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Old August 13, 2008, 09:18 AM   #1
rolyasm
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just a little help loading my .45 ACP

Kind of new to reloading. I haven't had any problems reloading my bottleneck casings (8mm, 7.62 x 54, 250-3000). However, I must be doing something wrong with my straight walls. I know I have to take an extra step to expand the case mouth, but that is all my RCBS manual says about it. The problem I have when shooting is that the cases don't fire/eject routinely. A lot of smokestacking, and sometimes the bullets just don't fire. At times, it seems like the bullet has stuck in the casing. Really scary. I hear the primer fire, then I just have to eject the casing/bullet manually. My Kimber Ultra Carry seems to do a better job of chambering and ejecting the rounds than my Springfield XD. Which seems strange, because my XD is the 4" barrel, while my Kimber is the 3" compact. I just would think the 3" had less tolerance. Anyway, any thoughts are appreciated, or any links.
Thanks.
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Old August 13, 2008, 09:39 AM   #2
DEDON45
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Hard to say without knowing what load data you're using....
For semi-automatics, you need to make sure the load data you're using is generating enough recoil to cycle the action... as an example, I run 6.6 grains of AA#5 behind a 230 grain LRN for plinking... cycles fine. However, I did have to do some tuning on the OAL to make sure the guns I have would cycle it. In the .45ACP, the two things that I had to work on the hardest was finding an OAL that would feed reliably in all my weapons (ended up seating bullets slightly deeper than the book showed... I backed down my charges and worked back up for safety) -- and I learned that slight taper crimping of the .45ACP round is necessary for proper feeding. Just enough taper crimp to flatten the expanded flare of the case back down flush with the bullet, no more, no less.

Also, avoid AMERC headstamped brass, that crap simply can't be reloaded without the case going out of spec and becoming unchamberable.
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Old August 13, 2008, 10:05 AM   #3
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I think my other confusing issue is crimping. I just watched a youtube video posted on here where the man didn't crimp. He said some people like to, others don't. Is there really a choice, or is there a correct way?
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Old August 13, 2008, 10:29 AM   #4
D. Manley
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Any belling of the case should be removed. Ideal crimp for "straight-wall" pistol cases is:

Bullet Diameter + case wall thickness @ mouth X 2
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Old August 13, 2008, 10:32 AM   #5
Jim Watson
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Quote:
A lot of smokestacking, and sometimes the bullets just don't fire. At times, it seems like the bullet has stuck in the casing. Really scary. I hear the primer fire, then I just have to eject the casing/bullet manually.
You have got lots worse problems than amount of crimp and the brand of brass (although you should not use A-MERC.)

I'd have to see you doing the loading and shooting to have an idea of what is really going on but something is badly wrong with your procedures. When you "hear the primer fire" where does the bullet end up?
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Old August 13, 2008, 10:51 AM   #6
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Sorry I'm not being more specific. The last time I shot the reloaded .45's was about 5 months ago. So I am trying to remember all the things that went wrong. I know it seemed a little scary at the time, so I have not tried it again since. If I remember correctly, some of the bullets would fire the primer, but the bullet would remain in the casing/shell. Then I would have to manually extract the ammo. I have a few rounds left that I didn't fire. Would it help if I took a picture?
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Old August 13, 2008, 11:24 AM   #7
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Pictures always help!

What was the Load?
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Old August 13, 2008, 11:45 AM   #8
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1. Your primer did not fire in the SHELLS that you had to eject manually. The primer would have kicked the bullet out of the case, it would have been stuck a short distance down the barrel.

2. Take those loads apart that did not fire. You will find the primer is unfired.

3. As others have said, what was the load? I'm betting you did 2 things wrong. The load is too mild/whimpy, and the primer was not seated fully. The firing pin fully seated the primer without firing it. The whimpy loads were failing to operate the slide fully, resulting in the stove pipe jams.

Learn some correct terminology. Bullet is the part that is pushed down the barrel by the powder, it's what hits the target, a projectile. It's not a shell, cartridge, or round.
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Old August 13, 2008, 12:12 PM   #9
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I must agree that you need to get your terminology straight so that we understand what you mean. I really can't tell from what you have written so far. But, some thoughts occurred to me as I read it:

If you are not crimping, the flare remaining on the case mouth MIGHT be keeping the cartridges from fully chambering with their case mouths resting on the front of the chamber. If so, when the firing pin hits the primer, it would dirve the case farther into the chamber, decreasing the blow of the firing pin on the primer. That can cause a misfire. It is POSSIBLE, but HIGHLY UNLIKELY, that it can cause a primer to fire so weakly that it does not ignite the powder. But, the primer alone should push the bullet out of the case far enough to stick in the barrel.

Being a little more specific would help.

If you decide to try to fire any more of these rounds, MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS NO BULLET STUCK IN YOUR BARREL BEFORE YOU PULL THE TRIGGER EACH TIME. Looking down the barrel is not a good idea, so take a cleaning rod with you and poke it down the barrel from the muzzle end with the action open every time you get some odd response to pulling the trigger on the previous round. Firing a round with a bullet stuck in you barrel will ruin your gun and maybe some parts of your anatomy.

Good luck solving your problem. We are here to help if you want to provide more info and ask more detailed questions. A good start would be telling us what powder and charge weight you are using, and what bullet.
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Old August 13, 2008, 12:54 PM   #10
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Sorry about the confusion...

I tried finding a chart of terms/meanings, but came up short. So if you have a casing ( I was calling it a shell) and a bullet ( the lead/metal tip) what is it called here when stuck together? Ammo, round?
It sounds like I should take a picture and then take a Shell/bullet combo apart to weigh the powder and give you some more information. I will find out what kind of powder I used, the weight, the grain of bullet, etc and let you know. Sorry I don't know the lingo. If you have a link, it would help. Thanks again.

edit: looking at my last post, even I am confused. I didn't mean that the "bullets would fire the primer." I meant to say that after pulling the trigger, I had several misfires, and I think I remember the primers being dented enough that I thought it should have ignited the powder. Also, the bullets on quite a few were pushed further down into the casing.

Last edited by rolyasm; August 13, 2008 at 12:59 PM. Reason: 'cause I'm retarded...
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Old August 13, 2008, 01:07 PM   #11
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I forgot to ask. Is there a safe way to take the bullet/casing apart?
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Old August 13, 2008, 01:17 PM   #12
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Get a kenetic bullet puller

Frankford arsenal makes a kinetic bullet puller, basically its a little plastic hammer that has one end that screws off, you place the entire cartridge in a Colet, place it in the puller, screw the cap back on and smack the other end on a solid piece of WOOD, I use a round log. Basically the bullet comes out and the case stays in the Colet.

DS
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Old August 13, 2008, 01:42 PM   #13
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Okay, here is a picture of a Blazer (left) next to my reload in the middle. The bullet is a 230 gr. I have not pulled it apart, but from my notes I was using between 4.3 and 5.0 gr of powder. I probably loaded on the lighter side. Also, I just used a caliper that I purchased. The Blazer measures about 32.15 mm, mine measures about 32.5. Not sure if all my reloads are too long, or what a normal variance should be? I think I only kept 2 of the bad reloads. Hope some of this helps.
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File Type: jpg bullet.jpg (50.9 KB, 135 views)
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Old August 13, 2008, 01:52 PM   #14
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" some of the bullets would fire the primer, but the bullet would remain in the casing/shell."

This is an example of why it is somewhat hard to follow your description. The brass part of a cartridge is a "case." Normally, only shotguns and cannon use "shells."

If I understand correctly, I believe you may have some of your reloads without powder and some with very little powder. The cartridge OAL is not part of the problem.
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Old August 13, 2008, 02:11 PM   #15
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Rolyasm quote:"Not sure if all my reloads are too long, or what a normal variance should be? I think I only kept 2 of the bad reloads. Hope some if this helps."

You REALLY need to consult a reloading manual regarding bullet seating depth and overall length.


Wncchester quote: "If I understand correctly, I believe you may have some of your reloads without powder and some with very little powder."

Ditto for me!!
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Old August 13, 2008, 02:26 PM   #16
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Are you using any reloading manual? They can help immensely with the steps necessary for reloading, in general - including vocabulary and specifically with the particulars of any printed/given load. They do a pretty good job giving step by step instruction. I find that some are a little more detailed than others. And it is always good to actually watch someone reload properly. I have heard that there are reloading DVDs out there, and in a pinch youtube has different reloading videos online. I can't verify the correctness of the videos on youtube. I have watched a few that are really good at following the rules and steps, and others that don't. At least you can find some that really can help visually. Sometimes then it all makes sense.

Also I would recommend that any future loads be labeled (keeping the rounds in a box/container with the information about that particular load) so that you know what exactly you have in each box. Funny thing, cartridges all seem to look a lot alike on the outside! Reloading manuals have a bit on keeping this information written on your boxes, including what to write down. At least mine do.

Good Luck with future reloading! Just remember that this is a serious business that you are engaging in, worst case scenario is a ruined gun with pieces of it in your face and/or hands. If you know someone who can mentor you in reloading, that is the route that I would take. When I first started reloading, I researched as much as I could and was fortunate enough to have my father in law (who has been reloading for almost fifty years on a weekly basis) teach me.

And I am still learning about reloading, and still consider myself a beginner. This forum is an excellent place to bring your questions, a lot of really good knowledgeable folks here!
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Old August 13, 2008, 02:47 PM   #17
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Primer + Case + Powder + Bullet = Round of ammunition (when assembled correctly).
Remember:
- Reloading can be as SAFE as driving a car.
- Reloading can be as DANGEROUS as driving a car.
- YOU + ACCURATE INFORMATION + PROPER TECHNIQUES/EQUIPMENT + PROPER COMPONENTS = SAFETY!!!
- LEAVING OUT ANY ONE OR MORE ITEMS IN SAFETY DEFINITION = DANGER!!!
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Old August 13, 2008, 03:37 PM   #18
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rolyasm:

Here's a URL that is about the best reference of gun related technical terms around. Most of us use SAAMI terminology.

http://www.saami.org/Glossary/

Your hand loading manual will have many of these terms; if ever in doubt, consult the above glossary.
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Old August 13, 2008, 04:15 PM   #19
DEDON45
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Sounds like squibs / inconsistent powder charging... I, like the others, heartily recommend getting a good reloading manual... I also recommend that you read the "ABC's of Reloading" ... that's a good book to read too.
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Old August 13, 2008, 06:11 PM   #20
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Squibs, as somebody else mentioned, would result in the bullets' being stuck in the barrel. He's not seating his primers deeply enough, ergo, the primers aren't firing.
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Old August 14, 2008, 07:54 AM   #21
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first we collect (more) information

Might I suggest you post your geographic location?

Often there are Forum members nearby, able to physically visit and observe.
Willing members.....
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Old August 15, 2008, 09:15 AM   #22
rolyasm
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I live in Utah, land of jello! I just got off work, 7 am, so I haven't had time to follow up on this. I took my one of my reloads to a local gun store, Gallinson's, and they didn't have the ability to take it apart without losing the powder. I thought it might be helpful to measure what was in it. Anyway, the reloader expert there told me to get him the brands I was using of each component, and that might help him to help me. I will be doing that later.
Alleycat: if the primers weren't seated enough, what would happen when I fired my pistol, besides the bullet not firing (ie, loud noise, just smoke)?
Also, I picked up a few older manuals yesterday. I will give them a good reading.
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Old August 15, 2008, 12:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
I thought it might be helpful to measure what was in it.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TYPE OF POWDER YOU USED TO LOAD THOSE?

You have some serious learning to do BEFORE you ever load another round, OF ANY TYPE!

Record keeping is one of the fundamental rules for reloading. Both a permanent record of loads done in a notebook, AND something written on the box containing the ammo.
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Old August 15, 2008, 12:26 PM   #24
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Dude the more I read the more I think you are one lucky man.
I will agree with all that has been said here of you needing some more education before you reload anything else.

What power were you using and how much?
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Old August 15, 2008, 12:45 PM   #25
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This is a stab in the dark but he said crimping is a confusing issue for him and hard to tell from the pics but maybe the reload is over crimped and letting the case mouth slip past the headspace point in the chamber?

Are your cartridges hard to extract from the gun? Do you have calipers to measure the casing just below where the bullet is? What's it measure?

Sounds like he has multiple problems.
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