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First attempt at reloading jitters


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Hi there all. Just a quick run down of all elements involved:

S&W MP.45

Winchester 231

Berrys 200grn plated SWC

lee carbide dies(no factory crimp)

So I just loaded 25 rounds with 6gr of powder, which is pretty much in the middle of what my Speer and Lyman manuals say. I ended up with a COAL of 1.208" based on bullet seating in barrel against headspace/shoulder.

Does this sound right? I am using once fired Federal brass and I am starting to wonder about getting a factory crimp die as some rounds go in stiffer than others( into the barrel that is)?

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Rounds should drop in the chamber freely, they don't call it a "plunk" test for nothing.

Crimp is a misnomer on 45ACP, the bullet should be held by case neck tension and all you're doing is removing the flare from the expander die. My case mouths measure .469" or .470" after crimping. I use a RCBS 3-die set and seat and crimp in one step.

Edited by mbopp
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I have noticed that some rounds slide into my case gauge almost all the way but get hung up toward being fully seated-this is caused by the bullet being seated at a slight angle

If you are using once fired brass you can always have a bulge at the base of your brass - you can use a u die to correct

But what your saying about the case mouth flare sounds like you maybe flaring your cases too much. They should have just a slight flare on them.

I'm far from an expert but I am also starting out reloading and these are some things I've noticed that might help

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Just ran them through seating die again. Realized I was adjusting the seating depth the whole time and not the crimp. Silly me.

Next question, how do I find out seating depth limits? I am assuming its dangerous to seat too deep? I am not talking crazy amounts, but I have 2 rounds that are ever so slightly questionable.

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6 gr of 231 could be near max at your OAL. Crimp should be around 0.47. Starting out, I would load the bullet as long as you can and get it to function through your mags and seat at or just below the barrel hood (yes, plunk test) and with a powder charge at the lower end of the range. There's nothing wrong with being cautious when you are starting out.

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Set your OAL first by keeping the seating die a little higher than needed to crimp and just use the seating stem to seat the bullet. Once you have the OAL set, back the seating stem way out and then turn the die body down until you apply the correct crimp (.469-.471"), then set the lock ring. Now take your seating stem and turn it down until it stops on the bullet. That's your OAL and crimp setup using your seating/crimp die.

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Hello Jericho76...I feel your nerves. I too just finished loading for the night in .45 ACP, 200gr. plated Berry's SWC's and W-231...

I hope this is a decent combo with 5.4 - 5.5 grains of powder because I just rolled 200 of them... I would reccommend buying a Dillon Chamber gage from Brian E. as it takes ALL the concerns out of chambering dimensions. They are cheap and worth every penney. I also mic. each 3-4th round as I take them out of tub. I am loading to 1.245-1.250 in OAL and my crimp area goes about .471 - .473. Even at that very light crimp it still leaves a slight ring around the bullet at the seating depth.

All of these rounds drop into the gage with ease but no slop.

I know you have to be very gentle in crimping these Berry's as you don't want to create an upper and lower half of the plating shell that will peel-off in flight.

This is now only 300 Total rounds that I have loaded in my life but the gratification is already coming-on strong. Come to think of it I just put another $40.00 against the cost of the equipment with these 4 boxes of ammo. 5000 to 6000 rounds of reloading will have paid for the press and all the fixin's and I will shoot that in 4-5 months easy.

Best of Luck and be safe,


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Here is a the response I got from Berrys. Great customer service.

"Welcome to the reloading world, the SWC bullets can be finicky with some

pistols in regards to the Correct Overall Length.  I recommend using a COL

of 1.18" - 1.20"

I show a max 5.7gr W231 for a hard cast load(what we recommend using since

the pressure curve of a hard cast is the same as our plated)  IP would back

up to 5.5gr and test some.  Your load of 6gr is in a safe limit for the

jacketed and will be fine but it will be on the hot side since plated shoot

around 8% faster than the same load using a jacketed bullet."

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  • 2 weeks later...

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