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Reloading process question
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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Joined: Jan 18, 2005
Posts: 3249
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

calsibley wrote:
A stunt I'll pull occasionally especially if tired is too hit the balance beam accidently and faile to notuce if the balance beam has been inadvertently moved. All of a sudden I'll look at the beam and notice it's set for 56.2 grains instead of 56.6 or so. Obviously I've whacked it and didn't check it afterwards. Now I can weigh them from the case one by one starting with the most recent to see how many reflect the mistake. The simple things that can go wrong are amazing sometime. Best wishes.

Cal - Montreal

Boy of all the reloading steps that is the one I am most careful with... in fact I typically throw charges .5 grn light and trickle in the remainder. Any kind of bumps and I recheck things. Especially when working up max loads. Being 10% hot on a 36grns of powder for a 22-250 isnt a huge deal but being off 10% on 88 grns of powder for a 7STW? ouch!

I usually let everyone know I'm going down to reload so I wont have to worry about distractions during the process.

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Joined: Feb 24, 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

I can relate.....Sometimes I'm all thumbs and seem to bump everything I come near. I always weigh my powder charges in my workshop when there is noone around to distract me. Even then I still make mis-steps. I have gotten into the habit of verifying the setting after every round and re-balancing my scale after every 10 rounds or so. Certainly after I change powders.


Shoot straight and above all shoot SMART....and remember God is still in control !!!!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

I fill the whole tray of brass with powder whether there are a few or a hundred and then I check powder levels in the cases with a light before seating bullets in them all.

A cruel truth is much more desirable than a really nice lie.
'Tis far better to walk alone than to follow a crowd or an a**hole going the wrong way.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

I'm not as much concerned with the order of the steps involved as I am with finishing all steps. Gawd but I hate to stop in the middle of my reloading. It's too easy to get screwed up when you resume. Sometime I'll have to quit for an hour or so and find it difficult to get back in the swing of things, feeling rather uncomfortable. To each his own I guess. Best wishes.

Cal - Montreal
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Location: Franktown, CO

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

I load up all the cases before seating bullets because I use my press as a stand for the powder measure. When using ball powder (mostly pistol) I will do up to 100 at a time. When using extruded powder I measure the charges to get them close and then hand-weigh them to +/- 0.0g on the PACT digital scale, generally no more than 50 at a time.

I like having all the cases in the block so they can be inspected all at once, something I consider a safety issue. It is much easier to recognize an over or under charge when you have multiple cases that should all look the same than when you only have one case to look at.

When building development loads I take a piece of 8-1/2”x11” paper folded in half and set the loading block on top so that just a ½” strip of paper is visible. Then I mark a grid on the paper, one square for each column (front to back) of cases in the loading block. I then write the desired powder charges in the squares. If I am just exploring a powder/bullet combination for the first time I may only build one cartridge at each charge weight – in which case I tend to mark the charge weight on the side of the case with a Magic Marker, then put all cases in a plastic box in order from low to high charge weight. If I am building multiple cartridges at each weight I put each charge weight in a separate Zip-Loc sandwich bag along with a small piece of paper that identifies the powder, charge weight and bullet. Then all the sandwich bags for that powder/bullet combo go into a larger plastic bag.

When it comes to brass preparation, its decap and size (full length for everything), then tumble, clear the flash holes, trim if necessary, then flare if necessary. Cases get stored in plastic bags with a piece of paper indicating status for trim (needed or OK), flare (needed or done) and primer (needed or primed). I’ve found this save me from a lot stupid errors like failing to trim brass (noticeable when crimping), charging unflared cases (noticeable when seating bullets) and charging unprimed cases in the loading block (noticeable when the drip powder on the way to bullet seating). Made all those mistakes more often than I care to admit but not any more. A well defined process is a good thing!

Trimming was a job I used to hate. Dad gave me 2,000 .22-250 cases and I started out trimming them all to the same length by hand cranking the trimmer. That got very old very fast. After a couple nights I decided to find a better way. My trimmer is an older (1981 or so) RCBS with the “T” handle. I bought a stainless bolt, a stainless nut, a stainless cap nut and a socket nut/bolt driver for my electric drill, under $10 total. The bolt had the same threads as the one I removed from the crank handle on the trimmer. I ground the head off and ground it to length, then used it with the nut and cap nut to hold the crank handle in place. (The nut and cap nut are tightened together to lock things in place and the faces are lined up to provide a greater area for the socket nut/bolt driver.) Working the “T” handle and loading brass with my left hand while running the drill with the right works great. The drill can be used to push the cutting shaft and hence the case into the holder which can them be tightened with the left hand, then when the trimming is complete and the case is freed the drill will “grab the cutting shaft and withdraw it if is still spinning a bit. Sounds more complicated than it is, but like I said, it works great. I can easily trim 400 cases in an hour. As a result I tend to trim a lot more than really necessary, but I’m something of a perfectionist and really like to have all my brass as uniform as possible.

Walnut for the tumbler, with Berry’s Brass Bright. Cleans the lubricant off and leaves the brass bright and shiny. Shouldn’t take more than an hour – if it does you need to add more Brass Bright or change walnut or both. Walnut from PetSmart works nd is pretty cheap (check the bird section – its used in the bottom of cages) but I have heard the grit size is larger than ideal. I bought 50 pounds from the walnut processor in Stockton, MO for about $20, a nice 20/30 grit. A smaller grit saves a lot of time as it won’t hang up in the flash hole. (You should still check, though!)

Enough for now!

Coyote Hunter
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Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

I weigh all the powder first and then seat the bullet. But I never leave the tray attended for long periods of time just to be safe!

"Is it time to hunt yet"!
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

My press is a single stage and as such I find it easier to do each process in its entirety before going onto the next. I rarely reload any more than 50 at a time so it is fairly easy to size the full 50, seat all the primers, charge the cases then seat the bullet. Depending on the calibre and powder I will use either the Redding powder throw or hand weigh each load.

I reload 12g shotgun with a Lee Load All. Haven't had any problems with the loads, they are all uniform, so I am happy.

Works for me.

Cheers, Vince

Cheers, Vince Cheers

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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: Reloading process question Reply with quote

When reloading rifle I do all the steps in mass quantity, For instance I will trim 500 rounds at a time(triming, chamfering and cleaning primer pockets), then prime all 500, then add the powder, checking every 5 rnd for weight, then seat bullets, checking every 5 rnd for C.O.A.L.
I never start the powder process unless I am sure of being undistubed through out the whole process.
Now I reload with a progressive loader and its alittle faster, but not much, as I'm real picky about bullet run out and COAL.(for match rifle's)
For pistol, Set it up (the loader) and run them.
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