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Question About Case Length/Trimming

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Dr.Midnight, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. I'm new to the world of reloading and have come across a subject I would like clarification on. I've read through a couple of manuals, but neither seemed to touch on this exact topic.

    I want to reload for 38 special, and I was able to get my hands on some once fired brass. I've been through every case and discarded the questionable ones and each has been measured. The longest case in the lot is 1.144" and the shortest is 1.138". These measurements are well within the specs for that caliber. My question is do I need to trim each case to the exact same measurement, or is the difference in case length in my batch acceptable for reloading. Thanks in advance for the help.
  2. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Over the years I've loaded at least a million .38 rounds, both privately and for commercial use, have NEVER trimmed one of them. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong.

    (Same goes for .45 ACP, 9MM, etc.)


  3. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    It would be unusual to trim pistol cases. I suppose if you wanted absolutely uniform rolled crimps it might be something to look at but 0.006" just doesn't seem like a very big number.

    I don't know what kind of loads you are making but I tend to taper crimp my pistol bullets. That is clearly the way to do it for .45 ACP, .40 S&W and 9mm but I also taper crimp my .38 148 gr LHBWC's. Or, rather, I just close up the mouth; there isn't any crimp involved in any of these cartridges.

    Maybe somebody will have a different view if they load hot .38s.

  4. I plan on taking small steps with my reloading. I don't have any desire to make up "hot" loads right now. My goal is to start with some lighter loads and eventually find a nice suitable target load that works for me. I'm going to be using Unique powder. I didn't want to start off with a faster burning powder, plus I wanted to use one I could easily tell if I threw a double charge somewhere.
  5. I was hoping someone with a little more experience would have chimed in. :supergrin:
  6. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The only handgun cases I have ever trimmed are magnum revolver rounds after several full power loadings. The lower pressures stuff just doesn't stretch the case enough to require trimming IMO.
  7. ColoCG


    Mar 18, 2011
    :agree: With what's been said so far, I have never trimmed a pistol case yet. Straight walled cases just don't stretch, in most situations.

    Bottle neck cases are a different story, they expand when fired then lengthen when they are resized. Then they need to be trimmed when they get to long.
  8. snowwdog

    snowwdog snowwdog

    Nov 30, 2011
    trimming a pistol case is a waste of time in my opinion. I have reloaded probably a million rounds and never trimmed a pistol case including .41 and .44 mag. As a matter of fact ive never trimmed my .454 casull either.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  9. Thanks for the input so far guys. If I'm interpreting what I'm reading correctly, as long as your case length falls within specs for the caliber you're loading, those cases are ready to go.
  10. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
    Good Lord! That's no fun!

    I keep telling you new guys... Titegroup, whiskey... youtube.

    Seriously, you might get the most level headed newbie of 2011 award. :thumbsup:

    The only reasons to trim 38 revolver brass is 1) you mysteriously have a piece that is out of spec 2) you have too much time on your hands and want that perfect roll crimp.

    As Fred said, you will get more stretching in the big boomers, and trimming will become necessary.
  11. El_Ron1


    Apr 15, 2004
    Redneck Sparta
    Most likely... wait... what we talkin' 'bout?
  12. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I am not sure how much you shoot your boomers w/ full power loads, but I can assure you they stretch enough after 3-4 firings to mess w/ the roll crimp. I probably shoot more 44mags & heavy 45colts than some guys do their 9mm.:wow: It is always load & brass specific, some brass is softer than others, but repeated firings of heavy loads stretchs rimmed cases. They headspace on the rim, the brass has to flow someplace.:dunno: