont trim the brass and leave at 2.125″, the OACL is too long and they will not cycle through the 1894 chamber–you can single feed them, but to cycle, the OACL needs to be 2.50″.   However, early factory ammo has an OACL of 2.545″, and will feed, but the ogive shape is more tapered and the meplat is smaller than the bullets Im casting. 

The other chambering issue Ive had is due to the case neck diameter after seating the bullet.  The case neck diameter needs to be no greater than .392″ subsequent to seating the bullet, otherwise it will not fully chamber and the bolt wont close.  When I seat my bullets, the neck diameter is 0.395″ and they will not chamber (too large), even with a minimum amount of crimp.  To overcome this obstacle I remove the decapping pin from the sizing die then run the loaded cartridge partially into the sizing die to compress the brass/bullet at the case neck.  I used to have to do the same thing with the .380″ Cast Performance bullets I used to used them years ago.  Just a little bump in the sizing die is all it needs to get me to that 0.392″ threshold and in theory maybe helps with the centricity of the cartridge.  Ive probably shot 1000+ rounds through my 1894 carbine/rifles and havent had any issues so far. 

No reloading expert status claimed, what works for me may not work for anyone else.  This is just what I have to do to use the bullets I want to use for my 38-55 rifles/carbines with .380″ bore diameters.

DSC_0245-Copy-3.JPG

1892takedown @sbcglobal.net ......NRA Endowment Life Member.....WACA Member

"God is great.....beer is good.....and people are crazy"... Billy Currington

Avatar
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3038
Member Since:
November 19, 2006
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13
March 19, 2022 - 9:24 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Continued very helpful information and experience in this thread.  Much appreciated and useful.

Avatar
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 117
Member Since:
June 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14
April 6, 2022 - 5:21 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

The 38-55 is one of my favourite cartridges and I’ve been reloading it for years for a variety of original 38-55’s. Once I’ve shot the case once, I do not full length resize again. At most, I’ll resize the first 1/4″ of the case just to hold the sized cast bullet in place until I crimp it with a Lee factory Crimp die. The Lee crimp die avoids any bulging. I find a soft cast (pure wheel weights, air-cooled) bullet sized to .378 or .379 gives me good accuracy in every original Winchester 1894 38-55 I’ve owned. By ‘good’ I mean five-shot groups at 100 yards that are less than 3″ – more often around 2 & 1/2″. I use a custom mould from Accurate moulds. My favourite powder for the 38-55 is 5744. It is not as position sensitive as most other powders in that burn rate range. I load to original ballistics, usually around 1,350 fps with a 255 grain bullet.

Avatar
Northern edge of the D/FW Metromess
Member
WACA Member
Forum Posts: 3828
Member Since:
November 7, 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15
April 9, 2022 - 12:28 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_QuotePost
sp_ReportPost

Thanks, Kirk. I was hoping you’d offer some help to Michael. My data on the 38-55 is a work in progress and I’m still ironing out a few details. May I ask which Accurate mould you’re using? I’m still wrestling with the GC question on this round. I know the round should not require a GC but I seem to be getting better results with the GC designs. Problem is my Accurate bullet’s shank is just a bit too small to hold a GC when sized to .381” unless the GC is annealed…a royal pain.

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
BBHC Member, TGCA Member
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
Forum Timezone: UTC 0
Most Users Ever Online: 628
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 67
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Top Posters:
1873man: 5159
clarence: 4179
TXGunNut: 3828
Chuck: 3446
steve004: 3038
twobit: 2841
Maverick: 1999
JWA: 1785
Big Larry: 1718
Forum Stats:
Groups: 1
Forums: 16
Topics: 10277
Posts: 88567

 

Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 1401
Members: 11428
Moderators: 3
Admins: 3
Navigation