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Thread: Lee Classic Loader .38 Special: Plated wadcutter loads?

  1. #1

    Lee Classic Loader .38 Special: Plated wadcutter loads?

    Okay, I bought one of these as a low cost gateway into reloading, now I need some guidance. Namely recommendations for loads replicating factory wadcutters but using some kind of plated or jacketed wadcutter, specifically for my 442.
    I have been running the Precision Delta reman wadcutters, and barring one split case out of 750, had no trouble. But almost 100% of my shooting has been indoor ranges for the last year, so I'm wanting to try and reduce my lead exposure if I can. In that vein I've been shooting my 351c instead, but the recoil and sights are different enough that it doesn't quite work as a 1:1 trainer, as my main issue with the 442 is recoil control.
    So anyone have experience with loading wadcutters, and anyone have any tips go with safely doing so, especially with the Lee Classic loader? For a complete reloading novice in particular.

  2. #2
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    Is that that whack-a-mole thing where you use a hammer or the one with a lever?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Redhat View Post
    Is that that whack-a-mole thing where you use a hammer or the one with a lever?
    Hammer. While its simplicity in concept appeals to my inner caveman, I am somewhat apprehensive about loading a projectile into a charged and primed case by forcing it down a metal cylinder through repeatedly wailing on it with a hammer. But for $30 it is the easiest way to dip my toe into the waters of reloading, thus this thread to hopefully get some guidance on what to do from people who done this before. I prefer if I can to learn from others mistakes before I move on to making whole new ones for myself. I also hope having a defined and limited goal will help the learning process proceed much smoother.

  4. #4
    Hobbyist JAD's Avatar
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    It is the one that uses a mallet. Theyíre super cool and I commend the author.

    Plated bullet loads can be found in most powder-origin loading manuals. Please buy a good one. I always liked Hornadyís.

    Some notes:
    -I sometimes crumpled plated bullets if I didnít place the bullet straight enough in the case or didnít bell the case adequately.
    -I assume you have a powder scale. The dipper is too crude.

    Bullseye is a great wadcutter powder.

    Incidentally, your lead exposure at the range comes mostly from lead styphenate in the primer and secondarily the bullets smashing into the backstop. Lead versus not bullets wonít make much difference.

    Your lead exposure while reloading is extreme. Wear gloves, especially when handling fired cases.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JAD View Post
    Some notes:
    -I sometimes crumpled plated bullets if I didnít place the bullet straight enough in the case or didnít bell the case adequately.
    -I assume you have a powder scale. The dipper is too crude.

    Bullseye is a great wadcutter powder.

    Incidentally, your lead exposure at the range comes mostly from lead styphenate in the primer and secondarily the bullets smashing into the backstop. Lead versus not bullets wonít make much difference.

    Your lead exposure while reloading is extreme. Wear gloves, especially when handling fired cases.
    Thank you! This is the kind of response I was hoping for. I am aware I do not know what I don't know, so I welcome any information ( even the seemingly obvious ), so that I can better avoid any assumptions born of misconceptions.

    1: Is the provided case mouth tool in the kit adequate to achieve this, or should I look into a separate tool, and if so what recommendations are there?

    2: I plan on getting one of the smaller Lyman digital scales( both for cost and space reasons, also why this kit appealed to me).

    3: From my limited looking(again not knowing etc.) I have seen bullseye mentioned in this application so it's good to know I was looking in the right direction. Out of curiosity what is the opinions on trail boss? Looks interesting from my viewpoint( of the unknowing).

    4: Hornady loading manuals, I have generally assumed that those would be mainly focused on Hornady products, do they also cover non Hornady projectiles and load data?

    5. Any recommendations for non-lead primers? And thank you for the glove recommendation I wouldn't have thought about that possibility.

  6. #6
    Site Supporter
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    Illinois
    3.5 gr bullseye and 148gr SNS DEWC always worked for me.

    But I use the hand press that Lee makes.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Quick question: what is the difference/advantages of double ended vs. hollow base wadcutters? If any?

    Edit: My assumption is that hollow base work like minie balls and expand to meet the rifling, thus helping accuracy?
    Last edited by MandoWookie; 08-23-2019 at 11:08 PM.

  8. #8
    Site Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by MandoWookie View Post
    Quick question: what is the difference/advantages of double ended vs. hollow base wadcutters? If any?
    Hollow base is typically regarded as being more accurate, but if you're shooting a snubby it probably won't make much difference, and you can buy coated SNS bullets for cheaper than most plated bullets.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Site Supporter Borderland's Avatar
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    Probably should just ditch the hammer and get a press. 70 bucks. You'll eventually go there anyway.

    https://www.titanreloading.com/lee-p...allenger-press

    I used to use the hammer when I first started loading in the 70's but it was a PIA. Takes all the fun out of reloading. I'm using a single stage press now.

    Acme makes a Hi-Tec coated WC bullet. I shoot a lot of their 38 bullets. GTG.

    http://www.acmebullet.com/bullets-re...product_id=550

    The press is actually the cheapest part of reloading when you consider the money you will spend on powder and bullets in a years time.

    The Lyman manual has a lot of loads for cast bullets.

    https://www.amazon.com/Lyman-50th-Ed.../dp/B01N76GD2F
    Last edited by Borderland; 08-23-2019 at 11:50 PM.
    Snubbies.....resolving CQC issues since nineteen fiddy.

  10. #10
    Miss Manners
    Join Date
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    In the desert, looking for water.
    I started with a Lee Loader in .38 Special. It works, and you learn the loading sequence in minute detail. It didnít cost much to get, and wonít cost much to use. You can get quite quick with it - but it will eventually aggravate you, and then youíll be ready to add a press of some kind. By then, I predict that nothing about actual reloading will intimidate you.

    I grew up with black powder rifles. The Lee Loader made perfect sense to me from the first time I used it. I never detonated a primer while loading, and I donít recall ever mashing a case with it. I have mashed cases with my table mounted turret press.

    I have no problem with the dipper system in a small pistol case like the .38 or a 9mm. It produces very consistent results when you use consistent methods. But then, I have been using loose powder measures for quantities up to 100 grains of Holy Black since before I had facial hair.

    Coated or plated lead bullets, especially a light bullet like 95-130gr, over 2.7gr Bullseye make a load that is very pleasant to shoot out of an Airweight Jframe like your 442 or my 642. Trail Boss works well, too, but itís been too long since I used it for me to recall anything specific besides that it is also a satisfactory powder. So is Clays. In fact, Iíve had satisfactory results with every powder Iíve used in .38 Special loads. It is a very accommodating and forgiving case.

    Unless you make a double charge, which the case has plenty of room to allow. Then, heaven help you. Just be systematic, careful, methodical, and double check yourself at every step, and youíll be fine.

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