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Old September 17, 1999, 09:59 AM   #1
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I was recently given a Dillon RL550B for Fathers day along with .45ACP carbide dies, and a host of other items I.E. calipers, tumbler, media, case trimmer. I also received 1000 pieces of nickle plated .45 ACP+P brass, and 1000 Rainier 230 gr TCJ. I have the Hodgdon's 27th edition manual, but before I go and buy components I would like to ask some questions. First off, my wife is totally against this as the UPS man had the gaul to stand at my front door as my wife was signing for the loader and tell horror stories to her. I would like to find a load that uses a powder that will overfill the case if a double charge is dropped. Although it is +P brass I would like to stay with a standard loading. This is as the title infers, banging around ammo. Please include your favorite recipe and all components. If it works better with CCI primers say so. There are dozens of loads for the .45 in the book, but remember, I'd like a double load to overfill the case. This will all be fired from a 5" 1911A1. Thanks.

"Walk softly and carry a big stick, perferably one of the 12 guage variety!"
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Old September 17, 1999, 10:06 AM   #2
Chuck B.
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I'm new to reloading also (a little over 3000 rounds so far). I started with the same thoughts that you have expressed. I got over it. As far as I've been able to tell, most .45 charges don't come near to filling the case. Just pay attention and use good reloading practices. It's safe. Good luck.
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Old September 17, 1999, 11:37 AM   #3
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DOCSpanky, I think you'll find the .45 acp isn't really at its best with slower burning powders. They are the ones that will fill over half the case.

You could probably find a load using Unique that would fill over half, and still be safe, but it would be pretty stout.

My advice: Go slow, read up on proper use of your new loader, gain confidence in your abilities, keep the wife in the other room while you build your ammo.

Good luck...


PS: My favorite load is a target load using 4.5 gr Bullseye and a 200 gr LSWC cast bullet.

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Old September 17, 1999, 11:53 AM   #4
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What Joe and Chuck said. Maybe someone will provide the type of load you're looking for, but most good loads for the .45 are with the faster powders, and they are too small a charge to provide a double charge overflow.

Like noted above, go slow and careful. For example, I use a progressive press to reload my .45's, but visually check EVERY round for powder charge before seating a bullet. I'd rather be safe than sorry, especially considering that my wife and son will also use these reloads. I also double check my powder measure settings about every 20 - 30 rounds or so.

Another comment: Get a second reloading manual for comparison and reference. You would be surprised at the difference in recommended loads from book to book.

Regards - AZFred

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Old September 17, 1999, 01:24 PM   #5
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AA#5 uses a charge of about 8 grains in a .45
where something like titegroup will use 4.2, so I would go with a powder like aa#5 it is close to half a case of powder and it was developed specifically for the .45..... it says so on the webpage.

10MM Magnum.... tried the rest, now I got the best
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Old September 17, 1999, 02:47 PM   #6
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Trying sheepishly not to sound dumb, but is aa#5 a winchester powder??? I,m looking through my Precision reloading catalog and don't see it??

"Walk softly and carry a big stick, perferably one of the 12 guage variety!"
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Old September 17, 1999, 03:02 PM   #7
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Nope, AA #5 is a powder from Accurate Arms, not Winchester.

Regards - AZFred

[This message has been edited by Fred (edited September 17, 1999).]
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Old September 17, 1999, 03:50 PM   #8
Paul B.
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DOC.I would like to suggest Alliant's Unique, but I don't know how well it will meter through your powder measure. I have a tendency to work up what I like to call "working loads". That is, a load that will do for 90 percent of whatever shooting I want to do. Kind of like the "KISS" prnciple.
I don't know how much of the case W-231 will fill (haven't gotten around to trying it in the .45 yet) but I don't think it will bulk up as well as Unique. I haven't load .45's in a while,(got to cast up about 2,000 bullets) but I use 5.0 gr. Unique for a "working" load. I have to check loads quite frequently as it doesn't feed through my measures as smoothly as I like. I know though, that a double charge will show up, if you look.
As far as that UPS guy is concerned, I would call your local UPS office and let them know that all he needs to do is deliver the stuff, and that his opinion is not needed or wanted.
Tell your wife for me, that handloading is safe as long as you pay attention to what you are doing. I've been reloading personally, and sometimes commercially, for over 40 years, and I have never blown a gun, or myself up yet. (or a customers gun either)
If you want to have fun, try loading 2,000 rounds of .45's on a single stage press. I don't trust the progressives much. Tries a Piggyback when they came out. Was junk in my opinion. It went back. Now that I am retire, Dillons are too rich for my blood. I'll just have to stick to my old Rockchucker and thank God I have the time to do it.
Happy reloading.
Paul B.
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Old September 17, 1999, 04:07 PM   #9
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Yeah makes you wonder if he stood on a neighbor's porch and issued him a safty lecture on blow up dolls.. but i digress.

9 grains of AA #5 makes a KICK ASS 185 jhp load but its a HOT load... be very very carfeful for signs of ruptered case mouth primier blow outs or primers "backing out".

PS you can put 5 grains of Red Dot behind most bullets for the .45 acp and not hurt your gun. 185- 230 grain jacketed OR lead. (accuracy will vary in your gun of course)

Red Dot is a shotgun powder and burns very quickly and its cheaper that unique or AA#5.. but it does burn lot dirtier. Take a rag to the range and feild strip your weapon after 250 rounds. Wipe the excess residue off and shoot some more.

Have fun stay safe and measure twice.


One note on reloading 45's I was using a loose commander barrel as a go/no go guage fore a while and discovered I had made A BUNCH of AMMO that would NOT FIT my colt new service army revolver. (GET A SAMMI SPEC CASE GUAGE from midway or dillon)
Funny thing was i could load it my "modern" autos but my antique wouldn't take the rounds.

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Old September 17, 1999, 04:15 PM   #10
Walt Welch
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I would suggest Hodgdon's HS-6. It is a spherical powder, and measures well through a powder measure. It is not quite as bulky as Unique, but will definitely reveal a double charge. It is cleaner burning than Unique as well.

Further, if you decide to try some +P loads, which only work at 2,000 cup more than the standard loads, you can use HS-6. The data is to be found in Hodgdon's loading manual (the hard copy, not the online version).

An alternative would be to find the Olin (formerly Winchester) powder closest to HS-6. Since Olin makes Hodgdon's powders, there are usually powders from each company which are very, very close in burning rate.

Good luck, and watch the OAL carefully. Make sure it is correct to begin with, and after a cartridge has cycled through the chamber a few times. Hope this helps, Walt

PS; don't worry about trimming cases. First of all, you should be taper crimping, which is fairly free from influence by case length, and secondly, don't tell anyone, but the .45 ACP really doesn't headspace on the chamber ledge. There is always a slight gap between the case mouth and the ledge in the chamber. Otherwise it would jam. However, polite fiction has the case headspacing on the case mouth, so don't repeat this. Walt
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Old September 18, 1999, 03:01 AM   #11
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Would'nt it work using a digital scale to check finished bullet weights as a extra step to reduce the chances of a double charge? I use 10.6 grains of AA#7 on my 357 Sig reloads,so not only would a double charge fill the case disproportionately,but would also show up as a 10.6 grain differential when weighing the bullet. But with this cartridge,bullet setback is probably the thing to really watch out for. I'm gonna try checking each bullets weight,just to see what I get. I use a Lee progressive that gets hung up now and then. And being human,theres no guarantee ever that a double did'nt 'sneak' through the gates,so I'm gonna try checking it this way.
Theres lots to remember when reloading. I never checked for bullet set back when I reloaded 45,or 9mm,but now am going to. It would be wise to make a list to use when reloading stating things like check OAL and verify with book,verify powder and powder grains,check case integrity,verify bullet is correct for caliber and its weight AND type-FMJ or lead-and verify correct powder amt for type, check a few rounds in gun chamber for sizing to ensure they don't get STUCK! , do the thumb pressure test for setback(I use the edge of my bench! ) and chamber a few a couple times to ensure no setback,I'm adding the weigh bullets in scale thingy. And very important- DON'T load a ton of ammo WITHOUT test firing at range in the pistol(s) you'll fire them in! You may find the suckers are too weak,too strong,not accurate enough,etc etc. I'll load maybe 20-30 rounds,take them to the range to test fire,if ok-THEN I make a bunch of them. Otherwise,as one stated here,you're screwed and stuck with ammo that is either no good or in need of group adjustments,such as OAL which I had to do with some loads I made in Sig- a reeeeal pain in the .......
But the most important thing to remember- DON'T load while tired,sleepy,drunk,drugged,distracted or in any shape that won't allow FULL attention to the details!!!!!!!!!!
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Old September 18, 1999, 02:13 PM   #12
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I have the same Dillon. I load standing up, so I can look directly down the case after it's been charged. I use alot of Bullseye, AA#5 and WW231, and I WOULD know if there was a double in there. Powders like Unique, I think, would clearly show a double charge, probably with an overflowing case. If you're after +P loads, a Blue Dot combination might even contain some compressed loads.

I don't try to set any speed records when reloading. If I want to push it, I'll do 200-300 rounds and call it a night. Dillon says you can do upwards of 500 rounds/hour, but I think you'd have a splitting headache concentrating. Just take your time, and you can easily pump out a week's worth of shooting in a leisurely night at the reloading bench.

Sportster gave you some great advice: Do not load many of a new combination. Go to the range, chrono them if you can, check for excessive pressure and feeding reliability. If you like them, THEN go for quantity. I've learned that lesson the hard way. (And, I've spent many nights with a gravity puller disassemblying my mistakes!)

Have fun; reloading for .45 is a good time.
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Old September 18, 1999, 03:31 PM   #13
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I don't envy anyone learning to reload on a progressive machine. There's so much detail to observe, and so many potential pitfalls, that one should be more concerned with precision and proper procedure than speed. I have been loading for 35 years on the same single station RCBS press, and have never had an 'accident'. I have heard of several instances of problems consistent with double-charging, using Dillon loaders. I suspect the people involved were 'speed demons'. The Dillon is a fine machine by all accounts, but if I had one, I would watch carefully for double charging gremlins, and use whatever manual-recommended components shot best in my gun. I use Unique and a 200-grain commercially cast SWC for almost all of my .45ACP loads. slabsides

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Old September 19, 1999, 01:06 AM   #14
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I, like Paul B. & Slabsides, have loaded for upwards of 35 years, all on a single stage press, the last 15 or so on a Rockchucker. Then, no matter what load your using, charge them all with powder, before seating bullets, next look in the cases using a flashlight, making sure they all look the same, then seat the bullets. Any one that looks different, empty and recharge before seating the bullets. If you'll make it a habit to do that, you'll not have an overcharge. I use 5.6 gr. of Win 231, with a 200 gr. cast semi-wadcutter, for an all around load. It works well in three different 45's. Reddog
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Old September 20, 1999, 05:58 PM   #15
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Sportster's right about using a scale to double-check for double charges. It's actually easier with a balance beam jobber, as the beam really pegs out heavy with a double, and pegs out light with a no-powder cartridge.

This technique works best when using only the same brand of brass. In .308, different makes of brass can throw the total weight +/- 10 grains or more... For mixed brass, you'll have to use a digital, and MAKE SURE the differential between heavy brass and light brass is less than half of your powder charge weight.

For the Dillon, I suggest getting one of those dental mirrors on a stick from the electronics store--one with two friction ball adjustment joints. Attach it to the press so it gives you a slightly oblique view to the bottom of the case. (Straight vertical doesn't let you judge whether the powder level is abnormally high or low...). Then ALWAYS look before seating the bullet.

You can also save a bit of trouble by watching the primer pickup gizmo as it goes forward while the ram is coming down. Look through the thin gap between the primer containment tube and the press's frame. If you see no primer in there (Winchester's red laquer makes it easy to see!), halt all handle movement and manually pull back the primer slide to try to pick up a primer.

It's VERY important to not drop the ram, then repeat the upward stroke (down with the handle) because you'll drop another powder charge. When in doubt, stop and weigh the charge in the #2 station's brass.
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Old September 20, 1999, 08:45 PM   #16
James K
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Hi Walt Welch,

I think we've been here before, but what gives you the idea that the .45 ACP does not stop on the case mouth? What stops it? Do we have a different idea of what headspace is?


P.S. DOCSpanky, I would certainly try to get that UPS guy in trouble. He was way out of bounds. Lying to customers is not part of his job.

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Old September 20, 1999, 09:46 PM   #17
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All I can add is that DOCSpanky must be one heck of a father to get such a gift!
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