View Full Version : 45 ACP sizing die

06-09-2010, 11:06 PM
I am going to start reloading my 45 with cast bullets from Lyman mold #452374. This is a non gas check bullet 225gr.

I slugged the barrel and the grove diameter is .450

My question is what size sizing die should I get? .451 or .452


06-10-2010, 01:32 AM
Either. Sometimes you will have a problem with certain chambers when trying to load the larger diameter bullets (Siggs are known for it). Other than that, I prefer to run them as large as possible.

06-10-2010, 01:41 AM
if it were me i'd go for the 452 it will work in a larger variety of guns.
you could always get a lee fcd die if feeding is an issue as it will generally squeeze down cast boolits.
452 will often work well in the newer 45 colts too.

06-10-2010, 02:52 AM
I just picked up the new Remington 1911R1 today. It really is a nice gun. I was shooting amo from 1945 that I have and it all shot great through the thing.

With the low volosity that these shoot I am wondering if the Lyman #2 aloy is too hard

06-10-2010, 05:56 PM
As long as your bullets are sized correctly, you can run a very soft mix through your handguns with no leading problems. Lube is not as critical with handguns, either, but I do avoid hard lubes as well as hard alloys. Softer bullets will always obturate better. You begin to run into problems with them only when you start trying to push them too fast. Hotter rounds do need harder bullets because softer alloys will strip when their rotational energy exceeds their strength. You know this is happening when you start seeing leading in the muzzle end of the barrel

I run a much softer alloy through all my .45ACP's. #2 is right around WW's for hardness (composition of WW alloy does vary quite a bit, but both are the minimum softness for rifle hunting bullets for reliable expansion). I used 1/2WW 1/2 pure for a standard handgun mix for many years, but now with WW's getting harder to find, two years ago I switched to 1/4WW 3/4 pure and have had no problems with it at all.

For most handgun plinking/target bullets, an alloy of 2-3% tin and 97-8% pure lead works fine.

For GC'd magnum revolver hunting loads, I don't dilute the WW's.

06-10-2010, 09:30 PM
my standard alloy is 75% ww's and 25% soft, usually the old stick-on's. and some tin.
i use it for about everything, waterdropping for rifles, air cooling for revolvers and auto pistols.
i'd rather soften down a load a bit [or change to a bit slower powder], rather than change the alloy.
i do use a close alloy to the #2 but to maximize a molds usefullness, mainly for rifles and target shooting.
this is the one area i and versifier differ i use mainly a harder lube but make my own, as i get benefits [ at least in my mind] such as storage and speed of lubing/sizing.

06-10-2010, 11:08 PM
If we all agreed about everything, we'd buy commercially cast and spend our time posting complaints. :) With a little bit of experimenting, you'll come up with your own opinion, and it will probably differ from both of ours. That's what makes it so much fun.

06-11-2010, 02:58 PM
it's mostly a case of make what you can get work for you.
i get sticks of moly for nothing and lithium grease at a government discount and live very close to whitelabel lube.
plus i get my bees wax from randy rat over at cast boolits at a very reasonable price.
so a combo of cheap and free, my volumn of casting, and the lubesizers i use is what drives my lube uses.
when i found it increasingly harder to get ww's [after getting them for free and i finally needed some after not having to look for 15+ years] prompted the softening down, then i found i actually liked the softer alloy even better.
i am right about half of the commercial alloy of 2/6/92.
if i need a harder alloy i resort to being cheap again and use the zinc ww's as a hardening agent.
they are soluble to about 1.5%.

06-11-2010, 08:24 PM
I have read that pweter is a very good source of tin and it is much cheeper than buying a 1lb spool of solder. I see that stuff in garage sales all the time for pennies.

Was wondering if a ratio of 20 to 1. Or 20lb pure lead to 1lb WW would be good??? That was suggested by a fellow at a gun shop the other day.

Pure lead is what I have the most of. Seven hundred pounds of it to be exact. I have about 100lbs of antimony. That was all of the free stuff I have aquired. Like everyone else I use to be able to get WW's, but they are harder to get now days.

06-12-2010, 12:14 AM
Pewter is an excellent source of tin. I have a stash of pewter ingots from a lady who used to cast miniatures before she retired. Very old pewter has a lot of lead in it, but is often worth more as antiques - if it's in bad shape it makes great bullets when cut with pure. There are a number of different pewter alloys, some of them even contain things like copper and silver, so it's hard to make a blanket statement as to the ratios, but for much of it 20:1 will work just fine for most handgun bullets. I snag yard sale pewter whenever possible and have my "yard saleing" friends on the lookout for it at all times.

With WW's I use a 4:1 pure to WW ratio for handgun bullets, but there should be no problem diluting them more if the bullets are properly sized and you don't push the velocity.

2-3% tin is enough to insure good fillout. I even add 1% tin to muzzle loader balls and bullets as it lowers casting temperature and fills out better without causing problems loading that happen with harder mixes.

Is your antimony pure or in an alloy? If pure be aware that it is highly toxic to work with and it is necessary to get it and the lead pretty hot (well over 800*F and at those temps you need to be concerned about lead vapor, too) for them to form a stable alloy. Wash your hands constantly and wear disposable gloves when handling it as it can get through your skin in unalloyed form. You don't want to know what can happen if it gets into your system. Once alloyed it is safe to handle with normal lead precautions.

The up side is that lead/antimony alloys can be hardened even more by water dropping or even better by heat treating, which makes it an excellent addition to rifle bullets for target loads. If you water drop then size, the driving bands will be softened to base (air cooled) hardness by the process of working them, so if you want to make high velocity rifle bullets, you want to be sizing then heat treating. If I want hard bullets, I usually just add linotype to the mix rather than hardening by other methods as over time heat treated or water dropped bullets will return to base hardness. Mostly I'm wanting hunting bullets and for them I use straight WW's.

06-12-2010, 02:15 AM
if you are patient you can get antimony ore to alloy in.
the way i do it is to add tin first, then hold that at about 600* then use a light sprinkling of marvelux. light, lighter, salt shaker light.
then crush the ore to about 1/8th inch sized pieces, set on top and stir.
you may need to add a shake more of the marvelux as you go but don't get carried away or it will cover the ore and it won't alloy in.
patience is key,and keep a slow stir going.
once you have it all worked in, turn the heat up to about 800* and use a good carbon type of flux.

now if you have antimonial bars then adding it in and using a carbon flux plus raising the temp and stirring well and fluxing again should get it all in.
see a pattern there?

pewter is a good source of tin when you can find it, just be aware that some brands of "pewter" is not really pewter. iirc wilton is another type of metal kirksite or sumthin.

08-22-2010, 06:21 AM
First, what size are the cast bullets? If they are 0.453 or less, just shoot them as-cast.
This may not be universally true, but I have never found accuracy to improve after sizing a cast bullet, but that could just be me.
For several years, I used a sizing die that was the same or 0.001" large than the as-cast diameter. Then, I discovered Alox. Just a little Alox in mineral spirits or naphtha on the bullet works great. I have been just tumble lubing since. Order from White Label and you are set.
You should start as simple as possible and work up to complications if things are "good enough."
Alloy: For the average .45 1911, the rifling is not very deep. Between that and having to feed up the feed ramp, I find a reasonable hard alloy works best. Again, start with what you have and work up or down in hardness. If the bullet is hard enough to not distort when fed and can engage the rifling, you are set. Not sizing the bullet down also give you a tighter "fit."

09-07-2010, 05:55 AM
I load all my guns with as-cast bullets. The more you size a bullet down, the more damage you do to the bullet. If you must size, I would get a sizing die the same ID as your as-cast bullet's OD. If between 0.451 and 0.452, get the 0.452. Your barrel is at the lower groove diameter, which is usually a good thing.
If you pick up a noticeable amount of leading in the barrel, diagnose your problem as follows:
A clue to what is causing the leading is where the leading first begins to appear.
If it appears near the chamber, chances are that bullet diameter or hardness are the cause. A diameter too small or an alloy too hard will allow high pressure gas to leak past the bullet, which erodes the bullet and leaves leading near the chamber.
If the leading first appears on the leading edge of the rifling (if you imagine the bullet being pushed through the barrel, you will note that one edge of the rifling does most of the work of imparting a spin to the bullet. This is the edge you see when you look through the barrel from the breech end) the bullet might be too soft or the velocity too high.
If the leading appears in the second half of the barrel, the bullet is running out of lube. You should see a star shaped pattern of lube accumulate on the muzzle. This is an indication that there is a little excess lube.
To get the lead out, I recommend an Outer's Foul-Out III rather than an abrasive.
This may sound like too much, but I gave up casting my own bullets (could not find lead as a reasonable price and it just wasn't something I enjoyed anymore. I buy commercial bullets now.
Several of them have given me very heavy leading in the forward section of the barrel, indicating that the Blue or Red lube wasn't doing its job (suspect bullet alloy was/is harder than it needed to be and the bullet was not applying pressure to squeeze out lubricant as the bullet went down the barrel.
I have started to "tumble lube" all my lead bullets in liquid Alox or Xlox (same material, different source). I just pour about 500 bullets into a casserole or chafing dish, squirt a little lube on the bullets, and move them around by hand for a minute or two. I inspect to be sure that all the bullets have a shiny/wet appearance. I let them "dry" for a day on a sheet of wax paper. If you try this, if the bullets are "golden" you have used too much lube. An excess of lube is not only a waste of money, but that excess lube can build up in the seating die. If I had the money, all my seating dies would be from Dillon.
My next orders for bullets will be for as-cast and non-lubricated.

09-17-2010, 03:46 AM
Yep - "As cast" works for a lot of situations. I do size to .001 or .002 over and heat-treat and vary alloys, too - it all depends on the gun and the purpose of the boolit. I like a mix of 92/2/6 for general purpose. Adding Antimony has not been a problem. I got some custom flux from Bill Ferguson and sprinkle crushed Sb & flux on Pb/Sn mixture at about 650F - no vapor problems - the SB actually dissolves, not melts.

I also mix my own lube's, but tend to the softer side.

Bullet Caster
12-03-2011, 06:09 AM
Now I'm no expert but everyone recommends that you size a boolit at least .001 over the groove diameter. I'll start casting soon for this caliber pretty soon. I haven't slugged my barrel yet as I'm still waiting on my calipers to arrive from the slow boat from China. Would like to have bought American, but a fixed income would not let me do this. It's very hard to reload on a fixed income, but I've sold a few items (shotgun, etc.) to get me started into casting and reloading. I've even had my lee press for over two months now and don't have one reloaded round to show for it. I always have to save up for extras. Everyone has told me to slug the barrel first and then you know what to size to to fit the bore. RS, Bullet Caster

Paul B
12-03-2011, 11:17 PM
I just picked up the new Remington 1911R1 today. It really is a nice gun. I was shooting amo from 1945 that I have and it all shot great through the thing.

With the low volosity that these shoot I am wondering if the Lyman #2 aloy is too hard

If that 1945 ammo was milsurp I hope you used the proper cleaning techniques for corrosive primed ammo. All milsurp U.S. ammo was loaded with corrosive primer until IIRC 1951. Only ammo for the .30 M1 Carbine got noncorrosive primers.

A friend of mine had a 1911 pistol that was made in the first year of manufacture and he shot corrosive ammo without proper cleaning as literally detroyed what was once a very desireable collector's piece.

On another note, Lyman #2 alloy will work just fine. Make up a dummy round with the bullet sized to .452" and see of it chambers OK. I'm thinking it should be just fine. I size my bullets to .452" for the .45 ACP and they chamber just fine in three custom 1911s and in a SIG P220. They also work just fine in a Colt Combat Commander which is slated to be my carry piece once I find a comfortable rig to carry it concealed and doesn't try to pull my pants down.
Paul B.