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Marshal Jack Murphy SASS #32018

Brass trimming question

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Howdy,

The brass (45 colt) I am using has been reloaded many, many time. Lately I have had 5-10 split cases per match. I have been loading 45 CS using brass I purchased from star line and using in my pistols. I was going to buy some more 45 CS brass but after reading some of the treads on loading 45 CS I decided to trim the old 45 Colt brass to 45 CS length. I finally got the trimmer set up and working fairly well. While I am trimming the length varies about 10-15 thousandths. I noticed that the rim varies between brass manufacture by up to 10 thousandths which may be contributing to the variation. If I am targeting 0.092 in., how much variation would be acceptable?

Thanks all,

 

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The brass gets brittle over a number of times. Do yourself a favor and just get some new brass. 45 Colt should never need trimming 

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I trim mixed .45 Colt to .45 CS using a Lee zip trimmer and a .45 ACP case length guide.  I get .020" variation, likely due to the guide that spades off the primer cup interior.  Chamfering and tumbling seems to help reduce splitting.

Some of this brass has been loaded 25 times or more with bp/subs.

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I've got hundreds of empty & reloaded 45 Colt Starlines that are years old.  None have ever been trimmed but after several years anneal those to be reloaded.  Like a Swiss watch - keep on shooting with minimal case splits

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Posted (edited)

"Targeting 0.092"  

 

As the final length of a Cowboy 45 Special case?     Wrong.

 

Same OAL as a .45 Auto case (what some folks in Europe call .45 ACP).  That is 0.898" case length.

 

The different rim thicknesses you find in .45 Colt cases should not matter enough to cause a problem loading the cut down cases.

 

Where you will see problems with case length variation is in getting a uniform bell in expander die, and a uniform crimp in the crimping die.    I never have a problem, and I generally keep my cut-to-length between about 0.894 and 0.902"

 

But, as a general rule, I don't trust cutting down a SPLIT .45 Colt case to work for more than one more reloading as a C45S.   Not enough to bother doing the work on them.  I cut UNSPLIT .45 Colt cases down and get tremendously long case life from them (compared to the new-made Starline C45S cases that are commercially available).    Yes, hard to believe, but VERY true.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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As long as you're shooting in a pistol & getting good crimps, I wouldn't give it a second thought.

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6 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

"Targeting 0.092"  

 

As the final length of a Cowboy 45 Special case?     Wrong.

 

Same OAL as a .45 Auto case (what some folks in Europe call .45 ACP).  That is 0.898" case length.

 

The different rim thicknesses you find in .45 Colt cases should not matter enough to cause a problem loading the cut down cases.

 

Where you will see problems with case length variation is in getting a uniform bell in expander die, and a uniform crimp in the crimping die.    I never have a problem, and I generally keep my cut-to-length between about 0.894 and 0.902"

 

But, as a general rule, I don't trust cutting down a SPLIT .45 Colt case to work for more than one more reloading as a C45S.   Not enough to bother doing the work on them.  I cut UNSPLIT .45 Colt cases down and get tremendously long case life from them (compared to the new-made Starline C45S cases that are commercially available).    Yes, hard to believe, but VERY true.

 

Good luck, GJ

I miss type my target length. It is .0892 which is the length of the star line brass I bought. I was trying to get every case that length and driving my self crasy trying. I am trimming non-split cases but I did notice little cracks in the case edge. Thanks for the help.

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Yeah, unless you have a high end case trimmer, it's very hard to keep lengths within 4 thousands of an inch +/-.   Fortunately, on revolver rounds, that is very acceptable and you won't have bad side effects.

 

Small case mouth cracks after trimming might mean your trimmer is chattering, or that the brass is real brittle.   Could try using a sharp(er) cutter, or annealing the case mouths before trimming to length.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Is the case head web area the same in the .45 CS and the .45 Colt case?

I think the .45 CS case is more like the .45acp case.

OLG 1

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Give this a try and then test the result.  It is not annealing, but it may work to prevent splitting.

 

Pick a dozen or more  pieces of brass from the “splitting cases” batch,   Remove the primers, and swirl the brass in hot soapy water, then rinse well, and shake out the water.ô
 

-Line a cookie sheet with foil and space out the brass on the foil.  
-Put the cookie sheet in a cold oven......close the oven door.

-Turn on the oven and set it at 400 degrees F for 60 minutes.

-Turn off the oven and let the brass cool In the oven, on the cookie sheet, to room temperature.

See if that works......it’s not annealing, but if you’re not set up to do annealing and this suggestion works well, then good.
 

UNRELATED TIP:  Do not heat up (by torch or oven) steel gun parts, guns or barrels, or frames, at all, ever, because it can alter the heat treating in the steel.  
 

Cat Brules

 

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there are va lot of more knowledgeable than i here and some have responded - more will , i have never trimmed my brass in 45s - just resized and reloaded , trhe load is low enough to not stretch the brass - more a tumbling issue to clean the blowby , im shooting smokeless and they get dirty , i know nothing of black in this area , i generally sort after tumbling to glean out the bad cases , 

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Posted (edited)

This topic is not about trimming C45S to a shorter length.  Its about .45 Colt trimming to C45S.   AFAIK.

GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I trimmed a dozen or so using Lee case trimming tools in my little Harbor Freight mini-lathe.   It worked but time consuming. 

 

 

I'm still using the 500 cases I bought from Miss Cubbie years ago.  I've annealed them a couple of times. I'm down to maybe 400 cases now from range loss, mishaps in reloading and cracks.  Often the cracks are in the body rather than the mouth. I have 500 more new cases in reserve. 

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MJM My recommendation would be to separate the brass by brands and see if you don't get a more uniform result. Do the biggest batch first making adjustment for oal, then the next smaller batch, etc,etc. years of manufacturing tells me to eliminate as many variables as possible. When you have gotten down to small groups of odd brass you may decide to pitch them. Also,when you start cutting massive amounts in one pass will likely cause more variation in oal. Cut a batch down to about.020 oversize then reset the trimmer for oal. Aim for the exact length you want then decide what your acceptable tolerance will be. Use your sharpest(newest) tooling for the finish work. good luck

 

Imis

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Thanks Imis and all for all the good ideas. I think separating by manufacture and cutting small batches makes the most sense. I will be busy for a while.

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