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What are you getting for case life on you 45?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Grey Morel, Jan 26, 2010.

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  1. Grey Morel

    Grey Morel Member

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    I'm wondering what your all getting for brass life.

    This is the load I've been using:

    * 230gr LRN
    * 5.7gr - HP38
    * Winchester large pistol primer
    * 1.258" Over All Length
    * .891" Case Length

    This load exceeds Hodgedons "Maximum" load by 8%... And not only does this load show no signs of pressure, but I see no stretching of the brass? Iv used Fiocchi, Remington, and Speer brass with this load and none of them have stretched beyond their factory lengths. Currently, I have fired the Fiocchi brass three times, and I still measure no stretching.

    I've only been loading casually for a few years now. I'm still much of a beginner. Why am I not seeing any stretch? And why are Hodgedons "maximum" loads so light? Some of them are almost 20% below the cartridges standard pressure limits.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    By the time .45 ACP primers show pressure, you are way over.

    Anyway. It will last for a great many firings. I do not keep track though.

    The .45 ACP is a low pressure, large caliber for the length, straight cased round, and the brass just isn't going to stretch much.
     
  3. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    I generally lose it or leave it on the ground at a match before it cracks. Twenty loadings isn't unreasonable.

    Ditto Walkalong's observations. In 35 years I've never had a .45 case reach max length.
     
  4. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    ditto for walkalong & eddie

    if you are going to load outside the manual may i suggest getting the load manual specific to the 45acp and a crono. reloading with a creative flair is dangerous.
     
  5. Exposure

    Exposure Member

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    Loading at or below specified max leads to LONG life on .45 ACP cases.

    I load a lot of .45, I have cases that the headstamps are almost unreadable they have been loaded so many times, I guess the brass flows into the stamping a little teeny bit at a time every firing.

    EddieNFL is right, 20 loadings or more and the stuff is still good.

    Follow the published guidelines.

    For practice/plinking ammo I can't see any good reason to exceed max load data.
     
  6. BillCh

    BillCh Member

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    I have no experience with HP 38. However, I have loaded quite a few 230 gr. LRN's. None at the power level you are at. The 230 LRN was unsatisfying for me.
    My most frequent load is the 200 gr. LSWC. They are powder-puff loads, great for shooting 200 or so per range session.

    I'll say I have brass that has gone 12 times, maybe more. I'd guess that excessive case mouth flair is a leading cause of premature case ware and, untimely, failure.
     
  7. jfh

    jfh Member

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    My 1911 is set up for a 200-gr. LSWC load--typically, one that runs about 820 fps (5.1 gr. or so of 231). Some of those cases have probably been loaded more than fifty times.

    On the high end of loads, I've run WSF under 185-gr.LSWCs--some over AA#5; others over WSF, and max loadings over 1000 fps. None of those cases showed unusual wear, either.

    As Walkalong said, a low-pressure round like the .45 ACP will be well into dangerous territory before your measurements show any changes--like probably over 40,000 is my guess. Follow the load manuals instead of trying to read misleading tea leaves.

    Hodgdon manuals are either published with only the low loads because of CYA concerns, or possibly other business decisions AFAICT. A better source might be Ammoguide--they have a huge database of a wide range of (.45ACP) loads--over 300, IIRC.

    Jim H.
     
  8. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    The .45 cases pretty much last until I loose them because they bounced in front of the firing line or hide in the grass, among the rocks or some other place. Rarely does one last long enough to get a case neck crack
     
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Well there it is in your data. The data supplied by Hodgdon for their 230gr round also includes a OAL of 1.200" where as you loaded your round to 1.258". I know it doesn't should like much but it's more than enough to lower the pressure in your loading. (not that you would see the signs before it's too late in a .45 Auto like said above) My normal load is 5.5gr W231/HP-38 which is also above the Hodgdon data yet because I use a longer COAL (1.250") my velocity is lower than it should be with that charge if I followed their OAL recommendation.
     
  10. Drail

    Drail Member

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    You really cannot judge pressure by looking at a case. By the time you can see any signs you are already way over. .45 ACP brass doesn't stretch with use, it actually gets shorter. Stay under published data. I have .45 brass that I have reloaded for over 15 years and I use them until the headstamp becomes unreadable or the rim becomes chewed up.
     
  11. Grey Morel

    Grey Morel Member

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    How "over pressure" could it possibly be, when the published maximums are 20% below SAAMI spec for standard pressure cartridges, and almost 30% below standardized "+P" loadings?

    Additionally, what are the benefits of having such a short OAL? Why would you seat yourself so deep?
     
  12. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    In most cartridges once the max is reached pressures often increase exponentially in relation to powder increase.
     
  13. Grey Morel

    Grey Morel Member

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    Well that's true of everything. There are very few geometric progressions, nearly everything in exponential.

    What your saying is true of every load: find the pressure per grains for the minimum, and then do the same thing for the maximum. They are different. Its not like everything is nice and symmetrical, and then magically goes wild when you exceed a piddly 17,000 psi.

    Thus my confusion. Most modern guns can handle a diet of +P loads. Their "maximum" load doesn't exceed 350 foot pounds... nearly every name brand ammo manufacturer has loads which exceed this significantly.
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    "How many reloadings can you get from a .45 ACP case?" I have no idea...I keep losing them before I can find out.:fire:

    I have some cases that have over 20 loadings at or near maximum powder charges. Other then keeping them at .890 +/- .002 I, also, have never found a .45 ACP case over maximum length.
     
  15. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    I have lots (WCC 82 MATCH) that have had the headstamp nearly wiped smooth from use, 50, 75 firings?... Life span; I can't wear them out.
     
  16. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Yes, it could. Although there isn't a magic number, I have read tests where the author increased charges past the max pressure. Small increases netted virtually no velocity increase while pressures increased significantly.

    I agree, at 17,000 in the ACP you can increase charges without exceeding +P pressures. Question is, how do you know when you're reached that point? Even duplicating factory specifications, you may or may not achieve the same results.

    I'm not trying to bust your chops, I've exceeded published data a time or two myself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    .45 ACP brass doesn't stretch.

    The first sign of excess pressure you will see with .45 ACP is bulging over the feed ramp cut.

    Followed by a palm full of grip splinters and brass frags when the case web lets go.

    rc
     
  18. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    To the OP, I'm a rookie reloader myself, only in my second year of reloading with over 40 years of shooting experience.

    Not a slam but is there a particular reason you are choosing to load your ammo that far beyond max listed load? Are you using a chronograph to determine what effect this excess is having on your rounds or are you literally waiting to 'see' a negative effect before backing off?

    Good safety practices IMHO are important, especially for us new folks, and pushing beyond max does not seem like something that offers a positive future and could be a kaboom waiting to happen.

    Just a thunk on a chilly Wednesday.
     
  19. Grey Morel

    Grey Morel Member

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    I'm not adjusting anything, nor am I experimenting with anything.

    The charge I am using is well withing published date for the 200gr jacketed bullets I started reloading with. My setup is tuned specifically for this load.

    The only bullets I can find now are 230gr lead, So that's what I'm loading currently. That same charge is just a hair over published maximums for a heavy lead bullet... but the load still works fine, and is likely still within standard pressures for the cartridge.

    I'm not changing anything, and I'm not looking for trouble. I was asking a few simple questions about brass life with 45.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Many firings. Enough not to worry about it. Five hundred cases will keep you shooting for a long time. Years, unless you are shooting 2000 rds a month.
     
  21. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    Hi GM,

    No offense intended, and apologies if that's how I came across. I tend to always err on the side of extreme caution. I would be concerned since 200gr jacketed data is not intended for a totally different bullet, like a 230gr lead and I tend to only load the low-mid of any published data, never exceeding it. that is simply the way I reload. How you approach the data is your business.
     
  22. jfh

    jfh Member

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    In looking over this discussion, it seems to me that

    there are two / three subtopics / assumptions as well as the OP's primary question.

    The primary question is, "How long does .45 ACP brass last?"
    Several of us answered that question, with lesser or greater detail. At the risk of oversimplifying it, most of us responding said something like "we lose it before it wears out."​

    The first subtopic that we got was the data set. That data set includes the revelation that, according to current published standards, it was an overpressure load.
    And, in varying ways, some of us responded with our concerns about overpressure loads. These responses follow the implicit ethos of these people--perhaps simply said, that is the willingness to offer guidance to promote safe reloading practices and to avoid unnecessary danger.

    But, buried in this subtopic was the poster's comments on techniques for considering these overpressure issues through brass measurement. And that was where a few of us jumped: because our study of overpressure load topics has revealed that with low pressure handgun cartridges, physical measurement of cases before and after shooting, as well as "reading" primers has been shown to have NO correlation with safe operating pressures.

    I, for one, jumped on that. Tactfully perceived, I hope, but with an attempt on my part to suggest doing so was not wise.​

    The second subtopic was found in the poster's revelation that he's been a 'casual' reloader, and seeking an answer to his measurement observations.
    So, we chimed in with various answers, including the well-known one that handgun brass doesn't stretch in OAL, it shrinks with repeated use. ​



    It would appear now that we are heading into the secondary discussions.

    Grey Morel has responded twice now with reasonable defense of his assumptions about this recipe, and his variances in loading it.
    I'm going to suggest that, pending gaining further experience in reloading in a broader range of recipes and possibly calibers, he treat the recipes less as guidelines and more as specifications.

    Here, you are varying only one component (disregarding fine-tuned case specifcations)--the bullet. But: that one component not only changed in weight, but also in type. The changes appear 'reasonable,' I guess--but I suspect that most of us responding here treat recipes as quite specific--with specific components, and with specific procedures we use for (re)developing loads. Without going on forever, I suggest that Grey Morel may want to study load development topics and how they relate to a suitable workflow when varying recipes.

    The reason I say that is because, by manipulating that one component--in two ways, type and weight--you are in fact adjusting and changing parameters that make this a potentially-dangerous load. IMO.

    Grey Morel, what load books do you have?
    I am sure the posters in this thread may own the same ones, and we will be happy to offer a reference for study.​

    Finally, since we know nothing about the firearm used for these loads--is it a 1911? modified / how modified? Does it have a fully-supported barrel? etc., etc.--I suspect most of us are at least subconsciously being more reticent with this factor in mind.

    OK, I've said enough now. I'll probably come back and edit this later, too, so if it's worth reading to all of us, re-read it later--edits don't get notifications.

    Jim H.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  23. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Member

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    How About

    almost 40 years? I picked up around 400-500 rounds of once-fired GI 45 brass at Ft Bragg in 1973 & I'm still shooting it. It's in the multi-fired plinking/lead fun pile, and any failures have been rims cracking/tearing from repeated extractions, but very few of them. Some of the firings were in a S&W 1917 and certainly not hot, but most were in 1911s. I am sure I lost more than failed. Quality stuff. :cool:
     
  24. bionian

    bionian Member

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    It seems the answer is the same as "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?" THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW!
     
  25. Grey Morel

    Grey Morel Member

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    Now that's funny. Thanks bionian. :)

    Thanks to everyone else who has given their input in this thread. I appreciate it.

    For the record, I'm using Hodgdons load book, and I am firing these loads from a S&W 4506, which should easily be capable of a +P diet.

    Can anyone tell me why Hodgdon lists the seating depth as 1.200"? That just seems incredibly short. The 1.258" load length I have been using has fed fine from the S&W as well as a 1911 and Glock 30 I owned previously. When I follow Hodgdons data exactly (5.3gr charge, 1.200" oal) it almost looks like the bullet has been set back. :/
     
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