How do you long-time .45-70 cast bullet re-loaders feel about slightly reducing the expander diameter (for bulge reduction) ? (Maybe accompanied by a decrease in the taper angle to ease bullet seating ?)
Wind, have been loading rifle on 550's since '85. 22-250, 30-06, and 45/70. The 22-250 shoots a dime at 200 yds, the Garand shoots 2 1/2" at 200 yds, and the micro groove shoots 2 3/4" at 150 yds. The mauser bolt in 06 shoots 1 3/4" at 200 yds. I agree with you on case prep and full length resizing. If cases are not the same length, one can not get a uniform crimp. Was blown away by you ringing the gong at 400 yds off hand in the Texas breeze. Yes, I full length size the 22-250 and 06. Never know when one of my buds run low, and all 06 ammo must go through the m-1. I crimp both of those, with a light crimp on the 22-250, and a firm crimp on the 06. Roll crimp with a Redding profile crimp in 45/70 with lead, back off a quarter turn or so for jackets. Yes needed to modify base of non-Dillon dies to suit.
Hey there randyc -- That would be defeating the whole purpose of the expander. In a fired case, with no re-size (read here: case reduction) a .458" diameter cast bullet will fall into the case from it's own weight (with a case from my rifle). By re-sizing and then expanding to approximately .4575" you now have enough case neck tension to hold a bullet sized .458". Using a bullet sized .459" makes it even better. The flare is, and should be, just a mere hint of a funnel. It's sole purpose is to prevent lead shaving off the sides of the bullet. This helps avoid a myriad of other problems with out of round bullets, gas cutting on the shaved side, very poor accuracy, and the like.
I don't have a definitive reason, but properly expanding (belling) the case seems to reduce shorter case life due to cracks and splits. The preceding is an unqualified observation on my part. Here is a picture of case problems I would attribute to improper expanding and flaring.
It has been my experience that the RCBS Cowboy dies help eliminate most all of this and produce good looking ammunition as well.
Best regards. Wind
EDIT: Proper expanding also helps the bullet seat straight up and down. Some of the issues with the brass in the picture may be attributed to crooked seating and thus stressing the case mouth and sides unevenly.
And thank you guys for the kind words in some of the previous posts.
Hey there truckboss -- Check out the pictures there on page two. Specifically the middle pix with the dial indicators. Best regards. Wind
EDIT: Those split cases in the picture are Winchester brass. They have never been annealed, at least by me, and have been reloaded conservatively 50 times. BUT... They were being loaded by my old Herter die set, not the RCBS Cowboy dies (which were bought to replace the Herters). I still use the Herters seating die for another weight bullet. Then go back to the Cowboy roll crimp die to finish the cartridge. This is another advantage to using a single stage press for this and not my Dillon.
I reload a bit differently than most of you guys. My 38-55 Marlins have very tight chambers, about .001 over case size, therefore, I do not re-size at all. I mentioned that in earlier post on this thread.
If cartridges are to be fired again in the same gun then re-sizing is on a limited basis. By that I mean that the case is neck sized down as far as the bullet will extend into the case and sized down to just hold the bullet and crimped. Case tension has been explained by Wind in foregoing posts. In my experience, full length sizing is not needed, I size, if needed, only enough to function thru the intended rifle. I do crimp all ammo intended for tube fed rifles. For bolt guns I have never crimped the ammo unless it's a real kicker (heavy recoil). Everything that I shoot from the 222 to 300 Win Mag I have never crimped, most bullets for those rifles have no crimp groove anyway.
Thanks to Wind and others for a great discussion on this thread. I've just started reloading 45-70 again when I picked up a 1895G recently. The only bulges I've had trouble with are around that bullet seating crimp on Peters and WRA brass, when the bullet is seated below that ring. I don't experiance it on smooth side brass such as Starline.
I use Lee dies and recently invested in a larger expander plug to match the Lee .405 HB bullets I've started casting. Track of the Wolf offers replacement expander plugs for Lee dies from .457 - .461. They are only $3 each. They are a little different in that they are solid instead of hollow like the stock expander/case mouth flarer. One of these expander plugs may help those who are loading bullets of larger diameter for their Marlins. Also Track of the Wolf has Starline brass in stock.
I reread this post after reading it back when it was hot. Funny how you pick up new things from an old post after you've wrestled some more with the topic. I've tried the full length, and I've tried it like Jim does. I’ve been alarmed by bulges and been pleased when I managed to eliminate them. I've made it work with full size and with partial resize (never 'no' resize). Every variable does change the equation, including your chamber.
With the 375 (38-55 Cowboy dies) I continued to have problems with a 379 bullet (due more to the ogive). I could full-length resize and go with a significant bulge or I could forgo the resize and have so little tension that, with the wide meplate bullet, which I like, the barrel in my cowboy seating die continues to change my seating depth even with a stem removed and the die once honed.
I've found workarounds for all of it but as I read this again I see measures I can still improve the outcome with and I see things that further clarify the problems/fixes for me.
For me, Starline brass solved more than one piece of the problem I still had, even with cowboy dies. And with Winchester brass I eventually had to find another crimp option, unless I wanted to keep honing away at the die. Either way, I’m likely gonna keep the bulge with the 375 (.379) because the expansion at fire forming is just too great not to resize at least some. The 45/70 riddle was much easier to resolve.
Ridgerunner665 was correct… The post merits life as a sticky.
I am sure I missed out on part of this originally.
I don't quite understand the detriment in the bulge.
I load 45-70 in a Guide Gun and a Ruger #1. I use regular stock RCBS dies and a single stage Rockchucker Jr press. I'm loading a 450 gr LBT LFN GC bullet sized .460". The load is 37 gr of RL#7 and it shoots well in both rifles and cycles well in the lever gun. It plainly bulges at the bottom of the bullet. You can just barely make out the outline of the bullet..... grooves and all.
Billy Jack... I think it’s more cosmetic thing than it is a functional detriment. Could be wrong. Have been, a lot of times!
If a guy is hard-over on not having a bulge, the point has already been made that it can be eliminated even when full length resizing (provided, as Wind said, "With belling the full dept of the expander plug, and adding a minute flare, the case taper and expander may be meeting at a point that reduces or eliminates the bulge"); and providing your bullet is not over-sized.
On a side note about partial sizing or NO sizing, I've read of well-performed studies before how neck sizing or partial sizing has been shown NOT to improve accuracy. In fact the opposite occurred in the testing, although not by leaps and bounds. Some folks are naturally inclined to think (and I'd be one) that a case closely fit to the chamber, as with fireformed, sure ought not to hurt and would kinda make sense that the bullet would be better centered, etc.
Well, I had a hard time believing that accuracy was NOT improved so I had to see for myself, knowing there are a lot of myths out there. Mind you, this was not exhaustive testing, more like a little validation with MY OWN experience. I took two different loads and loaded each with five rounds into once fired ‘partially sized’ cases, and five rounds of each loaded into new brass full-length sized brass. Velocity averages were very close, but a split decision, while in both loads, accuracy, with the full-length sized cases, edged out those sized just enough for the neck tension. Margin was small but same for both groups.
That’s not a very big sample I know, but consider, I was probably hoping for the opposite results because I’m always fiddling around and doing things the hard way. I say ‘hard way’ because with my level of experience it would surely be easier to just slam dunk that decision and full length resize every time. But hey, sometimes I have some awesome bullets without a hint of bulge.
And of course, if Jim reads this and then posts a target to prove me wrong, it will have been worth writing, cause I love to look at Jim's targets
But really the biggest reason I posted was to ask if you'd post a picture of that LBT LFN. I'd sure like to see a picture of an LBT 45ish cast bullet that isn't the wide meplate. I've got one in 32-40 but that's worlds apart from the 45-70. If you can it’d satisfy some curiosity and I’d appreciate it. Thanks!!
Luckily I had 2 bullets left. Need to order some more, but Dave at Montana Bullet Works is still recovering from a surgery. Hope he gets well soon. He makes some very nice bullets.
Here are the bullets and a couple of completed cartridges. You can see the bulge. So far only fired once at game........took a nice big boar hog.
Hey there BJ -- Essentially your regular RCBS expander plug isn't expanding your brass quite enough for your fat bottom bullet. .460" is pretty fat and you may see some brass failure down the line. It'll look like the brass in the picture in post #44. I wouldn't sweat it, eventually the brass will fail anyway. Seems fit and function, as well as hog killing, is working fine. Best regards. Wind
I see folks mention that they have loaded brass 10-20 times. Based on my shooting habits of the past once I get a load developed my shooting slows to an occasional target session or a re-sighting session plus the occasional shot at game. It would surprise me if I was to reload a case more than 3-4 times. I wish I had the place and opportunity to shoot more, but it is somewhat limited here in the Lubbock area.
NOTE: [Is tere something wrongwith tisste? ] example of problem
Last night and this morning I noticed that many of my typed letters were not registering. I was constantly having to go back and fill in letters and spaces. I assumed it was my keyboard until I left this site and typed elsewhere without an issue.