Hello, Want to get started reloading for my 1894CB .45 Colt. Looking at Lee equipment with the 4 die set. They also have 3 die set. Which would be better for rifle use? Crimp or no crimp. Will be molding my own bullets, any hardness guidelines?
Definately get a crimp die. Even light loads in the 45 may cause bullet movement due to recoil. The crimp stops this.
As far as deer go, I have not shot one with my 45 LC's, but if I did, I'd use a Hornady 250 XTP over a stout load of H110 or similar powder. The XTPs have a great reputation on deer and the inline muzzleloading crowd pushes them to 2000 fps+ with good results and up to 200 yard clean kills with that bullet. I'm not saying to do this with the 45 LC in the Marlin, just showing an example of what the bullet can do. I have a TC Omega inline and have pushed the XTP's this fast over the chrono with big charges of 777 powder.
For low velocity plinking, the bullets don't have to be too hard but the faster you push them, the harder you'll want the bullet. Most reputable bullet makers make them hard enough and the specialty makers can provide really heavy hard ones if you want that.
45 LC was just made for the 1894. They are really fun. I have three 1894's in 45, a 16" Talo model, a standard 24" Cowboy, and a Cowboy Competition model.
How about a lone dissenter? I really do not like .45 Colt rifles, I had my 1894CB converted to .38-40.
A couple of things that I did learn that will help you. If you use Winchester brass, the sealing of the breech will be better. The .45 Colt was never designed to be a rifle cartridge, they have to make the chambers big (right at maximum) to get it to feed properly, and modern cases tend to have very stiff walls. That all adds up to poor sealing of the breech and lots of gas and crud blown back into the action--very dirty guns result. You can help a little by using Winchester brass because the sidewalls are the thinnest and they seal better.
By all means use the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die. The real problem here is that the magazine spring can push the bullets backward into the cases if your crimps are inadequate. In a small case, that can increase operating pressures enormously. I calculated this on QuickLoad one time and it would surprise you. If your crimps are good enough to prevent the bullets from being pushed backward by the magazine spring, then the bullets will not move out under recoil, either.
I load mine for hunting using a 300 gr cast and 21 grs. H110. I shoot the light stuff in one of my Bisleys, using 255 SWC or RFN and about 9 grs Unique. Be extra careful because the 45 Colt is a voluminous case and the possibility of a double charge is ever present.
Roll crimping is best when used in a pistol cartridge, magazine rifle or a revolver for that matter. Heavy bullets tend to jump the crimp if it is not done properly.
I used the 300 gr load to take a whitetail buck and a bobcat last year. It was very effective.
I know nothing of casting but believe that common wheel weights will provide enough hardness for mid-range velocities. I have read that water quenching will also provide additional hardness.
Lee dies have served me well for many years.
My '94CB Ltd 24" likes coated .454" hardcast 250gr LRNFP.
I use the Lee Carbide 3 piece die set and a heavy roll crimp.
After fire forming a new batch of cases or factory ammo(Winchester is thinnest & best for sealing chamber) for "MY RIFLE ONLY"...........
-> tumble clean
-> punch out used primers with mallet and an old depriming rod or thin punch
-> neck size to bullet depth only giving a bottle shape(depriming rod isn't long enough in die)
-> bell/flare mouth just enough so bullet stands when finger placed
-> trim and debur all to same length if required
My favourite target loads with Federal LP primers seated with a Lee Auto Primer.........
10.0gr Hodgdon Universal = avg 1287fps
25.0gr H4227 = avg 1578fps
When I first started neck sizing my .45 Colt brass many years ago, I found that the decapping rod in my Lyman .45 Colt dies wasn't long enough either.
After evaluating the situation, I found that I could make the rod long enough by doing the following:
1.) Remove the external nut that locks the decapping rod in place
2.) Remove the decapping rod
3.) THread the nut onto the decapping rod about 1/4" or so
4.) Insert the decapping rod back into the die. The nut now locks the rod in place from inside the die rather than the outside, thereby making the decapping rod long enough to remove the primers when neck sizing.
Your die may not allow for an adjustment of the rod, but if it works as I described, you will be able to n.s. and deprime all in one smooth stroke. :mrgreen:
Patch, I have used my Bowen 5 shot Bisley in 45Colt on one white tail. The load was Winchester 296 and a 300 grain LBT that at just under 35 of my paces (6'4"), went through the deer's spine (broadside shot) just behind the shoulder and out the other side.
You can find a similar load for 300 grain jacketed bullets in the Hornady and Speer manuals "for Ruger revolvers only" and as they are held to 25000 cup, are more than safe enough for use in a current 1894 carbine.
I use Starline brass and a heavy roll crimp which does several things, first the bullet movement is held in check, secondly, this helps ignition with some powders and finally, increases weather tightness.
In a carbine, I wouldn't be surprised to see this load approach the factory 300 grain 45-70 stuff.
Paco over at Leverguns has an interesting article and the Gunblast site has some good reference stuff as well.
A crimp is realy a good idea in a lever gun with a tube magazine. It prevents the recoil forces from pushing the bullets back into the cases.
The Lee factory crimp in the pistol cartridges is just a roll crimp, which works fine. (The rifle cartridges like 45/70 have a different split collet arrangement that squeezes from the sides.) What is unique is that the crimp is made by a loose ring that butt up against the adjusting screw rather than having a diameter reduction machined straight into the die body. This is easier to clean.
The Lee 4 die set works for me in both 45LC pistol and rifle.
The question you have to answer if you have a single stage press is: "do you want to use a 4th die to perform the crimp when you can probably get it built into the seating die?" If you have progressive this question might not matter.