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Beginner's 'luck'....
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:23 am    Post subject: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

I've always had a good source of factory and range re-loaded ammo.

But, pop has been bugging me to start re-loading so.... and 'things' have changed as far as supplies go.

Saved up a bunch of brass and started in with it under his supervision using his gear (my gear is on order).

Starting Load (per 10/08 Hodgdon sheet):
240gr Nosler JHP
23gr H-110 (rated 1450 'ish fps on the sheet)
CCI 350 primers
Mixed once shot brass

Used a Lee cast press for decapping, resize (seperate steps).
Used a Lyman Universal trimmer, Lee burr tool.
Used my Lyman 1200 tumbler to clean 'em up. Then picked the flash holes clean and brushed the pockets and inspected for defects.
Same Lee press to recap.
Used a Hornaday powder measure for drops (the thru die measure on the Lyman kept messing up, plus that knocker thing was a PIA- pays to check!), one atta time, into the case. Checked weights often.
Used a Lyman turret to seat.
Same Lyman press to crimp with a Lee die. Checked every 25 or so for OAL.

About 10 hours later I had 250 rounds. I was pooped.

Took some to my indoor-range last night. Stout load for a starting recipe- got everyone's attention, primers looked good and cases ejected fine. At 10yards "Junior" (my snubby Alaskan .44mag) was drilling the bull when I took my time and sight-aimed it. I'd actually like it tad milder for indoor practice. Maybe 1/2 grain less?
The max load on the sheet is 24gr and something like 1600fps? Nice 'everything's gonna die now' load. Glad I started low.

Then- after two cylinders, it would not advance DA.
I put down the gun, waited a second for it to cool and tried to open it. Nope. I tried to GENTLY cycle it with the hammer and got it to move some then opened it up. I initially thought one jumped crimp. But- no signs of same.

I pulled out the offending cartridge and put it aside. Reloaded and two cylinders later, ditto.

I packed it in and went home, got out the calipers and found a bunch of rounds that were too long. Way too long, .010" too long in some instances.

I did not try them in my SA Super Blackhawk. Not sure if it will digest them or not. Not too sure what to do with these rounds, pull the bullets and start over?

The die was tight and I really don't think I short-stroked the ram, but, anything is possible and I'll never rule out opperator error as that is usually the cause.

Sort of a bitter-sweet first attempt at reloading.

But- no squibs or double-charges. No failures to fire. So...ok there.

I'm looking forward to all my own gear coming in soon. Including the Lee reloading manual, gonna read that A LOT before I do another batch.

Also- making a custom table for the house from a nice laminate covered countertop etc... should be a nice piece and I'll post some pics when finished. I was going to do it in the garage, but, I do a lot of mechanical work on bikes, trucks etc. There a lot of oil, grease, cleaners etc...and some pretty big parts flying around at times. So I figured a nice custom-table lag-bolted to the wall in a corner of my living room will suffice and keep the press clean and safe (no kids, live alone).

So- that's the long and short of my first re-loading session and thougt I'd share it with you Re-load Verteran's. It was a ton of work and attention to detail. I learned a lot and had some great supervision w/o distractions or 'mother-henning'.

I also have a very healthy respect for this. I was VERY nervous toeing up to the line for firing my first hand-loaded round.

Once the rest of my gear comes and I get it set up correctly and such I can see the savings coming and am looking foward to reloading in my own setting. I also like the fact I'll be self sufficient for my own ammo for my big-bore wheel-guns.

Remember- '..."luck" is the residue of your efforts'- Don Garlits.

Cheers!

-k.
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:45 am    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

In a snubby .44 Mag you're going to need a really good crimp. Did you notice whether the rounds that were too long showed any signs of a crimp? From what you've said here I'd suspect, as you did, that you may have short-stroked while seating, especially since you mentioned that you were tired. I know I've screwed up loads when I was working while tired. Remember to take breaks while doing this stuff, it's supposed to be FUN! Wink

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

No- no jumped crimps. Used a heavy roll-crimp.

I checked all my re-loads after I got home, including ones I did not take to the range and found exceeded max OAL in those too.

And I did take a break.
I took a nap while the brass was tumbling.... Very Happy
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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Stovepipe, you are playing with fire using H110 to learn how to reload.
I love 110 but I have reloaded for over 40 years.
I also know that, without even looking at a reloading book, 23gr of this powder is pushing near the top for a .44mag.
Then you figure that your pistol has a short barrel, and you have no margin for error on anything that you do, and considering that you are new to reloading, you are putting yourself right on the edge of disaster.

For the range I use a nice light load for my Smith&Wesson Model 29-2 .44Mag., with a 4" barrel.

You will want to confirm this load that I took out of my old Lyman 46th Edition Handbook, but it gives me pinpoint accuracy up to 50yds off-hand, and is very mild.
It is also on the low end of the powder charge.
Here it is: 6.5Gr--W-231 Powder using a 240Gr LSWC bullet with Winchester Large Primers [WLP]--[With a snubby, I would start at 6.0Gr.]

ALWAYS start low on your powder drops and work up from there.
You will find in most cases, that your best accuracy will come on the low end of your powder charges.

With a short barrel like you have, many times you won't burn all of the powder if you use a high power charge anyway.

Put that H100 away, [this is a great powder for the experienced], and start reloading with low pressures, or the problems that you just had will be minor compared to what may happen.

Good luck,

Eric

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Hmmmm... well, so much for following directions. The Hodgon (10/08) reload data said 23gr was a starting load.

The primers were ok and I got no signs of excess pressure.

Why would Hodgdon print up incorrect info?

But- good advice is just that.... backing it down as suggested.

Thanks for the heads up, and, any info/suggestions anyone else has to give. I'm not into lead bullets yet and will be using plated X-treme's next batch.

-kevin.
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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

You load any way that you feel is best Stovepipe.
I was giving you a heads up, that H-110 is used pretty much as a hunting load, and only on the range if you want to beat yourself up. Very Happy

The point that I was trying to make to you, is that, as a new reloader, start slowly instead of joining the major leagues right off the bat.

It's totally up to you partner.

E. Salute

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Copy that and I appreciate your input.

As stated in my first post. I am going to reduce the load some for practice (indoors). Before this, I was using a 240gr CPFP over 14.5gr Blue Dot. It was warm'ish and doable all day.

Outdoors I shoot long range on paper and steel.

Defense (from dangerous game) or hunting: there's good stuff available over the counter for the very few rounds I'll need there.
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

ElyBoy wrote:


For the range I use a nice light load for my Smith&Wesson Model 29-2 .44Mag., with a 4" barrel.
I've heard about this need to take it easy on them their 29's !!! scared Shiner Bomb

Wave Poke

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Uh-oh!

Shocked

Here we go...

Laughing
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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

That is for sure Chambered.

I only use my magnum loads for hunting.

Handloader briefed me about using heavy loads on the range with the 29-2, right after I got it.
No sense loosening up a fine gun like that just to punch holes in paper. Very Happy

Hey Chambered, I just got back from the range, and tried out my P220 9mm.
I shot some of my 124gr fmj reloads. It cycled everything perfect, and also kept everything around the 10 ring at 25yds.
There is very little muzzle jump also.
This pistol puts to shame my old Browning 9mm High Power.
I'm looking forward to shooting it when the temps. get about zero.

Stovepipe,

Double tap sells some great loads for hunting for only a fraction of the cost over the counter.
I have some of their 320gr WFN Hardcast that was half the price as buying local.
They go out just a tad over 1300fps.

Eric

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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Quote::
Double tap sells some great loads for hunting for only a fraction of the cost over the counter.
I have some of their 320gr WFN Hardcast that was half the price as buying local.
They go out just a tad over 1300fps.

Thanks again for that info, El-B. I've heard of DT but never tried them.
I'll have to give 'em a 'shot'!
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Eric, Glad to hear the Sig is working ok !!! And since you no longer like your Hi-Power, just pack it up and send it my way, I’ll give it a proper disposal. To my safe. Very Happy
If you want to tame that 220 even more run some 147 gr. bullets through it with some slow burning powder. You’ll be amazed.
If it don’t cycle don’t assume the velocity is low. I had to drop down to a 9lb. spring in my STI 9mm before it would cycle correctly.

Hey, have you ever ran the 300 gr. XTP’s seated out to the second cannelure in your 44mag ?
Oh !!! that’s right, I’m sorry, you can only do that with a real gun like a Ruger !!! Poke



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chambered221
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Stovepipe, Back to your issue !!!

Do you seat and crimp together or in two separate stages ?
What crimp die are you using ?
If you seat and crimp in one stage it’s possible your getting to much crimp before the bullet is fully seated.
With separate stages, it’s possible the mixed brass has something to do with it.
Check the head stamps on the longer OAL to see if they are all the same or a variety.

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Ask as many people needed, sooner or later your question will be answered the way you want it answered !!!

A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.
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stovepipe
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Chambered221:
Lee Factory Crimp Die.
Seat and crimp: seperate stages. I single-staged the entire process and checked all loads for double or short and spot-checked CL post-trim and spot checked OAL prior to and after crimp. Cool

***

I looked the gun over really well last night and popped in my snap-caps.
I dry-fired muzzle up, down, sideways shaking the thing like a wildman etc trying to duplicate the issue I had. Even if they jumped out of the case there is no way a bullet could block the rotation of the cylinder as the cylinder throat is much too long. The case heads or rim had to be catching on something or the action got out of time.

My last session, I failed to mention, at the range that night I ripped off 6 rounds as fast as I could pull the trigger and it did not malfunction.
So- the gun is getting out of time erratcially, hanging up on a case or ???. But- if it didn't hiccup on the rapid-fire it went through I'm not sure what will make it 'stick' again. I don't know it all so....we'll see.

I also called pop and told him to check his press. He told me he loaded approx 30, .380's last night. Noticed some odd lentghs. Seems the turret was rocking or coming loose just a bit under load and was not detectable with hands-on but was deflecting under load. I'm thinking that may have been the cause of my odd-lentgh issues. I am 110% positive I did not short-stroke it. Well- ok, 109% positive. Razz

***

Back to the load- If I make a mistake and blow something up, that's on me. Period. Goes for guns, engines etc.

But- I'm as careful as I can be.
And- Mistakes can happen with men and machines. I took apart a factory S&W load to weight it, measure it and just look at it on Saturday- I found a piece of triple-struck brass flashing from the case making process, in the case. It was HUGE! Nice. Laughing
I'll take my time and try and eliminate all variables and possibilities for error when loading. Pop say's I'm too anal. I like to think I'm thorough.

I also triple checked my 42 fired cases, no signs of excess pressure anywhere and they fall out of the chambers unaided.
This is not a 'hot load' by any stretch, I've fired hotter factory stuff... it's barely 1450fps from an 8.5" bbl. Much less on a 2" bbl and the gun is proofed with a stouter load from what I gather as well. If this revolver cannot withstand this load, it won't do any better with a factory hunting or PD load and will be sent back for exchange or refund.

It's a Super Redhawk .44 mag.
If it can't handle standard rounds then it should not be marked Magnum. It has less than 200 rounds through it. If it brakes under normal use, it goes back on someone elses dime. I'm betting my life on this gun and it better work when I need it to, just as it was designed. My snubby is a defense weapon, to be practiced with a lot and failure is not an option when something bigger and meaner see's me as dinner.

***

Got a ton of gear coming soon, presses, trimmer, scale, cases, bullets, dies, etc. Picking up a nice new left over coutertop tonight with white laminate with a raised rolled edge for the top of my custom bench, for free (thanks Pop! Very Happy ). Going to make a base from 4x4 and rip some tapered legs on the table saw.
Then sand and paint the under pinnings black and lag it to some wall studs. It should be bomb-proof and I cant wait to get it all set up for re-loading .44, .45, .380 and 7.62.......and more. Cool

***

Purchased a Mossberg Plinkster last night, and, my eyes are on one of several custom 1911's up next to come on back to the Ponderosa with me. And, a lever action .44 mag carbine. Go figure there. Laughing

It's going to be a good and busy year.

Stay tuned.

-kev.
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Beginner's 'luck'.... Reply with quote

Sounds like you got more than one issue going on !!!

Turret presses can and will do what you’ve implied.

As far as the gun, It’s possible some unburned powder or residue could have caused a bind.
This has happened in my .44 when I’ve let it get dirty.
Super RedHawks are easy to strip down. Give it a cleaning and oil job and see what happens.
If you really think you’ve got a timing issue, it’s best to have it looked over by a pistolsmith.


Quote::
This is not a 'hot load' by any stretch, I've fired hotter factory stuff... it's barely 1450fps from an 8.5" bbl.

Don’t know if you understand this or not, but velocity is not based upon pressure alone.
Look at the load data I’ve posted.
240 gr. NOS JHP
H110 is listed at 36,200 cup @ 1522 FPS
Universal is listed at 38,200 cup @ 1246 FPS

Universal is 276 FPS slower but has a cup pressure of 2,000 more.



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