Brass prep on .45 ACP - simple newbie question


Sam Adams
December 9, 2004, 01:19 PM
I'm going to finally load up a bunch of .45 cases that I've saved over the years. I have a carbide RCBS 3-die set, and I've already deprimed and full-length resized the cases. I know that this is a simple question (and I KNOW what is next for rifle cases), but what is the next step? Do I first trim the cases, or do I bell the case mouths and then resize. I suspect that I trim first, but on the theory that the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked, I'm asking. Thanks very much for your help.

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Sam Adams
December 9, 2004, 02:50 PM
Uh, nevermind...I just saw a thread where several experienced reloaders said that they don't trim pistol brass, esp. from autos.
Of course, this bothers me not at all, as I loathe trimming cases.

Moderator: feel free to close or delete this thread.

December 9, 2004, 04:05 PM
Sam, I know many folks do not trim handgun cases but I do and I'm sure there must be more. IMHO if you start out with all same length brass you will get a more consistant crimp.After trimming deburr & chamfer cases then bell case mouths. Do not resize after belling or you will remove the bell.I have tried trimming after belling just to see if makes any difference. I have not seen any difference.

December 9, 2004, 07:02 PM
I trimmed 1000 pieces of 45 ACP brass once, they were quickly lost in the grass and during match shooting. I only trim rifle and revolver brass these days. I am sure that trimming semi-auto pistol brass improves accuracy, but not enough for most of us to ever notice.

December 9, 2004, 07:50 PM
I never trim .45 brass.

I often don't sort by headstamp, just throw away any that don't go into the shell holder easily.

I used to shoot bowling pins with my handloads and my Pin Gun would stack 230 grain LRNs one on top of another at eight yards.
I used the same ammo to shoot the Center Fire and .45 stages of a Bullseye match and had a clean target going at 25 yards until the last shot.

I don't think there's any reason to take more pains with case prep than I have been.

December 9, 2004, 07:53 PM
I clean the cases in a tumbler. Next I deprime/resize. Next I inspect cases, and measure overall length. Next I trim >>if necessary<<. Next I prime cases with a Lee hand tool. Now I'm ready to use reloading press for flaring case mouth & dispensing powder, seating bullet, and crimping. Done.

December 9, 2004, 07:56 PM
Howdy Sam - just wanted to drop my $0.02. Do you have a good reloading manual yet? If not, definitely get one (or several)...they'll have all the steps & info you need. I'd also grab the MidwayUSA loadmap for the .45...great reference.
December 10, 2004, 12:39 AM
I have just started reloading for the .44 mag and I have found that the overall length of my brass varies directly with two factors. The hotter the handload and the heavier the bullet, the more stretch I see in my brass. I trim before I flare because I also chamfer the lip I just cut. I have found this makes seating longer projectiles easier and the overall runout of my reloads is smaller. I would like to point out that when I load at more modest levels, the cases don't stretch enough to measure.

December 10, 2004, 02:12 AM
Don't trim 45ACP brass: it gets shorter, not longer with use. And as 45's headspace on the case mouth, trimming can cause all kinds of problems.

Sam Adams
December 10, 2004, 11:03 AM
Thanks to everyone for your advice. I won't be trimming my .45 cases, though I'll randomly check the lengths on them as I inspect them for other defects.

Larryw - I have already measured a few cases. My Sierra book says to trim to 0.893 inches, and almost all of the cases are shorter by anywhere from 1-5 thousandths. You are right that they shrink with use - which is counter to what happens with rifle cases.

December 10, 2004, 11:52 PM
Brass movement is one of the many variables that makes reloading so interesting. With high pressure rounds, like rifle or hot 44Mag, the thick brass from the head area flows up the body to the neck and the brass grows. With low pressure rounds like 45, the brass gets hammered down from the mouth to head so the case walls get a bit thicker and the brass length shrinks.

I guess the trick is getting the pressure just right so balance is achieved and no growth and no shrinking occurs.

And I have a bridge for sale (but you gotta take SF in the deal)... :D

December 11, 2004, 06:46 PM
Don't mess with trimming .45 ACP. Put the effort to chamber checking each and every round.

lee n. field
December 11, 2004, 09:19 PM
I measured cases for a while when I started reloading, and never came across a handgun cartridge case that had stretched to unacceptable length. I don't bother anymore.

Bell or prime, your choice. Don't bother trimming.

You will probably loose any given case before you wear it out.

December 11, 2004, 10:13 PM
losing them has been my problem. i'm trying to think how to create a bag to catch them that doesn't interfere with my shooting.

December 11, 2004, 10:15 PM
I understand many don't trim .45 ACP brass but.... It head spaces on the mouth. Too long a case (depends on chamber length) and the round may not allow the pistol to lock up. Clean, resize and deprime, measure and trim as necessary (my Speer Manual 12 says trim to .888 and my Hornady 6 Manual says .893 which I find interesting but both agree on a max case length of .898). Bell, prime, charge, seat to appropriate OAL, and crimp.

Watch out for double charges. I am too lazy to compute the number of rounds I have reloaded but the only problems I have encountered with my reloads were dud primers, even though properly seated. I still use due diligence as this is one area that demands zero defects IMHO.

December 12, 2004, 07:59 AM
M1, I have brass which has been reloaded innumerable times. My Gold Cup ejector leaves a little triangular mark on the rim, and I have cases with the entire circumference of the rim stippled away. I load my cases until lost or split. I haven't trimmed a .45 case since the first batch I loaded in 1992, and I've never had a lockup problem, or indeed any function problem at all. Gold Cup, Ruger P90, Para Tac Four, makes no difference. Which makes sense, since the brass shortens with use. And I bet in many guns, if the brass is too short, the extractor nonetheless holds the round in place.

December 12, 2004, 08:23 AM
For .45ACP, as noted, trimming is not needed. But do chamfer and deburr once-fired cases by all means, after sizing. And you might consider a quick ream of the primer pockets on many-fired cases to get some of the crust out.

December 13, 2004, 06:46 AM
Does anyone who shoots autoloaders more than occasionally really do that with their cases? I certainly have never noticed any burr, nor needed any chamfer. After trimming (which I don't do for pistol), yes. Seems like a lot of unnecessary work to me, and I'm one who will take new rifle brass and sort by weight, trim/chamfer/ deburr, uniform flash hole, uniform primer pocket, and outside neck turn, then load using Wilson neck dies and a plastic mallet.

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