Help building a .45 ACP Lead SWC

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Jesse17, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Jesse17

    Jesse17 Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    I have loaded a few boxes of riffle rounds about 10 years ago, and now am just getting my loading gear set up again. I'm starting out with some .45 ACP and am thoroughly confusing myself.

    I seated a lead 225 gr. SWC (made by a local guy who sells cast bullets for a living) to a COL of 1.267" (recommended COL by the powder manufacturer) but it doesn't go in the barrel nearly as far as a factory Winchester White Box RN FMJ does.

    I pulled a RN FMJ out of a Winchester factory round and seated it in my brass. It drops in the barrel just like a factory round does, but if I use the lead SWC I have to seat it until the COL is 1.200 in order to get it to drop in the barrel as far as the factory FMJ.

    I asked a pretty knowledgeable guy at the LGS and he said seating it that deep won't increase the pressure enough in an auto handgun cartridge to worry about. Does that sound right to you guys? Also, am I just missing something or is this common? Any other reasons that would cause this problem?
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Seat the leading edge of the forward driving band flush with the casemouth. Ill grab a couple pics.. gimme a sec..

  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Ite, hot off the digital..

    These are 200 gr SWC seated to 1.230"

    Attached Files:

  4. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    Seating depth (OAL/COAL) is not manual specific it is firearm specific. Find the proper OAL/COAL for your firearm that feeds and functions perfectly. Start here.
  5. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lompoc California
    You got good advice above. Disassemble the pistol so that you have the barrel in front of you and seat a bullet into your case until it looks like the example above. The .45 acp headspaces on the case mouth, which effectively means you control that with your seating depth. A taper crimp is preferred. Unless you trim all of your brass every time, a roll crimp will probably give you variable cartridge depths (headspace).
  6. Jesse17

    Jesse17 Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Thanks guy, you really eased my mind. The factory round sits somewhere between the 1st and 2nd picture on that chart and the SWC reload was more like the 4th picture at 1.267. I pushed it down to 1.200 trying to duplicate the way the factor round sat in the barrel.

    I think now that I've seen your replies and that chart I'll shoot for picture 3 and end up more like the 1.230 that are in JLAs pictures.

    It just seemed like I was doing something wrong going that short when all the book call for 1.267 - 1.275. Thanks for putting my mind to rest!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    1.275 is the maximum cartridge length for .45ACP as its the longest length that will fit in a .45ACP magazine. Cartridge OAL is firearm specific and so long as you develop a load properly (starting at start charge and working up) you can use any bullet .451-.452 in diameter in the .45ACP so long as the OAL falls between 1.190 and 1.275. I find most projectiles will run great at about 1.230 (1.232" is Nominal)
  8. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

    Mar 6, 2011
    I just love a pile of freshly manufactured cartridges.:D:D:D:D:D
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    it is a thing of beauty aint it??
  10. garydude

    garydude Member

    Yessir! Great to see the hogslayer again.
  11. PanhandlePop

    PanhandlePop Member

    May 27, 2011
    A word of caution re: your LGS comment. Significantly shortening the OAL does make a difference! If you are loading near max for your OAL, you could be getting into dangerous territory. Review your manuals. If you go much shorter than the "recipe" you are using (and from 1.267 to 1.2 is much shorter), be sure to start at the min. load and work up slowly to make sure you catch any over pressure issues.

    As noted above, every bullet design and chamber dimension is unique. JLA's recommendation should get you a functional round. It is best to work with dummy rounds to get your OAL correct before you do anything else.
  12. Jesse17

    Jesse17 Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    That's my plan, figure out the max COL that will feed through my gun and then start working up a load from the min. charge.

    On a related note JLA posted a Min. COL of 1.190. Where does one find that number, all my Speer manual list is a Max. COL?
  13. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    another possibility could be that your bullets are too large (dia.).
    Have you miked them to see if they exceed .452? Some molds will throw bullets large enough that they need to be sized down a little or the loaded cartridges won't chamber all the way.
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I dont rememebr where I read it, I believe it was a write up on building national match 1911s. It is a general minimum though. I do know folks that run as short as 1.170" but it is dependent on the bullet design. The MAX is all thats listed in reloading manuals because it the only figure you must know to make functional ammo.
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