new to .45 acp reloading


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well we took this one from 'new to reloading' to PHD level thesis material in just a couple of pages.
I'm not shocked about that, I'm shocked we got 5 pages in and kept it on topic.


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I have a Redding Profile crimp die for .44 Mag. Seems OK, but doesn't really seem to do much different
with my normal Keith bullets than the standard roll crimp die does. Maybe slightly different, but hard
to really tell.



Redlands, Kalifornistan
I am fairly sure that my Lyman and RCBS "dedicated" TC dies will reduce diameters on cast bullets if you get vigorous or over-apply the tapering. Though Lyman and RCBS both sell bullet moulds, both companies also "bias" their reloading dies for jacketed-bullet reloaders, excepting the RCBS Cowboy Die Sets. If someone finds a Cowboy Die Set in an autopistol caliber, do let us know. :)

I still like the photo of the TC profile in Photo #33. That 15* taper is well-nigh perfect for the purpose, methinks.

Lamar--I think the thread stayed on point because a whole lot of folks are not uber-happy with the cast bullet/autopistol/taper-crimping tooling or the experiences that flow from same. I would bet folding money that a whole lot of the leading issues and inaccurate ammo problems people have in those not-very-lead-friendly 9mm/40 S&W/10mm calibers are brought on by the taper-crimp dies, the too-small expander spuds, or combinations of both that ultimately reduce bullet diameters prior to chambering & firing. These three pistol rounds run at rifle-pressures, likely higher pressures than most of our cast bullet rifle loads generate. Most pistols so chambered also have insanely-fast twist rates, unless an aftermarket barrel is on board. With reduced-diameter bullets, it is no wonder that accuracy suffers and leading piles on. The 45 ACP is more of a high school shop project--those high-pressure monsters are the Ph.D. candidates, and in need of a master piece to complete the exam. I think the 15* TC die shoulder fulfills that role.


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the last pistol I bought a few years ago was a 45 1911.
Never had one but the guys that I was shooting with at that time all werel shooting them. I got an rcbs die set and a mould Ioaded about 300 cartridges with the 230 RN I cast . I think I may have shot 60 or so....enough to prove to myself that it was accurate then just put it away. The group I shot pistol with decided to join a shooting club and I didn't have the money nor the time to increase my drive time to a range by 1 hour. That is when I went head long into shooting all my rifles with cast!
Never gave loading the 45 much thought....but now following this thread has opened my eyes.
Ian that Lee taper crimp die that you used for your load in #33 is that a good one to get for the 45 auto? In lew of a custom made die?
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Well-Known Member
Allen I'd tend to agree with that.
I remember a few years back the 9mm and the LEE mold in particular was the number one thread starter over at the Boolits site.
you could count on at east 3 threads a week pertaining to usually the two of them paired up or the mold specifically.
I always wondered where the whole thing went wrong, and usually blamed the mold design.
I had some pretty fair success with a couple of molds I had on hand but my load techniques were geared to what worked in the 45 acp, and then I embellished things a little as I went up on the speed scale.
once I got a design to HM-2 and we cut that 9mm mold almost all of my problems went away.
I had good case capacity, I wasn't damaging the base when seating, and I had a nose to help pilot me into the barrel better.
but that wasn't the final answer.
I still had too much case tension,,,,okay I know, never too much on a pistol, but right at enough to start smushin the bullet.
there isn't much I can do about a carbide die other than spin some polish in it, but what about the other end?
that is an area I could look over and maybe help myself out some, only I ain't got the tooling and no one was really selling the tooling I needed, or were they? and I was looking at things wrong?
time to start measuring some holes in some metal.
eventually I was able to cobble together a die set after digging though all of the 38/357/9mm die sets I have, measuring the spuds on all of the powder drop tools I had for the 550 and then looking inside all the seating dies I had on hand.
after all that I still ended up using a harder than straight ww alloy to resist case smoosh.
but I now have straight[ish] cases, and bullets seated straight into the case, and loads ranging from barely operates the guns up through almost jacketed speeds.

we as bullet casters like to think we control the whole process from scrounging to target, but we are all limited by the tooling purchases we make.
we don't even know what we are getting from one time to the next and in general we can't do much about it.


Well-Known Member
That's why a few of us on this board in the past couple of years have broken down and purchased lathes. I'm damned sick and tired of having to use a drill press to modify dies and other tooling just so it will function with cast bullets.

Years ago, my FIL bought one of the new S&W M&P .40 Short/Weak. I got roped into setting him up to shoot cast bullets, and learned a heap. Mainly, the high-pressure brass is very hard and expanding spuds are too small/short for cast bullets. Doby45 and I had Jim in Phx make us some custom Lee powder-through-expander spuds that would solve the issue. Still to get good case tension, I ended up water-quenching bullets for it (Lee TC bullets) to get rid of the last bit of bullet crush and leading. I broke the post-sizing ring out of my FCD and that solved a lot of problems, too. 9mm has virtually the same issues and proper tooling may be required to solve them.


Well-Known Member
Like Ian says, a lathe saves a lot of headaches. If anyone needs a custom expander spud,
I am not averse to turning out a few, as long as I don't wind up with 20 or more people needing
them in a hurry.

And Ian, that validates my choice to entirely avoid the 40S&W cartridge altogether. I refuse
to add another caliber that is going to be a PITA and brings little or nothing to me as far as
function when I have lots of .38s, 9mms, .45s and .357s laying around.

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Redlands, Kalifornistan
My particular "recipe" for success in 9mm and 40/10 has been relatively hard bullets--relatively soft lubes--and strict attention to diametric discipline. 92/6/2 alloy has become my "default" alloy for all autopistol reloading, including the low-pressure 32 ACP and 45 ACP. At 14 BHn (+/-), it doesn't get squeezed by the case mouths after the cases get run through the Lyman Multi-Charge spuds. FWIW--the "38AP" spud for 9mm spans .355", and the "38P" for 38/357 spans .357". The "40AP" for 40/10 is about .3995", as best I can tell with my analog 3-place micrometer. The "45AP" spud for 45 ACP is a few tenths under .450". These spuds feature the Lyman-esque "M-Die" shoulder that opens the case mouth .004" or so to start bullets with, which is a godsend for cast bullets.

The 92/6/2 alloy does more than just work well in properly-expanded cases, too--it rides up balky feedramps with less reluctance than have softer alloys IME. I mentioned Tom's unaltered Series 70 Gold Cup in an earlier post--these harder/slicker bullets ran very well in that balky classic. I suspect that harder alloys likely get a better grip upon the shallow rifling found in some 45 ACP barrels Within reasonable limits, harder can be better in some circumstances.


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I have shot literally over 100K of commercial cast H&G 68 clones through a few different
1911s, never had difficulty with .452 diam commercial cast, even with the less than stellar
Crayola lube. I trust that bullet with ANY 1911 other than pure, unmodified military models
with the very narrow feed ramp in the barrel intended for Jacketed Ball. I have owned and
shot two GCs extensively, and had superb relibility with that bullet over 4.8-4.9 gr of BE or
TG to make major caliber for IPSC competiton.

I cast a bit softer, but have had no problems with the harder commercial bullets in this
caliber, recommend them highly, in general.



Well-Known Member
Powder coat solves a lot of feeding issues as well and allows the use of slightly mushier bullets.

Bill, throw out everything you know about loading the .45 ACP if you get one of the plastic fantastic pistols that have no throat. You will have to size smaller, crimp less, and seat deeper than any 1911 you've ever seen.
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Staff member
OK Bill, I did some measuring. Using a trio of gauge pins, a marker, and calipers I got the angle on my newer Hornady taper crimp die for 45 ACP.

It is a whopping 2.2°.

What does that mean?

For the Hornady crimp a .010 crimp at the mouth means the crimp beging .260” from the case mouth. A .015 crimp means the crimp begins .390 from the case mouth.
For my 15° crimp the same .010 crimp beging .037” from the case mouth.

Which one do you think has less impact on the diameter of the bullet?


Redlands, Kalifornistan
I am not yet among the ranks of powder coaters and bullet painters. I have been termed as "Not very highly-evolved" and "Resistant to change" by more than my share of onlookers. A succinct grasp of the obvious, methinks. One of these days......maybe.

Brad--same traffic, per "succinct grasp". :)


Staff member
I too resisted. It is nice and clean. Pretty damn easy too.

Will PC replace traditional lube for everything? Not likely for me but it does have a place.


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Don't see any painted bullets in my future.....

Kinda like eating "finger food",spent decades eating samiches with nasty hands. Now,make it 19th century silver on the very best china please! So it is with "painting" bullets..... no thanks. Got enough other piles of stuff that need paint. And thank baby jesus for high$$ spray equipment.

But that part of the response only cause I'm hungry and headed to the kitchen. What I wanted to say.... trying to be delicate because it's ragged edge off topic,but also don't want to make it seem like a rabbit hole but...... y'all really need to think about precision grinding,vs "cutting" when dealing with high accuracy parts. I sear it's like flipping on a lite switch on how easy,comparatively..... it is to hit your numbers,SAFELY. And this is not safe as in losing body parts.Safe as in hitting your target #'s.

Let's see,pot of coffee, 3 eggs over medium, fake news sausage( Turkey based) and two pieces of toast slathered with fancy N Cal. jelly. And a 1911 on the counter for inspiration.That aught to get the day started.