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  1. #1
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    Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???


    Taking a clue from my new hero Papa John I bought a Lee Classic Cast Turret press w/my Christmas gift cards. Then I went and bought one of those Filipino 45s - Citadel FS it is cool

    I get the Turret press mounted to the bench and figure why not start w/the 45s - right?
    I've loaded some 45s before so I have the dies, a 100 or so mixed range brass, some Berry's plated 200gr HPs, CCI300 primers, and Universal. I'm using the Lee listed starting load of 6.0gr of Universal. The Berry's are long bullets it seems, I've used them before in the 9mm and earlier 45s and they seem to seat awfully deep!
    The COAL of my previous 45s loaded w/these bullets was 1.227" and I set the 1st one at that and put a light crimp on it w/my FCD. When I put it in a clip and let the slide catch go, the bullet was set back to 1.205" NOT GOOD!

    So what should I do? try and put a heavier crimp on it and hope that I don't crush the bullet? Should I change bullets? The Berry's were all I could find at the time w/out ordering online...

    Thanks for your help,
    -chris
    -chris

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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???

    Just a few suggestions that may help...

    First, it sounds like you need to tighten up that crimp a bit. I've loaded tens of thousands of .45's with both jacketed and lead bullets and always used a firm taper crimp. Feeding reliability was always high on my priority list, but accuracy was never diminished.

    Second, you could remove a few thousands from your expander plug to slightly reduce the inside case diameter, resulting in a tighter friction fit between case and bullet. Along with the proper crimp, it can make a enough difference to be worthwhile.

    Third, check the feed ramp on the Citadel. It's not uncommon for those less expensive 1911's to need a little polishing in that area. A rough feed ramp can and will affect feeding, and may contribute to bullet setback.

    Roe
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  3. #3
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???

    Quote Originally Posted by Barenjager
    Second, you could remove a few thousands from your expander plug to slightly reduce the inside case diameter, resulting in a tighter friction fit between case and bullet. Along with the proper crimp, it can make a enough difference to be worthwhile.
    Roe
    Remember, you are just turning the case mouth out just enough to start the bullet. With jacketed or plated bullets you have less danger of shaving the bullet, even on a tight fit.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???

    Guys, with your kind forbearance as we chase this one down.....the vast majority of bullet retention forces in terms of keeping the bullet in place when feeding the cartridge in an automatic pistol are due to case/bullet fit. It may be further argued that the heel of the bullet is very operative as well, and by this I mean the interaction of the bullet's base with the somewhat smaller interior diameter of the case. If the case is not a certain amount smaller than the bullet, grip is poor in terms of resisting bullet setback into the case.

    To see the truth of this, try any amount of taper crimp to hold a bullet in place that has been fitted to either an oversized case interior due to inadequate sizing or used with an oversized expanding plug.

    It won't help one bit, even with a death crimp on the case.

    Proper taper crimp diameter at the case mouth is a subject of considerable debate, and the amount of taper crimp applied in most reasonable loadings of the 45 ACP can be easily proven to have little value in bullet retention. In other words, if case/bullet friction isn't adequate, more taper crimp ain't gonna do it. If case friction is adequate, in truth very little crimp is needed or beneficial beyond turning in the case mouth flare from the case belling step. It is best to think of a taper crimp as a reliability aid rather than a bullet retention feature.

    Some Remington cases tend to be a bit thinnish, and with some dies, like my Lee carbide set, sizing is somewhat less, and I may (and do) have bullet retention issues with some brass/bullet/die combinations that would work perfectly if some of the components were changed.

    So:

    Case brand matters

    The amount the case is sized in the sizing die matters

    Amount of parallel sided bullet length in the case for the case to grip matters

    What your "Factory Crimp Die" does to the bullet matters....some of these, due to an undersized carbide ring at the bottom of the die, oversize the case and bullet by squeezing excessively. The brass springs back....the bullet does not. Case grip may be loosened as a result. Measure exterior case diameter before and after running through the die to determine the reduction and report back to us.

    Believe it or not, bullet retention and setback may also have to do with the magazine used, as some magazines and magazine/bullet combinations are more kachunky feeders due to the steepening of the feed angle and the ramming, in effect, of the bullet against the feeding surfaces.

    Bullet diameter matters....generally this is either .451" in jacketed or .452" in some plated and most cast bullets.

    An improper seating stem may seat the bullet crookedly, and sizing it in the LFCD will almost certainly oversqueeze the bullet and loosen case grip.

    Measure the expander plug and report to us its diameter....don't turn it down until you measure it.

    Finally, and again with the other poster's forebearance, don't do anything to the feedramp yet, as more feedling malfunctions and destroyed 1911's have resulted from "polishing the feedramp" than any other factor. "Polishing the feedramp" may change its angle or reduce the necessary gap between frame ramp and barrel ramp that is essential for the 1911 to feed properly.....and way, way too many guys misunderstand the 1911 design and how it's supposed to work and overdo it.

    Let's look at case grip first. Take one of your loaded rounds and push it against the loading bench sides, leaning on it a bit. Can you make the bullet move? Measure it before and after. If it moves, grip needs to be increased, and it's something you're not doing, or it's something you're doing.

    Also, make sure the setback is not due to the bullet contacting the rifling leade on chambering. Check chambering of the round with the barrel out of the gun.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???


    I'm not having fun w/this one! The resizing die doesn't have an expander like a rifle die set, the expansion is all done with the powder through expanding die. The instructions on this die are to raise the ram and screw the die in until it touches the shell holder and back off 1 turn. THIS IS WAY TOO FAR! I have backed it out until it just bells the case mouth. I have also tightened down the crimp die to .4685 from .470 this seems like way too much crimp?
    I cannot move a bullet by pressing it on the bench. However I can set one back by releasing the slide on 1 cartridge loaded in the mag. It is not as bad since I backed off the expansion die and is now going from 1.227 to 1.215 which is better but still not very good.

    I'm leery of taking the expander down as now the bullets barely seat w/out shaving.I will take the expander out and measure it.

    I think it is the gun being new, the bullet shaped more like a flat point, and possibly the mag - or some combination of these. I am not married to these bullets and am seriously thinking about getting some jacketed RN to get this gun going.

    -chris
    -chris

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  6. #6
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???

    +1 what 35Remington said. When I tried Berries plated years ago in 45acp I came across the same problem. I figured out that my LFCD was swaging the .452 bullets down and destroying the neck tension. After replacing the LFCD with a Redding taper crimp die adjusted with only enough crimp to remove the bell, my problem went away. Long since stopped using Berry’s but still only use my Redding crimp die.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???

    35remington is all over it...

    Neck tension...no amount of crimp will take the place of proper neck tension. This is especially true in straight walled pistol rounds in semi auto pistols.

    Check the specs of your sized brass and go VERY easy on flaring the case mouth...all it takes is just enough for the bullet to sit there long enough to seat it.

    I use RCBS dies...but I'm sure others will work too.

    I have a little experience with 1911's...some of them feed a bit rough.

    Setback is often due to magazines (I prefer Tripp mags, they present the round at a better angle)...but it can be OAL, feedramp, chamber specs...and a few other things.

    Usually its neck tension though...I VERY, VERY lightly crimp my 45acp rounds (even 45 Super)...after bullet seating mine measure .470", that is actually pretty much no crimp at all...I just remove the flare.

    You have to be careful of over crimping 45acp rounds...they head space on the case mouth. (though some pistols, 1911's included, will sometimes head space the round with the extractor...but this IS NOT the ideal setup and has its own set of "circumstances")

    DO NOT get trigger happy with the Dremel.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???


    OK - blaming this one on a bad bullet/new gun combo. I went to the local Cabelas and they had all kinds of 230gr RN bullets. Lowest price was a tie between Remington and Hornady, I bought the Hornady's as they are a NE company.

    My expander plug mics @ .450 to .448 and I had to crank the expander die down to get the RN bullets to seat. I actually ruined 1 and the case when I 1st started @ the setting I was using for the Berry's bullets.

    I seated the Hornady's to 1.260 (used the barrel as a gauge) over 5.4grs of Universal, backed off the crimp to .470, and slapped them in the gun. I had absolutely NO setback on the 5 cases I loaded.

    So no Berry's 200gr HPs for my new Citadel at least until I get it broke in...

    -chris
    -chris

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  9. #9
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???

    1.260" is a good overall length for the Hornady bullet. It sounds as though the size of the expander is proper, as the .448" diameter of the expander should allow for adequate bullet tension when allowing for some springback of the brass when the expander is removed. My Lyman and Lee 45 ACP die sets have .448" diameter plugs on the parallel sided section below the flaring portion so I've confirmation that will work fine as mine have no tension issues.

    As you found out, flaring the case is an important step and the bullet should be hand seated after belling (remove the case from the press) to check the initial fit before using the full press stroke and possbily ruining the case. Once this is correct, loading may commence without fear of ruining the case or bullet.

    As was mentioned above, using the minimum amount of flare that allows seating without shaving the lead bullet or crumpling the case.

    And of course, the roundnose bullet feeds more smoothly in many instances, reducing the impact of the round against the feeding surfaces and bullet setback.

    You've got to be selective in choosing 45 ACP bullet designs. These are best in the HG 68 200 SWC pattern (longnose SWC) and those profiles that have a rounded ogive and a small nose flat, if one is present. Most 230 truncated cone shapes feed well when loaded to an overall length approximating 1.220."

    Generally, those bullet designs that finish with an overall loaded length of below 1.200" are getting away from the length that best fits the 1911 feed profile. With rounds shorter than this, early release "wadcutter" magazines are used, but due to the compromises that comes with feeding the shorter length rounds, these magazines steepen the feed path and are less inherently reliable because they increase the amount of stem binding that occurs as the rounds climb the feedramp into the chamber. They also have the rim further from the extractor when it is released (it "throws" the rounds at the extractor rather than releasing the rim near the extractor) and also make the rim approach the extractor at a steeper angle, reducing the chance the rim has to get under the extractor in the first place.

    The 1911 MUST feed the round under the extractor in feeding, or it will jam.

    In other words, these magazines are "kachunkier" feeders. Ain't no free lunch, and "improvements" are often tradeoffs that have downsides.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bullet setback in 45ACP WTH???


    Thanks for the verification 35 - I'm still fairly new to the metallic reloading gig and certainly to the straight wall pistols.

    I went ahead and loaded 2 clips (16) and took them out to the farm to shoot. The Citadel is impressive for a $500 1911, very smooth action and a decent trigger made me look good on paper. I fired the 1st clip nice and slow and kept them in a 4" circle w/one flyer @ 10 yards, although they were low and left about 8 o'clock. I shot a few more clips with some older factory hardball my buddy had, mainly to make brass. Then I let my 9 y.o. daughter shoot 1 round from the second set of reloads and she thought it was cool but hard to hold. I shot the rest with 2 triple taps and a single. The Citadel never failed to cycle, feed, or fire the 1st time out of the box so I am happy!

    My buddy shot the 5 200gr Berry's reloads out of his Remington-Rand and thought they were still fairly mild. He originally bought the bullets to try and I didn't think they would be dangerous to shoot w/all of them being over 1.20" and the powder short of max.

    I'm going to load the rest of the Hornady's with 5.6grs of Universal and see how they shoot as the 5.4gr load was really mild.

    Thanks everybody for the help and info on the 45ACP.

    -chris
    -chris

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