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Hello! I am brand new to reloading and to this forum. My very first endeavor with my new RCBS single stage press is the 45ACP. I am using new brass and an RCBS Carbide 3 die set. I also have the Lyman Max Cartridge Gauge as I thought it would be a good idea to check my work before taking my ammo to the range. After resizing, the case drops perfectly in and is not above the maximum or below the minimum headspace indicators on the gauge. After expansion (not too much), primer, powder, and seating and crimping, a recheck in the gauge shows some of the loaded cartridges to be just a hair above the maximum headspace indicator. The cartridge drops right in and falls right out like before but when fully in, sticks out just a bit (I mean like a couple thousandths). According to the included lyman instructions, it says the headspace indicators are to be used when checking resized cases and does not mention it in instructions for checking loaded cases which I found to be odd. Is this small amount enough to be concerned with? As long as the loaded cartridges slip in and out without "sticking" am I ok? Also- in checking factory loaded cartridges, they do not stick out the little bit that my handloaded ones do. I have made about 10 cartridges so far and 3 of them were good and the other 7 stick out a bit. I am using 230gr Berry's plated bullets and setting the taper crimp on the seat die to hand tight only. My next option was to get the Lee Factory Crimp die and see if that would make a difference since it says it also resizes a case when crimping. I would really like to avoid the expense of another item for each caliber in my reloading endeavor. Does anyone have any advice on what I might be doing wrong or am I just being overly concerned?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

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Welcome to The Firearms Forum. No need to be concerned as far as I am concerned. I have been loading .45 ACP for 40 or so years and have never once used a gauge to measure a piece of brass or a finished cartridge. For that matter, I have never checked ANY handgun brass or ammo in any kind of gauge.

The only gauge that you need is the chamber of your pistol. Remove the barrel, if a semi-auto, and do the plunk test. Drop the finished round in the chamber and if it fits, you are good to go. If it s a revolver, then drop the finished round in the cylinder and again if it fits, if it good.
 

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Hello! I am brand new to reloading and to this forum. My very first endeavor with my new RCBS single stage press is the 45ACP. I am using new brass and an RCBS Carbide 3 die set. I also have the Lyman Max Cartridge Gauge as I thought it would be a good idea to check my work before taking my ammo to the range. After resizing, the case drops perfectly in and is not above the maximum or below the minimum headspace indicators on the gauge. After expansion (not too much), primer, powder, and seating and crimping, a recheck in the gauge shows some of the loaded cartridges to be just a hair above the maximum headspace indicator. The cartridge drops right in and falls right out like before but when fully in, sticks out just a bit (I mean like a couple thousandths). According to the included lyman instructions, it says the headspace indicators are to be used when checking resized cases and does not mention it in instructions for checking loaded cases which I found to be odd. Is this small amount enough to be concerned with? As long as the loaded cartridges slip in and out without "sticking" am I ok? Also- in checking factory loaded cartridges, they do not stick out the little bit that my handloaded ones do. I have made about 10 cartridges so far and 3 of them were good and the other 7 stick out a bit. I am using 230gr Berry's plated bullets and setting the taper crimp on the seat die to hand tight only. My next option was to get the Lee Factory Crimp die and see if that would make a difference since it says it also resizes a case when crimping. I would really like to avoid the expense of another item for each caliber in my reloading endeavor. Does anyone have any advice on what I might be doing wrong or am I just being overly concerned?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
Welcome to the FORUM, like the previous post I've never used a case gauge on my pistol ammo. If it does like what gdmoody described, you're good to go. I would highly recommend that you crimp your ammo as an additional last step. The LEE die does a good job of this, but by the time you replace the POS LEE lock ring and replace it with one of some other manufacturer, you've saved little to nothing. The few LEE FCD dies that I use have all had the lock rings replaced. Something I did this with a couple of my die sets, I purchased another seat/crimp die of the same brand (RCBS) as my dies set. Screw the seater stem all the way out, or remove it and use it strictly as a crimp die. Another option, Redding makes an outstanding taper crimp die.
 

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You can find minute differences in bullet profile even with bullets out of the same box. This couple thousands of an inch are something I have ignored in the past. There is not reason to buy the Lee FCD ( where are you LD ) for handgun cartridges. Follow the instructions closely setting up you seat/crimp die and you should turn out perfect rounds. I do seat and crimp in separate operation on some handgun (those that require a good roll crimp) loads but not .45 acp. I use a RCB Rockchucker press and RCB dies that are around to 35 years old. .45 acp was my first cartridge to reload way back then and I am still doing it the same old way today. Like George I have never trimmed a case for length or used one of those case guages but I do measure for overall length. If I ever have a question when using a new to me bullet I get that barrel out and that is my case gauge - head space guage. I have some cases I have fired so many times and they are been knocked around to the point the head stamp is getting hard to read but I have yet found a .45 acp case that needed trimming.
 

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I re-read your first post. On setting the crimp you want enough crimp to remove the flare you first put on the mouth of the case and enough crimp that the bullet can not be pushed back into the case. Check a completed round by putting the nose of the bullet against something solid, I just use the edge of my reloading table, and give a moderate push on the cartridge to be assured you have enough crimp to hold that bullet in place. You don't want that bullet pushed deeper into the case when it goes through the charging/cycling process coming out of the magazine.
 

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>On setting the crimp you want enough crimp to remove the flare you first put on the mouth of the case and enough crimp that the bullet can not be pushed back into the case

I check after seating a bullet that the case holds it tight. I simply press down with thumb or finger and, if any bullet moves, that cartridge is removed and rejected. The case must have a tight hold of the bullet.
I don't expect the crimp to EVER hold the bullet. For revolvers, I need enough roll crimp (into a cannelure or crimp groove) to prevent the bullet from walking out of the case as the other rounds in the cylinder are fired, but I do not expect it to hold the bullet from set-back.
All I want from a taper crimp is the removal of the flare and the cartridge to feed reliably.

Here is my write-up for establishing COL and determining the cause of any chambering problems:

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.


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. Adjust until you have reliable feeding and chambering.

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
5) scratches on case just above extractor groove--case bulge not removed during sizing. May need a bulge buster.
 
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