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Thread: Case length

  1. #1
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    Case length

    Question for all.

    I am wondering if I am to picky on pistol trimmed case length.

    Every time a batch of cases is reloaded, part of the process is trimming (.45 ACP is .888"). I am beginning to think such behavior might be unnecessary.

    My question really is this...what sort of case length variation is acceptable with regards to a consistent taper crimp.

    My taper crimp die is set for a .469 case mouth diameter at .888 trimmed case length. Longer and shorter cases each present their own potential problems.

    How much deviation in case length are you all allowing?

    I haven't a clue why my font changed.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Tawadc95; 27th February 2017 at 22:48.


  2. #2
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    Unlike high pressure cartridges with a significant taper or bottle neck which are stretched to a greater length when fired, the 45 Auto case is essentially a straight case and doesn't change length significantly when fired. Because of that I don't think there are many reloaders of the 45 Auto that trim or even measure their cases. I've been reloading it since the mid-1960s and don't even own a case trimmer. Never bothered to measure case length either, except on rare occasions. The average of those I have measured and recorded works out to 0.894 0.004 inch. There are even some who claim 45 Auto cases gradually shorten due to repetitive resizing.

    My RCBS taper crimp seat/crimp die has a taper such that for every 0.001" change in case length, the case mouth OD changes by 0.00027". Because of that, I don't concern myself with case length.

    You are correct in thinking trimming is unnecessary - unless you're a member of the 1911 Bench Rest Shooter's Association.

    Regards
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]
    Last edited by niemi24s; 28th February 2017 at 14:34.


  3. #3
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    I've never trimmed a .45 case, and have measured very few, in 25 years of handloading.
    If the case has no cracks, and no dents or creases in the casemouth after sizing and expanding, it's a good case (unless it has an AMERC headstamp, then it's junk).
    "A grip safety is just another excess moving part. I have never known one to prevent an accident, and moreover, it is difficult to postulate a circumstance in which it might." Jeff Cooper

  4. #4
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    I have found a few cases where the case length was slightly different on different locations on the case mouth. I used a trimmer in an attempt to made the case length of the cases uniform. I did not notice any improvement in loading from that effort. My aim was as bad with my "uniformed" cases as it always is.

  5. #5
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    I haven't been loading for as long as RickB, but in the ten or twelve years I've been reloading, I've never measured or trimmed a piece of handgun brass -- of any caliber. A good friend has been reloading .45 ACP for well over 25 years, and he doesn't do anything with his brass. He told me at one job some years ago he got a long lunch period. He would go to a nearby range, shoot a hundred rounds or so, go home and reload the brass, then stop at the range and shoot it again on his way back to work.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  6. #6
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    Thanks...liberating!

  7. #7
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    1) Bullseye shooters have never found a reason to trim cases--and that sport is ONLY for accuracy into the X-ring.
    2) One thing the Bullseye shooters did find was that it helped if they sorted cases by length so they used the LONGEST cases for matches. Shorter cases simply increase "head space" and you lose accuracy.
    3) I tried trimming .44 Rem Mag cases for consistent roll crimp--which would be much more critical than taper crimp which ONLY needs to remove the case mouth flare--and found that shooting untrimmed mixed cases was just as accurate as shooting trimmed and matched head stamp cases. Just to check about 30 years lated, I trimmed .38 Spl cases for my S&W M52s and found the exact same thing.
    4) When you have these OCD issues, why not try some TESTING yourself to see if it really means anything. In most cases, you'll find it is a waste of time, other than, possibly, making you feel better.
    5) Did you REALLY find yourself doing any trimming to your .45 cases, since all of mine tend to SHRINK with each firing? Thankfully, it is hard to make inaccurate .45 Auto ammo.
    NRA Life Member

  8. #8
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    I am definetly in the OCD category.

    I never mix headstamps and every case is always on the same reload count.

    I have wondered for years if anyone else had cases that shrink...mine seem to shorten .002 when fired. I size and type M flair each case before trimming and typically find all I do is clean up a portion to 1/2 diameter of a case mouth. It is the occassional one that ends up being trimmed the entire diameter that compels me to run all through the trimmer.

    MY defense is I still suffer possible reloading PTSD from destroying a rifle 25 years ago from a reloading mistake. Took 2 years of loving labor to do the stock and a beautiful Belgian commercial Mauser action that was blown apart on the second round through it. I had been reloading for my .45 Colt that evening and grabbed the 296 for it and loaded a 7mm Mauser cartridge with 49 grains of 296.

    I have been overboard with my style of safety since.

    My few reloading buddies never put the same effort into there pistol loads as I do and my stuff doesn't behave any better than their's so I think I am way overboard and will let some of my behaviors fall aside, such as mixing headstamps and trimming.


    I long since solved my bomb making problems by allowing only one powder on the bench top at a time and only the components of the cartridge I load for are on bench as well. When done with that particular cartridge all is put away before loading the next cartridge.

    Thanks for ALL the confirming responses!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tawadc95 View Post
    I long since solved my bomb making problems by allowing only one powder on the bench top at a time and only the components of the cartridge I load for are on bench as well. When done with that particular cartridge all is put away before loading the next cartridge.
    That's a sensible precaution, and pretty much all experienced reloaders seem to follow this protocol.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

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