Inherited reloader / New to reloading

This is a discussion on Inherited reloader / New to reloading within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I research things to excess before i do anything. So as I was doing my homework, the topic came up with my dad who gave ...

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Thread: Inherited reloader / New to reloading

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    Inherited reloader / New to reloading

    I research things to excess before i do anything. So as I was doing my homework, the topic came up with my dad who gave me all of his old reloading gear. Good quality. RCBS single stage press and powder thrower, media tumbler. So i still need: dies, scale, caliper, primer flipper, and a little plastic tray to put them in. I will be reloading .40 S&W to start with and i have a few questions.

    1) Die Set. I realize there are people on both of sides of 3pc vs 4pc die sets. My questions is. If i buy the 4 piece. Is the bullet seating die different than the die in the 3 pc? I dont think it is (i think its just in use). Also i will be buying carbide, which eliminates the need to grease the casings so i will not need grease and a pad right?

    2) this press (sorry no pics yet) has an arm to put a primer in to press it into the shell. However unless im missing something this means i have to touch the primers which i would like to avoid. Is there something to use this press without touching the primers? I can get a separate hand primer if need be.

    3) Case trimming. Does the .40 cal always need to be trimmed or does it not elongate as much as others? If it absolutely needs to be trimmed each time i will need to buy a case trimmer. This is one part of the process that videos and manuals tend to skimp on info about.

    4) My dad's old 30-06 shell holder appears to be stuck in the press (and covered in rust). I've been soaking with penetrating grease but I've been afraid to take it off because i dont know if im missing anything. Do these simply slide off (slide off horizontally not lift off vertically). or is there a twist or something i need to do. Any help here is appreciated.

    I'm sure i will have more questions to follow but this will do it for now. Thank you all in advance.

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    1. Dies, I prefer the four die set, the only differance is on the 4 die set there is no crimping sholder on the seating die.

    2. Priming, I prefer a seperate priming tool such as the Lee Auto-Prime. It allows me to feel the primer seat against the bottom of the primer pocket. The Lee incorporates a primer flipper so you won’t need a separate one.

    3. Case trimming, generally unnecessary on straight walled cases.

    4. Stuck shellholder, using penetrating oil will help loosen it. On the RCBS the shellholder removes from rear to front and just slides out to the front. Sometimes a slight twisting motion will help it slide out.

    Be sure to read any reloading manuals he may have left you and search YouTube as there are many reloading videos there.
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    Member Array WhatGun's Avatar
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    Thank for your help!

    I got the shell holder out (FINALLY). I ended up running paracord through the shell holder, and tying the other end to the handle. Pull on the handle and it popped off. I noticed a small wire D-shaped wire. when it curved straight it went through a small hole in the press and the rest of the ring curved around it. I removed this piece to pull out the holder. (didnt want to force on something in case its important). What is this piece for?

    I hear often that people prefer a separate tool for priming. I will probably do the same, but i am curious if i decide to use the priming mechanism on the press, (after further inspection) It appears i need to affix a tube(?) of some sort that might take multiple primers and eliminate the need to use my hands in this process.

    Thanks for your help on case trimming, i was not looking forward to this. If I am not trimming am I also not deburring?

    Thanks for your help.

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    Glad to help.

    The D shaped wire is to retain the shellholder and needs to be reinstalled.

    On the front of the press there is a slot where an adapter fits to use a primer feed tube. Most people do not use it since it is easy to apply too much pressure and crush the primer.

    A couple of tips on die setup.

    Resizer die, with carbide dies raise the ram all the way up then screw the die down just enough to lightly the top of the shellholder then tighten the lock ring to hold the setting.

    Decapper/expander die, adjust the die the same way then screw in the expander just enough to bell the case enough to be able to start the bullet into the case without shaving any brass or lead.

    Seating die, if you are using a three die set screw it in untill you feel slight resistance, then screw the seater plug a little at a time until the bullet is at the recommended OAL measured with a dial caliper. Then back out the seating plug and screw the die just until the belling is removed. Once that is done tighten the lock ring and screw the seating plug down until it touchs the bullet then tighten its lock ring. That will seat and crimp in one step then.

    With a four die set you just need to set the seating die and crimping dies seperatly using the same methods.

    Feel free to ask any other questions and have fun with it.
    Last edited by msgt/ret; July 16th, 2010 at 09:33 AM. Reason: addn info
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    Good for you!
    My opinions:

    1. A properly set up seating/crimping die works fine. Used them since starting reloading in '75. Going with a 4th die in a single stage will be very time consuming as you will find out. Carbide die with staight-walled cases is definitely the way to go. Lubing is messy and time consuming. Primer flippers aren't necessary. Pick 'em up. Mine is up in the attic. I dump them on a paper towel and they'll roll right over.

    2. My press has the same primer and it works fine. I finally got a hand primer (Lee); it's easier to change from small to large primers and allows more "feel" when seating primers. It's something you don't have to have, but can be picked up down the road. Don't worry about touching primers unless you're eating greasy pizza while reloading (bad idea to start with). Just wash hands before and after. I've had "one" bad primer in many-many reloads, and I'm sure it wasn't from touching it.

    3. Pistol cases rarely need trimming (if ever). In fact, the only pistol cases I ever trimmed were 9mm Luger (9x19) down to 9mm Mak (9x18), but that wasn't because of stretching.
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    Member Array WhatGun's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your help so far. handprimers are cheap so i may just pick one up. Ill probably order dies this week, still debating between 3pc v 4pc. and pick up some components. Gun Show this weekend maybe ill wait to see if anyone is selling there. Thanks again for all your help.

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    A three die set would work fine as auto cartridges are taper crimped not roll crimped. The seating die will have the taper crimp machined into it.
    Your cases should be trimmed. An autoloader headspaces on the case mouth, also this insures an even taper crimp. Lee makes an excellent trim/gauge tool that is mistake proof and economical. The case won't need to be trimmed everytime, but I would mike it occasionally. I would trim all new brass, I've found many to be out of spec.
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