Ruger Forum banner

21 - 40 of 112 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,851 Posts
Mark, I think you're on to something! One suggestion, I would like to see is a sub-heading in which rifle and hand gun are separately discussed which, of course, will lead to some duplication. I think this separation would be appropriate in the present "reloading" forum!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Well like Lowegan, I've been reloading for over 50 years, and still have all of my fingers and both of my eyes, not to mention my feet and toes. The key to successful reloading is safety, as in shooting. Incidentally I reload for three different gauges of shotgun, (12,20, and .410 which isn't a gauge but a caliber go figure). Everything in pistol from .32 auto-.45ACP as well as .45Colt. I also reload for most rifle calibers with the exception of the wildcat, in just about everything from .222 Remington-45-70.

I never reload more than one type or gauge of cartridge at a time, in order to keep it simple (KISS in other words Keep It Simple Stupid). For all my handgun cartridges I do use a Progressive Press, which I employ a powder checker, to make sure each cartridge has a charge of powder, and that no cartridge has two charges of powder or more. Never get in a hurry when using a progressive press and they are as safe as the single stage, that I started out with over 50 years ago.

The fact that I still use a single stage in reloading all my rifle cartridges, due to the fact that in order to get the most accuracy out of each reloaded round, you should stop and resize all your rounds, clean the primer pockets, and chamfer the case mouths interior as well as the exterior using the proper tool.

Last but not least use an updated reloading manual in order to get the proper bullet, primer, powder, and of course the OAL (Over All Length) that the completed cartridge should be at. Just my two cents.
Excellent advice "Loose Noose".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,048 Posts
I have been reloading for more years of my life than I have not. Glad to see the no load data clause. I see so many people asking for a load for this or a load for that. Get a manual. Many good manuals have been suggested and the tip to use the manual that aligns with the bullet is spot on.

However, I suggest everyone needs a couple manuals so that they can be cross-referenced. When developing a load, I start with the bullet manufacturer's manual, but then I will cross-reference it with the powder manufacturers data. Also, be aware that there is a lot of good information out there that is not very expensive. For instance, if you are using Hodgdon powders for instance, please visit their website. It is a very complete manual that is free on-line. So, if you have a bullet manufactuer's manual and use their powders, you are all set to cross reference your load. Come on, you are on this forum, so you have the internet.

Also, keep records. I have notebooks from back when I started loading back in '90 when I was 10 and have upgraded to an excel spreadsheet. When I load, I not only label the box of reloaded ammo with the load, but also the lot number. That way if I ever need to I can go back to see what I did when I loaded that box. Maybe I loaded it two years ago and played with the seating depth and forgot. I grabbed it out of the ammo safe and shot it and accuracy was a lot better/worse than what I expect of that load. I can look to see why. Also, it help with knowing how long ago a box was loaded.

Entirely optional, but especially when reloading rifle, I would suggest getting a chronograph. When you are testing your new handloads, it gives you one more datapoint to compare to the manuals to help you understand what you load is doing.

Get a kit, and start with a single stage to start. I started with a Rock Chucker Master Reloading kit and have expanded over the years. Even if you want to get a progressive for handgun, start with a single stage and go slow till you are sure you understand the process. Also, you will be surprised the uses you find for a spare single stage press laying around.

Lastly, there are a lot of powders out there. Please dont try to make one powder do it all. I understand some try to make their handloads as cheap as possible, but trying to make one powder do it all is usually inefficient. If you are using a powder that just "works" you are either sacrificing velocity, charge weight, load density, etc. in order to have only one powder on the shelf. Also, think about it this way, if you are loading 100 of caliber A and 100 of caliber B, you are loading 200 rounds. It doesnt matter if you put powder C in one and powder D in the other, you are still using about the same amount of powder, you just have to swap. All you need is the additional $25 pound of powder for caliber B and you are up and going. Cause you are going to use less of both powders. Not sure if I explained it right, but there it is.

Also, no one has said this yet, dont let your powder sit in the hopper. When you are done loading, empty it.
 

·
Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
Joined
·
15,997 Posts
brnwlms, You made some good points and you're right, after the initial investment, it doesn't cost any more to use the optimum powder than to use something substandard. Keeping records and using a chronograph are both excellent suggestions. I view chronographs much like "lie detectors" …. meaning they tell the truth about your loads. It's not just the velocity …. it's how consistent the velocity measures over a 10 shot string. If you find your max velocity spreads are under 50 fps in a 10 shot string, you did a good job, tighter is even better. If you find your loads vary more than 50 fps, you probably need to investigate why. BTW, a 50 fps velocity spread is typical for factory ammo.

However, I suggest everyone needs a couple manuals so that they can be cross-referenced.
Be very careful with this suggestion. Why? All reputable reloading manuals comply with SAAMI max pressure limits. Each load in their respective manuals have been pressure tested in a SAAMI approved lab with their specified bullet. Further, loads are chronographed at a range with real firearms, not some test fixture. As such, barrel length is very important when determining velocity. You can't expect a load in one manual using a 6" barrel to directly compare with a load in another manual using a 4" barrel. In nearly all reloading manuals, the Brand, model and barrel length of the gun used for chronographing is listed in the fine print. The difference between chamber pressure in manuals is the bullet itself and the seating depth, even the same weight bullet may change chamber pressure because the bearing surface is different. Bullet seating depth is normally stated by COl or OAL, meaning the overall length of the cartridge. Reloading manuals tend to set their own max powder charges …. still well within SAAMI pressure limits but usually well below the actual maximum just for a safety cushion. These self imposed limits are not the same for any reloading manuals. Point being, if you compare similar loads with different manuals, make sure you actually use the powder charge and OAL/COL data for your exact bullet. So ….. the advantage of having more brands of reloading manuals …. it allows you to use more than one brand of bullets, but not for a comparison for powder charges or bullet seating depths.

For newbies, I highly recommend buying name brand jacketed bullets and using the same brand reloading manual for load data. Mystery bullets not listed in your manual can produce surprises …. like going way over pressure and causing damage to your gun or yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Iowegan : I have a few questions for you sir if you don't mind 1) When you prime your casings do you use a hand primer or your press 2) What brand chrono do you use 3) Why didn't you mention Lyman reloading manual with the rest of the manuals (I'm not trying to start a Brand War just curious is all) and the square tile that you use do you level it . Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,152 Posts
Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Since lowegan closed out his last post with “causing damage to your gun or yourself “ it reminded me of something that I did that was very STUPID and AVOIDABLE.

At the time, I had been loading for 4 years, I was about 6 months into my Dillon, loading .45ACP. One of my kids came downstairs to ask a question so I stopped, listened and answered and went back to it.

The next day I went to the property to blast away on my bowling ball pins, ( lots of fun). I went through the first hundred and and moved on to the next. About the second mag in I squeezed one off and felt a violent recoil as well as something hot hitting my face. I knew immediately what happened and how it happened.

I came out “OK”, my Gold Cup, not so good. I blew off the front site and destroyed the magazine, but It could have been much worse.

I guess we all know what happened.......I double charged a target load, it was enough to almost fill it 100%, but not enough for me to notice I was compressing the load. Bottom line is I got distracted by one of my kids and it almost cost me.

So with a manual indexing progressive I have found a way to make sure this never happens again and it hasn’t since ‘91.

Now, when ever I need to stop for a call, drink or restroom break, etc. I stop with the ram up. Stopping with the ram up tells me my case is charged and when I return I can lower it and then index it to the next station and continue. I am positive I stopped with the ram down and chargedi it twice.

After returning home I broke the rest of them down and the one I discharged was the only that was heavy.

Just be clear on what I do I’m attaching a pic.
 

Attachments

·
Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
Joined
·
15,997 Posts
Woodsey495, Good questions, I'll try to answer them.

1. When I use my RCBS Rockchucker, I prime on the press. Back in the 70's when I bought the RCBS Ammo Crafter kit, it came with the auto prime system and I've used it every since. I also have a "top mount" RCBS manual primer …. slower but it works well with stubborn tight primer pockets. I used the included auto primer system when I loaded on a Dillon RL550. Some people like to use a hand primer …. I don't, but I also don't see any issues with them.

2. I started with a "Chrony" many moons ago and used it often. I got a new CED M-2 for Christmas 4 years ago. It's a great unit …. lots of features and it WORKS. Here's a link: https://www.midwayusa.com/product/101506602/ced-millennium-2-chronograph-system

3. There's a bunch of reloading manual I didn't list …. many of them are very good. I don't use the Lyman manual so that may be why I forgot to mention it.

4. I got tired of primers, cases, etc rolling around so I spent a lot of time leveling the work bench I use for reloading. The ceramic tile is level in both the X and Y axis so it makes a great place to put my scale and trickler. The tile has a very shiny surface so it cleans easily and works well testing for proud primers.
 

·
Reloading Addict
Joined
·
10,714 Posts
This is a great thread. Lots of good advice here.
This tip is for newbies with a single stage press, which I recommend for anyone new to reloading.
Loading blocks are relatively cheap...get a couple of them if you can. One for charged cases and one for primed. Keep the primed cases primer up and move them to the other loading block after you charge them. Any case on your bench....'case mouth up' while loading, should have powder in it. After charging a batch ,look them over with a flashlight for uniformity.
I've been loading for sometime now but by far am no veteran. There's always something to learn. I myself have two single stage presses on my bench, side by side. One for seating and crimping which I do in separate steps and one for flaring and charging cases. When the case is charged, it goes directly to the seating die and gets the bullet seated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,048 Posts
Good comment on loading blocks. You will accumulate a few. I currently have enough for 1.000+ cases. If you have basic woodworking tools they are very easy to make as well. In the blocks I flip up and down depending on what I am doing. So for instance when I size and deprime, I put them back in the block base up so that I can visually see that they have been deprimed and sized. Then when I prep the case (primer pocket, trim, chamfer, etc.) they go back into the block base down so I can see the prep work on the neck, then when I prime, again base up so that I can visually see that all cases got primed and that the primer did not feed and get seated backward (yes that can happen). I then charge the case and obviously set it in the block base down so that I can take a flashlight and verify the powder level is even. Then when I seat and crimp (pistol and straight wall rifle) base down so I can see the bullet and if it’s been crimped. You will get in a rhythm, go slow and don’t get distracted.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Iowegan : Thanks for your time and knowledge . I to use the ram on my lyman turret press that I inherited from my father I do have a hand held primer but like you said in another thread some people look for that magical item to give them that spark . Also do you use a scale and weigh all your powder out for each load . The chrony I soon will get I might have to bug you a few times for how to use it and also one more thing I went to hornadys web site but didn't find any info on 240gr hornady xtp bullet for 44mag using w296 or h110 powders . Thanks again sir.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,152 Posts
Discussion Starter #33
I’m a big fan of press priming my pistols and AR brass but for rifles I use a hand primer. For my style of shooting using a hand primer, it gives me a better feel for seating and a heads-up on loose or close to failing pockets.
 

·
Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
Joined
·
15,997 Posts
Woodsey495, Gee, I think I could almost write a book on the scales I've had. Like I said above, I bought an RCBS Ammo Crafter kit that included a RCBS 5-0-5 scale (made by Ohaus). I used this scale for many years then bought my first digital scale ..... a Pact (can't remember the model). It worked great for weighing bullets or powder charges but would go into Error if I tried to trickle up a load. I then bought a new digital scale that would work when trickling up a charge but it required constant rezeroing or it wouldn't weigh accurately. A couple more digital scales later (both with their issues), I finally learned my lesson and went back to my old RCBS 5-0-5. I really like the features of the digital scales like "tare weight" or "piece counting" but all in all, the good ol' balance beam always worked, never had to recalibrate it, never had to deal with interference from flourecent lights or wireless phones and never have to replace batteries. I do have a good set of Ohause check weights that get used periodically and after almost a half century, I've never had an instance where the scale read wrong.

The powder I use will determine if I weigh each powder charge ... or not. For example, my powder measure drops ball powder like W-231, W-296, W-748, and a few other just about perfect .... so good that I can't detect a difference with my RCBS 5-0-5. Flake powder such as Unique always stays within +or- .1 gr so I don't weigh each charge. Extruded rifle powder drops terrible so I trickle up each charge to the exact weight. One thing I just don't understand ..... some people only weigh every tenth charge (or some other number). I fail to see what this proves .... what happens to the other 90%? If you don't trust your powder measure, weigh every charge. If you do trust it, set the initial charge weight and keep truckin'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Amen : Well said and Thanks . I measure everything out with my 5 0 5 not because I don't trust my self it's because I get pure enjoyment out of all of it . Step by step reloading and processing cleaning everthing to me is like a kid in a candy store .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,152 Posts
Discussion Starter #36
Case-head separation

Case-head separation, (Incipient Case-head separation) can cause a real problem and can be dangerous to the shooter. The problem part is when you try to eject your cartridge and the only thing that comes out is the case-head just above the web while the rest of your cartridge is stuck in the chamber. the dangerous part is from the hot gases escaping from the bolt/breach area with your face inches away.

Case-head separation is caused by a thinning of the case wall, generally just above the web. The two major causes of it are the repeated firing and resizing of the case, the other being improper die set up, (pushing the shoulder a couple of thousandths to far back each time it's resized).

Every time your fire a case it expanded to your individual chamber, you then resize it back to SAAMI specs, fire it again and resized it, the brass has no where to go but up. At some point in time the constant flow of the brass moving forward thins the walls in the web area, eventually this thinning will cause the case to fail.

There is a way to slow it down and a way to check cases, visually and by feel. I slow it down by using a headspace gauge, taking a measurement and then adjusting my sizing die to only move the shoulder back .002 not back to SAAMI specs.

You can visually inspect a case by looking for a ring around the case just up from the web, you won't feel it, but you will see it. The other thing I do involves no special tool, just a paperclip. Straighten out a paperclip, put a 1/8" bend on one end and snip it at a 45 degree angel, (similar to a chisel). Insert the paperclip in the neck of your case and drag the paperclip up the wall from the base/web. The case wall should be smooth, if you feel a catch/valley as you pull up it's a sign that the case wall is thinning out and that it should probably be trashed. I've encountered this once with a belted magnum, the valley was minimal, after another firing it was deeper it was at that point I put a hammer to the case mouth and tossed it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
I'm quite certain the veteran reloaders know this, but if you use a powder measure with a hopper on it, empty it each time you get through loading. If you don't the powder is liable to stain your hopper and besides that, it needs to go back in the proper container for safety's sake. I even keep a pad of small post-it notes on my bench. Each time I fill the hopper, I write the type of powder on it and stick it on the hopper. A small thing, but crap happens and you'll always know what's in your powder measure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
I’m not a reloader but interested in it. What’s the best book or site to get started? Was told to start with a single stage press, what would be the best press to start out with? If/when I do get started, I have a bunch of .357 brass, my buddy has a lot of .45acp & 9mm brass; that would be my primary interest in reloading. I’ve heard on the .45acp that there are small & large primer cases & the large primer cases are ideal for reloading. Can the small primer .45acp cases be reloaded or is it a waste of time?

Hi.

When I first started, I bought a Dillon 550 and all the associated gear that one would need to reload .38 Super from one of my work buddies. Included were both rifle and pistol editions of the Sierra manual, and they really were the "duck's nuts." So to speak.

If you get the latest Sierra manual, 5th edition I think, it has every single thing you need to know about all the technicalities of reloading. It explains what head space is, it explains what powders are compatible with rifles like M1A and Garand, what over pressure is and what the signs look like, etc.

I started out reloading 9mm and .45 ACP, and had a great time with it! Just follow the recipes in the manual and you can't go wrong. Sometimes you'll run across .45 ACP with small primer pockets - you have to inspect all your cases to cull them out, or you risk ruining some primers.

Another thing you have to consider with 9mm and .45 ACP is if it's military brass. Military brass has a crimp that has to be removed after de-capping, or else you stand a good chance of ruining primers because they won't go in straight - ask me how I know. Before I began swaging my surplus military brass, I was losing about 20% of my primers because they would get boogered up during seating. Federal crimps their primer pockets, too. Dillon has a machine called a Super Swager that does a good job in removing the crimp by swaging it.

Of course you can reload small-primer .45 ACP; you just have to save enough of it to make it worth the time so do a batch - maybe 200 or so.

For me, reloading is half the fun of shooting. I get a lot of pride and satisfaction in creating my own ammo. I got my Dillon press in 1995, and I still do all my reloading on it, even precision ammo for my target rifles. I was able to load 3/4-minute ammo for my .308 SPS and 1-minute ammo for my M1A. I got a RCBS Chargemaster to help me with the precision of the powder charge for consistency. Just make sure you have a quiet place to do it with no distractions; you really need to be able to pay attention to detail so you don't have an accident and hurt yourself. When you quit for a rest or for the day, make sure you are at a good stopping point with nothing half finished.

Enjoy, and have fun!

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
Great idea. Just starting to learn about reloading. Will be getting a used single stage rockchucker press from a friend. I had been thinking about it for a while, but realized I would have to commit to it as soon as I bought a Super Black Hawk last week. Knowing what 44 special and magnum ammo cost, I know it is just a gateway into 357/38, and then the rifle calibers too. I will initially just concentrate on 44 special until I build proficiency. Lucky to have a neighbor that is already into it.
What's really great about reloading is that you can tailor your ammo to suit. I have a really nice M586 .357 Mag that has never had a single round of .38 SPL through it because I have been able to load very mild .357 cartridges. You should be able to do the same for .44 Mag - just check out the manual and you'll see that you can load .44 Mag down to .44 SPL velocities.

Just make sure you never go below the minimum recommended powder charge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
brnwlms, You made some good points and you're right, after the initial investment, it doesn't cost any more to use the optimum powder than to use something substandard. Keeping records and using a chronograph are both excellent suggestions. I view chronographs much like "lie detectors" …. meaning they tell the truth about your loads. It's not just the velocity …. it's how consistent the velocity measures over a 10 shot string. If you find your max velocity spreads are under 50 fps in a 10 shot string, you did a good job, tighter is even better. If you find your loads vary more than 50 fps, you probably need to investigate why. BTW, a 50 fps velocity spread is typical for factory ammo.



Be very careful with this suggestion. Why? All reputable reloading manuals comply with SAAMI max pressure limits. Each load in their respective manuals have been pressure tested in a SAAMI approved lab with their specified bullet. Further, loads are chronographed at a range with real firearms, not some test fixture. As such, barrel length is very important when determining velocity. You can't expect a load in one manual using a 6" barrel to directly compare with a load in another manual using a 4" barrel. In nearly all reloading manuals, the Brand, model and barrel length of the gun used for chronographing is listed in the fine print. The difference between chamber pressure in manuals is the bullet itself and the seating depth, even the same weight bullet may change chamber pressure because the bearing surface is different. Bullet seating depth is normally stated by COl or OAL, meaning the overall length of the cartridge. Reloading manuals tend to set their own max powder charges …. still well within SAAMI pressure limits but usually well below the actual maximum just for a safety cushion. These self imposed limits are not the same for any reloading manuals. Point being, if you compare similar loads with different manuals, make sure you actually use the powder charge and OAL/COL data for your exact bullet. So ….. the advantage of having more brands of reloading manuals …. it allows you to use more than one brand of bullets, but not for a comparison for powder charges or bullet seating depths.

For newbies, I highly recommend buying name brand jacketed bullets and using the same brand reloading manual for load data. Mystery bullets not listed in your manual can produce surprises …. like going way over pressure and causing damage to your gun or yourself.
This is great advice.

I've ended up with mystery bullets before. I weighed them and measured them with calipers to determine caliber. Then I loaded and shot them.

I've ended up with mystery powder, too, from a well-meaning friend of a friend who heard that I reloaded. I said "Thanks, buddy, I really appreciate it!" and then I went home and spread it in the garden.
 
21 - 40 of 112 Posts
Top