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Monsieur Gunner

Loading Cowboy Special - newbie (probably repetitive) question

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So I started reloading 45 Cowboy Special for my Derringer.  Used ACP dies and was getting good results.

 

i decided to try some in one of my Ruger Vaqueros and suddenly had about half the cases split.

 

I used new Starline brass.

 

I thought I had seen that you could use ACP dies but now I am wondering:

1. Wrong dies?

2. Bad batch of brass?

3. ???

 

Any help would be appreciated.

 

Monsieur Gunner

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OUCH!   that ain't good.

 

You're probably gonna need to mic your brass AFTER resizing and also mic your chambers.

 

There are a few variables that may be in play, which will make it difficult to identify your gremlin until those variable are known.

 

If you have a die that resizes on the minimum of specs and a chamber that is on the maximum of specs, than that could

be your issue..... plus maybe some bad or defective brass.

 

ALSO, if you are EXPANDING your case mouth too much, that will cause the brass to start splitting at the top and

mixed with other variables, will decrease your brass life in the manner you are experiencing.

 

Just some initial thoughts.

 

..........Widder

 

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Several points to consider:

 

The .45 auto sizer die sizes your cases to 0.473" OD maximum, usually tighter.

The .45 Colt sizer die would size cases to about 0.477" OD maximum, usually tighter.

 

The Starline brass is being made such that it is much more prone to splitting when fired than is, say, .45 Colt cases that are trimmed to 0.898 length. 

 

My recommendation is to use this hodge-podge of dies:

Sizer - .45 Colt

Expander - whether a die or a powder-thru expansion tube - use .45 Colt part

Seater -  doesn't matter much if using a separate seater from the crimp die.   If you want a single seater/crimper, use a .45 auto rim die.

Crimper - .45 Auto Rim die, because it roll crimps rather than taper crimps (which is what .45 auto dies do).  Most  .45 Colt dies do not have the crimp section low enough in the die body to touch the mouth of a C45S shell!

 

So, Starline produces all their Cowboy .45 Special brass the same way, and all lots that I have tried split about 5 times faster than brass cut down from .45 Colt brass.

Dies make a big difference in how well the cartridge loads and some difference in how long the brass lasts.

If you have bought a large amount of Starline C45S brass, you could consider carefully annealing the brass to soften it and reduce splitting.  Way beyond the scope of this reply.   No one die set is made for C45S, and no one die set from other cartridges is "best" for loading this wildcat cartridge.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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I use the Hornady dies for the 45 AR/WIN/ACP part #546554. Tried different hodge podges of dies but these work the best. One caveat....just like GJ says, use a 45 Colt Sizer dies for best results. I have had splits even with light loads due to overworking brass with an ACP die.

Your mileage may vary.

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PLUS ONE too Garrison Joe.  The other problem with the ACP sizer, it imparts a slight taper to the case.  Loading C45S with 45 ACP dies is a mistake.  Bite the bullet, and mix your dies for best results.  Follow Garrison Joe's lead. 

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4 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Several points to consider:

 

The .45 auto sizer die sizes your cases to 0.473" OD.

The .45 Colt sizer die would size cases to about 0.477" OD.

My Hornady 45 Colt sizer yields an OD of .470, while my RCBS Cowboy is suprisingly tighter at .467, so I use the Hornady with the RCBS Cowboy expander, larger than Hornady, and don't get finished rounds with the bullet printing through. I also don't get new brass sticking on the expander due to a mismatch in die sizes. Highly endorse the tip for using the Redding Profile Crimp die for 45AR.

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I use the Hornady .45 Colt 3-die set for sizing, flaring, seat & crimp (roll).  Been using this brass for 10 years now and a few are just now starting to split. Bought from Adirondack Jack. I can’t speak for the newer stuff, but it was my understanding AJ’s cases were made by Starline. 

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56 minutes ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

I use the Hornady .45 Colt 3-die set for sizing, flaring, seat & crimp (roll).  Been using this brass for 10 years now and a few are just now starting to split. Bought from Adirondack Jack. I can’t speak for the newer stuff, but it was my understanding AJ’s cases were made by Starline. 

 

Same with me also.

AJ told me his proprietary cases were made by Starline.   He had to buy ALL of their original batch of x-thousand before they would

even make them to his specs.

 

I use to shoot them all the time and never seem to have a problem with split cases and such.

I use:

Sizer/deprimer:   .45 Colt carbide die

Expander:   .45 Colt die

Seat/crimp:  Mostly, I used a cut down .45 Colt die because it gave me a beautiful roll crimp.

BUT... I used a good .45 ACP taper crimp sometimes, just for the heck of it.

 

..........Widder

 

 

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Hornady 45 Colt "Cowboy" has that same larger sizer but also a larger expander than their regular set. That sizer seems unnecessarily big but could be good for .454 bullets. In addition to the regular Hornady set I own both Hornady Cowboy and RCBS Cowboy plus the Redding 45AR crimp, so these are real observations.

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Be sure to use a 45 colt size die. I also have had a few splits on new Star Line brass the first time used, and then no issue afterwards. One or 2 percent maybe split on the first use if that many. I'm loading on a Dillon SDB, so used the 45 colt shell plate & size die, 45acp seating die and was using the 45acp taper crimp die. Now Thanks to Ripsaw I made a roll crimp die from a 45 colt crimp die and it works excellent. I thinks I will achieve better consistency with the roll crimp. JMHO

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Out of 3000 brass that we have, I've only experienced my 3rd split case 2 weeks ago. I was using a Hornady 45 Colt sizing die, can't remember which expander die I used and used a Lee 45 ACP die to seat and Redding 45 AR die to crimp. I don't use the powder through expander die so I was a station short to use my lockout die. Going to the Hornady dies I mentioned in earlier post solved my problems and have worked great for me.

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Both AJ's & Miss Cubbie's supplier was Starline brass.  I've never had a split case using my setup on my Dillon 550B.  RCBS 45 Colt carbide decapper/sizer die, Dillon .45 thru expander set to just barely bell the case, and lastly a RCBS 45ACP Roll Crimp seater die.  

 

As GJ sez, the 45ACP sizer imparts a slight taper to the case.  If your Rugers have slightly large chambers, that in combination with your 45ACP sizer "could" be the cause.  I've run some full power 45ACP level loads out of my Marlin 1894 Cowboy after setting it up for the Cowboy 45 Special (proper name for the cartridge), with 240 grain HP for hog hunting, and never experienced a split case.  And I KNOW that Marlin has a close to max tolerance chamber!

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