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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reloading now for about 10 years. Mostly hand gun but I have recently(2-3yrs) started rolling .223 .308, 303brit and .243 rifle cartridges. I've had a very good record as far as performance from my reloads, until about 6 months ago.

I loaded up about 500 rounds of 9mm with a confirmed recipe on the press that had never been used for anything else. I filled the powder hopper and started loading. I hit the range and found that these cartridges would not reliably cycle my PPS or my BP9CC.

I had worked up to the minimum powder charge to reliably cycle both of the little nines earlier and, as I said, had found the correct recipe for them. However, this time I used a different mfg's. bullets(same weight and profile) and the difference was enough to screw up the works. I'm glad that I was working at the absolute bottom end and not running hot.

Easy though time consuming fix. dismantle and work up a new recipe for the new bullets.

I thought I had learned my lesson. Yeah, right!

2 months ago I loaded up 1000 .223 plinkers, pulled 55gr. bullets with 23 gr. IMR 4895. Again a proven recipe and this time all of the components were identical to the work up. Well, I finally hit the range with some of these loads and found that they were very inconsistent in power and some were close to squibs. I went home and weighed each round and found drastic variations in weight. from 9gr powder to 30gr. Out of the 1000, I had about 200 that were in spec. The rest were light or heavy.

Now I hadn't pulled them and weighed the powder as I did not have a .22 caliber collet for my cam lock puller, which took the intervening 2 months to arrive from Amazon. I tabled the whole thing until the collet arrived. I finally got the collet, dismantled all of the offending cartridges and attempted to figure out what happened.

I had checked the powder charge when I started running this batch and check intermittently for the first hundred rounds or so but did not check after that. I found that at some point(obviously after about 200 rounds) that the powder charging die had picked up some contamination. Not sure what it was, case lube maybe? But, it was enough to catch some powder and either not let the entire charge drop or to let a semi double charge build up and drop. This could have been catastrophic.

The moral of the story? Don't get complacent with your reloading practices. These are the first real issues I've had and fortunately neither resulted in any damage or injury. Either of them could have. I am extremely lucky that my wake up call was simply poor functioning and not a kaboom!
 

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Extruded powders are very prone to jamming up the powder feed and causing misloads. Finer or ball powders will help alleviate that problem. I use IMR 4064 and it will definitely misload in smaller drop tubes.
 

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Me either, gman. I was wondering the same thing about the issues mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
While I agree with you about the reliability of the single stage press (I do most of my rifle loads single stage), it would not have caught the 9mm issue. I should have loaded 10 rounds and tried them before running the whole batch but I didn't think the slight difference in bullets from mfg. to mfg. could have been that big an issue.

The .223 issue on the other hand would have been a non issue if I had been doing them single stage. I just cannot envision loading 1000 .223 single stage.

I just have to force my self to check everything out from time to time. Even when everything seems to going well.
 

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Reloading requires a lot attention to what you are doing. Distractions can be hazardous.
 
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