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45 ACP rounds sometimes not dropping in all the way into a Lyman check gage.

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Wobbley
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Post by mikemyers Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:57 am

I have a question.  I re-set my RCBS Pro-2000 press from 38 Special to 45 ACP. 
Specs:

  • Magnus #801 bullets
  • OAL = 1.126"
  • Crimp = 0.466"
  • Load = 4 grains Bullseye
  • Dies: Redding re-sizer and expander dies, RCBS lock-out die, RCBS seater/crimper die.


I loaded 30 rounds to test.  I got to the range, and several bullets didn't load all the way - I ejected them, and found all of them would load and fire on the second attempt.  

Got home, and checked the crimp (correct), and the OAL, finding several were slightly over 1.126".  I turned in the seater adjustment 1/8 turn, after which nothing was over the 1.126 setting.  

Decided I would check all 50 rounds using my Lyman check gage.


  • Several rounds when dropped into the Lyman check gage didn't fall all the way in.  
  • I reversed them, to see if the end of the case was too big, but that was not the problem.
  • Something in the Lyman die was making them feel "tight" as the rounds got most of the way in (the thickness of the flange at the bottom of the round was still sticking out of the gage).
  • Wiping the rounds with a cloth improved the situation, but some rounds still wouldn't drop all the way into the case gage.
  • Then I discovered that if I rotated a round slightly, maybe 1/8 turn, it would drop all the way in.
  • I cleaned the inside diameter of the case gage, and while things seemed a little better, I still had rounds that wouldn't go all the way in, unless I rotated them to a different position.


I decided none of this made sense, so went to the range to test, and all rounds loaded and fired with no problem. 

I know that if I use separate seater and crimper dies, that would be good, but the Pro 2000 is a 5-station press, and I'm not going to remove the lockout die.  
(Maybe the rounds would be "better" if I were to do so.  What I may do for a test is to seat in the Pro-2000, and crimp on my RCBS Big Max press.)

Back to this discussion - what could allow a round that didn't drop into the Lyman check gage, to drop perfectly into the same check gage after I rotated it slightly?  
There is "something" at the bottom end of the check gage that gets tighter than the rest of the gage, but rotating the round shouldn't change anything.

Maybe there is a tolerance on the diameter of the check gage, and a tolerance on the roundness of the bullets, and at some orientation these tolerance interact?
Unless there is a reasonable explanation, I think I should buy a new check gage.
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Post by spursnguns Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:09 pm

Hello mikemyers,

Save you money on a new check gauge.  Test your cartridges with the guns you are planning to use them in.  Remove the barrels and do the classic "plunk test".  Commercial test gauges are notoriously inaccurate and don't reflect anything.  Tune/test your ammunition to the gun.

Jim
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Post by Gary Wells Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:28 pm

Mike: I don't think that you are going to find a perfect solution to that problem. I use Dillon Precision check gage and have the same issues as you do, but probably not to the same extent. I have found that even the slightest amount of "out of roundness" of the gage causes the same problem as you described. I use my old Hoag longslide Bar-Sto barrel as a gage for the OAL in combination with calipers & the Dillon gage for final acceptance. The loaded rounds are probably not perfectly round and therefore can fall into place when it hits a "out of roundness" condition in the gage. The slightest amount of dirt, burr, lead can cause the gage to not accept the round.

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Post by mikemyers Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:05 pm

It probably doesn't help that I roll the shells in RCBS shell lubricating lube on one of their green pads before reloading.  I know I don't "have to", with the carbide re-sizer, but it makes the press a little bit easier to operate.  Wiping them down before testing them seems to help, slightly. 

It's strange that this only happens when the round is almost fully into the gage.  Is there any reason not to use a brass brush inside the case gage?  I think I'll try that next time.
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Post by Gary Wells Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:34 pm

I run a rag folded at 1 corner down into the gage frequently. I don't know about a brass brush but I would try a very light metal polish such as Wright's Silver Cream on a rag corner and just a swipe around the dia 2 or 3 times and see how that works. Just a thought, Mike. but I've had very good luck with the silver cream 9n such instances.

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Post by Gary Wells Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:43 pm

Mike: Is it possible that your sizing die is not going down far enough?
Also nicks on the circumference of the rim is sure death for the case to not fall full depth into the gage. I also have that issue frequently.

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Post by Aprilian Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:35 pm

I have two case gauges and when I have a nick on the rim, I take the cheaper one (steel) turn the round over and enter the rim into the gauge, spin it back and forth against the steel and it then drops easy into the gauge.
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Post by Gary Wells Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:45 pm

Aprilian wrote:I have two case gauges and when I have a nick on the rim, I take the cheaper one (steel) turn the round over and enter the rim into the gauge, spin it back and forth against the steel and it then drops easy into the gauge.

I shoot nickel cases to help distinguish my brass from everybody else's, so I have to pass on that 1. I do drop a case in backwards occasionally to check for nicks, but I do it very carefully.

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Post by jglenn21 Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:07 pm

As to the case rim simply run the brass through a lee bulge buster. I made myself a bruce martindale gauge a few years back to check the rim size of all my used brass. The lee die makes them all uniform and to spec. Improves feeding and extraction. Its a good winter project
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Post by Aprilian Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:13 pm

Gary Wells wrote:
Aprilian wrote:I have two case gauges and when I have a nick on the rim, I take the cheaper one (steel) turn the round over and enter the rim into the gauge, spin it back and forth against the steel and it then drops easy into the gauge.

I shoot nickel cases to help distinguish my brass from everybody else's, so I have to pass on that 1. I do drop a case in backwards occasionally to check for nicks, but I do it very carefully.
Gary,
Try it, the Nickle Plate is not going to change the underlying softness of the brass.   IF they were plated steel cases, yes, you could not use my trick.
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Post by CFPlinker Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:11 pm

When you get one that doesn't pass unless it is rotated run a magic marker around the mouth of the case as well as the part of the bullet that is just outside of the case. Reinsert it in the case checker oriented so that it should not pass. Push hard so that whatever is preventing it from passing will dig into the magic marker. This may tell you where the problem could be.

The only time I ran into something similar was when some of my loads would not chamber in a 625 revolver. I was crimping to .470. Increasing the amount of crimp (to .468) got rid of the problem. Another thing you could try is to see how deep you need to seat the bullet in order for the case to fully enter either the case checker or your barrel.

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Post by HenryA Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:44 pm

I suspect that the bullets are seated too long. Take the barrel out, then mark a few rounds with a sharpie around the shoulder of the bullet. (The part where it goes to full diameter) Drop the rounds in and see if they fall in. If not, push them in with your hands, remove them and inspect the shoulder of the bullet. I think you will find marks there. If so, seat the bullets slightly deeper.

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Post by mikemyers Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:10 pm

The bullet, Magnus #801
45 ACP rounds sometimes not dropping in all the way into a Lyman check gage. Screen27

Measuring cartridge lengths, the goal was not to exceed 1.123"
Measured OAL:
1.119
1.120
1.118
1.118
1.119
1.122


The goal for crimp is 0.466
Crimps I just measured:
0.465
0.466
0.465
0.464
0.467
0.464

The magic marker test didn't show anything unusual.  The round "stuck", but not enough to wipe off any of the black ink.


If this next group of 50 rounds shoots OK, unless it's OK to make the bullets a bit shorter, I think I'll just leave things as-is.  Next time the gun is apart, I'll check the barrel fit.
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Post by Aprilian Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:26 pm

I've observed that the blue lube on Magnus 801's can squeeze out and end up on the case and case mouth, courtesy of the crimp die.   Are you dealing with lube on the case or deposited onto the gauge?  My multi-round cartridge gauge occasionally develops a section that will fail a round, but the adjacent one passes it.   A quick cleaning and "Bob's yer uncle!"
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Post by HenryA Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:32 pm

Make up a few at 1.10” and see how those plunk. Most every gun’s chamber is a bit different unless the same brand barrels were cut with the same chambering reamer and by the same careful gunsmith. Its perfectly OK (and desirable) to fit your ammo to your particular gun. You can also try some sized brass only to see if the problem is in the sizing of the case. If a freshly sized case won’t fit loosely in the chamber, there’s your problem.

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Post by Gary Wells Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:23 pm

Aprilian wrote:
Gary Wells wrote:
Aprilian wrote:I have two case gauges and when I have a nick on the rim, I take the cheaper one (steel) turn the round over and enter the rim into the gauge, spin it back and forth against the steel and it then drops easy into the gauge.

I shoot nickel cases to help distinguish my brass from everybody else's, so I have to pass on that 1. I do drop a case in backwards occasionally to check for nicks, but I do it very carefully.
Gary,
Try it, the Nickle Plate is not going to change the underlying softness of the brass.   IF they were plated steel cases, yes, you could not use my trick.
Aprilian: I wasn't concerned about the soft brass being deformed or anything like that. Even a slight burr on the lip of a nickel case can and probably will scratch the die. I do not concern myself too much once that I have identified a extractor nick on the rim of the case as it will generally drop into the barrel of any of my guns even though it hangs a tad at the rim counterbore of the gage. Many thanks for the thought though.

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Post by mikemyers Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:57 pm

I can try some of those ideas, but if the sizing die wasn't going down far enough, when I insert the round backwards it should tighten up immediately.  It doesn't do so at all.

For most of the other ideas, when the round feels "tight" and doesn't drop down all the way, when I rotate it a little, how can it then drop down perfectly?  

Lubricant on the Magnus bullets might be part of this.  

When I didn't check with the case gage long ago, I never had any issues at the range.  

My suspicion is that something is "big" somewhere at the front end of the round, and something else is "small" at the bottom end of the gage. and when those two line up, this happens.  

Since changing the length of the round from "slightly too long" to "correct" solved the issue loading into the barrel, can I try loading the rounds to a slightly shorter OAL ?  If so, what length might be reasonable?

(My case gage is very old.  I'm tempted to just buy another.)
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Post by Gary Wells Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:12 pm

mikemyers wrote:

For most of the other ideas, when the round feels "tight" and doesn't drop down all the way, when I rotate it a little, how can it then drop down perfectly?  



(My case gage is very old.  I'm tempted to just buy another
Neither the gage nor the loaded round is perfectly round so when the out of round condition of the round hits the out of round of condition the gage it drops in (sometimes).

I don't think that any of the gages are perfect but I do love the Dillon over the other ones that I have used/tried.

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Post by mikemyers Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:55 pm

I found this link:
https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t3061-magnus-801

....which led to this reply regarding to a bullet very similar to the #801:
"The only problem was the lube and/or coating was so thick that I had to wipe the tip of all completed cartridges with a paper towel.  It would gum up the case gage otherwise.  Even then the blue lube was splattered all over the target."

The above was in reference to a bullet similar to a #801, but NOT an actual #801.

But it got me to thinking, what if there was some bullet lube causing the fit into the check gage to tighten up, and I pressed the cartridge back out, rotated it, and tried again.  The lube on the bullet would no longer be lined up with any lube on the case gage, which might mean the cartridge would drop in easily.

Easy enough to test - next time this happens, I'll mark the cartridge and the case gage, remove cartridge, and clean both.  If the cartridge then drops in easily, I've got my answer.

I will also call Terry about this, and ask his advice.  

Thinking back, when I re-seated my rounds, making them just a hair shorter, I also wiped them off............

======================================================

Oops, disregard everything I just wrote.  I think I found the problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it.

I took ten of my #801 bullets and dropped them into the case gage.  They would all drop down until there was a 'thunk' when they stopped.  I then used a tool to push them a little further in, and sure enough they went in more, and got "stuck".

Curious, I turned the gage upside down, and tried to insert a bullet from the wrong end of the gage, with the bullet reversed.  Some bullets went in, but some took more pressure, and they got "stuck".  One of the bullets though fell right through.

Maybe my lead bullets are slightly over-size, or maybe the "bottom" end of my test gage is slightly under-sized?  

Time to measure bullet diameters, at the bottom of the bullet:
.4525
.4525
.4520
.4520
.4520
.4520
.4515
.4520
.4520


One bullet, upside down, being inserted into the bottom of the case gage, was getting stuck before the blue lube ring reached the case gage.  If I wobbled it around a little, I could get it to go in further.  It's "stuck", having gone into the case a distance of around 0.0075".   

When I turn the case gage over, and drop the bullet into the correct end of the gage, it goes in, then hits something and stops.  If I push it a little more, it goes in, but not freely.

The box says the bullets should be .452 diameter.

Maybe the problem is my Lyman case gage.  I'll need to check with a barrel.

I'm happy that I can replicate the problem just by using a new bullet and my Lyman gage.  


.........and if this is happening with a new bullet right from the box, if any bullet lube is being spread out on the end of the bullet, that would just make things worse.
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Post by Gary Wells Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:47 pm

Mike: I am way over the top and I freely fess up to it. I wipe every bullet down very throughly & remove any indication that there ever was any lube there. Even the 90 degree angle formed from the case end and the bullet dia junction point. I remove & clean my seater & crimp dies every 50 rds. Religiously. And even though there is not a requirement for the check gage to completely seat a bullet backwards I generally check that also. Generally any hang-ups are due to extractor dings & nicks.

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Post by HenryA Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:23 pm

Here is an illustration of a .45 ACP chamber. To explain it in the most basic terms, at the end of the chamber is a step that the cartridge case stops on. Beyond that step is a taper fron the end of the chamber to the bore diameter of the barrel. Again, keeping it as basic as possible, that taper is called the throat or leade. Even though there are specifications that detail the dimensions there can be a bit of variance in chamber,dimensions. The place where the full bullet diameter touches the rifling lands can vary because of differences in the degree of taper in the throat and also the length of the throat.

You can find this place where the bullet touches the rifling by plunk testing in your particular barrel. If you use a different barrel the fit will be slightly different than the one in your pistol. It might make a difference in whether your ammo works in the gun you want to shoot it in. The plunk test is simple. Take some of the loaded rounds you wish to use in the particular barrel and with that barrel in your hand drop the cartridges into the chamber. If it plunks into place freely you are good to go. If not, you may have a problem to solve.

The important thing to remember about using a cartridge gage is that unless its made to match your particular barrel it is only a general rule, not a guarantee that the cartridge will fit in your barrel.
45 ACP rounds sometimes not dropping in all the way into a Lyman check gage. 27ddc610


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Post by Gary Wells Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:34 am

Many thanks for posting that up.

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Post by Slartybartfast Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:25 am

HenryA wrote:The important thing to remember about using a cartridge gage is that unless its made to match your particular barrel it is only a general rule, not a guarantee that the cartridge will fit in your barrel.

Reading this thread out of interest, but with no real knowledge of reloading.
But I would expect that of any GO gauge. A standard GO gauge would be ensuring that the biggest cartridge that fits the gauge, will fit in the smallest allowable chamber.
Makes me wonder if a NO GO cartridge gauge might be used by those looking for a higher level of repeatability in a competition firearm.
The cartridge and chamber drawings seem to be lifted directly from the SAAMI documentation. I've learned quite a bit just browsing the SAAMI standards.
https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Z299-3_ANSI-SAAMI_CFPandR.pdf#page=65
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Post by HenryA Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:02 pm

A gage matched to your chamber is the most helpful, with the entire chamber and throat replicated. I have one in 9mm that matches the barrel, cut with same reamer. But really its not neccessary. Just take the barrel out and use it for a gage. Can’t get any better than that.

For 45 especially, about all that can go wrong is the bullet seated too far out. The 45 is well standardized and the fit of the cartridge into that big hole is just not that tight. Its definitely the easiest auto pistol cartridge to load.

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Post by mikemyers Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:13 am

Thanks for the image - that helped!

I just took a photo of the inside of my Lyman gage.  Looks to me like I ought to clean it before I do anything else.  Would a brass brush be best?  Soap and water?  Hoppes?  WD-40?

Or should I just buy a new one?  That's probably the best answer, but I might as well clean this one first, just to see how that turns out.  I have a feeling it has bullet lube "pasted" onto it in places, which would be a good explanation why bullets drop in differently depending on how they are oriented.

Sorry about the quality of the photo - I don't have enough hands to do it properly.
45 ACP rounds sometimes not dropping in all the way into a Lyman check gage. Img_1311
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