Tight Chambers - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Default Tight Chambers

My longtime cast bullet supplier, Matt Dardas of Dardas Cast Bullets, recently decided to retire, so I've had to find another supplier as I don't cast my own. I've started ordering from Missouri Bullets, and have been well pleased with their quality and prompt delivery.

The Dardas bullet I used in my Model 97 was a 150 grain SWC, listed as sized to .357". The replacement Missouri Bullet is a 158 grain SWC, listed as sized to .358". When I loaded up a "model" cartridge with the Missouri Bullet, it chambered fine in my S&W Model 66 and 686, but it wouldn't chamber in my FA Model 97. That's weird, methinks, so I got out my dial calipers. The Dardas bullet miked to .356, and the MB bullet to .3575. The Dardas bullet, when dropped into the chamber, will stop at the throat, and can be pushed through with a light tap. The Missouri Bullet stops at the throat, but can't be tapped through.

I've always known Freedom Arms chambers are tight, but I'm surprised that they're THAT tight. I always thought .357 was the correct diameter for the FA Model 97, but I guess I'm going to have to find some .356. I don't think Missouri Bullet offers custom sizes as Dardas did. Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,
JayCee
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 02:54 AM
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Get a LEE Factory Crimp Die.
Missouri Bullets are GTG.
What's the bullet dia after you push it through the cyl's throat?
Also-you would be better served using a 0-1" micrometer.
LG

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 03:55 AM
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might try a taper crimp vs a roll crimp. You could possibly use a crimp die from a 9mm set. FA guns are TIGHT. My last 454 needed a good push to get 452s to chamber. About your only other option would be to get the throats opened up. Lee factory crimp die like was suggested might do the trick too.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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LG and LLoyd, after tapping the bullet through the throat, it mikes at a tad less than .357"; maybe .3568". I did run the cartridge through a Lee factory crimp die, and after doing so, was able to press the cartridge into the chamber using thumb pressure. Thanks for that advice. I don't usually use the FCD on cast bullets because it tends to swage the bullet down a bit, and I'm not sure of the effect on accuracy. Matt Dardas always advised against using an FCD on his bullets. Of course, it's going to get swaged down in the chamber throat anyway, so it probably doesn't make that much difference when the fit is so tight. If I want to use the MB bullets in my FA, looks like I'll need to use the FCD.

Thanks for your response.
JayCee

Last edited by JayCee; 02-04-2019 at 12:49 PM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 01:37 PM
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I use the Lee FCD in all of my handgun loading, if anything-It improves accuracy.
Do you have the FCD set to go all the way to the bottom of the case?
I would recommend a Wilson or Dillon case gauge for every caliber you load for.
Can you post a picture of the round in question?
How does factory ammo fit?
LG

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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LG, here's a (not very good) pic of the round in question. It's not obvious from the picture, but the FCD scraped off a bit of the coating on the front driving band. I always set the FCD in accordance with Lee's instructions, i.e., lightly touching the shell holder at full extension of the ram.

I always check rounds that will be fired in automatic pistols with a Wilson case gauge, but I've never bothered to do so with revolver cartridges. Factory ammo fits fine, although I rarely if ever shoot factory cartridges out of any FA revolver. This is the first time I've encountered any problems with reloads, but evidently in this case it's because the MB bullets are ever so slightly larger in diameter than the ones I've used previously.

I'll take the gun out tomorrow for a shooting session and see what kind of accuracy I'm getting with these bullets.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 06:24 PM
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Try more crimp. Turn the FCD thumb screw 1/4 turn to the right.
Also might flare the case mouth a tad more, to help guide the bullet.
Dillon has the case gauge you need--
LG

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 11:41 PM
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My new model 83, .44 magnum's chambers were a too tight fit for Moyers 240 grain/.430" cast SWC which worked well for many thousands that shot through Super Blackhawk and Vaquero. Seating them a bit deeper, just past the crimp groove and my usual roll crimp with Redding crimp die, fit well. The moderate charge of WW 296 and Federal LPM primers showed no signs of too much pressure with empty brass that easily fell out the chambers.
Perhaps there's something there to apply to .357?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:00 PM
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I always try to purchase flat base non beveled cast bullets. I've always thought they grouped better. The longer the distance the more noticeable it becomes.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:57 PM
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Try Getting a Lee push thru sizer. I have a MP 8cav 168 gr /360 mold and get a lot of use out of it with my new to me 357 maxi Handi rifle . The boolit drops at 360-362 I then run it thru my Lyman 450 lube sizer to 358/then powder coat which brings it up to 360 again and it goes again thru the sizer @359 which is what the maxi shoots best .Factory crimp is not going to change a boolit that"s to fat especially if the BHN is hard 16-20 . I PC mine because the BHN is 14 and it lets me push them a little faster without leading while making perfect mushrooms
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