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Old August 14, 2012, 07:52 PM   #1
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Reloading 45 colt with lead bullets sticky?

Hello all;

I am fairly new to reloading so bear with me. I have recently reload and tested 45 ACP and happy with the results. I then setup for the 45 colt. My setup is a Lee auto turret press with the 4 die set. The cases are from a box of Magtech cowboy action 45 colt rounds and the replacement bullets are also Magtech 250 grain lead. My issues are expanding the case for the lead bullet and more severe bullet feed. The bullets are snug when feeding into the case and seems to compress when seated. Out of box the bullets are 'sticky'. I am guessing this is lube for the lead bullets. After about 5 passes in the seating die, the die is gummed up to the point it retains the bullet. At that point I had to screw the die in, fish out the bullet, and clean the die. I hate to go through this on a large batch to reload. My questions are about the settings of the expanding die, should I clean the top part of the lead bullet before feeding, and how to prevent gumming up the bullet feed die.
John J. Bauerly NW0I
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Old August 14, 2012, 08:51 PM   #2
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The best solution is also the easiest. You need a Lyman "M" die in 45 Colt. The expanders on them are made for lead boolits. It will elimate all the fuss that you speak of. I use M dies in 44 and 45 because I load primarily lead boolits.

You can muddle through it with your own dies. You're doing right by keeping the lube build up out of the dies. It sounds like you may need to bell the cases a tad more to not shave lube. A properly expanded case will let a boolit sit on top of it...barely. It shouldn't shave any lube or lead upon seating.
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Old August 15, 2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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The OP asked about the SEATING DIE getting gummy. Although I agree that using a stepped expander plug (like the Lyman "M" die uses) will make it easier to start and seat lead bullets, the gumminess issue will remain.

The basic problem is that the Magtech bullets are soft-swaged and then dipped in lubricant. So, there is bullet lube all over the bullet, including where it contacts the seating die nose punch. Since lube on a bullet's nose is not going to contact the gun's barrel, there is no harm in removing it with a cloth and some solvent, so long as the lube on the cylindrical section of the bullet is not reduced.

CAST bullets with lube grooves usually do not have any lube on their noses, because of the way it is applied to the grooves (unless the bullet maker is sloppy). So, you might want to use those in the future.

Back to the "M" die. Its basic function it to expand the case mouth with a little step in it so that the open end is maybe a couple thousandths over bullet diameter and the section after the step is a couple of thousandths less than bullet diameter. That makes it easier to set the bullet straight in the case (compared to using an expander that makes a small conical funnel of the case mouth). In either design, the flare or step in the case mouth is removed when the crimp is applied. Also, with the "M" die, the part of the case after the step is usually expanded about one thousandth more than with dies that are designed to be used with jacketed bullets, because the lead bullets are usually made a thousandth larger in diameter than jacketed. So, that will make for less force when seating the lead bullets.

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Old August 15, 2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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I absolutely agree with SL1. I shoot cast bullets exclusively in both my .45 Colt revolvers, and I have no problems whatsoever with my RCBS dies building up lube as described.

I think if it were me I'd quit using the Magtech bullets and go with something else. Lasercast is certainly one popular maker of cast bullets, but they're awfully hard for CAS style loads. I'd probably look to another brand that offers softer cast bullets.

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Old August 16, 2012, 08:54 AM   #5
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I had the same problem way back when I first started reloading. I was using swaged lead that had lube all along the bullet. Over time the lube would build up on the seating plug and alter my seating depth. I would have to run the plug out to remove the build up of lube.

Once I started casting my own bullets and using a lubrisizer the problem went away.

If you're not going to cast your own, buy cast bullets where the lube is in the grooves.
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Old August 19, 2012, 01:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice and experience. I am glad I did not get the bullets in bulk. After these I'll try another brand. It just seemed logical to stay with the same brand as the cases. The 45 Long are for CAS.
John J. Bauerly NW0I
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Old August 22, 2012, 01:00 PM   #7
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I had the same problem. When I started reloading, all I could find was the magtech bullets.

I reasoned that removing the lube from the conical part of the bullet would not hurt anything (After all, the only thing it was going to touch was the seating plug and a piece of paper). After cleaning about 500 of these bullets, I decided I needed something else.

I went to and started looking around. Had a heck of a time figuring out which bullet(s) to try. Then I saw this on their page:

I have been shooting Missouri Bullets almost exclusively since then. Brad and JoAnn (Although it should be JoAnn and Brad, as she answers the phone more often) have helped me when I have a question about lead bullets.
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:22 PM   #8
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You may want to look into a bevel base design boolit, it helps in the seating, you don't have to flare as much.
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