Almost had a disaster!


December 11, 2007, 07:08 AM
I have been reloading for tens of thousands of rounds and am extremly conscientious when doing so. After each session I write on a slip of paper the bullet weight, charge, etc and place it on the dies (this is in addition to entering everything into a log book and a label which goes on the box of completed rounds). Well the other night I went downstairs to load a batch of .357. BTW - I also only have one container of powder on the bench at a time, the others are tables away. So I remove the cover from the press, check the paper and it says, because I had been loading 357 two days prior, I was using 158g LSWC with 7.8g of #2. I placed a dummy cartridge under the powder die, filled it and checked - it weighed a lot less than 7.8g. I thought maybe I had readjusted the setting for some reason so I adjusted back up to 7.8g. Before I started the actual load process I thought I had better check the actual log one more time - something didn't seem right that the powder bar was out of adjustment. The log said I was using #5 not #2! I checked the manuals - yup, shoulda been #5. Apparently I had for some reason written it correctly in the log and on the cartridge cases, but not on the paper which I included with the dies. Disaster averted. I can't imagine what would have happened if I would have loaded 7.8g of #2 into the cartridges.

This just goes to show everyone, that we should all check and double check and check again. I know I do and it probably saved me a lot of grief downstream.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone....

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December 11, 2007, 07:15 AM
Lucky you followed your gut instinct. Good work.

December 11, 2007, 07:39 AM
While it sounds like you have a good system, writing your loads down all over the place seems like it invites more room for error that it does for safety.

December 11, 2007, 08:36 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience! I check and 2nd check, but my "system" could leave me vulnerable to the same kind of mistake. I'm going to re-think my system. I keep a log and also label the rounds kind of like you do, and I also keep a list of my favorite loads say for practice ammo (I usually like to load mid- to -heavy on my practice rounds). Too many versions of information though can sure lead to problems!

December 11, 2007, 02:28 PM
I load mostly rifle calibers, but I do load pistol, too. My routine is that when I have completed a loading session, even if I have not loaded all the rounds for the particular caliber, I put everything away. That means empty the powder measure etc. Every session is a 100% fresh start.
It takes me a few minutes to get setup, calibrated, and referenced, but I never question the loads I am building. Some folks think I'm being silly or paranoid. Maybe so. But I feel a lot safer about my handloads. I'm not in it for the volume, I'm in it for the hobby. The few minutes saved is not worth the risk, in my opinion.

Just my 2 cents.


December 11, 2007, 02:42 PM
I start each session from fresh scratch as far as filling the powder hopper and setting and confirming the throw weight.

I loaded a batch of .223 hot enough to hole the primers because I didn't make sure my scale was level on both axis once and that experience scared me straight.

December 11, 2007, 02:46 PM
In the last few years, I have got in the habit of using a paper & sting hang-tag on the powder hopper of each of my three measures, indicating what powder & weight I last used in it.

All I have to do is dump in the same powder, and check a few charges, before going back to loading the same load I used it for before.

Saves me a ton of time starting from scratch on the measure adjustment each time.

December 11, 2007, 06:51 PM
Here's something I've been doing for years. First time I didn't know what was in the hopper, I was lucky - it had Red Dot, which was obvious, so I didn't have to toss the powder, but I decided right then and there to put a 3x5 card in the hopper with the powder. Never had a question about it since.

December 11, 2007, 08:29 PM
It's a really good idea not to leave powder in the hopper.

There is no air seal, and thus, no protection against humidity.
And powder attacks most plastic powder measure hoppers over time.

Best to put it back in the can it came in when you get done loading for the day.

Jim Watson
December 11, 2007, 08:33 PM
Technically so, but the guys at Dillon are going to have to furnish a Q.D. powder measure if they want me to dump the hopper every day I load. It is just too tedious to fool with the screws and clamps, so I leave mine loaded with the can next to the press so I know what is in there. I haven't had any more solvent or nitroglycerine attack on the cheap plastic hoppers since I started covering them to protect them from daylight UV coming in the window.

December 12, 2007, 02:57 AM
The Other Night I was Loading for My .357 using 21gr of H-110 and 125JSP's. I noticed a Bullet that "felt" wierd as i was Chugging along. I Looked and it was a 158gr JHP Mixed in with the 125's. It would have been a Super compressed Charge But It Might have seated. I couldnt Imagine Touching off a round with 5gr's Overload of H-110. My Ruger Might have Sweated a Lil' bit on That one.


December 12, 2007, 10:37 AM
I've used the "tag in the hopper" method for years with zero untoward incidents. I add to it by always having only ONE can of powder on the bench itself. Tags are cut from 3X5s and if you experiment a lot you'll find yourself wondering just what in hell you were loading with some of them...I've recently began to add some minor specifics on the charge data such as bullet weight, maker etc.

Have three hoppers on the bench and two are dedicated to specific calibers but I STILL check them prior to any loading.

Insofar as leaving powder in hoppers, you will find that you'll experience discoloration of the hopper body itself......particuarily true in my dampish climate.

December 12, 2007, 11:05 AM
I also only keep one type of powder out when I'm reloading. I don't reload for pistol as of right now, but when I am done loading I put EVERYTHING away and clean up entirely. This practice not only reduces the chance of a mix up, but it's also nice to have a clean shop too......that way I don't lose things as often....

just my .02 worth.

good luck out there, and please be safe!:)

December 12, 2007, 11:15 AM
I generally keep powder in my hoppers--although I grant there might be humidity issues for some users, it doesn't seem degrade over the shorter time it gets cycled. Like Jim Watson, I've found little or no trouble with my Lee Hoppers being attacked by the powder, save one--that was the original Red plastic hopper, and WSF3 had attacked it--but that was when it was stored away for eight years.

At any rate, I have always put a piece of masking tape with the date and the powder written on it on the hopper.

I also use masking tape to

1) tape the loose cover down on those new improved Deluxe hoppers--I even fiddle with it so it will have a 'grab' on one side to 'hinge' off easily;

2) Temporarily seal the bottom of a hopper I take off the base;

3) Make all the labels for my reloading boxes when I am doing development sets of cartridges;

4) Label my Tupperware brass containers;

5) make a temporary tag at the press if I am interrupted.

Labels and notes become increasingly important when we are over 55 or so.

etc. etc.

Jim H.

December 13, 2007, 09:05 AM
I don't keep powder on the bench. Got out of that habit right away, and feel more strongly about it as I read about the occasional mishap with primers and whatnot. The card in the hopper tells me where to get more powder when I need some, and where the extra powder belongs when I'm done with it.

December 13, 2007, 06:16 PM
I have storage cabinets (old kitchen cabinets) mounted above the bench that stores all my supplies and equipment. I also have a small shelf mounted below these cabinets where I place the powder in use on and it is the only powder out of storage while loading is in progress. This has worked great thus far.

In my experience, the only powders that chew up the hopper plastic are the double base powders like Power Pistol and what not. Moisture is a real concern here in the PNW winters, however, if you live in Arizona, I don't think I'd worry much about leaving single base powders in a hopper.

As for the Dillons, this is the primary reason I have not considered one.

December 13, 2007, 06:26 PM
sry, refresh double tap

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