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Thread: reloading dies for dummy rounds

  1. #1
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    reloading dies for dummy rounds

    I need to assemble a small number (just a couple dozen) of dummy 45 ACP rounds for feed function testing. I have no reloading equipment at all, but I can set up some type of press just for this purpose.

    These will only consist of new FMJ 230 gr bullets and brass. No powder or primer.

    I am trying duplicate factory ammo dimensions, so I believe I will need a taper crimp die of some type?

    Do I need to flare or chamfer the case mouths?

    I'm pretty sure I can fashion a seating die of some type out of Delrin or something and get the bullets seated.

    -

  2. #2
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    You will need a taper crimp die, for sure. I would recommend the Lee factory crimp die, since that resizes the case as well as making the final crimp. Since you apparently won't be resizing the cases before seating the bullets, the full-length resizing will be necessary if you want to replicate factory ammo.

    If you won't be resizing before seating, I doubt that you will need to flare.

    I'll also offer a suggestion, from my own attempts to make up dummy rounds. Repeated feeding results in bullet setback. This is unavoidable, even with factory ammo. To alleviate that with dummy rounds, I've take to cutting short lengths of wood dowel to drop into each case before seating the bullet. A little experimenting should get you the exact length dowel you'll need for your combination of case and bullet.

    If you only need a couple of dozen, I'll also suggest that it might be cheaper (and would certainly be easier) in the long run just to buy dummy rounds from Brownells.

    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod40860.aspx
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  3. #3
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    If the brass you'll be using is new it shouldn't need to be resized to get a good grip on the bullet. But do follow Hawkmoon's advise on using the wood dowel to prevent bullet setback.

    Whether or not you'll need to flare the case mouths before seating the bullets depends on whether or not the corner of the base of the bullet is rounded and whether the bullet really has a thick jacket or is simply plated. If you can see lead in the central part of the base, it's a jacketed bullet (except for the Hornady 45177 which is a jacketed bullet with a copper cap on the bottom). If you chamfer the insides of the case mouths of the new unflared cases you may possibly be able to seat the bullets if extreme care is used to prevent the bullet from tipping. If the bullet tips it will crinkle the case mouth and ruin the case.

    But if your bullet jackets have sharp bottom corners, you'll no doubt need to flare or enlarge the case mouths to accept them without crinkling during seating. Enlarging can be done without normal reloading dies by using a #8, 2" long taper pin. Enlarge just enough to allow the bullet to sit on the case mouth without tipping and they may seat OK.

    In addition, with the bare minimum of case mouth flare (enlargement) seating the bullet may expand the rest of the case and eliminate the need for any "crimping". Use a single edge razor blade as (maybe) seen below to see if seating got rid of the flare.

    http://

    Whether or not you can view the image depends, I think, on your browser.
    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; 31st March 2018 at 11:04.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkmoon View Post
    You will need a taper crimp die, for sure. I would recommend the Lee factory crimp die, since that resizes the case as well as making the final crimp. Since you apparently won't be resizing the cases before seating the bullets, the full-length resizing will be necessary if you want to replicate factory ammo.

    If you won't be resizing before seating, I doubt that you will need to flare.

    I'll also offer a suggestion, from my own attempts to make up dummy rounds. Repeated feeding results in bullet setback. This is unavoidable, even with factory ammo. To alleviate that with dummy rounds, I've take to cutting short lengths of wood dowel to drop into each case before seating the bullet. A little experimenting should get you the exact length dowel you'll need for your combination of case and bullet.

    If you only need a couple of dozen, I'll also suggest that it might be cheaper (and would certainly be easier) in the long run just to buy dummy rounds from Brownells.

    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod40860.aspx

    Backing up the bullets with wood dowels sounds like a good idea. One of those small miter saws would be perfect, but I don't have one. I can easily cut hard plastic tubing to precise lengths on the lathe. So I may try doing that instead.

    I already have 100 bullets and brass, so a die could be less than the cost of ten of those commercial dummy rounds.

    Thanks though, I wasn't even aware those types of dummies were available.

    The die descriptions are confusing, as some "taper crimping" dies mention that a groove or cannelure is required on the bullet. So I'm not sure exactly what I need.

    -

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by niemi24s View Post
    If the brass you'll be using is new it shouldn't need to be resized to get a good grip on the bullet. But do follow Hawkmoon's advise on using the wood dowel to prevent bullet setback.

    Whether or not you'll need to flare the case mouths before seating the bullets depends on whether or not the corner of the base of the bullet is rounded and whether the bullet really has a thick jacket or is simply plated. If you can see lead in the central part of the base, it's a jacketed bullet (except for the Hornady 45177 which is a jacketed bullet with a copper cap on the bottom). If you chamfer the insides of the case mouths of the new unflared cases you may possibly be able to seat the bullets if extreme care is used to prevent the bullet from tipping. If the bullet tips it will crinkle the case mouth and ruin the case.

    But if your bullet jackets have sharp bottom corners, you'll no doubt need to flare or enlarge the case mouths to accept them without crinkling during seating. Enlarging can be done without normal reloading dies by using a #8, 2" long taper pin. Enlarge just enough to allow the bullet to sit on the case mouth without tipping and they may seat OK.

    In addition, with the bare minimum of case mouth flare (enlargement) seating the bullet may expand the rest of the case and eliminate the need for any "crimping". Use a single edge razor blade as (maybe) seen below to see if seating got rid of the flare.

    http://

    Whether or not you can view the image depends, I think, on your browser.
    Thanks, I can see the image. That's exactly what I want them to look like.

    The bullets are jacketed and rounded on the bottom.

    Years ago, I simply pressed a new bullet into a new case with a machine vice. It was a little tricky to keep the bullet straight, but it went in. It left a bulge in the case though, in the seated area.

    -

  6. #6
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    Don't worry about that bulge and don't try to get rid of it.

    There are two types of crimping dies:

    Roll crimp dies are for use with bullets having a crimping groove. These are required for use in revolvers to keep the bullet from working out forward and tying up the cylinder. Here's what they look like:

    http://

    Taper crimp dies are for use with bullets lacking a crimping groove such as those bullets for the 1911. These dies don't crimp the case mouth into the bullet. They merely remove any remaining case mouth flare when used properly.

    Here's a photo of both types:

    http://
    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; 31st March 2018 at 21:12.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by niemi24s View Post
    Don't worry about that bulge and don't try to get rid of it.
    Ok. Just curious, why do some seem to have the bulge and some don't? Is it just the initial case size?


    I figured I need a taper crimp, but looking at this one:

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/24...aper-crimp-die
    I saw this:

    Jacketed bullets must have a crimp groove (cannelure).

    -

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by megafiddle View Post
    Ok. Just curious, why do some seem to have the bulge and some don't? Is it just the initial case size?
    Bullets aren't all exactly the same size -- even within a batch from the same manufacturer thay may vary in diameter by .0005". And different manufacturers' brass has different wall thicknesses. The outside diameter has to be kept within SAAMI specifications, so a large bullet combined with a heavy wall may well result in a bulge.


    I figured I need a taper crimp, but looking at this one:

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/24...aper-crimp-die
    I saw this:

    Jacketed bullets must have a crimp groove (cannelure).

    -
    Midway is incorrect. I suspect that text was copied from the product description for a roll crimp die.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkmoon View Post
    You will need a taper crimp die, for sure. I would recommend the Lee factory crimp die, since that resizes the case as well as making the final crimp. Since you apparently won't be resizing the cases before seating the bullets, the full-length resizing will be necessary if you want to replicate factory ammo.
    One of these for example?

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...tory-crimp-die

    -

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by megafiddle View Post
    That's the one. Niemi24s doesn't like it, but I've been using it to reload .45 ACP for as long as I've been loading (over ten years, but I don't remember how much longer) and I like it.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

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