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Old September 5, 2012, 07:31 AM   #1
dos0711
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.45 Colt Case length

I have some Winchester brass that is once fired and measuring the cases I find that some are shorter than the trim length...are they trash?
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Old September 5, 2012, 07:40 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
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How much shorter?

If only a tiny bit, no they're not trash.

The trim length is, in most cases, really an arbitrary figure.

As long as your cases aren't too short, and are all the same length (to promote consistent crimping), they should be good for a long, long time.
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Old September 6, 2012, 05:02 PM   #3
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Ok, I found out what the problem was...some Hornady cases mixed in with the Winchesters. Now, my question is this...if the case length max is 1.285 and the trim length is 1.275 does that mean that anything in between those two figures is "usable length" brass? Is the difference going to affect crimping much?
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Old September 6, 2012, 05:13 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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Yes, and possibly.

I should have been more exact in my original answer, though.

I should have said case length is less critical in revolver cartridges, which headspace on the rim.

In a semi-auto case, they normally headspace on the mouth so length is far more critical.

Now, back to your cases...

One good, quick, and cheap way to get all of your cases the same length is to get one of the Lee trimmers. It uses a cutter with a rod that bottoms out on a base into which you put the case. Does a nice job at quickly uniforming a bunch of cases.

As for how important it is to have all of the cases the same length, it really becomes more important when you start needing more crimp to hold a bullet in place against heavy recoil.

If you don't have all of the cases the same length, you can get quite a bit of crimp variation.
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Old September 6, 2012, 05:25 PM   #5
moxie
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FWIW, I've never trimmed handgun cases of any caliber in over 20 years and never had a problem. Rifle cases are a different story.
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Old September 6, 2012, 07:03 PM   #6
dos0711
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How does this look fellas?


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Old September 6, 2012, 10:05 PM   #7
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It looks good. You could prolly get away with less crimp though.

I've never trimmed any handgun brass and never had a problem. If you find short cases and it concerns you...that's what starting loads are for.
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Old September 7, 2012, 01:55 AM   #8
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Thanks. Another question, do you have to add filler?
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:35 AM   #9
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The only time I trim handgun cases is when I'm wanting them to all have the same degree of crimp.

That's normally only with .357 and .41 Magnum.

I agree that you can probably back off on your crimp, it does look heavy.

As for filler... generally no.

What powder and what charge weight are you using?
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:37 AM   #10
dos0711
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I'm using Trail Boss at 5.3 grns with a 255 grn lead flat nose. I wasn't sure about the crimp since they are going to be used in a tubular magazine.
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:53 AM   #11
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No filler with Trail Boss.

The recoil with TB should be light enough that you should be able to get away with just a very light crimp.

I use Universal in my .45 Long loads for my Smith & Wesson revolver. It's a pretty stout load, but I only use a relatively minor amount of crimp and I don't have problems with bullet set back.
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:55 AM   #12
dos0711
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Good to know...thanks for all the answers to my questions! I'll back off the crimp on the next batch.

Btw, are those short Hornady brass good for anything?
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:00 AM   #13
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I added some more information in my previous post.

As for the short brass...

Hell yes. Load them and shoot them.

Load a couple up and see what kind of crimp you get on them. You may get enough that it's of no concern at all.

If you don't, keep them separate, and load them with the crimp die down a quarter or half a turn.

Or, trim the other cases to match and load them all the same.

If that fails, send them to me, I'll give them a good home.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:04 AM   #14
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How short are they? I wouldn't be afraid of using them with especially with Trail Boss, since that runs at low pressures.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:05 AM   #15
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It sounds as if it's around 1/100th of an inch difference, which isn't much at all, really.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:08 AM   #16
dos0711
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No the Hornady brass measures like 1.225 or thereabouts. I thought I read somewhere that they were short for the leverevolution bullets...
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:15 AM   #17
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Whoa!!!

If the Hornady brass is headstamped ".44 Magnum" and is only 1.225" long, then it is 0.050" shorter than normal .44 Magnum cases at 1.275". It probably comes from the new Hornady "Leverevolution" ammo that is loaded with their "Flex-Tip" bullets, which have a pointed tip and are longer than standard from the crimp groove to the nose.

While not as short as .44 Special brass (at 1.150"), this brass still could use some charge weight adjustment for near max loads.

For example, QuickLOAD thinks that a charge of 2400 under a .240 grain Hornady XTP bullet that gives the SAAMI max pressure in a regular .44 Magnum case will give an additional 5,000 psi in the shorter Hornady case.

This seems like a new and potentially dangerous wrinkle that Hornady has added to reloading the .44 Magnum. While 5,000 unexpected psi is not likely to break a gun by itself, it is added to (and compounds the effects of) the other multiple-thousand psi variations that can come from different powder lots, substituting primer brands, substituting bullets, etc. In some of the .44 Magnum guns that are not built like tanks, this might be the issue that pushes the situation to the point of a blow-up in the hands of an unwary handloader.

At least, it is a hard variation to not notice.

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Old September 7, 2012, 08:22 AM   #18
Mike Irwin
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Whoa!

That is going to give you problems crimping if you don't adjust the die.

How many do you have?

If not that many, I'd simply scrap them.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:32 AM   #19
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Yeah I only have about 20 of them...I'll just throw them in my rimfire brass collection...
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Old September 7, 2012, 11:58 AM   #20
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Sounds like a good plan to me .

Yes, that is a really heavy crimp for Trail Boss loads. For case mouth life, I'd back off quite a bit. You just need to 'turn the corner' so to speak!

FYI,

Trail Boss .45 Colt 255g SWC tests
Trail Boss .45 Colt 250g RNFP tests
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Old September 7, 2012, 04:13 PM   #21
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SL1,

He is loading 45 long colt, not 44 mag.
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Old September 7, 2012, 05:18 PM   #22
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Mike,

OOPS. You are correct. I got my threads mixed-up.

Hornady does make LEVERevlolution ammo for the .44 magnum, so what I wrote in the previous post still applies to those cases, although perhaps with some modification for a different case length for their shortened .44 Magnum cases.

For the .45 Colt, the the case is 0.041" too short instead of 0.050" too short.

According to QuickLOAD, working with something like Unique to produce 14,000 psi loads with a Hornady 250 grain XTP, using the shorter case increases pressure by only about 1,000 psi.

If instead, we use "Ruger only" loads of 2400 at 32,000 psi, then using the shorter .45 Colt case gives an increase of about 3,900 psi.

With a 300 grain bullet, the increase goes to 5,700 psi with 2400 in "Ruger only" .45 Colt loads. I am sure that something similar would happen with 300 grain bullets in the .44 Magnum.

So, I guess the point is that the length change isn't too much problem with SAAMI loads in the .45 Colt, but could be with magnum level loads in this or other cartridges.

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Old September 7, 2012, 05:20 PM   #23
moxie
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This is .45 Colt.

With that light of a load I'd not even do more than a light taper crimp. Just remove the flare. You're not going to get any bullet jump with that load, assuming any decent case neck tension.
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Old September 8, 2012, 03:13 PM   #24
dos0711
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Got some unfired brass today...250 cases for $40...is that a good price?



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