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Old May 31, 2011, 07:37 PM   #1
AnasaziDan
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Questions about 45 ACP for 1911 case length

I am graduating from my Lee loader for .45 ACP. What I have learned so far is that reloading with a press is far more complex than I'd realized. Where I appear most befuddled is in the case preparation department.

I likely am attempting to develop skills too rapidly by learning about both rifle and pistol reloading. I am following a brass processing check list:
Clean Brass
Deprime
Resize
Swage primer Pocket
Trim to Length
Chamfer Neck
Prime
In the "trim to length" area my challenges seem to be expanding. I have gone boldly forward; therefore, I trimmed many cases to 22.50 mm or so I thought. Using a caliper I discovered that the cases ranged from 22.46 to 22.59. I had some others that exceeded that range but I set them aside.

A question is will this make a difference in the ammo's function or safety? I certainly am going to have a variance in terms of seating the bullets if I use a consistent setting for the die. A comment that I read suggests that the minimum case overall length is not so important. Also, the point was made that trimming a 45 case is not really necessary due to the fact that when fired the cases become shorter.

If I were to follow the below advice, I believe I am already in big trouble with rounds that are too short.
"Specifications of the original military loading of the .45 ACP
Case length

0.892 inch = 22.656 8 millimeter Min

0.898 inch = 22.809 2 millimeter Max"

http://www.sightm1911.com/Care/45acp.htm

In any case, I hope that you can provide some advice to someone new to case processing and press reloading.
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Old May 31, 2011, 07:49 PM   #2
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Glad you are asking and not just doing. I don't trim ANY of my pistol brass. The lengths may differ a bit but it is not worth worrying about.

No, your variances in case length will not make a difference in function or safety (for pistol, NOT rifle).

Good luck!
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Old May 31, 2011, 07:52 PM   #3
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Trimming cases is VERY important in bottle neck rifle rounds as the brass tends to grow... grows mostly with the first firing, then a little bit with each subsequent firing.

Most straight wall handgun rounds do NOT grow in length when fired. Some folks do elect to trim revolver brass, usually .44 Magnum or larger (heavier!) rounds and they do this not because the brass grows, but because having a very specific set length makes it easier to get a consistent crimp for heavy recoiling rounds.

.45 Auto? Almost nobody trims them. As you are just starting out, I'd suggest you don't trim them either.

Tumble your brass, then run them in to the carbide resizing die. It will decap as it resizes them. Use the next die to give them a light flare -- enough flare so that you can set a bullet on the case mouth and it doesn't fall off or tilt. Prime the case.

Then charge the case with the appropriate amount of powder and run them up in to the seat/crimp die with a bullet.

Don't make this harder than it needs to be. .45 Auto is pretty forgiving.
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Old May 31, 2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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It is not necessary to trim .45acp brass. I, like the other posters, have never trimmed a .45acp case in the thousands and thousands that I have loaded and it has never been an issue at all.
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Old May 31, 2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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Dan I've probably loaded a bathtub full of 45 ACP over the years, for a dozen 1911's, and I have yet to trim my first case. Don't swage primer pockets either and I've used a fair amount of GI brass... that 'chamfer' thing... are you using a conventional expander die or a chamfer cutter? The former is important and the latter is wholly out of place on service pistol rounds.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:04 PM   #6
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45 ACP do not need to be trimmed!! I have loaded seriously several 100 thousand and have never trimmed any. Load practice ammo until the case splits. Don't flare cases any more than you have too. (To much flare shortens case life) Use a taper crimp.

I will even shoot 45's that have a small split in my 1911's and then throw the cases in my scrap bucket.

My thought on this. I have cleaned them, deprimed them and put in a new primer. If I throw it out I lost my time and a primer. Note SMALL SPLITS.

45 is easy to load, don't make it complicated.

Have fun!
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Old May 31, 2011, 10:14 PM   #7
AnasaziDan
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When is a 45 case too short to reload?

Thanks so much. I am pleased that this operation is not as difficult as I was making it.

My only other question would be when does a 45 case become too short to reload? I am already below the minimum in the original specs. 0.892 inch = 22.656 8 millimeter Min when I am at between 22.46 and 22.59
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Old May 31, 2011, 11:21 PM   #8
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Ignore it. Seat, crimp, shoot. It'll be OK.
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Old May 31, 2011, 11:31 PM   #9
AnasaziDan
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Thanks again!

Thanks again - I am off and running now.
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Old June 1, 2011, 09:38 PM   #10
AnasaziDan
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To Swage or not to Swage

Sarge,

I've been reviewing all the outstanding advice received regarding my questions. Regarding your question about what I've been doing for chamfer. For the first batch of cases that I've processed I used a chamfer cutter. Your asking that question caused me to read about the Lee Expander Die (that also serves to deliver the powder charge). It appears that the die allows less handling and time as well as doesn't use up the brass on the rim.

I've been led to believe that the crimp on the primer in military 45 brass will not allow or make difficult priming and perhaps ignite the primer. I have a primer pocket cutter, but thought that swaging left brass in place and would be less likely to permit a primer falling out. I've primed my first batch with the Lee Auto-Prime, but maybe I should just let the LoadMaster do my priming. That will be faster and if military 45 brass primer pockets do not require swaging or cutting in order to be set, I'll get to spend more time on the range.

Quote:
Don't swage primer pockets either and I've used a fair amount of GI brass... that 'chamfer' thing... are you using a conventional expander die or a chamfer cutter? The former is important and the latter is wholly out of place on service pistol rounds.
As long as I have folk's attention, I have a question about the brass I have. It has been a few years back but during military 45 pistol training I asked the Range Officer if I could police and take the brass. At least one of the weapons on the range that day needed attention from the armorer. It was damaging the brass mouths. I culled these as I recently worked on the brass. The head stamps on these cases say "R A 6 5" and the primer pockets have red dye around the outer perimeter. I've attached an image of these damaged cases. My question - is there any way to salvage these cases by repairing that type of damage? Or do I just toss them?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rim_damaged_45_cases.jpg (95.5 KB, 38 views)

Last edited by AnasaziDan; June 1, 2011 at 09:49 PM. Reason: add image
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Old June 1, 2011, 10:01 PM   #11
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Crimped in military primers - after depriming the case, you will need to swage or cut out the crimp. Been doing this for 50 years with the 45 ACP GI brass, but that's just my experience. You've already been told you don't need to trim 45 ACP brass.
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Old June 1, 2011, 10:02 PM   #12
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The ones that are folded in, like the ones at 11 and 7 o'clock in your bowl, I would just toss. I suppose you could fashion a taper-punch type of tool to try and iron them out, but I wouldn't mess with them.

On primer pockets... swaging certainly won't hurt the mil cases. I'd let the the amount of seating effort needed, guide me in that regard. I use the Lee tool almost exclusively, simply because I can feel how each primer seats. If it is requiring undue pressure to seat the primer, there is a danger it could explode. I habitually tilt the tool away from my face at least 45 degrees when I'm priming cases.
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Old June 3, 2011, 01:10 AM   #13
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I don't see any cases in that picture I would not load. I have a taper punch on my bench that i would take most of those dents out with. (I love salvaging brass that others would throw away) You probably need to remove the crimp the first time you load them.

There are a lot of ways to do that. My Dillon 1050 has a station that does that for me when i have it set up.

Dillon's super swager is one of the best separate tools I have used. But I have done them with the hand tools from RCBS and others. I chuck the bit in a drill.
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