View Full Version : Sizing 45 acp bullets

February 22, 2010, 11:40 PM
I have a Kimber TLE RL 2 in 45 acp that I am going to start casting bullets for. I see lee has two sizing dies list for 45, one at .451 and the other at .452. the ball ammo is .451 is this what the lead should be sized to, or .452.

February 22, 2010, 11:55 PM
Lead should be sized to .452. As lead is a little more malleable. At .452 it will fill the grooves in the barrel better.

February 23, 2010, 05:29 AM
Mike, my Lee tumble lube mould casts em at .452

I'm using wheelweights with tin added. I have yet to have any leading issues.

If the bullet is too small you will get more leading.

February 23, 2010, 06:26 AM
.452 is the correct size for lead 45 cal bullets. You don't want any blowby in the bore.

February 23, 2010, 08:27 AM
In cast bullets you want to be at least .001 over bore diameter. Having said that, The only way to know your bore diameter is to slug the barrel. Like reloading there are several things that effect cast Bullets.
A little known fact that alludes many casters. Bullet alloy plays a major part in bullet development. Many wrongly believe that if they have leading they add more tin to harden the Bullet. And if not Sizing this will work some times. Not because of the harder bullet. But because the more Tin added. The larger the as cast bullet will be. Which in some cases makes up for the under sized bullet. There are guys that shoot pretty soft lead up around 1200 FPS. With minimal Leading. But they have put a lot of work into. Bore size, Alloy, lube and powder.

February 23, 2010, 01:25 PM
Hornady's got it right. You need to slug your bore. ;)

February 23, 2010, 09:03 PM
First what is the proceedure for slugging a barrel. Second Qball45 what type of tin are you adding. I read some about adding solder to wheel weights.

February 24, 2010, 11:01 AM
Slugging a rifle bore

Slugging handgun bore

February 24, 2010, 12:12 PM
If casting with WW. You have other options if you just wanting harder Bullets. WW have arsenic in them which when heat treated and to an extent water dropping . Will get pretty hard. I have read were guys have actually gotten a BHN of 30. Way to hard for a Bullet. My main source for tin is Linotype. I add this too my WW and the mix I am getting is between 22 to 24 BHN. I have found Lyno at on-line auction sites. It usually goes for about $1.50 a pound. If thinking about casting I strongly suggest the Lyman cast bullet book. You would not think of reloading with out a manual. And casting is no different.

February 24, 2010, 01:06 PM
Adding tin to any lead alloy won't harden it much. What tin DOES do is increase the fluidity of the melt, allowing it to fill the mold better. It will also make the bullets shiny IF you're casting at exactly the right temp, AND if the antimony content isn't too high.

Depending on where you get linotype metal, it will have a higher percentage of tin in it. It WILL harden your WW, because it's very high in antimony, which is what really makes an alloy harder.

The best source of tin is lead-free solder. Sold in hardware stores in the plumbing supply area. Look for 95% tin 5% antimony content. Some of it will have %5 silver, that's okay, but stay away from the stuff that has 5% copper.

Tin is also available from some other sources, like roto metals, here;


At $12.99/lb it's not cheap. But you only need 2-3% tin in your alloy to get good fill-out of your bullets. Lead-free solder won't be cheap either, you'll pay $16.00 for a 1 lb roll.

February 25, 2010, 08:23 AM
You are absolutely right that Antimony is the major factor in lead hard ness. Tin also plays a part as dose Arsenic. I should have stated this better. As I said I use Lyno and WW . Tin would be more of a filling agent in that it helps the lead release the dross. Thus harder bullets. Less impurities. Lyno is about 11% antimony 3% tin . WW are about 4% antimony. So with my mix I need to add a little more Tin and pure lead to get the mix I am looking for. But I have found that the problem most guys starting out are having is not hardness. And a little more tin will fix the issues they are having. Bad or under sized Bullets. As you said tin fills the mold out with as little as 1% more tin.. Or if not sized will cast a slightly larger bullet in as cast. But today some of the Guys starting out. Realistically Never slug a Barrel. Buy a Lee mold for $20.00 Think lead is lead and start casting. They get leading or bad bullets. and the first thing they think of is, I need a harder bullet. When a better mix would solve the problem. A little more tin. I use Lyman molds. So I try to get as close to Lyman #2.As possible in weight and diameter in as cast .I do like a little harder bullet. But the Lino takes care of that.
. But with the Lee Molds. Instructions state May not Need Sized. I think Lee states this because. They Realize. Some are using A variety of Lead sources. And have no way of predicting an as cast bullet.

February 25, 2010, 09:01 AM
I slugged the bore with a 45 call round ball, slightly flatend. At the largest point it is .451 so Im going to buy the .452 sizer. I think Im going to try straight WW and some solder to start with. If I have to start buying stuff to mix with there goes my savings, the reason I wanted to start casting.

February 25, 2010, 01:09 PM
If your barrel slugged at .451 you should size at .452. And as long as you are shooting mid-Range loads you will be fine with just WW. Make sure you pick the stick on one out. Some will say you don’t have to. But they are almost pure lead.and will soften your mix. After you clean the clips out. Make sure you flux the mix. You can do this with. A pea size chunk of Bees or paraffin wax. Saw dust or even a wood paint stick will do a good job. Just make sure you stir deep in the pot and the sides and botton.to get as much dross out as possible. The number one problem guys have is shooting an under sized bullet. You don’t need hard bullets until you get into Magnum pistol or Rifle. And the 45 ACP is a relatively slow bullet any way.

February 25, 2010, 03:05 PM
That explains alot. I had some stick on weights in the mix and I used the side cutters on them and they started to melt but did not melt compleetly, I was getting concerned it was zink when they didnt melt as quikly as every thing else. I ended up removing them partly melted. Right now I have been just melting down the weights into ingots. Ive been using wax to flux for now. Im going to order a melting pot, thermometer, flux, dipper, molds for 38sp, 40 S$W, and 45ACP along with bullet sizer dies some time with in the next week. Waiting for a friend to come up with his half.