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Author Topic: Question from a new reloader  (Read 5761 times)

Thernlund

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Question from a new reloader
« on: February 11, 2009, 01:29:37 am »
I've been collecting up my brass at the range for some time.  I now have 5000+ cases of various calibers ranging from .380 to .308.  Most are 9mm, 40S&W, and .45ACP.

So I think it's about time a reloaded some of these.  Here's how I imagine I'll go about it.

1.  I'll decap and resize while sitting in from of the TV one night (hand press).
2.  I'll put the brass in the tumbler and get it all clean.
3.  Hand-prime while watching TV another night.
4.  Charge and load on a third night in the garage.

Being totally new, I'd like to ask if anyone has comments on the above.  Having never done it, I don't really know the practicality of my imagined process.  I do have reloading manuals and have been around long enough to know some things.  I just lack operational experience.

Also, someone want to fill me in on lube?  Specifically, the how and why.  I'm assuming the "why" is to prevent stuck cases.  I've also heard it said once that carbide dies preclude the need for lube.  True? 

And the "how"... I guess I'm asking how you apply different types of lube.  There's spray, liquid, wax, dry, pads, ect.  I assume spray is applied to cases in a tray in one shot.  What of wax or liquid?  Or dry?  Or pads?  Apply one at a time as you size them?  Tumble them in it?

Maybe sorta silly questions to the experienced, but I gotta find out somehow.  And maybe I can prevent others the newbie embarrassment of asking in the future, eh?  ;)


-T.
Arizona  Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.  The odds will betray you, and I will replace you...

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    xsquidgator

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 06:37:05 am »
    I'm kind of new myself, but here's my advice...

    1) tumble the brass to clean and polish it before doing anything else

    2) buy carbide sizing dies.  Use those with straight-walled pistol cases, and you won't need lube.

    The process you describe is doable, although (projecting myself onto your situation) I suspect that you'd grow inpatient with stretching things out over several days like you describe.  I started slowly, using my turret press as a single stage and doing relatively small lots.  Within 4 or 5 months though as I got more comfortable with the equipment and operations being done, I just had to start using it as an indexing turret press (I bought the Lee Classic Turret).  What I was doing before was working, single-staging it, but man it does get old spending an entire evening to only get 100 or at most 200 rounds out of reloading.  With the Lee turret in my garage, I can do 150-200 pistol rounds an hour and still keep up my QA checks on them.

    It sounds like you got the right idea, that don't have TV on near you when you're reloading.  It's ok to resize and do some of the operations to the brass in front of the tube, but not reloading itself.  No distractions in the area where you do your reloading proper.  I find that preparing the rifle brass is a bit involved, so I don't try to do it anywhere except at my bench in the garage where making a mess (brass shavings, chips, and nasty dirt from the primer pockets) won't be such a big deal, and fewer distractions.

    Rifle rounds have been more like the process you describe, that is, there's more to do, and I often do it in batches.  If I'm not under time pressure to get some rifle rounds right then, I'll do all the brass operations (depriming, sizing, trimmming, chamfering, and cleaning primer pockets) separately from the reloading.  Preparing 100 or 200 rifle cases gets the reloading urge out of my system for the day, but after you've done those steps the reloading is pretty quick and easy, so I'll do that on a later day.

    Oh, and after about a year and a half of reloading rifle, and trying 3 or 4 different resizing lubes, let me say- Imperial Sizing Wax, by far better than any of the other ones I've tried (that means better than Hornady One Shot aerosol spray and the alcohol spray kinds of lubes too).



    THE NORSEMAN

    • To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. - Richard Henry Lee
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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #2 on: February 11, 2009, 07:20:20 am »
    Yep, tumble it first.  Clean brass makes dies last a lot longer.  With the carbide dies, even though you don't have to, I'd put the cases in a plastic bag or on a tray and give them a quick blast of hornady one shot case lube.  Your hands will thank you for it.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    JesseL

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 10:52:38 am »
    Another problem with sizing/decapping and then tumbling is that tumbler media tends to get stuck in the flash holes and then has to be manually poked out.

    Sometimes I like to run everything through a universal decapping die first, then tumble, then size. The decapping pin in the sizing die clears the flash hole and the primer pockets get clean in the tumbler.
    Arizona

    mike40-11

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #4 on: February 11, 2009, 07:35:57 pm »
    When I load on a single stage (not as often now, Thanks Dillon! ;D) I break it down in chunks the same way except, as noted, tumble first.  Your primer pockets won't be all shiny but they won't be plugged with media either.

    I find sitting down a walking through a large batch all at once, from start to finish, to be exhausting.  I always kept various groups of brass (in labeled containers, or at least bags) in various stages of completion.

    1.  Come back from the range, all the brass gets dumped in Box #1
    2.  At some point, Box #1 gets sorted into Boxes 1a, 1b, etc, by caliber
    3.  At some point, sorted brass goes into tumbler (Always sort BEFORE tumbling.  If you want to know why, tumble ONE .40 case and ONE 9mm case in with a batch of .45s.  You will find both of them telescoped into a .45 case).  Tumbled brass gets dumped in Box #2 (After separating, with pliers, that one odd case that got in there anyway)
    4.  At some point, tumbled brass gets deprimed and sized and dumped into Box #3
    5.  At some point, sized brass gets belled and dumped into Box #4
    6.  At some point (note the meticulous timeline here), belled brass gets primed, usually in front of the TV as you suggested, and goes into Box #5.  I like to prime last.  Then I always know that, if a case is primed, it's all ready to load.
    7.  Once I decide I need some actual ammo now (and Box #5 has enough brass in it), charge and seat in batches of 100.  Even with a single stage that's only an hour or so.

    I don't usually take all the brass from one box to another at once, just as much as I feel like doing, or have time for, at the moment.  So I have varying amounts of brass at various points in the process.

    Doing it like this I found it much less tedious.  Beats taking all night long to make 200 rounds, IMO.

    ljnowell

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #5 on: February 11, 2009, 08:00:16 pm »
    I like to tumble the brass first.  Then, when I have the time, I will deprime and resize maybe 500 at a time.  I put them in a bag.  Then, when  I am watching TV or something, I will use my autoprime and reprime them all.  I keep primed resized brass in baggies of 100.   Then when  I go to reload, I flare, charge and finish however many I need.
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    Obeone

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #6 on: February 11, 2009, 08:09:01 pm »
    I have only done pistol, plan on getting rifle soon.
    I would recommend cleaning the brass first.  Make sure you separate as well.
    Carbide dies are great but from what I understand, you still need to use lube with rifle.  I don't use any with pistol.
    I have a Dillon 550 so I do it all in one shot.  I do plan on getting a single stage at some point though for precision rifle loads.
    It

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 06:29:36 am »
    I have only done pistol, plan on getting rifle soon.
    I would recommend cleaning the brass first.  Make sure you separate as well.
    Carbide dies are great but from what I understand, you still need to use lube with rifle.  I don't use any with pistol.
    ...


    Yeah, I'd agree with that too.  I used to just pour mixed brass of all kinds into the tumbler but then the smaller cases get stuck inside the larger ones and don't get cleaned.  What I do now is sort all the dirty brass ahead of time, then put only cases of the same type into the tumbler at the same time.  I would strongly recommend wearing latex or some kind of gloves while handling these, and maybe even a respirator with a lead dust filter too.  Fired brass cases (and used tumbler media especially) have a lot of lead in and on them from the primers, and as I found out last year it can build up in your blood if you're not careful.  When I sort brass or do tumbling, I wear a $20 respirator now and wear the cheap disposable rubber gloves too.

    Re:Sizing lube, one oddity I wasn't expecting was with M1 30 Carbine rounds, which are tapered straight wall cartridges very much like a typical rimless pistol round.  I thought this meant I could fly through reloading hundreds of these at a time without trimming or any of that other jazz like I normally do for pistol.  Not so, even though it's straight wall and even with a carbide sizer die, that's one round where you probably want to use sizing lube anyway, and still trim the cases to proper length etc. 

    Resizing lube can always be used and makes things go more smoothly, even with straight-walled pistol cases, but if you use it you have to remove it afterwards by wiping each case off or by tumbling the cases again.  I usually tumble the cases to remove lube but then after that you have to watch for and remove bits of tumbler media from the primer flash holes.  Not hard, but the total amount of time seems to go way up when you add a couple of these little steps multiplied times a lot of cases.  I don't get frustrated with it, since I'm just doing this as a hobby and I like tinkering in my shop.  But remember that if you get fixated on wanting to crank out lots of rounds.  Re-using range pickup brass does involve a number of steps to get it to where you can reload it.

    Thernlund

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009, 04:08:10 pm »
    Thanks all.

    The vast majority of my brass was mine in the first place (ie. WWB and the like).  I'm sure some random brass got in there, and I'll inspect each one as the process goes of course.

    So I'm hearing that sizing lube can be applied with spray, or by shaking it up in a Ziploc.  I'm guessing that a pad is used for one-at-a-time lubing as you go.  Doesn't sound fun.  Heh.

    And watch the flash holes... good advice.  Thank you.

    On trimming... when to, when not to?  I gather this is a step for rifle brass only?


    -T.
    Arizona  Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.  The odds will betray you, and I will replace you...

    Dustinthewind

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #9 on: February 12, 2009, 08:40:29 pm »
    Quote
    So I'm hearing that sizing lube can be applied with spray, or by shaking it up in a Ziploc.  I'm guessing that a pad is used for one-at-a-time lubing as you go.  Doesn't sound fun.  Heh.

    Multiple rounds can be done at the same time on a lube pad. As far as spray lube goes,the Dillon lube has worked the best for me. I like to lay the cases out in a shoe box, spray one side, roll cases by tipping the box and spray the other side.

    Quote
    On trimming... when to, when not to?  I gather this is a step for rifle brass only?

    Pistol brass gets shorter during the loading process. Rifle brass, on the otherhand gets longer from firing and needs to be trimmed. How often? It depends a lot on the brass and the pressure involved. I usually trim after 2 firings for range ammo. Match ammo gets a little more attention.

    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #10 on: February 13, 2009, 08:03:23 am »
    Determine what length you're going to use and set your calipers up as a go/no-go gauge.  Or buy a specific tool for the task from lyman for about 5-6 bucks.  Size, then check for length.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    mike40-11

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 12:55:47 am »
    Yes, you only have to worry about trimming on rifle cartridges.  Pistol brass you can be pretty casual with.  They usually get lost in the grass before they wear out.

    I would definitely use the go/no-go gauges.  They're quick and cheap and you don't have to mess with the calipers or worry about setting them wrong.

    Thernlund

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 03:16:34 am »
    Thanks guys.

    How about some recommends on components?  Bullets, primers, powder?


    -T.
    Arizona  Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.  The odds will betray you, and I will replace you...

    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 08:32:40 am »
    Powder reccomendation with the pistol calibers you listed, and given you're just starting out?  Either clays universal or unique.

    For primers, I prefer federal.  But at this point in the game, use what you can find in stock somewhere.

    Slugs?  Rainier plated lead should work just fine for practice rounds, gold dots or XTPs for serious work.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    shredder

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 02:54:07 am »
    Put fity in a block, [after tumble], spray the under side of you turret and the cases with Hornaday 1 shot.
    Run them through the decapper/neck sizer, flare them.
    If rifle, clean the primer pockets with a Dremel and the small stainless wire bruss. Maybe the .45 too.
    Prime, drop powder [I weigh every fifth round], seat bullet [I measure every fifth for OAL].
    I use a Lee 4 station turet and it takes an hour to make 100 45s and a little longer for .308 due to measuring/trimming brass.
    You should get 25+ out of 45 cases and 15 -20 out of .308, more if no cracks or bulges.
    A good load in my Kimber is 185 gr on top of 7gr of Unique, 230 on 6gr of Unique.
    In my Savage, 44 of Varget under 168 Berger Match works them into the same hole, if I do my part.

    mike40-11

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #15 on: February 18, 2009, 08:32:18 pm »
    For all around pistol powder I like Unique.  .45 ACP, .44 mag, 9mm, works great.  Shotguns too, very versatile powder.  A lot of folks say it's too dirty, but I don't really see it.  You're gonna clean 'em anyway, right?  Even more choices in rifle depending on caliber, weight, velocity, etc. but Varget will work in a lot of loads.

    I've been happy with CCI primers.  Little cheaper than Federal or Winchester.  If you have a tuned up light trigger wheel gun though, Federal primers are a bit softer. 

    I'm a big fan of hard cast lead bullets for pistol.  Much cheaper than jacketed or even plated.  As long as they're fairly hard you can push them nearly as fast as jacketed with little leading.  I've had good luck with Oregon Trail and Meister.   I've been shooting bullets from a local shop for the last few years but they just closed. :'(  So I'm looking for a new source.  Based on a lot of positive reviews (and some nice prices) I'm going to give Mastercast a try.  http://www.mastercastbullets.com/  If you don't want to go with lead, either Rainer or Berry plated bullets.




    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #16 on: February 18, 2009, 10:55:42 pm »
    T-

    When you get ready, post specific questions about specific calibers, and we can be a lot more help to you.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    Thernlund

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #17 on: February 19, 2009, 12:29:56 am »
    Will do.  Thanks brother.


    -T.
    Arizona  Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.  The odds will betray you, and I will replace you...

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #18 on: February 19, 2009, 08:03:55 am »
    For all around pistol powder I like Unique.  .45 ACP, .44 mag, 9mm, works great.  Shotguns too, very versatile powder.  A lot of folks say it's too dirty, but I don't really see it.  You're gonna clean 'em anyway, right?  Even more choices in rifle depending on caliber, weight, velocity, etc. but Varget will work in a lot of loads.

    I've been happy with CCI primers.  Little cheaper than Federal or Winchester.  If you have a tuned up light trigger wheel gun though, Federal primers are a bit softer. 

    I'm a big fan of hard cast lead bullets for pistol.  Much cheaper than jacketed or even plated.  As long as they're fairly hard you can push them nearly as fast as jacketed with little leading.  I've had good luck with Oregon Trail and Meister.   I've been shooting bullets from a local shop for the last few years but they just closed. :'(  So I'm looking for a new source.  Based on a lot of positive reviews (and some nice prices) I'm going to give Mastercast a try.  http://www.mastercastbullets.com/  If you don't want to go with lead, either Rainer or Berry plated bullets.

    I would suggest W231 over Unique, but I like both.  I started with Unique but found that my powder measure dropped charges of W231 more consistently, I think because the individual ball grains of W231 are smaller than the flakes of Unique.

    Every brand of primer I've tried has gone bang, but I feel better using CCI or Winchester primers if I can get them.  My Lee manuals claim that those 2 brands are the "hardest" and that it's not safe to put any other kind of primer in their priming equipment.  I've used my Lee stuff to load Federal and Remington primers too, but I figure they put that in there for a reason.

    eskimo jim

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    Re: Question from a new reloader
    « Reply #19 on: February 19, 2009, 09:38:14 am »
    I like Mike's process.  I vary slightly from his procedure.

    1) get a gallon sized plastic bag for each caliber that you shoot.  Label each bag with a sharpie if you want.
    2) pick up brass when you are done shooting that caliber.  Preferably after each cylinder full or magazine full.  This way you know how many rounds you shot so you know how many pieces of brass you should be picking up.  This also separates your 9mm from .45 etc.  In the case of a semi-auto brass, you might want to get a cheap tarp to put down on the ground to collect your brass.
    3) definitely clean the brass before depriming.

    I have a Dillon 550 so typically I clean the brass one night and reload the next night.

    Jim
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