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Reloading flat base bullets vs. boat tail
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March 6, 2022 - 3:08 am
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Hey all, I have been reloading for 10+ years, but have never loaded for a lever action, which primarily uses flat base bullets. I have loaded pistol ammo on a progressive press which has a die to provide a little case flare to accept these type bullets, but that isn’t the case with lever action dies. Is there any secret to make the loading process go smoothly in regard to bullet seating? I have read something about some dry lube in the case neck but I don’t know if that’s common practice or if there’s an alternative. Is it as simple as giving the case a good chamfer? Maybe I’m over thinking it, but I’m about to start loading for 32 win special and any info I get ahead of time will be a help!

 

Thanks, Matt

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March 6, 2022 - 3:36 am
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I’ll be following this thread to see what you get for responses, since I’m just starting to get into reloading, myself.  The main reason I decided to start reloading in the first place was because of the newly acquired 32 WS and 38-55 Winchesters I picked up, and how difficult and expensive it is to buy this ammo.

 

Frank

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March 6, 2022 - 3:38 am
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You need to cut an inside chamfer on your case mouths. This can be done with the simple little hand tool or one of the electric case prep machines. If you don’t you will shave copper off the sides of your bullets. These are just 2 of the many different styles and brands available.

Deburring Tool .17-.60 | RCBS

Buy Brass Boss and More | RCBS

Happy loading!

Erin

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March 6, 2022 - 3:41 am
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Matt Herman said
 I have read something about some dry lube in the case neck but I don’t know if that’s common practice or if there’s an alternative. Is it as simple as giving the case a good chamfer?

I use one of these: https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012692264

Along with a good chamfer, it may be all you need with jacketed bullets; lead probably not. 

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March 6, 2022 - 3:48 am
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 The Winchester 1894 loading tool has a flaring  knob on the threaded portion of the tool. You simply push the case on it. I know that doesn’t help you with your dies but that’s how it was done in the day and that’s how I do it. T/R

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March 6, 2022 - 4:21 am
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TR said
 The Winchester 1894 loading tool has a flaring  knob on the threaded portion of the tool. You simply push the case on it. I know that doesn’t help you with your dies but that’s how it was done in the day and that’s how I do it. T/R  

A flare is needed for lead (the old Lyman M die does the same thing), but possibly not with jacketed; of course it all depends on the bullet vs. case mouth diameter; no substitute for trial & error to see what works.

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March 6, 2022 - 4:22 am
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Thanks for the quick replies! I do have the necessary tools to chamfer and deburr, so I’ll make sure to do a nice chamfer. I also like the product that Clarence linked, I’ll be sure to get one of those as well. Planning on using jacket bullets. I’ll see how that goes before I pony up for one of the high dollar 1894 tools! Thanks all

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March 6, 2022 - 4:23 am
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Also, while we’re at it, do you guys like to neck crimp more than what the die provides? I did by the Lee factory crimp die just in case it’s needed. 

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March 6, 2022 - 10:48 am
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If you haven’t already purchased the dies, consider RCBS Cowboy dies.  They are designed to help load lead bullets easier/ better. 

Since I already had many other manufacturers’ dies and buying Lyman M dies can be expensive depending on how many you need, I purchased a Lee Universal Expanding die and found it to be a good product.

Regarding crimp- although it can be necessary, particularly in revolvers, I’ve found that with good interference fit of ~.004″ you don’t need a crimp.  Some argue that crimping assists in consistent pressure/ ignition. I’ve found you can do better through good load development: discovering/ testing for the correct powder and bullet (including diameter for lead), with the correct seating depth for the particular firearm is half the fun of reloading!

Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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March 6, 2022 - 5:52 pm
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If your die does not flare the case neck use a tapered punch.  Make sure you are pushing the expander die all the way in first.  Most lead bullets for our lever guns come pre lubed but you can use silica or graphite.  Neck tension can be achieved by crimping or better by using a different diameter expander.  Measure the diameter of the case mouth after sizing then again after bullet seating.  The difference is the neck tension.  .003″ of neck tension is about all you need.  The least amount of neck tension is best.  You need just enough that your bullets aren’t backing out during recoil or when you have to pull a loaded round out of the chamber.   Flat base bullets are probably better for the old bores.  These give you more bullet surface to grip the rifling.  You loose some surface with boat tail bullets.  Chamfering and deburring is a must for new or just trimmed cases.  You don’t need a fancy tool to add dry lube.  Just dip the case mouth into the container of lube or dip a brush in it.  Some leave some of the spray case lube on the inside of the neck.  Here is one of the most common dry lubes.  The container has a bunch of little balls in it coated with the dry lube and the other one is just the dry lube.  You can find this cheaper.

 

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March 6, 2022 - 6:56 pm
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Chuck said
The container has a bunch of little balls in it coated with the dry lube and the other one is just the dry lube.  You can find this cheaper.

I’ve got one of those, with the balls, I’d completely forgotten about! 

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March 6, 2022 - 7:25 pm
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Matt-

I load almost exclusively lead plain-base or gas checked bullets, most of which I cast. Many of todays reloaders use jacketed bullets for rifle rounds, they do not require the case mouth to be flared. Most rifle die sets do not include a case mouth flaring tool because most reloaders do not require them. All the bullets I make require the case mouth to be flared so I need a die to do that job. I generally use RCBS Cowboy dies or the Lyman M dies that Ronald mentions above. I deburr after trimming but I don’t think the slight chamfer I apply will help with seating a cast bullet with a sharp base. 

I’ve also noticed that some conventional sizing dies make the neck section of a bottle neck case such as the 32WS too tight while the RCBS Cowboy dies employ minimal resizing. 

As far as using BT bullets I have little use for them. Depending on the BC and velocity the boat tail bullet generally offers little or no ballistic benefit inside of 300 yards and precious little for the next 100-200 yards. I don’t see that being helpful in a 32WS.

 

Mike

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March 6, 2022 - 7:43 pm
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Just to piggyback on this thread, for those of you who reload using lead bullets for 32WS, would either, or both of these work well?:

https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/25464

https://www.xtremebullets.com/32-40-165gr-RNFP-Cowboy-p/x3240-165rnfpc-b0500.htm

 

Signed,

A very new reloader and 32WS owner.

 

Thanks!

 

Frank

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March 6, 2022 - 8:16 pm
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Thanks for all the great tips here!  

I had briefly looked at the RCBS cowboy dies, but already had the Lee pacesetters on hand. If those don’t work as well as I’d like then I may entertain looking for the RCBS dies. I have 100 Speer HCFN jacketed bullets, along with 100 new Remington brass. For now I don’t think I have any plans to load lead, as I intend to hunt with this load whenever the hunt and conditions will allow. 

One thing I may need to rethink, I have been Precison loading for ten plus years, and have always gone through the same load development process to find the combo that works the best in a particular rifle.  My mindset thus far when thinking of reloading for this old lever action has mainly been one of loading for necessity, not accuracy, as ammo for 32 win special is almost non existent. In essence, I just want to get some ammo loaded to have on hand to hunt with, and I’ll deal with however it shoots as is. But I think I need to give it the same attention as I do my long range guns, and get it shooting the very best it can.

I’m very curious to see how this 115 yr old 1894 shoots. 

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March 7, 2022 - 12:01 am
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Hellcat1 said
Just to piggyback on this thread, for those of you who reload using lead bullets for 32WS, would either, or both of these work well?:

https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/25464

https://www.xtremebullets.com/32-40-165gr-RNFP-Cowboy-p/x3240-165rnfpc-b0500.htm

 

Signed,

A very new reloader and 32WS owner.

 

Thanks!

 

Frank  

Both appear to be good quality commercial cast bulk bullets. If the pics are any indication the Xtreme bullets seem to be getting a better fill at the base so in theory would be a bit more likely to shoot accurately. You’ll want to keep the velocities in the 32-40 range to prevent leading.

 

Mike

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March 7, 2022 - 2:07 am
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Matt        Regarding loading cast bullets, and to a less extent jacketed bullets, you need the proper tools.   Most dies will work, some better then others.   For loading cast you not only need to flare the case, you also need to expand the case neck down as far as the base of the bullet goes.  Most LEE dies don’t go down far enough, and the projectiles start in crooked,  same can happen with too tight neck.   RCBS Cowboy dies should be good, and Lyman set with M die are very good.  Both these die sets do good crimps, best done after seating in separate  step.    Lyman CAST Bullet book is handy.   Go carefully and you can make better cartridges then you can buy, and a lot cheaper.      Eric     

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March 7, 2022 - 2:11 am
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TXGunNut said

Both appear to be good quality commercial cast bulk bullets. If the pics are any indication the Xtreme bullets seem to be getting a better fill at the base so in theory would be a bit more likely to shoot accurately. You’ll want to keep the velocities in the 32-40 range to prevent leading.

 

Mike  

Thanks, Mike!  Very Helpful.  Much appreciated.

 

Frank

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March 11, 2022 - 10:43 am
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I’ve used hundreds of X-treme plated bullets for my 9mm pistols.  Never had an issue and their (plated) bullets are good quality. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy cast from them, if I didn’t pour my own…

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