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reloading process
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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PaulS
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:47 pm    Post subject: reloading process Reply with quote

I looked and we have often brushed the subject of the reloading process we use but I couldn't find any place that actually laid out the steps from start to finish. well I am putting this up so you can tell me where it can be improved (not made more complicated) or what your process is and then we can compare.

The following process is what I came up with shortly after I began reloading and had some of the "normal" malfunctions that new reloaders experience, like contaminated primers, hard chambering, and most important inaccuracy. Some of the processes may have to be modified to suit your gun or equipment. This is not the only way - it is my way.

My reloading method for bottle-neck cartridges:
For new cases the first time and range brass the first time
1. carefully examine the brass for defects wiping it down as you do
2. lubricate the body and neck (inside the neck too)
3. full length size the case (for cases that have been fired from your rifle I only size the neck and only to about 80% of its length)
4. ream the primer pockets to uniform size and depth
5. ream the flash hole to uniform size
6. trim the case to the desired length (I use the maximum case length but most use the "trim to" size)
7. chamfer the neck inside and out to remove any burrs
8. clean the brass (I use a tumbler because I can do all the brass (up to 100 3006 cases) at once
9. carefully inspect the brass, clean out the flash hole if necessary, weight the cases and select those that are +/- 2 grains from the median weight. (set the others aside for plinking or general shooting when accuracy is not important
10. prime the brass without touching the primers (I use the RCBS or Lee hand primer for this)
11. set all the cases in the reloading block neck up
12. Set the scale to the weight of powder for the load you will use
13. adjust your measure to throw exactly that amount
14. readjust your scale to ten times the weight of powder for the load you will use
15. throw ten charges into the pan from your measure and weigh it
16. adjust the powder measure so it throws ten charges to the exact weight of 10 times your desired weight
17. throw a single charge and weigh it - if it is right then continue - if not then check it with ten charges again and adjust the measure accordingly
18. throw your charges into the cases in the block
19. when all the cartridges have powder in them inspect the level between the cases to make sure that they are all at the same level. Any high or low ones have to be emptied and recharged.
20. seat the bullets in the cases by seating them half way down and then turning them 180 degrees and finish the seating process.
21. pack the cartridges into the box and label them with the date, load information and caliber
That is all there is to it!

some explanations may help to understand the why of my method:
....Examining the brass multiple times helps to find the small imperfections, like minor splits or cracks that are not apparent until sizing.
....weighing the brass makes sure that all the internal volumes are within 2 grains of brass - that means that the powder space variance in the cases will remain within .25 grains so pressures will be kept uniform.
....Setting up the powder charge by using ten charges will keep the thrown charges (with small kernel powders) within +/- .02 grains - much tighter tolerance than your scale can measure with a single charge weighed.
....touching primers is the best way I know of to contaminate them - so DON'T!
....Comparing the powder level in the cases is the best way to assure that there are not light or heavy charges and that there is no foreign material left in the case from the cleaning process.
....Leaving part of the neck unsized helps to center the cartridge in the chamber. It is more accurate.

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jcruthis
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:37 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

hmmm.. i think youre right its never been laid out quite that simply. im pretty much the same except the powder measuring. i weigh every charge but i dont use any ball powders...maybe if i did id learn to trust my powder measure a little better.
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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Interesting post and very thorough and clear. I do most of the same steps in the same order with one exception. When I dump powder into a primed case, I immediately seat a bullet. I do not like to have charged cases sitting in a loading block. All the best...
Gil

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Vince
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Not too far off what I do Paul...although
I do not weigh the cases,
I only trim when necessary
I don't go through the 10x weighing process and I throw a powder charge to a little less than what I want and "trickle" the rest in up to my desired charge weight.
Never had a problem with contaminated primers...I put them in the seating doohickey by hand.
Like Gil, I too seat a bullet immediately after checking the powder level in the case
I also put my loaded rounds through a Lee FC die.

Your process good, explained simply, and concisely mate...well done.

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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:36 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Good write up Paul. Dallan also wrote up a list back in 2005 which can be found here -----> www.huntingnut.com/ind...cle&sid=14

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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

PaulS

That is great and pretty much is what I do, but then I am very anal, that is not meant to imply that you are anal, but it’s funny that we do so much the same.

There is about as much wrong with being anal as there is being paranoid, (they are as a matter of fact out to get (me) us) anal just means that you leave very little to chance, in this case maybe wind speed and humidity. And so for at least rifle cartridges I am with you, I am not so particular with handgun reloads.

But, here is a question I have been thinking about for awhile and as we are all subject to the forever dwindling supply of reloading supplies the question is pertinent for today.

If I am reloading using (numbers are fictitious) a copper or copper jacketed projectile of 165 grs with a boat tail what difference does anything else matter. Its copper, its 165 grs, it has a boat tail. I am using the same powder, case and primer.

OK, well the first thing that comes to mind is that there may be a difference in the distance from the ogive to the lands, but I have to think that the difference is so miniscule that it does not matter.

Here is what I think (because I cannot get the bullets I normally reload with) rather than reload and do a bunch of testing (wasting precious powder, and primers) I can assume that I will get the same results with any bullet of the same configuration.

I suspect I am wrong, but I want all you guys to tell me why, and then has anyone actually done any testing based on this assumption?

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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:49 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

I'd be very cautious using another bullet manufactures data to load another manufacturer bullets with.
The bearing surface of each bullet (the surface of the bullet that engages the
barrel as the bullet travels down the barrel) could be significantly different
for each bullet, AND the type of metal each bullet is composed of could be
significantly different. Accordingly, this can be enough of a difference that if
will change pressure amounts to dangerous levels.

Can bullets be interchanged? Not exactly. There are differences among bullets that have nothing to do with weight. That is especially true when you deal with partitions and solid copper bullets. I have Nosler and Barnes manuals that I use as the final word when using their bullets. I do suggest that you look for loads from the specific manufacturer of your bullet.

It is highly unlikely that you can exactly duplicate the components and firearm used by the testers to get the loading data. The data sets just give you a fairly good idea about where to start. The data sets are particularly useful in guiding you in your choice of which powders to use.

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TRBLSHTR
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Smile I do a couple other steps not really mentioned;I tumble cases first-it helps me to see imperfections in the cases(splits,cracks)also-after tumbling I
separate cases by manufacturer,and with milspec cases by year and depot markings.I have found that many will differ by internal volumes in the same caliber.

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MacD
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

I follow the general sequence that Paul gives but I sonic clean, only sort and ream cases for target loadings and keep those separate and under throw a trickle up rifle loads. I use a turret press so each round is completed in one sequence. Handgun ammo I set my thrower and check the first five rounds and then every tenth one after that.

In response to Lester, I use the Lee Modern Reloading second edition manual for many of my starting loads. It doesn't specify bullets except by type or shape in some loads. Weight is pretty much the determining factor in his manual. An example is in 308 Winchester it lists a165 grain jacketed bullet and a Barnes X solid seperately but that is all at that weight. All the loads are from data published or provided by manufacturers of powder and bullets. I do check with a least one other source and pay attention to OAL by making up a dummy round or using a comparator. Now if a person is the type to always push for the maximum then slight changes in the projectile may put them over the top.

Here are the types listed by Lee.

A-max
Copper plated
Frangible
Jacketed
Lead
Wadcutter
Solid
Barnes X solid
Fail-safe
XTP

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dhc4ever
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:22 pm    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Paul,
Apart from your powder throwing technique, I weigh every charge, we do pretty much the same.
I also keep a record in a book on the load I use for whatever particular caliber it is, brass type,primer,power, projectile, seatng depth and distance from the lands of the rifling and what size groups the load generally gets and MV it actually gives. It can be up to 2 or so years between batches, depends on whether I'm hunting or killing paper the range, so I tend to write down everything.

Lester,
It seems I resemble your definition of "anal".
Must be the training for working on aircraft and the desire not to have something blowup in my face Wink

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Les, see if you can find a copy of the December 2012 issue of "Handloader" magazine. If you don’t already read this magazine I highly recommend it.

There are a couple of articles related to chamber pressure that are well worth reading if you roll your own cartridges. One thing that caught my attention here was references to a bullet's "J factor", i.e. the bullet's resistance to being pushed down the bore. The J factor is determined by the bullet's jacket shape and materials. An example given is the comparison of the .243 Hornady 100 grain RN and the pretty similar looking Speer 105 grain RN. The Hornady has a J factor of 1.19 while the Speer has a J factor of 2.35! What that means for us is that if you substituted the Speer bullet in a load you developed with the Hornady you could have a very unpleasant surprise when you pulled the trigger! I’ve always known that switching bullets would make some difference to a load but now I see that I have underestimated the possible effects. Luckily I’ve never had any problems related to this but I’ll be more careful from now on.

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Les,
Sierra has some 30 caliber bullets that have a thin jacket and some with a much thicker jacket going from a jacketed bullet to a solid copper you are going to have two problems; the bullet is longer so your overall length is going to have to be longer or you are taking up powder space - that will cause higher pressures - depending on how close you are to maximums you might be making a bomb. If you have been using a flat base and go to a boat-tail you are again taking up powder space. The different bullets are unlikely to shoot to the same point of impact anyway so you would be better off to back the powder charge a bit and work it back up.

I use the bullet manufacturer's data as a maximum load unless I know that the load I am using was at one time listed and why the listing has changed. If you look at the history of your cartridge you can usually find out what changes have been made by SAAMI and why. My 357 load is way over today's listed maximum loads because it was developed when the SAAMI pressures were 45000 and today (after two adjustments down) the SAAMI pressure for the 357 is at 30000 - dropped a full 33% because some guns in that caliber were coming apart - Smith&Wesson among others.

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Paul
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Speer, Lyman, Hodgdon, Sierra, and Hornady = reliable loading data
So and So's pages on the internet = NOT reliable loading data
Always check data against manuals
NEVER exceed maximum listed loads
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Elvis
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

strange that some reloading manuals (nick harvey for one) give a bullet weight only..no mention of type or brand.the same goes for all the wee booklets I have from powder manufactures(winchester,mulwex.ADI, HODGDON)

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

Elvis, that's not a problem when they never give the maximum load as maximum and stay on the save side for all bullets.
As for me, maybe it's only my feeling, but I'm more afraid of these coated bullets. When you give a coating f.e. using molybdeum and steel balls, you are allowed to add more powder (to get the same velocity again). Now tell me: what will happen when rubbing in your pocket would remove this coating?

What keeps you afraid will also keep you awake! Smile
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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: reloading process Reply with quote

I agree Aloy, one of our members started to use Moly coated bullets on his brand spanking new M700. He shot about 700 rounds thru it using the Moly coated bullets and started having trouble closing the bolt.

He bought the gun over to me and yup, I had a hard time closing the bolt behind a shell. Pulled the the bolt and scrubbed the chamber as it had a ring around it in the chamber. Wore out a few cleaning brushes but finally got it clean with lapping.

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