May 24th, 2007 06:56 PM
Reloading 101 (ish!)
We have some questions on reloading in another thread .. and I have been making a few notes recently to provide some odd hints for folks .......... this is incomplete and biased toward my use of Lee equipment.
So - really no more than a few considerations ..... please feel free to add any info from experience.
Reloading 101 - handgun ammo primarily.
Here are a few thoughts on reloading - mostly born thru the time I have been doing this. It is far from definitive or comprehensive and no doubt people will add to it. The comments are based on my own use of Lee equipment ...... turret presses for handgun ammo - usually single stage for rifle. Dillon users probably can skip some of this.
First and foremost - anyone starting on reloading - get and read books!! Plus also if possible visit a shooting buddy who reloads and learn some stuff that way. Dean A. Grennell's "ABC's of Reloading" is a good start - old book but still valid. Then obtain all load data possible, some of which is in PDF form online. Books - Lyman #47 is good and better than later #48. Speer #13 is useful and also Richard Lee's 2nd Edition "Modern Reloading".
Majority of things I'll mention are actually more useage ''wrinkles'' that I have found over time plus of course some safety angles and general information - most 'usual' stuff is in good books. No particular order here.
Always wear eye protection.!!
Never load to max initially ........ start 10% below max and work up, until both gun cycling (on semi's) and accuracy peak out. It is rarely necessary or by default, better to use max loads.
Keep case flare to a minimum at stage two when powder charging ....... as long as bullet will sit straight atop the case ready for seating it should be enough - plus too enough to prevent lead shaving on cast bullets.
Do not operate ram to excessive speed when bullet seating - very fast can lead to a degree of ''inertial'' over seating, which on high pressure rounds can/will alter peak pressures.
Crimp to suit caliber and load, as well as bullet design. Roll crimp for revolver rounds and taper crimp for semi's. A 38 spl light load will retain the bullet almost entirely by case tension after sizing and so need minimal crimp - the .357 Mag however benefits from a fairly generous roll crimp - both the avoid bullets creeping under recoil and, providing a small extra time for a slow powder to fully burn. More crimp however work hardens the brass and so reduces case life.
If a semi case such as .45acp or 9mm is properly sized, the neck tension will provide most bullet grip - a small taper crimp is more to negate any (slight) flair used pre seating, remembering that these cases headspace on the case mouth ....... excessive taper crimp will only risk bullet deformation.
Tungsten dies are worth the slight extra cost - they allow for not having to lube cases with parallel format - for example the 38/357's, the 9mm's and .45 acp's. However when cases get larger and even longer (example is 45-70), lube is desirable to avoid sticking . I favor Hornady ''One Shot'' spray as it leaves minimal residue - however I have also used ATF oil on a pad too.
Beware the double charge!!!! And the zero charge too! It is useful to have good overhead light and even a small mirror set up to see inside long cases. The risk is small with large charges of slower powder in for example .357's - they fill the case well. However small target charges of fast powders like Bullseye are hard to see and a double charge over pressure can break a gun! If using a Lee turret in fact it is almost impossible to go wrong as, when flairing and with an auto disk hopper, you only get one powder drop so unless the hopper runs dry you get one charge.
Distractive reloading. Do not let the rhythm become too automatic and try not to stop when interrupted in the middle of a sequence. If unsure what you did last - break that incomplete cycle and start over.
If you recap a primer inverted - slowly ease it out thru the sizing die for the decapping pin to operate, and then recap. Some may choose not to do this but the energy required to initiate a primer is considerable . gentle pressure will not. Eye protection however is still a barrier, should a primer go off. Never happened to me yet in 30 years!
Do not bother trying to reload aluminum or steel cases ..... it can be done with steel but could trash decent dies .. the aluminum is not ductile enough to risk using again. Be a (sensible) brass bandit!
A site/forum worth a visit for those starting or new to reloading is - http://www.reloadbench.com/
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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