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Old July 16, 2012, 07:41 PM   #1
ScottChapin
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progressive vs case trimming

I'm finally going to get serious about reloading and will get a progressive press. Although I will eventually reload rifle cartridges, my focus is on feeding my 45 auto habit. I am trying to figure out how case trimming comes into play with a progressive press.

My understanding is that you should trim a case after it is resized, since it will lengthen during that process. You should probably clean the primer pocket at that point too...right? How does that fit into a progressive operation? Certainly, you don't remove the shell after the depriming/resizing operation, so what do you do?

Also, how should I set the crimp? Should I just set the die to seat on a factory loaded round? I don't even see that a factory round is crimped. Is the crimp that slight?
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Old July 16, 2012, 08:44 PM   #2
tobnpr
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A lot of questions...
First, yes- trim after sizing. Sizing stretches the brass...which is why you need to trim in the first place. Of course, only trim when you're at max length, some go longer by using a Sinclair chamber gauge to verify their leade can accomodate longer brass without crimping the bullet.

Cleaning primer pockets, to each their own, I do not.
I have test results from a shooter using an RSI pressure trace that prove "clean" primer pockets have no effect- in fact, they result in higher deviations. I'll post a thread on this test when I have the time.

On a progressive- yes- remove the shell from the shellplate after sizing/decapping. I do them all at once, then just start from the primer station.
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Old July 16, 2012, 08:48 PM   #3
Misssissippi Dave
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Don't make loading .45 more difficult than it needs to be. You can put a lot of time and effort into them if you want to but I haven't seen where it makes much difference in pistol ammo.

I tumble brass (vibrating tumbler) check cases for obvious problems such as cracks. .45 brass doesn't normally wear out all that fast. I make sure my machine is set up correctly and the powder is dropping the proper amount of the right powder. Then it is time to load.

I don't and have never trimmed pistol cases. Rifle cases are a completely different thing.

I also don't clean primer pockets for pistol ammo either. My reloads do work well. I can't see doing all the extra cleaning for pistol cases. They don't seem to stretch like rifle cases do. .45 ammo is a pretty low pressure round. Now if I could shoot well enough to be able to notice 1/4" differences in my groups at 25 yards I might do things differently.
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Old July 16, 2012, 08:54 PM   #4
lee n. field
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Quote:
My understanding is that you should trim a case after it is resized, since it will lengthen during that process.
Don't bother with handgun cartridge cases.

Quote:
Also, how should I set the crimp? Should I just set the die to seat on a factory loaded round? I don't even see that a factory round is crimped. Is the crimp that slight?
A .45 auto has a taper crimp. You probably won't be able to see it.

Adjust the seating/crimping die per the manufacturer's directions, or use a separate crimping die (also adjusted per the manufacturer).
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Old July 17, 2012, 08:00 AM   #5
jmorris
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The best way to trim cases with a progressive is by using the progressive. You have to make two passes but it is still faster than any other method. As others have said, no need to trim pistol brass. At least I have yet to trim a normal pistol case in almost 30 years of loading them.
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Old July 17, 2012, 11:05 AM   #6
k4swb
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I'm going to offer this advice.
Anyone that is totally new to reloading should start out with a batch of brass that is trimmed or at least sorted to the same length.

After you get a feel for things this won't be so important but crimping always seems to give new folk a fit.

If your brass isn't the same length and you set things up for a short case, then a longer case will get too much. If set up for the longer case then the short ones won't get enough. The difference in just a few thousands, while still in spec, will make a difference. New people chase this all over the place and get hung up a lot.

After you do a few you will get the feel for what is needed and it will be easier but when starting out removing this one thing will limit some frustrations.
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Old July 17, 2012, 11:08 AM   #7
JerryM
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I, like others here, have loaded many thousands of rounds of .45 ACP plus other straight walled handgun rounds. I have never trimmed a case.

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Old July 17, 2012, 01:37 PM   #8
Woody55
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The only pistol rounds I reload are .40 S&W.

The RCBS combination bullet seater and crimp directions said to trim all cases to the same length if you were going to crimp. That got old in a hurry.

I got a separate Lee crimp whose directions said that the cases didn't have to be the same length. That still left me with the choice of what case to set it on. I measured a dozen or so, noted the average and used that case to set the crimp. Better, but it was still an extra operation.

So I did an experiment. I loaded five uncrimped rounds, measured the overall cartridge length and put them at the bottom of a magazine with factory ammo. I fired the magazine less my test round and then measured the overall cartridge length again. No change on any of them.

Now I don't bother crimping them at all.

Not sure if you'd get the same result with .45 ACP.

And having read the advice above, I'll probably stop cleaning the primer pockets too!
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Old July 17, 2012, 07:24 PM   #9
ScottChapin
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Thank you all for the responses. It gives me a balanced perspective now.
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Old July 20, 2012, 11:27 AM   #10
F. Guffey
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ScotChapon, it is about being able to keep up with two thoughts at once, you are correct, trimming after sizing is not an option.
Trimming after sizing is the #1 answer, as always with #1 answers deductive reasoning says there must be a #2 answer, back in the old days a reloader went into mortal combat following instructions, the case pilot was was too large for a case after the neck was sized, but perfect for a case neck after firing, because these things do not lock me up, I trimmed then sized, others discovered the Internet, then started grinding, filing and sand papering while turning the pilot with a drill.
Back to progressive and trimming, I measure case length first, I am not going to crimp bottle neck cases, I am not going to crimp bottle neck cases that are not the same length, again, this stuff does not lock me up. I have bullet hold, everyone else has neck tension, I can measure bullet hold, I can not measure neck tension.
I have a couple of boxes filled with regulators and PSI gages, I could do the .7854 thing and use air to determine bullet hold, the thing that locks me up is the neck tension thing, nothing I have converts neck tension to psi, bullet pull etc..

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Old July 20, 2012, 08:22 PM   #11
ScottChapin
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Thank you F. Guffey. That makes sense to trim the cases first. They should al resize the same (excepting case manufacturing differences?).
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