Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Site Notices
Posted: 4/22/2016 10:40:00 PM EDT
Hey guys I was hoping to get a little info on whether or not this is a possibility. So I currently load 158 gr lswc .358 dia bullets with HP38 and I was trying to see if I could trim cases and make a 38 SW. I am aware that these would be a little out of spec for the round, but I have found some differing opinions on whether it would work.

First, off would the cases work? Would 38 brass be too different when trimmed to 38 SW length?

How would I trim the brass? I currently have a Lee hand drill trimmer set up. I have heard the 9mm depth is ok so can I just buy that spacer piece?

The bullet diameter is also an important concern. I know it's not super out of spec, but would this overall composition of the cartridge end up being too different than 38 SW to work?

In order to load it I would use my 38 spec dies and just seat the bullet deeper. Can I get away with this?

Lastly, I would be doing this for a friend at work so his father in law can shoot his old revolver again. Apparently accuracy is not really going to be an issue so my reloads would just be for function.

Am I crazy or can this work? Would it even be worth it or would buying factory be less of a pain (keep in mind it would be a fun challenge for me)?

I'd appreciate any help you guys can offer, thanks.
Link Posted: 4/22/2016 10:49:08 PM EDT
The Speer book says the s&w case is larger diameter and using spl cases will almost always bulge and split
Link Posted: 4/22/2016 10:54:08 PM EDT

See the link above. It will answer your question.
Link Posted: 4/22/2016 10:56:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/22/2016 11:31:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/22/2016 11:39:19 PM EDT by xtrastout]
As others have said the cases are different but I used .358 bullets in a 5" victory model. Worked well enough for the plinking I did.
You should be able to find 38 S&W brass and you will need the 38 S&W dies. They should be easy enough to find.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 3:50:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/23/2016 3:50:49 AM EDT by NVGdude]
Starline makes .38 S&W brass and Lee has dies.  Finding the right diameter bullets is harder but they are out there.

No reason to make this difficult.

Of course, if the goal is just to let an old man shoot his old revolver just go buy a box or two of factory .38 S&W.   It's common enough that the bigger stores like Cabelas usually have it in stock.  It's not some super-rare hard to find caliber.

Or just buy a box or two from Midway.

Link Posted: 4/23/2016 11:26:02 PM EDT
You guys are right, I was hoping to do it just to see if I could, but honestly it seems like more trouble to reload than just buy a box or two. I figured maybe I could do it on the cheap with some components and tools I had. I wouldnt buy dies and components for something I'd never shoot. Thanks for the thoughtful responses!
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:10:10 AM EDT
OP, I load for the 38 S&W.  Yes you can.  Your best results will be with 38 S&W brass/bullets/dies but you can cheat with this cartridge.  You will need the 38 S&W dies because your 38 Special die simply will not crimp the shorter case.  The Lee die set is good quality and cheap.  You can use and trim 38 Special brass to length and they will expand just fine in the S&W dies if you use new or once fired brass.  Loading, if you can't find proper diameter bullets, get some Speer Hollow Base Wad Cutters and load them over 2.5gr of Bullseye.  Very mild plinking load and B-eye is fast enough burn to expand the bullet base to fit the grooves fairly well.  You will have to seat the bullets to well below the cylinder mouth as not to bind the action when firing but not all the way down on the powder.  Not perfect but good enough to get the old gun back in business.

If you use regular solid base bullets, they will shoot but won't have reliable accuracy as they do not fit the bore at all.

Top Top