Issues with .45 acp

Issues with .45 acp

This is a discussion on Issues with .45 acp within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Relatively new to reloading so please bare with me. Having all the fun of firing a cartridge with no powder and having to "unstuck" a ...

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Thread: Issues with .45 acp

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    Issues with .45 acp

    Relatively new to reloading so please bare with me.

    Having all the fun of firing a cartridge with no powder and having to "unstuck" a few bullets from a few barrels, to some actual testing my current issue is that my 230gr Hornady xtp in once fired brass is not chambering. The OAL is within both manuals that I have at 1.239.

    I am looking for concurrence or rebuttals, but I think I need to crimp the round based on looking at my usual carry load Ranger T. The gun (Colt lw xse commander) would not go into battery leaving about 1/8 inches of the breech open.

    Just measured and the ranger T is 1.212 oal. My fmj that I loaded are all in the 1.26 range which leads me to believe the collar I see and feel on the jhp rounds that wouldn't feed could be the issue and not the length. Please advise.

    Thanks. First attempt with tapatalk excuse any issues
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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    I'm a little out of practice myself, but I believe you're right. When the flare in the case can be clearly seen in the pics, it suggests that you either need to flare the cases less to start with, or crimp the rounds a bit. Cartridge OAL is not likely to cause the round to fail to go into battery.
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    Senior Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    Kind of a rhetorical question but you have sized the brass right. I agree that you need to crimp the cartridge, the flare should not still be visible.

    As OD says, the Lee Factory crimp die is a good one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Agreed $ well spent IMO
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    My first thought is that it's probably not an OAL problem. Make sure your resizing die is adjusted correctly and going all the way down for one, and you may want to give it another pump just to make sure.

    Are you crimping the cartridges, or just using the bullet seat crimp? Put a caliper to the diameter and make sure you don't have a small bulge where your bullet is seating.


    .45 ACP is one of the most finicky cartridges to make. They really have to be JUST right unlike many other cartridges.
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    Lots of beat-me-to-it good advice!
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    Y'all are spot on, so I'll repeat some of you.

    Are you flaring the case? If you are you need to take the flare back out with a taper crimp die. I can't tell if the case is flared or if the bullet was seated in too far, but you should not see a gap like in your top view pic.

    Where did you get your OAL? OAL varies from bullet type/maker to bullet type/maker. A good starting point for OAL is what the bullet maker tells you to seat that particular bullet. Manuals are just a guideline so you don't go to short or too long.

    And of course there's the "plunk test" before you even start shooting or load more than one. Take the barrel out and make sure the loaded round can drop into the chamber with a slight "plunk", then fall back out. The head of the case (rim/bottom) should be even or a very little below the barrel hood. I know right now your rounds are not passing the plunk test.

    And it is possible to measure the case mouth, but it's something that requires practice to get the calipers just right. The very top should be a couple thou smaller in diameter than immediately below. .470~1 rings a bell just sitting here. That works well for me using plated 230 gr and not getting any bullet setback when shooting them in my compact framed 1911's.

    You need to pay more attention though on the squibs. It could easily go the other way and BOOM!
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    I believe I could flare the case less and will definitely get that Lee Crimp die. Thank you all. I sort of came up with the same conclusion (other than reducing the flare of the mouth) but wanted some expert advice.

    Thank you guys very much! That will help!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAcanis View Post
    Y'all are spot on, so I'll repeat some of you.

    Are you flaring the case? If you are you need to take the flare back out with a taper crimp die. I can't tell if the case is flared or if the bullet was seated in too far, but you should not see a gap like in your top view pic.

    Where did you get your OAL? OAL varies from bullet type/maker to bullet type/maker. A good starting point for OAL is what the bullet maker tells you to seat that particular bullet. Manuals are just a guideline so you don't go to short or too long.

    And of course there's the "plunk test" before you even start shooting or load more than one. Take the barrel out and make sure the loaded round can drop into the chamber with a slight "plunk", then fall back out. The head of the case (rim/bottom) should be even or a very little below the barrel hood. I know right now your rounds are not passing the plunk test.

    And it is possible to measure the case mouth, but it's something that requires practice to get the calipers just right. The very top should be a couple thou smaller in diameter than immediately below. .470~1 rings a bell just sitting here. That works well for me using plated 230 gr and not getting any bullet setback when shooting them in my compact framed 1911's.

    You need to pay more attention though on the squibs. It could easily go the other way and BOOM!
    PAcanis: Those squibs were immediately noticeable as all of them were primer only, no powder. Waited about 20- 30 seconds with each and then checked. First two happened on revolvers, then I disabled a buddies Llama that had been flawless (despite the reputation). I guess the positive aspect is that we knew something was wrong as firing a primer feels like a cap gun I used to get from the icecream man! Makes it easy to not shoot another...
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    That's a pretty steep angle on the nose of that bullet. Once you get your case mouth and crimp under control, I'd be inclined to try loading your bullet not as deep.

    The 200 gr SWCs I load have about the same nose angle as your bullets. When I started loading them, I used 1.236" for a target OAL, but they wouldn't feed worth a darn. Winchester white box FMJ measures 1.250", and they feed well in my guns, so I moved to that OAL and that worked well.
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    I load XTP for my 1911's and your bullet is seated a hair to deep. Should be barely able to see shoulder above case image.jpg if seated to deep the edge of case has nothing to crimp down on
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    Looks like you didn't crimp at all.

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    I have a Lee FCD and in my opinion it's a band aid for fixing problem that shouldn't exist. I stopped using mine when I "correctly" adjusted my dies and the chambering problem went away.

    I can't see the flare on your pics but it might be my eyes. The correct crimp on the .45 ACP only removes the flare--no more/no less. Case neck tension is what holds the bullet in place, not crimp. It looks to me as more of a too short COL issue. I haven't relied on a load manual COL in ages. It makes a nice starting point, but manual data was not developed in your gun. My "ballpark" figure for correct crimp for the .45 is bullet diameter (.451 or .452 for lead) plus .020 (thickness of the case mouth X 2). If you've crimped enough to remove the flaring, your round should measure .471-.472. If it ends up a couple of thousandth off either way, it will probably still chamber fine. Too much less and the case won't headspace on the case mouth. Too much more and the case won't chamber smoothly.

    Try this: Insert the bullet in a empty fired but un-sized case. Leave it long, maybe seated half of the bearing surface. Push the round into your "removed" barrel and then remove it. The rifling should have seated the bullet deeper. Measure the COL. Seat another bullet in an un-sized case to that COL and drop the round in the barrel again. Hopefully it will fully chamber and leave "NO" rifling marks on the bullet. If so, you've found your maximum COL for your gun's chamber with that bullet. If the rifling did leave marks, reduce the COL again by 10-20 thousandths until no rifling marks are noted. Repeat as needed and record your final COL that has no rifling marks.

    I would then seat a bullet in a resized unloaded case and make sure it fits the magazine, feeds, and chambers completely. If it does, mark and save that dummy round for future die adjustments.

    Added
    : Now that Rob has blown up the photo, I can definitely see the flare. You need more crimp and slightly longer COL. There should be approximately 1/16" od the bullet shoulder exposed. You should be able to feel if there's any flare left after crimping by running your fingers over the case mouth. Fingers can be very sensitive to a couple thousandths difference.

    Any time you try a different bullet or initial bullet, you need to establish the COL that works in your gun, even though some manual lists its COL.
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