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Sometime a good deal isn't so good.

This is a discussion on Sometime a good deal isn't so good. within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; A week ago, I attended a local gun show and bought 500 swaged lead 38 cal hollow base wad cutters. The bullets looked good plus ...


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Old February 27th, 2017, 01:49 PM   #1
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Sometime a good deal isn't so good.

A week ago, I attended a local gun show and bought 500 swaged lead 38 cal hollow base wad cutters. The bullets looked good plus the price was right so I bought them.

Today I decided to load up a batch of 38s with 3gr of Bullseye .... my favorite target load. Just for grins, I decided to weight a couple bullets .... what a surprise! They weighed well over 155gr so I tried another batch. In all I weighed 30 bullets randomly selected from the 500 count box. The weight varied from 150 to 162gr .... not a good thing.

I did an experiment and measured the length of several bullets .... length was also non-uniform. Then I got an idea .... I put a bullet in the chuck of my mini lathe and cut the bullet shorter from the base .... a few thousandths at a time. I finally figured out where the length should be to get 148gr. I then made a simple jig and ran 25 more bullets through the lathe then weighed them. They were all 148gr +or- .1gr. By this time I was tired and needed a nap so my project will continue another day. Eventually I'll trim all the bullets to the same length and weight, then load up some target loads but first .... I'm going to load up a small batch of random weight/length bullets along with the batch I trimmed, just to see if it's worth my hard work.



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Old February 27th, 2017, 01:56 PM   #2
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took a nap.... oh, man what a life you live!

wise move in my book.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 02:50 PM   #3
 
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I guess anyone can make a mistake but that's why I never have bought or shot anyone's reloads and why I don't buy someone's lead cast bullets...I buy lead bullets from a known commercial vendor/manufacturer and I do spot check weights and they are really consistent....I think "back yard" casters and reloaders probably have good intentions but I've seen what Iowegian found out...I've seen folks buy reloads at the gun show packed in plastic baggies and a paper label...heard some really odd stories...Not for me. Years ago I bought a bunch of "once fired" .380 brass...it had about 10% random 9mm mixed in with it...took too much time to mess with and I just put it into the scrap brass bucket...
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Old February 27th, 2017, 05:38 PM   #4
 
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Thanks for sharing the tale of your misfortune. I have seen how gun show deals are no real bargain. Hopefully the random length bullets shoot well enough for short range practice without time-consuming trimming. I gave up on gun shows years ago when the only good bargains I found were on witty tee-shirts and bumper stickers.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 06:05 PM   #5
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The bullets are swaged, not cast and looked just as good as name brand bullets ..... but they were likely swaged in someone's homemade hydraulic press. If they could have learned to cut the lead stock correctly, length and weight would have been uniform .... but it wasn't. The only good thing is .... they are BHN 10 .... nice and soft.

Doing the math, at minimum wage, I figure the bullets will end up costing me three times as much as name brand bullets. I wish I knew a local caster .... I would give him all 500 bullets and have him turn them into something more useful. Oh well, this is certainly not my first mistake and won't be my last either.

The moral of the story is .... when a gun show find looks like a good deal, just keep walking.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 06:39 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post

The moral of the story is .... when a gun show find looks like a good deal, just keep walking.

Thats generally the correct answer.
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Old February 27th, 2017, 08:05 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
The bullets are swaged, not cast and looked just as good as name brand bullets ..... but they were likely swaged in someone's homemade hydraulic press. If they could have learned to cut the lead stock correctly, length and weight would have been uniform .... but it wasn't. The only good thing is .... they are BHN 10 .... nice and soft.

Doing the math, at minimum wage, I figure the bullets will end up costing me three times as much as name brand bullets. I wish I knew a local caster .... I would give him all 500 bullets and have him turn them into something more useful. Oh well, this is certainly not my first mistake and won't be my last either.

The moral of the story is .... when a gun show find looks like a good deal, just keep walking.
That's why I always buy things that are way over-priced with little or no value. If I'm going to get screwed I may as well do it to myself....

Makes sense, doesn't it?
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Old February 28th, 2017, 04:52 AM   #8
 
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The moral of the story is .... when a gun show find looks like a good deal, just keep walking.
I found that to be fairly true years back too.
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Old February 28th, 2017, 05:24 AM   #9
 
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You are a very wise and talented man!

The last two gun shows I attended reminded me of a flea market.
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Old February 28th, 2017, 06:16 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
'm going to load up a small batch of random weight/length bullets along with the batch I trimmed, just to see if it's worth my hard work.
I'm interested in your test, non trimmed vs. trimmed for the distance you'll be shooting them . Obviously these aren't for 100 yard shooting! Or even 50 yard.
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Old February 28th, 2017, 06:24 AM   #11
 
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I'm interested in your test, non trimmed vs. trimmed for the distance you'll be shooting them . Obviously these aren't for 100 yard shooting! Or even 50 yard.

Yes, it would be informative to see the results using bullets from either extreme range of the spread.

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Old February 28th, 2017, 06:31 AM   #12
 
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I'm glad you noticed that before you loaded a bunch of them. Most of us including myself probably never do or very seldom weigh our bullets. We take things for granted. If you see that seller again I'd make sure I told him about it. He might not even realize it.
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Old February 28th, 2017, 06:37 AM   #13
 
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Sorry the bullets were less than you expected. Looking forward to the test, though.
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Old February 28th, 2017, 07:36 AM   #14
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This morning I decided to scrap the project and get past my losses. $25 isn't enough to put me in the poor house but it does piss me off. It just takes too long to trim the nickel a piece bullets to be cost effective. Life is too short to deal with inferior products.

Our local gun shows are typically quite good. We have a dealer from Avoca, IA (largest in the state) that sells his guns at a modest price .... not cheap but well under MSRP. That tends to set the pace for other venders. If they expect to sell anything, they have to be competitive.

Normally we get venders that sell nothing but reloading supplies but this last show there was just one vender with some range brass and a variety of swaged lead bullets. Needless to say, I will never buy anything from him again and I'll put the word out to my friends.
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Old February 28th, 2017, 08:27 AM   #15
 
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Mostly because of stories like this, I've never been to a gun show (gasp!) and I believe I've come out ahead because of it.
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