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Subject Topic: RCBS "Cowboy" dies Post ReplyPost New Topic
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richhodg66
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Posted: March 16 2018 at 10:21am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

About a year ago I bought a neat rifle, old waffle top Marling someone had put a 26" heavy octagon barrel in .38-55. Cool rifle, had a misfiring problem (probably due to the awesome trigger job the guy did on it) which was solved by switching to Federal primers.

Problem was the damn thing wouldn't shoot. Big groups and I couldn't really figure it out.

The .38-55 is a strange one in some ways, doesn't use a .375 bore, seems to like .379 or bigger. Not a problem, I got a Lee mold of their 250 grain bullet which casts very well and makes good bullets. I have been shooting them unsized and dipped in a thin coating of LLA, with very mediocre results.

My dies were old RCBS ones and I looked into the new RCBS Cowboy sets which are supposedly designed for cast. I ordered a set (RCBS makes great stuff by the way) and the big difference is it came with two expander plugs one of which is marked .379 so I used it. Had a day off today, cleaned the barrel of the old Marlin and went to work with the new dies. I only loaded five because I'm down to where I need to cast some more soon, but used the dies, slight roll crimp on the aforementioned Lee bullets using the Lyman starting load of 22 grains of 5744.

It's crazy windy outside, getting overcast and my bench is one of these collapsible ones which is a bit less steady than I'd like. I also didn't seem as on my shooting game either, but I shot a five shot group which was well under half of what that rifle has routinely shot with similar loads in the past. Still not a tack driver by any means, but I think I solved the biggest part of my problem. I'm trying to systematically eliminate one thing at a time. I do love it when something works out so well.

For the record, I'm a fan of these dies now and since I shoot almost exclusively cast, might just change over to them for the calibers that they make them in.

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RECURVE
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Posted: March 16 2018 at 3:51pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

What is the dif in the dies?
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richhodg66
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Posted: March 16 2018 at 4:48pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Main difference I can see if the expander plug is bigger. Apparently, the brass was swaging the bullets down some when I seated them so they weren't big enough to fill the throat. I've been using old Winchester brass (seriously old, might be collectable stuff, not sure) and I've heard the new Starline brass is thinner to alleviate this a little, though I haven't tried any yet. Throat fit with cast is important.

I've gotta get busy and cast a bunch more of those. Looks to me like a good hunting bullet and now that the accuracy is there, I'm going to start shooting it more.

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RECURVE
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Posted: March 17 2018 at 3:34pm | IP Logged Quote RECURVE

Thanks Rich
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