Reloading > Pistol



I had about 5000 Federal .45ACP cases and had some time off work so I thought it would be a good time to reload.  These are a mix of once fired cases from several sources.

I have a CPM progressive loader.  It is a copy of the Star but uses standard dies.  Have shell plates for .45ACP & .38/.357; wish I had some for 9MM, .44 Mag & .45 Colt because it works great and is fast.

The cases were OK but I cleaned all the cases till they were super shinny.

Setup the machine for 45's and tested a few and it is working perfect, as always.  I am loading 1000 230gr round nose FMJ bullets for pins and then after that on to some Wild Bunch loads.   

After about 300 or so rounds loaded with everything going great I run into great resistance about a primer thickness away from full cycle of the lever.  I give it a little more pressure and you guessed it; a primer went off.  First time in 25 years and many, many, rounds loaded.

The problem was a large primer was trying to be seated in a small primer pocket (I cursed the idiot that thought of making them). 

I decided to visually check every case for small primer pockets.  After a few hours while watching reruns of The Bates Motel and get cross-eyed I got them sorted out.  Exactly 8 more small pockets and about a dozen non-federal cases as a result.  I hope I didn't miss any.

I re-started the loading process and after a 100 rounds or so I have that same resistance as before.  I missed one I thought and stopped everything and removed the bad case.  But, it was a large primer pocket with the old primer still in there (not good!). 

The de-priming pin had broke, first time that has happened. 

The cause of the pin brake was a white ceramic (I guess) ball lodged in the inside of the case in the primer hole.  I think someone used them to clean some of the cases. 

So I decided to re-inspect all of the cases for the little white ball.  Same process as before except it was easier to spot them and the re-runs were Fargo (the TV series).  I found about 20 or so which I very carefully de-primed with a de-primer tool I bought years ago and never used.  Tapping gently a few times breaks the ceramic ball.

To be extra safe I decided after much thought to resize & de-prime all the cases (carefully of course) in a single stage press.  This would also make the progressive loading easier.  It took a while and I found no  more nasty white balls.

The results are 1000 230gr FMJ RN Pin loads; about 1300 200gr H&G#68 Wild Bunch loads and 1000 230gr RN lead loads also for Wild Bunch (these also work good for pins) and of course 1700 de-primed and resized cases ready when I get more Slash-K bullets.

Lane Pearce has an article in the September, 2014 issue of "Shooting Times" about that very issue:  commercial ammo from some of the major ammo makers are now using small pistol primers for .45 ACP.  Just what we all need ....... one more critical inspection step.  I think they're trying to take the fun out of reloading.

I've never had one go off on me, but I once had a small rifle primer go sideways into the pocket using an RCBS APS priming tool and I had to remove the top plate to get the case out.  When I did, I found that primer had been crushed almost to the point of fitting completely into the pocket, but not quite .......... otherwise I'd have been able to remove the case.  I learned two things during that session:   1) if you can't get the case out, don't add more pressure ..... something's wrong  and 2) the APS tool uses plastic inserts for large & small primers, but small primers require BOTH inserts for it to work flawlessly.  I was only using the one insert, which made for a sloppy fit.

BTW:  If you hadn't gone cross-eyed watching the "Bates Motel", you might have found those little white balls. :-)  But I sure bet you had an exciting time when that primer went off!

Kevin Sanders:
I knew as soon as I read the first line this was going to be another small pocket story. That has been a problem for 45 acp guys for more than a few years now. I don't load 45 but I do load 9mm and crimped primer pockets are generally the culprit there. I hand sort each and every case to the dismay of my shooting buddies. But I have never had a primer go off or had any of the other problems associated with bad brass in the press. This is why I can produce 1200 an hour without breaking a sweat. I prefer no surprises at the reloading bench and putting in the hours of tedious work ahead of time prevents most.

I have found CCI Blazer Brass to use small primers in the 45 ACP.  I sure there are others. Good reminder to always wear eye protection while at the press.


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