I lucked out with my new .38/40 Uberti Bisley!

  • Last Post 2 weeks ago
GregT posted this 18 September 2021

I was hurting! I already have a .38/40 in a Winchester Model 92 (1901) rifle, but the Uberti Bisley is my first .38/40 handgun. I  had a box of 400 cast bullets and about 100 Starline cases and that was it. I frantically searched the Lee Precision site for a mold (waste of time), checked out Midway (another waste of time) and then I was absentmindedly looking at Amazon when I ran into some Lee Precision products. And then more... I then did an Amazon search for a Lee Precision .38/40 mold. Several pages of molds appeared! It was as if I ran into the Lee precision catalog! I finally located the one I wanted  (401-175-TC) and also found a Lee .401 push thru sizer die, and the Holy of Holies, a set of reloading dies by Lee. I ordered them all! I also needed a Lyman H&I die set and found they had a set FULLFILLED BY MIDWAY!!  (Midway did not have a set when I did a search directly to them earlier!). I needed a .400 pilot for my Forster Trimmer (one of my first pieces of reloading equipment 40 years ago! Ordered one directly from Forster and they had one and that came yesterday. Needed some more brass and after a long search, I found a well known distributor who had some for .62 cents a piece! I never dreamed they would be that high, but it turned out they were following Starline's lead (who has basically nothing for sale anyway). I continued my regular search and finally found a sporting goods supplier (L.G. Sports, Wetumpka, Alabama !). They had some for $31 for fifty Winchester cases brand new! I ordered two bags and they are on the way. Here's my message to all of you folks on the CBA list: Check out Amazon for shooting and reloading supplies before you give up! They also have RCBS parts and equipment, Hornady, etc. What's going on with these companies? why are the fulfilling orders through Amazon? I smell the covid excuse coming from somewhere! Anyway, I don't care! I will be casting .38/40 slugs today and reloading .38/40 ammo tonight! For what it's worth, I am using the old DuPont #6 propellant. I have 3 full 8 ounce "cans" of it and it shoots perfectly in my test loads so far! The "covid" forced me to try some of my old gunpowder stock, and that is a blessing too!

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GregT posted this 18 September 2021

Let me clarify a little from above note. I paid a grand total of $62.00 from L.G. Sports for two bags of .38/40 brass. Yesterday I would have paid $62 EACH for EACH bag of fifty from Natchez Shooters Supplies! I checked them this morning and they are now selling their .38/40 brass for the same price I paid at L.G. Sports. Turns out that this is one of the only, if not the only, reloading brass in any caliber Natchez has has left! They must have found out that "the other guy" was selling his for half of what they were getting! Looks like they are dumping what they have left.


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BigMan54 posted this 3 weeks ago


I guess by now you've all ready cast up some bullets, loaded them and been to the range.

How is that Lee bullet working out for you ? Does that fcd work to keep the bullets locked into the case ? Does the bullet creep forward under revolver recoil or set back into the case under rifle mag tension/recoil ?

That particular bullet has no cannulure, but I guess you could crimp into the top of the grease groove.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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GregT posted this 2 weeks ago

Hey, BigMan!

Thanks for the note. I actually have been working on the basic reloading of the cartridge. I have been using old  R-P .38/40 cases along with some R-P .44/40 cases that I turned into .38's. I believe factory loaded cases in .38/40 by R-P are really throw-aways..

The necks are severely thin and no matter how careful you are, they collapse upon applying the slightest crimp. I seat the bullet separate from crimping but that does not help much. What really has helped was taking 1.04" off the bottom of the sizing die so that that the shoulder is set down toward the base a tiny bit more. From what I read, these Uberti revolvers have short chambered cylinders. They are not to SAAMI specs for American dies. Lee advises they will shorten their .38/40 sizer dies for free if you want this done as they are aware of the problem. I will say that now with good, new brass (I have Star Line and Winchester brass), I can now reload 100% of the empty cases I want to fill without ruining the case and they all will chamber in my Bisley with no problem. Now the work with the slugs for point of impact and some short range grouping will be done. I will also do some chronographing if it is appropriate. I will be working with Lee #401-175-Truncated cone, and Lee #401-145-SWC (arrived today), both off of Amazon.

I have a Lyman .4 H&I Die. Not much sizing being done as the bullets are close to the diameter I want. Mainly for lubing. I have SPG lube in my sizer and see no reason to change. I usually use ho-made 50/50 lube. I have a little crimping machine (CH4D?) installed on the edge of the bench behind me. Crimping grooves have to be applied after I size the bullets as the process makes the crimping groove quite shallow. I am using "pure" old wheel weights scrounged up when I started reloading in the early 70's thru 90's. I have perhaps 8-900 pounds of them stored in an old metal coal delivery bucket and one 5 gallon plastic pail. I can no longer move the coal bucket and I don't dare touch the 5 gallon pail as it would destroy itself in a heart-beat!

One comment about the Lee molds... Over the years I have accumulated about 75 Lee aluminum molds of various calibers. Some of the older ones are a chore to use... These two new Lee molds have a whole new feel to them. Out of about 150 bullets I cast the other day from a brand new 401-175-TC mold, I sorted out about 8 that had defects. They operate as smooth as...butter!

I will keep posted here as often as I get something done. I am also working with a Model 1905 Winchester blow-back semi-auto in caliber .35 Winchester made in 1905. This project ended up being set aside as the barrel needed crowning. Could find no one who wanted to do the job so I finally ended up doing it myself.

Fall is rapidly hitting Northwest Wisconsin and while the woods are pretty, the months that are coming up are not real appealing to me. As I get older, I hate winter more. I have an all-weather shooting shed so I am set that way, but I still have to go out in the weather to set targets!

That is all!


Hayward, Wi

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