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Old December 1, 2012, 03:27 PM   #1
WileyP
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.45 ACP not completely chambering

I'm new to reloading, even though I did make 500 or so rounds about 10 years back. I have a Lee progressive press and Lee dies for the .45 ACP. I'm using new brass from Starlite, Federal Premium large pistol primers, Accurate #5 powder, and Hornady 230 grain XTP bullets.

Using loading data from Lee's "Modern Reloading" (second edition), I used 7.8 grains (Lee Auto-Disk #.49 gave me exactly 7.8 grains measured on two scales). I initially set the bullet depth to give me an overall length of 1.260", but they would not load into the magazine of my Para X 1911, so I pressed them a little further to give me an oal of 1.50", the minimum oal listed in the Lee manuel. I checked the diameter and they were right on specs.

So I loaded up 5 rounds and stepped outside to try them out, proud and full of confidence! Right!

First round - Perfect! Second round - Perfect...almost. The third round did not quite chamber all the way, lacking about 1/16" of being all the way into the chamber. I removed the magazine and cycled the slide part-way, and the round went in. I reinserted the magazine and fired off the third round. Again, the fourth round was about 1/16" shy of being fully chambered. I went through the same procedure for that and the fifth round.

After that, I loaded 5 more rounds and double-ensured everything was within spec. Ever heard the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing in exactly the same way and expecting a different outcome? Yup - That''s a good analogy of it! The first round chambered fine, but the next four all needed a little help.

So I'm wondering if perhaps loading them to the minimum "Start Grains" didn't give enough pressure to cycle the slide all the way back, but just far enough to eject the spent round and partially shove the new one part way into the chamber. I can't really imagine that a published charge would not properly cycle the slide, but I guess it could be possible.

Any of you ol' long-timne reloaders care to take a moment to give this neophite some of your sage advice? It would certainly be appreciated, 'cause right now I'm feeling kinda stupid!

Wiley
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:33 PM   #2
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.45 ACP is very sensitive to COAL (cartridge over all length) as I are most semi-auto cartridges. Max COAL for .45 ACP is 1.275". So since you checked that, next would be making sure your chamber was really clean.
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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Okay sorry for the short answer, got side tracked by the phone.

Next after residue build up in the chamber, and/or the slide perhaps needs lubing. Next is a weak recoil spring, or maybe an improperly tensioned extractor. In this case the extractor would be too tight.
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:58 PM   #4
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" I pressed them a little further to give me an oal of 1.50"
This is probably a typo but us guys who spent a long time measuring small parts
notice those things,these XTP bullets I don't use them at all,they are notched are they not?in any case have you tried factory loads?they work?I would check
my loads against what works and if there's no difference I'd go with (perish the
thought!)either what works or 230gr.FMJ RN.good luck
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Old December 1, 2012, 03:58 PM   #5
WileyP
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Thanks, nate, for your rapid reply.

The guy that gave me a couple lessons 10 years ago said the same thing - that all semi-automatices are very sensative to every spec, and thus my compulsion to do it right the first time. The 500 rounds I made back then did work just fine.

As for the cleanliness, yes, the chamber and barrel are clean as can be.

As for the COAL, Lee's book does give lengths depending on the powder and bullet you use. I see COALs as short as 1.135" (for using a 185g jacketed bullet with Accurate #7 powder) and as long a 1.260" (when using 230g lead and SR4756 powder). The book gives a "max oal" of 1.250 with the combination I used. Their diagram shows a length of 1.275". I set mine at 1.250 (made a typo in my initial post! D**N), because at 1.260, they wouldn't fit in the magazine for my Para X.

Thanks again for your time - I'll re-clean that barrel/chamber and make sure everything is properly lubed, too!

Wiley

PS: Why would they give different COALs for different loads?
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:04 PM   #6
DASHZNT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WileyP View Post
I'm new to reloading, even though I did make 500 or so rounds about 10 years back. I have a Lee progressive press and Lee dies for the .45 ACP. I'm using new brass from Starlite, Federal Premium large pistol primers, Accurate #5 powder, and Hornady 230 grain XTP bullets.

Using loading data from Lee's "Modern Reloading" (second edition), I used 7.8 grains (Lee Auto-Disk #.49 gave me exactly 7.8 grains measured on two scales). I initially set the bullet depth to give me an overall length of 1.260", but they would not load into the magazine of my Para X 1911, so I pressed them a little further to give me an oal of 1.50", the minimum oal listed in the Lee manuel. I checked the diameter and they were right on specs.

So I loaded up 5 rounds and stepped outside to try them out, proud and full of confidence! Right!

First round - Perfect! Second round - Perfect...almost. The third round did not quite chamber all the way, lacking about 1/16" of being all the way into the chamber. I removed the magazine and cycled the slide part-way, and the round went in. I reinserted the magazine and fired off the third round. Again, the fourth round was about 1/16" shy of being fully chambered. I went through the same procedure for that and the fifth round.

After that, I loaded 5 more rounds and double-ensured everything was within spec. Ever heard the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing in exactly the same way and expecting a different outcome? Yup - That''s a good analogy of it! The first round chambered fine, but the next four all needed a little help.

So I'm wondering if perhaps loading them to the minimum "Start Grains" didn't give enough pressure to cycle the slide all the way back, but just far enough to eject the spent round and partially shove the new one part way into the chamber. I can't really imagine that a published charge would not properly cycle the slide, but I guess it could be possible.

Any of you ol' long-timne reloaders care to take a moment to give this neophite some of your sage advice? It would certainly be appreciated, 'cause right now I'm feeling kinda stupid!

Wiley
I load those same rounds in my 1911 and I had to load the coal to 1.205. Its a seating length that youre having an issue with. That is the magic number for me and they run smooth as silk and are dead on accurate.. i use bullseye and 5.0grs. I hope that was helpful for you.

Remember, the manuals are only a suggestion.. you sometimes have to adjust for your pistol and in doing so, i recommend adjusting everything when you do that. When i say everything, i mean the charge weight and build it back up. Your most important part is reliability. Once you have that solved and running smoothly, then you can start to build up the load from 10% lower than max... just my $0.02

DASHZNT
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:09 PM   #7
WileyP
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Thanks, polyphemus, for your reply, too.

Yes, I've fired a couple thousand factory rounds through my Para with nary a hiccup.

And yes, the XTP has 6 tiny notches around the hollow point. The jacketing extends over the notches to the end of the bullet. See a picture of it here.

I don't currently have any hollow factory points to match up with what I'm loading.

Do you load personal protection rounds or general plinking or taget rounds?

Thanks again!

Wiley
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:11 PM   #8
polyphemus
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Because bullet depth affects internal cartridge pressure,and in the .45 ACP
.010" makes a considerable difference,this also takes into account the amount of and type powder used and primer cap to achieve desired projectile velocity.
Boyle's Law if you like Physics.
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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You're welcome man,I have a Martinson 21" machete for personal protection,my
!911's are my peace babies.
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:24 PM   #10
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Looks like I should look stuff up, before I start answering questions. According to this link its steel cartridge cases that could cause an extractor to be too tight. Looks like obstructed chamber and dented cases could cause your problem too, but we can probably rule those out. Anyway, that is a good site with lots of valuable 1911 info.

http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/malfunction.htm
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Old December 1, 2012, 04:26 PM   #11
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Thanks, polyphemus - That explains a lot. And with a total depth (powder and bullet) of about 1.075", .010" depth would relate to nearly 1% of the total case volume!

Thanks, DASHZNT - that's some good information, too. And using polyphemus' information along with yours...

If I press the bullet in from 1.250" to, say, 1.205, that would mean pushing it in .045". That would equate decreasing the case volume by about 4.5%. Would you think that a, say, 5% reduction in powder would be suitable as a start?

Thanks!

-Thanks for the link, nate - Looks like a very good site!

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Last edited by WileyP; December 1, 2012 at 04:37 PM.
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Old December 1, 2012, 05:13 PM   #12
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Well... The .45ACP case has enough space for approximately 12grs of powder. So therefore youre fine! I didnt read what youre using for powder, but I use bullseye and my load is 5grs and im completely fine with regard to space.

I say before anything, make a dunny round that chambers perfectly. What I mean by that is no primer or powder just prohectile. Then slowly work down the seating by a couple thousanths each tims and then check it in you barrel. Continue that process until you find the length that works in your gun. Then, lock everything down and save that round for future reference.

After that, then make live test rounds, 20 or so to shoot at the range and see what works best for you. Id say 4 different loads of 5 rounds each. So, take the max load and bump it down by 10 percent, make 5rds. Then make 5 more rounds at 7.5 percent less than max. Then 5 more at 5 percent less than max and finally 5 more at 2.5 percent less than max load. And if you really want to, although i never have, you can load 5 at max. I dont think those are necessary because I believe you will find the right load for that oal with those 4 loads.

It seems like a boring pain in the butt, but safety first always. Plus, after you go through that grunt work, you wont have to do it again. Youll have a load that works and you like alot.

Good Luck And Enjoy!!

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Old December 1, 2012, 05:49 PM   #13
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Before you start seating anything deeper, measure the case diameter right at the mouth
and tell me what you get.

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Old December 1, 2012, 06:15 PM   #14
DASHZNT
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Oh yea... my taper crimp is .47!

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Old December 1, 2012, 06:15 PM   #15
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You should be looking at Hornady book, not Lee, anything form Lee is going to be generic.

Hornady calls for 1.230 for the 230 XTP.

Good idea to check the rest as noted though as well.

Doesn't hurt to have a cartrdige gage for the semi autos (or take the gun aparnt and check dropping it into the chamber).

The pistol chamber will be more tolerant than the gauge.
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Old December 1, 2012, 06:49 PM   #16
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Hornady says 1.230" overall length for 45 ACP 230 grain XTP's. At that length they chamber fine in Glocks, Colts, & Sigs. Note that hollowpoints have a shorter oal while fmj's usually seat out to 1.250-1.260" oal.
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Old December 1, 2012, 06:57 PM   #17
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Yep.. I use the Hornady Manual for XTPs as well. So for me going from 1.230 to 1.205 is no big deal at all, its what my gun likes without hitting the rifling.

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Old December 1, 2012, 08:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Any of you ol' long-timne reloaders care to take a moment to give this neophite some of your sage advice? It would certainly be appreciated, 'cause right now I'm feeling kinda stupid!
1)Double check your crimp.

Take the barrel out of your gun, and drop a loaded round in the chamber. It should drop in freely. If it doesn't, try screwing down the crimp die a bit (say, 1/4 turn).

2)Check your seating depth.

Are the bullets engaging the rifling (gun won't go completely into battery, will be hard to rack the slide to clear the jam, may be marks on the bullet from the rifling.)? If so, you need to seat a bit deeper.
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Old December 2, 2012, 10:08 PM   #19
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Wow! I cannot believe how helpful you folks are. Not just to me, but to others as well. In the past 24 hours, this post moved down at least 20 or 30 places! Great group, and I do thank you!

Mehavey - I measured the width right at the end of the case and got .473. If that is out of the ballpark, would cranking down my crimper die about another 1/4 turn help?

DASHZNT - I had made a dummy round earlier as I was setting the initial depth, and yes, it drops right in. Just like a factory round. I've got no problem going through the regimen of working my way up with the powder. Matter of fact I'll enjoy doing it!

RC20 - I ordered the Hornady book and will study it thoroughly. The Lee book, of course, does not have specific specs for the XTP with different powders, just for "230 grain Jacketed Bullet."

rg1 - Thanks for that information, Common sense would have told be that hollow points would have a shorter oal than round nose. Appreciate your comment!

lee n. field - As I mentioned above, my crimp may be 3/1000ths wide, but when I drop it into the barrell, it drops in with no resistance whatever. I imagine that if it was too wide it might not ramp up properly, and I've got no problem with it on the ramp. In addition, it does not appear that the bullet is engaging the rifling at all.

All in all, folks, I can't thank you enough for all your help. I will reduce my load by 10% and increase the depth to an oal/COAL of 1.230. I'll do 5 rounds at that load, 5 rounds at a reduction of 7.5% and 5 rounds at a reduction of 2.5%. If the cases don't show any deformation or damage, I'll try the full load again at the new depth.

Best regards to you all!

Wiley
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Old December 2, 2012, 10:20 PM   #20
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I measured the width right at the end of the case and got .473. If that is out of the ballpark, would cranking down my crimper die about another 1/4 turn help?
The single greatest problem causing the 45ACP's slide to fail closing that last 1/10" as you describe, is the mouth diameter.

Turn the die down whatever it takes to get 0.469 - 0.470 and see if that doesn't solve the problem.
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Old December 3, 2012, 10:43 AM   #21
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-WileyP

Looks like your on information overload right now, and its all good! Im glad to be of service and I hope all goes well with these rounds. Please keep us posted on your progress. And like I said before, 1.230" is max oal for those but you might have to go slightly lower for your gun, jusy take it slow. Once you find what works reliably, you can lock it down and mass produce it.. goodluck!!

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Old December 3, 2012, 11:53 PM   #22
WileyP
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Well....maybe I just wasn't meant to be doin' this! I had such good results 10 years ago, I don't know why I expected things to go smoothly now!

So - I took my test round (no primer or powder) and re-set my crimper die to give me the proper .470" at the case throat. Then I turned in the seating die to give me a 1.230" oal. The test round came out textbook perfect. Feeling confident that all was now hunky-dory, I ran a round through.

Oops! What the h**l are these wrinkles in the case?! Must be a bad case. Try one more. D**n!

The test round is on the left. What appears to be a very slight deformation on the test round is a reflection. What appears to be a deformation on the loaded round is not!



Any hints? (No fair telling me to buy a fishing pole and give up handloading!)

Wiley
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Old December 3, 2012, 11:58 PM   #23
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Wow.. That sure looks bad buddy. My guess is in the seating portion of this equation. Try slowing the process down. Take it slow and see how they come out for you. Mame sure theyre going in straight and not crooked. A video would be very useful if possible because ive never seen that, im pretty sure its something obvious when we narrow it down.

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Old December 4, 2012, 07:05 AM   #24
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Two causes:

- What I'm seeing on the left (test) round appears to be more akin to a sharp roll crimp than a true taper crimp. What die set are you using ?

- Second, once such a roll crimp starts to bite into the bullet itself (without having a built-in crimp cannelure), it will collapse the case upon further seating. You can see that by the fact that the second (collapsed) bullet itself stopped moving into the case, and a large portion of the shank remains above the case mouth.

For now, seat in one step (no crimp); then unscrew the seating stem a couple of turns and crimp in a separate step.

The final cartridge should look more like this (ignore that it's a semiwadcutter and just look at the case mouth taper):


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Old December 4, 2012, 10:55 AM   #25
schmellba99
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Quote:
The single greatest problem causing the 45ACP's slide to fail closing that last 1/10" as you describe, is the mouth diameter.

Turn the die down whatever it takes to get 0.469 - 0.470 and see if that doesn't solve the problem.
This x 1000

I had what is very similar to your exact same problem a while back on some handloads (switched over from Lee dies to Hornady dies). Turns out I didn't have my crimp set just right and my case mouth was out of spec - not by much, but enough to prevent full battery in my 1911. Aggravating as hell.

A few minutes of measuring found the problem, and along with tweaks to my seating die, I just went the easy way and got me a FCD die. I really suggest that with any semi auto - especially in your case because you don't have a taper crimp die, you have a roll crimp die.

Set your die to produce no crimp at all, then run the rounds through the FCD die (Lee actually makes a pretty solid one, as does Hornady) to give it the final dimensions. I have pumped several thousands of rounds through both brands of factory crimp dies and have never had a problem with them. My problem above resulted from me neglecting that last step.
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