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Going to try my first cast .45 ACP loads...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by dc.fireman, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Well-Known Member

    So, after having made 1000 jacketed rounds, and 500 plated rounds, I'm now going to sample the economy of cast bullets. Here's my scenario:

    230 gr. LRN from a local maker (with lube)
    mixed 1x & 2x fired cases from my previous loads
    WLP primers

    IMR 700x powder.

    When I visited the IMR site to find some cast load data, here is what I get:
    230 GR. LRN IMR 700-X .452" 1.200" 4.5 831 14,500 CUP 5.0 893 17,700 CUP

    Everything looks good to me, except the COL - I have been using 1.266", plus a mild crimp, which nets 1.265".

    When using the Rem MC 230 gr., and the Berry's 230 gr., both at 1.265", and both yield pretty good results - no squibs, no FTF's no FTE's, and no Kabooms,
    when keeping in the 4.3-4.6 powder charge ranges.

    For ease of loading, I'd like to keep my seating die set to 1.265" - it's a pretty good fit for my particular pistol ( RRA 1911A1, 5" Basic Carry model), and I still have about 400 Rem MC's I'd like to load up.

    Would it be safe to assume that I can start off by backing down the starting charge to something around 4.3 gr.s, but keep my original seating depth of 1.266", and final crimp to 1.265", without any problems?

    I know it sounds like I'm being a silly-nanny over the COL, but I've had some pretty good runs so far, and I'd like to keep it going...

    Before anyone asks, I don't know what the BHN for the bullet is offhand - I don't have them sitting in front of me, but I'll post it later (if it has any bearing on the load...)

    Thanks again High Roaders!

  2. Steve H

    Steve H Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth..................

    Yesterday I ran some 230 gr. Berry's over 5.5 grs. of Unique @ 1.250 through a new XD 4". No problems at all and it was a pleasant load to shoot.
  3. ScratchnDent

    ScratchnDent Well-Known Member

    Depending on the nose shape of your new cast bullet, leaving your seater set as-is may yield a different over all length. The cast bullet may be shorter or longer than the bullets you're currently using.
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Run them at your 1.265 O.A.L.

    With that longer O.A.L. vs the data you posted, look for slightly lower velocities than listed.

    No need to back down the starting charge, as your longer O.A.L. will decrease pressures, not increase them.
  5. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    The hardness of the bullet will affect leading in your barrel. If it is on the harder range of 24 BHN, you probably will need to use high load data to get good obturation and minimal leading. If it is around 18 BHN, you probably can use mid-high load data with minimal leading.

    Also, the inside barrel diameter will affect bullet-to-barrel fit. For .452" diameter lead bullet, .451" bore will give you tight fit and minimize leading.

    As to OAL, longer OAL will generally give you more accurate loads as long as they fit the magazine and feed/chamber well in your pistol.

    Try shooting your first batch and tell us how it went and if you got any leading.
  6. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Well-Known Member

    Will definitely do that. There aren't any bhn numbers on the box - they are however a .452 diameter.... I should have my first batch of 30-40 made up this week - I figured I give a run of 4.5 (10), 4.7 (10) 4.9 (10) - shoot those, and then come back and try 20 more of my best group...
  7. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Well-Known Member

    Lessons learned...

    Well... an update.

    My first cast reloads were a failure - so far. I committed two gross errors, that I have readily identified:

    1. I used my existing seating die, set at the same locked-in setting - this is the die I use for my FMJ + plated bullets, which seats them to 1.266" COL.

    2. I drove all the way out to the range with a box of 30 cast bullets at varying charge weights, completely forgetting to simply do a barrel test fit before leaving the house.

    The short story is that none of them chambered. In fact, when I got to the NRAHQ range, and paid my $11, I got to the firing line only to discover that they wouldn't fit the magazines in the 1911.

    Looking back on it now, I realized that my seating die has a seating depth of 1.266" for FMJ + Plated; the ogive on the LRN is obviously different, causing a different OAL... back to the bench. At least I only have 30 to pull down...

    In addition, I had brought my 30-30 to check some other loads I'd made using AA2460. I've had problems in the past with light primer hits from this gun ( Marlin Model 1936, made in 1941), and had the same issue tonight with my reloads... When it rains, it pours... :banghead::banghead:

  8. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    I used to load Missouri Bullets 230gr LRN(BHN 18) over 4.9gr of 700x, at OAL 1.255". I got minimal leading. I now load the same bullet over 5.5gr of AA#2. I find the AA#2 meters so much better its not even a comparison. Its a little dirtier if loaded down though. I got 860fps out of that load in a stock barrel G21.
  9. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Well-Known Member

    Thx lj!

    AA is quickly becoming one of my favorites, for exactly that reason. I still have a full pound of 700X, and once it's gone, I'll be trying out the old No.2!
  10. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    No problem man! 45acp was my first cartridge that I ever loaded and I have a ton of recipes that I worked up loading it. Though I have lately taken to loading a lot of revolver cartridges (namely 357 and 45 colt) its still one of my favorites.
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Cast bullets are nothing to be leery about.
    "...plus a mild crimp..." A taper crimp, of course? Load 'em to 1.275".
    4.3 is .2 grains below minimum for a 230 grain cast bullet. It won't do anything bad, but work up the load from 4.5.
    "...wouldn't fit the magazines..." How?
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I load RN .45 ACP bullets at 1.265, or less. I have found 1.275 to be tight to the point of binding in some mags.

    I agree with Sunray, 4.5 would be a better place to start using 700X and 230 Gr lead at 1.265 or thereabouts.
  13. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Well-Known Member

    OK... So...

    After much seating -> barrel test fitting -> reseating today, I came up with my COL of 1.225". It was the first length I arrived at, where I could get the cartridge to seat all the way, barrel out of the pistol. Tomorrow is powder charging and seating day, and then Saturday to shoot! Thanks again all!

  14. billybob44

    billybob44 Well-Known Member

    ^^^+1. I have to use my barrel to depth check on my CZ-75 (9MM)+my Kimber (45acp.). Most of the time I have to seat just slightly shorter than the OAL listed in the data charts.
  15. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    Could we make this a heading at the top of the page?

    Reloading manuals quote the MINIMUM RECOMMENDED COL.
    The handloader establishes the COL for his gun and load.
  16. Skip_a_roo

    Skip_a_roo Well-Known Member

    Yeah, what Walk and bds said!

    By the way, you aren't the first loader to get to the range and not been able to shoot! ;) p.s. You won't be the last either! ;)

    I have two 230gr RN bullets I cast for the 45ACP. One is from a Saeco mould and the other from a Lee Tumble Lube one. Both have a reduced diameter nose that produces a shoulder on the bullet. I seat those until the last portion of the driving band is out of the case, much like the 200gr LSWC I cast and shoot. (H&G #68)

    All of that being said; I use AA#2 as well and have had good success. My OAL is right at 1.250" for all of my round nose bullets. Feeds and functions fine in all of my 45ACP firearms.

    Some of the best info in this thread is what Walk said about OAL and pressures.

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