Can anyone explain the different types od 38 Special Wadcutter brass?

CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
There isn't anything "wrong" with swaged HBWCs. I shot thousands of them during my shop's 38 Special-only days, for me 1977-1987. That was our practice ammo, W-W Super-X 148 WCs. It ran about 715-725 FPS from my 4" Model 64, got to 750-760 from my long-gone Model 14 x 6", and the 2" Model 10 managed about 675-680 FPS. Call it 38 S&W-level. The factory stuff leaded all three barrels a bit, as did the Speer Gummy Bears. Not badly, but my castings didn't. The Hornady HBWCs didn't lead any of the barrels. Same story with the 32 caliber HBWCs by Hornady. Guess which make got rid of vs. keeping around.

I just came in from a successful search & rescue of a holster system that SWMBO "put away" for me. During that garage scavenger hunt LO AND BEHOLD--I found a couple bags of Remington 38 caliber HBWCs squirreled away in 2015 when we moved; looks like about 500 of them. I thought the Speers were "Gummy Bears", these look tar-coated. I'll snag 100 of the Starline cases from somewhere and load these up for the 642 and the Colt OMT to play with. I guess I'm back in the wadcutter bizness, at least for a while.

ETA--Well, crud......MidwayUSA has ZERO 38 Special brass, even the 25 cents apiece SIG-Sauer decadent stuff is Gonzo Moretti. Back to the drawing board.
 
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CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
Nosing around......Starline's ad copy says they have 38 Special brass, if I buy 500 of it. JUST what I need.
 

CWLONGSHOT

Residing in New England
I have shot Bullseye for almost 40 years. I cannot even begin to tell ya the 32 & 32 WC I have loaded. I seat the WC to a OAL almost flush. I never looked or cared about where a case might have been factory crimped. It just never made a difference and I have a wall and several boxes of perfect target plackards and trophys to back that up.
IMHO, dont sweat the small stuff and lifes hard enough do look for stuff to make it harder. Fix and address the problems you find, dont go off looking for them.

CW
 

Dale53

Active Member
I am a fan of Starline brass. It is the best brass I have used over the years in several calibers. I appreciate free shipping. I have no problem buying in 500 or 1000 lots. The price is more than competitive.

Fwiw
Dale53
 

CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
I might just do that, Dale. The balkyness has to do with limited storage space more than anything else. That estate sale thing I got into 6 weeks ago has kinda painted me into a corner, and I wished these components could sleep in shifts. Or something. More First World problems, I know.

The Starline brass I have gotten in several calibers has been SUPERB. No resistance to buying the stuff at all, I'll just have to do some stock rotation and storage adjustments.
 
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CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
Well, I started the stock rotation a few minutes ago, and--wouldn't you know it--there is 200+ Starline 38 Special cases stored in the ammo locker right now. They are loaded with #358477 atop 6.0 grains of Blue Dot, and await conversion to emptied brass. I see a 38 Special Day next time I haul war toys out to the desert. I have about 5X the amount of 38 Special ammo I need to have around, in a profusion of makes.
 

Petrol & Powder

Active Member
Well, I started the stock rotation a few minutes ago, and--wouldn't you know it--there is 200+ Starline 38 Special cases stored in the ammo locker right now. They are loaded with #358477 atop 6.0 grains of Blue Dot, and await conversion to emptied brass. I see a 38 Special Day next time I haul war toys out to the desert. I have about 5X the amount of 38 Special ammo I need to have around, in a profusion of makes.
Another first world problem :cool:
 

blackthorn

Active Member
Petrol & Powder---Thank you for the detailed explanation you provided in post #20. This is the kind of information I am looking for. Thanks again!
 

Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
Excessive pressures can cause HBWC skirts to "stick" in the bore while the front half of the bullet continues downrange. Some one above described the results of firing behind such a bore onstruction.

In this context, "Excessive" pressures means ANY powder weight that exceeds book recommendations. 2.7 grains of Bullseye and 3.0 grains of WW-231/HP-38 are tops with these bullets. The full-pressure wadcutter loads are SOLID BASES ONLY.
HB wadcutters vary in the thickness of the skirt. The Speer HBWC will most definitely blow off the skirt as you mention. However the Remington HBWC has a much thicker skirt and can be used with full charge loads, i.e. 3.5/Bullseye with no danger of blowing off the skirt. I still have 1K of the no longer available Miester HBWC that also has a thick skirt and can take the full charge load with no issues.Miester 38 HBWC.jpg
 

CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
Good to know, Charles. The upcoming assemblies with these bullets will be my first attempts with them. I think the old, tired, and tried 3.0 grains of WW-231 will get the nod here. As long as they ring the steel and punch holes in paper (or small varmints), they will work. I suspect the majority of these will get run through the Colt OMT x 6", the one 38 Special in the safe that is not certified for +P loading. Built for comfort, not for speed--like me, nowadays.
 

Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
Good to know, Charles. The upcoming assemblies with these bullets will be my first attempts with them. I think the old, tired, and tried 3.0 grains of WW-231 will get the nod here. As long as they ring the steel and punch holes in paper (or small varmints), they will work. I suspect the majority of these will get run through the Colt OMT x 6", the one 38 Special in the safe that is not certified for +P loading. Built for comfort, not for speed--like me, nowadays.
I am something of a 38 Special nut, having about a dozen revolvers in that chambering and four more in .357 Mag. After all these years, I have settled on two loads. I load the solid base wadcutter over 3.5/Bullseye for field and social use where over penetration will not be a problem. I load good old Lyman 358311 160 grain RN over 3.0/Bullseye for general range and plinking use. This is an accurate load and shoots to the sights of my fixed sighted Colts and Smith. It is also easy on the older pre-war sixguns. For social purpose outside of the home I used the Speer 135 gr. JHP +P Short Barrel load. I do load SBWC in the 357 mag, using 5/Bullseye. This will move out between 1.1 and 1.2 K fps depending on the revolver. This load is very accurate for as far as I can shoot a handgun and hits with authority without being a full snort magnum load. I bought a pound of 231 years ago, but felt guilty about cheating on my Bullseye so I didn't buy any more.
 

CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
I think Bullseye and 231 both do fine work in a range of pistol calibers. I prefer 231 ONLY because BE tends to etch and stick to the plastic flask of my powder measures (RCBS). That can't be good. FWIW, I ALWAYS empty the flask and measure when done with a run of cartridges. Even over the 1-3 hours of dwell duration, that stickiness and etching still occurs.

In fairness to Hercules/Alliant--I have not tried Bullseye since Alliant took over and re-formulations of their several powders allegedly occurred. The traits might be different, if BE was re-formulated. Dunno.
 
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Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
I think Bullseye and 231 both do fine work in a range of pistol calibers. I prefer 231 ONLY because BE tends to etch and stick to the plastic flask of my powder measures (RCBS). That can't be good. FWIW, I ALWAYS empty the flask and measure when done with a run of cartridges. Even over the 1-3 hours of dwell duration, that stickiness and etching still occurs.

In fairness to Hercules/Alliant--I have not tried Bullseye since Alliant took over and re-formulations of their several powders allegedly occurred. The traits might be different, if BE was re-formulated. Dunno.
I have no Hercules Bullseye anymore, so I cannot comment on how it acts in a powder measure hopper. With the Alliant version a little sticks to the sides of my Lyman 55s and RCBS LD. but I keep a long handled stencil brush on the bench and just brush it to the bottom of the hopper and it pours easily back into the jug. A 10 maybe 15 second chore. The same thing happens with 2400 and Unique.
 

Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
Bullseye and WW231 [AKA HP-38] will handle just about anything you need to do with 38 Special.
Tru dat. I also use BE in low end loads in the 357 mag, 44 Special, 44 Mag and 45 Colt. I also load the 45 ACP, 45 AR and 45 Special with BE. A most useful powder that can also be used in low end (900fps) plain base cast bullets in many rifle rounds.