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Discussion Starter #1
I am somewhat new to the board and was wondering if anyone handloads for their older Colt revolvers. I have been told that jacketed bullets are a "no,no" and that only swaged or hard cast bullets on the low side of the data should be used. Right now I have a Colt 1917 and an older Police Positive in .38 S&W Special.
 

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I no longer reload much, but here's what help I can be.

The Colt 1917 was SPECIFICALLY designed to shoot standard USGI "hard ball" full metal jacketed ammo.

In fact, some 1917's with well worn barrels won't shoot lead bullets very well at all.

Any Colt made since the very early 1900's will shoot all types of bullets, from cast lead to jacketed.

The "key" is to stay within the power range such older guns require.
In other words, stay with "mid-range" loads. No full power, "blow the barn door down" hot loads.

Most reloaders like me do so strictly as "self defense of the wallet". I CAN'T afford to shoot unless I do reload.

For this reason, most of my reloads are cast lead bullets, and more economically Mid-range powder loads.

The "Mid-range" are those loads in the mid-range of the loading charts.
These typically are the most accurate, easy on the gun, and cost less to produce.

For bullets, the harder lead bullets at lower power ranges lead the barrel and cylinder less, so that's the best to use.

I recommend buying lead bullets in bulk. Pick up a copy of The Shotgun News at the local magazine rack and check the ammo section for sellers.

Pick the seller that offers the cheapest combination of bullet PRICE, and SHIPPING.
The cheapest bullets may have the highest shipping charges, so do some comparative shopping.

Bottom line, usually the idea is to shoot these older guns for fun. With that in mind, low-power, inexpensive loads that are easy on the gun and cheap to make is the way to go.

If you want hot loads choose a more modern gun.

Last, buy a Lewis Lead Remover kit from Brownell's. All older revolver shooters have a Lewis kit.

This is a special cleaning tool that removes all lead from the bore and forcing cone of a revolver WITHOUT damaging anything.
It does this quickly, and without using an "expedient" cleaning material that could damage a revolver.

The Lewis will also remove lead from the chambers, but for that, I've found that special Brownell's Chamber Cleaning brushes are faster.
These are special, very stiff brushes made to clean chambers of all fouling.

These are available in stainless steel, but DO NOT use these, as they can damage the chamber. These are for gunsmith's use on badly neglected chambers where you have nothing to lose.
Buy the bronze brushes, and use them ONLY on the chamber, NEVER on the bore.

To use, push AND twist the brush through each chamber. Usually one pass is enough to remove ALL fouling.

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 08-26-2004).]
 

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Virginian, I handload for most of my calibers. Including my older Pre-War guns. Since I have plenty of big boomers, I have no need to over stress the the older guns. They mostly get a diet of fairly light lead rounds.

I would have no issues shooting jacketed rounds through them, but I just have no reason to.
 

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I reload for all my calibers (well you got to leave out the .22 rimfires). I cast my bullets also. While jacketed bullets work just fine I'm just to cheap to buy them.
If you buy your cast bullets in bulk then look for the bullet casters close to your location. That holds down the shipping costs.
Me??? I'm just that brass and lead scrounger you see snooping around.
 

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Virginian,

I reload all my handgun calibers, except of course the 22LR, and I use a combination of a local source of lead bullets and copper plated bullets. I think that the copper plated bullets such as Berry's bullets are a good choice if you are interested in jacketed bullets. They are softer than FMJ and they do not lead barrels like the lead bullets. They fall somewhere in between. Try them out, they should be OK in your fine old guns.

Regards,
McClure
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys, I am a handloader and have been for the past 10 years. I guess I was wondering if there were more of us out there on this board. I know that the older guns were not made of steel that is up to today's strength and revolvers of the time were really made with lead bullets in mind. The 1917 is a war emergency hybrid that was forced by its design to use jacketed bullets. Elmer and others discovered that barrels did get shot smooth using GI ball and my goal is to shoot it, with out burning it out after 5000 rounds or so. Hard cast lead seems to be the way to go since it is softer than a jacketed round, but hard enough to get a grip on the shallow grooves and lands of the 1917 barrel.
 
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