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Information and Education => Reloading and Handloading => Topic started by: cpaspr on December 16, 2008, 07:05:34 pm

Title: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 16, 2008, 07:05:34 pm
I've been reloading some .45s with what I think are pulled Berry's 200gr RN bullets.  The manufacturer is the "I think" part, not the weight nor the shape.  I have a thousand of them.

Setup:  Two single-stage RCBS JR presses side by side; seating, and partial crimp in #1 (RCBS die), final taper crimp in #2 (Lee FCD).  Cases were sized and de-primed, then belled and primed in earlier sessions.  One procedure at a time.

About a hundred rounds done, and when I went to mike #95 last night the micrometer just kept right on closing after contacting the bullet.  Target OAL is 1.257".  The mike pushed it to 1.235" before it stopped (and it only stopped because I stopped squeezing).  The bullet was loose and would spin in the case.  I tightened the FCD a bit more, pulled the bullet, dumped the powder, re-powdered, reseated and recrimped.  Still too loose.  Tried it with a different primed and belled shell.  Did it again.  #3 was with a third shell and a different bullet.  Again, bullet wouldn't stay tight in the shell.

I thought I might have belled without first resizing, but the shells are .470" OD below the bell, before adding the powder and bullet.  And three in a row?  No.  The cases all have wall thicknesses of at least .010".  Different brands of cases.

I miked the OD of the bullets, and they're .450".  Where the mouth of the case closed on the first bullet I could see that the bullet was actually narrowed (slightly wasp-waisted).  Even with that, the case tension still should have been sufficient to squeeze the base of the bullet below the narrowed part enough to hold tension.  Though that particular bullet is probably headed for the scrap bucket.

Unless the bullet OD of .450" on those few I measured is the problem.  I know it's supposed to be .451". 

Any ideas?  I suppose I could pull a bullet out of one that is properly tight and mike that bullet.  I'm gonna be rather put out if I have to mike all 900ish for undersized bullets before I continue.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on December 16, 2008, 10:07:23 pm
What's the inside diameter of a sized but not belled case mouth?
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 17, 2008, 12:39:52 am
They're all belled, but dropping the micrometer blades 1/8" inside the case I read .448".
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 17, 2008, 01:20:53 am
I just double checked the previously assembled rounds.  My count was off.  I had finished 79.  47 are good.  I could push the bullet further in on 32.   Looks like quite a few of my bullets are undersized, probably from being overly squeezed in the previous loading.  I didn't think of that possibility before I agreed to buy them. 

So before I load anymore I guess I get to mike the whole kit and kaboodle of them.  So far, the ones that don't drop through a .450" gap are far exceeded by the ones that do.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on December 17, 2008, 07:54:59 am
Quote
previous loading
  Missed that part.  That's your problem.  Toss 'em.  Call it a lesson learned.  By the time you squeeze the brass far enough to grab them, they'll be held by crimp only, neck tension will be zilch, and you'll have all kinds of trouble chambering them due to your case mouth being way too small.

Pulled jacketed slugs are a different animal than "plated".  Plated slugs are a one-shot deal.  Too soft.

Go ahead and mic a few, but I believe you'll find them undersized.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 17, 2008, 08:16:52 pm
I locked the micrometer at .450" and have been setting the bullets on the gap.  Those that drop through are goners.  Those that sit nice and high I'm setting aside.  Those should be good, but I'll re-mike them later to see how close they are to correct spec.

On the undersized ones, can they be used for .45 LC, or with .45 AutoRim, or maybe even .45 ACP with a roll crimp loaded in an S&W model 25 or decendent?
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on December 17, 2008, 08:50:05 pm
Heavy roll crimps are problematic with plated bullets.  But you might be able to get acceptable results in 45 colt with a fast powder, in a light to mid-range load.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 17, 2008, 09:47:37 pm
Well, that's good news.  They might not be a total loss, after all.

Oh, wifey?  I need a new gun.  I got these bullets that I paid good money for, but they won't work in anything I currently have.

Nah.  She's smarter than that.  Much smarter. 

Darn. 

Oh, well.  I'll probably hang on to them, might find myself in possession of a .45LC one of these days.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 19, 2008, 04:29:16 pm
Okay.  Here's the latest.

I originally had two Clays powder bottles which were reused full of these.  Roughly 500 in each.  I finished running the first bottle and the entire second bottle through the micrometer last night.  Results - probably 60% of the first bottle might be okay for reloading.  The other 40% and the ENTIRE second bottle are undersized.  Which means I have about 300 usable bullets.  I'll see if I can work some kind of deal with the friend I bought them from.  Not necessarily monetary, since he didn't create the problem, he just passed them on from a deal he got, but he's been at this a lot longer and might have had a few clues that they would probably be undersized.  I'll maybe ask about running a bunch of unsized lead bullets my dad gave me through his sizer dies.   Most of them go back to when I was casting bullets by the hour for him when I was a kid back in the early 70s.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on December 19, 2008, 10:40:38 pm
HOLD IT!!  D'OH :banghead  I'm an idiot.  Know anybody with a 50 cal muzzle stuffer?  Those might work very well as plinkers in a sabot sleeve.....

Just a thought.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 20, 2008, 04:26:17 pm
Now there's something I hadn't thought of.  I'm sure I know someone who does BP, I just can't think of anyone at the moment.

I finished banging all of the bullets and dumping the powder out of the too short OAL rounds.  Then I miked every single one of the remaining 47.  Then I loaded them all in mags, took them out back and cycled them through the gun.  Only 10 survived.  So that meant I got to hammer out 37 more.  What a pain in the neck this has turned out to be.  :cuss

I'll mike 10 of the allegedly good bullets, load them then cycle them through the gun.  If they set back, I may just say forget it to trying to load up the rest.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on December 20, 2008, 08:03:33 pm
Dude, give up on 'em.  Seriously.  Make a traditionalist happy with them.  You're spending loading time very inefficiently.   

Side note-

Bet you never do that again. :D
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 22, 2008, 01:01:21 am
Spending too much time?  You betcha!  But learning how things don't work together when the components are wrong?  Priceless.

I'm done.  There were 169 bullets of .451" - .4515" diameter.  100 are loaded up, ready to shoot.  I'll get the rest in the next few days or weeks.

My bench has been out in the unheated garage, so I really haven't done nearly as much reloading as I'd like, since to use it I had to uncover it (doubled as storage space, and we have cats) break out all the components, set up, fill the powder measure, make sure it was still properly set, load, then put everything away again.  It simply wasn't worth the hassle most of the time, or I simply didn't have the two hours necessary to get in one hour of actual reloading.  And the garage can be real cold this time of year.

A couple of weeks ago I disassembled it and cut it down to fit inside a spare bedroom closet.  I've loaded more in the last couple of weeks than I think I did in the last couple of years.  It's so easy now, just close the door when I'm done. 

And you're right. I'll never buy pulled bullets again.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: Oohrah on December 22, 2008, 02:54:53 am
The other down side is should that bullet get set back into the case,
depending on the load, dangerous pressures can build from a moderate
load.   Colt 45 (LC) will not work with the undersized bullets.   They
are also .451.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: THE NORSEMAN on December 22, 2008, 08:50:14 am
Quote
I'll never buy pulled bullets again.

Pulled jacketed rifle bullets are usually just fine.  Lots of folks buy them that way.  But as you learned the hard way, pulled plated bullets are problematic.
Title: Re: Problem reloading .45 ACP
Post by: cpaspr on December 22, 2008, 04:56:17 pm
Good point. 

Pulled plated bullets = not worth it
Pulled jacketed bullets = might be okay, but check 'em all first.