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· Copper Bullet member
4,870 Posts
Powder for .45ACP has been absent for a year now and no predictions on when it will be available.
My preferred load is 4.5gr Bullseye. There are a few others suitable for .45 but none of them have been available either.
Large pistol primers have been fairly plentiful. Buy boxes of 1000 when and where you find them.

Casting has been discussed many times over in the ARCHIVES. Dig through for valuable information.
If you cast your own, cost of .45ACP is about $0.05 @ for powder and primer.
Best choice for mold is Lee 6 cavity 230gr round nose. Many other sizes and shapes are not available in 6 cavity, which necessarily cuts down on speed of casting.

.223 is coming back fairly strong and at reasonable prices. Many reloaders have opted for factory vs all the work involved as savings are not significant. Many say working with those little bullets is a genuine PITA.

Don't waste TIME and money on anything less than a good progressive press where everything is accomplished with one pull of the handle! Repeatedly going through different stages just eats your time and energy.
The Lee Load-Master has proven to be a better press than the Pro-1000 for .45. You can buy a more expensive press but you may not wish to invest a ton of money until you master reloading.
USED equipment shows up often on Ebay and sometimes less than half the original price. Tons of people buy expensive reloading setups only to find reloading isn't their thing and dump them cheap.

If, and that is a big IF, you shoot in large quantity, reloading is practical and cost efficient as the initial investment in everything you need will pay itself back in very short order.
Reloading is not practical for the casual plinker and will be more frustration than worth. Do realize the cost savings do not account for your TIME, which is a serious part of the investment and be prepared to commit to the necessary TIME to do it!

· Copper Bullet member
4,870 Posts
Define your intentions and purposes for reloading as there are considerations yet to be discussed here ...
Cranking out 45ACP for cheap volume shooting is one thing. With current ammo prices, son and I are willing to invest the effort in casting bullets and stuffing them to be able to shoot a couple hundred each every month on the range at about a nickle @ ... if we can get our hands on more powder which has been absent for an entire year now and severely curtailed out shooting.

Precision reloading for rifle rounds is not nearly as cost efficient, very time consuming, and can become an exercise in futility working up the most accurate rounds. If that becomes your hobby and objective, enjoy! Don't let it become your obsession!
More than a few "regulars" at my range are obsessed with their reloading of various rifle calibers. They labor intensely all week long then come to the range to try them out. Very often, they leave in abject frustration when the fruits of their labor prove spoiled and sour. Some have gotten heavily invested in different rifles in different calibers just following the quest for the perfect round and load. After a few months, they move on to something different and even give up on calibers and loads that just didn't achieve what they wanted. I know one who loads a whopping dozen rounds,comes to the range and shoots each very slowly, then leaves bound and determined that next week will prove better!

What he is missing is the skill to shoot them as accurately as possible, a skill that can only be obtained with lots of practice and lots of ammo! Just watching him, it is plainly obvious that it ain't the bullets and it ain't the rifle! Fiddling with different loads isn't going to gain him any traction as his basic rifle skill set is limited.

I shoot upwards of 100 or more rounds a session with cheap (and getting more expensive by the day) milsurp which is not exactly known for precision. I stick with one caliber and two customized rifles. I know the capabilities of each and at longer distances where temperature, wind, air density and humidity all come into play. Some lots (spam cans) and country and year prove superior but I shoot what I can get at the lowest cost possible. One of the fanatic reloaders spent a year working on a futile attempt to better the round only to never come up with one better and abandon that caliber in favor of a new and different rifle in a different caliber. He is about worn out and frustrated with that and about to dump it as well. I was most impressed with it and might have to buy it when he dumps it but I don't feel like loading for it which would require a considerable investment and a lot of time.

Figure out what you want to reload for and why before you fall into the deep hole of frustration that plagues so many reloaders.

· Copper Bullet member
4,870 Posts
Kursk: If you want CHEAP .45ACP ... cast the bullets! If buying factory bullets, you won't save all that much. If you dig in the ARCHIVES, it has been described before how to get all the stuff you need and at reasonable prices.

Son prefers the LEE Loadmaster over the Pro 1000. These are not expensive progressive presses compared to others and work just as well. Add a tumbler and media for your brass.
For the bullets, a large (turkey fryer) burner and a cast dutch oven pot ($30) and 5 ingot molds. Get the LEE 6 cavity 45 230gr round nose mold and handles. Your total investment will be under $300 and pay itself back in a matter of months. (not including a decent bench to mount it all on)

Find a local service shop that does tires (helps if they service your cars). They often have to pay someone to haul off their discard wheel weights. My shop is more than glad to have us empty their buckets, often yielding several hundred pounds. 30% trash, 30% alloy weights, and 10% in metal clips but a couple bucket loads can be reduced to 2lb coffee cans full of pure ingots.
Those ingots then go into the lead pot to churn out about 1000 cast bullets in an hour and a half. It's all in the ARCHIVES here.
A few thousand brass, collected from discards at the range seem to last forever and some have gone around 10-20 times! End results are 50cal ammo cans filled with 45ACP at a nickel @.
Thorough tests have found them to be more accurate than factory new and our guns like them enough that I even carry them. Proven 99.9% reliable!

· Copper Bullet member
4,870 Posts
Measurement of the cast bullets says they do not need resizing but son likes to run them through a sizing die anyway. It is crucial to lube them by rolling around on wax paper and ALOX lube but don't slather it on too thick ... a tiny bit goes a long way.

Key to production speed is how you do it ... detailed before in ARCHIVES
Melting down the wheel weights is a chore best done in bulk in the large (cast iron dutch oven pot) on the large single propane burner. Meltdown about 30lb in the pot at a time, scoop off the metal clips and the alloy (non-lead weights) and keep adding more and repeating until you have nearly a full pot. Turn the flame down to just enough to keep it molten. Stir and bring any residue and crap to the top and skim. Use a 2oz stainless ladle to rapidly fill LEE INGOT MOLDS (5) in order and set aside. By the time you fill the last one, the first one has hardened enough to dump into a 5 gal bucket of water. This becomes a continuous process. It will take about 1 hr to melt down 100lb of weights and turn them into about 3 2lb coffee cans of (clean and ready to cast from) ingots.

Some other day ... when bored with nothing else pressing to do ... fire up the small electric LEE casting pot (with pour spout).
Coating the 6 cavity mold with FRANKFORD ARSENAL DROP OUT graphite spray speeds production and ensures the cast bullets don't stick in the mold block. One you get everything up to the right temperature, it becomes a continuous process of filling the mold, wait ten seconds, and dump in a 5 gal bucket of cold water. Once you get the hang if it, you can churn out about 1500 an hour.

DRY the cast bullets by placing the coffee cans full of them on your grill on low heat and warm just enough to evaporate any water.
Store the cans full of cast bullets for another day ... when you will empty a batch out to lube with ALOX and let dry. Return to the can and set aside.
Another day, you MAY want to run these through the sizing die ... or not.

Another day, when you have a few hours, load up the progressive press and start pulling the handle! You can churn out a couple hundred finished bullets an hour!
Helps to have extra sets of case and bullet feed tubes you can pre-load so you seldom have to stop to fill them.

There are not a lot of options in 6 cavity molds. The LEE standard 230gr round nose is the best. Buy a couple as they are often out of stock and they do eventually wear out, get warped, and otherwise reach a point of replacement but you will get several thousand castings from each set.

At a cost of about 5 cents @ (primer and powder), compared to factory ammo ($25 and up a box), by the time you have cast 3000, you have recovered your investment in equipment that will go on to serve you years into the future.
The reloaded rounds shoot just as well (in some cases - better) than factory rounds. We have been settled on 4.5gr of Bullseye, which chronos at 820fps and was the most accurate from test loadings from 3.5 - 5.5gr.
Note that the same cast bullets also work well in 45LC which makes for cheap practice rounds for the Judge Public Defender.
All of which translates into - the ability to go to the range and blow off a couple hundred rounds in a practice session for a few bucks instead of breaking the bank and maybe shooting one box of factory!

BUT ... before you start spending money ... WAIT for powder to become available again! It has been totally absent for over 1 year now! Primers are abundant and the price has not jumped much.
You can clean and prep and prime your brass and cast your bullets but without powder ....
I'm sitting on several thousand cases ready to go and plenty of cans full of bullets ready to load when I can get my hands on as little as a 1 lb bottle of powder!
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