Troubleshooting Crimping for Barnes Bullets

Troubleshooting Crimping for Barnes Bullets

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How do you crimp an all copper bullet. I am trying to load some barns 275gr.

First I tried to load like the lead copper bullets.
1. Use expander die just enough to flair case mouth
2. Use seating die seat bullet at 2.26
3. Use taper crimp die set about 1/8 taper to the case
This causes the bullet to be loose but it will not come out kinda like a rimfire bullet.

The next attempt I removed the expander die and it had the same affect of a rimfire bullet.

The next attempt I removed the expander die and the taper crimp die.
The bullet looked good and seemed solid. I firmly taped it nose down on the table and no movement. Then I used the thunk test and it passed. Then I fed it out of a clip and the bullet jumped forward from 2.26 to 2.28

What am I doing wrong and how can I fix it.
Its getting frustrating.

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I have had the same problem and mentioned it in a post a while ago. The problem is the mass of the bullet is great enough to be pulled from the case due to the bolt velocity during chambering. Much like a bullet puller would do. Currently I expand the case mouths for .452 bullets, but not for .451 or as with the Montana Gold — .4505. I do not flare the mouths. If you set up the Hornady dies correctly, the bullet should start straight. Maybe chamfer the inside of the case mouth, but only slightly because this is where the headspace is occurring. I crimp in the crimp groove at the rearmost portion — trying to minimize the jump. A draw back of seating the bullet out as far as we can, lessens the amount of bullet in the case — thereby reducing the amount of friction to move the bullet forward. When I use the 300 gr. Remington sized to .452 and seated to the crimp groove — I do not get any bullet movement. Just a note — while chambering factory loads to test magazines, ect. — even those bullets will move forward the 2nd and 3rd time they where chambered.

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Try not to get frustrated, this is a labor of love, wanting something the factory can’t give us, accuracy, down range energy, and of the all mighty dollar and we like that, right?

Solids are a bit of a problem, but Siringo has it solved and is the easiest way to go.

A couple of other suggestions are to bond the bullet to the case. The military does this with all their small arms ammo for waterproofing and bullet pull purposes (they seal the primers too). They use a gum in the case mouths. The closest thing I have used is the gum product that tree doctors use, to scab over a severed limb; most garden stores carry it, better call ahead though. It is applied by using a pipe cleaner and better let the gum set up after crimping. I however am quite lazy and bell the cases as much as I can and then, after seating the bullet I use red Loc-Tite (Just because I have a ton of it around the shop, other colors/types may certainly be useful), and then crimp (With my hunting ammo, I seal the primers with the same product). By using a drop on a tooth pick, capillary action will suck the drop into the case and totally around the bullet, experiment with the size of the drop. There are some things to consider though. First you have to let the Loc-Tite dry, 24hrs, and second, because of the extra bullet pull you’ll have to back off of the powder some. BUT, and this is a big “but”, that extra bullet pull burns the powder so efficiently that it will allow you to use slower powders, thus lowering the pressures, thus allowing you to bring the pressures back up and thus you’ll see much higher speeds (‘lil gun is very useful and I’ve even burned blue dot very successfully, but if speed is the goal, slower powders are the trick. Keep the pressures safely up, if you don’t want to see sooting). Of course, safe reloading practices apply; sneak up on the powder charge, looking for pressure signs all along the way. All this is unnecessary on lead based bullets as enough tapper crimp can be applied, unless of course, you want to use the slower powders. The Loc-Tite trick seems to cause more bullet pull than even a roll crimp (something we can use on the 450), which is a really a good thing, in my view, that is, if you are watching for excessive pressure signs. One other problem is, with all that excessive belling, you may want to extend case life by annealing, I do this regardless. I myself do this by sinking my de-primed cases into a cake pan of ice water about half way up the case body (keeping the heat away from the bases as you could see case head separation, a bad thing), then with a torch, propane is fine, heat them up to red hot and then knock them over, the water will instantly cool the cases and bingo, annealed cases.

Safety First…t

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Regarding neck tension — I have been playing around with various techniques/bullets tonight and despite what I do, I still get some bullet movement upon chambering. The only exception is when a crimp groove is present to lock into. But even then, repeated chamberings came move the bullet forward.

However, an extra step that really helps to minimize this is to clean the inside of the case neck after the case has been sized and expanded. That will remove any trace of case sizing lubricant or powder residue that could lessen neck tension. Do this even after using a case polisher. I used denatured Alcohol on a swab. Also, depending on the bullet, I want to have between .002 and .003 inches of neck tension (inside case mouth is that much smaller the bullet).

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I have done so much testing the past 2 days that my right hand is sore from screwing and unscrewing dies in and out of the press.

No mater what I do I can not keep the barns bullet from moving. I have done all that you listed above and more. I took cleaning the case one step farther, I used 150grit sandpaper to rough the inside of case just one turn not to remove much material, that helped a little but very little. I have been getting about the same neck tension as you Siringo so i increased it to .006 by using the taper crimp die before loading the bullet, but it was no help. The taper crimp can only kiss the brass or it will dent the barns bullets with decrease the neck tension.

The best results I have had came from peening the case around the bullet.
I got this idea from some 7.62×25 pistol bullets i have for my cz52. The casing has three peen marks half way down the neck I suspect to increase reliability for the submachine gun the round was made for. For people that are unfarmiliar with the 7.62×25 it is a bottle neck pistol bullet.

Following the idea of the peen marks I took a small nail set and put 3 peen marks on one case and 4 on another. The first cartridge started at 2.262
after the first chambering it jumped to 2.267 second 2.269 third 2.270 fourth 2.271 faith 2.274 sixth 2.277 The second cartridge with 4 peen marks started at 2.260 after the first champering it went to 2.263 second 2.264 third2.265 fourth 2.265 faith 2.266. The down side to this is that I have no way to be consistent with the depth and location of the dents. If someone knows how please speak up.

The last attempt to decrease bullet pull I used was to set the bullet deeper to catch the crimping groove. I didnt want to increase the distance the bullet had to jump to get to the lands or decrease case capacity but Im at the end of my ideas. I seated the bullet to 2.215. The outside of the case mouth before the bullet was .476 after bullet seated .479 after taper crimp .476 . The first chambering it went to 2.225 second 2.231 third 2.240.

As a reference I used a factory round and tested it too. It started at 2.234
after the first chambering it was 2.242 second 2.250 third 2.258. about the same as when I seated it to the crimp grove.

I then checked case capacity with H110 with the 275gr Barnes set to a depth of 2.215. First i weighed the case with seated bullet 445.7gr then added the powder 484.6gr. This gave me a difference of 38.9gr and confirmed after powder measured alone.

Basic Handloading

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Great information Wildcatter! I was beginning to think the 450B wasn’t such good choice for a relative newbee to reloading such as myself, but now I can see that this gun might be worth sticking with!

I’m still not sure I want to keep messing with the 284 cases, of the 200 I started out with I’ve only got about 60 left that I haven’t screwed up in one way or the other. I initially bough 200 rounds of factory ammo, of which I’ve fired about 150 and repeatedly reloaded, I think I’ll stick with them.

I still have a bunch of questions related to loading these things, regardless of the case, that I hope you might be willing to help with without giving away the keys to the castle, I’d like it handed to me on silver plater, but I’m new and I realize I still have to earn my spurs.

I’ve got about 150 Hornady 240 gr XTP/MAG Bullets. If I seat them to an OAL of 2.2″ I only have .166″ of bullet in the case. Is that okay?

I also have a butt load of Hornady and Zero 230 gr hollow points that I load for my 1911, it sounds like these hollow point pistol bullets should stay in the 1911 and I should invest in FMJ’s for the higher velocities of the 450B.

For powder I’ve got 4lbs of H110 and 1lb if IMR4227, am I barking up the wrong tree? My goal is two basic loads, a range round for punching holes in targets out to 200 yrds and a hunting round for punching holes in pigs. The H110 @ 38 grs has given me velocities around 2100 using the 240 and 230 gr bullets, but the accuracy sucks, I figure I can afford to play with those as target loads because they are relatively cheap, but I want to use Barnes X 250 gr 454 Casull or Barnes X 275 gr 460 S&W for hunting pigs and they are pricey bullets to be experimenting with. I’m hoping this is where you can save me some grief, will the 110 or the 4227 work or should I not bother playing with them? With the very long 275 gr barnes X the case is pretty much packed with 38 grs of H110 and an OAL of 2.225″. Can I get there from here?

I apprieciate the help, too bad you don’t live down the street!

The History Behind the .450 Bushmaster

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Now, the 450b is directly based off the .284win., and thus, turning or reaming should not be an issue, but what to do in the mean time? First, assuming you have full length resized and then trimmed to the factory standard of 1.700” (plus nothing, minus .003” and use the order given – resize and then trim), load a dummy cartridge and try the “THUNKING” test. Pointing the barrel down “drop” your reload into the chamber, it better have a decided Thunking sound when the mouth of the cartridge hits the end of the chamber. If it does not, take safety precautions and again full length resize and re-crimp, the reloaded cartridge; it’ll go “THUNK” now! Second don’t worry about squeezing the bullet a little in the resized loaded case; the bullet is a little over sized and the barrels are ever so slightly undersized and the dies (assuming they were made right) will not over crimp the bullet, so as to let the mouth of the case go pass the end of the chamber (remember we have the same set of problems with the 45 ACP). With that in mind put on a heavy tapper crimp, “NEVER any kind of roll crimp”, into the case, enough so the bullet is visibly dented, again don’t worry about denting the bullet, in fact you want to see a slight dent (you wouldn’t have to do this if you had the bullet sealing gum that Lake City uses, but normally we don’t, so not to worry). This will not affect accuracy at all and will assure proper bullet pull, and will stop any bullet travel, in the case, that can occur in the shooting/cycling process and still yield minute of angle accuracy and better.

Now, what to do about over pressure signs? It is very normal for under pressured cases to kick the primer out first, before the case releases, thus a flat or detached primer. It is my opinion; you may be very much under pressured. Randal gave numbers that say 35,000 to 37,000 psi are dangerous pressures (based on the program Quick Load), nothing could be further from the truth (no offence Randal, also none of the bolt thrust formulas are accurate either, more on that latter). We normally load the 45 Pro to 60,000 psi with 230 ball or FMJ flat points my favorite. Yes, I know that the 458Socom and the 50Beo are loaded to the 35,000 psi area, but then again those great cartridges do not have the barrel thickness the 450b has in the chamber area. Here’s my example, a “Mountain Rifle”, bolt action weapon, chambered for the 284win case has a SAMMI spec in the area of 63,000 psi and has a barrel chamber diameter the same as the 450b. The other proof is Bushmaster told me that twice they loaded to these pressures and fired 6000 rds + each time with no ill effect and my friends and I load to these pressures and have done so for years, normally. So, why does Hornady load for 38,000 psi, as they have quoted? They tell me the Lawyers won or that they did not want to over stress their SST bullet, which is designed for magnum muzzle loader velocities of around 2000fps and would blow up on deer, like a varmint bullet would do, if you pushed them as we can actually do. My personal loads in the 450b, for the 250gr. bullet START at 2500fps and go up, but then who can afford those bullets, sold in twenty packs. I’ve tried the 200gr SST and compressed a load of 296 and achieved 2800fps, with only slightly flatting of the primers. If you need a pointed expanding bullet, Barnes makes excellent 200 & 275 grain varieties.

As for “Bolt Thrust” with these pressures (70,000psi +), Wayne State University’s Engineering Dept., in a published article, I forget which gun rag ran it now, actually ran “MEASURED” test, not calculated and found that at these increased pressures, the bolt thrust was just a little less that the .223 case and this because of a effect known as Bernoulli’s Theorem, which basically tells us that necked cartridges have way more bolt thrust than straight cases and all the bolt thrust formulas are based on those necked cases, hence not at all accurate for the 450b. My Buddies and I have never seen a bolt failure and don’t ever expect to and we only use, what you might call, max loads, we don’t think they are but others might and we’ve never had a problem and together we have maybe a million rounds down range or certainly many, many, 100,000’s at least.

My recommendations? Assuming you will take proper safety precautions and use great skill, use WW296 for the lighter 200 grain Barnes, which is a pointed-hollow point bullet and AA1680 for the Barnes 275 gainers, which is also a pointed-hollow point. But consider the Hornady 230 FMJFP, which the Flat Point will disrupt more tissue than an expanded bullet does. The flat point doesn’t really expand and will penetrate straight through an animal, as opposed to going squirrely, as is the case with many expanded bullets, on occasion, even to turning 90 degrees in side of flesh, been there, done that. Your loaded length of 2.1” is way short too, load the 230’s to 2.2” (but not much more, you still have to hang onto the bullet) or longer and the pointed bullets to 2.250”, max is 2.260″, but you do need some clearance in the magazine. AA1680 & 230’s will increase your speeds and lower your pressures and still yield 2800fps, which is more than enough for any animal on this planet, if FMJ’s are used. In fact this combo has twice been to the Cameroon’s and has dispatched Cape Buffalo and Elephant, with reported ease. Keep in mind that this is with a version that is .070” longer, the 45 Professional. The standard 230gr hollow pointers are cheap and because of these highly increased speeds just explode on anything, making them good for home defense.