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Thread: Brass thickness among those made for 45 Colt

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Brass thickness among those made for 45 Colt

    Among Starline, Winchester, Federal, Remington, MagTech, and other European manufacturers of 45 Colt cases, I am nearly certain that Starline brass is the thickest. Among all the rest, which is thinnest? I ask because in Venturino's Shooting Lever Guns of the Old West, the author wrote that when shooting black powder loads in 45 Colt rifles thick brass such as Starline's will have insufficient spring or give to seal the rifle's chamber from gas blow back - aka crud or schmutz.

    The large number of Starline 45 Colt brass I have works beautifully when coupled with H110 and CCI Magnum primers. I want to acquire brass that will be thin enough to seal my rifle's chamber when shooting lower pressures of black powder.
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  2. #2
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    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    Just adding, perhaps, another variable: Upon reading your inquiry my mind immediately focused upon the state of the brass in the case. As you no doubt know, as steel is worked it becomes softer, with pretty much the opposite happening with brass cases. Brand new ones get expanded to seal upon firing, then shrink a tad to enable extraction -- with brass which is new, or had been annealed. I have a bunch of .45LC cases which I'm thinking of enlarging primer hole, staining to avoid possible real bullet use, and using these for shooting wax bullets. While I have a Giraud annealing machine and anneal rifle cases as needed, I'm "kinda' chicken" to do so on short pistol cases. Even though the .45 Colt might be long enough... again, it may be too easy to anneal the case head region -- a definite no-no!
    I "hear" what you wrote, and (hopefully as a positive suggestion) question if in fact the thickness of the brass is your challenge -- as opposed to it's spring-back. A TEST I often perform requires a set of Vice-Grip Pliers. With the handles of said pliers closed/locked, turn the adjusting knob to snug jaws enough just to HOLD the open end of the case you wish to test. Open the plier handles and turn adjusting knob one and one-half to two turns, and re-close the pliers. Re-open them and observed: If the brass springs back to where it was, your brass is OK. However, if it stays deformed from the closing and does not spring back -- this may be your problem.
    Again... just a thought. Best wishes. As a .45LC afficiano, I'd like to read what you come up with -- including if it is manufacturer of the case.
    geo

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    This is mostly a case sizing issue, not a brass issue.

    A typical .45 Colt chamber is .480+" in diameter. Modern dies resize the brass to .470-" in order to provide adequate bullet pull with .451-.452" diameter jacketed bullets. Excessive sizing and expander plugs which are more than 0.002" smaller than bullet diameter result in the tighter case mouths deforming soft lead bullets which are appropriate for standard-pressure .45 Colt loads, ideally 8-10 BHN with no need to be harder than 12 BHN even in heavier "Ruger Only" loads.

    You will have better results with the RCBS Cowboy dies or older steel dies which don't excessively size the brass. There is a separate thread on this which covers it in more detail:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...izing-question

    but using thinner brass or body annealing your Starline isn't going to fix the leakage problem when you have a large chamber and your dies make the brass too small to fit correctly.
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  4. #4
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    nicholst55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    This is mostly a case sizing issue, not a brass issue.

    A typical .45 Colt chamber is .480+" in diameter. Modern dies resize the brass to .470-" in order to provide adequate bullet pull with .451-.452" diameter jacketed bullets. Excessive sizing and expander plugs which are more than 0.002" smaller than bullet diameter result in the tighter case mouths deforming soft lead bullets which are appropriate for standard-pressure .45 Colt loads, ideally 8-10 BHN with no need to be harder than 12 BHN even in heavier "Ruger Only" loads.

    You will have better results with the RCBS Cowboy dies or older steel dies which don't excessively size the brass. There is a separate thread on this which covers it in more detail:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...izing-question

    but using thinner brass or body annealing your Starline isn't going to fix the leakage problem when you have a large chamber and your dies make the brass too small to fit correctly.
    Excellent advice. Some folks use steel sizing dies and expander plugs that are properly dimensioned (me), some go to the extreme of having custom cylinders with minimum dimension chambers made up.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Can one anneal the Starline Cases so they would fire form to be a better diameter for later?

    Or would that be a bad idea for it's effecting over all Case strength?

    Or..?

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oyeboten View Post
    Can one anneal the Starline Cases so they would fire form to be a better diameter for later?

    Or would that be a bad idea for it's effecting over all Case strength?

    Or..?
    Done PROPERLY, annealing the case body only, and protecting the head k, l, m regions from heating this would help and is safe. You DO NOT want to anneal the entire case, only the mouth and upper 3/4" of the case body. Standing the case heads in 1/2" of water.

    But with correct dies which match the chamber dimensions, doing so is entirely unnecessary.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Done PROPERLY, annealing the case body only, and protecting the head k, l, m regions from heating this would help and is safe. You DO NOT want to anneal the entire case, only the mouth and upper 3/4" of the case body. Standing the case heads in 1/2" of water.

    But with correct dies which match the chamber dimensions, doing so is entirely unnecessary.
    Makes sense!

    Thanks!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check