First Five Handloads


May 8, 2003, 11:07 PM
I just finished 5 first ever handloaded .45 ACP rounds. The load is 5.1 grains of No2 with a 230gr LRN bullet and a Winchester primer. Each round was loaded very carefully and checked (and checked and checked) for correct powder charge and cartridge length. Now I have to get up the guts to actually fire them. I had previously planned to take tomorrow off and this gives me a good reason to go to the range. The only other thing I need is a buddy to go with, then I can simply offer him or her 5 free rounds :D.

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happy old sailor
May 9, 2003, 01:37 AM
am always very pleased when someone gets into reloading.

am careful with my reloads and careful whom i let shoot them.
besides, i have none to waste.

five rounds so far, huh. hey, it got you off the sidelines.

jokes aside, you did good. get proficient and get someone else interested. we need this to spread. and, we need a report.

May 9, 2003, 04:05 AM're five up on me. :D

...but not for long...

May 9, 2003, 06:56 AM
five rounds so far

For some reason it made sense to me to start with five, make sure they were absolutely correct, and then go for a bigger run. If these work I'll try 10 and then from there jump to 50. It's a lot of fun and a great way to stay involved in shooting while not at the range. I'll give a report when I shoot them.

May 9, 2003, 07:45 AM
Well, I can never fault anyone for being safe. Reloading can get very dangerous very quickly, so going slow makes perfect sense. I remember my first reloads. A box of 357 Magnums loades with a light charge of Bullseye under a lead wadcutter. With great trepidation I chambered one, closed the cylinder, cocked the hammer, pulled the trigger, the gun went "pow" and a nice, round hole appeared in the target and I lived to tell the tail. So far, after almost 14 years of reloading, I still have all of my fingers and both eyes. A lot of lead has gone down range and I have burned through several pounds of various powders, and I still love it. Enjoy your reloads and remember, safety first.

May 9, 2003, 07:51 AM
Well, I can never fault anyone for being safe.

There's a fine line between safe and paranoid. I understand my start in reloading falls on the paranoid side. You can call it what it is :D. My wife, boss, friends, and family always point out that I walk around in a constant paranoid state.

Johnny Guest
May 9, 2003, 11:51 AM
- - -and welcome to the wonderful world of reloading.

One thing I wished I'd done when I started, some 35+ years ago, was to save a couple of my original reloads. You might consider preserving one of your first five, just for posterity's sake.:D

May you get as much enjoyment from this aspect of the shooting sports as I have. Please keep us updated on your progress.


May 9, 2003, 06:17 PM

Reloading is great fun and allows one to spend more time at the range cheaply.

As you've just begun, you haven't made any mistakes yet - you will.:(

One of the more important things you'll need to learn is how to "unreload". Get yourself a kinetic bullet puller, if you don't have one, and learn how to use it.

Enjoy your new hobby!

May 10, 2003, 08:27 AM
i had a case of the butterflies:eek:

shooting my first handloads.

safety 1st and foremost.

that was almost 20years ago.

i live by the words "when in doubt,throw it out".

or actually pull'em.


ed dixon
May 10, 2003, 02:20 PM
Well, I was just there myself and I felt pretty much the same. Too many stubbed toes, forgotten keys, wrong turns in my history that I wouldn't feel a little dubious with a new endeavor involving metal and explosive components. Had my 17 y.o. brother-in-law at the range for his first time shooting and made sure I tried all my reloads before letting him proceed to do the bulk of the shooting. Everything went fine and the .45 Colts were even grouping nicely out of my Trapper with the brand new peep sight. Lot of firsts that day. All of them good.;)

May 10, 2003, 04:53 PM
My range visit was delayed until next Thursday. I'll give a full report of how it goes. The bullet puller was the first item I picked up after getting my Lee Kit in the mail. It's a must in my inexperienced mind for any reloader. My 3 year old daughter loves hitting it on the table so it's not even a lot of work for me! A medical problem (shoulder, back and right arm issues) makes playing golf and working on cars impossible for the long term future, so reloading took the place of both hobbies. Plus, light .45 ACP loads will allow me to shoot more often and for longer periods of time. The factory loads are a little more than my shoulder can take. Thank you to everyone for the support.

BTW, if you think I'm paranoid now wait until I start working on the .223 rounds. :D

May 10, 2003, 07:50 PM
Good job, Ninj500. I went at it the same way you did...did a couple of trial loads and took my time with it. Ain't paranoid, it's just careful.

As for the .223, I just got into that myself. No worries, just pay attention. My first 10 rounds went off like a charm...I just keep wondering if I can reload enough of that stuff to keep up with my range time!

Another tip for anyone contemplating reloading is to build up a couple of dummy rounds as a dry run. No primer, so they won't get mixed up with the real stuff. But they can be used to test how they feed in your guns. Also, they make a handy way of getting your seating dies set to where they need to be.

May 10, 2003, 11:55 PM
Ninj500: Welcome to the wonderful world of reloading. Been at it 40 years and still have lots of fun. Keep asking questions and maybe you can avoid some of the errors more experienced people have made. Being careful and making sure you are using the correct load is critical. Keep records.

May 17, 2003, 01:16 PM
Finally got to the range today and in the meantime the first five handloads turned into 10. I shot the first six through my S&W 625-6 and they made one jagged hole at 25ft. To be honest, I can't believe how well they shot. Later today I'll post a picture of the target which I kept. Since the first six went so well I tried the remaining four in my Pro Carry HD. They performed flawlessly! I almost can’t control my excitement. Now I can’t wait to get going on some .223 rounds. Thanks to everyone for the support.

Here is the picture:

May 17, 2003, 05:54 PM
Good shooting, pardner!

As long as your handloads cycled the action smoothly, you've got a working recipe.

May 17, 2003, 11:16 PM
Congrats Ninj !! I still enjoy shooting my own loads, not just the reduced cost bit, which is still a pleasure as well. Just be careful and pay attention. Ask when you have a question. Enjoy.

May 18, 2003, 12:57 AM
As long as you religiously followed your manual you have nothing to fear. Just 5, eh? Geez, it never occured to me when I started I might have done something wrong. Load 5 of the starting load then 5 of .5 of a grain up and continue until you get to the max load. Shoot 'em for group only. When you get the best group you can load up or down by 10ths to find the absolute best load, but that's a bit anal.

May 18, 2003, 10:19 AM
Geez, it never occured to me when I started I might have done something wrong.

If you had my luck you'd always worry about something going wrong. In the last two years I've been rear ended twice. The first time in our three month old van and the second time totalling out a six month old Ford Focus. My new garage door fell of it's tracks on our new van, twice! The same van, three weeks after being fixed from the first car accident, was hit in the exact same spot while parked on the street. Then damaged by a shopping cart in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I found out I have a neurological disorder that causes my nerve tissue to grow benign tumors. Had to have surgery on my spinal cord and will most likely have three more surgeries, including brain surgery, in the near future. My wife lost a baby, a dear relative died, my sister found out here son has Autism and my daughter almost died from a seizure. I could go on for another paragraph but I'm starting to get depressed. See, why I'm paranoid.

happy old sailor
May 18, 2003, 01:21 PM
ninj, you said you knew little about reloading, but, you neglected to tell us you could shoot like that. impressive, considering your concern about your first reloads.

May 18, 2003, 06:16 PM
Trust me when I say this. It was a complete fluke for me to do that. Especially the first time out with my handloads. The gun is capable, and it looks like the handloads are capable as well. Usually I'm the weak link.

May 22, 2003, 01:18 PM
A word of caution, Ninj, avoid the temptation to load up a batch of rounds. You might discover that the recipe isn't what you want and you are stuck with a bunch to pull.

Once you are sure of a particular load, there is no harm in loading a couple of hundred.

May 22, 2003, 03:14 PM
Save that target in a safe place. Years from now you will love looking at it even more than now. You done good. Always be careful. Quantrill

May 22, 2003, 05:05 PM
It was a long time ago, and I was well supervised. We were using a Star reloading press to mass manufacture 38 spl. rounds for a police pistol qualifications course. 3.0 gr. of Bullseye under a 158 gr. wadcutter, if I recall.

Once I started on my own, it was a single stage Rock Chucker, which I still use. I don't remember what I did first, but it was either 357 mag or 30-06. Yeah, the first shots made me smile!

But, I was looking over my notebook a few weeks ago and found some of the loads I was using. Yikes! How'd I ever stuff that much powder in a 30-06 case? And how did that Savage bolt action ever hold up to them? (I'm willing to bet it was because of the strength of the 110 action that I didn't have a kB.) Older reloading manuals tended to be far less conservative than ones you get today. And some of the bullet seating depths I used must have jammed the bullets well into the rifling. Or (shudder), jammed the bullet back into the case.

Anyway, I know the quality of the ammo I make today is much better. I've learned a lot over the years, both from experience, and from reading books and more recently reading the forums.

May 22, 2003, 05:38 PM
I plan on keeping the target and it's posted on my reloading bench. So far, so good. Now I'll load up around 20 and see how it goes.

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