Hand loading questions?

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Hand loading questions?

Post by GaryWWhite on 7/9/2018, 1:23 pm

I am brand new to reloading and have just set up my loading bench. I am wondering how you all arrive at an overall length for your cartridges?  I have an L.E. Wilson case gauge and just kind of guest on the OAL when putting together a dummy round with a 185 LSWC button bullet.  It fit into the gauge perfectly when I set it about .003 above the case mouth.  Additionally, I found different loads with different data regarding the OAL but nothing definitive about how this is decided and how it affects accuracy.

My second observation was the taper crimp dimension.  I found that for the round to fit perfectly into the case gauge that it had to be a least .470 or it would not drop in.  I have a separate taper die for this process from Lyman.  I think I answered my question regarding the taper crimp as I read that improper tapering can result in failure to drop in the test gauge.  Also, I read that if the OAL and case plop into the gauge then it's going to fit in the firearm? True or False?

Hey guys, I'm throwing out thoughts here because I don't know exactly what I'm talking about.  Your help and input would be appreciated!

Thanks! Gary

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by Wobbley on 7/9/2018, 2:05 pm

The amount of crimp is a variable in developing accurate loads.  Most seem to taper to a dimension like .468 at the case mouth but some go as low as .463.  It pays to experiment.  If you’re getting a lot of unturned powder try increasing the crimp. 

As for seating depth, best way to check that is to drop the loaded round in the barrel.  This requires stripping the pistol.  For semi-wadcutter ammo, some measure the bullet shoulder protruding past the case mouth.  Measure this with a caliper.  This dimension is critical because the bore diameter protrusion can stop the round from chambering even though they fit in the magazine.
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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by Larry2520 on 7/9/2018, 7:57 pm

Case length in pistol calibers isn't affected like with rifle calibers. I haven't had to adjust any 45 or 38 brass for length. If there were any question about it just drop your loads in a case gauge. What I've found is since I use my brass until they give up the ghost you have to be on the lookout for splits. I had a blowout once in a match that blew the grips loose and a magazine out. I wasn't hurt!

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by S148 on 7/9/2018, 10:16 pm

A case gauge is nice, but if a round fits in the case gauge it does not guarantee that it will fit in the your chamber because the dimensions can be (and usually are) different. 

As suggested, the best case gauge is your barrel's chamber.

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by Gary Wells on 7/10/2018, 9:24 am

I reload the H&G#130 185 gr "button bullet" from Dardas & use the L. E. Wilson case gauge & the appropriate barrel for the "plunk test" when it is accessible. When not accessible I use the old barrel from my Hoag. With 5 different .45 autos I can set the OAL from about 1.140 for my SA CS TGO-1 to a max of 1.160 for almost any of my other guns. My eyes are old & tired and I have found that setting the appropriate OAL is best determined by measuring from the case mouth to the shoulder by calipers and then using the calipers only to determine the OAL. I check about 5 or 6 rounds out of every box reloaded for a taper crimp of anywhere between .471 to .469 & measure this by calipers but double check for fit in the case gauge and the barrel. Because my eyes are old & tired I check my reloads for accuracy & precision by having one of several people at the range that I know can shoot my guns with my reloads.

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by troystaten on 7/10/2018, 11:19 am

Ditto on using your barrel (removed from the gun) as a case gauge.  As for crimping, on mine I use .464-.465 with a taper crimp gauge with a lead 185 grain swc.  I could crimp less but I seem to get better functioning with the mentioned crimp.

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by GaryWWhite on 7/10/2018, 12:42 pm

Thanks guys! I will try the rounds made (about 65) using the bbl test.  I really appreciated the good advice!

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by GaryWWhite on 7/10/2018, 4:56 pm

Just wanted to add that I tried the bbl and none of the rounds fit. They were about .005" from actually plopping into the chamber.  I measured everything and couldn't figure out what was going on when comparing the reloaded round to a factory round.  I then looked at the shoulder and thought maybe this was the culprit.  I found using a dummy load that this was it!  I then took all my loads and set them at the proper depth for the 185 gr. Button bullet and re-crimped.  All rounds were checked in my bbl and then were tested.  Each round loaded and ejected without any problems. I really have learned a lot about reloading in the last day or so.  FYI, the taper crimp used was .465 and the OAL was 1.124". Thanks again for all your help!
Gary

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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by james r chapman on 7/10/2018, 5:37 pm

GaryWWhite wrote:Just wanted to add that I tried the bbl and none of the rounds fit. They were about .005" from actually plopping into the chamber.  I measured everything and couldn't figure out what was going on when comparing the reloaded round to a factory round.  I then looked at the shoulder and thought maybe this was the culprit.  I found using a dummy load that this was it!  I then took all my loads and set them at the proper depth for the 185 gr. Button bullet and re-crimped.  All rounds were checked in my bbl and then were tested.  Each round loaded and ejected without any problems. I really have learned a lot about reloading in the last day or so.  FYI, the taper crimp used was .465 and the OAL was 1.124". Thanks again for all your help!
Gary
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Re: Hand loading questions?

Post by Gary Wells on 7/10/2018, 5:48 pm

Something as small or minute as a slight nick on the case head rim dia can keep a loaded round from dropping full depth into the case gauge and I experience this occasionally. Interestingly to me is that quite a few rounds reloaded into R-P cases will go full depth either way into the L.E. Wilson case gauge. this is also an easy way to find any cases that have nicks on the case head diameter. Dimensional wise I am sure that it means nothing as far as anything being out of whack.

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