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Old 09-01-2021, 01:16 PM
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Default Problem loading 45ACP with cast bullets

I would appreciate anyone else's experience loading cast bullets for 45ACP.

I'm starting to reload for 45ACP and having a problem with my rounds chambering. Looking around the internet, I'm not alone and I don't see a definitive answer.

Let me just note that I load for 9mm in multiple firearms with my cast bullets and never have had a chambering problem.

The gun is a Tisas 1911 that runs fine with factory ammo.

250 grain NOE cast bullet, powder coated or not does not make a difference. Sized to .452.

The problem is my rounds don't all go fully into battery and tie up the gun. About half of them also just fail going below flush in a case gauge, despite the caliper saying they're in spec.

Diameter at the loaded case mouth being around .471 or .472 in most rounds.

Another forum has a member offering a service to slightly ream the chamber mouth (at the barrel end of the chamber). Anyone who had it done and cared to post about it says it solved all their chambering problems. It seems to me that I'd be modifying the gun to accept out of spec ammo (even if it calipers correctly).

By definition we're making out of spec ammo since we're sizing the bullet to .452.

I'm thinking to get some jacketed or plated rounds and seeing if that makes a difference.

Also thinking about sizing the cast to .451 except I don't have a sizer in that size.

Lee Factory Crimp Die does not solve my problem.
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Old 09-01-2021, 01:34 PM
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I reload powder coated 45acp rounds too but I only shoot them out of a revolver so haven't experienced the problem you're having.
Odd that the bullets aren't going into battery. .452 is the usual size for cast 45 bullets while .451 is the usual size for jacketed bullets.
Is it the bullet or the shell case that is hanging up? Have you tried inserting just a sized empty shell case in the pistol to see if that is what is hanging up?
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Old 09-01-2021, 01:34 PM
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If we’re talking about Doug Guy, he’s great.He has done a few pistols for me, and it solved my problem, and will probably solve yours, too. Some 45s don’t have an adequate leade in the barrel, and depending on the shape of the bullet may not seat into the chamber all the way. 250 grains is pretty heavy for a .45 ACP. You can try seating your bullets a little deeper, and that may solve the problem. OAL length as listed in the manual is just a starting point, and tells you the OAL length they used to come up with their data. The correct length is one that will “plunk” all the way into your barrel, and fall out under its own weight.
Also, make sire you are getting all the flare out of your cases.
P
Good luck, and let us know how you make out.

Last edited by scattershot; 09-01-2021 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 09-01-2021, 01:44 PM
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You can explore other remedies mentioned, but a 250 grain bullet may too much bullet for your gun, depending on bullet shape and chamber.
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Old 09-01-2021, 01:51 PM
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I load cast bullets almost exclusively for my 1911's. I check all my cases for length before loading, simply set a dial caliper to max length or a hair less, and if the case slides through the jaws, it's good to go. I have so much brass, I just scrap any that are too long. I use a RCBS taper crimp die, and simply adjust the die down until the rounds meet the described above "plunk test". I have two dies, one I leave set for jacketed bullets, one for cast. This should solve the problem, unless as stated before, your relatively heavy 250 grain bullets are fairly straight sided, and the leade in the rifling is to short or steeply angled to clear the nose at your seating depth. I mostly use bullets cast from an old NEI 230gr round nose mold, or a 200gr RCBS semi wadcutter.
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Old 09-01-2021, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Tramp View Post
I reload powder coated 45acp rounds too but I only shoot them out of a revolver so haven't experienced the problem you're having.
Odd that the bullets aren't going into battery. .452 is the usual size for cast 45 bullets while .451 is the usual size for jacketed bullets.
Is it the bullet or the shell case that is hanging up? Have you tried inserting just a sized empty shell case in the pistol to see if that is what is hanging up?
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Good questions I should have addressed. Case length is good and the sized rounds case gauge fine. I have not tried plunking a bare sized case but I will tonight.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman200-10X View Post
I load cast bullets almost exclusively for my 1911's. I check all my cases for length before loading, simply set a dial caliper to max length or a hair less, and if the case slides through the jaws, it's good to go. I have so much brass, I just scrap any that are too long. I use a RCBS taper crimp die, and simply adjust the die down until the rounds meet the described above "plunk test". I have two dies, one I leave set for jacketed bullets, one for cast. This should solve the problem, unless as stated before, your relatively heavy 250 grain bullets are fairly straight sided, and the leade in the rifling is to short or steeply angled to clear the nose at your seating depth. I mostly use bullets cast from an old NEI 230gr round nose mold, or a 200gr RCBS semi wadcutter.
Here's the mold:
452-238-HP-AA5 4 Cavity RG4 PB | NOE Bullet Moulds
(This mold has HP pins I can put in that probably shave 20 grains off it)

You guys may be on to something. I do know that if the powder coat is lumpy from being baked in a pile, the lumps interfere and need to be knocked down. Why I tried lubed and sized, by the way.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:07 PM
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use taper crimp
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:09 PM
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Sometimes with a heavy bullet when the OAL is correct the bottom of the bullet is a bit deeper in the case. This gets to be a headache when the internal taper of the case bulges because the base of the bullet is wider than case ID.

While the cutaway case illustrated is 9mm, you get the idea. This would be another thing to check.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:09 PM
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Diameter at the loaded case mouth being around .471 or .472 in most rounds.


That could be the problem. Try .468"-.470" for your crimp.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scattershot View Post
If we’re talking about Doug Guy, he’s great.He has done a few pistols for me, and it solved my problem, and will probably solve yours, too. Some 45s don’t have an adequate leade in the barrel, and depending on the shape of the bullet may not seat into the chamber all the way. 250 grains is pretty heavy for a .45 ACP. You can try seating your bullets a little deeper, and that may solve the problem. OAL length as listed in the manual is just a starting point, and tells you the OAL length they used to come up with their data. The correct length is one that will “plunk” all the way into your barrel, and fall out under its own weight.
Also, make sire you are getting all the flare out of your cases.
Yep, that's the one. I'm going to try other things before I resort to sending the barrel in. It just seems like I should be able to make ammo that runs.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackM View Post
Diameter at the loaded case mouth being around .471 or .472 in most rounds.

That could be the problem. Try .468"-.470" for your crimp.

I can't get there with the .452 bullet. I'm at a point where the case mouth almost disappears into the bullet when I crimp it.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:14 PM
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Doug Guy is well liked and does good work. If you send him the barrel and a dummy round of what you want to use, he can look it over and probably tell you what you need to do. I have never loaded anything over a 230 in mine. A 250 is probably longer and hitting the rifling.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:15 PM
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Seating the bullet deeper may solve your problem.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:16 PM
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use taper crimp
That's where I started. I tried seat and crimp in separate steps to no avail.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:18 PM
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Doug Guy is well liked and does good work. If you send him the barrel and a dummy round of what you want to use, he can look it over and probably tell you what you need to do. I have never loaded anything over a 230 in mine. A 250 is probably longer and hitting the rifling.
Yeah, Doug is well respected for the work he does. That's why I didn't invoke his name at the beginning. Everyone seems to love the mod.

The NOE bullet drops at around 250 solid point but probably closer to 230 HP. I haven't tried that yet.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:21 PM
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As long as you’re not running max charges, the 250 should be OK. The shape of the bullet will be the same, regardless.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:24 PM
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How much of the bullet is sticking out of the case? You might have to seat to the point where the crimp groove on the bullet is below the case mouth.

Without knowing what is causing the problem all we can do is guess. I've heard of people having burs on the case head prevent rounds from chambering. Could be a problem with sizing the case. Could have belled the mouth too much and need more taper crimp. Could be the bullet needs to be seated deeper or sized down further. But I'd guess the bullet just needs to be seated deeper.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHunt View Post
Good questions I should have addressed. Case length is good and the sized rounds case gauge fine. I have not tried plunking a bare sized case but I will tonight.
Do the plunk test with your barrel.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:25 PM
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possible you are using too heavy bullets. try 230 grain RN.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHunt View Post
Here's the mold:
452-238-HP-AA5 4 Cavity RG4 PB | NOE Bullet Moulds
(This mold has HP pins I can put in that probably shave 20 grains off it)

You guys may be on to something. I do know that if the powder coat is lumpy from being baked in a pile, the lumps interfere and need to be knocked down. Why I tried lubed and sized, by the way.
That bullet design/ ogive, etc. should work okay. Surely the maker tested it in a .45 auto. Play with seating depth and crimp. You should be able to use a cartridge with an outside diameter at the neck of .473", but you could have a tight chamber. Many like to use an OD of .469", but I prefer .470" or .471" and I've yet to find a .45 Auto that won't take such diameter. Use a micrometer to measure this if you want an accurate number. A caliper won't work.

As others have mentioned, drop the loaded cartridge in the barrel (removed from the gun). You don't really need a gauge if you can use the barrel.

Sometimes these heavy bullets must be seated very deeply, far deeper than you might think.

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Old 09-01-2021, 02:51 PM
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If the cartridge does not fit,
You must size it a bit.
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Old 09-01-2021, 03:00 PM
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Don’t know if this has been mentioned and I missed it. Beg, borrow or
“steal” another 1911 and see how your load works in it.
You might have a problem with your barrel from the factory. I have never had a problem with a lead bullet designed for a 1911 loaded to oal noted in a loading manual and taper crimped ( in an a separate step) to .468-.470.
Something seems wrong with the reloads themselves if you pistol will shoot factory ammo. YMMV
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Old 09-01-2021, 04:39 PM
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I have been reloading .45 since the 70's and never the problem you are mentioning. I find .45acp to be one of the easiest to load.

The only bullets I have ever used have been 200gr cast swc or 230 grain cast rn.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:11 PM
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I have experienced a similar problem. I had sized all my bullets to ..452 and left a small amount of lead showing above the case mouth. Some would chamber, depending on how sharp the leading edge of the bullet was, the sharpest cast would not. I ended up seating the bullets flush with the case mouth and that eliminated my issue. Might be worth a try.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:15 PM
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Been loading 45 ACP for many, many years. Only use 185 or ~200 grn cast SWC or jacketed rounds. Making Sure your cases are the correct length After sizing is 1st thing. 2nd is using a Taper crimp as headspace is off front of case. Adjust crimp so the case is larger than OD of bullet, not squished into the bullet( can easily happen with cast rounds).
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:26 PM
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I ONLY load cast for 45acp the past 10+yrs. You're trying to stuff too much bullet in your gun Brother. 230gr max for 45acp, and don't forget the most poignant part of the reloading process, the "Kerplunk" test!
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:56 PM
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Make sure the bullet is not hitting the slide release when installing the mag. If it is level with the barrel hood and has a little wiggle it should work. A 245 grain in mine shoots about 4'' high at 25.
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Old 09-01-2021, 08:15 PM
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What OAL are you loading to? Why would you not cast these to the original 238gr HP configuration?

Based upon the drawing from NOE I don't see the .345" from the crimping groove to be an unusually long measurement. Have you asked them about your chambering problems?

Cheers!

P.S. A couple images might help...

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Old 09-01-2021, 08:17 PM
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As a last resort you may want to "smoke" the cartridge, or use some Prussian blue aka scraping blue and see where it rubs off indicating the high spots.
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Old 09-01-2021, 08:46 PM
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Need to shorten the OAL. As others have said, do a plunk test.
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Old 09-01-2021, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USBP SW View Post
I have experienced a similar problem. I had sized all my bullets to ..452 and left a small amount of lead showing above the case mouth. Some would chamber, depending on how sharp the leading edge of the bullet was, the sharpest cast would not. I ended up seating the bullets flush with the case mouth and that eliminated my issue. Might be worth a try.
These are sort of round nosed bullets so seating them flush would be funny looking.
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Old 09-01-2021, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
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What OAL are you loading to? Why would you not cast these to the original 238gr HP configuration?

Based upon the drawing from NOE I don't see the .345" from the crimping groove to be an unusually long measurement. Have you asked them about your chambering problems?

Cheers!

P.S. A couple images might help...
I have not asked NOE but it might be a good idea. They do have a forum.

I'll see if I can get some pics tomorrow. I'm thinking I may try seating deeper. I loaded as long as would feed into the mag. I can't remember the exact OAL offhand. 1.250, maybe? I'll verify when I get back to the reloading bench.

I didn't use the HP pins only because I wanted to keep it simple getting started. I thought the HP might give me feeding problems.
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Old 09-01-2021, 09:04 PM
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" About half of them also just fail going below flush in a case gauge, despite the caliper saying they're in spec."
I don't know what kind of case gauge you are using, but do empty but sized cases also fail to go flush in the gauge? if so, that is telling me the cases are too long as .45 chambers on the case mouth.
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Old 09-01-2021, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by terry_tr6 View Post
" About half of them also just fail going below flush in a case gauge, despite the caliper saying they're in spec."
I don't know what kind of case gauge you are using, but do empty but sized cases also fail to go flush in the gauge? if so, that is telling me the cases are too long as .45 chambers on the case mouth.
No, the cases go fine into the case gauge. It's a .... Wilson. Took me a second.
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Old 09-01-2021, 09:25 PM
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I have been reloading .45 since the 70's and never the problem you are mentioning. I find .45acp to be one of the easiest to load.

The only bullets I have ever used have been 200gr cast swc or 230 grain cast rn.
I hear you. 9mm loads fine for me. I'm going to try seating deeper and probably a smaller bullet.
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Old 09-01-2021, 10:47 PM
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Any bullet with a crimp groove was "most likely" originally designed to be loaded to the crimp groove... Was this a mold for 45 ACP or is it advertised for 45 Colt?

For revolvers, for the most part, OAL is more of a variable (will they fit in the cylinder?) vs. trying to get the same bullet to function well in a semi-automatic where chamber and magazine variations make feeding issues a bit trickier.

Cheers!

P.S. There is nothing I see in that bullet's profile that would lead me to believe there would be any feeding issues. The suggestion to run some through another 1911 is an excellent one.
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Old 09-01-2021, 10:54 PM
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I use a lee bulge buster to swage my loads. It irons out any imperfections in the rim or bulges in the case. I run .45s in several pccs, multiple 1911s and revolvers. The semiautos will bang them up pretty good. Plus some chambers are more generous than others. The bulge buster makes my 45s work in anything. I usually load .452 RNFP 200 gr bullets in my ACP and use the same bullet in my .45 colt SA revolvers.
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Old 09-01-2021, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyman50 View Post
Been loading 45 ACP for many, many years. Only use 185 or ~200 grn cast SWC or jacketed rounds. Making Sure your cases are the correct length After sizing is 1st thing. 2nd is using a Taper crimp as headspace is off front of case. Adjust crimp so the case is larger than OD of bullet, not squished into the bullet( can easily happen with cast rounds).
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Originally Posted by AlHunt View Post
These are sort of round nosed bullets so seating them flush would be funny looking.
Is it fully round nosed or is there a bearing surface then the rounded portion? If you have a bearing surface, make sure that it is inside the case mouth.
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Old 09-02-2021, 07:17 AM
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Post some pics of your reloaded rounds so we can see what you are seeing.
I will say that back in my USPSA competition days, I played with 250 grain flat point round nose and 255 grain semi-wadcutter bullets, both hard cast and sized to 0.452". I found them to be a bit finicky when it came to reliable feeding in my 1911. It is a whole lot less trouble to make 185 to 230 grain bullets work reliably in the 1911.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:00 PM
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I had an extra 452460 Lyman 200 mold and had the ugly one cut out to a 245 grain but the bullet is the same ol length. 200 on the left and 245 on the right. This mold drops a 454 bullet so it is perfect for a 45 Long Colt and it works in a 1911 also but I have to size it .452 for that. If I had your Wilson it would only see 200 grain lead H&G 200's.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:10 PM
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Either insufficent crimp & / or excessive OAL for your chamber .
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:35 PM
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This bullet is designed to be shot out if the 1911 or any 45 acp. I have that mold and have shot thousands of them. Everyone had you chasing your tail but a very few.

I can't tell you the overall length you need because I use my barrel as the gauge it keeps getting shorter until it fits. There is no in spec over all length. It's in spec when it fits your barrel.

Loading for the 45 acp is ridiculously easy. There is more info written about it than probably any cartridge. What you need to do is forget everything you think you know about reloading and read everything you can on the 45 acp and watch every iTunes that teaches how to load it. You and most on here are making way harder than it needs to be

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Old 09-05-2021, 12:51 AM
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A .470-471" measurement at crimped case mouth will result in malfunctions; likely also why some of your rounds don't plunk in your test die. A .468" or smaller measurement will produce rounds that won't be as accurate as they could.

COL is critical for best operation. Too short will cause feeding jams. Too long will cause fit problems in the magazine. The suggested COL in the manuals for a specific bullet may be wrong for your particular pistol.

I've loaded 10's of thousands of cast .45 ACP over the years. My taper crimp spec is .469 +.0005", COL will vary with the bullet. The classic 200 gr H&G 68 style runs great at 1.255". I consider 235 gr as max for .45 ACP. My check gauge is the barrel pulled from the pistol; definitive IMO.

I've run both Dillon (currently) and RCBS (previously) dies with good results. Both sets contained a taper crimp die.

I don't own a .45 ACP trim die because I've never found a once fired cased that was over max. In my experience .45 ACP cases shrink with repeated reloading.
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Old 09-05-2021, 01:40 AM
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You don't mention what brand of dies you are using other than the Lee factory crimp die. I had a similar problem when loading 45 for a Springfield XDM. The slide closed almost all the way but sometimes not completely. The ammo passed the case gauge and worked great in all my other 45's but would not pass the plunk test with the XDM barrel. I finally solved the problem when I switched from Dillon dies to RCBS. The Dillon has that "radiused opening" to make the progressive loader run slick but does not quite size all the way down to the case head. You can get by with that most of the time but it can cause problems in a tight chamber.
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Old 09-05-2021, 05:24 AM
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Some barells just lack a Leade .

I kind of doubted this ,until I had factory loads that wouldn't chamber in SA 1911 , but worked fine in Ruger .
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Old 09-05-2021, 07:33 AM
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I wouldn't worry about oal's, plunk tests, etc.

Get your taper crimp right so that the cases fall in and out of the case gauge.

How hard is it to put a .469"/.470" taper on a dummy round and test it in the case gauge?????
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Old 09-05-2021, 09:02 AM
STORMINORMAN STORMINORMAN is offline
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Bullets too long to fit in a magazine, feed or chamber will fall out of MOST case gauges/ammo checkers (other than full length) all day long...

If you 1st determine what OALs are required with your fire arm(s), then adjust the powder accordingly (if and as needed) your reloads should work.

Longer isn't necessarily "better" in all instances. Loading some longer than usual (for caliber) bullets short (so they'll fit) is where pressure-related problems can occur.

Cheers!
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Old 09-05-2021, 09:03 AM
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I had a 3" EMP that had a short throat. The rifling started immediately in the barrel. I found that I had to use more pointed bullets or they wouldn't chamber. The 115 gr fit OK but the 125 and 135 gr had a fatter bullet profile and would not fit. The 147 gr would fit. They were a slimmer pointed bullet. The problem was the 115 would lead the barrel too much. The 147 worked. I made two different loads for my two different pistols. The Beretta 92 shoots anything. So I ended up trading the EMP off so I didn't have to mess with it any more. I couldn't find a local smith that could ream a little out of the barrel so it got traded. Make a round live or dummy and color it with a marker. Drop the slide on it to chamber it. Then pull it out and see where it rubs. Mine was so bad that it started putting a groove in the bullet and never got all the way in. I couldn't shorten it any more than it was. There are some better bullets out there with profiles that would have worked but were double the price.
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Old 09-05-2021, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 342ti View Post
I ONLY load cast for 45acp the past 10+yrs. You're trying to stuff too much bullet in your gun Brother. 230gr max for 45acp, and don't forget the most poignant part of the reloading process, the "Kerplunk" test!
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