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Old July 17, 2012, 09:21 AM   #1
gegatso
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.45 ACP FMJ works, copper plated doesnt?

I recently loaded up a bunch of 230 grain FMJ round nose (Winchester bullets) 45 rounds using 5.5 grains of Unique powder and all was great in my Dan Wesson Heritage.
I switched only the bullet to a 230 grain copper plated (not jacketed) round nose made by Rainier and the gun will not cycle completely. The first round that I jack in will go in fine, but all the rest end up with a dent in the nose. Everything is exactly the same as when I made the FMJ bullets. Same powder, measurements, etc.
A guy at the range told me maybe to try more powder - that the new bullets maybe needed more kick to get the thing to cycle all the way, and it seemed to make sense. I loaded some at 5.7 grains and the problem was worse!
The crazy thing is I want to get to doing straight lead round nose bullets, but at this rate, I'll never get there. Any ideas as to what is going wrong?
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Old July 17, 2012, 09:39 AM   #2
BDS-THR
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What OAL are you using? Different bullets have slightly different bullet nose shape (ogive) that may allow the bullet nose to hit the start of rifling.

Using Unclenick's guide, take the barrel out of the pistol and do a barrel drop test to determine the OAL (your round should drop in freely with a "plonk" as the case mouth headspaces on the chamber without bullet nose hitting the start of rifling). Once you determined the OAL that works with your barrel, then conduct a full powder work up with the new bullet load to determine what powder charges reliably cycle the slide.




Last edited by BDS-THR; July 17, 2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old July 17, 2012, 10:01 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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I've had similar problems with Rainiers, they are just not faithful copies of standard bullet profiles, either RN or SWC. A versatile gun will handle them but a finicky one will not.

If you want to shoot plated, try Berry's, I have had better reliability out of their roundnose. Their flatpoints and "round shoulder" bullets are worthless in any of my guns, though. Except the revolver.

If you want to shoot lead, buy some lead bullets. Get the smallest available box so you don't get stuck with an incompatible shape.
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Old July 17, 2012, 10:36 AM   #4
gegatso
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Thanks for the replies. I didn't expect answers so quickly.

BDS-THR - My OAL is always slightly under the max spec. I Checked all the factory ammo I used and the all ran short, so I went by those when getting my length figured out. I have done the barrel test with each bullet I was making and they are all like figure #3, so at least I believe I am ok with the headspace. This brings me to what Jim Wason brought up.

The Winchester bullets I used compared to the Rainier are WAY different in their shape! The Winchesters are much more bulky with a gentle rounding where the Rainers are sort of pointy and a friend who has been reloading for 30 years said "They look weird.". I want to shoot lead and will have to get something really rounded. I found a pic that shows just how drastic they can be:
http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h1.../Lead/45RN.jpg

What works in my Dan Wesson is more like the #3 bullet in shape. The Rainier bullets are sort of like 1 and 2 but at the same time not like either. Going to get 100 plain lead with a good shape and see what I can get out of those.
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Old July 17, 2012, 11:20 AM   #5
markt99
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I've noticed rainier is "sharper" profile compared to the more "blunt" profile of UMC.

My 1911s seem to do ok on Ranier as it is all I currently reload.

UMC IS 1.250 OAL.

I load Ranier 230 gr to 1.260

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Old July 17, 2012, 12:39 PM   #6
gegatso
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Oh I forgot to state my actual OAL. It is 1.263 - 1.266. My gut is really telling me my issue is lying in the bullet shape. Hoping to grab some well rounded lead today and make a few and try them out.
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Old July 17, 2012, 02:33 PM   #7
serf 'rett
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Generally, plated bullets are loaded with less powder than FMJ, so you may have gone the wrong direction in changing the charge.

I you case, I suspect the difference in bullet profile is the primary problem. May need to vary OAL to find something which runs the pistol.
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Old July 17, 2012, 02:51 PM   #8
gegatso
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Just got some lead rounds (Suters Choice) and made up 16 of them to see if they work out or not. Everything is the same except the bullet. OAL same, crimp, etc. The guy at the reloading shop had the nerve to say my gun is majorly messed up. I don't really buy that since it WILL shoot ball ammo...only had a problem with that one particular type of bullet. Will have a report.
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Old July 17, 2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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I agree with Serf 'ret. You are running a full powder hardball level load already, so you don't need more powder. It's something else. If the bullet nose shape is longer and more pointed, I'd expect it may be trying to turn up the ramp before the magazine feed lips can release it properly. In that case a more blunt shape is needed.

The comment by the gun store fellow sounds rude, but that doesn't make him wrong that there's may be a gun issue. It depends on where the dent on the nose is and what shape it is. If the feed ramp has the bottom of the back end of the chamber overhanging it in counter battery, that could cause a dent and stop with a soft bullet, where a jacketed bullet could be hard enough to ride past it. If that's the case, it's a timing problem that needs to be corrected.
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Old July 17, 2012, 07:11 PM   #10
gegatso
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Ok the new plain lead bullets didn't work either. Went to the reloading shop and withing seconds the guy saw the problem. Too much crimp. Apparent;y when I set the thing at first using the FMJ bullets, since they were harder alloy, the crimp wasnt digging in enough to make a difference, if at all, but when I switched over to the coated and lead, things were a lot softer and my mistake was amplified big time. I felt like a dork when the guy basically had me run my fingernail down from the bullet to the case mouth and you could barely even tell where one ended and the other started. So, I just have to reset my RCBS seating/crimp die (which he explained very detailed in 45 minutes. As long as I'm at it, I'm going to make sure my expanding die is set a touch better as well.
Much thanks for the replies and help you guys have been. I wish one of you had the exact answer, but I suppose you'd have had to been here and seen my bullets to know what I was dealing with.
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Old July 17, 2012, 07:29 PM   #11
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Also make sure your lead bullets will pass tfe drop test set at that OAL (1.263-1.266"). I load all of my plated bullets (Berry's, XTreme) to 1.260", but my lead bullets will not pass the drop test and will not chamber at 1.260". I have to set my lead bullets to 1.247" to get them to pass the drop test, and function properly. If your lead bullets have a rim around them just above the lube ring it will be close to even with the top of you case mouth. Mine was head spacing off my bullet, and not my case mouth. Just make sure you start over and work up. My crimps measure .472" at the case mouth. Also make sure you can't push your bullet in after crimping. Have fun be Safe!!
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Old July 17, 2012, 08:32 PM   #12
BDS-THR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gegatso
when the guy basically had me run my fingernail down from the bullet to the case mouth and you could barely even tell where one ended and the other started.
Since case wall thickness runs about .010"-.012", I typically add .020"-.021" to the diameter of the bullet to determine the amount of taper crimp.

Here's factory Remington 230 gr RN compared to Berry's 185 gr HBRN and Missouri 230 gr RN with around .472" taper crimp.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg MBC230.jpg (81.9 KB, 117 views)
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Old July 17, 2012, 09:47 PM   #13
Jim Watson
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Quote:
I just have to reset my RCBS seating/crimp die
I hope that 45 minutes of instruction covered it.
I have never been happy with the results of trying to seat and crimp a smooth sided .45 ACP bullet in the same step. A separate taper crimp die will simplify things a lot, but it will add a step if you are loading on a single stage press.
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Old July 18, 2012, 12:17 AM   #14
Steve in PA
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I've been reloading 230gr Rainier over 6.5gr of Unique and both shoot excellent out of my two Sig P220's. Case OAL is 1.260".
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Old July 18, 2012, 04:58 PM   #15
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Every time you change bullets...on a different profile, or a different mfg...you have to check your seating die and your final crimp die.

Rainiers are a different profile..and a cheaper bullet with more deviation in weight and shape..than some of the other plated bullets ( like Berry's ) which are very consistent....and then you have the real jacketed bullets like Montana Gold...

You can use the "plunk test" using your barrel ...or get a "case gague" which lets you do the same thing. Personally, I suggest case gaguing every round before you box it up ....you'll pick up a few cases that won't "plunk" in and out of the case gage...maybe because there is a burr on the base of the case - or even a small crack that opened up as you seated the bullet...or some little dent or something on the rim of the case that didn't come out or maybe showed up as you belled the case or something....

I probably reject about 3 or 4 rounds in 1,000 ....by case gaguing ....but it means my reloads run virtually 100%.

Rainier bullets drive me a little nuts ....especially in a 230gr ...where they might vary as much as 7 or 8 grains once in a while.../ I understand they're electroplated and its hard for them, I think, to get a real consistent plated coating on a batch of bullets for some reason - and they've gone up in price with companies like Montana Gold bullets even being cheaper...with a much better product.
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Old July 19, 2012, 06:57 AM   #16
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All plated bullets, including Berry's are electroplated, AFAIK. I don't know if a reduction reaction with lead could be made to work and provide enough toughness or not. I note that Berry's says they run theirs through sizing dies after plating. So I think the Ranier uniformity is just about their plating process and uniformity of their cores.

If you read through Hornady's site you find they now appear to be at least partially plating jackets for a lot of their bullets using their AMP (advanced manufacturing process; possibly a play on the amps of current required) technology and claiming to get better uniformity that way. All their ENC jackets have disappeared from their online catalog (these were their FMJ handgun bullets with caps on the bottom for ranges that wanted lead exposure limited; ENC was for "enclosed") and have been replaced by these electroplated jackets. Even their match A-max and the Zombie lines of rifle bullets claim to have AMP jackets. I don't know how their doing it, since many of those bullets have jackets formed up beyond their cores over hollow noses for the plastic tip inserts. It may be a forming/plating hybrid process for those. But the bottom line is it's possible to plate with extreme uniformity and precision with the right setup.
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Old July 19, 2012, 08:15 AM   #17
wingman
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I love the 1911 but they were designed for 230 ball and change in bullets requires some minor changes perhaps in gun smithing and reloading.
I use 230gr Berry's never have a failure, I seat and crimp in two operations, I suspect a simple oal change would correct your problem with the Rainer bullets.
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Old July 19, 2012, 09:31 AM   #18
gegatso
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I went ahead and started from scratch and reset my expanding die as well as my seating/crimping die, made quite a few rounds, and all went bang without a hitch. With the plain lead bullets being so soft, I gave just a *touch* more opening to the mouth of the brass (I was probably cutting it possibly too close beforehand, as the bullets were just fitting in the mouth by a hair, anyway). I'm running an OAL of 1.265 and my crimp is .471 if anyone cares for the numbers. I REALLY appreciate all of the help and advice. This is a great community. Oh, and this setup actually works just fine for the Rainier bullets as well as the plain lead, although plain lead is all I plan to use now.
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