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Old October 22, 2011, 07:03 PM   #1
trykflyr
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38 & 45 ACP load issue

I'm having issues with my usual loads in both 38 and 45. In 38, my loads drop right into the cylinder chambers, but the cylinder locks up on me and won't rotate when closed. The 1911's I have won't go into battery. I'm using standard published target loads which have worked just fine in my guns in the past and all guns work fine with factory ammo. I have a 45 ACP sizing die and my loads will drop flush into that... I haven't changed anything on the loader; just switch out die assemblies when changing calibers. I use a Dillion Squaredeal B I've used for a decade without any problems. I've cleaned the resizing dies repeatedly, checked all the chambers for leading or lube fouling, gone thru the brass countless times, and even calibrated my calipers with a sizing block. I'm using quality brass and components and I'm real anal about weights and measures (it's the aircraft mechanic in me).

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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So I've been rolling this around in my melon and while I can't put my finger on exactly what is going on here are my thoughts.

1. Both loads worked before but now, at the same time, stopped chambering.
2. The odds of both sets of dies, both lots of brass, etc changing on you at the same time is pretty small. The odds of your calipers going whack at the same time is also pretty small.

Think it has something to do with your press? Is something going on there that is adjusting/affecting the OAL without you knowing about it. Or is something keeping the arm from its full course of travel?
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:29 PM   #3
Don P
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I concur with Adamantium on this. Either press with regards to die plate. I don't have a Dillon so is something possibly stuck or caught under something?
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:42 PM   #4
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I'm thinking two issues, several possible solutions.
Revolver first. Most common causes are unburned powder under the ejecter star or a bent ejector rod. A good scrubbing will fix the former. A proper fixture, steady hand and good eye are required to fix the latter.
Pistol a bit more puzzling but will go out on a limb and suggest another magazine or a close look at the feed ramp. If the failures happen more often on the last round in the mag replace the spring(s), on other rounds examine the lips.
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Old October 22, 2011, 07:45 PM   #5
Adamantium
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I thought about 2 gun issues at the same time as well but threw it out because he says they both run on factory ammo just fine.
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Old October 22, 2011, 08:01 PM   #6
Don P
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Yep and whats the chance that 2 guns screw up at the same time. Time to look at the source. Reloading press and its components and operation. One gun yes but two highly unlikely
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Old October 22, 2011, 08:06 PM   #7
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I always like to check the simple stuff first. No need looking for a zebra when it's a grade horse causing the ruckus.
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Old October 22, 2011, 09:15 PM   #8
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Sounds like the OAL too long on both ... you said you use quality components and didn't changed components, setup or anything - but did you measured OAL of the later rounds and compared with the previous ones that ran just fine?
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Old October 28, 2011, 10:05 AM   #9
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Normally a rotation problem on a 38 would be either a High Primer, or debris under the ejector star. If factory shoots fine, then I would check to make sure the primers are flush. After that I would start checking your reloads against a factory round, and see what is different on measurments.

On the 45 auto you could possibly have some bulged cases near the base. I have been running all of my brass through a Lee Bulge Buster lately. I do this mainly because I shoot lots of 45acp through a 625 revolver.

I have never had any problems with case length, but I guess that is possible.

Keep on checking things.

Bob
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Old October 28, 2011, 10:28 AM   #10
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Have you checked your primer seating depth? It doesn't take much to bind up a cylinder or prevent a slide from going into battery.
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Old October 28, 2011, 10:35 AM   #11
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Not just a check for high primers, but check COL. If the bullets protrude from the end of the chamber, that will jam up a revolver. Long COL will also jam up the .45 ACP. That's a possible common thread. Check that when you run the downstroke on the press that the sizing die is firmly against the rotating shell plate. If not, it's a press problem.

My Square Deal had that symptom when the handle casting cracked. That first handle had always rubbed the back of the frame slightly, and apparently that was an early sign of a flaw. Dillon replaced it fast after a phone call, as they always do. The new one didn't rub, and there have been no problems since.

BTW, it's not the only Dillon casting I've had crack. That also happened to my Super Swage, too. Again, a fast, no questions asked replacement by Dillon and it has been fine ever since. I'm only mentioning this to point out that castings can sometimes have stress risers that leave them vulnerable to cracking. They can also last awhile before it happens, as my original Square Deal handle did (2 years). So look for any crack that's springing open a little at the end of the handle downstroke.

In the case of the .45 ACP, use your barrel for a gauge. If the rounds drop in as shown in the two middle cases, below, you may have bought some bullets with a different nose shape that don't like to feed. If they don't drop in properly, check that you have a deep enough taper crimp. A cracked casting may not allow full crimping. The loaded round case mouth spec is 0.4670"-0.4730". You should be aiming to average the middle value of 0.4695". Note that .45 ACP cases actually shrink with each load cycle rather than grow, as rifle cases do, so that if you are running brass that's been reloaded a large number of times, you may have to set the crimp die slightly lower than it was when it started out, or it will fail to remove the case mouth flare completely, and that can jam the gun up.

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Old October 28, 2011, 11:08 AM   #12
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My first inclination would be to verify the primers are seated deep enough. I've had both cylinder lock-ups and 1911 actions not go into battery due to protruding primers.
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Old October 29, 2011, 09:48 AM   #13
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Good thought. My Square Deal B always needs a good shove on the handle to be sure it's fully seated the primers.

Lay a thin straight edge across the primer pocket and a narrow strip of onion skin paper or aluminum foil should slide between it and the primer. Ideally 3 thickness of standard weight foil should fit (what I have is all around 0.0008" thick), but one thickness tells you that at least the primers aren't standing proud.
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