Reloading .45acp

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by herp_man2003, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. herp_man2003

    herp_man2003 New Member

    Ok so im thinking about gettin into reloading and i have a few questions. First im thinking about getting a lee kit to start out on but im not sure what one i want. second im thinking about useing Lrn bullets to load for practice ammo any one had problems with them. and last I was thinking about casting my own lead bullets with the lee mold but im not sure about the lead that i have is it to soft for the .45 i use it for my muzzle loader round balls but thats no near the pressures that you get with the .45 dose anyone have any experiance with casting there own bullets. any and all info would be great. oh and please no this brand is actualy better than this im chosing lee because of cost to get started. Thanks Anthony
  2. scoutman

    scoutman Guest

    My first assumption is that you have never reloaded before. Go out and buy a book on reloading. The Lyman manuals come to mind as good ones for beginners. Inside you will find the answers to most all of your questions. Most Lee products are seviceable and if properly cared for will last for a good many years. Yes, you can shoot LRN bullets that you cast yourself, but you must know what you are doing (Sizing, Swaging, Gas Checks, Bbl leading) etc. Again, the Lyman manual will have a section on casting your own bullets. Reloading is fun, cost effective, and potentially deadly for the uneducated. The Lyman manual costs less than $20, will last a lifetime, and quite possibly extend your lifetime.

  3. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

    As scoutman stated, get a reloading manual. I use copper jacket bullets because they don't foul the barrel with a lot of lead deposit. I started out with a Lee Anniversary Model Starter Kit. It cost around $75.00 and you get almost everything you need to get started. Eventually I upgraded the press and the scale. I still like using the Lee carbide dies when hand loading for pistol. Just don't get nuts on your loads and measure like your life depends on it, because it does.
  4. shoez

    shoez Guest

    I bought Lee for the same reasons over 10 years ago when I got into bullet casting and reloading. I still have the same Lee stuff because it works. I use Lee's 230 gr. LRN tumble lube bullet and their 200 gr. SWC tumble lube bullet with great success out of my Rock Island 1911. I use wheel weights and have no leading and great accuracy. My favorite load is either of those two bullets and 5.0 grains of Winchester 231. I can shoot 10 boxes for the price on one box of factory stuff, and cases last a long time. I just updated my original Lee turret press to the new 4 hole cast turret press w/ auto index. Works awesome. I use the carbide factory crimp die in the 4th station and can't say enough about how satisified I am with Lee equipment. Good luck.
  5. seedy

    seedy Member

    If you use swagged bullets such as those availible from Speer try to keep to the velocity on the lower end as they are pure lead. (All swagged bullets are) Swagged bullets are more consistant in weight as the casting process will inevitably have some minute air bubbles occur. This is true as I have tested both types with an electronic scale.
  6. G21.45

    G21.45 Guest

    :) The adequate performance of, both, lead and plated bullets in your firearm depends on several variables:

    (1) Proper bullet sizing - Which should be no more than .003” oversized and tested in your particular barrel for proper performance.

    (2) Proper bullet lubrication and surface coating (Alox treatment).

    (3) Proper hardness (antimony & tin content) of the lead used to make the bullets; as well as,

    (4) The original source of the lead, it’s original use, and the method of its initial manufacture.

    Many commercial lead bullet manufacturers cut and swag their lead bullets from large rolls of very soft (less than 10 BHN) lead wire – While this type of bullet CAN be used - with care - in mandrel-formed (polygonal rifled) barrels, it is definitely not prudent! Mandrel-formed barrels require the use of hard cast lead bullets with a fairly high BHN (Brinell Hardness Number) rating of between 15 and 20 BHN.

    Whenever you shoot lead bullets it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the bore and to occasionally wet-brush it out. When you’re just beginning with lead bullets, it's a good idea to stop and check your bore every 50-100 rounds. It is, also, imperative that BEFORE shooting lead in any barrel, you should make certain that all copper jacket fouling has been removed.

    (Copper jacket removal from the bore is a job for a copper cleaning solution like; 'Sweet's 7.62' but, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS and never leave this - or any other - ammonia-based solvent inside the barrel for more than 5 to 8 minutes at a time!)

    Most lead bullets are, by design, .001" oversized. This is, however, not always a perfect match for the barrel you're using. Don't start with a huge quantity of new lead bullets; you might find that .002" over is a better fit that will result in much better accuracy and much less leading in your particular pistol. Experiment a little, first, and see what works best in your Glock.

    Proper fit between the lead bullet and the barrel is equally as important as proper bullet hardness. Try to keep your lead loads running at less than 1,000 fps. Remember that accuracy is largely more important than ripping velocity. In any event the faster you make your bullets go, the harder (higher BHN) those bullets are going to have to be.

    Let’s talk, a little, about sources of lead: Sometimes lead can be expensive to buy or difficult to find. Wheel weights which can often be found at garages and tire stores are the best commercial source for hard lead. Typically, wheel weights are made up of about 3% antimony and 0.5% tin.

    However, the tin doesn’t increase the bullet’s hardness; (BHN) instead, it helps the lead to flow better into the mold. It’s the type and amount of antimony that controls hardness. A BHN of 11 or 12 will work in a 45 acp caliber pistol; however, I strongly suspect you’ll be better off using lead that has a BHN of between 15 and 18.

    It’s always a good idea to take a really soft piece of lead and slug out your barrel before beginning to shoot a lot of lead bullets. A thousandth over should be fine for most pistols; however, in no case, would I go more than two thousandths over inside a mandrel-formed barrel; and, if I went to .002” in any barrel, then, I’d keep the BHN at around 15 or less.

    Using lead bullets is, kind of, like a balancing act: You’ve got to experiment around with this and that in order to discover what works best in your particular pistol and with your particular load.

    As in all reloading, start with small samples of the round you plan on using and check for things like: feeding reliability, overpressure, and excessive barrel leading. Begin with reduced powder charges and work your loads up by tenths of a grain until you achieve the: reliability, accuracy, point-of-impact, (grouping) and recoil characteristics best suited to the kind of shooting you do.

    A word about Glocks: It's not that you can't shoot lead in a Glock. Heckler & Koch, also, uses mandrel-formed polygonal rifled barrels; and, to the best of my knowledge, H&K has no objection to the use of lead bullets.

    Another word about what reloading equipment you decide to buy: Sure, I read your instructions; and, yes, price is always important. It has, however, been my experience that the brand of reloading equipment you start out with is the brand you will stay with for many, many years to come. Personally I’m a, ‘green or blue’ reloader. My single stage (rifle and small batch) press is an old extremely overbuilt RCBS Rockchucker. My progressive (pistol) press is a Dillon.

    You should be aware that you are going to buy the manufacturer’s technical support department when you buy the press. Nobody has better technical service than RCBS; but, Dillon runs a close second and does a very good job, too. The choice remains yours; so, good luck!

    One last thing: If you don’t want to fool around with casting lead inside your home, (Most reloaders I’ve known cast lead in either their: kitchen, basement, or garage - True!) then you might want to look into the use of bulk-purchased copper-plated bullets from a company like Berry Manufacturing or Rainier. ;)
  7. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    I have been casting for almost 25 years. Wheelweights are sufficient for .45 ACP bullets. Not ideal, but sufficient. You can play with other mixtures such as Linotype. 50/50 bar solder is nice to have around. Adding a bit to wheelweights makes it flow better and fill out the moulds nicely. Drop the newly formed bullets directly into a bucket of water to harden them more. If the finished product is hard enough to not be scratched by your fingernail, it should do fine for a .45.
    Get Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook and read about it before going whole hog into it.
  8. NYPD13

    NYPD13 New Member

    I Also Started With The Lee Kit Which Is A Great Product For The Beginner. Purchase And Read A Loading Manual (lee Modern Reloading $14) Or (abc's Of Reloading $16). Has Plenty To Choose From. Begin With Components And Learn The Process, Worry About Casting Later. Also Don't Forget The Case Tumbler, Your Carbide Dies Will Last Longer With Clean Cases Not To Mention Defects Are Easier To Notice On Clean Brass. You'll Need A Set Of Calipers Too For Case Trimming And Measuring Bullet Depth And Oal (overall Length). I Might Suggest A Small Digital Scale, The One That Comes With The Kit Is Ok But Digital Is More Accurate And Easier To Use. Frankford Arsenal Has One For $30 That I Got On Sale And Has Lasted For Years. As You See Once You Start Reloading It Gets Addictive. I Reload To Save Money And You Can't Beat Lee For Cost And Quality.