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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,
The 45 colt case is tapered.  Because of this I am thinking that a regular steel sizing die will produce the best resized dimentions for proper case fit in the chamber and bullet grip.  Won't a carbide sizer reduce the base of the case too much making a sloppy chamber fit?  The loose fit plus repeated expansion should reduce brass life.

Am I off base on this?

I am getting ready to purchase a 45 colt lever gun and want to get the best equipment for my hand loads.

Thanks,
Jeff
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I recall an article in Rifle/Handloader where some experimenting was done with neck and partial resizing of various handgun cartridges.

If I'm not mistaken the author was Dave Scovill so I would be inclined to believe him.  He did have the opinion that there were some benefits to proper sizing die dimensions.

For ultimate accuracy, you may be on to something.  For hunting/general plinking, not sure that it would be worth the effort, especially with an open sighted gun.

You might find steel dies that are a better match for the chamber on your gun... and you might not.

Personally .... I like carbide dies and progressive presses!
 

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JRR -

You are right on the money.  Carbide size dies are great time savers, but most will not reproduce tapered cases.  Although usually described as "straight" wall cartridges, most pistol cases do have a taper.  If you full-length resize with a carbide die, the bottom ends up the same as the top, no taper.

Some don't think this is a problem, but I do.  Mostly because of the point you make about over-working the brass near the head.  There are two solutions to this "problem".

Solution #1 is to use steel dies.  I buy steel dies for pistol calibers, but this is getting harder to do.  Hornady doesn't even make steel dies anymore, RCBS only puts carbide sizers in sets, but does sell steel dies individually.  I think Redding has also standardized on carbide.

Solution #2 is to partial resize using carbide dies.  I had occasion recently to talk to Redding technical support.  During the conversation the tech said this whole problem is RCBS's fault!  RCBS has trained the world to setup a size die by bottoming it out against the shell holder.  He said not only do you not need to do this with carbide dies, but that you shouldn't!  According to him, carbide dies should be set to size only the poortion of the case that will be holding the bullet.

I used to use carbide dies, but switched to steel due to this concern.  If, in the future, I was forced to use carbide dies, I would set them as the Redding tech is describing.

Hope this helps.
 

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This is a very good discussion.

I had similar thoughts about the sizing of the hulls a last fall. I started just doing a neck size on the cases AFTER they had been once fired in my handguns. I have not had any problems yet in my Ruger .41, .45 or my new S&W .45 Colt. I do keep the brass seperate between the Ruger and Smith (color coded/labled boxes) since I am pretty sure the Smith cylinders are a bit tighter than the Ruger.

I also have a tendency to scavange the local range for cases. I am continually amazed at the number of folks that do not recognize a nice piece of brass when they see one. I full length size all the brass that I bring home for the first time through my guns.

I have begun to do the same with my .38/.357 brass but I have accumulated so much of it over the years that I need storage for it all. That stuff seems to be almost as common as .22 brass at our range. I usually get a box or two worth every trip and I have never been concerned with brass life since I never purchase any!

All in all, I am glad someone in the know recomends a practice I sort of stumbled on.

Blessings,

Scotty
 

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You can partial resize a cas but this could create problems. Revolver cylinders are not always the same size and the cases may not want to enter a different chamber in the same gun. You would have to check each round in each chamber to make sure they would all work. This is especially true with heavy loads.
In an autoloader you should full lenght resize the case also to ensure they will fit the chamber.
I have experimented with revolver and auto and found no real difference between full and partial resizing in acurracy or anything else. Your guns may be different though.
 

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Bob,

It is possible that I have been exceptionally lucky. I will keep my eye peeled for a potential problem and watch this thread closely.

I HATE using that little hammer thingy to take bullets apart!!! 8*)

Scotty
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the feedback.

I am getting ready to purchase a Win. 94 in 45 colt, which of course has only one chamber.  I won't know if the chamber is tight or loose until I fire the first rounds and measure the case diameter above the web.  People have said that Win. chambers are a little wide.  I read that because the colt 45 rim is smaller than normal, it is probably a good idea to lube the cases even with carbide dies to insure extraction from the sizer.

I'm starting to think that I should get a RCBS steel die set with an additional carbide sizer.  Neck size with the carbide and full length size every 3 to 4 reloads with the steel sizer.

I am intending to load up to the 30,000 cup level with heavy cast bullets.

Jeff
 

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The two Win 94s in 45 Colt that I have experience with do have big chambers.  I have been using a carbide sizer and with moderate loads the brass seem to last better than any other caliber.  I have annealed them after 5 loadings and it helped . I could feel the drag when belling the mouth before they were annealed

The 45 Colt 94 (I have a legacy with 34" barrel) is a bunch of fun.  Going to shoot it in a few minutes with a good friend.
 

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Hi all,
    I have been partial resizing with carbide dies in my .44 and have had exactly zero problems. I still have the same brass that I bought with the gun last year, 40 pieces, and I've fired over a thousand rounds through it.
    I can't say that it's necessarily better than full length sizing, but it sure has worked fine for me. I got the idea from the Dave Scovill article that MikeG referred to.            IDShooter
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I have my slightly used Win. 94 trapper in 45 Colt. I got a small bag of 50 Starline brass. They are not to industry spec. There is no taper at all. It is .474" top to bottom. After firing in the Win., the base measures .484"! I started thinking GLOCK chamber. After case lube and sizing in a RCBS steel sizer, the base measured .481" and the neck area .473". With new .452" cast bullet seated, the neck area is .476". The case fits nicely in the chamber.

What is going on? I think the Win. chamber is just fine. The RCBS dies are just fine. The Starline brass is very undersized at the base and seems to be designed for carbide dies. Are other brands of 45 Colt brass like this? I am going to have to go out and measure some other brands.

.010" of expansion each firing with carbide dies is just not right. .003" expansion using the RCBS steel dies seems much more reasonable.

What do you think?

Jeff
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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JRR,

I think that the basic problem is that this round has been with us since 1873 and there is just no way all of the manufacturers are going to agree on the specs.

It is probably something of a small miracle that they aren't any worse.

I'd sure like to see all the specs tightened up myself but don't see that happening. Oh well. At least my Bisley has much smaller chambers than my earlier (76) Blackhawk.

For what it's worth I've fired some Rem cases 9 times & have been sizing in an RCBS carbide die and have yet to lose any.
 

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JRR

There is a simple answer to the dilemma you pose. The answer came about several years ago and I am surprised that no-one above mentioned it.

The solution is to size only the portion of the case which needs it to hold the bullet. Expand and continue to load as usual until you get to the crimping stage. (This requires seating and crimping in two steps which is the usual recommendation anyway) After seating, use the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp die to crimp. This die is set to just bump the shell-holder and then the top plug adjusted for the desired crimp.

The Carbide FC die has a carbide ring just like the sizer die, but it is dimensioned to produce a cartridge with a SAAMI spec. maximum body dimension. In other words, it is sizing the case significantly larger than the full-length die does. I have been using this method for as many years as the Carbide FC dies have been available and have never had a body split which could be blamed on excessively working the brass.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Does the Lee FCD leave a shiny mark near the base? I'm wondering how much sizing it actually does. Would you measure the loaded cases and let us know what the finished dimensions are?
Thanks,
Jeff
 

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JRR

No, the Lee CFC die doesn't leave a mark at the base since the maximum dimension at this point is .480 and most brass is closer to .475-.476. The Lee die sizes to the maximum cartridge dimension which is .480. I'm sure there is some manufacturing tolerance, but with todays equipment I doubt it exceeds .0005. All of the Lee CFC dies I have size pretty much right on the maximum for the given cartridge.
 
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