Yay, more reloading questions!

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    betafu2
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    Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by betafu2 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:14 pm

    So the process is going well - thanks guys so much! I have my ABCs of Reloading I'm absorbing, 3 lbs of Unique powder and I'm looking to get my bench squared away.

    The question I have as I'm reading the book - my garage is unheated and not cooled. I live in mid-central Texas so there's no immediate temperature extremes but it will likely swing over 100 F in the winter and drop below 30 in the winter sometimes. So my questions are:

    1. Based on what I'm reading it's still safe to store my powder there as long as it's away from flame and as long as I don't store it in a tight heavy container and keep it in it's original plastic containers (and maybe then within a plastic box or the like.

    2. But should I keep the primers and powder in separate rooms - like the primers maybe in my 'gun closet' in my home office?

    How do you note what each load session is? I'll have these cheap plastic boxes to store the ammo (50/100 rounds at at time) - do I just slap a sticky on it with the reloading data for that session, and make sure it's in my load book? Or maybe use a number (Session 15) and that relates to the data in the log book?

    Thanks again!

    Betafu
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:17 pm

    I like to keep my powders where it stays dry and relatively cool.  Cold doesn't hurt powder, but heat causes powder to deteriorate faster over time.  I would most likely try to store them in a place cooler than 100 F.  Here is what Alliant says: http://www.alliantpowder.com/getting_started/safety/storage_handling.aspx

    I like to keep the primers and powders separated, but I don't put them in different rooms.

    As far as keeping track of loading sessions and such, I used to use the plastic ammo cases and loading labels, but now I usually do large batches of ammo at a time and throw them in large ziplock baggies with a piece of paper inside with the date and load info.  I can fit more ammo in the 50 cal ammo cans this way.  I do like to keep track of the loads that work out well on an online spreadsheet though, so I can't lose them.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by betafu2 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:19 pm

    OK thanks Cornmastah!

    So fall/winter the garage is fine, spring/summer I can bring the powder into the house somewhere, the house has A/C all the time.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:44 pm

    I do similarly. Here in TN, summers get hot and humid, and my reloading is done in an unfinished room above my garage. I've got a small window air conditioner out there, but it's only when when I'm actually handloading.

    I keep the primers and powders inside the house, separated. Everything else stays in the garage, including handloaded ammo. I tend to go through a lot of ammo, so handloaded ammo doesn't stay around for long enough to be effected (at least, not yet). I store handloaded ammo in cheap Glad or Tupperware plastic containers, which I think helps keep any potential moisture out. And they're cheap, and I like cheap. I always label the containers with the caliber, powder, powder amount, bullet weight, and because I use a Lee Autodisk, which disc I used.

    I keep pretty copious notes about what I'm loading, what I'm doing differently, and why. For example, I'm currently experimenting with new handloads for 9mm lead bullets, 357 mag lead bullets (because I'm having a hard time finding my favorite powder), and 357 mag jhp bullets for rifles. I've learned that adding the "why" to my notes helps me remember why I should or should not load a particular load. With those notes, I can determine what ammo was loaded when.

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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:45 pm

    By the way, glad to see you're moving foward with handloading Beta. I think you will like it.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:07 pm

    Handloading has made it feasible for me to shoot a lot and to shoot calibers that I normally would not be able to afford (ie: 44 mag, 357, 10mm, 45-70, 460 mag, 500 mag, 50ae, etc...). It also allows me to design loads for specific purposes like kid friendly loads, quiet subsonic loads, etc...
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:43 pm

    Me too. In fact, what got me started in handloading in the first place was acquiring a 45 Colt revolver, and checking on factory ammo prices.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:47 pm

    For me it was my Super RedHawk in 44 mag that got me into reloading. That darn factory ammo just costs too much.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:03 pm

    Yup, 44 mag was the next caliber I started loading. 10mm and 357 mag followed shortly thereafter.

    I was just thinking last weekend when I hammered away 100 rounds of full power 357 mag ammo, how much that would've cost me if it was factory ammo.

    Which leads me to the next point I'd suggest for Beta, and was told to me shortly after I started handloading. While handloading greatly reduces ammo cost, what REALLY happens is you still spend money on shooting, but you shoot a WHOLE LOT more than you ever did previously.

    And for me, that's been the best part of handloading.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:44 pm

    Interesting how people come to reloading.

    I came because I was shooting IPSC. I had started with a .45 1911 and was shooting government ball. Then I got a race gun in .38 Super. But there is no factor Super ammo that makes major, so you HAVE to reload. I stumbled into a Dillon 650 because another guy with whom I shot often suggested it.

    I still use plastic boxes for handgun ammo. I do that because it's easier to bring to the range, to hand some to a friend to shoot, and to manage weight. I do, however, do the ZipLock approach for my .20 Tactical ammo. I mark the info I want on the plastic bag directly. I throw away the bag when I'm done, unless I am reloading the SAME load and the bag is still in good shape. But they're cheap, so it's easy to toss them. And by marking the info directly on the bag you don't get little pieces of paper floating around which you can lose. Long as you have the bag and ammo in it, you know what it is.

    I find a baggie takes about 200-300 rounds but it would greatly depend on the size of the ammo. .20 Tactical is based on the 5.56 case, so small. Were you to put .20-'06 in a bag, I would expect you would have lots less.

    Bags at the range are also necessary for collecting the empties. Else you lose brass.


    Last edited by Devereaux on Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:15 pm

    I got into reloading because my group got into .223 in a big way. ARs, HKs, Rugers, Augs, bolters, and a "thing" no one was quite sure what it was. The amount of rounds we could burn through on a weekend bunny-blasting trip was mind-numbing.

    So... we bought a RCBS RockChucker and set up a "Manuel" assembly line. We could pump out a lot of rounds a night. Improbably, that bunch of intelligent idiots did so safely, although I now shudder at the leaps of intuition that we took.

    Being young and bulletproof, we'd try something, and if it worked, we'd figure out why it worked. Just a bit bass-ackward from the safety perspective. However, we did learn and became quite proficient as a group.

    Then girls and careers intruded... But, it was an excellent basis for my current reloading.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Devereaux on Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:32 pm

    OK. So a different question.

    I have been told that reloading .223 is "touchy" because it's easy to collapse the neck. I am not aware of any such issues with reloading my .20 Tactical. Indeed, I am not even sure anymore that I use case lube on the cases to load them.

    The OTHER thing I have heard is that 5.56 "walks" a lot - you have to trim length a lot.

    ?ANY of this true - for those of you who reload this a lot.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:07 pm

    Too much lube will dent the shoulders during forming. I've settled on a Franklin spray lube that works well. With a slight but sufficient belling of the case mouth, crushed necks are relatively rare. I do lightly lube every time - a stuck case is a horrific PITA.  

    As a rule, we figured that every 3 reloadings, the .223/ 5.56 would need to be retrimmed. I know some reloaders who trim every time, but they have the Dillon autotrimmer.  

    Another innovation are the small base dies. They size the entire case to the minimum spec. It makes the autoloader demonstrably more reliable. I'm using them for my 5.56 and 6.8.


    Last edited by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Devereaux on Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:18 pm

    Thanks, CF.

    I have heard about the small based dies. My understanding was that it was NECESSARY for ammo that had been fired from a machine gun. Guess it might be nice for any .223 cases.

    Since I haven't set up a toolhead for .5.56, I suppose I can check for a set of small based dies.

    I am presuming the Franklin is a rip-off of One-Shot, which I have used for pistol cases (.38 Spl,.40 S&W, sometimes .45 ACP) just to make them run through the Dillon faster and more smoothly.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:51 pm


    There's a new die set that claims to not promote case growth: RCBS X-Die 2-Die Set 223 Remington

    Interesting -- But I don't have any direct knowledge of its effectiveness.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:00 am

    CF, I do have that RCBS X-die set, but I don't use it anymore.  In the instructions, it says to size it normal, then trim, then start using that die afterwards and you shouldn't need to trim again (but the brass towards the neck will get thick).  For me, it was too much of a pain keeping track of what brass had been sized and trimmed previously.  When I load .223, I do large batches of everything.  A buddy and I take on different parts (ie: he deprimes a 5 gallon bucket half full of brass and brings it over, I tumble, then he sizes, then I trim, then he comes over and we both prime and load the rest together for a reloading "party").  

    For me, .223 and 9mm brass seems like it multiplies.  I shoot with a lot of family/friends who do not reload--so I am constantly getting newly once-fired brass in those calibers.  Because of that, it is just simpler to use the regular dies and size and trim each time and do everything in large batches.

    Back to Dev's question, I load a lot of .223 and haven't had a problem with necks collapsing, but I do trim my brass after sizing if it is over spec--I check every time.  I also found that while reloading .223, you must use a good lube.  One of my friends got 3 different cases stuck in my dies and it was a PITA like CF mentioned.  I got a "free" stuck case remover kit out of the deal though.  Imperial sizing wax has been my favorite so far.  A lot of the aerosol sprays have a smell that my wife does NOT appreciate.  The Imperial sizing wax doesn't have a strong smell, so I can use it all I want inside the house when sizing brass.

    The reason .223 is more of a pain in the butt to load (for me) is due to the crimped primer cases, the trimming, and the skinny little necks and the skinny little bullets. Also, sizing was much more of a chore before I used my preferred sizing lube.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by betafu2 on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:29 am

    Thank you!

    So I'm wondering, is there any benefit to this?

    http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Precision-Powder-Measure-Kit/dp/B000N8OIE8

    Over the traditional powder scale method?

    And secondly - I'm caught between the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master single stage and the Lee 50th Anniversary single stage. One is a third the cost of the other. Can anyone give me anything that seems to stand out about either?

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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Devereaux on Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:07 am

    The linked powder drops were developed by Lee for those people who loaded with a small hand-loader. This way you didn't need a real scale of any kind - just scoop the powder charge and drop it in the case. The problem is that the number of powder weights available are limited. If you are only going to load one cartridge, and will be doing it while sitting in your parlor watching NetFlix, this works. But if you are going to do any real reloading, you will need a scale. Balance beam scales are still considered the gold standard, but I think you will find just about EVERY reloader has dropped them for a digital.

    You may need to buy a powder trickler to be able to accurately dispense a powder load. Most of us have gone to some other way to come up with a powder load. You can use the type of powder measures that Dillon uses on their progressives. That still requires a regular powder scale to calibrate the load. You can spend some cash and get a powder dispenser. It usually consists of a powder reservoir and some kind of (electronic) scale to measure out the load you enter into the machine. I use an RCBS one to load my varmint loads. I get powder to +/- 0.1gr. And I can limit the upper end, so the spread is even less. (So I can get 24.9 or 25.0 but reject any 25.1gr)

    The Rock Chucker single stage press has long been kind of a standard for single stage presses. It is not very expensive, and can reload probably all but THE largest cartridges (not sure you can fit a .50 BMG in it). It is solid, reliable, durable, well designed - built to last a lifetime. I personally like the Forster Co-Ax, but that's a personal preference. Lee, OTOH, is a low-level press. It works. But unless you are very unsure you don't want to make ammo to shoot cheaply, you may want to just get the RCBS Rock Chucker.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:32 am

    I would second the forster co-ax, but it does cost quite a bit for a single stage press. I think, however, you would also be fine with either the lee or the rcbs. I have a couple lee presses too and they work but feel cheap. I use the cheapy $35 lee press for sizing my cast bullets--it works well for that, but I probably wouldn't try to load my long range ammo on it. I would also recommend buying an electronic scale and a powder throw--works for fast ammo loading.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by sharpenit on Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:26 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:Yup, 44 mag was the next caliber I started loading.  10mm and 357 mag followed shortly thereafter.

    I was just thinking last weekend when I hammered away 100 rounds of full power 357 mag ammo, how much that would've cost me if it was factory ammo.

    Which leads me to the next point I'd suggest for Beta, and was told to me shortly after I started handloading.  While handloading greatly reduces ammo cost, what REALLY happens is you still spend money on shooting, but you shoot a WHOLE LOT more than you ever did previously.

    And for me, that's been the best part of handloading.

    I started out loading 9mm for my carry pistol. Then I started loading .45 for my Springfield XD. Then when I bought a Mosin-Nagant, I started loading 7.62 X 54. Then when I bought a Winchester 94, I started loading 30-30. Then when I bought a Marlin 1894, I started loading .44 mag.

    Now I'm looking for a lever gun in .357, which means I'll have to start loading for that.

    Got me a basic Lee 3-hole turret press, with dies installed in separate turrets for each caliber I load. When I want to switch the caliber I'm loading, just take out the turret for the previous caliber, say .45, and drop in the turret for the new caliber, say 30-30. Change the shell-holders accordingly and I'm ready to go.

    It's all good.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:40 pm

    sharpenit wrote:...Got me a basic Lee 3-hole turret press, with dies installed in separate turrets for each caliber I load. When I want to switch the caliber I'm loading, just take out the turret for the previous caliber, say .45, and drop in the turret for the new caliber, say 30-30. Change the shell-holders accordingly and I'm ready to go.

    It's all good.

    Interesting... Sounds like an inexpensive but very effective solution. How much do the individual lee turrets run?
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by betafu2 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:45 pm

    Alright folks, making progress! I now have powder, primers, the book and now a bench, woo!

    I looked all around and this $46.00 bench from Home Depot seemed to fit the bill. My buddy is coming over tomorrow before we go to the range and we'll see if we need to sink some reinforced braces into the legs or anything but it seems mega sturdy (it's around 80 lbs or so.)



    Now onto the reloading press, dies, bullets and other assorted stuff. I'm gathering my brass and my buddy's brass tomorrow at the range.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:11 pm

    betafu2 wrote:

    I looked all around and this $46.00 bench from Home Depot seemed to fit the bill. My buddy is coming over tomorrow before we go to the range and we'll see if we need to sink some reinforced braces into the legs or anything but it seems mega sturdy (it's around 80 lbs or so.)



    Now onto the reloading press, dies, bullets  and other assorted stuff. I'm gathering my brass and my buddy's brass tomorrow at the range.

    Very nice! I'm still using an old kitchen table.
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    betafu2
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by betafu2 on Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:12 pm

    I dig it, it's around 80 lbs standing so it's sturdy as heck. I think I may drag it out into the driveway this weekend and maybe try my hand at staining and sealing it. I've never done it but I've been looking around at Lowes and it doesn't look that bad.
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    Re: Yay, more reloading questions!

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:27 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:Very nice!  I'm still using an old kitchen table.

    I'm using a homemade bench with a solid oak door as my top. Ugly but works great! Excited to hear your reloading experiences.

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