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Thread: RCBS .45 ACP Shotshell dies. Finally got a complete set.

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    RCBS .45 ACP Shotshell dies. Finally got a complete set.

    I watched MJ's videos (ammo channel) a few years ago when I first started reloading about making 45 ACP Shotshells from .308 brass, and both methods he used.
    He had a set of rcbs dies (56552), and the case form/trim die (58378) that he custom ordered from RCBS.
    He also detailed a method of using the Lyman 41 mag die set to make 45 Shotshells that are every bit as good as the rcbs method.

    I got interested in this process again after a few years of reloading and after diving into casting. I wanted to give it a try.
    I called an online rcbs dealer to order a set of dies ($169 for the three die set and $96 for the form die and shell holder) and I was told rcbs does not make custom dies anymore. I called rcbs and this was confirmed. No luck. This was going to take some effort. And probably be expensive.

    So I went to the auction site and searched for a set. Nothing was to be found. Even looking at old previous sales there was nothing recent. It's been a few years since a set has sold on there. It looks like the guys who had the foresight to buy them tend to hold on to them.
    I did some deep web searching, and still could not find any for sale. Just cached listings of items sold long ago. I saved a search for 45 Shotshell dies on the bay to see what popped up.

    The next logical step was to use the other proven method and get some 41 mag dies. Found some on the bay and placed the minium bid plus a few bucks. I won the dies and paid for them.
    Shipping was going to take a few days. Two days after buying the 41 mag dies, a member posted a set of Rcbs Shotshell dies in swapping and selling. I jumped on them as soon as I read the ad. Later that day I was a little confused because the part number was different (55000), but after a little research I found that these were the correct dies, just an old part number.

    This was only the three die set, not the case form/trim die. I was assured by the seller that these dies will still produce good Shotshells without the initial case form die. I tried them out and had success. Made good Shotshells from both .308 brass and .45 Magnum brass. I was still on the lookout for a case form die and extended shell holder.

    If Shotshells can be produced with the three die set, and without the use of the case form die, what are the odds that someone will have a case form die for sale, without the three die set? Not very likely at all. If I see one I will have to make sure I get it.

    A few months later, after playing with the Shotshells for a while, that saved search from the bay came through for me. Someone had an auction for a case form die and no 3 die set. These things aren't made anymore, and I need it, so I made my top bid very high. Insanely high. I landed the case form and Tim die with the extended shell holder.
    It showed up last night. Tried it out and it works great. It starts the forming process and the sizing die finishes it. It should prolong the life of the brass forming in two steps instead of one. I feel fitter, happier, more complete. But at the same time, I feel guilty because I can only imagine I was bidding against a few of my fellow forum members. If you guys were bidding, and I beat you out, I apologise. I will get some good use out of them.

    I have not tried the Lyman 41 mag dies yet. The rcbs dies shipped flat rate and arrived the same day as the Lyman dies. I still need to try them out.
    I am wondering if they would benefit from using the case form die first, and then the sizing die to form. I will report back later.

    I tried out the Shotshells on a pumpkin on Thanksgiving. They shot great, but stopped short of completely cycling the action on my sig p220. I used the starting charge of 700x and will have to bump it up a bit. They were also a hair too long to feed reliably every round from the sig mag. Trimming a little shorter should solve this. I am going to buy a 1911 just to have fun with these.



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  2. #2
    Boolit Bub

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    They look like long 400 Corbon empty s that I made years back . They sure turned out nice looking

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Funny, I just got mine out a couple days ago to load some for the spring. The first step is for the dies to acclimate to being in a new spot in the shop, that’ll probably take a few weeks.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    Funny, I just got mine out a couple days ago to load some for the spring. The first step is for the dies to acclimate to being in a new spot in the shop, thatíll probably take a few weeks.
    That's funny. So true

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Well I setup a cutoff wheel in the drill press and used it to cut a few pieces of brass to length. Didn’t get the consistency that I expected, will figure that out in the morning. Dies are really dirty with old dried up lube, so took them apart and will put them in the ultrasonic in the morning. This was all prompted by the need to clean some fountain pen parts and I didn’t want to heat up the tank just for that.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    I was thinking about getting one of these 3d printed jigs for cutting with the HF chopsaw. Has anyone tried these?

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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    The member I bought my dies from included this other crimping die. It gives an interesting result and crimps in a shape that more resembles the profile of a bullet. It feeds much better in my sig, but I have not shot it yet.

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    That looks like a swaging hollowpointing die.

  9. #9
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    I bought the whole five die set and a bunch of formed brass from a local guy last year for $50.00, along with a 1911 barrel that he's smoothed most of the rifling out of. The rifling is still visible, so it's still a pistol barrel. I've formed a few cases from .308 and .243 brass, but haven't really messed with the dies much. The fifth die is a file trim die.

    The notched die above is either one of BT Snipers notching dies, or a CH-4D blank forming die. I've got both and they work pretty slick for their intended purposes.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    Who is producing that 3D printed HF chop saw jig? Do you have a link?

    I have the RCBS .45 ACP shotshell set too. Bought it years at a gun show for a pittance. My Colt Government model cycles just fine using the recommended load of 231 Winchester with the cut down Remington .410 wad ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Al View Post
    Who is producing that 3D printed HF chop saw jig? Do you have a link?

    I have the RCBS .45 ACP shotshell set too. Bought it years at a gun show for a pittance. My Colt Government model cycles just fine using the recommended load of 231 Winchester with the cut down Remington .410 wad ...
    If you do a 'google' for .45acp trim die you get to here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/7196730...iABEgJ7EPD_BwE

    you can peruse to your hearts content!
    West of Beaver Dick's Ferry.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    OK, found it ... thanks! (But of course as is typical for cross border shipping these days the item is $11.99 and the mandatory "International Priority" shipping is $18 to $20 US!)

    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    I believe reloader Fred is correct, and that is a CH4D die. The seller mentioned that.
    I have not tried to make any blanks, but it does work on the Shotshell, and makes a rounder profile that feeds better in my Sig 220.
    I really need to get out and try some of the star crimped ones.

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  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    There is a complete set on eBay right now
    Forming and trim die, and the three die set.
    They are full price though

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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by jessdigs View Post
    I watched MJ's videos (ammo channel) a few years ago when I first started reloading about making 45 ACP Shotshells from .308 brass, and both methods he used.
    He had a set of rcbs dies (56552), and the case form/trim die (58378) that he custom ordered from RCBS.
    He also detailed a method of using the Lyman 41 mag die set to make 45 Shotshells that are every bit as good as the rcbs method.

    I got interested in this process again after a few years of reloading and after diving into casting. I wanted to give it a try.
    I called an online rcbs dealer to order a set of dies ($169 for the three die set and $96 for the form die and shell holder) and I was told rcbs does not make custom dies anymore. I called rcbs and this was confirmed. No luck. This was going to take some effort. And probably be expensive.

    So I went to the auction site and searched for a set. Nothing was to be found. Even looking at old previous sales there was nothing recent. It's been a few years since a set has sold on there. It looks like the guys who had the foresight to buy them tend to hold on to them.
    I did some deep web searching, and still could not find any for sale. Just cached listings of items sold long ago. I saved a search for 45 Shotshell dies on the bay to see what popped up.

    The next logical step was to use the other proven method and get some 41 mag dies. Found some on the bay and placed the minium bid plus a few bucks. I won the dies and paid for them.
    Shipping was going to take a few days. Two days after buying the 41 mag dies, a member posted a set of Rcbs Shotshell dies in swapping and selling. I jumped on them as soon as I read the ad. Later that day I was a little confused because the part number was different (55000), but after a little research I found that these were the correct dies, just an old part number.

    This was only the three die set, not the case form/trim die. I was assured by the seller that these dies will still produce good Shotshells without the initial case form die. I tried them out and had success. Made good Shotshells from both .308 brass and .45 Magnum brass. I was still on the lookout for a case form die and extended shell holder.

    If Shotshells can be produced with the three die set, and without the use of the case form die, what are the odds that someone will have a case form die for sale, without the three die set? Not very likely at all. If I see one I will have to make sure I get it.

    A few months later, after playing with the Shotshells for a while, that saved search from the bay came through for me. Someone had an auction for a case form die and no 3 die set. These things aren't made anymore, and I need it, so I made my top bid very high. Insanely high. I landed the case form and Tim die with the extended shell holder.
    It showed up last night. Tried it out and it works great. It starts the forming process and the sizing die finishes it. It should prolong the life of the brass forming in two steps instead of one. I feel fitter, happier, more complete. But at the same time, I feel guilty because I can only imagine I was bidding against a few of my fellow forum members. If you guys were bidding, and I beat you out, I apologise. I will get some good use out of them.

    I have not tried the Lyman 41 mag dies yet. The rcbs dies shipped flat rate and arrived the same day as the Lyman dies. I still need to try them out.
    I am wondering if they would benefit from using the case form die first, and then the sizing die to form. I will report back later.

    I tried out the Shotshells on a pumpkin on Thanksgiving. They shot great, but stopped short of completely cycling the action on my sig p220. I used the starting charge of 700x and will have to bump it up a bit. They were also a hair too long to feed reliably every round from the sig mag. Trimming a little shorter should solve this. I am going to buy a 1911 just to have fun with these.



    Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
    Don't bump the starting charge of 700X up.My instructions say if it won't cycle, then reduce the charge .This will lower the pressure and release the shell forward part from the rifling where it is expanded and momentarily stuck.
    Anyway. Try a couple lower charges, which is the opposite of what you might think.
    Also, being too long is also a hindrance. Try a shorter shell first, and see if that allows it to cycle, but only try one thing at a time.Then try a slightly reduced charge next.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alferd Packer View Post
    Don't bump the starting charge of 700X up.My instructions say if it won't cycle, then reduce the charge .This will lower the pressure and release the shell forward part from the rifling where it is expanded and momentarily stuck.
    Anyway. Try a couple lower charges, which is the opposite of what you might think.
    Also, being too long is also a hindrance. Try a shorter shell first, and see if that allows it to cycle, but only try one thing at a time.Then try a slightly reduced charge next.
    I will try lowering the charge. I haven't tried going up or down yet.
    I am already trimming them quite short to feed in my sig 220 magazine, but can try that also.

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    I use WW 231 in my shotshells. Got my dies about 30 years ago

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockrat View Post
    I use WW 231 in my shotshells. Got my dies about 30 years ago
    I don't have win 231, but I do have hp38. Aren't they the same?

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessdigs View Post
    I don't have win 231, but I do have hp38. Aren't they the same?

    Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
    Yes, they're the very same powder according to Hodgdon's website, and my usage.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
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    I made a video of the 3d printed jig for cutting .308 brass down to .45 Shotshell.
    I got mine a few days ago.
    I only tried the pipe cutter once, and it wasn't the best pipe cutter, but I like the results of this better. Seems easier, easier than the hacksaw and file too.

    Plus, the chopsaw works great for .300 bo when I get around to starting on that.
    https://youtu.be/lwgsdNWGRRA

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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