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?