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HELP! Squished cases...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bensdad, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. bensdad

    bensdad Well-Known Member

    I reloaded a batch of .45acp last night. Several of the cases got "squished" when I pressed the bullet into the case mouth. I could feel that it was going in a little harder that normal. It made a "curve" or bulge around the circumference of the case just below the bullet. Did I not bell out the mouth enough? Were the bullets a little too big (Hornady FMJ FP)? Did I have the bullets "canted"?
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Not enough bell. Maybe not started straight enough. :)
  3. bensdad

    bensdad Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I did such a small bell it was barely noticeable. It seemed like I could get the bullets to start o.k., but must not have. Still trying to figure all this stuff out. Thanks again.
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...barely noticeable..." It needs to be just big enough to sit the bullet in and have it stay there.
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Bell it until you can press the bullet into the case mouth and get it to stay there when you pick it up to seat it.

    True, belling shortens the life of a case a little, but not near as shortened as the ones that get wadded up seating a bullet that won't go in!

    If you have not trimmed your cases, and there is no need too with straight pistol cases, they are not all exactly the same length.

    So, what is enough bell on a longer one, won't be enough on a shorter one.

    Go for a good bell on the shorter ones and let the rest take care of themselves.

  6. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member


    IIRC, you are loading on Lee gear--with a 4-die configuration, right? While I suspect your problem is just not enough flare on the PTED, you might also need to adjust the FCD / #4 die.

    Here's a procedure to get your physical assembly details sorted out.

    Get the flare bigger, like rcmodel says, and get the cartridge built in #3--and make sure the LOA is what you want. Build a few dummy rounds--no primer, no powder--this way--say a half-dozen or so--i.e., with bullet seated to the correct LOA.

    The seater #3 die should have removed most of the bell--virtually all of it.

    Now, go to the FCD / #4 die. loosen the locknut up, and back up the die. Also back up the seating stem--back it up a lot, like 3-4 full turns. Lower the die body until you feel it touch the case, then back it up about a quarter turn. Lock it down.

    Now start dialing in the crimp with the center knob. Try crimping. You may, but probably shouldn't, feel a "double bump" to postsize the case because typical jacketed bullet sizes are not going to make the overall diameter too big for the max diameter spec. of the cartridge.

    But, at the top of the stroke, with the cartridge fully inserted, you will feel a touch of resistance when you start crimping. It will probably take several attempts for you to get contact--and you want to just barely see a bit of "brightness" at the rim, where the FCD will push / polish a bit.

    If this is a revolver load (remember to give more data next time you ask; it helps to know caliber / cartridge, etc.), that's probably enough crimp. Now, test these rounds in your semiauto magazine, to see if they feed, or in your max cart gauge or revolver cylinder for fit.

    Try taking apart your dummy rounds--at least two of them--with your inertial hammer. Use short, sharp raps with forearm movement but not full-stroke arm swings and count the number of strokes you need to dislodge the bullet. That count is, with experience, a guide for you about tight the crimp is while you are learning to visually judge it, BTW.

    If they do, now try building some real rounds.

    Update us, will you?

    Jim H.
  7. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Wait a minute here... Bulge just at the base of the bullet in the case? I just looked at my .45ACP rounds and guess what...All of my cases are "bulged" at the base of the bullet. A normal thing when seating a bullet into a case that has been resized...Now if you are saying that the bulge is also a shortening of the case and exceeds the diameter of the bullet and will not chamber, then you have a problem...Photos are needed to insure we know what we are talking about here...
  8. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    But, are your cartridges bulged there with the jacketed bullets, The Bushmaster? And, which cartridge? Mine are not "bulged"--there may be a slight 'indication,' but not really.

    We need either better verbage from bensdad, or start insisting on photos by ignoring incomplete info.

    Jim H.
  9. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Jacketed HP .451" bullets, jfh...And that's what I said...We need photos...
  10. bensdad

    bensdad Well-Known Member

    I'm on RCBS equipment.

    I made a couple of dummy rounds the first few times I reloaded, but now I don't.

    I take the barrels out of any gun that the ammo might be used in (in this case, an old 1911 and a Taurus 745) and make sure the reloads slip in there nice and smooth. If it sticks a tiny bit (as long as I can still drop it out with a little snap of the wrist), I call it good.

    The next two things on my "to-get" list are a trimmer and an inertial puller.

    What is "LOA"?
  11. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Would that be "OAL" instead?(Over All Length)
  12. bensdad

    bensdad Well-Known Member

    Sorry guys. You're right, photos would have been a good idea.

    The brass started to fold over below the bullet. The rounds will not chamber. Not even close. They are ruined.

    I'm pretty sure I just needed to bell them more. I got a little over-confident/lazy with the process. It only ruined 3 out of 50. The rest look fine and drop right into the chamber.

    I'll find a way to get pics included next time I do this. :eek:You folks have been really helpful.

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