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I’m new to reloading and have a few questions regarding casted bullet quality and load data. I’ve been casting for about 2 weeks now and have about 1000 bullets and just received my Dillon press. Before I start calibrating the dies, I need some advice. Below is what I’m working with:

Press = Dillon RL550B

Bullet Type = LRN (personally casted from clip-on wheel weights only)
Bullet Diameter = .452 (sized/lubed with Lee sizer)
Bullet Weight = 232 – 236 grains
Bullet Hardness = 8BHN (I’m assuming the bullets will harden to the 11-12 range after a few weeks)

Case = Speer brass w/small primer pocket

Primer = CCI 500 (small pistol primer)

Powder = Bullseye

I haven’t been able to find load data with the ingredients I have, I’m looking for some advice. Will the small primer Speer case be a problem? All load data I’ve found has been for large primer. I have 1000 Speer cases and hope I don’t have to replace with Large.

How critical should I be with bullet specs/imperfections with concern to safety? I just want to make sure it’s safe to load what I’ve casted. I understand accuracy will suffer with poorly made bullets.

Based on my research I plan on starting with 3.6gr Bullseye with bullet seated at 1.250 and then working the load up to 4.8gr and choosing the best load based on accuracy and NO I don’t have a Chrono just yet. Does this sound safe? And NO I won’t hold anyone liable for recommendations, I’m solely responsible for the decisions I make.

Thanks everyone,
Joe
 

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Press = Dillon RL550B

Bullet Type = LRN (personally cast from clip-on wheel weights only)
Bullet Diameter = .452 (sized/lubed with Lee sizer)
SAAMI spec is 0.453". Did you slug your barrel? I found about 38 years ago that I got better accuracy with as-cast and hand-lubed bullets. Next time, you might want to just take your as-cast bullets, tumble lube 'em, and try 'em)
Bullet Weight = 232 – 236 grains
Bullet Hardness = 8BHN (I’m assuming the bullets will harden to the 11-12 range after a few weeks)
Why? 8BHN is excellent for .45 Auto.
I used wheel weight alloy for everything up to and including full power .44 Mag. Size is more important that alloy.

Case = Speer brass w/small primer pocket

Primer = CCI 500 (small pistol primer)

Powder = Bullseye

I haven’t been able to find load data with the ingredients I have, I’m looking for some advice. Will the small primer Speer case be a problem? All load data I’ve found has been for large primer. I have 1000 Speer cases and hope I don’t have to replace with Large.
No problem. You will start with the STARTING load and that will take care of any possible differences, which I haven't seen.

How critical should I be with bullet specs/imperfections with concern to safety? I just want to make sure it’s safe to load what I’ve casted. I understand accuracy will suffer with poorly made bullets.
No problems with safety. The biggest factor with cast bullet accuracy out to 50 yards is that the base is completely filled out. Wrinkles and such not at the base have no effect. Just be sure there is no wrinkle running through the bottom edge that would allow gas blow-by as the bullet exits the muzzle.

Based on my research I plan on starting with 3.6gr Bullseye with bullet seated at 1.250 and then working the load up to 4.8gr and choosing the best load based on accuracy and NO I don’t have a Chrono just yet. Does this sound safe? And NO I won’t hold anyone liable for recommendations, I’m solely responsible for the decisions I make.
I show 230gn L-RN and Bullseye start loads ranging from 4.0-4.7gn and MAX loads ranging from 4.8-5.7gn. I would start at 4.0 and work up in 0.2-0.3gn increments, so 3.6gn would be a very acceptable place to start and working up to 4.7gn is quite appropriate.
Do NOT assume you know the COL to use.
Per Ramshot:
"SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH “COL”
It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must be seen as a guideline only.
The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as
1) magazine length (space),
2) freebore-lead dimensions of the barrel,
3) ogive or profile of the projectile and
4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.
• Always begin loading at the minimum "Start Load".
• Increase in 2% increments towards the Maximum Load.
• Watch for signs of excessive pressure.
• Never exceed the Maximum Load."

Your COL is determined by your barrel (chamber and throat dimensions) and your gun (feed ramp) and your magazine (COL that fits magazine and when the magazine lips release the round for feeding) and the PARTICULAR bullet you are using. What worked in a pressure barrel or the lab's gun or in my gun has very little to do with what will work best in your gun.
Take the barrel out of the gun. Create two inert dummy rounds (no powder or primer) at max COL and remove enough case mouth flare for rounds to chamber (you can achieve this by using a sized case—expand-and-flare it, and remove the flare just until the case "plunks" in the barrel).
Drop the inert rounds in and decrease the COL until they chamber completely. This will be your "max" effective COL. I prefer to have the case head flush with the barrel hood. After this, place the inert rounds in the magazine and be sure they fit the magazine and feed and chamber.
You can also do this for any chambering problems you have. Remove the barrel and drop rounds in until you find one that won't chamber. Take that round and "paint" the bullet and case black with Magic Marker or other marker. Drop round in barrel (or gage) and rotate it back-and-forth.
Remove and inspect the round:
1) scratches on bullet--COL is too long
2) scratches on edge of the case mouth--insufficient crimp
3) scratches just below the case mouth--too much crimp, you're crushing the case
4) scratches on case at base of bullet--bullet seated crooked due to insufficient case expansion (not case mouth flare) or improper seating stem fit
5) scratches on case just above extractor groove--case bulge not removed during sizing. May need a bulge buster.
 
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