Talk to me about case length???

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Talk to me about case length???

Post by Laminarman on Sun May 15, 2016 9:57 pm

Still learning the ropes here.  Decided to check empty case lengths for giggles tonight.  I ordered 500 new Starline .45ACP brass I'll use when I "get better."  For now I'm using bulk online purchased mixed head stamp "once fired" plus my own empties.  I checked about 25 of the used brass and measured from .886 to .896 length, so a span of about .01".  I'll be darned if the new Starline didn't measure nearly every one at .893.  I'm NOT a competitive shooter, but how important is this in BE shooting and does it have much effect on my crimp (.470)?  A buddy is a bench rest shooter (and SWAT sniper) and thinks for bullseye it MAY matter but he doesn't shoot this discipline so told me to ask other experienced hand loaders.  I do NOT trim and have no desire to at this point.  If you want to make it easy, you can reply with a number (below)

0- not important, get a life
1- may have some minimal impact but you won't notice it
2- if you're awesome like me you'll trim your cases to the exact length
3- I am good, very very good.  Great things happen because I only use EXACT length cases which are new. 
4- You're a moron. Of course it matters, it is the difference between life and death, go back to your hole  

: )

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by jmdavis on Sun May 15, 2016 10:05 pm

It can matter at 50 yards. Some of the best shooters that I know shoot new or low use cases at 50 and use Starline for its consistency and length. 45 cases get shorter as they age with firings. If you search around you will find some topics here on case length and headspace.


Last edited by jmdavis on Mon May 16, 2016 11:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Jon Eulette on Sun May 15, 2016 10:14 pm

I don't get to anal about it. For 25 yd line you can use anything and it will darn near one hole'm in a good match pistol. 50 is another story, but I don't get concerned unless going to big match. I built a pistol for a buddy that happens to be a darn good Ransom rest guy. Pistol with match fit Kart barrel at 50 yds:
Assorted brass with lead bullets 1.75"
Same headstamp with lead bullets 1.5"
Starline new with 185 jhp 1.25"
This is pretty routine in my experience. So as long as you're taper crimping and reloader is set up correctly you should be fine.
Jon

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Dr.Don on Sun May 15, 2016 11:36 pm

Way back yonder I bought a .45 ACP case holder for my Wilson case trimmer.  Have never used it; as jmdavis says .45 cases get SHORTER with use, not longer like bottleneck rifle cases.  So forget about case length and shoot 'em 'til they split.  If you want some super match ammo for gun testing or a big match, use new or once-fired Starline brass.

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Jerry Keefer on Mon May 16, 2016 9:37 am

The tighter the headspace, the greater the consistency... If the case is able to move from shot to shot, the ignition event is not consistent.  The 1911 chamber is far to generous. Too large in diameter, and too deep..I am with Jon on just about anything goes for shortline.. I am already   running guns with less than .900  chamber depth..much less. The next barrel will be even less, to the point that I may trim to length for 50 yards.. to maximize  the benefit of exact headspace..
One of the top HMs in the country shot her 45 recently to test the feel of a frame mount and  lightened slide.... He swears the gun recoils less than her 38..


Last edited by Jerry Keefer on Mon May 16, 2016 4:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : terminology)

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Laminarman on Mon May 16, 2016 4:37 pm

I appreciate all the responses. Thank you.

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Laminarman on Tue May 17, 2016 9:18 pm

I'll follow up my original post with a question.  I just today received one of those Lyman .45 case length gauge thingy's which you're supposed to run your cases and finished rounds through.  Reason is, I had a really bad jam.  Like really bad, took two guys to clear it as it was jammed in the chamber.  Now, is the finished round supposed to just drop in like ice or what?  I'd say 25% slide a little tiny bit tight, some will not go at all (talking finished rounds here).  I think the stuck ones were flared too much, since I corrected that the problem is somewhat better.  Do you folks reject anything for match ammo that doesn't just drop in?  Thx.

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Virgil Kane on Wed May 18, 2016 8:28 am

Never used a case length gauge, always used the barrel. The finished round should plunk right into the barrel with no resistance. I would imagine the case length gauge would be the same.

With my reloading if it doesn't just plunk right in it's destine for the practice ammo can or disassembled.  


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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by noylj on Wed May 18, 2016 11:56 am

Personal findings: for cartridges that are supposed to head space on the case mouth, longer cases are more accurate. If I was competing with 9x19, I would buy 9x21 cases and trim to EXACTLY fit my barrel from breech to start of throat. So, SIZE the cases, measure case length, and save the longest for whenever maximum accuracy is most needed.
Best gage is the barrel.
Per Ramshot:
"SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH “COL”
It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must be seen as a guideline only.
The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as
1) magazine length (space),
2) freebore-lead dimensions of the barrel,
3) ogive or profile of the projectile and
4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.
• Always begin loading at the minimum ‘Start Load.’"
 
Your COL (OAL) is determined by your barrel (chamber and throat dimensions) and your gun (feed ramp) and your magazine (COL that fits magazine and when the magazine lips release the round for feeding) and the PARTICULAR bullet you are using. What worked in a pressure barrel or the lab's gun or in my gun has very little to do with what will work best in your gun.
Take the barrel out of the gun. Create two inert dummy rounds (no powder or primer) at max COL and remove enough case mouth flare for rounds to chamber (you can achieve this by using a sized case—expand-and-flare it, and remove the flare just until the case "plunks" in the barrel).
Drop the inert rounds in and decrease the COL until they chamber completely. This will be your "max" effective COL. I prefer to have the case head flush with the barrel hood. After this, place the inert rounds in the magazine and be sure they fit the magazine and feed and chamber.
You can also do this for any chambering problems you have. Remove the barrel and drop rounds in until you find one that won't chamber. Take that round and "paint" the bullet and case black with Magic Marker or other marker. Drop round in barrel (or gage) and rotate it back-and-forth.
Remove and inspect the round:
1) scratches on bullet--COL is too long
2) scratches on edge of the case mouth--insufficient crimp
3) scratches just below the case mouth--too much crimp, you're crushing the case
4) scratches on case at base of bullet--bullet seated crooked due to insufficient case expansion (not case mouth flare) or improper seating stem fit. It is possible that the Hornady New Dimension Seating Die with the sliding sleeve to help align the bullet might help minimize this.
5) scratches on case just above extractor groove--case bulge not removed during sizing. May need a bulge buster.


Last edited by noylj on Wed May 18, 2016 12:48 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Laminarman on Wed May 18, 2016 12:41 pm

Noylj, thank you, very imformative.  I believe mine fall at #4.  I did the marker thing on several of them and it was at the base of the bullet where it was jamming.  Now, this was with SNS cast bullets with the coating.  Have not seen it with cast lead of the same dimension.  They mic the same diameter however.

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Virgil Kane on Wed May 18, 2016 12:46 pm

Laminarman wrote:Noylj, thank you, very imformative.  I believe mine fall at #4.  I did the marker thing on several of them and it was at the base of the bullet where it was jamming.  Now, this was with SNS cast bullets with the coating.  Have not seen it with cast lead of the same dimension.  They mic the same diameter however.


Have you tried any other cast bullets besides SNS ?

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by Laminarman on Wed May 18, 2016 12:59 pm

Yes, Penn and Stateline.  Both have been fine except Penn had some quality issues the last batch I got.  SNS was shooting just great but this may be a wrinkle.

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

Post by noylj on Wed May 18, 2016 1:05 pm

If you are getting a bulge on the side, then you need to consider a custom seating plug. For SWCs, it should be made to ONLY contact the bullet's shoulder, and NOT the meplat or ogive. This not only really helps to ensure the bullet goes in straight, but the same setting is used for ALL SWC bullet, since the COL is determined by shoulder to lede/rifling.
Another option would be whether the Hornady New Dimension seating die, with the sliding sleeve that is supposed to help keep the bullet aligned, might also take care of much of the problem.
You should pull some of those bullets and measure the bullet diameter. If the bullets have been swaged down at all, your expander is not large enough (you know, the plug that expands the case ID and NOT the part that flares the case mouth). I am amazed how many folks ignore the importance of case expansion and use a tool that ONLY flares the case mouth.
Your expanded case ID should be 0.001-0.002" under bullet diameter. A smaller case ID can swage the bullet smaller and the bullet can be driven off center from excessive seating force (not that you, with all the leverage the press gives you, will feel it).
Or, you could get them to chamber and DESTROY accuracy by running them through a Lee FCD...

.45 bullets?
I shoot 200gn L-SWCs only.
Best bullets I have found are:
Zero 200gn swaged L-SWCs. Powder Valley has them in-stock for $154/2000 or 7.7 cents/bullet. If I had any money, I would order another 5000. However, my wife recently spent two weeks in ICU and will be going back in, the cars needed work, and my air conditioning units just needed repair (AZ summer arrived a couple of weeks ago), I really have NO cash available for anything, much less a hobby, but at less than 8 cents a bullet...
Precision Bullets swaged and coated 200gn L-SWCs. The coating has always done EVERYTHING I could ask from a coating and really don't have any idea how any coating can be better (don't notice any smoke, no leading, not easily damaged). Price is $203/2250, or 9 cents/bullet.
The best cast bullets I have tested that are currently available are from mastercastbullets.com at $94/1000, or 9.4 cents/bullet.
Shockingly, years ago I bought and tested a bunch of National Bullet Company 200gn L-SWCs. These were UGLY bullets (going so far as to have wrinkled surfaces), but the bases were all well-filled. At the same time I tested Penn bullets (beautifully cast). Bullets seemed to be the same as though they came from the same mold, and yet, those ugly NBC bullets kept shooting a bit smaller groups at 25 and 50 yards. Of course, by the time my testing was done and I wanted to order more, NBC was out of business.
So, I guess my REAL comment about bullets is that you won't know what works best in your gun without testing some and appearances are not the same as accuracy. Even if EVERY winner used Supergallutin xxx gn bullets, they still may not work well in YOUR gun.
Finally, NEVER assume that plated are cheaper than jacketed or that cast is cheaper than swaged, or even that jacketed are more than cast—shop around. About 8 years ago I purchased a whole lot of Montana Gold and Zero JHP bullets because they were actually priced the same or a fraction of a penny LESS than any cast bullets I could find. Up until that point, I hadn't fired a jacketed bullet in any handgun (other than my gas-operated Wildey) in probably 25 years.

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Re: Talk to me about case length???

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