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Discussion Starter #1
Gents,
Have just started trying to reload this calibre.
Have an old Winchester mould made for this calibre, and cast some soft lead to be loaded over black powder.
My trouble is that with the Lee three die set I have, although I follow the instructions and settings, (flare case mouth a little so I don't chew the bullet up)
I can not seem to get the bullets to seat dead square to the case. They look Nearly square whenseated!
The feed through the action alright, (Its a model 1889, made in 1889)

Any ideas how to fix this problem?
I'm used to reloading other calibres, but not short cases like these.... Brass is fired Winchester.

Any help most appreciated!

Richard.
PS,
My wife got me this mold for Christmas, so we must give it a good trial! Had plans on an "Accurate" mold really.....
 

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Well Pukka, the best scenario is that the nose of the bullet & the seating die matches perfectly. I have not done it, but some guys put a dab of hot glue in the nose cavity of the seating die stem & use a greased bullet to form it.
I usually get pretty good alignment if I just raise the ram to slightly touch the bullet to the seat die & give it a gentle wiggle to center it before I run it all the way in. You also might try a tad more flare!
 

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I have a similar rifle in all the reloading equipment for that round as well. I have not started doing it yet but my understanding is it’s a real challenge seeding the bullets as the necks are thin and fragile. Possibly make sure you lube them and making sure you resize them correctly. because of the step down from the casing to the neck is unusual my understanding that is where the difficulty lies. Because this is such a specific application checking out some of the reloading forums would probably give you a more comprehensive result on advice.
 
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Just a habit I have, when seating bullets I partially seat them, back off the handle and rotate the case a little, seat a little deeper, repeat and fully seat. This procedure is probably not necessary, but it might help.
 

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Had a similar problem, my seater die stem wasn't shaped correctly. I emailed RCBS, and they sent me a seater stem with a more rounded cup, it fit RNFP's better. I always seat a little, rotate the round, then seat some more. Pathfinder's hot glue idea seems like a good one, get a good nose shape. I've heard that 38WCF can be challenging to reload. Maybe a different brand of seater die is in order. I mix and match my die sets for best concentricity and ease of use. I won't reload without my Lee Factory Crimp Die. It's an extra step, but it is unmatched for accuracy, adjustability, and great results.

There's a solution, Pukka. Keep us informed.
 

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a couple of things. it sounds like you have the wrong seating stem in the seat die, the nose needs to square up on the boolit. it will be a big help to buy a lyman M die, they work fantastic! also the very best crimp die i have used is a "lee factory carbide crimp die" they are worth there weight in gold. another thing if you are using black powder you need a "big lube mold" they have a big lube groove to hold a lot of lube to keep the BP soft and the bore clean, they also work great with smokeless powder. on the lube you need a soft beeswax lube. i make my own mixed with olive oil. the crayon type lubes are worthless! they do nothing. you want a lube to come off down the bore., the crayon lubes do not. here is a link for the mold. Welcome to BigLube.com
 

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Also agree your seating stem is not matching your bullet‘s noses shape which causes it to cant the bullet slightly and the case necks are so thin they can’t straighten it back up like a thicker walled .45 lc case would. Try belling your cases a little more to give the bullets a little more head start into the case or get another better fitting seater.
 

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having come from a long line of "not having the right tool for the job" IMHO, you don't need to buy any more tools. I have my great grandfather's '73 WIn 38WCF and in no way is it the least bit difficult to handload for. Maybe a touch of patience, but nothing to fret over. I've tried JBWeld on a seating stem to better duplicate the bullet nose and it works and pretty much permanent. For RNFP and RN bullets, I much prefer a dab of bullet lube on the seating stem. The lube will harden over time and take the shape of the bullet. I also do the seat a little and rotate trick as mentioned above. There is likely nothing wrong with your mold, and nothing wrong with having a 2nd mold, or a 3rd mold, for that matter. I generally cast with three molds at a time as it helps keep the mold from getting too hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gents,

With me not using "pistol" type dies before, I am at a disadvantage.
The seater die in this Lee set has a floating semi-circle piece that butts up to the bullet nose. A concave surface like this against a flat -nosed bullet isn't best I don't suppose!
I'll pull it apart and might make one to conform to the nose more closely.
Maybe even 5 minute epoxy in there Might work. (just lube the nose of the loaded round first!..LOL!)

Re lube, Ol'skool, Yes, yourself and Pathfinder schooled me on that, .I sort of had that figured to some degree, as I have loaded the Snider -Enfield and Martini -Henry for a long time now. Getting on for 20 years., and use black.
As this is an old Winchester mold, I will see how it works, and if not enough lube, I know "Accurate" have what I need.
As for crushing cases, I must have been lucky, as they have all behaved themselves up to now! If I need more, I will get Starline.

Thanks to all for your help! I'll work on that seater die, and keep you posted. I Was going to try some of these slightly out of kelter loads today, but Wind got up fierce, and
it's blowing snow all over real savage. Not best day for shooting!

Best,
Richard.
 

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Along with using a seating stem that fits the bullet, I like to use a Lyman M die, or similar "step" type die to flare the case for cast bullets. It reaches down further into the case to prepare the case for the larger diameter cast bullet, and helps with seating cast bullets, especially when the brass has been sized down for a smaller diameter jacketed bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ol'timer,

These dies do flare the case a decent amount. I could flare them more but think it is enough where set.
Thinking on Pathfinder's hot glue, (don't have any ) I de-greased the seating stem, greased a factory cartridge , put some 5 minute epoxy in the cup of the seating stem, put it back in the die, and dropped the lubed cartridge in. Pressed it firmly into place and sat die upside down so glue didn't run out.
Just tried it now, and as far as I can see, the loaded rounds look square. Will keep you posted, but thank you for all the V good ideas and information.
Pathfinder,
Your glue idea seems to work! Thanks again!
Wonder why these seating stems are made such a sloppy fit? I'm used to 'normal' rifle dies.

Richard.
 

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Just a habit I have, when seating bullets I partially seat them, back off the handle and rotate the case a little, seat a little deeper, repeat and fully seat. This procedure is probably not necessary, but it might help.
This is what I do also, but in 44-40, don't have a 39-40..... yet.
 

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The Hornady seating dies have a sliding bushing to help keep the bullet aligned. I had to get one of those for my 300 Blackout. It works perfectly. Dont know id Hornady makes it for the 38-40 so check with them.

RCBS offers a custom bullet seater service. They can make one to fit your bullet.
 

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Another old recommendation was to put an "O"ring around the seater stem at the outside top of the die, under the seater nut. This would allow some movement of the bullet seater to let the bullets to enter the cases straight. This was intended to decrease run out.

Your problem sounds more on the order of the bullet nose not fitting the cavity of the seater stem. I think you are on the right track.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you for the advice boys.
Today I hope to try a few if my day works out.
I will fire off these "bent" ones, and then the "straight" ones LOL...and take a photo of the difference.
H Kayaker,
I'm sure you are right about it being the seater stem not conforming.
This temporary measure seems to solve the problem pretty well. (Epoxy in seater stem, to conform it to nose shape)
Will also try the 'O' ring, as seater stem has an awful lot of slogger.
Will keep you posted!

Thank you again,
Richard.
 
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