Getting started in reloading

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DocSkinner
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#26 Post by DocSkinner » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:37 pm

CowboyT wrote:Depends. If you're firing the rounds out of a bolt-action or a single-shot, then neck-sizing can be quite beneficial. However, if we're talking about a semi-auto (some would argue a levergun, too), then full-length sizing is best. This is due to the strong camming that the bolt-action provides. Semi-auto actions might not have quite enough "oomph" to shove something a little oversized (like a fired case) all the way into the chamber. This can mean you don't go fully into battery, but maybe juuust close enough for the firing pin to hit the primer, and as some M1 Garand situations have shown us, that can be destructive to the firearm and possibly the shooter as well. That's one reason I'd feel much better full-length sizing for a semi-auto.

Basic rule is if you are going to shoot in the same rifle (and it isn't an auto-loader), you can just do next sizing. You are basically fire-forming the brass to fit that particular rifle's chamber. While all of the chambers for a cartridge have same basic dimensions, there are machining tolerances inherent in all manufacturing, and your individual chamber is just somewhere inside those tolerances, and onced fired the brass now matches those tolerances.

BUT - if you load for multiple rifles (or auto-loaders), then you should do full length, as all chambers vary a bit, and you want to get back to basic specs. If your two chambers vary in opposite directions, and you fire form in one and then shoot in the other, you can get at best some bad accuracy, and at worst, dangerous conditions.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#27 Post by Mikester » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:16 pm

As someone who's recently accepted the virtues of reloading and is now looking for a starting place, I have to thank you for this thread. You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. :thumbup:

STLWaffles wrote:When I started I skipped the manual. I had no issue finding all the information i needed freely available on the internet. I now have a couple that I picked up for $1 a piece from a local book store going out of business. I still never use them.
While this may be the case, I've discovered that I happen to like having all my fingers, I like my guns and I'm rather fond of the being alive thing. If a $23 book would help a novice reloader like me reduce the risk of losing any of the above, I am damn well going to buy it. :P
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#28 Post by eelj » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:02 pm

Mikester wrote:As someone who's recently accepted the virtues of reloading and is now looking for a starting place, I have to thank you for this thread. You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. :thumbup:

STLWaffles wrote:When I started I skipped the manual. I had no issue finding all the information i needed freely available on the internet. I now have a couple that I picked up for $1 a piece from a local book store going out of business. I still never use them.
While this may be the case, I've discovered that I happen to like having all my fingers, I like my guns and I'm rather fond of the being alive thing. If a $23 book would help a novice reloader like me reduce the risk of losing any of the above, I am damn well going to buy it. :P
One of the best things about manuals is the first 50-100 pages. There is a lot of information on the basics and they go into depth about pressure and how some powders will spike while others won't.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#29 Post by swissdog » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:15 pm

When it comes to recreational reading I love my tablets because of the instant gratification of downloading a book and I quadruply love not ending up with shelves (and boxes) full of once or twice read books that need to be stored, dusted, lifted and/or disposed of.

Reloading manuals are a whole other beast, though. I don't think I could ever have enough. The background on the cartridges and reloading processes, the amount of data collected, the ease of use on the bench, etc. Even older editions of current manuals are still relevant to track on older loads and such. It's just about the perfect presentation of the information - at least as far as I can tell. There's also something to be said for the information in the manuals being somewhat authoritative - particularly when compared to some of the recommendations one happens upon in the wilds of Internet forums. It's not that there isn't good information to be had out here, but reputability of sources is a nice thing when minute errors in measurement can result in the loss of life and limb.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#30 Post by ThirstyHersh » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:42 pm

I think adding a set of check weights to the shopping list would be money well spent, especially if you are using a digital scale. You know that scale you bought on sale zeros out, but do you know it's accurate at the weight you want. A set of weights don't cost much and add a lot of security to your set-up.

Another thing to consider is a chronograph. Mine was about $100.00. OK, maybe you don't want one now, but keep it in mind in case a rich relative dies. It is useful for checking your work, making sure you have what you want before really get the ball rolling. (Once I get get started I lay in a few thousand rounds at a time.) Also you can check the consistency of your process. I also double check my loads with a chronograph when I use a different brand bullet then what the load is for (after making the proper adjustments, of course). I just think that eventually it makes sense. G'day.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#31 Post by shinzen » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:46 pm

A chrony is on my list- haven't picked one up- Definitely on the check weights though, a scale's no good if the damned thing is off.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#32 Post by ThirstyHersh » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:57 pm

shinzen wrote:A chrony is on my list- haven't picked one up- Definitely on the check weights though, a scale's no good if the damned thing is off.
When I use one I shoot off the bench at a target downrange. It probably adds a little accuracy because of concistancy. But mainly because I shot the first one I had with the fifth round I fired. Nailed it too. Proving once again that it's hard to soar with the eagles when you wallow in your own filth.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#33 Post by bigmike0301 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:57 pm

shinzen wrote:A chrony is on my list- haven't picked one up-
Re: Chrony - Me also.
I'd like to see some discussion pro/con/flame war about chrony brands.
shinzen wrote:Definitely on the check weights though, a scale's no good if the damned thing is off.
I have some. I use a 10-10 balance beam and it's always dead on. I have a digital scale that I use for the 25 ACP. The check weights I use are for it.
Now if can find spherical pistol powder at Cabella$. The flaky stuff varies too much.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#34 Post by ThirstyHersh » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:36 pm

bigmike0301 wrote: I'd like to see some discussion pro/con/flame war about chrony brands.
I have a few comments about the Chrony Beta Master (or is the Chrony Master-Beta, I forget). As you go up the product line of Shooting Chrony's the biggest feature is memory. The Chrony Beta holds six strings of 10 rounds. That's enough. After sixty rounds I can take a break and write them down. The Chrony's are also available in a master format. This feature lets you can hook up the phone cable and run the controls back to your bench. I gotta have that. You'll also need a sturdy tripod and I'd recommend getting a inexpensive two way level. When you set it up it's a good idea to level it.

The FIRST: The controls are awful. It takes a lot of studying of the manual to handle the data correctly. I would advise setting it up in the basement and practicing with it using an airsoft pistol. You will need several beers for this. Have patience, take your time and you will work it out. TAKE NOTES. This is not something you use everyday so falling back on your notes next time will take the pain out of it.

SECOND: although some suckers (not me of course I'm too smart for that..,Ok, like me.) purchase the indoor lighting kit for about $75.00, you can do the same thing for under $10. The indoor kit is to defeat fluorescent lightning. They sell you two incandescent lights that replace the white plastic light defusers. OR, you could buy a couple of El Cheapo multi -LED battery powered flashlights (the flat oval kind. Amazon has lost of them) and rubber band them on top. I saw this at the indoor range, spent the rest of the day bitching at myself for not thinking of it first.

THIRD: Remember no Chronograph is bullet proof. Take care to shoot into the center of the window and shoot off the bench.

Overall I really my Chrony Beta Master. It takes a bit of effort to understand it and it's 1985 era controls, but it's worth it. After I annihilated the first one, I bought a new one just like it. Good move.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#35 Post by axel » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:36 am

Reloading becomes a hobby unto itself. Once one masters the assembly of cartridges (reloading), making one's own projectiles is an expansion of the hobby, and can save some serious bucks especially of one shoots a lot.

For example, on Sunday it took me around three hours to cast about 500 bullets for 45 Auto. The lead cost less than $10 and the rest was my time and a little electricity.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#36 Post by drigeba » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:49 am

I am a beginning reloader, but this all sounds pretty good. If you like geeky details and loved chemistry class, a lot of fun is to be had.

I got the Lee manual and it goes into a number of details that a lot of internet browsing didn't turn up. The Lee manual also has very comprehensive load tables in it.

I cross reference all my loads with multiple sources to be like, "fer sure fersure", particularly when you are using reloaders den or pet loads gleaned from various forums.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#37 Post by shinzen » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:16 am

Yep! It definitely appeals to my inner science geek- and quadruple checking any "pet loads" found on the interwebz is an absolute must if you want to avoid catastrophe.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#38 Post by CDFingers » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:50 am

I read through the thread.

I'd like to stump for the Lee dippers.

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I'm making some custom ones like this:

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I mostly shoot rifles, so I carefully weigh each charge for maximum accuracy at long distance. However, I've found that for hand guns, such uber care is not necessary for practice rounds, where the dippers are perfect. It takes me 1/3 of the time to load a box of 50 revolver rounds than if I'd weighed them each. At hand gun practice distances, I am not that concerned about the tiny change in charge and therefore accuracy that comes with dippers. But, as Fukshot has admonished, check the weight from time to time. I check every block of twenty--that is, four rows of five in my leetle plastic cartridge boxes.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#39 Post by ThirstyHersh » Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:27 pm

CDFingers wrote:Image
Those look like the ones my college roommate kept on top of the record collection. They always smell funny.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#40 Post by eelj » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:04 pm

I just got an email from Midway about a sale on the Lee starter kit. Aluminium O press and powder thrower scale and some other crap for 115 bucks. It's not what I would consider to be optimal, but it would be a damn good way to start cheaply.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#41 Post by shinzen » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:06 pm

Yeah, I just encouraged one of my buddies to pick one up. Lee Challenger kit- O-frame, most of the goodies that are needed to get going. Nothing wrong with it at all.
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Re: Getting started in reloading

#42 Post by drigeba » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:18 am

The Lee full kits are very tempting. Here is my journey so far..

For getting started I first went with lee loaders. but since i only get time to reload in the dead of night i realized quickly that hammering on my bench at 00:30 wasn't going to fly. Also the lee loader's neck sizing only won't give me reliable cycling in ye olde mini 14.

I ended up skipping the full lee starter kit and got the Lee Reloader press at $25.00, a set of lee dippers, a 30.00 digital scale and my .223 lee die set (on sale for 25.00), a powder funnel, Lee press mounted priming die, the lee case trimmer, and a loading block. I was ready to roll for around the same cost as the lee starter set (that you still needed to get dies for).

Fastidious shopping at the gun show and some care in assembly yields match grade ammo at around .23/round. The woman who cuts my hair is a fellow gun nut and she loves being tipped in ammo..

fwiw

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#43 Post by CDFingers » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:42 am

All my reloading stuff has come from gun shows except for powder and primers.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#44 Post by Fukshot » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:49 am

drigeba wrote: The woman who cuts my hair is a fellow gun nut and she loves being tipped in ammo..
I gotta know who cuts your hair.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#45 Post by drigeba » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:27 am

FWIW, here is a wish list of my set up.

http://www.midwayusa.com/wishList?refer ... =157766911

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#46 Post by Fukshot » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:35 am

But no hairdresser contact for me?

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#47 Post by shinzen » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:55 am

drigeba wrote:FWIW, here is a wish list of my set up.

http://www.midwayusa.com/wishList?refer ... =157766911

:ninja:
This will do the job. The auto prime is worth the cash though. IMO.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#48 Post by drigeba » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:58 am

Ok here ya go, sorry I thought you were just being humorous...

I will PM you with info.

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#49 Post by DocSkinner » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:52 am

shinzen wrote:A chrony is on my list- haven't picked one up- Definitely on the check weights though, a scale's no good if the damned thing is off.
I usually buy my check weights in boxes of 50 or 100...

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Re: Getting started in reloading

#50 Post by DocSkinner » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:04 am

CDFingers wrote:I read through the thread.

I'd like to stump for the Lee dippers.

Image

I'm making some custom ones like this:

Image

I mostly shoot rifles, so I carefully weigh each charge for maximum accuracy at long distance. However, I've found that for hand guns, such uber care is not necessary for practice rounds, where the dippers are perfect. It takes me 1/3 of the time to load a box of 50 revolver rounds than if I'd weighed them each. At hand gun practice distances, I am not that concerned about the tiny change in charge and therefore accuracy that comes with dippers. But, as Fukshot has admonished, check the weight from time to time. I check every block of twenty--that is, four rows of five in my leetle plastic cartridge boxes.

CDFingers

Some powders are mor tolerant than others of small difference. And the dippers are not too much different than most rotary powder measures, othan than the rotary are fine-tuneable.

If its my cowboy loads, measure is fine (with occasional scale check). If its my magnum loads, measure plus scale.

I don't usually do rifle in bulk, so I usually throw a slight under charge and then use a trickler on the scale to bring up to proper weight.

All kinda depends on what you are doing and how precise you need/want to be.

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