THe Home Armory: Loading Pistol Ammo - Page 2

THe Home Armory: Loading Pistol Ammo

This is a discussion on THe Home Armory: Loading Pistol Ammo within the Reloading forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Mad invited me to post a few pics to encourage folks to start handloading. Here is my humble bench setup. I glued two pieces of ...

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  1. #11
    Senior Member JCinPA's Avatar
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    Mad invited me to post a few pics to encourage folks to start handloading.

    Here is my humble bench setup. I glued two pieces of particle board together, glued masonite on top, then mounted to an existing bench in my garage using bolts. Press is permanently attached to that, but I could remove the whole piece if I needed a flat bench in the garage for something. I cover the press with a plastic bag and rubber bands when not in use, and keep powder and dies inside the house for temperature and humidity control.

    Mine's not fancy, but it works for a beginner!


    By johncollins, shot with Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT at 2007-05-28

    I don't have a target shot of any handloads, but I'll try to get some.

    John

  2. #12
    Senior Member FluffyTheCat's Avatar
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    It is indeed heartening that Mr. Collins took some good advice and eschewed a life of schmoehood.

    To those sitting on the fence, I say, "Don't be a schnook. Just listed to John Collins."

    Just load ammo and defeat the coming gun and ammo bans.

    Fluffy.
    I'm a genius. And you are not.

  3. #13
    Senior Member JCinPA's Avatar
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    Um. My wife still thinks I'm a schmoe. :cry:

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  5. #14
    Senior Member pittbug's Avatar
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    Here are some of my experiences with reloading pistol calibers on a dillon 650:

    9mm fits inside a 40S&W case and a 40S&W case fits inside a 45acp case. Sort the brass carefully because pulling bits of the press apart to get that jammed case within a case is annoying.

    Don't bother trying to reload AMERC brass, save yourself a headache and just toss it in the trash.

    It spits old primers everywhere, you can live with it, or rig up something with cardboard or tubing.

    The spring lock on the powder bar return bar comes loose and could give you a squib if you're not careful. I back up the spring with a couple of lock nuts.

    Visually inspect the contents of every case before seating a bullet - don't rely on the powder check.

    You can't fill primer tubes fast enough.

    The roller handle is an absolute must.

    Don't yank on the press too quickly, you may have a flakes of powder jump out the case as the shell plate rotates - which makes a mess and can start to jam the primer feed disc. When it gets gunky the detent won't lock on the ball properly and it'll make seating the primer a little more difficult. If this starts happening, take the primer assembly off, blow it out and give it a light lubing.

    The case feeder sometimes logjams and can push cases under the blue feed plate, which makes it feed worse.

    Only dump in a couple of handfuls of cases into the case feeder, else it'll send some of the cases through upside down.

    Low speed on the case feeder is plenty fast enough.

    Get into a routine and make sure you always follow it on every cycle. When you get a problem half way through a cycle it's easy to forget whether you were going up or down which could lead to a possible squib, high primer, etc.

    I avoid listening to the radio or tv while reloading so I don't get distracted.

    I clean brass using the lyman walnut husks with rouge, then I polish them up with corn cobs.

    After running the tumbler a few times the walnut husks "grow" and will not fit back into the container.

  6. #15
    Senior Member Stormrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pittbug
    Here are some of my experiences with reloading pistol calibers on a dillon 650:
    It spits old primers everywhere, you can live with it, or rig up something with cardboard or tubing.
    I've never seen this, mine just dumps them in the little catch tray. Seems to work just fine.

    The spring lock on the powder bar return bar comes loose and could give you a squib if you're not careful. I back up the spring with a couple of lock nuts.
    I put two of the powder return bar springs on mine and just keep an eye on the bar spring lock. With the extra spring I've never had a problem.

    The case feeder sometimes logjams and can push cases under the blue feed plate, which makes it feed worse.
    I don't have a problem with that but I do see the cases (only rifle because that's all I use it for) jam up the funnel into the feeding tube, not often, but sometimes.

    Only dump in a couple of handfuls of cases into the case feeder, else it'll send some of the cases through upside down.
    Never seen a case go down the tube upside down.
    I never use my 650 for pistols. I've got the 1050 for that. Only use the 650 for 308 size and larger rifle cases.

    You can't fill primer tubes fast enough.
    AMEN!! On both presses.

    The roller handle is an absolute must.
    Agreed!!!

    Don't yank on the press too quickly, you may have a flakes of powder jump out the case as the shell plate rotates - which makes a mess and can start to jam the primer feed disc. When it gets gunky the detent won't lock on the ball properly and it'll make seating the primer a little more difficult. If this starts happening, take the primer assembly off, blow it out and give it a light lubing.
    I learned that early too. Need to have a nice smooth even rhythm. And don't fill the cases too full.

    Good review.
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  7. #16
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
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    I bought a 9mm RCBS carbide die set today. But before I tell you about it, I want to tell you about where I bought it. I was out of town and I found a gunshop at the edge of the highway.

    I wandered in and I found an entire wall of dies. It was a virtual die museum and it made my old heart feel good to see some very old RCBS dies. Back in the 1970s, RCBS dies came in a smaller box and the RCBS logo was on the top of the box.

    All RCBS dies are dated and I found some dies stamped, "70" and "72". (These were made in 1970 and 1972) Anyway, I found a carbide 9mm die set that had dies stamped "06". These are recent production dies made last year.

    I bought the dies and they are beautiful to behold. This three die set includes a special seater die. The seater die is also a taper crimp die. In fact this seater die is stamped "TC", which means, "taper crimp".

    You cannot go wrong by buying these dies. In fact, RCBS quality is probably better than ever. I saw over thirty years of RCBS production today and I am more of an RCBS fan than ever before.

    I drove over 400 miles today and I'm tired. But later, I will discuss how these dies should be used. I explain it all so simply so that even my cat will be able to understand.

    Mad.

  8. #17
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
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    How to set your RCBS carbide pistol dies:

    Installing and adjusting the sizer die:

    1. Install your shellholder.
    2. Raise the ram to the top of its travel
    3. Screw the sizer die into your press.
    4. Continue to screw the sizer die until the sizer die touches the shellholder.
    5. Tighten the lockscrew on the die.

    Note: When adjusting a bottle neck rifle sizing die, the die must be screwed in about one quarter to one half a turn further down after the die touches the shellholder. With straight wall pistol dies, you adjust the sizing die so that the die only contacts the shellholder.


    Adjusting the flare die

    1. Install the shellholder
    2. Screw the flare die into your press
    3. Raise the ram all the way to the top of its travel
    4. Screw the flare die into the press until the die touches the shellholder
    5. Tighten the lock screw on the die
    6. Make sure that the tapered expander plug is unscrewed from the die
    7. Place a sized case in the shellholder and raise the ram all the way to the top.
    8. The sized case in now within the die. Slowly screw the tapered expander plug into the die. Stop when you can feel the plug contact the case.
    9. Lower the ram and remove the sized case.
    10. Screw the expander plug very slightly further into the die.
    11. Practise flaring several sized cases. The cases should be very slightly flared.
    12. Take a bullet and try to seat it into your flared case by hand. If the heel of the bullet will fit into your case to a depth of about one tenth of an inch, you have properly adjusted the flare die.

    Remember, you do not want a wide, obvious flare. A properly flared case is barely noticeable.


    Adjusting the Seater/Taper Crimp die.

    1. Install the shellholder in your press
    2. Place a sized, flared case in the shellholder
    3. Screw in the seater die until the die contacts the case.
    4. Back the die up by one turn.
    5 Tighten the lockscrew on the die. Note that there will be a gap between the die and the shellholder.
    6. Create a dummy round. Place a bullet into your sized, flared case and slowly raise the ram.
    7. Check the length of your dummy round. Adjust the bullet seating stem so that the dummy rounds are loaded to the right overall length.
    8. With the uncrimped cartridge still in the shellholder, unscrew the bullet seating plug by several turns.
    9. Screw the seater die further into the press until you feel the die touch the case mouth of your dummy round.
    10. Lower your ram. Now screw the die about one eighth of a turn further into the press.
    11. Now, raise the ram and begin to apply a taper crimp to your dummy round.
    12. Press your dummy rounds bullet-nose down against your reloading bench. Make sure that those bullets do not move
    13. To apply more of a crimp, screw the seater die into the press by an additional eighth of a turn.
    14. Once you have a proper crimp, turn down your seater plug until it touches the nose of your taper crimped bullet.
    15. Make sure that the seat plug lock nut is tightened. Make sure that the seater die lock nut is tightened.

    Note: These 15 steps may seem complicated. But follow each step slowly. Take your time and practise with old brass. Make sure you set the die properly and remember that the depth of the seater die sets the degree of taper crimp. The crimper is built directly into the die.

    Print out these instructions, and take your time.

    FINALLY A CAUTION: DO NOT START LOADING LIVE ROUNDS UNTIL YOU ARE SURE THAT YOUR DUMMY ROUNDS ARE LOADED TO THE RIGHT LENGTH AND THAT YOUR DIE IS PROPERLY TAPER CRIMPING BULLETS.
    Mad.

  9. #18
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
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    I'm really grateful for the many helpful replies to the recent reloading threads. There were two interesting posts about progressive loading and I'd like to address this subject.

    First of all, I have never loaded even one round on a progressive machine. But I have been researching progressives and I'd like to share a few ideas.

    First of all, the Dillon Company appears to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of progressive machines. I have the Dillon catalogue and I think I will order the basic machine called the Square Deal. I believe in keeping things simple and I think I should get a basic machine for my first progressive press.

    About 20 years ago, Mike Venturino did an article on the Square Deal machine and he loved it. Prior to that time, Mike had never loaded on a progressive machine. He was very impressed with the Square Deal and this is recommendation enough for me.

    To learn more about progressives, I plan on attending an IPSC event. I will find someone there who loads on a Dillon and I will ask him to show me his loading setup. I will then watch and take careful notes.

    Then I will get hold of my Dillon machine. I won't hurry. I will take my time reading the manual and I will in fact re-write the manual. I find that if I can rewrite instructions, I can simplify matters and really begin to understand things.

    Once I am sure how the machine works, I plan on loading about 100 dummy rounds. I will check each dummy round for length and proper crimp and only after I am sure that I have the "feel" of things, I will load live ammo.

    I will take my time in loading live ammo. I will be slow and methodical and I will be on the alert for anything out of the ordinary. After I have loaded 100 rounds of live ammo, I will weigh every last round on my digital scale. This will ensure that I have not left powder out of any cartridge. I will also use a bulky powder so that double-charges are out of the question. Of course I will measure every last round for correct overall length.

    They say that the Dillon Square Deal can crank out 400 rounds per hour. I won't try to achieve this rate of production. I will simply try to manufacture ammo at a slow and steady pace. I think I remember that Mike Venturino was easily able to load 200 rounds per hour at a slow, steady pace.

    And I will print out the two posts in this thread and study them. That's my plan and I would invite you to comment on my ideas.


    Mad.

  10. #19
    Senior Member Stormrider's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good idea, Mad. Good luck, and if I can help let me know.
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  11. #20
    Senior Member pittbug's Avatar
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    Mad - you sound like you have deliberate, calculating and methodical tenancies, so I think you'll be fine. Having someone show you the ropes will definitely help get you started and give you more confidence.

    When you adjust the powder bar, remember to throw a few charges to give it time to adjust before you throw one and weigh it.

    I found there's too much variation in the bullets and cases to absolutely confirm the presence of powder - I find it's easier (and somewhat comforting) to look in the case prior to seating the bullet, so I made that part of my routine (note: nowadays I mainly reload 45acp using mixed brass).

    Watch for high primers when you start - that's a common issue when first using a press. I've never used the square deal, but on the 650 you need to make sure you push the handle all the way down, quite firmly to fully seat the primer.

    If you leave the press sitting for a while before you go to reload again, be sure to check the OAL and powder charge before you start cranking them out again - I'm sure you'd be the type to do this anyway, but I thought I'd mention it.

    Don't worry about reloading stats - I've never bothered to even calculate mine... I just reload and make sure everything is in order.

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