What expander for .38 HBWCs? [Archive] - Glock Talk


View Full Version : What expander for .38 HBWCs?

04-30-2010, 19:45
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?

04-30-2010, 20:39
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

05-01-2010, 05:49
Just use the Lee expander. Don't make it more complicated than it is. Three dies, 2.7 Bullseye and be done with it.

05-01-2010, 06:47
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.

05-01-2010, 12:43
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.

05-01-2010, 12:59
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.