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Old February 22, 2005, 01:02 AM   #1
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Cast Bullet Problem

Hi Guys here's one maybe some of you can help me with.

I've been casting bullets for 38 spl and 45 auto for years now.
Well, A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far....oh...wait a minute....I bought a bunch of once fired military brass from a guy.
It took me days to swag all the primer pockets, but thats another story.

Anyway, I have had some trouble (not often, but more than I like) of rounds not chambering in revolvers or autoloaders, doesn't seem to matter.

Tell me if this sounds right to you; I size the bullets to .358 for 38 spl, and .452 for 45 ACP. Now, most of the time, they work just fine in these military cases.
But sometimes, the rounds will go about halfway in the cylinder, and halfway in the chamber in my autos therefore jamming up my nice pistol. (very hard to clear these jams after Mr. Slide tries to cram them in there. The revolvers, not so much a problem)

I always taper crimp, mainly because I'm to lazy to trim pistol brass.

Here's my estimation of what's wrong. I think using military cases, with .452 and .358 bullets...well there just ain't enough room in there for all that in the chamber.
I have some bullets sized up smaller, I just haven't had time to load them up and try them.

Should I:
1) stop using military brass and use commercial only
2) continue using it (I prefer it myself) and size to .451 and .357
3) Break down and buy a luber/sizer and stop messing with the lee size dies.
3) Sell all my guns, move to Antarctica and trade seal skins
4) none of the above

Anyone ever ran into this?
Any help appreciated.
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Old February 22, 2005, 01:23 AM   #2
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I dont think the military brass is your problem here i recently had the same problem with the .452 in my 1911 style les baer it jams just like you said...but shoots without a problem in my 1911 Thompson i think you may have more luck with the .451 caliber i cant help you with the 38 sp...on the other hand you could sell all your guns to me hope that helps you out some
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Old February 22, 2005, 02:03 AM   #3
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Fit problem

Military brass tends to be thicker. Are you taper crimping with lee factory crimp die? Do you have access to case guage? Improper crimp can cause case buldge in lower part of case pass were bullet is seated. Would cailper crimp and adjust to recommended amount for caliber. There seems to be a fairly narrow window that they work properly and if over crimped it will distort case.Take a sized case only (no powder, bullet) and drop it in barrel if it chambers with no problem then it is a crimp problem if will not chamber then you may have a sizing problem.
Hope this helps
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Old February 22, 2005, 07:46 AM   #4
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Measure the diameter of the loads that won't chamber against the ones that will. Maybe you'll find the problem.
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Old February 22, 2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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Some .38 Special brass, mostly nickled, was made for light bullets and has too much taper in the walls for heavy bullets to be seated deeply. Really shows up on flush seated WCs. Mil spec .45 ACP has a good bit of the weight of the bullet outside the case so that the bullet is not seated as deeply as it must be with some popular SWCs.

I'm pretty sure that you have a wall taper problem. First thing to do is to make sure that you are seating your bullets to max overall length. If that does not cure your problem, you might consider going to bullets that do not need to be seated as deeply.

Your bullet diameter looks just right to me, and you could be buying into a different set of problems by going to a smaller size.
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Old February 22, 2005, 12:11 PM   #6
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I've had this happen with military 38 Special brass that came loaded with jacketed bullets. The brass was thicker and wouldn't chamber with anything over .357" in diameter. I use literally thousands of .358" hard cast lead bullets every year with no problem in commercial brass.

I've been using military 45 for years but have yet to see the same problem with 45 brass.

I did however recently see some dreaded A-Merc 45 brass that measured the same thickness as rifle brass and wouldn't even begin to go into a chamber.
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Old February 22, 2005, 12:51 PM   #7
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Sizing the bullets down may solve the chambering problem but could create a new set of problems depending on the correct bullet diameter for each gun. Are you using one .38 and one .45, or multiple guns? I have a Python with tight chambers that won't take some loads and will take others (same batch, same bullet but the cases may not be resized the same number of times). My 586 will chamber them all. FWIW, I like military brass and haven't had any specific problems with it, in either .38 or .45. Tend to agree with LAH, measure the ones that fit against the ones that don't. Until you determine why they don't fit, you will be trying hit and miss (no pun intended) solutions.
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Old February 24, 2005, 09:16 AM   #8
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If you're sizing your cast bullets to .358, and the jacketed bullets are of a nominal .358, this wouldn't be the issue.
Most likely it's a crimp issue. Military brass is thicker (usually), but with a good firm taper crimp, this should bring it down to acceptable dimensions.

Maybe the crimp is too light on some. Size your bullets to chamber, if possible, and no more than .003 overbore, then leave them as is.

just my 2...

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Old February 24, 2005, 05:29 PM   #9
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Thanks all, for your input.

I'll be heading to the range this weekend, and I think I'm going to try a few things to help isolate this problem.

My main 45 ACP problems came when I bought this P97 Ruger. I'm starting to think that perhaps it's got a little tighter chamber than my Colt Commander had.

I miss that gun.

As for the 38's, it's got me, the main reason I started taper crimping was to help eliminate this problem. It did help some, but even after that I still had some issues.
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