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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently inherited some reloading supplies and I have a question. After you all provided me with a wealth of information and suggestions about my 45 ACP jamming I knew I was in the right place to keep asking more, even if I feel like I'm asking dumb questions sometime. I have a whole box of .38 FMJ 125gr FP bullets with no cannelure. I understand that my RCBS seater die is a roll crimp die and that I should only roll crimp cases onto bullets that have a cannelure. How can I put these bullets to use even if only for plinking, Is there a way I can load them for use in a .38 or .357 revolver with the die I have?

I have included a picture of a dummy round I made to test the effect a small amount of crimp would have.

 

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Yes, you can use your die. Just back off on the roll crimp until it's barely rolling the rim over onto the bullet. A roll crimp isn't an "either/or" feature. It's adjustable all the way from none-too much.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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+1 to NSB, does are tools with adjustment, not a light switch.

Admittedly I don't load wheel guns, but everything else.
Provided proper die adjustment, I haven't found anything that "needs" a cramp for the sake of bullets not moving.
 

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Better to ask and get good advice than to not...and step in it.
 

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Those bullets are more useful in a 9mm.

There is a tool made that you can roll in a cannelure but I forget who makes it.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Had that problem previously, then bought a cannaluring device from CH4D and began rolling my own. This tool allows you to adjust the ring to accommodate any caliber and location of the cannalure on the bullet. Just takes a little manual labor to do.
 
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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There's so little recoil with a .38 Special that you should not need a crimp. Just turn the case mouth back (gently) against the bullet. Should be plenty of neck tension to keep bullets from moving under recoil.
 

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My guess is that the bullet you have is intended for use in the .38 Super or 9mm where use of a taper crimp is appropriate.

If you're going to try to use them in a revolver like a .38 Spl, first make sure you have very good neck tension, and then apply a moderate taper crimp. Trying to use a roll crimp, even a light one, is likely to compromise neck tension. Be sure to seat and crimp in separate steps.

Another alternative is to obtain a canneluring tool and use it put put a cannelure on them. That will allow you to use a roll crimp without damaging the bullet or compromising neck tension. Its a nice tool to have on hand, and can be used for multiple calibers.
 

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I doubt they'd move in a .357mag if any tension is applied to them. However, just use them in a 38Spl load and don't worry about them moving. It takes almost no neck tension/light crimp in 38Spl to keep them right where you put them. Load five or six and try them. I think for "plinking" loads you will have Zero problems using them. Buying a canneluring tool to try to use up a single box of bullets is a waste of time and money. I've shot countless thousands of .357mag rounds out of a dozen guns over the years and to date I've NEVER had any bullets move in the case. I'm sure I could make that happen if I wanted to, but using any crimp at all has prevented it. What diameter are these bullets? The 38Super uses .356 diameter bullets. Measure them and see what they are. If they are .356", you're probably going to have an accuracy issue using them in a .357 revolver whether it's a .357mag or 38Spl. If they're .356" give them to someone who has a gun they can use them in.
 

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I woulds say those are bullets designed for 9mm pistols. Plated? I would use the RCBS seat/crimp die and lightly roll crimp into the side of the bullet. If they are plated, don't use any more crimp than necessary (with light loads, just removing flare will probably work) as I have experienced leading with plated bullets that had the plating cut from a roll crimp. I would also say you keep an FCD away from any handloads...

I have grooved metal tubing with a dull knife (lifelong machinist/mechanic). I placed the tubing on a flat surface, pushed the knife blade, dull, on the OD and rolled the tube. Indented a nice groove. I would work the same with your grooveless bullets...
 

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You can use them for light plinking 38 special loads, but there's a risk of bullets getting pulled forward, which will tie the cylinder up, and depending on which side of the cylinder, you could have problems getting the cylinder open.

Personally, I think as long as you don't run .357's, and keep the 38's at light target loads you should be fine. Just keep an eye on things following each shot with the first cylinder, if they hold, and provided you don't have any unusually thin head stamps, you should be fine.

SMOA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I doubt they'd move in a .357mag if any tension is applied to them. However, just use them in a 38Spl load and don't worry about them moving. It takes almost no neck tension/light crimp in 38Spl to keep them right where you put them. Load five or six and try them. I think for "plinking" loads you will have Zero problems using them. Buying a canneluring tool to try to use up a single box of bullets is a waste of time and money. I've shot countless thousands of .357mag rounds out of a dozen guns over the years and to date I've NEVER had any bullets move in the case. I'm sure I could make that happen if I wanted to, but using any crimp at all has prevented it. What diameter are these bullets? The 38Super uses .356 diameter bullets. Measure them and see what they are. If they are .356", you're probably going to have an accuracy issue using them in a .357 revolver whether it's a .357mag or 38Spl. If they're .356" give them to someone who has a gun they can use them in.
they measure at .357" and are 125grain FMJ
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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From the pictures, those look like Berry's or Rainier Ballistics plated bullets. An FMJ wouldn't have that many little dents from handling/packaging. Either can be "lightly" roll crimped, say to just barely remove the bell . . . Just thinking out loud

RJ
 

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I like a solid crimp in a revolver round. Not one that defroms the case or the bullet too much,but a firm hold.

I've loded many TMJ bullets like that in .357 or .38. Normally what I will do is remove the .358-357case expander and substitute a 9mm (.356-.355) case xpander (assuming old school 3 dies sets from the same maker).

The 9mm expander is normally both smaller (by a couple of 1/1000ths) and SHORTER, so the bullet is really firmly gripped by just the case once loaded. The crimp can be taper or a slight roll...it's pretty much just an aid to chambering.

Taper crimps are great at resisting the foces of compression (trying to jam the bullet down into the case) but revolvers are acting like inertial bullet pullers on all the cases in the cylinder (with the last one to be fired getting 5 "inertial taps").

With moderate to lite loads and faster powders, might not have an problems just the way you are. But when trying to get slow powder/high vel. loads to work well, it helps to get the whole case diameter into the act of holding the bullet.
 

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I doubt they'd move in a .357mag if any tension is applied to them. However, just use them in a 38Spl load and don't worry about them moving. It takes almost no neck tension/light crimp in 38Spl to keep them right where you put them. Load five or six and try them. I think for "plinking" loads you will have Zero problems using them. Buying a canneluring tool to try to use up a single box of bullets is a waste of time and money. I've shot countless thousands of .357mag rounds out of a dozen guns over the years and to date I've NEVER had any bullets move in the case. I'm sure I could make that happen if I wanted to, but using any crimp at all has prevented it. What diameter are these bullets? The 38Super uses .356 diameter bullets. Measure them and see what they are. If they are .356", you're probably going to have an accuracy issue using them in a .357 revolver whether it's a .357mag or 38Spl. If they're .356" give them to someone who has a gun they can use them in.
I agree since crimp is not what holds my bullets in when firing so you can call me a tension junky, yet even with good tension and no crimp a bullet can move so I use just enough crimp even with the .500. It is not much and way less then most use. The distinction is to hold a bullet until powder ignites or if another round moves to tie the gun up. Now consider gun weight since a very light gun will come back so fast a bullet wants to stay in place so it moves out. So an air weight .38 CAN pull a bullet. I test crimp by firing all with one left to measure.

Plated bullets are soft inside and too much crimp can destroy them so the Lee factory crimp is out and it will also ruin a good bullet and case. The stabs do not get ironed out and score the bullets for gas blow by. Many believe the case jumps open full length to leave a bullet free, not so, the bullet irons the case crimp out. High pressure bullet size die. Even rolling in a cannelure does not mean to abuse the crimp. The worst case is to break the coating and fire the core out, leaving the jacket in the bore.

Do not abuse the bullet by breaking the coating.

I am guilty of buying Berry's bullets but they are for the 380 and nine. And the ACP, cheap to shoot and decent.
 

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When loading smooth sided bullets in my 38 special and 357 magnum I use the taper crimp die from a set of 9mm Luger dies to seat and taper crimp the bullet . They hold just as well as in the 9mm Luger.

Test a few and see if they hold , usually a firm push will tell if it's going to move inward . Load 6 rounds in your revolver, shoot 5 and inspect #6 to see if it's creeping/pulling out . Mine have shown no creep so the taper crimp is holding.
Gary
 

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I never had an issue with putting a slight roll crimp on any pistol bullet. Taper crimp is ideal in certain situations, but a minimal roll crimp works okay.
 
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