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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have another friend getting into reloading. I just discovered I'm missing the pilot for .45 ACP and everywhere is back ordered...I know stupid of me to not have gone through my stuff and filled all the "holes" two years ago. Anyway, all his brass is within spec, most of it around .892-.895 inches.

Has anyone used a case trimmer without a pilot? I know, kind of odd question, eh? I just tried a few and don't see any problems visually, nor when using a caliper and carefully rotating the case and checking length from multiple points.

Perhaps it's not a big deal, and he doesn't have to worry about trimming to the same length. Just from what I read it seems that .45 ACP is more likely to get shorter with use? I don't know about that, I haven't had as much experience reloading .45, so I defer to others with more.

As an aside. Some of his brass is something like .886-.889. And it's once fired, what's up with that? Is that abnormal? All my manuals I have indicate .893 is minimum length.
 

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This might depend on the trimmer. I tried using my RCBS to trim .223 to make 300 blackout with the .22 pilot. When I got past the neck, the way that the RCBS holds the shell became problematic. The shell started to turn off its axis (it wiggles for lack of a better word). I was using my drill to turn the trimmer. So I stopped til I found another way. I would say if you trimmer holds the base firmly then why would the pilot be overly necessary?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just for yucks I tried it. Surprisingly it worked pretty good without a pilot! So I decided to try with some older 38 and 357 brass, I figured the longer case might offset. Works on that stuff too...however I think I'll stick to using a pilot. It was so much easier to set the brass and not have to torque down the collet so tight. But good to know. I like learning this stuff just by doing it.
 

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I was using mine to make a lot of 300 BLK brass from .223. There are lots of ways to do this, but I found resizing first, then trimming worked the best with the 30 cal pilot in place. The drill speeds up the process.
 

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In my 40 years of loading .45ACP, I have never had a need to trim cases. Most shorten over time. Even discussions with dedicated bullseye shooters has not brought to light a single instance of case trimming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Blackhawk44,

That is good to hear. All reading I have done since starting this thread complements your experience. Makes me almost want to go back to .45ACP :-/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I scrounge a lot of once-fired brass from my range. So I tend to trim the first time just for consistency. I'm not great on tracking my brass, but I do try to keep empties segregated in separate bags. So if i have some stuff i know has gone a good 4-5 times I tend to measure and trim again.

Since its mainly 357 and 38 I reload, I want the same length because it simplifies crimping.
 

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So I have another friend getting into reloading. I just discovered I'm missing the pilot for .45 ACP and everywhere is back ordered...I know stupid of me to not have gone through my stuff and filled all the "holes" two years ago. Anyway, all his brass is within spec, most of it around .892-.895 inches.

Has anyone used a case trimmer without a pilot? I know, kind of odd question, eh? I just tried a few and don't see any problems visually, nor when using a caliper and carefully rotating the case and checking length from multiple points.

Perhaps it's not a big deal, and he doesn't have to worry about trimming to the same length. Just from what I read it seems that .45 ACP is more likely to get shorter with use? I don't know about that, I haven't had as much experience reloading .45, so I defer to others with more.

As an aside. Some of his brass is something like .886-.889. And it's once fired, what's up with that? Is that abnormal? All my manuals I have indicate .893 is minimum length.
I have loaded many thousands of .45acp ammo and never trimmed a case and never had a problem, I don't even bother to check the length any more.
 

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I to have been reloading 45acp for over 45years and have never ever found a case that needs trimming. One of the things that's not often discussed is that the case is supposed to headspace on the mouth of the case BUT it actually headspaces on the extractor!!! In my actual serious encounter rounds I would check the length just to be sure of no malfunctions but for everyday shooting I don't waste my time. FRJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I didn't know it head-spaces on the extractor. Is that true for all .45acp firearms?

Thanks for all of the input guys. My buddy has stolen my good calipers, so he'll just periodically check length and probably discard anything way out of spec. Once he saw what I did to get a consistent length on my .357 brass he thought it was too much hassle and just plans to get a fresh box or two of target ammo and reload it, or pick up 100 packs of new brass when they are on sale. I can't really argue with that from a monetary standpoint.
 

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Yes. Technically that's true but most people say it headspaces on the mouth. However if you think about it, the extractor really holds the case in place.

By the way, I too have never, ever trimmed a piece of straight pistol brass. Never.
 
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