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Old March 16, 2009, 08:43 AM   #1
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.45 Colt Hornady Dies? Wrong size resizer?

I am having problems getting bullets seated and crimped in 45 Colt. After seating and crimping, I can still push the bullet further down into the case. I've tried heavy crimping, light crimping, no crimping, but still no joy. I am using Hornady Dimension Dies in .45 Colt and Hornady XTP .452" jacketed bullets in 240 grain. I saw an earlier post that the Hornady Die is set up to resize for .454" bullet diameter. 1) Is this true? 2) Could this variance be causing my cases to not provide enough neck tension to work with the crimp? The earlier post said to call Hornady and they will send out the .454 Casull sizing die which sizes the case to accept .452" diameter bullets.

Does this sound like a bunch of malarky, or would .002" make that much of a difference? Interested to know what others are doing if reloading using Hornady. Anyone else have this problem with loose bullets?
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Old March 16, 2009, 09:06 AM   #2
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You didn't say what brand of brass you're using, but I suspect that might be the culprit. Some brass is measurably "thinner" than other brass, and thus has a harder time holding the bullet with case neck tension, even after it's been re-sized with a SAAMI-spec resizing die. I've read about this problem primarily with Remington brass, but I'm sure it applies to some others as well.

What you can't expect is for any crimp to make up for insufficient neck tension. That's just a recipe for disaster, especially in semi-auto pistols.
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Old March 16, 2009, 09:58 AM   #3
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Yes, 0.002" DOES make a difference in bullet tension. Brass cases are a little springy, by design. The case neck inside diameter (ID) should be at least 0.002" LESS than your bullet outside diameter (OD) to grip the bullet tightly enough. So, to achieve that, your sizing die needs to get the case ID at least that small, and the expander plug should not expand it more than that. Usually, the dies leave them a little tighter.

You clearly have a problem if you can slide the bullets in your reloaded cases.

I don't load .45 LC, so I can't compare my case dimensions to yours. What you need to do is first measure the ODs of your bullets to make sure that you have what you think you have. If they are not 0.452", then that could be your problem. (I have old SAAMI drawings for .45 LC cartridge specifications, and they allow bullets from 0.450" to 0.456", so specs don't help much here.)

If they are 0.452" as you expect, then measure your expander plug OD. It should be at LEAST 0.001" smaller than your bullet OD. If not, then you expander plug is too big.

If your plug is not too big, it might be your sizer die. Even if your plug IS too big, that might not be your ONLY problem. So, you also need to look at your sizer die function.

Size a case and do NOT expand it. See if the bullet still slides in and out easily, or not. If it does, you have PROBABLY found a sizer die issue. It is just not making the YOUR case ID small enough for those bullets. But, the problem could be the die, or it could be that your cases have unusually thin walls.

Measure the wall thickness of your cases right at the mouth. Some .45 LC cases that I have measure 0.013" thick. If yours are within a couple thousandths of that, then your cases are probably OK.

Sizer dies are usually designed to make the case mouth ID small enough that relatively thin cases are made small enough to need some expansion by the plug to get to the right ID for loading. That way, they work for both thick and thin cases. But, on another recent thread, a guy loading .40 S&W cases was having trouble, and found that his case mouth walls were 0.006"-to-0.007" thick instead of 0.010" to 0.012" thick. His sizer die was not small enough for that variation in wall thickness. So, if your case walls are unusually thin, too, that MIGHT be your only problem.

At this point, check the things discussed above and tell us what you find.

If you have a carbide sizer die, it would also help for you to measure the ID of the carbide insert, at the upper end inside the die. Post what that dimension is here on the forum, and maybe some the other guys who load the .45 LC will be kind enough to measure theirs and tell us if yours looks normal. (It is hard to figure what it should be from case measurements. My experience with other calibers is that it will be about 0.004" less than bullet diameter, but that may vary with several parameters that cahnge from cartridge to cartridge. So, let's see how yours compares to others for the same cartridge.)

Let us know what you find.

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Old March 16, 2009, 10:05 AM   #4
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More info needed. Did you use the #2 die before trying to seat the bullet? I suspect you may have too big of an expander. Try seating a bullet WITHOUT using the #2 die, the expander, at all. If the bullet still seats and can be pushed into the case, you have an oversized sizer die, OR as SL1 said, your brass is too thin.
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Old March 16, 2009, 10:16 AM   #5
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You shouldn't have to dink around with the dies to get cases right. I would write Hornady, tell them of the problem and I am sure they will make it right for you. Several years ago I bought a set of RCBS 45 Colt dies. It took me ruining a couple of cases to realize that even though the dies were marked 45Colt they in fact were dies meant for a 44 Mag. I wrote RCBS and they exchanged the dies all within a week.
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Old March 16, 2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the help, I'll give a shot this evening without using the flaring die and see if that helps. I'll also measure the resizing die to see if that is what I am expecting.
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Old March 16, 2009, 08:46 PM   #7
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++1 for the Hornady 454 sizer. Works great for 45 colt. Never tried the 45 colt sizer, but heard about the same problems you heard/have.

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