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What expander for .38 HBWCs?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by GlennP, Apr 30, 2010.


  1. GlennP

    GlennP
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    Apr 13, 2010
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    Kinda related to my other thread but here it goes:
    Im trying to cut out a step of my reloading process so that it all "fits" in my new 4 hole turret press. .38 special.

    What I used to do:
    Decap/size/prime in one step, then I use a .358 RCBS cowboy expander for .38S&W (heard its best for HBWCs in .38spl because it allows more room and the softbullet wont swage down). Then, I seat with a lee seater/crimp (crimp not used), then roll crimp with another die.

    The problem is that im "automating" the powder and I need the lee powder through expander die to charge (set up to not expand, just charge) in addition to everything I listed above. This puts me at 5 dies...
    I've decided that seating/crimping in the same step is detrimental to my loads so I must explore another path. Only thing I can do now is to get rid of my cowboy expander plug and use the lee.

    So, in short, my question is:
    Was it a waste of effort all this time using the RCBS cowboy expander plug? Should I just use the lee? Any experience?
    Thanks!
     

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  2. GOA Guy

    GOA Guy
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    I would load some ammo both ways to see if there may be an accuracy advantage one way or another. The larger expander doesn't sound like a bad idea, with fast powders and soft loads heavy bullet pull shouldn't be a concern. I have loaded thousands of HBWCs on a progressive and haven't noticed the standard powder through expander to be detrimental to accuracy. Having said that I don't belong to the 2650 club so I may be missing something. HTH
     

  3. WiskyT

    WiskyT
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    Just use the Lee expander. Don't make it more complicated than it is. Three dies, 2.7 Bullseye and be done with it.
     
  4. srd

    srd
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    I have used the Lee expander for a lot of years with no problems. Once i found the load it likes , it shoots better than i can hold.
     
  5. fredj338

    fredj338
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    I lkoad on a 4 stn 550B; size, powder thru/bell, seat & crimp. The only reason to need a 5th stn is if you want a COP die, which really isn't req'd if you just pay attention to the powder drop & not just pull the handle.
     
  6. hoffy

    hoffy
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    Although I too like to seat/crimp in 2 operations, I often do it in one, especially for revolver rounds. I wound bench test rounds made both ways and see. I have an old Star Universal Progressive that seats and crimps(and drops the loaded rounds away!) and my 8 3/8" model 14 Smith would punch ragged one hole groups off a bench at 25 yards, using both the store bought HBWC and my cast solid base, more accurate than I was. I regret to this day selling that gun.