Jump to content
The SASS Wild Bunch Forum

Help! My first try at reloading 45ACP appears to be a disaster


Recommended Posts

OK, this is my 3rd try posting this, the first two resulting in an error.  If all 3 show up, my apologies. 

Well, maybe not a disaster, but the rounds appear to be unusable and I have probably wasted precious primers.

 

Everything appeared to be going well until it came time to seat the bullets.  (The guide I was using advised me to seat and crimp in separate steps, at least initially.  But when I seated each bullet, I noticed that I was shaving a bit of coating and lead off at the casemouth.  I was not sure if this was normal.  I seated the bullets to an overall length of 1. 272, which was the length of the factory load I was using as a "go-by." i'm using Bang and Clang 230 gr coated bullets. None of my reloading guide suggested that when using cast bullets that I should open up the case mouth a little extra.

 

The real problem came with crimping.  I adjusted the crimping stem until the finished round passed the plunk test in my .45 bullet gage.  Ended up tossing three rounds out of 20  that just wouldn't pass.  But when I inspected the finished rounds something  definitely looked wrong:  The rounds all looked like they had a roll crimp.    I went back to the box and instructions that came with the dies (Hornady Set Number 546554) and nothing said the crimp die was for roll crimp.  But I certainly don't feel safe shooting these in a 1911.      I started looking for a Lee Precision 45ACP taper crimp die, but these appear to be out of stock in he solar system.

 

Good thing I have enough commercial ammo for matches for the rest of the season.. Just none left for practice.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Doc sends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bell the mouth of the case a bit more to prevent shaving lead and coating.  Crimp just enough to close the bell back.  You don't  want to crimp to the point of digging into the bullet, of course that is with a taper crimp.  Do not roll crimp.  The .45 ACP headspaces on the little edge of the case mouth.

 

Blackfoot

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, throw rocks at all dies except Redding and a couple specific Dillon dies. Second, do NOT pay attention to any other cartridge OSL but with the bullet you are using. A number means absolutely, positively NOTHING! Especially if some internet expert gives you a random number. Different helmets have different ogives and THAT is where the problem lies. OAL means absolutely nothing if the office hits the rifling and doesn’t let it chamber. You’ll have to decide where the bullets need to seat per your chambers. If the bullet has a slight shoulder on it, that should likely be flush with the case mouth. The Bang n Clang bullet does. Seat the slight should flush with the case mouth and they’ll fit in the magazine and feed.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't seat to OAL of some other bullet shape.  The 45 slugs vary widely depending which of hundreds of different mold designs that the caster has used.  OAL is not the most important dimension for seating a .45 auto bullet!

 

And, your Hornady crimp die will almost certainly be able to do a taper crimp.  It is VERY unusual to have a roll crimp die for the .45 auto cartridge.  You have just got it adjusted to put on too much crimp!

 

 

First, seating -

You want the top band (aka driving band) of the bullet to be right at the mouth of the case when you finish loading.  The standard 1911 barrels all are cut with almost no throat in the barrel ahead of the chamber itself.  So, no more than about 0.030" of lead from bullet bands (aka lands) can be left above the case mouth.  That is one of the most common errors when loading .45 auto rounds.

 

Second, expanding -

Second most common error is not expanding the case mouth enough to let your cast bullets be seated without shaving fingernails of lead from the bullet.  Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook has this warning very explicitly.  You need enough expansion of the mouth to let the bullet sit securely and slightly drop into the case as you set the slug on the case mouth.  Get your caliper out and expand the very edge of case mouth to about 0.478"  That is enough to just feel the opening up of the mouth.  Now set a bullet into the mouth - just a little of the base of bullet should drop in with no pressure - all the way around the bullet base.  No hangups.  If needed, add a couple thousandths more to the expansion of the mouth. Seat bullet to get the driving band ALMOST completely buried in the case, as explained above. 

 

Third, crimping -

Now adjust down the crimp die you have to only return the case outside diameter at the mouth to 0.471" or so. This will be plenty of taper crimp for the .45 auto. 

 

See picture below for an example of these critical two dimensions done right.  These rounds will never fail to chamber in a 1911 gun if they have been chamber checked when you loaded them.

 

About the only thing remaining to be able to make perfect .45 auto ammo is to check for bulged cases just above the extractor groove.  For now, if the round fails to fall into a chamber checker, and it's made with the dimensions stated above, it's probably a high-pressure load that bulged the brass from a previous firing.

 

good luck, GJ

proper_seating_and_taper_crimp_on_45_auto.jpg.c871cdcd805f312e7d3adc9d52ce2067.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I looked up the specs for your Hornady die set.  Although I would not have chosen Hornady dies anymore because I don't like their depriming stem attachment design (too easily knocked loose by a tough primer), you have a taper crimp die in your set (Hornady set  546554).

And I would not blame your die set - it WILL turn out good ammo if adjusted properly.

 

Here's a picture of Hornady's spec sheet for this set, below.

 

 

Going for a Lee crimp die would be the LAST thing I'd do.

GJ

Hornady_die_set_546554_specs.jpg.090cd659acb6892bf06522abb4198746.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Set your crimp based on measuring with a caliper, either digital or vernier.  That is plenty accurate for making WB ammo. Lots faster to test, you know if you are adjusting the crimp too tightly, and you know that you are measuring only the crimp area.  The chamber checker is measuring all diameters all along the case, and not telling you where your problem is.

 

I'd be looking at the base of the case just above the extractor groove for a bulged area.  If your caliper shows ANY part of the case diameter is over 0.473", you have a problem right at that spot.  If all you have is a chamber checker, and you have bulges in the cases, you will NEVER get the round to pass the chamber check test by adjusting the taper crimp die.

 

good luck, GJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent advise from the previous posters.  NEVER NEVER use a Lee crimp die on 45ACP. i see all kinds of posts on the cowboy wire recommending them. I have 6 of them for different cartridges and NEVER use any of them for reloading. Replaced them all with Redding profile crimp dies. Only use the insert from the 45 die set for the "bulge buster" I need for some cases.  You will get to that later.  Load as described previously.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, so here is what I think I did (or didn't do):

 

1.  Did not expand the case mouth sufficiently

2.  Did not load the bullets deep enough

3.  Because of 1 and 2, I over crimped.

 

BTW, the load was 4 grains of Clays (checked on a digital scale every 5 rounds) , so I dont think the cases were overloaded. 

 

I'm off to dump the powder from 150 cases  and start over opening the case mouths.

 

Now I remember why I resisted handloading for 50 years.

 

Doc Sends.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, throw rocks at all dies except Redding and a couple specific Dillon dies.

 

Gotcha.  Since I was trying to accumulate everything I needed for reloading 4 separate calibers all at once, I was trying to save a little money, not to mention that what is available right now is a bit limited.  And I had never heard of Redding before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, throw rocks at all dies except Redding and a couple specific Dillon dies.

 

Gotcha.  Since I was trying to accumulate everything I needed for reloading 4 separate calibers all at once, I was trying to save a little money, not to mention that what is available right now is a bit limited.  And I had never heard of Redding before.

 

They are by far the BEST dies out there. I understand about trying to save money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, throw rocks at all dies except Redding and a couple specific Dillon dies.

 

Gotcha.  Since I was trying to accumulate everything I needed for reloading 4 separate calibers all at once, I was trying to save a little money, not to mention that what is available right now is a bit limited.  And I had never heard of Redding before.

 

I would still consider myself a beginner handloader, but my Dillon .45ACP dies have been great. I've loaded an estimated 30k+ rounds with them on my Dillon 650. I've never had any issues with Dillon dies in .45ACP, .45 Colt, and .357/.38. I also have several sets of Lee dies, and they have worked fine for me so far in .30-06, 7.5x55 Swiss, .45-70, and .32 S&W. The Lee .380ACP and  RCBS .35 Remington dies have been problematic. The Redding dies are top quality, and I'm sure you can't go wrong with them, but I'd wager you can get by with many dies from other manufacturers once you get them dialed in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, you did not get the slug deep enough.  The powder coating makes it a little harder to see the very top of the driving band on the bullet, but I see you've got about 0.125" of band above the case mouth.  That comes from the bullet from Bang n Clang having a very SHORT nose above the band.  Compare that to how much nose your factory load that you were trying to match has. 

 

So, you get the driving band down into the case, leaving just the nose, and you will be able to crimp quite easily to get to about 0.471" diameter for the taper crimp.  You can see you have a small-diameter ring at the cast mouth where the "rolling" part of the crimp die is "taking a bite" into the case wall. Casual examination of the finished round will show NO amount of an indent or ring on the case wall at the mouth.

 

So, no disaster, just some misunderstandings of how to follow die setup instructions.  Lead .45 auto does not load like a lead bullet .38 special case.  Nor does the lead bullet load like a jacketed bullet in the .45 auto.   

 

good luck, GJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...no disaster, just some misunderstandings of how to follow die setup instructions.  Lead .45 auto does not load like a lead bullet .38 special case.  Nor does the lead bullet load like a jacketed bullet in the .45 auto.   

 

good luck, GJ

 

Well, I've never loaded anything else before except Skeet load 12 GAUGE, which is basically shake and bake, so I was bound to make mistakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, throw rocks at all dies except Redding and a couple specific Dillon dies.

 

Gotcha.  Since I was trying to accumulate everything I needed for reloading 4 separate calibers all at once, I was trying to save a little money, not to mention that what is available right now is a bit limited.  And I had never heard of Redding before.

 

I would still consider myself a beginner handloader, but my Dillon .45ACP dies have been great. I've loaded an estimated 30k+ rounds with them on my Dillon 650. I've never had any issues with Dillon dies in .45ACP, .45 Colt, and .357/.38. I also have several sets of Lee dies, and they have worked fine for me so far in .30-06, 7.5x55 Swiss, .45-70, and .32 S&W. The Lee .380ACP and  RCBS .35 Remington dies have been problematic. The Redding dies are top quality, and I'm sure you can't go wrong with them, but I'd wager you can get by with many dies from other manufacturers once you get them dialed in.

 

Looking at Dillon website, it appears that their dies are optimized for progressive reloading presses.  I'm using a single stage RCBS press.  Also their 45ACP set (out of stock, of course) does not appear to have a die for flaring the case mouth?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't be discouraged.  EVERYONE makes some mistakes when they begin loading .45 auto with lead bullets.  (That is what bullet pullers are for)

 

The important part is you recognized you had a couple of problems, you sought help, you know how to correct the problems, and your next batch will most likely be 100% functional.

 

Also, never leave a primer higher than the surface of the head of the case.  That can cause a semi-auto pistol to fire a round on chambering, without the trigger being pulled.

 

good luck, GJ

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, today's load is went much better.  Everything measures out right.  I cycled all 50 that I loaded through my Kimber, did everything but actually fire them ( neighbors would have objected).  No issues.  My local range is closed tomorrow so will shoot them on Tuesday.  Will report back on them then.

 

 

One last dumb question.  I have a couple of 1917 revolvers ( both a Colt and a Smith.) Would it be safe to fire my understated and over crimped first attempts in one of those ( or even my Webley MkVI with a shaved Cylinder. Load is 4 gr Clays)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, today's load is went much better.  Everything measures out right.  I cycled all 50 that I loaded through my Kimber, did everything but actually fire them ( neighbors would have objected).  No issues.  My local range is closed tomorrow so will shoot them on Tuesday.  Will report back on them then.

 

 

One last dumb question.  I have a couple of 1917 revolvers ( both a Colt and a Smith.) Would it be safe to fire my understated and over crimped first attempts in one of those ( or even my Webley MkVI with a shaved Cylinder. Load is 4 gr Clays)?

 

You need to just send that Smith 1917 to me. I’ll take care of it for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...