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1911 chamber issue

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james r chapman
WesG
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David R
leftnlow
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Post by leftnlow Sat 27 Feb - 11:34

I have lurked around this website for a long time and found it to be a source of much valuable information. I'm not a bullseye shooter, just a guy that likes to get the most out of his shooting.

Some time ago I picked up an early Springfield Professional with a Nowlin barrel. I shoot handholds (either 200gr LSWC or Zero jacketed 185 or 230gr) exclusively and  discovered it has a tight chamber. OK, I can disassemble and use the barrel for a plunk test. That got old, so I purchased an L.E. Wilson Case Gauge. Problem is my chamber is tighter than the cause gauge. The cartridges that fail to plunk in the Nowlin feed fine in my Kimber.

I have of course measured everything. I taper crimp to .469" and seat so I am not hitting the throat/lands. My problem seems to be that I occasionally have a bullet seat slightly canted and get a bulge at the base of the bullet. I checked some of the bulged cartridges with ink from a Sharpie and took measurements. For example one problem cartridge measures .4754" at a point .27" below the mouth. It plunks fine in the case gauge, but not the barrel.

This isn't the end of the world, just annoying to disassemble my pistol anytime I'm loading. I see possible options:

Use the Lee Factory Crimp die...it works but swages down the bullets. I haven't tested for accuracy but I know a lot of shooters claim it degrades accuracy.

I have a friend who is a tool and die man, and I could have him make a custom case gauge

I could have a pistolsmith ream the chamber to match the case gauge.

Has anyone else been down this road and do you have any suggestions?

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Post by David R Sat 27 Feb - 11:48

Using a proper flare tool that starts the bullet in straight and a seating die that pushes on the driving band of the SWC will get your bullets to go in straight.   They will be a little more accurate too.

I am thinking Uniquetech and Photoescape.
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Post by Boxturtle Sat 27 Feb - 12:50

leftnlow wrote:Use the Lee Factory Crimp die...it works but swages down the bullets. I haven't tested for accuracy but I know a lot of shooters claim it degrades accuracy.

A lot of shooters claim a lot of things that aren't true, on the Internet and in the gun magazines.  If you want to know if it's true, test it yourself.

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Post by Dcforman Sat 27 Feb - 13:02

+1 on getting a seating stem that pushes on the shoulder of the bullet. They're out there. What brand dies are you using?

Dave

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Post by leftnlow Sat 27 Feb - 13:33

David R wrote:Using a proper flare tool that starts the bullet in straight and a seating die that pushes on the driving band of the SWC will get your bullets to go in straight.   They will be a little more accurate too.

I am thinking Uniquetech and Photoescape.
David

"Proper flare tool"?

I'm using a Redding expander die, adjusted to open just enough to not shave the LSWC. What other kinds of tools are available?

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Post by leftnlow Sat 27 Feb - 13:34

Boxturtle wrote:
leftnlow wrote:Use the Lee Factory Crimp die...it works but swages down the bullets. I haven't tested for accuracy but I know a lot of shooters claim it degrades accuracy.

A lot of shooters claim a lot of things that aren't true, on the Internet and in the gun magazines.  If you want to know if it's true, test it yourself.
I was hoping someone might chime in that has tested this!

I should give it a try.

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Post by leftnlow Sat 27 Feb - 13:37

Dcforman wrote:+1 on getting a seating stem that pushes on the shoulder of the bullet. They're out there. What brand dies are you using?

Dave
I'm seating the cast with a RCBS and the jacketed with Redding. The Redding die is snug enough to cause the case shave a bit off the cast bullets before they are fully seated. Are there aftermarket seating stems designed for this?

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Post by Boxturtle Sat 27 Feb - 14:01

leftnlow wrote:
Boxturtle wrote:
leftnlow wrote:Use the Lee Factory Crimp die...it works but swages down the bullets. I haven't tested for accuracy but I know a lot of shooters claim it degrades accuracy.

A lot of shooters claim a lot of things that aren't true, on the Internet and in the gun magazines.  If you want to know if it's true, test it yourself.
I was hoping someone might chime in that has tested this!

I should give it a try.
You should. 

I have also, loading ammo for 44 Magnum revolvers.  In revolvers the relationship between bullet and gun is different from autoloaders.  The bullet must fit the revolver chamber throats in order to provide excellent accuracy.  Revolvers that have tight throats respond well to the Lee Factory Crimp die.  Those that have very large chamber throats sometimes do and sometimes don't.  But all is not lost.  In guns that have large throats there are solutions that permit the continued use of the Lee Factory Crimp die.  1)  Make harder bullets (add antimony to the casting alloy, drop the bullets into a water bucket, heat treat the bullets in an oven, there are several ways to make them harder), or 2) use a bullet design that leaves enough of the bullet outside of the case to engage the throat, or 3) both. 

Some of these things might help accuracy in your Model 1911, but at this time you don't know if you need to do anything.  The first thing to do is load up a bunch (not a few, many) of ammo with and without using the Factory Crimp die.  Don't try to cure a problem without first establishing that there is a problem.

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Post by Dcforman Sat 27 Feb - 14:05

Send a message to user rrpmi on ebay. He only has dillon inserts listed right now, but I bought a semiwadcutter seating stem for my RCBS 45 die in the past. Works very well. Cost maybe $25. 

Dave

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Post by WesG Sat 27 Feb - 14:05

I have 2 Redding expander dies. They're slightly different in dia, I think the TiN coated one is smaller. Not that it matters. The issue with them is that the expanding section isn't long enough, or large enough, for cast bullets.

I added a Photoescape single stage die with the HTC expander. Larger diameter, and long enough for the entire bearing surface of the bullet. Way mo' better.

I don't have an RCBS. I'm assuming it's not closing the flare up and shaving the bullets?

The issue of shaving with the Redding die came up awhile back. Unfortunately, the OP passed away before we got any feedback as to whether he solved the problem. May be some useful info there:

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t15995-seating-die-for-lead-bullets

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Post by leftnlow Sat 27 Feb - 16:53

I have sent a message to rrpmi.

I am not familiar with Uniquetek or Photoescape, but found them on the net.

I am using a single stage press, so need a standard 7/8" die. Would the Photoescape die with HTC expander work in a standard press?

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Post by Dcforman Sat 27 Feb - 17:22

Yes, that will work! I use PE's expander for 38 wadcutter in a Hornady LNL. Works very well. I will eventually be ordering another standalone die with his 45 expander.

Dave

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Post by David R Sat 27 Feb - 19:02

https://www.uniquetek.com/product/T1740
I have one in 45 and 38.  Works great.

I had to open up the end of my seating die because it was still shaving lead no matter how much I flared the case.  I seat and crimp in 2 stations.

https://www.photoescapeinc.com/products/45htc-ptu.html

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Post by Dcforman Sat 27 Feb - 19:32

FYI, the uniquetek one IS PhotoEscape's. He makes them for Uniquetek.

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Post by Boxturtle Tue 2 Mar - 18:20

This question intrigued me, so I ordered a Lee Factory Crimp die in 45 ACP to test.

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Post by leftnlow Sat 6 Mar - 19:06

Update:
I attempted to purchase an expander from Photoescape, but was told it will not work as a 7/8 die. OK, my Redding expander is longer than the RCBS, so adjusted it to go as deep as possible without creating an excessive flare in the case mouth.

Next, could not get the Ebay seller to answer if he has RCBS 1/4" stem seaters. Let's see what I can do. The base of the "nose cone" of my LSWC measure .368". Hmm..3/8 drill is .375". I took the ill fitting SWC seater I had and clamped it into the vise on the drill press and drilled it out deep enough for the nose of the bullet not to touch the seater.

I loaded 50 rounds with these two changes and did not have a single failure to "plunk". I would still like to find a case gauge as tight or tighter than my chamber to I don't have to disassemble to plunk test.

I next tired a very small experiment with standard taper crimp vs Lee Factory Crimp die with my 200 gr LSWC bullets. I just shot a couple five shot groups off sandbags at 25 yards. Now I'm not a great shot and I have old man eyes. Both loads shot 1.75" groups with the flyers. I know this not statistically significant. A Ransom Rest and a bunch of ammo would likely be definitive. It does tell me that with my off hand skills there would be no difference in results with either crimping method and if I rely on the Factory crimp die I will not have to be concerned about the slide failing to go into battery.

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Post by james r chapman Sat 6 Mar - 19:18

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Post by Dcforman Sat 6 Mar - 19:21

Hmm...

https://www.photoescapeinc.com/products/single-stage-powder-die-kit.html

"Proposed kit allows for adopting my PTUs, and as well Dillon OEM, Double Alpha Academy or any third party funnels designed for Dillon presses on any single, turret or progressive press with standard 7/8-14 die thread size."


I have a feeling drilling out the seater will solve your problems, but if you want to use the PE stuff, you definitely can. You need to purchase the actual expander, along with the single stage powder die kit.


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Post by machinist mike Sat 6 Mar - 23:00

If you use a 9mm or 38cal sizing die to seat a SWC or HPSWC you will push only on the shoulder of the bullet so it seats straight.  Adds an extra step but insures the bullet will seat straight.

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Post by WesG Sat 6 Mar - 23:46

leftnlow wrote:Update:
I attempted to purchase an expander from Photoescape, but was told it will not work as a 7/8 die.
 There's one for the Hornady LNL expander/powder measure die, and another that's for a Dillon die. The single stage die uses the expander for the Dillon die.

That's the one you want ;-)

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Post by Bob Fleming Thu 11 Mar - 15:46

Back in the late 90s I had a machinist friend cut several (I seem to remember it was) Dillon 45 Colt (there used to be a bigger one ? for the original diameter 45 Colt) powder funnel/expanders in a pattern similar to the Lyman M Die for 45ACP. It works very well. I got into the 890s many times with that ammo.
This one looks close to what we designed and made:

https://www.uniquetek.com/product/T1582?all_reviews_171467806=true

One of mine was cut to work perfectly with the Star swaged 185HP and the other was made a bit smaller for Sierra and Nosler jacketed bullets.
That is almost funny. It is easy to machine something to a ten thousandths of an inch but hard to pick which tenth! We machined on several funnels and picked out the ones that worked best.

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Post by empty_cases Thu 11 Mar - 16:13

There is only one way to positively check and cure this problem. A lot of the match fit barrels are undersize both in diameter and length. You need to have your gunsmith run a chamber reamer down the barrel and also check headspace. I never used a Nowlin, preferring Kart and Bartso, but I'll bet you a snifter of rotgut that that is your problem. He'll need the slide also. Don't let him use a Clymer reamer, either, They are crap. Even new guns like Sig Sauer 1911's have chamber problems. No more gunsmiths only assemblers. I've probably built over 1000 1911's, in 35 years plus. It's always the same old stuff. Spend a few extra bucks and git it done right, and your headaches go away!

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Post by Guest Thu 11 Mar - 20:04

A few hundred thousand 45acp reloads  shot in multiple match pistols and never had this problem. 
The cure is equipment , my preference a Star Machine.

Guest
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Post by leftnlow Sun 21 Mar - 11:02

Update:
After "fitting" my seater plug to only touch the shoulder of the SWC bullets my problem disappeared.

 I still prefer to plunk test my ammo and did not want to always disassemble my pistol. I found Sheridan ammunition gauges in a corner of the internet. The claim is that the gauge is cut with a minimum size reamer. I purchased one and sure enough, it appears to be cut with a minimum size reamer. I have kept some "problem cartridges" and they plunk test the same as my barrel. Problem solved.

Thanks for the posts, I appreciate the help!

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Post by mikemyers Sun 21 Mar - 18:11

Too late to help you I guess, but both Redding and RCBS have had me send them the stem from my seater die, and some of the bullets I was loading, and they machined the seater to press properly on the bullet.  Neither of them charged me for the work.

The last person I spoke to at Redding was "Jay".  If you call for tech support, and describe what you have to him, maybe he can do this for you

I sent him photos of my bullets ahead of time, but they really need the actual bullets.  

Both times I tried this, it solved my problem.

Also, Dave Salyer can do the work - he was going to do it for me long ago with a different bullet, but I managed to do it on my own, using my very old "Unimat" lathe.  I'm no machinist, but I took my time, and it worked.
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