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Thread: 1st Reloading Question

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold Lead-2's Avatar
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    1st Reloading Question

    Hello guys,

    Let me first say I am sorry if this isnít the correct place to post this question. I assumed it was because my question is relating to boolits (at least I am assuming since it is my only new change). I would appreciate any guidance on where it should be posted if this is not the correct spot. I have never posted a question yet.

    Dad (lead-1) passed away late December. I inherited a 45 Long Colt revolver from him and decided to get into his reloading equipment. (I really wish I would have sat down with him and learned what he had to teach but that opportunity has come and gone). Needless to say Iíve shot this 45 colt a few times and understand why he liked it so much.

    Iíve been shooting his left behind reloads. He casted his own boolits and performed his own reloading. Iíve started reloading myself using his formulas that he left wrote down for me. Iíve read his books and the reloading manual steps. Iíve reloaded some rounds using his boolits and havenít had any issues. They look right, measure right, and shoot right.

    Now my question.

    Over the weekend I bought some extra 45 colt reloading components because I plan on continuing to reload. However with that being said I do not plan on casting my own boolits. I bought a bunch of Bobs lead Bullets with mostly the same specs that dads boolits have. I tried reloading about 25 rounds of 45 colt using the new Bobs Bullets instead of dads. I ran into this issue (see photos below). Iím getting correct measurements like I was with dads boolits but getting an odd ring around the case which doesnít look right and makes the case harder to get into the cylinder. I am using a Lee 3 die set and an additional Lee factory crimp die. I am noticing it mostly after the bullet seat and crimp. Again when I seat and crimp dads boolits I have not had this issue at all. Can anyone offer information or advice on what I am doing wrong with these new Bobs Bullets.

    Thanks in advance!

    Lead-2

    Also Iíve attached additional information below.

    Dads Boolits:
    250 Gr.
    .452 FN

    Bobs Bullets:
    250 Gr.
    .452 RNFP
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    My condolences on the loss of your father.

    I'm no expert with revolver reloading, but I do see that there isn't a groove where the left hand bullet is crimped. You may be seating to the same COL as the original load, but it looks like this design is meant to be crimped higher up, which means shorter seating, less internal case capacity, and therefore a need to rework the load recipe starting with significantly less powder.

    I'm assuming you miked the new bullets and that they are the same diameter as your father's? How about bullet length?

    Again, not reloading revolver, I can't tell if there is any other factor in play.
    Last edited by kevin c; 02-10-2020 at 01:49 PM. Reason: Clarity

  3. #3
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    It's hard to really tell from this picture alone and no measurements but...it looks like the crimp is adjusted too tight judging by the way the case mouth has dug into the cast.
    I'm with Kevin c ... use the crimp groove provided and rework the recipe, drop your powder by a grain and a half or so and back off on that crimp, then slowly adjust it to where you get a good roll crimp without the distortion.


    Another thought is that the cast doesn't look like it's sized correctly, it could be .454"?...measure them and see what you have, see what your Father's were sized?
    Last edited by OS OK; 02-10-2020 at 01:54 PM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Welcome to the forum, Lead-2. We'll have you reloading like a pro in no time!

    .452" diameter is pretty much the standard for .45 L. Colt now days, so it looks like you're o.k. there. Looking at the photos, the case on the left appears not to have had the case mouth expanded before the bullet was seated. Expanding the case mouth is a necessary step. Usually the sequence followed in reloading a cartridge is to resize and de-deprime (usually done at the same time by the sizing die), then to re-prime (make sure that the new primer is a bit below the surface of the surrounding case), to expand the case mouth, charge the case with powder, and seat the bullet. Next, you should crimp the mouth of the case around the bullet, but like anything it can be overdone. If you buy a Lee Factory Crimp die it has a carbide ring in the die that the case has to pass through when being crimped, so when it comes out of the die it is not only crimped, but has been given a final resizing if needed. One more word about re-priming and expanding the mouth of the case, this may or may not be two steps.
    This will depend on your dies, press, and method of priming. Many presses have a priming arm, and the reloader (you) puts a primer into a appropriately sized cup on top of the arm. The case is run up into the die which expands the mouth, and then on the down stroke the primer arm is pushed inward and the case is pushed down over the new primer. But lots of folks have other priming methods that include priming with hand tools as a separate operation. If your .45 L. Colt dies are carbide dies you will have no need to lube them before resizing, but if your Dad used the older
    all steel dies you will have to lube the cases before sizing, and later wipe the lube off of the completed cartridges before firing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I share my condolences on the loss of your dad. I note observing three rules vis revolver loading. First, drop a ready-to-load bullet alone in a cylinder hole -- just have cylinder open if it's a double action revolver; or, take the cylinder out for this if it's a SA -- e.g, like a Ruger Vaquero. If your bullet drops through, then the bullet is too small ("skinny"). On the other extreme, if the bullet requires more than three or four pounds pressure to push it through -- then, it needs to be resized to make it a bit thinner. If it passes through with just your finger pushing it through -- maybe two pounds pressure -- the sizing is just right.
    Second is re cartridge over all length. I double-check this, making sure your completed load is at or a smidgeon to that printed in a good reloading manual, AND, when dropped in the open or not in revolver cylinder, there is a bit of air-space from the nose of loaded bullet to the front of the cylinder. Which brings up my third (to me) important point -- that you use a GOOD crimp -- generally a roll (as opposed to taper) crimp. From recoil after firing first round, it is incredibly easy for the loaded bullets in other rounds in cylinder to be moved. Perhaps a "sub" -- e.g., "3a" to this concerns the crimping groove on many cast bullets. If, to get requisite length -- which does in fact happen occasionally -- I use a cannalure tool sold by a vendor on this forum -- but, looking at the photos you posted, may (I hope) be not an issue.
    I, too, have a love affair with the .45 Colt.
    BEST wishes with yours!
    geo

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold Lead-2's Avatar
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    Well, the factory crimp die I’m using isn’t a roll crimp “from my understanding”. I believe it crimps the top part of the brass into the bullet. I chose not to use the roll crimp. I follow the directions the same for dads boolits to bobs but again I’m not sure why this is happening.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Holly crimp Bat Man. You are applying a very heavy crimp to the bullet bearing surface instead of in the crimp groove. The crimp groove on the new bullet is the groove above where your case mouth stops. Like stated back off your powder charge, seat the bullet to the crimp groove and work the load back up. You can probably back off the crimp as well, from the pics it look a little to heavy.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold Lead-2's Avatar
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    Der Gebirgsjager,

    I know I expanded the mouth when I loaded the powder. It it possible I didn’t expand it deep enough? Because I noticed when I seated the bullet it showed a ring around the case. It’s almost after that point when I crimped it using that lee factory crimp die it is much more noticeable.
    Blessed Are The Peacekeepers, For They Shall Be Called The Children Of God.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    You just can't swap bullets and load the same. different bullet nose profiles are going to seat more or less into the case due to there shape. When changing components you are going to have to make die adjustments and powder charge adjustments depending on how hot the load is. Your dad's data that he left is just for the components he was using. It's time you start making your own loading notes for your own components.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lead-2 View Post
    Der Gebirgsjager,

    I know I expanded the mouth when I loaded the powder. It it possible I didn’t expand it deep enough? Because I noticed when I seated the bullet it showed a ring around the case. It’s almost after that point when I crimped it using that lee factory crimp die it is much more noticeable.
    Read my post #7. Your issue isn't expanding.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold Lead-2's Avatar
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    Muddydogs,

    I don’t quite understand how I can do this because it will make my COL significantly shorter than what I need won’t it? Now it’s 1.660 but if I seated the bullet deeper wouldn’t it make it significantly shorter?
    Last edited by Lead-2; 02-10-2020 at 02:19 PM.
    Blessed Are The Peacekeepers, For They Shall Be Called The Children Of God.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Lead2, sorry about your dad"s passing,I lost my dad this past May and I miss him dearly. I bet if dad was there he would show you step by step the process of reloading, so if you do not already have a reloading manual I suggest you pick one or two up and start at the beginning so you can take it step by step. It is not difficult when you follow the correct procedures and I bet you will discover your problem in no time at all. The Lee die sets also come with directions for setting up the dies. I believe your dies are improperly adjusted, the boolit is definately not seated deep enough on the left. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with manual and your die set up. Take your time and you will be making good ammo in no time! Stay safe and read the manual!
    Mark

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy

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    Lead-2, Welcome to the forum and my condolences for your father. I have been loading .45 colt for 40+ years. I have never used a factory crimp die on anything but
    rifle rounds for cast bullets. And that is only used as a light crimp on said round. It appears that the die is seated too deep for the crimp, it also appears that the bullet
    was grabbed by the crimp die. You may need to back that die out a bit to get the correct crimp. You shouldn't have to force the press handle
    down to crimp that round. Not sure if this helps but just the ramblings of an old man.

    I cut my teeth on .45 Colt in reloading and casting. A friend invited me to go with him and his father. His dad gave me a box of his reloads and his Ruger Blackhawk and then
    told me to keep up with his brass and then said be careful and have fun. He was always close by and kept an eye on us. I was 15 at the time and bugged the heck out of him from then
    on to show me how to reload. He did and the rest is all ancient history.

    Keep at it and you'll have everything adjusted and be making good hand loads in short order.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    My Condolences on your loss.

    If you have a copy of the Reloading Die set instructions, read them carefully. That may help solve your problem.
    They may also be found on Lee's Website.
    I would concentrate on seating the New bullet to the crimp groove. And then once the die is properly adjusted to seat the bullet at the crimp groove. Move to the Lee factory crimp die. Read the instructions and Follow Them. You should make out ok.

    And Welcome to the Website & Reloading.
    I HATE auto-correct


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  15. #15
    Boolit Mold Lead-2's Avatar
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    Well,

    I’ll add this. I’ve got some manuals and have been reading of of them and web forums. I have very specifically followed the Lee Die instructions.

    I guess my next question would be if I seat that bullet (bobs bullet) further into the case as you guys have suggested won’t that give me a significantly less COL then what I’m reading it should be? As in now I’m at 1.660 and if I seat that new bullet into the case it would be significantly shorter?
    Blessed Are The Peacekeepers, For They Shall Be Called The Children Of God.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Have you changed anything on your father's press? The settings are for his bullet, not the new one. If you changed settings to get the same COL, you'd still not be right for the new bullet, given the different location of the crimp groove. This also goes for removing the flare, with or without a roll crimp.

    Bottom line is a different bullet, even of the same weight, needs new settings and, even more important, new load work up. So, yes, shortening the round to get the crimp into the groove means more pressure in the case from the original powder charge, and the need to rework the load with less powder to make sure it is safe.

    Really, the only way to stay exactly the same in all respects is to cast, size, lube (or coat) and load your father's bullet yourself.
    Last edited by kevin c; 02-10-2020 at 03:19 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Muddydogs' assessment that your crimp is too heavy may well be correct. Whether trying to force a bullet into an insufficiently expanded case mouth, or crimping too heavily, the end result looks like a crushed case. Too heavy a crimp can seriously increase pressure.

    I'm a little surprised to learn that you are already using the LFCD (Lee Factory Crimp Die), because no matter what the problem is, a trip in and out of one of these dies should leave the cartridge sized enough to fit into the revolver without difficulty. Perhaps the instructions for the die were lost? You can click on Lee's logo at the top of the page and go to their website. Look around, and you will find instructions and videos for all of their tools.

    What I can tell you is that when you run the loaded cartridge into the LFCD and look down through the hole from the top, you can observe the collet close. If it closes until the gaps between the collet jaws disappear, you've achieved maximum crimp. No more is desirable, and if you force it more you will get something like in your photo and you will likely ruin the die. Often, something a little short of fully closed gives sufficient crimp. It doesn't take very much pressure on the press handle to achieve a good crimp.

    There are two other common methods of crimping as well, if the LFCD isn't to your liking. Most brands of reloading dies have a Roll Crimp feature built into the seating die. To use it you load a cartridge to the length you desire, then drop the ram so the case is out of the seating die. Back out the seating stem so that it is no longer touching the top of the bullet, then turn the die body only into the press about another 1/2 to 3/4 turn. Run the cartridge back into the die and you should be able to feel it crimp. Lower the ram, inspect the cartridge for degree of crimp. If not heavy enough screw the die into the press a little bit farther, if too heavy back it out some. Be sure to screw the seating stem out a few turns before making these adjustments, because you'll seat the bullet too deeply into the case if you forget to do so. The LFCD is a development only a few years old, and before that roll crimping and taper crimping were the two main choices. Both still have their disciples. The Taper Crimp usually requires you to purchase a separate die specifically made for that type of crimp, although some dies sets come with them. It is usually used on ammo intended for semi-auto pistols, but some folks do use the system for revolvers also.

    Your concern about Cartridge Overall Length (C.O.L.) is unnecessary if you shorten your loads to use the crimping groove. In a revolver's cylinder everything is contained within the cylinder walls, and C.O.L. really only comes into play if your cartridges are loaded so long that the nose protrudes from the front of the cylinder and binds up the action from turning. It really can't be too short. A wadcutter-type bullet is flush, or almost flush, with the case mouth, and you can't get any shorter than that. Again, Muddydogs is correct in that you'll get more satisfactory loads if you utilize the crimping groove cast into the bullet. Screw the seating stem out most of the way from the die, then start a loaded cartridge into the die. Screw the seating stem down so that the seating plug on the end of the stem contacts the top of the bullet. Lower the press ram down some moving the bullet down from the seating plug and screw the stem in a couple of turns, then run the cartridge back into the die so the readjusted stem and plug will push the bullet farther into the case. Lower the ram, inspect the cartridge, and repeat the process until you have the mouth of the case right on the crimping groove. Then, if you're going to roll crimp, you should be able to adjust the seating die for roll crimping as I've already explained by again backing out the seating stem, screwing only the die body in about half a turn so it crimps, then screwing the seating stem in so the plug again touches the top of the seated and crimped bullet. Thereafter every cartridge will seat to proper depth and crimp at the same time. Or, after finding the proper seating depth, remove the cartridge and run it through the LFCD. Some reloaders prefer to separate the seating and crimping into two steps, and some dies will not allow this system, but most do.

    One last thing that kind of bothers me.....perhaps you should share your load information with us, specifically the name or number of the powder you are using, and how much. If your LFCD wasn't somehow put out of adjustment when removed or inserted into your press, and your Dad was purposely using a very heavy crimp, then he may have been loading near, at , or over maximum loads and you should check to assure that they are safe loads. Using heavy loads in .45 L. Colt revolvers is not uncommon, and he may have been concerned about the unfired bullets in the cylinder backing out of the cases from recoil during firing. It wouldn't hurt to get an opinion from the Forum Brotherhood about your loads, and you should also consult some reloading manuals for recommended loads. I predict that entering the reloading hobby is going to be some of the most fun, and educational fun, that you'll ever have. Stay in touch---we'll be happy to coach you along.
    Last edited by Der Gebirgsjager; 02-10-2020 at 03:44 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Welcome to the wonderful, oft confusing and frustrating, world of reloading!

    New reloader hints; measure your bullets with a micrometer to be sure of what you have. Seat bullets to crimp groove and disregard "book OAL" (the bullet designers located the crimp groove in the correct place so use it). For standard low pressure loads, 45 Colt, don't worry about "deep seating increasing pressure". Use a standard roll crimp die and put the FCD away, at least for your first 3,000 handloads. I would suggest adding a copy of The ABCs of Reloading and read it, lots of good basic info. Reloading is not rocket surgery and all you have to do is think, and follow directions. Don't overthink the process.

    My #1 Rule I go by and suggest to new reloaders; I pay very little (no) attention to any load data I see on any forum, hear from any range rat, good intended friend, gun counter clerk, pet loads website, or gun shop guru. I get all my starting and max data from published reloading manuals with a little from powder manufacturers/distributor's websites. In 1970 I had a squib and no Kabooms with few problems. And I get a load from my reloading manuals before I buy any components.

    Go slow. Double check everything. And most important, have fun...
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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Seat and crimp in two separate steps. Flare just enough to get the boolit into the case without shaving lead.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lead-2 View Post
    Muddydogs,

    I don’t quite understand how I can do this because it will make my COL significantly shorter than what I need won’t it? Now it’s 1.660 but if I seated the bullet deeper wouldn’t it make it significantly shorter?
    The COL listed in reloading books only applies to the bullet and firearm used for testing the book loads. You need to work up your own COL that fits your firearm and bullet type. The new bullet is designed to be seated deeper in the case to use the crimp groove. So since the bullet is seated deeper You will need to back off the powder charge and load some test loads working back up the powder charge ladder watching for pressure signs as you shoot each powder weight. How much you back off the charge and how many charge weight steps will depend on how close the original load is to book max powder charge. If the original load is a light load you might be ok just loading and shooting your new bullet, if the original load is a medium weight powder charge load you might want to back off a couple grains and work back up and if the original load is a max powder charge load you will probably want to just start at the lowest charge weight and rework the load all together.

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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