Reloading 101 (ish!)

This is a discussion on Reloading 101 (ish!) within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; We have some questions on reloading in another thread .. and I have been making a few notes recently to provide some odd hints for ...

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Thread: Reloading 101 (ish!)

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    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
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    "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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    Hodgdon has a great site for reloading data for its powders.

    If you doubt a case (feels funky, might be cracked, etc) dispose of it. It is not worth the risk.

    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.
    Take a 5 minute break every 100 rounds. Get up, stretch, have a sip of water or soda or whatever refreshes you (No booze!) and then get back to reloading. If you feel your mind still wondering after a break, stop for an hour or for the day. We really don't want to see a post of you showing pictures your precious gun's barrel blasted by a double charge alongside with the injuries you sustained or questions about how to get the bullet out of the barrel after a squib.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
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    Good recommendation Miggy thx - yes Hodgdon is good.

    True also - don't push cases too far ..... in fact most often, certainly with 38 and 357, a mouth small split is obvious and also prevents a good crimp. Not worth over economizing - gotta say tho I used to get close to 20 reloads outa my old (powder puff) target 38 loads.

    Yes indeed too - a break is good. I am lucky that my bench is opposite side of room so - load some, come and check puter - then resume later. Too much sustained concentration can lead to problems.
    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!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Also , Get a bullet puller. You will need one , especially starting out.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    True Rocky indeed so.

    At least - get an inertial bullet puller - plastic ''hammer'' with a collet inside screw cap - and whack the heck outa the cartridge!

    Worth too for more high volume reloaders ....... bullet pulling collets which are cal specific - forget where I got mine now.
    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!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    At least - get an inertial bullet puller - plastic ''hammer'' with a collet inside screw cap - and whack the heck outa the cartridge!
    Yeah...I'm on my third one now...
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    Yeah...I'm on my third one now...
    Shucks - you gotta have been doin a lotta pullin

    I still use mine from early days - it must be at least 25 years old Called IIRC ''Kinetic Bullet Puller''. Mind you - how it has dealt with repeated blows on my anvil I do not know - but it has!
    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!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Clean & polish your brass. It is amazing the amount of crud that ends up in your press with badly clean brass.

    When you are done reloading, clean your table and put everything away in its respective place/cases/tubs/jars. It makes it easy to set up nex time.

    Don't trust your memory! Keep a notebook with all the combinations and charges. What primer with wat case with what bullet with what powder in what charge. ALWAYS refer to that notebook if you have a prefered combination.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

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    So I have to ask, on average, about how much does it cost to set up a small to medium reloading station? not counting brass
    Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

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    Miggy - you are on a roll!

    Yep - I agree with cleaning brass - mostly. I do tho find sometimes that nickle plated 38 cases will stay clean enough for a few reloads. I also recommend tumbling/cleaning before repriming ... as I have had media get trapped in primer flash hole before now.

    Another cleaning tip - folks - separate 9mm's, .45acp's and 40 cal's before tumbling!!! They happen to fit inside each other way too well making for a pain when separating later.

    As for notes - most surely yes ....... record all load data in a lil book - and so find that load from way back you'd otherwise forgotten about.
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    about how much does it cost to set up a small to medium reloading station
    Of course - depends on equipment. Lee is perhops least expensive route - and other end possibly is straight into a Dillon 650.

    There are also some accoutriments that are easily forgotten - so it ain't just press and dies. A suitable weighing scales is important as too are some other peripheral items. Of course too - every cal you add is another die set - say $40 each or so.

    I have not done a cost analysis - but I'd say that if someone started with a single station press then perhaps very inexpensive - like $100.

    But if cash available to around $250 then this will enable a start with a turret probably. Beyond that - well, quite a lot more for the real good stuff. I am a bit outa touch with current prices.

    http://www.leeprecision.com/ will give some prices on Lee stuff - and the Dillon site will help price that stuff ... forget URL right now.
    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!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    Cool, thank you very much, nice to attempt learning another self-sufficency skill.

    Now to talk the wife into letting me set this up in our livingroom/bedroom...hmm I will need chocolate..
    Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

    www.Lonelymountainleather.com

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    My wife wanted me to put mine in the living room because the garage is too far away. You might try that angle.

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    P95Carry & other responders,

    Good job in the advice for reloaders! I've been reloading for various calibers for about 40 years now, and I agree wholeheartedly with the suggestions mentioned. I started with the old Lee Loader in 6mm Rem., through a single stage press. Now I have a Lee turret press, and it has made reloading so much easier, being able to change dies for various operations and calibers within a very few seconds. Also, for me, a hand primer has been a great addition to my equipment.

    I've thought about a progressive system, which would be faster, but I'm just cautious enough I like to examine all the cases for correct priming, and then as a group in the loading tray before I seat the bullets, checking the powder level (and that there's powder in each one) with the old Mark 1 eyeball.
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    Now I have a Lee turret press, and it has made reloading so much easier, being able to change dies for various operations and calibers within a very few seconds
    Mjolnir - welcome to another Lee user! Not sure if you do it or not but - I went a bit mad a coupla years ago and purchased several extra turrets and powder measures to go with my various die sets .. this means now I have set-ups at the ready with a mere change of turret - all dies are set and ready, including separate now for 38 spl and .357.

    Rifle stuff tho I still do the slow way - single stage!

    I am like you - speed is not everything and I do like to keep tabs on my progress. I seem to recall that all the kabooms I have come across due to squibs ......... were following progressive loading.

    I have been reloading the last two weeks or so on and off - and as of this evening am up to 1450 rounds of my main cals - just keep working on it a 100 at a time. I have maybe another 1000 to do at which point I shall consider my ''stocks'' somewhat replenished - for a while!!
    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!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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