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I just started reloading a couple of weeks ago, and after reading another thread about a Kaboom, I am a little nervous. Hopefully you all can help relieve some of my fears.

I am using an RCBS single stage press, loading 200 gr SWC .45 ACP. Right now I am using 7.0 gr of Dupont powder (can't remember the number). Going to use some Clay's after this powder is gone, then probably going to try Vhiti-vhouri.

1. How vital is the OAL? Mine don't seem to be consistent (but mostly they are short). How accurate does this need to be? Within hundredths? thousandths? They seem to feed just fine and the 1st 100 that I loaded all but one fed and fired. The case caught on the chamber with the one that didn't feed. (I assume that is a taper crimp error.)

2. How vital is the taper crimp? On the other thread someone mentioned that the KB could be caused by a crimp. How is that possible?

3. Last night when I was loading primers into the brass, I had a primer that got pinched and I couldn't get the case out of the press.. I had to take the holder (not sure what it is called.. the C shaped metal piece that sits on the press and holds the case) and held it with a pair of pliers and banged on the side of the case with a screwdriver to get it out. I was quite nervous that squeezing that through there would cause the primer to go off. Is there an easier way to remove cases that this happens to? How sensitive are primers to that sort of thing?

Thanks for all your help. One thing that I like about this forum, is that noone makes you feel like a fool for asking questions.


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Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

Don't be afraid of the Truth
 

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Awright, here are my personal opinions on your issues and questions. Published manuals and other reloaders may differ, go by the book whereever there is a conflict.

[I am using 7.0 gr of Dupont powder (can't remember the number). Going to use some Clay's after this powder is gone, then probably going to try Vhiti-vhouri.]

DuPont has not sold powder for 15 years. Are you using old stock or do you have IMR brand which took over from duPont? I see little difference in powders at the same load level. Unless you are to the point of testing for extreme refinement in accuracy, why bother to change? What difference do you expect to see?

[1. How vital is the OAL? Mine don't seem to be consistent (but mostly they are short). How accurate does this need to be? Within hundredths? thousandths? They seem to feed just fine and the 1st 100 that I loaded all but one fed and fired. The case caught on the chamber with the one that didn't feed. (I assume that is a taper crimp error.)]

A good seating plug will hold OAL within a few thousanths. RCBS will grind one to fit your bullet nose if you want the greatest uniformity.

[2. How vital is the taper crimp? On the other thread someone mentioned that the KB could be caused by a crimp. How is that possible?]

A taper crimp is practically essential in autopistol reloads. You can mike right at the casemouth to control the crimp. A reading of .470" is a good start for .45ACP. I do not know how a crimp could cause a kB. I suspect a very bad crimp on top of a lot of other screwups would be required.

[3. Last night when I was loading primers into the brass, I had a primer that got pinched and I couldn't get the case out of the press.. I had to take the holder (not sure what it is called.. the C shaped metal piece that sits on the press and holds the case) and held it with a pair of pliers and banged on the side of the case with a screwdriver to get it out. I was quite nervous that squeezing that through there would cause the primer to go off. Is there an easier way to remove cases that this happens to? How sensitive are primers to that sort of thing?]

The thing that holds the shell in the press is known as the shell holder. You do have a manual, don't you? A real one, like Lyman 47 will have lots of definitions in addition to load data. Primers are made to be sensitive to impact. Hammering the case out was rather risky. Better to have gradually crushed the primer with heavy pressure on the handle. Better yet to be very careful to not get a primer crooked in the cup to get pinched. Best to use a Lee hand priming tool if you are loading on a single stage press.

Carry on and do be careful
 

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My advice? Never get so comfortable with your handloading that it becomes commonplace.

A little bit of hesitant caution will keep you safe in the long run.
 

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I'm going to suggest you buy a good manual and read it thoroughly.

"short" is an interesting term that can mean not much or a whole lot. How short compared to your target OAL?

What you've suggested is the main purpose of the taper crimp. Case tension holds the bullet, and the crimp smooths the case mouth for positive feeding. I can't imagine enough crimp to cause a KB.

A double powder charge is the best way to blow a gun up. No powder charge is the other extreme, causing a bullet to get stuck in the barrel. This can be hazardous if another round is fired with the barrel obstructed.

Another way to get that case with the crooked primer taken care of is to run it through the sizing die so it will be punched out. This way your body parts are much further away from that primer just in case is was to go off. If you're wearing safety glasses then there's little danger.

From what I've seen, primers are quite a bit tougher than most people think. I've had two go off after more than 30 years of reloading, including much decapping of primed cases.
 

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With a reasonable overall length originally set, standard loading dies will keep the length consistent enough as long as they hold their settings. The variation you are seeing is likely due to case length variation rather than overall length variation. It will appear as a variation in the seating depth, but the cartridge length will be consistent. In the .45, this is not a problem, since the internal combustion area remains the same.

However, if you use cast bullets, you can get a build-up of bullet lubricant in the seating die which can shorten overall length considerably. An occasional check of the cartridge length and the seating die will avoid this problem.

You can clearly see with the naked eye the cartridge length getting short if you are looking for it. No micrometers needed.

Crimp alone, no matter what you do, does not cause overpressure failures. It can cause a problem in conjunction with excessive case length, but that is primarily in rifle rounds. However, crimp affects feeding reliability, ignition consistency and accuracy, and is an important issue.

Being nervous about reloading is a fine idea. Caution is appropriate. Knowledge -- from a good manual -- is the cure.
 

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I don't know if you should be nervous about reloading but you should have a healthy respect for what can happen should you not follow the basic safety habits of the procedure.
 

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You got a lot of good advice already. I want to add that you might consider hand priming in a separate operation. I get a much better feel for the seating of the primery by using RCBS's hand primer. I think that it is safer than using the automatic primer feeder. I always double check the number of primers used against the number of primed cases that I make.

The OAL is important for fitting the bullet in your clip, proper feeding into the chamber and for accuracy. The length of your case needs to be considered as well as the OAL since the 45 chambers on the case mouth. If you have a short case and a long case with the same OAL, the bullet seating depth is shallower in the short case. That means that the bullet is closer to the barrel rifling. Eventually, you will be able to play with the variables to find the combination that works best for you.
 
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