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reloading heeled bullets


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All, I'm shopping around for a lee 36 cal conical for my new Pietta 61 Navy.  I'm considering loading up some 38 short colt with it, or even a 38 special case for fun, but I was wondering if any of you Frontier Cartridge guys who load for conversion 36 cals load heeled bullets and if there are any special dies required to crimp etc.  

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.... wondering if any of you Frontier Cartridge guys who load for conversion 36 cals load heeled bullets and if there are any special dies required to crimp etc.  

No special dies .... just bell the case mouth wide enough to seat the heel of the bullet into it to the crimping groove

Reload many heeled bullets this way with no issues and if using gas checks the bullet will seat properly too if the case mouth is expanded properly

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18 minutes ago, John Boy said:

No special dies .... just bell the case mouth wide enough to seat the heel of the bullet into it to the crimping groove

Reload many heeled bullets this way with no issues and if using gas checks the bullet will seat properly too if the case mouth is expanded properly

so the heel remains outside the case, but you can still use your normal roll crimp dies?  or do you have a taper crimp die?  just want to make sure I'm reading this correctly.

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so the heel remains outside the case, but you can still use your normal roll crimp dies?

NO, the heel at the bottom of the bullet base goes in the case the same as a non heeled bullet and crimped at the crimping groove at the proper Overall Cartridge Length ... using standard dies.

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The only heeled bullets I ever did were .22lr with BP, but it seems to me most standard dies will be scraping off lead as the front of the bullet is larger in diameter than a standard bullet. I sometimes have this problem with standard bullets if they don't taper away from the crimp groove. Seems to me that a LFC die would work better as it doesn't crimp until the bullet is past the crimping mechanism.

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30 minutes ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

The only heeled bullets I ever did were .22lr with BP, but it seems to me most standard dies will be scraping off lead as the front of the bullet is larger in diameter than a standard bullet. I sometimes have this problem with standard bullets if they don't taper away from the crimp groove. Seems to me that a LFC die would work better as it doesn't crimp until the bullet is past the crimping mechanism.

Taper style?  

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Gentlemen .... the "heel" on a bullet is smaller in diameter than the overall diameter of a straight sided bullet.  It's only purpose is to put a gas check (GC) on the heel and run it through a sizing die to equal the diameter of the straight sided bullet.  And heeled lead bullets are for calibers where the velocity of reload is 1600 fps or greater ... TO PROTECT THE BULLET BASE FROM IGNITION GAS THAT WOULD DEFORM THE BULLET BASE

Heeled bullets being reloaded in calibers with the velocity less than 1600 fps do not need a gas check and can be reloaded like any other NON HEELED  bullet

I have many heeled bullets in inventory for many caliber firearms and if the reload of that caliber is under 1600 fps - I do not use a gas check because gas stripping will not happen ... instead a wad is placed under the bullet  during reload

And in Joe's case with the 38 caliber bullet, the velocity in the revolver will be less that 1000 fps and no GC  or wad is needed nor are any special dies required

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Taper style?  

Joe,  I believe you have no idea what a tapered bullet is used for and certainly not in FC revolvers.

Tapered bullets ARE NOT USED IN FIXED CARTRIDGE RELOADS nor Used in Revolvers

They are used when one is breach seating rounds with a breach seater to push the tapered bullet into a tapered chamber leade up against the leading bore cuts of the rifle.  Then a charged case with powder only, is inserted in the chamber, the falling block is raised, the hammer is cocked and one shoots the breach seated Tapered bullet

Edited by John Boy
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John Boy,

 

The OP is talking about a period correct heeled bullet as pictured on the right below. A standard bullet is pictured on the left. What you are calling a heeled bullet is what the rest of us call a gas checked design.

 

 

 

200px-Modern_bullet_vs_heeled_bullet_diagram.png

 

Heeled bullets are the same or slightly larger in diameter than the outside of the case. The heeled portion is the same diameter as the inside of the case.

Gas Checked bullets are the same diameter as the inside of the case. The base of the bullet is reduced even further to allow the gas check to be applied. None of the bullet is the same diameter as the outside diameter of the case.

 

Heeled bullets require a special crimping tool. Most work like a pair of pliers.  A collet style crimper may work but I am not sure.

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Dave, thanks for the heeled bullet picture that explains that the heel is inside the case. I'm going to have to find a picture of this type of bullet, having never heard they were designed this way

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They changed the design of the .32, .38, and .41 colt to a non-heeled inside lubricated bullet later on, but the bullets they went to were hollow based so that the skirt would flare and engage the rifling, much like a Minnie ball. They do make a special factory crimp die for the .38 and .41 Colt heel bullets to crimp just the case in the heel portion.

http://cartridgeconversion.com/RELOADING.php

 

I have ordered a mold from Accurate Molds for the two styles of .41 heeled bullet so that I can get the Cimarron Firearms Thunderer.

 

My question to the OP, do you need a heeled bullet? Is the cylinder straight threw or stepped for a case and inside lubricated bullet as shown by Dave? If the cylinder is made for a heeled bullet you could use hollow-base .38s and skip the heeled bullet ordeal. I think RCBS made or makes .38 HBWC bullets that would be great for our game.

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Dave, I have a database of every Ideal and Ideal/Lyman bullet mold made.   Started with 32 up to 44 calibers and this is the only such heeled bullet I could find ...

430185 This is the old model (O.M.) .44 Colt's pointed bullet. It is a heel ball and is for outside lubrications. The larger or forward part that fits the barrel is .446 in diameter. For further information see paragraph "Outside Lubricated Ammunition".

http://ps-2.kev009.com/ohland/Cast_Bullet/Ideal-Lyman_Molds/Bullets/430185.JPG

 

Edited by John Boy
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You can buy heeled bullet moulds from Accurate molds. They will even make a custom mould or modify the dimensions of an existing mould to suit your needs. 

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I have spent a lot of time on this thread and have gotten an education about heeled bullets for cap & ball conversion revolvers... 

So for the First Time on the SASS Wire and other forums, presenting it’s appearance is a source and pictures for a 38 caliber is the Infamous Heeled Bullet ... 

 http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=38-120C
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=38-155N
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=38-195H

And a tapered heel bullet ....

http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=38-130S

All designs are Thanks to Tom for his Accurate Molds and look around there because there are other designs for heeled bullets for use in cap & ball revolvers

 

Edited by John Boy
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13 hours ago, Cholla said:

My question to the OP, do you need a heeled bullet? Is the cylinder straight threw or stepped for a case and inside lubricated bullet as shown by Dave? If the cylinder is made for a heeled bullet you could use hollow-base .38s and skip the heeled bullet ordeal. I think RCBS made or makes .38 HBWC bullets that would be great for our game.

Need is a funny word... I'm like the chef who looks at the pantry and wonders what I'm going to make up today.  One of my favorite parts of my shooting hobby are working up new loads for weird and niche applications.  I'm getting the Lee 375-130-1R mold for my 1861 Navy.  If I ever get a conversion cylinder for it, I would want a period correct outside lubed 38 Short Colt load using the same bullet, just like they did when they first started making cartridge conversions out of colt revolvers.  

 

Also, I like to play around in all things 38 special/.357 magnum, so I figured this might be a good bullet to just slap some powder coat on and drop in a 38 special case and see what happens if I can figure out the crimping thing.  I'm going to need a good bullet for Frontiersman in my rifle.  If I'm not using APP, then the lube grooves that are intended for BP lubes might work better for me than my usual 38 special/.357 magnum cast bullets.

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37 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

Need is a funny word... I'm like the chef who looks at the pantry and wonders what I'm going to make up today.  One of my favorite parts of my shooting hobby are working up new loads for weird and niche applications.  I'm getting the Lee 375-130-1R mold for my 1861 Navy.  If I ever get a conversion cylinder for it, I would want a period correct outside lubed 38 Short Colt load using the same bullet, just like they did when they first started making cartridge conversions out of colt revolvers.  

 

Also, I like to play around in all things 38 special/.357 magnum, so I figured this might be a good bullet to just slap some powder coat on and drop in a 38 special case and see what happens if I can figure out the crimping thing.  I'm going to need a good bullet for Frontiersman in my rifle.  If I'm not using APP, then the lube grooves that are intended for BP lubes might work better for me than my usual 38 special/.357 magnum cast bullets.

I am not seeing where the Lee is a heeled base bullet. The diameter is .017" larger that a .38/.357 so I don't know it would fit in a .38 case. The .38 Long Colt has a heeled base of .358 to fit inside the case and a .375 diameter top to match the bore.

 

image.png.1f37153dd2e6761766525c13ae97a93b.png

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27 minutes ago, Cholla said:

I am not seeing where the Lee is a heeled base bullet. The diameter is .017" larger that a .38/.357 so I don't know it would fit in a .38 case. The .38 Long Colt has a heeled base of .358 to fit inside the case and a .375 diameter top to match the bore.

 

image.png.1f37153dd2e6761766525c13ae97a93b.png

it might not fit, I don't have a diagram of the lee mold in front of me or on their website, but I know it's got some reduction in diameter around the bottom as these are all designed to drop into the cylinder before it gets rammed.  they wouldn't fit under the rammer otherwise.  

 

I think I saw a Duelist1954 vid where he used the Era's Gone 36 or 44 cal bullets for this kind of application in recreating loads for a cartridge conversion gun. I should go find that video, he probably talks about the crimping thing.

Edited by El CupAJoe
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Another. and perhaps simpler, solution is to use hollow based bullets and load the same way you would any other bullet.    I use a .358" hollow base bullet for .38 Short and Long Colt, and sometimes .38 S&W.   This bullet will work for older guns in the caliber with a .375" bore as well as in newer guns when they switched it to a .357" bore.   That way you don't have to do separate loads depending on which gun you use them in.

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Hollow bases are easier to load, but they are much more difficult to cast right. The only heel based I load is for  .22lr with BP,(just because I can) which work pretty well, and a hollow base for .455 Webley. I do have a single cavity mould that someone in the past altered and made it a heel based bullet, but I don't do .38's much. I bought it "just in case" I ever need it. The only conversion I have is a 1858 in 44, which don't need any special bullets like the .36 cals do.

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Here's the Duelist Vid I was referencing.  I just re-watched it, if I didn't miss something on the second watch through, he glues in the bullet heel, then full length sizes the whole assembly.  

 

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I also realized as I'm watching this again, that this ammo shouldn't be fired in a regular .357 or 38 special due to potential overpressure trying to run the .375 bullet down the .357 bore.

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Jefro: and 140 gr.  But none of them will work that great in a conversion as the bullets are all .358.

  As for the video, I found it funny when he said the hollow based bullets he used had very little sealing area. Still more than any ball and they have worked well for over 140 years!

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