A while back Pinto’s had some cast .361″/150gr SWCs for sale. Perfect for my old S&W top-breaks, and at $3 per hundred? Shut up and take my money!

So far I mainly load .357″ HBWCs in .38 S&W, but I gave the SWCs a go. I use .38 Special dies to load this caliber, and with the HBWCs it works a treat. Not so much with the new bullets; most of them wouldn’t fit the chambers of my gun! Very annoying. I needed a dedicated seating/crimping die. I kept meaning to buy a set but it kept slipping my mind until I was in Pinto’s the other day and found a used .357 crimping die for just a few dollars and snagged it.

Today I was at loose ends and decided to muck about in the shop. I shortened the .357 die, then heavily chamfered the opening with a conical stone in my flex-shaft too. Getting it set deep enough in my press required removing the locking ring but this hasn’t proven to be a problem. I just bring the shell-holder all the way up and screw the die in until it touches. I ran all of the old ammo through it and presto! It fits the cylinder properly now. The die also produces a nice roll-crimp, so I am happy with it. I also loaded another fifty rounds; there’s a range-trip in my near future.


The other project of the day was for a friend. She recently purchased a nice used Taurus Model 85 and wanted a concealed-carry grip for it. I fitted it up with a set of custom Olivewood grips today. Much flatter than most grips made for these guns, but still comfortable and secure in the hand. Came out quite nice; I think she’ll be very pleased.


Nothing too exciting today, just some pleasant and productive shop time getting a few things done that I had been putting off.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 25 November 2017

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