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45 ACP Reloading Issues

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by slowr1der, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    I've been reloading for almost a decade now so I'm definitely not new to reloading, but I'm having more problems trying to reload 45 than I have with any other caliber. I loaded a few hundred rounds years ago and haven't really messed with it since. Last night I tried to load a few more rounds and revisited the frustration.

    I'm using a RCBS Rock Chucker with Lee dies. I'm loading Xtreme 230 grain plated HP bullets. The first problem I'm having is when seating the bullet. Enough that I'm sometimes seeing the bullet slightly deformed from the seating stem. I'm feeling a fair amount of resistance when seating the bullet and I'm getting brass shavings around the base. I originally thought that I might not have enough flair on the case despite having put a pretty heavy flair on it. I ended up increasing the flair by only backing the expanding die off of the shell holder by about 1/4th a turn, but it still didn't seem to help. I can't really figure out what I have adjusted wrong here Any suggestions?

    The next issue I'm having is when I get to the crimping stage. I'm crimping with the Lee FCD. Normally with plated bullets, I only turn the die in about 1/2 of a turn past where it touches the case mouth. This seems to normally just remove the flair that I've put on the case and provide a light crimp. With this die, it doesn't seem like it's even removing the flair. However, I'm getting a lot of resistance as soon as the round starts entering the die. I know the carbide ring in the FCD will resize the body of the round if it's out of spec and I'm thinking it's resizing the bullet through the case. The whole thing just seems really strange to me as I haven't had these issues with other calibers.

    I've shot some of these rounds and they do seem to shoot fine, with average accuracy. About what I've come to expect from plated bullets. I just worry that I'm going to have more issues if I keep shooting these.

    Any suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong? Or what I may have going on?
     
  2. vaalpens

    vaalpens Member

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    I use Lee dies for 45acp also. When I started loading 45acp, it seemed to me also it was more difficult to load, especially compared to 40S&W. It seems the tolerances are just much tighter. For starters the resizer die sticks much easier, and I had to get a replacement resizer stem. The new one was better, but it seems it is going down the same path again. I will have to keep an eye on it.

    The tight seating could be due to the pated bullets, especially the 230gr bullets. Over the last few months I have loaded the Berry's 200gr RN bullets without the same tight seating issue. I am also loading the RMR 230gr FMJRN bullets, also without the same tight seating issue. I also use the Lee FCD, and with both these bullets I have not felt the resistance as the round starts entering the die. I have felt the same resistance with the 230gr plated bullets, but with the 230gr FMJRN bullets, the fun is back reloading 45ACP. The resizing is still much stickier than other cartridges, but that is the only perceived issue I currently have with the Lee dies.

    Hope this help and good luck finding a solution.
     
  3. Erief0g
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    Erief0g Contributing Member

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    Just brainstorming a bit.

    Case lube being used? Might really smooth up some of the operation.

    Also, the deforming of the bullet thoughts... have you pulled any to see how they look? Might at least confirm the suspicion.
     
  4. drband

    drband Member

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    I load .45acp on a LCT using the Lee 4-die carbide set, but have not experienced these problems.

    I started with Berry's plated 230gr RN, then RMR 230gr RN plated. No issues with either. I currently load 200gr coated SWC bullets from Acme.

    What I would do (this is me, take it for what it's worth) is measure my bullets (.451-.452 should be good--any larger is a problem). Then, assuming bullets are ok, re-set up all my dies following the LEE die instructions. There's too much that can go wrong if you just start adjusting them a little this way and that.

    Question: what kind of brass are you using? New? Range pick up?
     
  5. Spade5

    Spade5 Member

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    I load Raineer plated and will get a ring around the top part of the bullet from the seating stem. I use Hornady dies but I do not feet the resistance you are talking about. As drband said, I would also recommend starting over setting up your dies per Lee instructions. I had not loaded .357 in a few years and started monkeying around with the seating/crimp and finally just started over adjusting the dies from zero and the problems disappeared.

    Also, a picture of one of the deformed bullet loads might help. Just saying.
     
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Those X-treme plated bullets are .452" in diameter which might add to the right seating. How deep are you trying to seat the them?

    I shoot mostly lead bullets, not plated and I don't have a problem with Lee dies. I did have shaving problems with Berry's plated bullets in the 45 Auto. I suggest trying some FMJ bullets before you decide it's you or the dies that are the problem. Just go to the local shop and buy a bag of 100 and give them a try.

    How deep are you seating?
     
  7. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    • There may always be some inconsequential marks left on the bullet's meplat from the Lee seating anvil. If it really bothers you, Lee will cut you a special anvil.

    • The marks will be deeper if the seating force becomes excessive. First check your bullets to be roughly 0.452" dia. Then check the Expander that sizes the case mouth interior. That should be roughly 0.002" smaller than the bullet. When those 2 are sized correctly, you'll get the correct bullet fit. Poorly sized Expanders are common and you can call Lee for a replacement.

    • Having the correct size relationship between the bullet and case mouth should eliminate the shavings. Plated bullets generally have a generously radius-ed base, which typically allows seating without shavings, even with zero belling.

    • This statement seemed strange. Typically to increase the belling, the die is advanced downward, toward the shell holder, not away from. Maybe I'm reading it wrong.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    To help reduce or eliminate shaving of the bullet, chamfer the inside edge of the case mouth. It will get rid of the sharp edge that is shaving the bullet.

    It is a one time thing unless you trim your 45 ACP cases (I do not) but after a trim you’d be chamfering the inside of the case anyway.

    As already said, the shape of the seater plug may not match exactly with the bullet shape. Sometimes you can lightly round and polish the outer edge of the plug that marks the bullet and it could reduce the marks in the bullet.
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have always recommended .38 Spl & .45 ACP as two of the easiest calibers to start with.
     
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  10. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    So, Xtreme lists the bullets as .452, but when measuring 3 that I picked out randomly I am getting .451, so they don't seem to be oversized.


    I am trying to seat them to an OAL of 1.2".

    What's the best way to measure the expander since it's inside of the die?
     
  11. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    Yeah, I don't know why I'm having so much trouble here. I don't do a lot of pistol reloading, but out of the 4 pistol calibers that I reload regularly this is the only one I've had this kind of trouble with. Alright I've had poor accuracy with plated bullets in other calibers. I primarily reload for rifle rounds and I've never had this sort of issue.
     
  12. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    Lee's instructions are to screw the expander in until it touches the shell holder and then back it off 1 full turn. Then turn it in for more flair. So I stared with it backed off 1 turn, then turned it in to only being 3/4th of a turn out then to 1/2 turn, etc
     
  13. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    As for resetting all of the dies, that was my first thought as well, so I tried that

    I'm really wondering if some of the above posters may be right and it is something to do with these plated bullets. I've really come to hate plated bullets in other calibers for poor accuracy, although these are moving so slow I thought they would be okay since accuracy seems decent. I may try to pick up a few fmj bullets and see how they are.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I always thought that brass shavings were indicative of over expansion. I might be thinking of the crimp die

    It read oddly to me also. I think it is just awkward sentence structure...but I still don't know what is meant
     
  15. bbqreloader

    bbqreloader Member

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    Thats all reload for 45 at this point, plated 45 200gr FP. I don't have the wealth of knowledge that some of these other posters have, but really don't think it's the plating. I would still lean towards the bullet seater and either the depth that the die is set at vs the seater plug as being the issue.
     
  16. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    In my experience 45 ACP is the easiest caliber to reload that I use. I am using a Dillon 550 with Dillon dies, taper crimping just enough to remove the belling. Before buying Dillon dies, I used a Lee sizer, RCBS seater and Lyman taper crimp. Even with this setup, it was a very easy caliber to load. I would reexamine the die adjustment, something is definitely wrong with your setup.
     
  17. bobinoregon

    bobinoregon Member

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    I've loaded thousands of Xtreme .45 without a problem, it sounds like you aren't belling the cases quite enough to me.
     
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  18. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    .45 Should not be hard, but then sometimes things just want to mess with you. (Murphy seems to visit me a lot)
    I will measure some tomorrow morning and load one and reset dies and tell you how I go about it.
    May not be the right way or the best way but it works for me.
     
  19. vaalpens

    vaalpens Member

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    I have no idea why the the instructions should be so specific regarding how many turns.

    It is very simple. Back out the die so there is no expansion. Put in a case and lift the ram to the top. Start screwing in the expansion die until it touches the case. From that point keep on lowering the die and testing the expansion until you reach the desired expansion. I normally use a bullet and keep adjusting the die downwards until the bullet just fits in the case. It also helps if your cases are all the same length.

    The problem sometime is that we try and follow these instructions to the letter instead of understanding what you want to achieve. Once you understand what you want to achieve, then instructions just becomes a guideline, and not a means to an end.
     
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  20. TfflHndn

    TfflHndn Member

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    Do you have the same issue if you load them longer? I load 230 grain bullets to 1.230. Or longer.
     
  21. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Are you testing the amount of expansion you're getting by trial fitting a bullet after each adjustment?
     
  22. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    Yes, I have been. I initially set it so that I could just barely start the base of the bullet into the case by hand. This is what's worked with other calibers. After opening it a bit more, I had it so that I could push the bullet into the case somewhat by hand.
    Yes, I've been adjusting it until I could start pushing the bullet into the case. That said, I'm using mixed range brass and I have found that some brass such as Remington brass seems to be thinner and slightly easier to push the bullet into.
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Thank you for replying to my question. Now for another, why? I have always gotten the best results by loading to the longest OAL possible while still passing the plunk test. The limit is 1.270" and much of my 45 Auto ball ammo is between 1.255" and 1 .265". Try seating the bullet longer and see if that helps.

    But... I still think you should change bullets. The fairly new coated bullets work very well for me. Don't get me wrong, many reloaders are happy with plated bullets and they work well for them. I just happen not to be one of them. Lead and coated lead are more my speed.

    Give what I said above a try, buy a small number of FMJ bullets (100) and see if your problems disappear.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  24. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    Are you loading HP bullets that long? I'd load RN bullets longer, but I just went with 1.2" since that's what the manual that I had on hand listed for their HP. i didn't really test to see how long I could seat them before it hit the rifling.

    I'm probably going to give some FMJ bullets a try. I just hate it because I have over 2k of these left. I also happen to not be happy with plated bullets. I bought a bunch only to find out that I'm not a fan. They shoot decently accurate in 45, but in 9mm I've yet to find a load that's as accurate as I'd like. Heck, I can't even find one that's as accurate as cheap bulk factory fmj ammo. To get them halfway accurate I have to load them extremely light, to the point they won't reliably cycle my 40 with a 9mm conversion barrel. Same deal in 44 Magnum. To get them accurate, I have to apply almost no crimp and load them light. The problem is with a light crimp, the rest of the bullets in the cylinder will walk out of the case with each shot. If I crimp them heavily enough that they don't move, then the accuracy is poor. The more I mess with plated bullets the more I'm learning to hate them.

    I'm not sure if this issue has anything to do with plated bullets or not since I haven't had anything else to try. I do know this is the only caliber I've gotten them to shoot halfway decently in accuracy wise though.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    In my post I did say ball ammo, not HP but the concept is the same even though the numbers will vary.

    That is incorrect, with semi-auto ammo the crimp is not meant to hold the bullet in place, it's only to iron out the flair. Excessive crimp can deform the bullet and effect accuracy. Neck tension should hold the bullet.

    The more you tell us the more I am starting to believe all your dies are not properly adjusted. It now sounds like you are not resizing the case properly and have inadequate tension. Same thing with the crimp die, not adjusted correctly.
     
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