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Expanding .45ACP and .30 Carbine ammo

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by OpelBlitz, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. OpelBlitz

    OpelBlitz Well-Known Member

    Hey all,

    So prior to reloading, I've allocated quite a bit of brass of various calibers - .45ACP, .223, 30 Carbine, .40S&W, etc.. and so to start, I decapped the .45ACP, .30 Carbine, and a few .30-06 (since that's all I got dies for right now).

    I've only advanced with the .45ACP to the point where you bell the case mouth and I'm starting to think to myself, how much is too much? The reloading book I have says if I can insert it "x" fractions of an inch, invert the case and it stays in, it's good. But I can do that even without belling the mouth at all. Using FMJ bullets.

    Do I need to provide more info? :) Maybe I'm a bit vague. Did I ruin the case if I bell it out too much?
  2. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    Dillon suggests belling (increasing the OD of the case) out to .010". Other folks here will tell you "until the bullets you're using will sit in the case mouth". Which ever way you go, it is minimal, especially if you are using a bullet like Berry that has a nice radius around the base.

    So the sharper the corner on the bullet's aft end, the more belling you'll need. But try to keep the metal working to a minimum.

    The object is to get the bullet into the case without shaving off any of the bullet. So another variable you'll encounter will be the bullet material. Obviously you'll need more belling for cast lead than jacketed.

    If you use "boat tail" bullets and debur the case mouth on your .223 and 30-06 cases, you may not need belling at all on rifle ammo.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  3. OpelBlitz

    OpelBlitz Well-Known Member

    That is a help actually - I probably ruined 2-3 brass then, but I'll live. I wanted to get a feel for how it works. Good thing I did before going to town on all of my brass!
  4. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Well-Known Member

    too much expander can split the case mouth, easy does it. usually cast slugs require a tad more 'bell' to seat well, most are oversize compared to jacketed slugs.
  5. James2

    James2 Well-Known Member

    Did you start by sizing your brass? This is always the first operation after cleaning and inspeciting the brass. If you can insert a bullet without belling, that tells me you missed the first step.

    On some 3 piece die sets the decapper is in the sizer, and the inside sizer and belling punch is in another die, as in the Powder-through dies made by Lee.

    On some sets the sizer is just a sizer and the belling and inside expander, plus decapping pin, is in the second die. There is no powder through feature.

    In any case, you start with the sizer die. This shoulod reduce the size of the mouth enough that there is no way a bullet is going in it at all pushing by hand. You then use the second die to expand and bell the neck.

    Most rifle dies are two piece sets and do not have a belling punch. The inside sizer and depriming punch are in the sizing die.

    rfwobbly, covered how much bell pretty well.
  6. billybob44

    billybob44 Well-Known Member

    Opel, your brass is NOT ruined=just run it back-slowly- through the sizer die, and re bell. Bottom line is this=if your bell is set for cast bullets, and then you run brass through for jacketed bullets, your bell will be excessive. I bell just enough to accept the bullet in case, and then seat. As stated before, you will know on a cast bullet seat, if the bell is not enough=shaved lead. If this happens, just bell a little more before installing bullet and seating. On your semi-auto loads a good taper crimp, to me, is more important, than the bell. Hope this helps. Bill. PS: you will want to remove the decap pin from the size die, before resize primed brass.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  7. OpelBlitz

    OpelBlitz Well-Known Member

    Yes, I resized/deprimed the brass; that was the first thing I did after cleaning it. I was just stating at which stage I am at with the .45ACP brass.

    My three die sets are all RCBS. The .45ACP set are carbide and naturally comes with the three dies, as was the .30 Carbine set.

    Billybob44, thank you for that information. That sounds good to me; I'll try it out tonight!
  8. OpelBlitz

    OpelBlitz Well-Known Member

    Well, I played around with the bullet and casing last night that I was previously working on and while I got the bullet in the casing at the proper height, I noticed I shaved part of the bullet's side off near the base (Bullets don't seem to be for crimping BTW) I also noticed there's some noticable.. what's the word I'm looking for... bulging? about mid-length. Almost like I created a very subtle neck. I'll take a picture when I go home for lunch to illustrate what I'm talking about.
  9. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    That's the "Mae West" or "Coke Bottle" look. It's very fashionable this season. All the rage in Paris and Milan.

    1. Actually it's a by-product of using carbide dies. The carbide sizes the brass down to a certain diameter, then inserting the bullet bulges the top back out. It's quite normal. The test is this... Will the finished round drop by its own weight into the disassembled barrel all the way? Does it wedge in or dive in? You should hear a soft ringing sound as the case mouth of the 45 head spaces on the end of the barrel's chamber. "Ting!" If you hear that, then the round is shaped perfectly.

    2. 45ACP does NOT use a roll crimp like a 38 Spcl or 357. Instead 9mm, 45ACP and other auto cartridges use a "taper crimp" which can be very hard to see. The bullet is held in the case by pure neck tension. The taper crimp is there to remove all traces of the "belling" you were working so hard to install earlier. On an auto cartridge die set, the taper crimp is installed by the last die. And it is installed by the last 1/10 inch of press stroke. The taper is installed on the last ~1/16 inch at the case mouth. About the only way to tell if it's correct is the "chamber drop test" described above, or by direct measurement with a good caliper.

    Hope this helps!
  10. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member


    If you're going to reload a lot of .30 Carbine, do yourself a favor and get a Lyman M type die to bell your cases. In addition to belling the case, it has mandrel in it that expands the case a bit and allows for MUCH easier bullet seating.

  11. Seedtick

    Seedtick Well-Known Member



    Hey Opal,

    Here is an excellent training aid on the how to's and what for's of crimps.
    The guys (Pro's) contributing to it are doing an outstanding job.

    It's a sticky at the top of this forum.

    How much crimp? Lee FCD guidance sought.


  12. OpelBlitz

    OpelBlitz Well-Known Member

    Here's the picture as promised.

    Attached Files:

  13. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    ^^^ That's not a "wasp-waist", that looks like a buckled case caused by having your seater down too far in the die.

  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    That's crimped so far down it is almost a .400 Corbon. :eek:
  15. OpelBlitz

    OpelBlitz Well-Known Member

    Ok, that's what I thought. Thanks for confirming that, so I'm performing the crimp waaay too low.

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