Crimping and over all length for handguns.
A lot of newbies over crimp the bullets. This makes the bullet deformed and or undersized...both aspects are detrimental to accuracy. Usually I will do the "push test" to see if the bullet moves in the case; take the loaded and crimped round (usually a dummy with no powder or primer) and press it bullet nose first into the side of the bench or some other hard, unyielding surface,....very important because you don't want to have the bullet driven deeper in the case (in autoloading guns)....pressures will be raised. The opposite happens in revolvers...the bullet will move forward and you will never get any accuracy ( I have had some bullets creep forward in my Bisley when shooting standard hardball loads in the 45 ACP cylinder)...worse case you will have a loose bullet and powder all over you gun. Uniform crimp is important to facilitate an equal start pressure to insure complete and consistent burn of the powder charge....helping you on the way to accuracy. I like to crimp until I get no bullet movement, then pull it to check how much the case is digging into the bullet. If you can see a very light indentation with a taper crimp you are ok....if it is measured and you have a crimp that makes a difference in bullet diameter of .001"...too much! On magnum loads in revolvers...use a heavy roll crimp so that big charge of 296 or what ever slower powder you are using gets good combustion. On overall length.....Revolvers; determined by cylinder length and crimp groove placement on the bullet...be careful as some jacketed bullets have more than one crimp groove! On an autoloading pistol; Use the overall length in the manual then drop a loaded round in the barrel of you pistol...make sure you take the barrel OUT of your gun when you do this! The loaded round should drop in and make a nice 'POINK' sound...I know, sounds very unscientific but it works! Also the round should rotate freely, if there is any drag then the bullet is touching the rifling and pressures will increase. Very important for guns with unsupported chambers like Glocks! Also do this check if you change brand of bullet....all 230 grain 45 bullets can't be loaded to the same overall length, same with any auto pistol cartridge! The ogive might be different and that will determine where the bullet will engage the rifling! This is also true in rifles! Like all the other posters before have advised, go slow, and READ, READ, READ...if you know some handloaders...ask a lot of questions!
There are no accidents, there is only ignorance, mechanical failure, or "ACTS OF GOD"! I load 3000-5000 rounds a day, 6 days a week!
Last edited by cliffspot; 03-06-2010 at 05:58 PM.
Reason: Added some other info and changed some grammar!