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Old July 5, 2012, 10:42 AM   #1
Coyote WT
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failed plunk test

Good morning collective brain trust.

It's been a while since I got back to the work bench after my stunning 50% fail rate I talked about earlier. Thanks to your insightful advice I think I've been able to fine tune the die, especialling the seating/crimping process, and have pressed another 10 rounds 45 ACP 230 grain with 6.0 grains of Unique powder.

Here's my next "what the heck is going on". Using the plunk test many of you have recommended (removing the barrel and dropping the round in), I have a few rounds that failed to actually plunk.

I've rechecked all of the measurements and find that those few that don't plunk are identical to those that do. The length is the same. The diameter both at the bullet and the shoulder are the same. My inspection finds no reason each bullet shouldn't pass the plunk.

What might I be missing?
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:41 PM   #2
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What are you missing? Body taper or base bulge. Lee makes a push through sizer to eliminate those on 45 brass.

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Old July 5, 2012, 01:12 PM   #3
Old 454
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I use a factory crimp die that also does a final case straighning, I had a few of those also and it totally eleminated any case bulge
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Old July 5, 2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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Have you taken a resized case, no powder bullet, and the fit into the chamber?
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Old July 5, 2012, 01:16 PM   #5
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You don't describe just how far the failed rounds go in. However, it sounds like you may have a bit of a bulge (large diameter) in the middle of the case.

The Lee tool the prior poster mentions sounds like it will fix that problem. I think Lee also makes a crimp tool that does the same thing - in fact it may be what the gentlemen above me is talking about.

I'd measure the diameter of the cartridge in two or three more places before buying anything.
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Old July 5, 2012, 01:42 PM   #6
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Do you have a cartridge gauge to check your loaded rounds? I loaded .45ACPs, with the same die settings, for years and they fit fine in my Colt (I'd always the the barrel as a gauge). The same loads wouldn't chamber in my buddy's Springfield. A slight tightening of the crimp die and they were fine in his gun, too.
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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I have found when this happens it is either the taper crimp need to be increased a touch or that the bullet is seated long enough that the bullet hits the rifling before fully chambering.
Lastly if the bullet very slightly off center in its seating it can interfere with the chambering.
To further experiment I polished a finished round that did not seat well and pushed it into the chamber. After carefully extracting, I could see slight scratches where it was binding, showing where the problem was.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:28 PM   #8
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If you are having a hard time getting rounds to pass the plunk test, make sure you are not over flaring the case mouth, applying too much crimp to where it bulges the case, and have the bullet seated deep enough to not hit the lands (beginning of the rifling). The taper crimp should just bump the case mouth back against the bullet. It does NOT need to dig into the bullet. Here is how I recommend setting up your seat/crimp die to perform both functions perfectly. Everytime.

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Old July 6, 2012, 08:45 PM   #9
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What does your crimp measure ? You should have .469-.471"
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:46 PM   #10
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What might I be missing?
Information, what exact bullet are you using, ie. Precision 230 rn? As above does the sized case drop in by itself? Is the crimp just enough to remove the bell? Have photos of cases as they go through each station/operation?
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:52 PM   #11
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You are using .45 ACP bullets .454 and not 45/40 .458 bullets right? Get a Lee Factory Crimp die it will solve many problems. I believe they are only about $11.00. But it's be a long time since I bough mine. Worth the money at twice the price.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:14 PM   #12
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This stuff does not lock me up, I have 2 45 ACP pistols, both shoot new, factory, over the counter factory made rounds, the only way I can reload for the two pistols is to sneak up on them, I make my reloads look like factory rounds. I make my reloads look like factory ammo by sizing the reloads with a full length sizer die, basically the procedure removes the appearance of a case having swallowed a bullet. I have additional barrels and complete slides.

Full length sizer die and loaded rounds, I only size enough of the case to match the length of the bullet, the case would chamber before seating the bullet, again, I have micrometers, lots of micrometers, took a picture of my micrometers and gages, the picture weighed 400 obs..

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Old July 7, 2012, 07:58 AM   #13
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You are using .45 ACP bullets .454 and not 45/40 .458 bullets right?
If his bullets are .454 we might have found his problem 45 ACP bullets should be .451-.452
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Old July 7, 2012, 05:35 PM   #14
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I don't know of any commonly available .454 bullet at 230 grains. Also, most of his rounds plunk, so I don't think an oversize bullet is a likely cause.

Coyote WT,

I think it's time to haul out the Magic Marker. Cover the rounds that don't plunk with the ink. Get the case and enough of the bullet from the case mouth forward to be sure it is narrowing where you stop. Let them dry thoroughly. Try to plunk them, then gently use your fingernails to pull them out and use a magnifier to look for where they rubbed. Report back and we can give you some better idea.

Also, I let my brass mix, except for matches, and if you do, check to see if a particular headstamp is the one hanging up, and if it's different from the ones that plunk OK? I've had some foreign headstamps that were thicker than normal at the necks and actually came loaded with slightly undersized bullets (specs actually allow a couple thousandths undersized). With no normal bullet would they fit in.

Also, what are you measuring with? When it comes to bullets and cases it is often worth using a an OD thimble micrometer that resolves tenths of a thousandth. The usual calipers deflect a little too easily, and matters of fit can hinge on fractions of a thousandth.
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