key holing
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
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I have a S&W 38 4" barrel and it key holes.I have reloaded using 4.5 grains of universal powder. What causes this.

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Old 01-16-2009, 01:53 PM   #2
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What bullet?

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Old 01-16-2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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My .380 will do that if the barrel isn't thoroughly clean, but it's a 2" semi-auto.

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Old 01-16-2009, 05:39 PM   #4
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Assuming this is a new symptom, first look at a severely fouled barrel. The next is to look at the load. What bullet? I am presuming you mean Universal Clays powder?

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Old 01-17-2009, 04:40 AM   #5
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Bullets are to heavy (I doubt this)

Fouled barrel (High On my list)

If using lead bullets maybe wrong size (Sized wrong).

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Old 01-18-2009, 12:01 AM   #6
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If you mean, why the keyholes, rather than why you use Universal powder, probably:

1. Bullets are too soft for the speed, so the rifling strips out.
2. Bullets to small in diameter, so they get gas cut to a smaller diameter and the rifling stips out.
3. Bore is so lead foulded it sizes the bullets down too small, crating both conditons listed in 1 & 2.

Try firing one straight down into a 5 gal. bucket of water and retrieve it. Take a look at the rifling grooves, bet there ain't none.

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Old 01-18-2009, 01:10 PM   #7
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i am using 125 grain fmj bullets.What would be the best method to cean the barrel ,and what cleaners.

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Old 01-18-2009, 02:10 PM   #8
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Lewis lead remover, but I'm not sure they even make them any more.

Brass/bronze brush and Shooters Choice bore solvent. Scrup repetedly to loossen it up.

Lead free cloth (the yellow ones) cut into patches and forced through the barrell with a tight patch spud. You should see chunks of lead stuck to the cloth.

Repeat.

Check that the bullets are not .356 diameter rather than .358. .002 makes a HUGE difference.

125gr FMJ's? Sounds like .356 bullets or plated bullets. Are you trying to push the plateds to max velocity? I don't think the plating is going to take that.

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Old 01-18-2009, 06:20 PM   #9
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+1 on the Lewis De-Leader. Bronze screen over a leather plug, T handled rod, use one to de-lead a S&W Mdl 66 after shooting a LOT of real soft wadcutter. You can SEE the little bits of lead on the screen. When bore gets fouled, bullets not spinning. Acurracy sux, but stopping power of bullet increases! BTW, if you can't find a Lewis, use good solvent, bronze brush, stroke all the way thru and back about 50 times, or until elbow gives out. If you can find it, product called KROIL- a super penetrant- slop in bore, let set overnite, THEN use bronze bore brush. Stuff can actually get under lead/copper fouling and loosen it up.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:47 AM   #10
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you didn't say whether it was a ,38 S&W or a S&W .38 special. These two calibers do not use the same bullets, I think the .38 S&W uses a heel based bullet. In the past there was alot of interchanging , the most famous example was the gun that Lee Harvey Oswald used to murder Officer Tibbits. I have never seen one that was so used but can guess a .357 sized bullet might yawl in a oversize barrel. CD

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