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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Folks

I post this seeking knowledge.

I've been reloading for a while, but I've only ever reloaded for rifle, specifically bottle neck cases. I usually by mil surp once fired cases and work the brass myself.

My lovely wife just gave me my first 45 ACP pistol for combo bday and father’s day and I would like to start reloading for that caliber.

I’ve started to do some reading regarding reloading for 45 and have a few questions for those of you good enough to share some experience with me.

1. I've read that 45 ACP are made in BOTH large and small pistol primers? Is this true? Does it depend on Lot, bullet size, company making it?

2. If #1 above is true, does anyone have any data on which type is better? And for what reasons?

3. Are there any special concerns with reloading straight walled cases?

4. Is the average case volume vs volume of average load of powder *roughly* the same? In other words, when I load 308 or 556 it’s impossible to accidentally put a double charge in because the case would overflow. Is this the same for 45 ACP?

5. Over the years of loading 308 and 556, I’ve developed some favorites for brass – powder and bullets. Most of the rifle Brass I get is Lake City. I don’t think Lake City makes 45 ACP. Anyone want to recommend their favorites and why it is?

6. I don’t know what I don’t know. Please feel free to give whatever advice you feel you would like to have known when you were just starting to load for 45 ACP.

Thanks in Advance

Baldur
 

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1 & 2, personal preference, just sort them so you don't try to cram large into the small (I do this). Progressive types generally use one or the other.

3. Expand properly, get the taper crimp right.

4. you can easily double charge .45 with most popular powders. Pay attention to what your doing.

5. If your buying new brass, starline is great. Personally with .45 I just use whatever is in my garage.

6. outside of overcharging, start with loading ball first before doing cast stuff. I mostly shoot cast because of $, with this you have certain powders that work better with certain lubes. I don't fool with plated stuff. 231, BE, Unique, Titegroup generally work best for me…most of the time i load BE. OAL is important, especially with cast stuff, if loading ball just start with what the book says.
 

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Hello Folks

I post this seeking knowledge.

I've been reloading for a while, but I've only ever reloaded for rifle, specifically bottle neck cases. I usually by mil surp once fired cases and work the brass myself.

My lovely wife just gave me my first 45 ACP pistol for combo bday and father’s day and I would like to start reloading for that caliber. Good choice! Also a great caliber to cast bullets for.

I’ve started to do some reading regarding reloading for 45 and have a few questions for those of you good enough to share some experience with me.

1. I've read that 45 ACP are made in BOTH large and small pistol primers? Is this true? Does it depend on Lot, bullet size, company making it? I haven't seen this before. Large pistol primers only. I'd ditch any small primered cases if I found them.

2. If #1 above is true, does anyone have any data on which type is better? And for what reasons?

3. Are there any special concerns with reloading straight walled cases? Easy as it gets!! Don't over bell your case mouths and if crimping use a taper crimp die.

4. Is the average case volume vs volume of average load of powder *roughly* the same? In other words, when I load 308 or 556 it’s impossible to accidentally put a double charge in because the case would overflow. Is this the same for 45 ACP? No way! VERY easy to overcharge!
5. Over the years of loading 308 and 556, I’ve developed some favorites for brass – powder and bullets. Most of the rifle Brass I get is Lake City. I don’t think Lake City makes 45 ACP. Anyone want to recommend their favorites and why it is? Whatever you can find. I have WW1 WRA cases that I've used.

6. I don’t know what I don’t know. Please feel free to give whatever advice you feel you would like to have known when you were just starting to load for 45 ACP. It really doesn't get any easier than the .45ACP. Don't over bell and used a taper crimp only if needed.

Thanks in Advance

Baldur
Enjoy!!!
 
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My limited experience with .45 is,I think Blazer is the only one using small pistol primers. I have reloaded them for target loads and they work fine. Yes some of the target loads can be double charged, I always do a visual check after charging. As far as brass I would think that sorting by manufacturer would help but, I just lump it all together and start loading. I don't target shoot regularly so any variance isn't noticeable to me.
I've used a lot of different cast bullets but I've come to the conclusion that the .45 likes ball ammo. So next time I buy cast bullets it will be the round nose. There are lots of book's and web sites that can give you load data.
I don't know if you have your loading dies yet but with the carbide dies you don't have to lube them, which saves a step in the process.
Good luck and have fun.
Bob
 

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Welcome to the 1911 .45 ACP You will learn to love it!

.45 Cases do indeed come with LG and SM primer pockets. Do yourself a favor and just stick to the LG Primer pocket ones.

There are tons of loading info in reloading manuals or at http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/

Making accurate loads will be no trick at all just don't try to "Hot rod" this cartridge .
You don't need to. A 230 Gr Bullet will do anything a .45 is supposed to do.

You can shoot lead with no problems and save some money (I sent you a link).
You can also load Hollow point loads for Hunting or self defence.

What powder are you thinking of using?
 
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I prefer large primer pockets. For 1911's I like cast (lyman) 230 gr. RN over 6gr. Unique. I also like cast (lyman) 200 gr. SWC over 6gr. Unique. Both are accurate loads.

My S&W 25-2 likes the cast 200 gr. SWC and cast 200 gr. HP (both Lyman) over 6 gr. Unique.

I like the Lee Factory crimp die also. .45 acp likes cast bullets, so you might want to get into casting your own!
 

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I think Federal uses the small primers in some of their line. Look at the primer b4 you by. I throw that brass into the garbage. Blazer is filthy.
 

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Yes to pretty much what everyone else said.

I don't toss the small primer .45 brass, I just keep it in a separate baggie, when I get enough I can load a box or two of rounds that I'm not likely to recover the brass (indoor ranges, etc.) The SP brass is in the 'non-toxic' rounds by Federal, CCI and others, but by now we may start to see this more and more... :(

.45 brass is, pretty much, .45 brass. I segregate my nice brass (RP, Midway/Starline, Winchester) from the rest of it, I load the mixed brass for... rounds that I'm not likely to be able to recover the brass.

Taper crimp: Know it, learn it, live it.

All the midrange pistol powders work well with .45ACP loads, my favorite is Unique (6.5grn under a 230grn FMJ or cast,) but I also load them with W231 and WST. With the current shortage of pistol powders you may have to improvise with what you can find. You CAN double-charge a .45ACP case... make sure your reloading technique is solid to avoid this if you are using light charges.

FMJ, plated FMJ, cast... I use them all, in 200- and 230grn.
 
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I agree on attention to powder charge for 45 ACP. Straight wall cases, for pistols needs a crimp die. I use Dillon pistol 3 die set. The case needs a slight bell, for bullet seating, and then crimp die. I inspect my brass and pull any small primer pockets out. I trade those to a friend who shots Glock, and it likes the small primer. I shot 230 gr. bullets and they will drop anything it hits. Love the 45 ACP, accurate, especially through 1911 frame. Own 2, Kimber, and Colt, plan on owning a Sig C3, for pack gun later this yr. As for powder have shot Vithavori, for years. Cost more but clean, easy throwing. Was at the right place couple yrs, back local gun shop sold out, bought 8 lbs of 3n37. 1 lb of pistol powder will load many rds.
 

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1. I've read that 45 ACP are made in BOTH large and small pistol primers? Is this true? Does it depend on Lot, bullet size, company making it?

2. If #1 above is true, does anyone have any data on which type is better? And for what reasons?

3. Are there any special concerns with reloading straight walled cases?

4. Is the average case volume vs volume of average load of powder *roughly* the same? In other words, when I load 308 or 556 it’s impossible to accidentally put a double charge in because the case would overflow. Is this the same for 45 ACP?

5. Over the years of loading 308 and 556, I’ve developed some favorites for brass – powder and bullets. Most of the rifle Brass I get is Lake City. I don’t think Lake City makes 45 ACP. Anyone want to recommend their favorites and why it is?

6. I don’t know what I don’t know. Please feel free to give whatever advice you feel you would like to have known when you were just starting to load for 45 ACP.

Thanks in Advance

Baldur
1, 2. Only in recent times have some companies been making some of their .45 ammo with small primers. I sort it off to the side, and every once in a while when the Dillon is set up for small primers, I'll do all of them before I convert over to large primers and reload the thousands of those I do at a time. I store and shoot them separately to avoid the brass mixing again.

I have a friend who is a world class IPSC and 3-gun shooter. Everything he shoots is small primers, with the exception of having a few guns in .45 ACP. He only uses the small primer brass so that he never has to convert his press.

I've seen no difference in performance between the two.

3. Short, straight-wall pistol cases are the easiest cases to reload. Get carbide dies, and you don't need to lube the cases. Low pressure cases like .45 ACP can be reloaded maybe hundreds of times with no trimming ever.

4. Especially with modern fast powders, you CAN double-charge a .45 and not notice. Make sure your reloading practices will prevent this. I use an auto-indexing progressive press. I also use Bullseye powder, only needing 5.0 grains or less, depending on the bullet.

5. Most of my pistol brass is mixed. There is very little advantage, if any, to sorting them. They just don't vary that much, and you aren't trying to shoot benchrest competitions with them. The only ones I keep separate are some same lot nickel cases because they look really pretty when I load all them with the same hollow points.

6. One change over doing rifle cases is that you will need to bell the case mouth before seating the bullet. You only need a tiny bit, just barely enough to notice. Set your crimp to completely remove it and make it straight again but not too much to dig into the bullet like you would with revolver cases.
 
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All solid advice so far. All I can add is:

3. Are there any special concerns with reloading straight walled cases?
Yes! Enjoy the use of carbide dies!
 
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I never got past this part: "My lovely wife just gave me my first 45 ACP pistol..."

Man! She is a "keeper"! And I mean that with the best of compliments! Congrats and enjoy!

And don't forget to take her shooting!

Regards,
D1
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I never got past this part: "My lovely wife just gave me my first 45 ACP pistol..."

Man! She is a "keeper"! And I mean that with the best of compliments! Congrats and enjoy!

And don't forget to take her shooting!

Regards,
D1
Thank you D1,

I took it as a compliment! :ARM34:

I am truly blessed. Not only is she great looking, shes a great cook, keeps squared away house, and gave me a strong healthy son.

And for those who asked about what she got me.... Here it is. My new carry gun. I wanted the really SPRINGFIELD 1911 CHAMPION OPERATOR LIGHTWEIGHT MODEL but it was looking like the wait was going to be too long.
 

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During the recent unpleasantness of , no powder, I experimented with blue dot. I had a lot of it from the 10mm, my 45s took right to it. The load takes up alot of room, and a double charge would be very obvious. Congrats on a nice pistol.
 

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I am a big fan of bigger is better.
A .45 lets more air in, and more blood out.
 

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My advice....

for .45, use a separate taper crimp die from your seating die. Yes, I know seating has taper crimp built in, but buy 2 dies...one for seating and one for crimping. Mixed brass means the case walls of different brands have different thicknesses. A separate crimp stage makes that go so much easier.

Forget cast bullets. Buy plated bullets. They are a few cents more, but feed and load so much easier. Rocky Mountain Reloading or Berry's has plated bullets. My only choice for .45 auto. Stick with round nose until you get all your reloading issues sorted out.

Try to stick with the fewest powders possible. I load ALL my handgun ammo with Unique and all my rifle loads with 4895. If a caliber, handgun or rifle, doesn't load with either of those, I don't buy it. By following that plan, there has been no powder shortage in my reloading room...I've stockpiled plenty because I've only needed to buy 2 flavors. Unique works great in .45acp.

Stay far away from small primers in 45acp. Nothing gums up the works like having mixed primer sizes in your can of brass.

I load all my pistol ammo on a small Dillon Square Deal B. Once set up, I can knock out 100 rounds in about 25 minutes without breaking a sweat. More expensive progressive presses can go even faster, but I only shoot about 100 rds a week, so the Sq Deal works perfect for me.
 

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I've cast probably 60-70 pounds of Hensley (H&G) 68 bullets. Great semi-wadcutter for the .45ACP. Very accurate and feeds reliably. I use a four gang steel SAECO mold. I have also purchased and loaded many boxes of precast H&G 68 bullets.

I've used Unique mainly, but have also used Red Dot, Blue Dot, and a few others.

Several years ago when S&W brought out their series of .45ACP semiauto handguns they fired tens of thousands of rounds of that caliber for field testing. They then sold the once fired brass to jobbers and I picked up several thousands of these cases and am still shooting them. I generally load a case 5-6 times before I discard it. I also picked up a few 1200 round cases of milsurp from WWI and WWII and have quite a bit of that brass on hand still. I guess that's why I haven't seen any small pistol primered .45 ACP brass. Although now that I think about it some of the practice ammo that we were issued was Blazer aluminum cased ammo that had small primers. As I remember this 'brass' was berdan primed and not reloadable.

When I was carrying my SIG P220 on duty my issue round was the Speer Gold Dot 200 grain flying ashtray HP. Back then the practice ammo was a cast semiwadcutter but it was very soft lead and left a sooty residue in the barrel. That's what spurred my venturing into bullet casting.
 
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Small primer cases work just as well but are somewhat of a pain. I just separate them when I sort the brass.

Seat and taper crimp in two different steps. It will make life easier for you.

You will have to tinker with the taper crimp and OAL until you get rounds that will plunk in your chambers and feed from the magazines. Start with what the manual says. This is not a difficult process.
 

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FWIW TrailBoss powder will not allow a double charge. It is a bit more expensive than w231/HP38 (same powder) which is my "go to" for .45 Auto. However I keep seeing TrailBoss for sale and haven't seen W231 literally for a couple of years.

Separate taper crimp is a really good idea IMHO.

So is starting with 230 grain FMJ RN. That's the easiest to get functioning right. But lead is significantly cheaper. Provided your pistol has normal rifling as opposed to Glock octagonal, a good replica of the H&G #68 200 grain lead semi-wadcutter is an excellent target projectile. For lead, I suggest Penn Bullets for quality & customer service. Note: not all 200 grain LSWCs are even vaguely the same shape. The H&G #68 just plain works in 1911s. I assume it will work in your pistol too but maybe I shouldn't.
 
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