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Reloading issues with 45 Colt

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by huntincowboy, Dec 13, 2010.

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  1. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    I am just starting out in reloading and decided to get a lee loader (the one with the hammer) to start reloading for 45 colt. I got the Modern Reloading Manual by Richard Lee and in the tables it specifies to use 200 grain xtp bullets for the particular load I am wanting to make. So i went to pick up components and I got Hornady 200 gr XTP (.451"). I got home and started my first round and when I got to the step when you add the lead I went to seat it and the lead fell through the casing and sat on top of the powder :cuss: . Needless to say I was disappointed. I can't seem to find any info on what may cause this. So I tried not flaring the casing and the bullet would go in by hand still, but it did not fall through. So I thought I would just make a round with no powder or primer and just make sure I had all the steps down and when I turned over the tool to crimp the bullet, I had no luck. It seems to only crimp on one side and that is only when I really get rough with it. This deformed the casing and any attempts to be lighter with it yielded no results. The brass is only once fired, has been resized per instructions in the kit and has been cleaned and lubed. The instructions aren't just overly detailed and I'm not sure what could be wrong. The crimp end just doesn't seem to fit right but I don't really know how it should fit, being as this is my first go around with any kind of reloading equipment. Sorry for such a long post I appreciate the help!
     
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    It's been a VERY long time since I used a Lee loader but I'll try to help.

    First off, the crimp doesn't hold the bullet, neck tension does. If the bullet falls right down on to the powder you have not sized the case correctly. You probably need to be more forcible on the resizing step to get the neck tension right. On the Lee Site (at the bottom of the page) they specifically state the .45 Colt loader is one of three calibers which "requires considerable force for sizing." I'm guessing you're just not using enough force to properly size the case.

    Now, if you can't get it to work correctly may I make a suggestion? Lee has the Lee Reloader Press Part #90045 which is a single stage press but it's very inexpensive. You can find it on the NET for ~$28 and it will work much better than the handloader will. (Midway has it in stock for $27.99) You will need to buy a set of dies but those dies can be used with any press you buy in the future and the Lee dies can be bought for ~$25. Carbide .45 Colt Dies on sale for $23.39.

    If you spend a few bucks more than you did you will make much better ammo with less effort. I do understand why you bought a handloader and most times they work well but as you see, sometimes they don't.

    Welcome to the forum and I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble. Don't let this turn you away from reloading. You'll get it right...
     
  3. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    The bullet falling into the case indicates a case that isn't re sized properly. So lets make sure you properly sized the case once that's completed there should be enough tension on the bullet to stop it from falling into the case.

    Its been ages since I used a Lee Classic reloader. To re size the case properly you should have hammered in the case in the resizing part of the die until its base was flush with the bottom of the die. This should have completely sized the case from mouth to base. If you just hammered in the case part way it didn't get sized properly and is the likely reason for the bullet falling into the case.
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Steve, Lee's site states the .44 Magnum, .45 ACP and .45 Colt require considerable force for sizing like I mentioned above. I'm guessing that's the problem and your suggestion is the way he can check his work...
     
  5. Vacek

    Vacek Member

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    Hunting Cowboy,

    Welcome to the forum.... I got my masters in Stillwater in 75. Lots of good memories. I also started loading with a Lee Loader while there. One two part question. Is the brass new or already fired; and is it 45 Colt or Scholfield? If it is new it should already be sized. If it is 45 Scholfied it may not size correctly in the Lee although I had good luck with it after making adjustments. Other than that if it is your fired 45 Colt brass and you are whacking it in all the way then you may have a faulty die.

    Once you get it right, the Lee Loader is extremely useful and actually pretty fast, especially to load up 50-100 rounds.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    A $25+ press will save untold $'s worth of aggravation down the road.

    That said, follow everyone's advise and the set up you have will work.

    Welcome to THR
     
  7. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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  8. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Ahh I should really learn to read before I post. Someone else already linked to those above. :)
     
  9. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    I did hammer the casing all the way down into the piece to resize it. I even thought that maybe it was just a millimeter or so above so I beat the tar out of it. I hammered it until I was sure that it could go no deeper. It was definitely flush with the tool. Could the problem be that I am using the .451" bullets? The booklet that came with the loader said .452" to .454", I just picked up what was available on the way back to my parent's house thinking they would work fine.
    Thanks for the tip on the press. Had I known that beforehand I would have ordered that instead as I want to eventually reload for several calibers.
     
  10. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    Hello fellow cowboy! For question one the brass is from Winchester and Hornady ammo that I bought and fired. Part two it is 45 (long) Colt not 45 Scholfield. I hammered it in flush, if you look at the tool from the side you cannot see the end of the case.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes.
    If you bought .451" XTP bullets, you bought .45 ACP auto-pistol bullets, not .452" .45 Colt revolver bullets.

    I imagine there is no crimp cannulure on the bullets for the revolver roll crimp on them either is there?
    Auto pistol bullets have no crimp cannulure.

    rc
     
  12. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    I'm not sure what a crimp cannulure looks like but if it is a groove on the side, these bullets have none. They are smooth along the side. So if I get the bullets with the crimp cannulure will that solve my problem or just the problem of not getting a crimp? The first issue was the bullet falling into the case. I know that .001" is not much but working with small tolerances I guess it could be the difference in a bullet falling through and having to push it in.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I do not know why the book would call for a 200 Gr XTP in a .45 Colt load, because they do not make a 200 Gr XTP with a cannelure.

    You can use it and taper crimp, but that is not the norm. You must solve your neck tension problem first either way.
     
  15. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    Well if it still boils down to tension problems I guess I will need to have the die (not sure what to call it) replaced. I have been trying to get ahold of Lee Precision by the phone number listed on the website, but have only succeeded in getting a busy signal.

    The only place that I could really be going wrong to get inadequate neck tension would be the resizing step right? If so I am 100% sure that I am supplying the needed force and driving the casing all the way into the die. Any further and it would be recessed inside. After the first one fell through I didn't even flare my next one that I was trying for practice, I just put the bullet in. It would hold up at the neck but I could push it all the way into the casing with a finger
     
  16. mboylan

    mboylan Member

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    Stop. You are going to hurt yourself. Pick up a reloading manual and a general reference like The ABCs of reloading. Read them. Pick up a good reloading scale, not a Lee. The dippers aren't the most accurate things in the world.

    Come back here when you've got some book knowledge. People on the forum will be able to give you all kinds of good advice.
     
  17. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    I do have a reloading manual and I am following the directions and recipes verbatim. That is why I am seeking the advice of experienced members. I have not done anything with a shell that has powder or a primer in it except the first one where the bullet fell into the powder. After that I worked exclusively on empty shell casings to see if I could solve the problem. I did it this way to eliminate any dangers of injury other than from smacking myself with the hammer. This is the manual I am using http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/40355-1.html
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Then you have a defective die.
    Call Lee and talk to them about a replacement.

    In the mean time, it would probably be a good idea to buy a box of .452" .45 Colt revolver bullets until you get it all sorted out.

    You are starting out behind the 8-ball using the wrong size bullets with no crimp cannulure.

    rc
     
  19. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    Thanks, I'll try to get someone on the phone over at Lee.
     
  20. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Member

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    Yeah, the .451" bullets are not good. But still, if the sizing die was working right, they shouldn't just fall into the case. I have never used the whacker loader though, so I don't know exactly what might be going on. I had a similar sort of problem with my first .45 Colt loads. I had just started reloading. I had started with .357 and discovered that with brand new brass, they were already sized perfectly, so the sizing step was not needed with new brass. So the next week I get some .45 Colt dies and a bag of brand new Winchester brass and a box of Sierra JHP bullets. They were sized at 0.4515. I already "knew" that brand new brass didn't need to be resized. Not so with Winchester .45 Colt it turns out. Yep, those bullets would usually just barely stay at the mouth of the case if you didn't jiggle them, but the seating die would jiggle them just enough so that most of them would get seated way below the mouth. I was too dumb at the time to know that I could have just taken the decapping pin out of the sizing die and sized the cases even though they were already primed. I ended up taking a pair of pliers and giving them a very very faint squeeze to get just a little bit of tension so that they could be seated. The crimping step returned the mouth to round of course.

    The .45 Colt round has an old and interesting history. It used to be that "normal" diameter for .45 Colt bullets was .454". I wonder if some sizing dies are set up to give that diameter instead of the smaller size most of us use now?
     
  21. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Do you have any calipers? They are useful for helping to figure out this kind of problem.
     
  22. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, for many many years, standard .45 Colt bullets were soft lead, and .454" dia.
    Older reloading dies were spec'ed to that size bullet, and often would not resize thin brands of brass enough to hold a bullet.
    And they were loaded early on with compressed black powder, so they couldn't fall in!

    Today, I think most of the die manufacters are making dies for .452" bullets, but maybe not all of them.
    I know Hornady had a problem there for a while with loose .45 Colt sizing dies.
    If you called and whined, they would send you a 454 Casull sizing die, which is actually a .452".

    I believe RCBS now makes .452" standard dies, and "Cowboy" dies for .454" lead bullets.

    rc
     
  23. huntincowboy

    huntincowboy Member

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    Well I got on the phone with the people at Lee and they were very helpful. They said that if I send it in with some of my brass a few bullets they will figure out the problem and either get me the new part or exchange it for another product. He said that even though the bullets have no cannelure they should still work fine if things are resized correctly
     
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Lee like most reloading companys are usually very helpful when you have problems. They want you to be happy and to continue buying their products.
     
  25. Vacek

    Vacek Member

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    HuntingCowboy,

    OK Pistol Pete.... You aren't doing anything wrong and don't let those who don't believe in Lee Loaders distract you. You obviously have a bad die, but with a good one you can load very nice and safe bullets. As to the scoops they are very consistent if you again follow the directions. Many of us started with Lee Loaders and even if we have moved on we have kept them. They are useful and eloquent in their simplicity. If after reloading for a time you want to add to your equipment (note I didn't say upgrade) then a press and assorted equipment are great. As to the Lee Scale, it is a little cumbersome to learn, but still it is very accurate and precise. I have a set of analytical weights (Class S ... essentially the best) and the Lee Scale is every bit as accurate and precise as the other balances, and as a rule a little better than the cheap digital balances for sale out there.

    When you get some time, go to Hideaway Pizza and have one in my memory and then on to Eskimo Joes for a cold one.
     
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