Bulging Brass Loading 45 ACP Lead


November 13, 2012, 07:09 AM
I'm just starting to load 200gr LSWC in my 45 ACP, and I'm struggling with the brass bulging after I seat the bullet. I'm using Lee carbide pistol dies. The only way I have been able to eliminate the bulg is to adjust the crimp on my seating/crimp die down very hard, to the point the crimp is noticeably rolled into the lead. Any suggestions?

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November 13, 2012, 07:14 AM
to the point the crimp is noticeably rolled into the lead.

Thats no good !

1. Make sure you flare the mouth a little when seating- this will prevent lead shaving.

2. Most lead bullets are sized .001 or more over jacketed- and you will see it more in some casings than others- its ok. If they are .456 or something- thats not OK, and you might have some bad bullets. Whats the size of your bullets ?

3. As long as your taper crimp is as normal, and the rounds pass the "plunk" test, chamber, fire, and cycle reliably- you are OK.

Sometimes you can shave the lead if you dont do #1 correctly, and it can get stuck in there and cause a bulge- its rare, but it happens. Usually, it just shaves and pushes it out.

If the "bulge" is just the entire bullet being seated in there, and looking a little wider than jacketed- see #2, thats Ok !

Any chance we can get a decent picture of your "problem" so we can help ya a little more ?

November 13, 2012, 07:21 AM
A little bulge is normal. The thicker the brass and the tighter the sizer the more the bulge. The .45 ACP headspaces on the case mouth so you should "crimp" only enough to remove the bell, or maybe .001 more.

Do they chamber (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506678) before the excessive crimp?

A pic would be very helpful.

November 13, 2012, 04:29 PM
Typical when loading lead. Most lead is sized to .452 whereas jacketed are typically .451. All my LSWC LOADS IN 45 ACP have the "bulge".


November 14, 2012, 08:59 AM
Thanks for all the input.

I didn't have a chance to verify measurements, but I will this evening.

When they show the bulge, they won't pass the plunk test.

The below picture is one of the bulge. I was going to post one that was crimped hard that passed, but I shot all of them! They shot nice, if I can just get them to reload consistently.

November 14, 2012, 09:07 AM
Might try to seat the bullet in one operation, then crimp in the next operation.

November 14, 2012, 09:09 AM
Measure the bullets OD before you go any further, should be 0.452". They may have not been sized down to the right size. You may have bullets for a 45LC which is slightly larger.

November 14, 2012, 10:12 AM
Looks normal.

They don't necessarily have to pass the plunk test as long as they chamber.

November 14, 2012, 10:16 AM
That "bulge" is actually desirable! The "wasp-waisting" or "coke bottle" shape indicates that you likely have very good case mouth tension. As said, just crimp enough to remove the flare. If they chamber, as you said they do, you're golden.

November 14, 2012, 11:33 AM
What brass you were using? Some cases bulge more than others due case wall thickness, I like to use thin wall cases for oversized lead bullets like R-P and Speer. If I reload with jacketed bullets I prefer Win or Magtech (CBC) those have quite thick walls and ensure proper neck tension

If they chamber don't worry :)

Hope this helps!

November 14, 2012, 12:42 PM
One other thing, remember that most (if not all) dies were designed to load jacketed bullets and (in most instances) our cast bullets are a few thousandths larger. There is a concern, therefore that your cast bullet can be sized smaller when you seat it into the case. To ensure this is not happening, size a case and seat a bullet, then pull the bullet and measure it with a michrometer to see if the seating process is sizing the bullet down. If it is you need a larger expander in your die or you need to go to a harder bullet. Ideally the inside diameter of the sized case mouth should be 0.001 to 0.0015 smaller than the diameter of the cast bullet.

November 14, 2012, 03:20 PM
That sizer is sure tight. Does it chamber?

November 14, 2012, 03:55 PM
Might try to seat the bullet in one operation, then crimp in the next operation.
Mr. Morris is correct. A friend and I had this same problem setting up his new Hornady progressive last week. Same load as yours, 45 ACP 200 lead SWC. I simply could not get the reloads to fit in the Wilson case guage. I ordered a RCBS taper crimp die and now it seats the bullet in one step and taper crimps in the next. Problem solved.


November 14, 2012, 07:32 PM
Again, thanks for all the info.

The pictured round does not chamber.

I measured the bullets, the first one I grabbed was 0.455"

November 14, 2012, 08:35 PM
I measured the bullets, the first one I grabbed was 0.455"

And back to the caster they go....... as I suspected, likely cast and not sized.

How it got lube on it if thats the case is beyond me.

But, measure a few more- if they come out .455 or therabouts, send 'em back.

November 14, 2012, 08:36 PM
Had the same problem two weeks ago, no matter what I did just wouldn't chamber. Purchased another die so I can seat and crimp seperately, and that solved my problems. Not the best method, but I was tired of messing with it.

And blarby's right, send them back, they're definitely not sized right if they're that big. Mine were .452" and giving me a headache, can't imagine .455"

November 14, 2012, 08:39 PM
Sounds like you got .45 Long Colt bullets to me..

November 14, 2012, 09:28 PM
Unfortunately, bought these off an individual.

November 14, 2012, 09:35 PM
Might need to buy a sizer/luber press for your lead bullets. I load a lot of .38 and its bigger brother, and I always but mine though the sizer. It usually cuts lead off every single round. I buy 1-2000 at a time. Makes for a great Sunday afternoon. Best of luck to ya!!

November 14, 2012, 09:43 PM
i think you should go through you reloading procedure ,check all component's,check sizes,size brass.flare brass with powder through die enough to seat the bullet . prime ,powder,seat bullet and use a lee factory crimp die as the last step to taper crimp and final size the round .check the frinished round in the chamber ( the plunk test ) .check for feed and extraction ,if ok then procede .http://leeprecision.com/reloading-dies/hand-gun-dies/lee-carbide-factory-crimp-die/ the factory crimp die is a great help loading lead bullet's and fmj's

November 14, 2012, 10:25 PM
Well since you bought these off an individual, I'd say just pick up a Lee sizer die and run them through. It's inexpensive and also includes some Alox lube that you can use to relube them with.

Lee .452" Sizer Die (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/116429/lee-bullet-lube-and-size-kit-452-diameter)

November 15, 2012, 12:05 AM
Well, if they are commercial cast bullets, the alox lube isn't going to be a lot of use.

It'll just get all over the bullets, in addition to working its way under the existing lube, and cause all sorts of issues therein.

If you get the lee sizer ( it is a great investment ) just tap a little PTFE on the first few through, and about every tenth or 20th bullet thereafter.

Save the alox for if you start casting any tumble lube bullets on your own- or if you ever come across any bullets that haven't been lubed.

You can easily split that bottle into two bottles using mineral spirits, and it'll be good for at least 4 or 5k bullets depending on how well you can "tumble".

Sad you got your hands on some stuff that isn't ready to use !

November 15, 2012, 09:30 AM
I think the $15 .452" Lee sizer die will solve your problem. Do it.

Hondo 60
November 16, 2012, 08:11 AM
Sounds like you got .45 Long Colt bullets to me.

Sorry, but I disagree.

45 Colt bullets will still measure .452"
Bullets intended for modern 45 Colt or .45 ACP are the same size.
While you can get larger, it ain't normal.

Sounds like either you got some that weren't sized or were intentionally larger, meant as a custom size for someone else.

November 17, 2012, 10:42 AM
Hard lesson to learn: Take your calipers when buying bullets.

November 17, 2012, 11:08 AM
45 Colt bullets will still measure .452"

45 Colt bullets measure .452" or .454", depending on the gun for which they are intended.

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