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No need to resize .45 Colt cases after firing?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MCMXI, Jan 1, 2009.

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  1. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    My .45 Colt reloading saga continues. I don't know how many more ways I could screw up but I'm sure I'll find a way. First off, I made the mistake of shooting 200 grain lead bullets using WAY too much W231 which resulted in cracks near the case head after one firing. My mistake was that I found a load (Speer #11 Reloading Manual) for a 200 grain jacketed hollow point using between 10.5 and 11.0 grains of 231 resulting in velocities between 1238 and 1255 fps *. The load is under 25,000 CUP so safe for the Redhawk and Marlin and I figured I could apply the same data to a 200 grain lead bullet which resulted in severe leading of the barrel (in the Ruger ... didn't shoot them in the Marlin).

    Then like an idiot, after cleaning the cases in a tumbler and inspecting them for cracks, I proceeded to full-size the case with a Redding carbide die. I literally set up the die so that it was almost touching the shell holder (normal practice for most dies that I use) and didn't use case lube since the die is a carbide variant. Well, the second case got stuck in the die when the shell holder ripped the rim off the case but I was able to rotate the shell holder and remove the case ... carefully.

    My next mistake was to lube all the cases and full-size them with the carbide die. Once I was done, I glanced at the die instruction sheet only to read that the die SHOULDN'T be used to full-size the case. It should be used to size as little of the case as possible (just enough that they fit in the chamber) to avoid overworking the brass. So after loading/shooting about 80 rounds last Friday (loaded and fired once), I decided to see if the cleaned cases would fit in the USFA Rodeos, Ruger Redhawk and Marlin chambers without ANY resizing ... they fit!!! So now I'm thinking that all I need to do is expand the case mouth to seat a new bullet. The .45 Colt is a great round to shoot but it's a lot of work to reload. I'm going to shoot some hot loads in the Redhawk using H110 powder this weekend to see if the brass holds up to the abuse.

    :)


    *CAUTION: Loads intended for Ruger Blackhawk, Redhawk and Contender ONLY!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  2. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    If your spent casing came outta the chamber, it certainly will go back in without resizing. The problem of not resizing would be insufficient neck tension to hold the bullet without over crimping.....I'm bettin' you wouldn't even need to expand the neck to get a bullet in....and that getting it to stay in place @ proper OAL till crimped would be next to impossible.
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I set my sizer to just miss touching the shellplate of my Projector by about 1/32 to 1/16" and full length size my .45 Colt brass after every firing, light or heavy, and 95% of mine are light.

    You do not have to size them all the way, and less sizing could extend case life a little bit, maybe, but it is not a "no no" either.

    I have no trouble with stuck cases etc. I have no trouble at all. It is just as easy as other straight walled revolver cases. I load .32 L, .32 mag, .38 S&W, .38 Spl, .357, 41 Mag, .44 mag, & .45 Colt all the same way.
     
  4. dwave

    dwave Member

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    I don't full length resize my cases all the time. I do full size after a few reloadings. I only resize the neck area to get the tension.
     
  5. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

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    I have never,ever had a colt case stick in a carbide die,I'm very srurpised at that.
    You must resize at least part of the cae,or your bullets will almost fall into the case.
    I'm thinking over expanding the case mouth caused your neck splits,not the load.
    It sounds like you are farily new to reloading? If so,starting with hot loads is usually not a good idea.
    That Hornady die 'should' be able to be used for fl sizing,imho.I don't understand their warning not to.I'd call Hornady and ask what that is all about..
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That right there might be your problem.

    IMO: There are very few powders less suitable for that kind of velocity in a .45 Colt then WW231.

    If you want to magnumize the .45 Colt, you should use a slower powder & more off it.

    You are smacking the bowling ball with your fist with that load.

    You need to be pushing it with your palm using slower powder.

    rcmodel
     
  7. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your informative posts. I'll try to respond to the main points made.

    I tried inserting 250gr and 300gr lead bullets in a number of cases and they won't fit so I will need to expand the case mouth.

    Yes, this is what I do for 9mm, 45ACP, .38/.357, .44/.44 Mag. All of my pistol dies are the carbide type so I keep them off the shell plate by about 1/32".

    This is what I'll be doing today.

    The case split near the HEAD on the 231 loads, NOT the case mouth.

    I've been reloading since '92 and have probably reloaded 30,000 pistol rounds in that time. I am new to the .45 Colt though but did start out with 6.0gr and 6.5gr of Trail Boss for the Rodeos and Marlin and found those to be very accurate (but sooty) loads.

    The die is a Redding carbide die and they claim that full-sizing the case reduces case life by overworking the brass.

    This is what I'm discovering ... the powder is too fast but Speer does list a load for a 200 grain bullet and 231 at those velocities. Admittedly it's a copper jacketed bullet so perhaps the lead bullet attains an even higher velocity. Either way, even at lighter 231 loads of 8.0gr I still don't care for 231 in the Rodeos, the Marlin or the Ruger. I have about seven pounds of 231 and it lasts forever with my other loads so I was trying to use it for "plinking" in the Redhawk.

    I'll be loading 250gr and 300gr bullets with H110 today and will be shooting them in the Redhawk and Marlin tomorrow.


    As for roll crimping the case, to me this is one of the most mysterious aspects of reloading. I still don't know how much crimp is enough or how much is too little. I'm probably guilty of over-crimping my .45 Colt cases. I'd also like to add that I'm done with working up loads for the Rodeos ... they are so accurate with 6.0gr of Trail Boss and a 200 grain lead bullet with no fouling that I don't plan on shooting anything else. I could try a 250 grain bullet but I'm in no rush. The Marlin and Redhawk are a different story. I have no idea about the Marlin yet. I've shot 6.0gr and 6.5gr of Trail Boss with 200 gr lead bullets and 8.0gr and 8.5gr of W231 with the same bullet. The Trail Boss loads are quite accurate but very anemic. I'm going to try H110 powder and 250 and 300 grain bullets this week so see if I can get a combination of accuracy, range and energy.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I still don't understand why a new bullet won't fit in a fired .45 Colt case??????

    It should just freely fall in, or be a slip-fit at worst!
    Until you re-size the case.

    Could be your WW231 "Proof-Loads" stretched the cases so much they are getting crimped shut in the end of the chamber?

    rcmodel
     
  9. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    New 200gr, 250gr and 300gr Oregon Trail bullets (.453") won't fit in ANY of the cases. Some were loaded with 6.0gr and 6.5gr of Trail Boss and the others were loaded with 8.0gr and 8.5gr of W231. As you can see I'm no .45 Colt reloading expert but it looks to me like the roll crimp is still obvious on all the fired cases i.e. the end of the case is rolled over. Like I said, I may be putting too much roll crimp on the case. I'll just take a quick photo or two of some loads from last week and post them here within the next 15 minutes. If I'm lucky you'll be able to set me straight. I really do appreciate the expertise on this board.

    Thanks.
    :)
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, it probably is a remnant of too much roll crimp then.

    The cure is to resize & expand them, like you need to do anyway to get proper neck tension.

    Neck tension is necessary to get proper bullet pull.

    Bullet pull is necessary to get consistant powder burn from shot to shot.

    No amount of crimp will take it's place.

    You just need to resize & neck expand when loading them.

    rcmodel
     
  11. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    even with carbide dies a little lube makes it a whole lot easier.

    emphasis on little.
     
  12. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    OK ... here's a photo of a couple of loaded rounds (200gr OT bullet, 8.5gr of W231) and a couple of fired/cleaned cases showing the roll crimp still present and a case on the right showing the horizontal crack near the case head.

    [​IMG]

    :)
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yeppers!

    Too much crimp for sure!

    rcmodel
     
  14. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    rcmodel, thanks ... I'm going to resize the top half of the case only, expand the case mouth and go from there. I'm also going to try using a lot less roll crimp. I'm using a Lee roll crimp die for that phase and it seems to do a really nice job.

    :)
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    rcmodel was right. So much crimp that enough was left to keep bullets from entering the case after firing. It is normal with a healthy crimp with lead bullets for some crimp to be left over, but those crimps are real healthy. I'd back it off 40 to 50%

    Your W-231 loads were pretty hot to split the cases near the head. I wonder what the pressure was?

    I used to load some .45 Colt with W296. (for a Ruger) It worked well. If you want to load anything besides light target loads, use medium to slow powders. I would suggest Unique or slower for anything more than light target loads.
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I would suspect that the lead bullets you have are very soft lead. They are swaging down on the base instead of ironing out the crimp.

    That would also explain pressure signs & case separations with the heavy load of fast 231 powder.

    If in fact they are soft lead, they are slugging up when hit by the slap of the fast powder, and causing excess pressure over & above what the jacketed bullet test data suggests they might run.

    rc
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep. Slugging up to fit the throats and then slamming into the forcing cone/bore, all with a fast powder "peaking" behind them. Or should I say "spiking" ?
     
  18. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    One more reply before I get to reloading ...

    Walkalong, thanks for the advice. I'll back off the crimp and I'm going to use H110 which is supposed to be very similar to W296. I bought this Redhawk to carry when out in the woods so I'm not interested in light loads for it ... I have the Rodeos for those. I have no idea what the pressure was when firing the 10.5gr and 11.0gr W231 loads. The Speer manual says that the 200gr JHP load with the same powder is under 25,000 CUP. Since lead bullets attain higher velocities (with the same amount of powder) than copper jacketed bullets (I've read that, NOT measured it) I don't know what kind of pressure increase can be expected. Given that the Redhawk can safely handle 40,000 CUP, I wasn't worried about the revolver.

    The bullets are Oregon Trail Laser-Cast which according to OT have a BHN of 24. That's a hard bullet right? At 10.5gr and 11.0gr of 231, the leading in the barrel of the Ruger was HORRIBLE. When I shot the 8.0gr and 8.5gr W231 loads last Friday, there wasn't any leading to speak of. No leading in the Rodeos shooting 6.0gr and 6.5gr of TB and 8.0gr of W231.

    Well, time to get reloading or else I'll only have my mouth to shoot off at the range tomorrow.

    A quick side note ... I cleaned the Rodeos for the first time last night ... first time that I've ever cleaned a SA revolver! I'm just tickled pink about the way the cylinders drop out without any tools. I felt like Clint Eastwood in "A Few Dollars More" sitting there with two empty revolver frames and two cylinders on the table. Now I know why the cylinders have the serial numbers on them as well as the frame ... or maybe I don't. Anyway, at least I can't mix them up if that matters.

    Happy New Year!
    :)
     
  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, pretty hard. There was not enough pressure to stop flame cutting and leading, OR there was not enough lube for the task. Or possibly to much velocity for the hardness, but I think that was OK.

    Was the leading at the forcing cone, the whole barrel, or the end of the barrel?
     
  20. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    The whole barrel as far as I could tell ....

    Back to the reloading bench ... until I hear a "ding" from the ol' crackberry.

    :D
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Excessive velocity for the lead hardness, or undersized throats, unless it started at the forcing cone and you shot enough rounds to lead the whole barrel.

    Sometimes you have two things going on and it's hard to tell. Anyway, you have ruled out one thing. Edison ruled out a lot of options before perfecting the light bulb.
     
  22. marsofold

    marsofold Member

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    I routinely shoot 255grain lead SWCs from 454casull brass at 1050 fps using 9.5 grains of trailboss powder. And I've shot quite a few using 10 grains of trailboss at approximately 1100 fps. No leading at all. I don't understand why you get such severe leading.
     
  23. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    The leading occurred with W231 loads not Trail Boss loads. I think as has been mentioned by rcmodel, W231 may be too fast for the .45 Colt and hot loads.

    Walkalong, I'll be shooting a bunch of H110 loads tomorrow so hopefully the slower burn rate will produce better results both in terms of case life and leading.

    :)
     
  24. TEDDY

    TEDDY Member

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    45 colt

    I use unique at 9.5 gr with 255 gr cast bullet.size to depth of bullet and roll crimp.in ruger the crony gives 980 fps in win trapper 1080fps.980 is about what original bp loads gave.you may have loaded since 92,but you are in a new field.why people have to load heavy I can never figure out.I load from 25 acp to 45 colt.and most in between.and none are hot.placement is answer.
    I have loaded since 1939 and never had a big problem.most of my rifle loads are cast lead and medium.:rolleyes::uhoh::eek::D
     
  25. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    Perhaps an hour or two perusing John Linebaugh's articles here will shed some light on the matter. There's a reason why I have a couple of USFA SAA Rodeos AND a Redhawk. I bought this Redhawk for one reason and one reason only, so that it can handle HOT loads that will stop just about anything that I might encounter out in the woods. I don't think that shot placement is a problem for me. 2" groups at 25 yards shooting DA is good enough by most standards. That said, I'm sure the groups would open up some with a 400lb ball of fir, teeth and claws coming at me. :eek:
     
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