Do we make reloading seem too hard?


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redneck2
April 6, 2006, 07:29 AM
I'm sitting at my press last night. Cranks out 400-500 rounds per hour pretty easily. Slide in an empty, slide in a bullet, crank the lever and out pops a round. Takes less time to do than it takes to read this. Once it's set, everything's pretty much done. Check powder throw every 50 rounds or so. Usually dead on, sometimes +/-.1.

I know to be vigilant. I understand you can blow up a gun if you're stupid with loads, but I wonder if we scare off too many potential loads reloaders with excessive worrying. If you're careful, it's fun, safe, and actually pretty simple IMO.

What got me thinking was a trip to a local commercial reloader. When I started, I was paranoid and worried about checking the OAL and powder charge on every case. Gonna blow up my gun after all. His high volume equipment cranks out rounds faster than you can follow them with your eye, and he's got the liability of over the counter ammo.

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USSR
April 6, 2006, 07:33 AM
redneck2,

Works fine for handgun cartridges, but not feasible for loading cartridges for a precision rifle.

Don

LAH
April 6, 2006, 08:13 AM
Once a load is found there is nothing hard about putting ammo together. In fact it can be boringly simple. I think we often fail to relate this to the beginner. Yes mistakes can be made and one must be careful but it's not like going to the moon.

redneck2
April 6, 2006, 08:32 AM
Works fine for handgun cartridges, but not feasible for loading cartridges for a precision rifle.

That's kinda my point. I load for my 7 mag for 1,000 yards, but I don't spend that kind of time on my AR ammo. Do we make it sound like you have to do hours of case prep on normal range ammo???

USSR
April 6, 2006, 09:00 AM
Yeah, depends upon whether you are loading "blaster" ammo or precision ammo. I always recommend that someone new to reloading start with a single stage press to become accustomed to the basics of reloading, but after that, if they want to load for a handgun or blasting ammo for a milsurp, then a progressive press is fine. Reloading for a precision rifle will always require more attention, and hence is not suited to progressive reloading techniques.

Don

griz
April 6, 2006, 09:33 AM
Some of the seemingly endless cautions are because we can't control the audience. There are huge variations in the people that will read the posts and consider reloading. I know people that are so cautious that I would feel comfortable telling them about a load that was way over the published max but worked for me. They would approach it with care and no harm would occur. But I also know people on the other end of the scale. These are the guys who will fire just about anything in a gun as long as it sort of fits. I would not even encourage them to reload, much less disuss loads with them.

But on the errornet, you don't know who will read a post, so it's safer to make it sound like rocket science rather than as simple as falling off a log.

It's only easy if you know how.

dakotasin
April 6, 2006, 09:44 AM
i agree... i think most make it sound difficult and wrought w/ danger because of the possibility of someone blowing up their gun. while the possibility of that happening isn't very high, it is real, and therefore taken into consideration.

Cueball
April 6, 2006, 10:03 AM
Speaking as a complete newbie to reloading, everything I have read on here has made reloading seem extremely complicated and intimidating. I have went to the extent of buying a press and all associated equipment for reloading for a friend of mine that is experienced with this so he can do reloads for me. :(

redneck2
April 6, 2006, 10:03 AM
So I guess you tell people "if you use your head......" We just don't know who will.

Maybe the age of endless litigation affects this too. On our local news there was a story this morning about a woman suing a local gas station. Her son was a gang member and got into a shoot out (and killed) in their parking lot. She's suing because they didn't have security.

I look at the above post and think "too bad he doesn't live closer, I'd help him get started". Then you think "yeah, but what if he destroys his gun and himself. Do I get blamed?"

Just seems like a lot of guys are missing out because they get scared off.

WayneConrad
April 6, 2006, 10:11 AM
Sample bias. People come here for help, so most of the messages are about a difficulty they've encountered. Things go right much more often than they go wrong, but we don't start a thread titled "Just loaded a few hundred rounds, everything went fine."

robctwo
April 6, 2006, 10:52 AM
I actually became interested in reloading from reading about it on this and other forums. The general themes of "get a couple manuals" and "it's not rocket science" reinforced my belief that anyone who was cautious and attentive could safely reload.

I went slow, and still go slowly when working up loads. I have learned where to look for the greatest dangers, like double charges, and avoid loading to max for any of the ammo.

Reloading has increased my enjoyment of the shooting sports. I'm involved in the whole process. I have control over what I put into the loads. I shoot more for the same amount of money. I didn't have the advantage of an experienced reloader showing me the ropes, but did work with a friend to get started. We double checked each other and worked to establish safety procedures as habits.

The only problem I've ever had is the occasional squib caused from no powder charge. That wrinkle has pretty much disappeared as well.

armoredman
April 6, 2006, 11:10 AM
There ya go Wayne. I haven't had any detonation, squibs, etc. The worst probelm I had was switching to LRN from JHP, and that extra 1/1000th of an inch wide caused it to engage the rifling in the CZ PO1 short chamber before fully chambered, causing FTF. A quick teeny drop in OAL solved that problem right off.
I love reloading, and do it all on a single stage RCBS jr press. I am not one that calculates all the costs, estimates my time cost, amortize over ten years, etc - I do it because it is a fun, productive, relaxing hobby.:cool:

The Bushmaster
April 6, 2006, 11:32 AM
Me too Redneck2...I have solved all my problems over the past 20 years. the worst one was .38 Special bullets being too loose in resized cases that I needed a tight crimp to keep them from moving in the case after reloading.:uhoh: The Lee FCD solved that small problem.:) Like Armoredman, I have never (making the sign of the cross) had a missfire, failure to fire, squib or one that didn't make the target. All have gone down range. Some not so good down there and some that that make one proud to reload.:cool: I, also, am not in a hurry and don't count the cost as it surely has to be cheaper then a "shrink".:D I started by reading lots of books on the subject and bugged my gunsmith with lots of (I'm sure) simple questions. It is a hobby that if not taken seriously can have devestating results or if taken seriously can net one great pleasure, relaxation and gratification (almost as good as sex:D ). I look forward to new calibres to load as they have new challenges to deal with.:) I only had one over charged round and that was a factory round. Scared the he** out of me. Chronographing Remington .45 ACP's at 900 fps and had one run at 1250 fps. I have not had that problem with my reloads (crossing my fingers, all ten of them:D ).

P0832177
April 6, 2006, 11:53 AM
Reloading is made hard by people trying to do too much! I heartedly agree in loading on a single stage press as a first press. There are different aspects of reloading. You have the BR and LD shooters, and you have the plinkers. With costs rising on ammo, it has drove many to consider reloading. I think taking up reloading has to be viewed as expanding your enjoyment of the shooting sports. But, some what cheap ammo, and they just do not put the effort into being a safe reloader!

bobaloo
April 6, 2006, 11:56 AM
As someone who started reloading just a little over a year ago I can remember when I was considering getting started it WAS complicated. There were a million new things to learn, and until you have the stuff in your hand and see how it all works together it's very confusing.

The best advice I (and almost everyone who asks) got was to buy "The ABC's of Reloading". I spent a couple of weeks reading it on and off and learned the terminology and the basic concepts, after doing that it wasn't too hard.

Since I started I've reloaded about 20,000 rounds of pistol ammo and about 5,000 rounds of .223. I've had two or three squibs, all on the same day from the same batch, something was wrong but it hasn't happened since so not sure what. I had one big problem. I loaded some hot .40 loads with 180 grain XTP's and the cases weren't being sized properly. They gradually set back while in the magazine and by the time I got to #9 it went BOOM and the right grip broke on my Hipower and my hand hurt like hell. No damage to the gun other than the grip and I learned a good lesson.

My ammo has improved greatly since I started, it just takes a while to learn the fine points.

If I were going to give any advice to a newby it would be to reinforce the idea that when you start use a powder with sufficient bulk that you can't double charge a case. Titegroup is cheap per load, but you can double or triple charge cases with it. Power Pistol is only slightly more expensive but it fills the case and you never have to sit there worrying whether or not you accidentally double charged a case, and then either tearing apart 100 rounds or worrying about a KABOOM.

One benefit that's seldom mentioned is I just find reloading to be very relaxing. I shoot a couple thousand rounds of pistol ammo every month and I really enjoy getting home from work and spending an hour cranking out a few hundred rounds. It takes a lot of concentration but not much though and it's a great stress reliever.

LHB1
April 6, 2006, 12:34 PM
Reloading, like driving a car, is not really difficult AS LONG AS YOU STAY WITHIN SAFE BOUNDARIES. IMO the difficult parts of reloading are:
1. Knowing where and what those safe boundaries are,
2. Being able to recognize problems when you see them,
3. Knowing how to correct the problems when they occur, and
4. Avoiding a letdown of attention while reloading due to boredom.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

L.Puckett
April 6, 2006, 01:03 PM
Redneck,

I'm ridin with ya. I am probably as much at fault as any, we forget that a great deal of shooters want the round to go bang and at a price that is reasonable. We/I immediately try to explain how to build a 1000 yrd sub 1/4 minute round "perfectly".

I'm thinking from here on we/I need to remember when we started, clean, resize, primer, powder and bullet. It went bang, hit the paper and I was all full of my self, because I made it.

My $.02,
L.Puckett

Kramer Krazy
April 6, 2006, 01:44 PM
The first reloader I ever bought was a used RCBS with a Piggyback II for 45acp. I bought everything that I needed to start reloading and was going to start off with a simple 100 rounds (I had the brass, powder, primers, and bullets). I just never did it. I didn't have anyone to show me how to use it, it was ten years ago with the Internet still quite small, and I was deathly afraid of screwing up one of my guns. I sold it six years ago and never learned to use it. Out of financial necessity, I bought a single-stage RCBS Rockchucker Supreme kit this past January, and in only two months, I'd reloaded over 2000 rounds of ammo in calibers of 45ACP, 44 Mag, 44 Special, 38 Special, and 357 Magnum. I really regret having not done this earlier, but starting out with a progressive unit just scared me too much. Now, I wish I'd know I could have taken the Piggyback off the Rockchucker and learned then, what I know now.

sargenv
April 6, 2006, 02:03 PM
It's funny.. I loaded ammo on a Rockchucker for many many years cranking out rifle and pistol calibers. I still use my Rockchucker for small batch loads but have since switched to a Dillon 650 progressive for pistol and I may someday break down and get the setup for 223 rem. I currently load 9mm, 38 super, 38/357, and 40/10 mm on my 650. The one thought I had when my wife bought me the 650 (smart lady) was "Why have I been wasting my time before?". Well, two reasons, I didn't realize what a timesaver a progressive really was, and I was really learning all there is to know about reloading on the single stage. I guess what I'm trying to say is that despite knowing people who have purchased a progressive from the start, I find that people can get themselves into trouble quicker if they aren't careful.

I know someone who'd never loaded any ammo before asking for advice on another forum, and the collective advice was "use this powder at this weight, and seat it to a minimum OAL". When the local shooters asked what the newbie was using, we all chimed in and said, "you're nuts!". What they failed to do was work up the load, backing off 5-10%, checking for pressure signs, etc. Apparently the advice was not taken and they broke their Glock and later purchased a different gun.

Personally I think that if you want to reload on a single stage or even a progressive, I think that it can be done safely, but it boils down to are you good at following directions, and can you follow those directions safely. I liken it to cooking and or baking a cake. If you buy those boxed cake recipes like duncan hines, or the cookie recipes.. Do you come out with something edible or is it one big mass of burned goo? If the former then yes you can probably reload without an issue. If your recipes always turned out a mass of burned inedible goo, you might want to just buy your ammo and your cookies pre-made :)

Vince

griz
April 6, 2006, 07:26 PM
Welcome to THR Sargenv, there is no better place to discuss rocket surgery, brain science, or how to bake a cake.;)

The Bushmaster
April 6, 2006, 07:58 PM
Sorry about that sargenv. Forgot to welcome you to our cake bake. Will you be bring the cookies?

You will not find a finer place to air your ideas and ask your questions then here. That right...Griz..??:D

michael_aos
April 6, 2006, 08:14 PM
I bought an RL550B in Sept 2004 (before the price increase of October).

I finally got it set up in November or December.

So I'm a newbie.

I'm set up to load 9mm, .41 Magnum, 44 Mag, .223 and 260 Remington.

I haven't kept track of exactly how many rounds I've loaded, but it's thousands and thousands.

I've had a few issues -- thicker military brass develops higher pressure than I expected. Small-base sizing required for once-fired Lake City in my AR-10. Not adjusting my full-length sizing die ALL the way down.

Little things.

It definitely helps to have somebody experienced to mentor you, but yeah -- once things start to "click", it's really not that tough to turn out "good enough" ammo.

Mike

revo
April 7, 2006, 07:48 AM
Very nice to see I'm not alone here. I just started with a Rockchucker get-up 2 weeks ago. It seems intimidating at first, but exciting nonetheless. Being a slow/methodical person, it's gonna take me some time to really get up and running here.

I did load my first 6 rounds yesterday. I started with 6 to give the whole process a try. Wasn't too bad. Accuracy was abysmal (could've chucked'em by hand more accurately) but I know I made some mistakes in seating/crimping. Seating and crimping seems to be the hardest part...

Needless to say, I did get to use my bullet puller as well. (First seat-job looked to be in need of circumcision... :D )

But anyway, thanks to all here for the help and patience.

revo
April 7, 2006, 07:56 AM
To follow up on the message above...

Anyone getting into reloading -- get a bullet puller before you even start. I was on the fence about it at first, but go figure, I needed it on the first round that I seated.

Handy-dandy little tool, that thing is...

trickyasafox
April 7, 2006, 02:40 PM
i've been reloading for less than a year, and have churned out a few thousand, not many by most standards. this forum got me into it, i had no local reloaders to really set me straight with the process so i just got some books and chugged along. it was intimidating not difficult. What really didnt help me was my dad was convinced i'd screw something up (great man, just a bit of a cynic sometimes) and blow either myself or the gun up. now that he and i have put a fair few of my slugs down range, saved some cash and shot a bit more, he's singing a very different tune :)

Rico567
April 7, 2006, 04:30 PM
Reloading depends most of all on the individual who decides to "go for it." There are some individuals who are technically literate, and who take the time and have the patience to overcome the learning threshhold in reloading (like many other technical activities) necessary to produce quality reloads safely. A friend of mine is such a person. When he decided to take up reloading, I told him he could have an old turret press of mine and a set of .45 ACP dies to get started, and away he went. I knew him well enough to know that he would be completely successfuly. Sure enough, in a short time he was producing ammo of all kinds just as good as mine. And, since he's more organized than I am, his reloading setup looks like a pic in a magazine.

And at the other end of the spectrum there are people who should not be reloading, no matter how much they want to, no how, no way. They want to pick up a bunch of equipment and spend a weekend learning all there is to know about the subject and finish up with 1,000 rounds of great ammo. All the while, they haven't the slightest idea of the basics of reloading, or the fundamental steps one must follow to be safe. At best, they might end up pulling those 1,000 bullets, and at worst, they risk injury or death. I think those of us who have frequented this and other forums have read about such persons. As much as I hate to discourage anyone who wants to take up this great pastime, there are some to whom I would say, "Why don't you just shoot 9mm, go on down to WalMart and grab yourself the Win white box ammo, it's about as cheap as you can reload for anyhow."

748
April 8, 2006, 01:02 PM
Reloading is easy, if you screw it up it could be deadly.
I think safty/screw up chances wise Rifle is safest, pistol second and shot gun 3rd.
When Loading high power pistol or rifle rounds a few extar thousand PSI is normaly no big deal, switch a componet on a High power shot gun shells and get a few extra thousand PSI... kaboom.
Reloading difficulty, shot guns are easy because your tipical loaders are easy to use/you don't have to really set any dies just set the crimpers, Rifle are 2nd, pistol 3rd and 5.7x28mm(FN) 4th.

jAK-47
June 15, 2006, 07:47 AM
I just started reloading this week and am hooked. It took me quite a while to convince myself to take the plunge because I am NOT handy at all! While attending a reloading seminar my eyes began to glaze over as the guy went on-and-on about chamfering, resizing, trimming, etc. and THEN he held up two revolvers that were blown in 1/2 by reloading mistakes; I couldn't get to the door fast enough. Thing is I was focusing on the "hard" stuff and thinking that since I'm not handy I can't do it/will blow myself up.

The ONLY reason I decided to get into it is the guy who gave the seminar lives two streets over from me and has the patience of a saint AND he makes house calls! He convinced me that much of his seminar was for more advanced types of reloading, you don't need to trim everything, etc.

I set up my new RCBS kit along with dies, brass, bullets, powder, etc. that he helped me pick out and then he came over to inspect and tweak. I ended up reloading that very night and shooting the next day. 10 rounds of .357 magnum into "4 holes" at 21 feet!:D My point is I was intimidated and would never have bothered if it hadn't been for this guy taking me by the hand. I wonder how many other people have missed out on all this fun and satisfaction just because they didn't have someone to get them started?

YES, it can be dangerous if you're not careful. I've already loaded 4 rounds without putting powder in :o and threw some powder into a case with no primer:o AND seated a bullet with my neck expander (I call it my Wadcutter load):o BUT when it comes to measuring powder or any other potentially "explosive" steps I CONCENTRATE and triple-check EVERYTHING.

Getting started in reloading was a great idea and I look forward to years of fun and learning. If I can do it, anyone can!!

jAK-47

Bullet
June 15, 2006, 10:44 PM
Quote – “Do we make reloading seem too hard?”

Maybe yes maybe no. It’s more a question of having the right information or not. If you don’t have the right info, it’s hard, if you do have the right info, it’s easy. This is why beginners are told to read manuals before starting (get the right info). One thing for sure - you can get hurt if you don’t do it right.

Warren
June 16, 2006, 12:15 AM
I'd love to start but me wife is freaked about having the powder in the house. I've tried to explain that it is not explosive and perfectly safe she won't let me until we move and I have a workshop seperate from our dwelling.

I have not brought up the fact that I'm thinking of getting into Cap'n Ball stuff with real black powder. That should be an interesting conversation.

There is a THR member who lives near me and reloads and I supose I could impose I would really like my own stuff where I could just walk to it in my bathrobe.

halvey
June 16, 2006, 09:02 AM
Do we make reloading seem too hard? What we make too hard is "load development", especially with pistols. If you have a pistol that is so fussy about a 0.2 change in powder, your gun sucks.

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