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Thread: Lee 452-200-RF in a 1911

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Lee 452-200-RF in a 1911

    Has anyone tried a Lee 452-200-RF in a 1911 45 acp?

    I like the look of that flat meplat, but I have 2 concerns.

    1: the crimp groove. I'm sure it's intended for 45 colt roll crimp. Would this work for taper crimp with the 45acp? I'm sure I could adjust the COL to allow headspacing on the boolit.

    2: feeding. on Midway, about half of the customer reviews say it's great, about half say it doesn't work with their (insert 1911 clone here).

    I'm shooting a colt 1991 (mil-spec 1911) that's been tightened up/ accurized. Prior to starting casting, i've used commercial cast 200 swc, and it has fed 1000+ of those without a single jam.

    I'm using the Lee 358-158-RF in a 357 revolver and really like it. I'm hoping the 452-200-RF will do as well for the 45.
    NRA life member

    LB

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    First, you've got to visualize the differences between your "1000+ commercial cast 200 SWC" which is likely a HG 68 clone and therefore very likely to feed well in a 1911, and the Lee 200 RF, which wasn't orginally designed for the 1911.

    Which is why you see "half says it feeds and half says it don't" in the Midway reviews.

    It ain't a purpose built 1911 bullet.

    Now, that don't mean it won't feed; just that it's less likely to, given the known preferences a 1911 has in bullet feed profiles.

    Given the short OAL this bullet/round will load to when seated to miss the throat or just touch it, earlier release magazines may work better......think shortnosed target SWC magazines. These magazines steepen the feed path of the 1911 and are somewhat of a step back in reliability, but a well tuned 1911 will work fine with them most of the time, and target shooters get alibis for malfunctions anyway.

    You'll see some here that will claim it feeds. Those that have no luck won't say anything.

    Examples of more typically suitable 1911 bullets:

    Cast bullets with a 2 radius ogive (Lyman 452374, Lee 230-2R)
    HG 68 and its clones
    230 Truncated cones

    45 ACP rounds that finish below 1.200" or thereabouts are somewhat more feeding challenged. Depending upon how you seat it, you're flirting with or below that length with this bullet.

    If your gun jams with the 200 RF, it's possible to diagnose the jam and determine if the magazine is releasing the round at the proper time in the feed cycle. Sometimes you can do something about it by swapping magazines.

    Sometimes not. Oftentimes it's better to cater to the 1911's preferences rather than trying to swim against the current.

    If you buy this mould and it don't work out, do you have another 45 pistol/revolver you could use them in?

    If all you expect a taper crimp to do is to turn in the flare left by the case mouth belling die, the crimp groove don't matter, nor does the location of the case mouth in relation to it. You can turn the case mouth to a diameter of .472" or smaller with the taper crimp die and it'll work fine.

    If your 200 RF is like mine, the crimp groove can be seated a little out of the case mouth as the bullet forward of the crimp groove is subcaliber and should not intrude upon the throat. In this event you may crimp just below the crimp groove (not in it) and it should function.

    I can get it to feed pretty much almost all the time, but my record for reliability ain't absolutely perfect with it. If you want a bullet profile that maximizes reliability in a 1911 you'll need to look elsewhere.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master OBXPilgrim's Avatar
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    I've shot a couple hundred seated 1.135" (crimp groove not showing) and have had no failures to feed.

    Colt 1991 bone-stock, Chip McCormick 'shooting star' mags & factory colt mags that came with the gun.

    I don't think I've even tried it with the slug seated with the crimp groove showing

  4. #4
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    Talking One of my favorite boolits

    1.19" OAL, swirl lubed with JPW. No leading.
    Feeds just fine in my 1911A1 clones from Chip McCormack and Ed Brown magazines.
    Mark
    Last edited by markinalpine; 02-27-2011 at 05:07 PM. Reason: deleted image to save server space
    Any way you sell it,
    No matter how you spell it,
    When you start to smell it,
    BO Stinks!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    I bought a Lee 452-252 for a S&W .455 Second Model Hand Ejector, and tried some of the boolits in a .45 ACP Randall that has a polished feed ramp. With the original Randall magazines, boolits fed and the gun functioned as designed. Feeding was problematic with some after-market magazines, however. Son-in-law's Springfield G.I. Model, without a polished ramp, had feeding problems.

    If, in your gun, SWC's feed and function properly, then either the 200 or 252 grainer should work just as well. However, there are more reliable nose designs from which to choose.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Thank you all for your responses.


    If all you expect a taper crimp to do is to turn in the flare left by the case mouth belling die, the crimp groove don't matter
    I was always taught the crimp was nessassary to hold the boolit in place during recoil, to prevent setback / COL changing

    do you have another 45 pistol/revolver
    No

    the bullet forward of the crimp groove is subcaliber
    Interesting, The 358 version is not. for about 3/32nds forward of the crimp groove it is .357

    I guess what I really was thinking was that I've had good luck with the 358 version, like the look of that boolit style, and hoped that would carry over to the 45 version.

    What I need is a boolit that's as accurate as the pistol is, so as not to be a limiting factor. This pistol has had some accuracy work done, and according to the pistolsmith, will shoot under 2" at 25 yards.

    Yeah, I know there are match guns that will shoot alot tighter than that. I don't have one of those, This is what I have.

    It sounds to me like this is still comming down to a maybe, and I would just have to try it.
    NRA life member

    LB

  7. #7
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    I have use Lee 230 TL in my Galena 45 gov model.I use Universal Clays or Unique. The bullets feeds well.I have a polished ramp.I use Hornady 230 g HP without a problem.The 230 Lee is very much like issue hardball

  8. #8
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    If your 1911 is a two inch at 25 yard pistol, truthfully, the gun is the limiting factor. Most halfway reasonable bullet designs have better inherent accuracy than that.

    If you want an accurate design that is also more likely to function well, any number of HG 68 clones will serve, and are offered in two or four or six cavity format. The longer nosed SWC's better duplicate the ball feed profile the 1911 was originally designed to work with.

    If you go to nonstandard designs all bets are off. Some work may or may not be needed, depending upon a whole lotta reasons.

    The taper crimp don't do all that much to hold the bullet in place. Most of it is due to bullet/case friction.

    Some claim they will TC to the point the case mouth "digs into" the sides of the bullet, which is supposed to limit setback, but given the brass springs back some after taper crimping, and given I have very secure bullet tension with only enough crimping to turn in the flare plus a tiny bit, I think the TC's role in bullet retention is pretty much overrated. I prefer not to dig a groove into the bullet to hold it in place, and this has worked well for me.

    If your bullet/case tension is inadequate, an absolutely vicious taper crimp wil not help one bit, and the bullet will still get set back into the case. Practical experience with some older thinwalled Remington cases and .451" diameter lead and jacketed bullets talking here. Which pretty much relegates the taper crimp to an also ran in the "positive bullet holding" department.

    I think of it as an ammunition feeding reliability aid, not a bullet retention device. Thus my comments that location of the groove don't matter.

    Given that this is a nonstandard bullet, you may have to ignore the location of the crimp groove in relation to the case mouth to get it to feed.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master sagacious's Avatar
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    Load as Markinalpine shows. Load to OAL-- you must ignore the crimp groove. Apply a very light taper crimp. This bullet design has a fairly short bearing surface, so proper sizing and case-mouth tension are far more important here than any considerations of the preexisting crimp groove location.

    I have a bunch of 45ACP molds, as well as 45Colt molds and revolvers/carbines. I bought the LEE 200rf knowing it would work for one or the other. I didn't expect it to work so well in my 45 autos..... but surprisingly it does. It has definitely become one of my favorite bullets for the 45ACP. I have loaded and shot many, many thousands of them.

    I load it with 6grs WW231 (reference the Lyman manual), for 912fps avg from my Springfield 1911. It works very well and is very accurate in my girlfriend's SIG 220. Alongside the 200gr swc, it has become a standard target load for us.

    Will it work in your firearm? No one can say for sure. But I can say with confidence that this bullet--like any other 45ACP bullet-- must be loaded properly to ensure best functioning, and in this case that means loading for OAL.

    Hope this helps, best of luck.

  10. #10
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    I agree with 35 remington, when you get into non standard boolits: ya pays your money and ya takes your chance!

    I have toyed with the idea of getting this RF 45 mold. At this point I have not because I have 8 or 9 million other things in the fire right now!

    If I bought this mold I would ignore the crimp groove location and make up 10 or 12 dummy rounds that I could play with as to COL and run the through the gun a few times to see if they hang up.

    I also see where two previous posters have listed working COL's for you to start working from.

    My thought is post a request for 100 or so of these boolits in the swap and sell and run them through the gun? This way you'll have some idea what they'll do.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I have that mold in my .45ACPs.
    I thought, it was cheap so what the heck.
    I can tell you, no jamming, good targeting, no leading. It is all I use now.

  12. #12
    I guess I'm a lucky guy. I use that mold in .45 ACP and in .45 Colt. I shoot it in a Chinese Norinco .45. I shoot it in a Uberti Cattleman peacemaker model revolver, and also in a Navy Arms breaktop Schofield knockoff. Same charge of 5.5 grains of Bullseye too, and I get decent accuracy from all 3 pistols. No leading in any bores and it doesn't jam the auto pistol up.

  13. #13
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    .35 Remington knows and speaks the truth. There is much misinformation about crimping the .45 ACP. In fact, NO crimp at all is the best way to go for ANY boolit in that caliber, including FMJ/TMJ.

    Just taper crimp enough to remove the bellmouth, or, if your chamber will accept it, leave a little bellmouth to help center the cartridge in the chamber for a tiny accuracy increase in a race gun.

    Many people have the wrong thinking of "bullet pull" in a magazine under recoil, the bullets in a magazine get pouded into the front of the mag, with only the inertia of the case and primer to act upon seating the bullet deeper. Not much danger of that happening, even with zero crimp and light case tension. Revolvers are a totally different story.

    I have used the Lee 452-255-rfn (same as the 200, just longer) in a Springfield M1911A1 with fine results, but it aggravated the already common issue of premature slide lock in my Kimber by tripping the lock lever with the too-wide nose.

    The best boolit hands down I've ever fired in a full-sized 1911 is the 230gr TC cast from heat-treated WW over a stiff load of Universal and a 19-lb recoil spring. The ONLY reason I hardened them was to avoid beat-up noses in the magazine, otherwise AC would have been fine.

    FWIW, I've fired over a dozen designs in the 1911 and most all will feed with a big meplat, it's the nose diameter, not the meplat diameter, that seems to matter IME. I've had pretty good luck in many 1911s racking empty fired cases from the magazine, if that tells you how they feed.

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    The best boolit hands down I've ever fired in a full-sized 1911 is the 230gr TC
    Who's mould? and if Lee, was it the TL, or the regular lube groove?
    NRA life member

    LB

  15. #15
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    The Lee 230 TC has the same nose profile whether it be TL or conventional single groove.

    Pick whichever one you like.

    A comment that may be relevant.....with a good lube, like 50/50 or some such, the single lube groove designs that hold a lot of lube often reduce leading to near zero, but show worse accuracy than a TL design with lube in only two of the grooves, or when the TL design is lubed with a modest coating of LLA. Of course, this also depends upon how big the single lube groove is on the bullet. If it's big, like some of my HG 68 clones are, it holds too much of a good lube and accuracy is downright poor sometimes. This is why a crappy, non flowing lube is used on the hard, mass produced 45 ACP bullets like Laser Cast; the bullet doesn't need a good lube. The hard, poorly functioning lube doesn't overlubricate and accuracy is still good while holding down leading because a wide band of lube (even if poor) is present, which seems to hold down leading despite a too hard bullet and a crappy lube.

    Best compromise for me, in terms of accuracy and reduced leading, is to run the TL design through my lubrisizer to lube only the bottom two grooves. This is no more lube than needed to cut down on leading (better than LLA) and not so much lube that accuracy is harmed. The TL design has four skinny lube grooves, allowing you to lube any number of them you want.

    This principle is well known when shooting wadcutters in the 38 Special....that is, less lube is more accurate, and this applies to the 45 ACP as well. The TL design gives you the option of lubing only a few of the lube grooves in a lubrisizer....the single lube groove design does not.

    Both are a slight bevel base that requires a little bit of lube be wiped off the base of the bullet. Mine got modified to flat base to avoid this annoyance.

  16. #16
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    Lylejb, I use both, but backwards. I use FWFL on the Lee TL boolit which has had the BB "neutered", and LLA/JPW/MS tumble lube on the single-groove Lee. I really love to hate Lee moulds, but I keep eating my hat because two of my favorite guns work best with Lee designs.

    BTW use a softer version of FWFL and it will reliably jettison from the boolit at muzzle exit and leave your boolit more balanced than hard lubes that can lose chunks of lube unevenly.

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Morning Gents,

    Whilst on this subject, over here in the UK I am lucky enough to own and be able to shoot an original Colt 1911 made in 1917 on a special condition of our restrictive firearms laws.

    As some of you know, handguns were banned here in 1996, so info on reloading / bullet design / favorite pet loads for these type guns has been mostly lost....

    I have a Lee 452-228-1R mould that I'm casting and then lubesizing in my Star sizer and I'm trying to work up an accurate load for use in my 1911.

    I've tried a few loads using Unique, which while it functioned faultlessly, wouldn't group more better than 6 - 8" at 25 Yards

    Can anyone suggest whether this is a suitable bullet (boolit) for this application and which powder / charge in grains I should be looking to light up under it?

    Cheers from "over the pond"

    Ralbsy

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    It's a suitable bullet, but it's not a faithful duplication of the 230 FMJ ball profile. The 230-2R is a more accurate duplicate. The 228-1R has a longer bearing surface and a shorter nose, which means OAL to function through the gun and not intrude on (most) 1911 barrel leades is in the vicinity of 1.220."

    Some guns with short throats may not allow even this length. The 230-2R will allow up to 1.265" or more, which is standard ball length. Most tapered lip ball magazines obtained through surplus outfits are designed to feed the longer OAL round, but if your gun works flawlessly with the shorter cartridge, smile and keep using it.

    With Unique, about 5.8-6.0 grains will duplicate ball velocities, but depending upon how deeply your 1R is seated in the case you may need to reduce this somewhat to allow for the lesser case space.

    If the accuracy isn't good, the bullet/barrel fit needs to be looked at. Further, the lockup of the 1911 needs to be examined in terms of how tightly the barrel and slide are fitted. It's possible that it's "loose as a goose" and the barrel is not returning to battery similarly on every shot, causing poor accuracy.

    Changing powder, as long as what you're using is reasonably appropriate, isn't likely to shrink groups from six inches down to a more reasonable number unless the gun is capable of good accuracy to begin with.

    What accuracy do you obtain with other ammo such as military or commercial? If it is good, then bullet fit needs to be looked at. The bullet should do well with many different powders.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Ralsby,

    First, welcome aboard castboolits!

    If the accuracy isn't good, the bullet/barrel fit needs to be looked at. Further, the lockup of the 1911 needs to be examined in terms of how tightly the barrel and slide are fitted. It's possible that it's "loose as a goose" and the barrel is not returning to battery similarly on every shot, causing poor accuracy.
    I would agree with 35 on that. Have you slugged the bore yet? Rule of thumb is size .001- .002 inch over slugged bore size.

    I see your pistol was made in 1917, was this a WWI issue pistol? If so, I think the likely cause is (as 35 rem said) barrel/ slide / frame loosness. Many of the Mil-issue / Mil-spec pistols are quite loose.

    I own a colt 1991, a mil-spec 1911. New, right out of the box, it shot 6-8 inches. I've had accuracy work done, to tighten up the fit, now it shoots 2 inches. I'm pleased with the improvement. I'm hopeing to improve somewhat on that with better loads, but expect the improvement to be small.

    If this a WWI pistol, you may not want to do any modifications, because of the collector's value. I would understand that.

    As far as powder, Unique is a classic for the 45. I've used Unique, Bullseye, Winchester 231, and universal clays. Most of my loading has been mid velocity plinking / target loads. While the charge weights vary with the powder, the results have been very close. I haven't found any one powder that stands out, at least in my pistol.

    hope this helps.
    Last edited by lylejb; 12-31-2009 at 01:17 AM.
    NRA life member

    LB

  20. #20
    I use the 200gn RF bullet in my Taurus PT1911 with no problems at all. Sized .452 over W-W 231. No feeding problems at all. Also a fan of the 230TC tumble lube bullet.
    Both have worked great for me.

    Andy

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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