Quantcast

45 Colt loads and crimping

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Typetwelve, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    586
    To start, yes I did some reading and no, I wasn't able to find any solid data about this.

    Quick data, I own a S&W 460 and wanted to make some light loads with some Berry's 250g coated projectiles I have. Not being about to find 45 Colt die sets online, I went to my local Bass Pro and they had sets from Lee and Hornady in stock. The Lee was their 3 die set and looking it up, definitely did not have a crimp die in the set. The hornady was less obvious and the online data was confusing, so I just went ahead and bought it...Hornady makes high quality dies so I figured I couldn't go wrong.

    I got home, dug into the dies and figured out the Hornady set doesn't have a crimp either. This confused me, so I emailed Hornady and that said the seating die is a seat/crimp die. Long story short, it is not. The die had a single adjustment, not 2 like all their other seat/crimp dies do.

    I decided to make some loads with the Berry's over 5.8g of Trail Boss and 9g of Unique. They both shot well from the 460. I didn't test accuracy past 10 yds and I didn't chrono them, I mostly wanted to function test. Running a few and pulling an unshot round from the cylinder, neither seemed to crimp-jump at all (yes, I know, no crimp was there).

    So...does this mean I'm good to go with no crimp? If not, what kind do you guys use? Taper? Roll? Something like a Lee Factory Crimp? I see Lee also makes a collett crimp but for the life of me I can't understand why that much crimp would be needed for a 45 collt.

    Any advice is welcome.
     
  2. Frulk

    Frulk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    606
    Not sure what Hornady die set you have. A pic possibly would help for answers. I have the Hornady .45 Colt 3 die set and in fact my 3rd die does seat and crimp in one step. I was crushing cases and decided to crimp in a separate step and bought the Lee Factory Crimp die. Couldn’t be happier.

    I don’t see how you could shoot Ruger only 45 Colt, or even some of the hotter standard loads without a crimp, particularly with heavier bullets
     
    Charlie98 likes this.
  3. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    586
    I have the Hornady set 546582, which comes with a PN 044151 seating die.

    Even searching this online, there seems to be some confusion. I know these aren't 100% correct, but they represent Hornady seating dies.

    The seating + crimp dies look like this:

    71378.jpg

    Two adjustments, one for seat and the other for crimp.

    Mine looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    One adjustment only and all it does is effect seating depth.

    I'm more so irritated that the set doesn't have one and now I need to get one separately for even more $$. I'm not sure who would buy a die set for a straight wall revolver round and not want a crimp die.
     
  4. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    3,674
    Are you absolutely sure the seating dies do not crimp? In my experience such things are rare. I have limited experience with Lee dies, but I have a whole passel of Hornadys and they all crimp - including the .45 Colt die I have from them.

    Regardless, if the sizing die is doing its work then case tension is usually enough to hold the bullet into place for mild to midrange loads. Especially if you can see a very slight bulge where the bullet sits, or even a bit of a "wasp-waist" look to the completed cartridge, then you should be fine. As Frulk mentions above, though, once you get much beyond the midrange loads, crimp becomes more important.

    I personally use some kind of crimp on all .45 Colt loads.

    <edit> We posted at the same time, and I see your photos. The "adjustment" for crimp on most dies is made simply by screwing the die body in or out to achieve the desired crimp. If you remove the guts from your seating die, you may be able to see a slight ring inside which is intended to create the crimp. Please let us know - if Hornady is actually making seating dies without the ability to crimp, I'd like to hear about it.
     
    gotboostvr likes this.
  5. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    2,506
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Not to worry in any event. With light 45 LC loads you neither need nor want much crimp. 45 Colt chambers tend to run large and brass tends to be thick, which is why 45 Colt has a reputation for sooty case mouths. Light loads exacerbate this. You want just enough crimp so that the bullets aren't going to walk out under recoil (which wont be very heavy with light loads). I use Hornady 454 Casull dies for 45LC and they come with a separate crimp die, so can't say what yours come with or without. If you find a load you like, a taper crimp die would be handy, set to just take the bell out of the case mouth.
     
  6. Frulk

    Frulk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    606
    Yours looks like mine except maybe the body ‘might’ be a little longer. Don’t think I’m preaching here as I don’t really know your reloading background. There aren’t two adjustments on this die. The top knob sets the bullet depth and screwing the actual die into your press is what results in the crimp. The deeper your die is seated in the press the more crimp you’ll put on. I base my comments only on the fact that our dies look alike and mine does crimp.
     
    DanK3Pos, Walkalong and DocRock like this.
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    65,965
    Location:
    Alabama
    You adjust the whole die up and down to adjust the crimp, which is built into the sliding sleeve
     
    gotboostvr, Obturation, AJC1 and 3 others like this.
  8. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    586
    Hmm...I'll have to look more into this tonight. This is only the second set of Hornady dies and my 460 set is seating only...I'll have to look at them both more in depth.

    When setting it up, Hornady's instructions were to get the macro depth close by screwing in the die body, then make the micro adjustment up top, so that's what I did. They don't look crimped to me at all. It did take the very minor bell flare out of the case, but my 460 seating die does the same.

    I guess I could unscrew the micro adjustment more and seat the die body down further.
     
  9. 45 long

    45 long Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Central Massachusetts...
    I've been loading 6 grains of Trail Boss under a 200gr LRNFP. I had trouble with the Lee FCD that came with the set. It was seating the bullets .005-.010" deeper as it crimped. I went with a Lee Collet Style Crimp Die (Lee #90302) & it took care of the issue. Very easy to adjust for a light or medium crimp. I think Midway has it for $13.
     
    Mike 56 likes this.
  10. black mamba

    black mamba Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2020
    Messages:
    149
    You can still (and should!) seat and crimp in two different steps with that same die. Put a case in the shellholder and run the ram all the way up with the die just barely screwed into the press. Then screw the die down onto the case until it just touches, then back it off a half turn and set the locking ring. Now adjust your seating depth and seat all the bullets you are loading. Next, back off the seating depth screw a couple of turns and after loosening the lock ring, screw the die body back down on a loaded round until it stops. Lower the ram, screw the die body down a quarter turn and reset the lock ring. Now run the case up into the die and produce a crimp. Small adjustments will need to be made to achieve the amount of crimp you need/want. After just reading this procedure, you will understand why so many of us buy separate crimp dies. If you are only loading one bullet, then once the die body is adjusted for crimp, you never need to change it, but if you load different bullets you'll have to go through this every time. Some bullets take more crimp, some less, and every time you adjust the seating depth the die needs to be backed off to prevent damaging the bullet if it seats through the crimp.
     
    Mike 56 and Frulk like this.
  11. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Messages:
    3,973
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    That's correct. I have about 5 or 6 Hornady pistol die sets... none of them have the 2-piece die body. Black Mamba is correct on how to set the crimp on the single piece die body... and is quite easy. Further, if you are crimping bullets that have a crimp groove, as most cast bullets do, it's perfectly fine to crimp and seat in the same step.... as long as the die is set up properly.

    I would not shoot cartridges in a revolver or lever-action that were not crimped... you are asking for trouble.
     
    cfullgraf likes this.
  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    10,170
    Location:
    East TN
    Historically, handgun cartridge seating dies were made with a crimping machined into the die body. You would adjust the die for the crimp you want, then set the seating stem for the depth you wanted the bullet set.

    The trouble with a conventional seat/crimp die is if you want to re-adjust the crimp, you will then have to re-adjust the seater stem as the entire die body is moved to adjust the crimp. But generally, once the crimp is set, it is not adjusted as frequently as the bullet seating.

    Many folks, me included, prefer to seat and crimp in separate steps. Most of the manufacturers make crimp only dies. You set the seater die such that the crimp ring is not engaged and allow the crimp die to make the crimp.

    I'm not familiar with the Hornady die with the separate crimp and seater features but it would be handy. I suspect you can re-adjust one without affecting the other.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Finally, to confuse things more, there are roll crimp dies and taper crimp dies. Revolver cartridge dies generally have roll crimps machined into them but there are some taper crimp dies for some revolver cartridges. 38 Special is one where taper crimp dies are available. Taper crimps are most often included with semi-auto pistol cartridges that head space on the case mouth. Roll crimps are not appropriate for cartridges that head space on the case mouth.
     
    Mike 56 likes this.
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    65,965
    Location:
    Alabama
    I use taper crimps on plated bullets in calibers like .44 Spl and .45 Colt.
    A Lee taper crimp die is less than $15.
    Medium Taper Crimp on an X-Treme 200 Gr FP in .44 Spl Pic 1.JPG

    I have switched to coated lead in .45 Colt though, and use a roll crimp into the crimp groove.
     
    Obturation and Frulk like this.
  14. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,151
    On the Lee 45 Colt die, and the Hornady most likely, you adjust the depth of the die to put in more crimp. I hold the bullet seater adjustment with one hand and adjust the depth with the other.
     
  15. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    20,173
    Location:
    Deep in the Ozarks
    And that's the ideal solution. The Lee Factory crimp die doesn't buckle cases and you can apply all the crimp you need.

    The trick with dies that seat and crimp in one die is to adjust the die so there is NO crimp, and seat your bullets. Then remove the seating stem, turn the die in a bit until you get a good crimp and run your loaded cases through it.
     
    AJC1 and Frulk like this.
  16. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,922
    Location:
    Ca.
    I’m one who will often seat and crimp in one step. I don’t use a progressive, I seat bullets on a single stage. Yeah, it’s certainly slower, but it works for me loading .32 H&R, .38/.357, 41,.44 Spl and Mag, .45 Colt and .454.

    It does take a bit of fiddling to get things all dialed in, but once I’m set with the amount of crimp I want I haven’t had an issue yet.

    See if your die has a roll crimp feature by screwing all the way down until it touches the shell holder, then back it out until you get the desired crimp. Seating depth is then adjusted using the upper knob.

    Consistent case length is important, as variances can make too little/too much crimp situations pop up.

    Stay safe.
     
    Walkalong likes this.
  17. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    586
    *UPDATE*

    Ok...so I see what many of you are talking about. Initially, I was using the die seated pretty shallow and it was not applying a crimp. I did some toying around last night and get it to apply something that is crimp-like...although I'm not really a fan of how it crimps.

    I went ahead and backed the die out again to remove that feature and will use it as a seating die only. I'm going to just go ahead and order a Lee FCD next time I have an online order to make.

    Thank you all for the help on this one.
     
    Riomouse911 and .38 Special like this.
  18. Todd NE WY

    Todd NE WY Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2020
    Messages:
    31
    @Typetwelve I think you may be over thinking this. A roll crimp is a roll crimp, it is just a turning in of the top of the case into the crimp groove on the bullet. Pretty much all dies are created equal and have a radiused shelf in them to promote the crimp. I would play with the one you have some more dialing it in by moving it in and out to get the amount of crimp you desire, this is the same process you will need to do with the Lee FCD.
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    28,618
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    In my single stage days, I was happy with seating and crimping revolver ammo in one step because I used revolver bullets with proper crimp grooves.
    Now I have a progressive with room for a separate crimp die which is good because there are so many smooth sided coated and plated bullets claiming to be for revolvers.
     
    Walkalong likes this.
  20. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    586
    Ok...so I hope this will come across in the picture I'm going to add. Here's 2 44 mag loads, and my 45 Colt. The one on the left is using a Dillon "accu crimp" die, pretty much looks like a roll die to me. The one in the center is using a Lee factory crimp die and I crimp these hard because they're really hot loads. Never mind the crud in the cannelure, it's not shaved copper or anything. The one on the R is the 45 Colt with a Berry's projectile. I "crimped" it with the Hornady die. Unlike the Dillon or Lee, it kind of just bunched up the brass at the top of the case mouth. I can definitely see where this die would buckle the brass if you got aggressive with it. There's not real smooth roll to the crimp like the Dillon or Lee, either. Personally, if this is the way it crimps, I'm not the biggest fan of it, I'll stick with the Lee FCD.

    E0voXoMh.jpg
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    65,965
    Location:
    Alabama
    The one on the left looks good, the one in the middle needs to be in the middle/deep part of the canallure, the one on the right is why a taper crimp die is best for plated.
     
  22. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Messages:
    586
    You know, it really does look like that (concerning the center one), but those are seated to just below 1.600". The crimp is so tight that it really pulls the brass down into the cannelure, which makes it look that way. Those are my hot 180g fireball loads.
     
    Walkalong likes this.
  23. murf

    murf Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    5,021
    Location:
    arizona
  24. Todd NE WY

    Todd NE WY Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2020
    Messages:
    31
    My bad, I didn't realize you were trying to roll crimp on a bullet with no crimp groove. No matter what die you use the results will be the same, as noted above a taper crimp die is what you need for a plated bullet with no groove in it. In your picture you are not comparing apples to apples, there is no crimp groove on the one on the right so there is no where for the case mouth to go to give you the "smooth roll crimp" you are looking for.
     
    Charlie98 and Walkalong like this.
  25. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Messages:
    3,973
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    That. ^^^

    You mentioned that...

    ... and that's why... the roll crimp can't 'roll' the case mouth into a non-existent canellure. A taper crimp is what you need there.
     
    Dr.Lou, Riomouse911 and Walkalong like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice