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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 8:30am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

At one time nearly every serious pistol shooter in the country shot full wadcutter in .38Spl. The S&W Mod 14 in 6", with target hammer and trigger and oversized grips was THE pistol for bullseye shooting. And cast, swaged, or poured by elves, the full wadcutter was it! Today, with all the fancy new auto super duper pistols, the art of the revolver matched with the full wadcutter is nearly extinct.

Been cleaning and oiling the moulds in the boxes while on my "Consolidated Bullet and Load" endeavor, and found an out of production Ideal #358495, 148gr, full wadcutter double cavity. This was top dog on the range from the early 60's and was replaced by the 358091 in the late 90's or so. Memory gets a little fuzzy.... But the 495 has this cute little button nose on it that sets up a near perfect bow wave in the turbulence and shoots remarkably straight!

Hollow base wadcutters actually have zero advantage unless your bore is grossly oversized and you have to have that flairing of the base to fill the grooves. Otherwise, HBWC is a waste of effort and flat based is great. Thus the old Ideal 358395, a HBWC has been out of production for decades.

Well, anyway, I mounted the 495 on handles and cast up 75 in anticipation of the arrival of a 310 seating stem for the 495. A remarkable find really. Using a 429 Keith style stem damages the 495 when seating. Enough to cause a change in the nose profile a bit. And enough to bug me also.

The 495 stem got here yesterday and I loaded 50 with 3gr of Bullseye. And before you say it... Yes, it's not the 140gr RNFP I arrived at during the consolidation process, but I just hadda do it! Old Man Nostalgia got a hold on me and made me do it!

And for those who think that I use the 310 tool too much, I used the 310's seating die in an adapter in the Spar-T turret press. See, I can be modern.... Well, at least around 1960ish modern.

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Rex
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 1:50pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

Wade, tell us about the 495 with 3 grains B.E.. Accuracy, plenty good for snakes, raccoons, rabbits and all small vermin? It sounds fun.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 4:45pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Great on armidillos and such. Super accurate and has 3 good lube grooves too. The 3gr Bullseye load is one from my earlier days. Always a tight shooter, even at 50yds. 25yds, off a sandbag 2" is not uncommon, and that's a 6 shot group too.

I just saw that seating stem for the 495 in the 310 tool's category, and just had to go for it. So that's basically why I wrote this Thread so folk could remember about how great the full wadcutter used to be. Not that there's anything wrong with it now, but folks just don't shoot the 38 full wadcutter like they used to. Just too many of those super duper autoloaders out there now to compete with and younger shooters who don't remember the old revolver competitions.

Edited by Old Ranger on July 28 2017 at 4:47pm


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Rex
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 5:33pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

Lee offers a mould similar in appearance. Maybe a few grains heavier and the base may not be quite as heavy, hard to tell by the picture.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 28 2017 at 9:56pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

The Lee model is close. And you're right about the thinner base. The 495's thicker base let it be pushed over 1,200fps from a 38Spl back in the 60's, but I wouldn't use that load today, being too hot. But yeah, with 5.4gr Unique it pops rather well. Those 3 lube grooves really make a difference. Leading is seldom seen when sized right. Good old bullet.

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Rex
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Posted: July 29 2017 at 10:10am | IP Logged Quote Rex

Wade, you are right on the 10% below max load. My Lyman #45 shows 8 grains Unique max for 150 through 158 grain cast bullets so I loaded 7.2 with the 358477 and got great results. I had been using 6.5 and thought it was good but this load beats it. This in a .357 case. I liked it so well that I never tried anything else.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 29 2017 at 3:10pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Rex that's great! I had a suspicion that the technique would pay off for you. Good.... And I bet the same load would make the 357446 into a real performer in your pistol. Might be worth a try....

In the old #45 manual, did you see the old wadcutter 495? That manual, printed in 1970, is almost identical to #44 from 1967. The .357Mag data is the same in both. Just one of those "gee, things don't change much." things huh?

Back in the 70's the 495 could be made into a screamer with a casefull of Herco in a .357Mag. But even in a .38Spl it could fairly rip! But today, I load moderate loads so not to accidentally drop a hot/er round into my open top conversion. That's the best shooting .38Spl I've ever owned and I don't want anything to happen to it. But 3.5gr of Bullseye will make the 495 pop really good at 50yds. 3.5gr Bullseye is around 16,000CUP, and is about standard pressure for a non-plus+P load. A great load in stronger 38's but I prefer closer to 14k CUP in my older designed Colt.

If you'd like I can send you some next time I cast some up. I can size em .357" or .358" and lube with something that would probably stand the heat in transit, I hope. Let me know if you're interested. If those chambers in your 686 are as tight as I suspect maybe .357" would be good since they seat deep. .358" may buldge the case too much. Just speculating.

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RECURVE
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Posted: July 31 2017 at 3:24pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

Ranger what is your open top I've been looking at the
uberta I like 38s like to have a long barrel I can see
the sights better. Like to have a rugger nv in 357 with
7.5 barrel I've got 45 colt don't know if rugger made a
357 with long barrel
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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 31 2017 at 5:11pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I doubt that you'd like a Richards & Mason conversion revolver. It's a Colt 1860 Army with a barrel swap, an adapter with a loading gate, and a bored through cylinder. They have incredible alignment and such. But, if one expects big patridge style sights forget it. It has the same sights as the 1860 Colt. A V notch in the hammer nose and a german silver tapered front sight. Now for myself, I have zero issues with this style sights and further, my eyesight is very good and all iron sights are fine. However, nearly every other person I know says they cannot see the old style BP revolver sights, and complain about them constantly. For me, it's a snap to shoot, but again I've been shooting them for decades and prefer them. I don't have a single adjustable sighted pistol in the place.

Ruger makes a 6 1/2" Blackhawk in .357Mag. So if you want a Ruger single action, that's the one.

Edited by Old Ranger on July 31 2017 at 5:19pm


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RECURVE
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Posted: July 31 2017 at 5:49pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

I've had the blackhawk great gun but I want the vaquero I
really like the 45 I got 357 is my favorite cal. Thanks
for the info
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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 31 2017 at 6:43pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

If you have no issues with Colt Single Action Army's sights, then you might consider the EAA Bounty Hunter. They make the Bounty Hunter in .357Mag in a 7 1/2". The Bounty Hunter is an extremely accurate revolver. It has a Ruger licensed transfer bar, yet loads and operates like a Colt. I have one in .44mag with a 4 1/2" barrel. It's the most accurate shooting 44 I've had. That action is stiff at first, but when broken in, it is great. So if you're interested in a SAA that loads and operates like a Colt but with a transfer bar of a Ruger (carry 6 rounds safely) the Bounty Hunter at around $500 is a great deal for a super strong and reliable sixgun. Food for thought.....

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RECURVE
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Posted: July 31 2017 at 6:55pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

Thanks a lot will look into that I've seen them in
magazines I've wondered about the accuracy.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 31 2017 at 8:25pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Most welcome! Off a small sandbag as a rest beneath my shooting hand, with a 240gr copper plated flat point and 7gt W231 in a .44mag case. At 15yds 5 rounds cloverleafed dead center. At 25yds it printed 1 1/2", centered with 2 touching. Stunning accuracy for most handguns and remarkable with a fixed sight SAA. The Bounty Hunter's quite capable of some great success.

And who knows, it may be the next "Mole-Masher" when I spot a mutant mole in the yard! Ha!

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RECURVE
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Posted: August 01 2017 at 4:00pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

231 or HP that's my fav powder
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Old Ranger
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Posted: August 01 2017 at 4:39pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

W231 in the .44mag with those plated bullets amazed me. I can see why you enjoy it.

While we're on the subject of the Bounty Hunter SAA, though I am very attached to the more traditional pure Colt style single actions. However, if I were limited to only one pistol, it would be the Bounty Hunter SAA in .44mag with the 4 1/2" barrel. That is my #1 shooter. The open top conversion in .38Spl, of course is my best of my .38s. But for top dog of my handguns, it's the .44mag Bounty Hunter.

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Posted: August 02 2017 at 4:09pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

I really like the 357 7.5 inch uberta shoots loose some
but great shooter also like the 45 vaquero in 7.5 inch
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Old Ranger
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Posted: August 02 2017 at 6:30pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Ok, I didn't know you had a.357Mag 7 1/2" already. Your sentences are a little short and I don't always get enough data for my feeble brain. A Uberti mod P is top notch in the Colt copies. Solid performance all the way.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: August 02 2017 at 7:13pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Back to the lowly full wadcutter in 38Spl.

Many prefer fast powder like Bullseye and such. That's good, but more slower, case filling powder produces less shifting and thus is less likely to be position sensitive. Lots of study in this area proves out the matter of powder over primer v.s. against the bullet base. Velocity is always better against the powder and the use of "fluffier" powder is sought by group conscious shooters.

My use of 3gr of Bullseye is an accurate load but it is position sensitive too. I make a habit now of elevating the weapon prior to shooting to shift the powder back. My groups show a difference even with my slight loss of gripping strength and steadiness. When loaded with slightly more of Unique (Bullseye and Unique have the same bulk density by the way) I have less shifting of the powder. It still occurs, but not as pronounced.

Ok, chase scene from Bullitt is comming up.... Later guys. I'm not missing that!

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Posted: August 15 2017 at 7:35am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I know the weight listed for the 358495 wadcutter is 141gr, but the oddball alloy I have drops at 148gr. And now a recent change in metal is now making it 138gr! And since I can't cut up my big plate of lead, I was forced to buy pure lead ingot to fit my pot for a softer alloy.
If it were not for all the interesting and fascinating antique moulds I have I'd quit casting all together simply because of the alloy issues I constantly face.

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