"working on surplus" as a good first handloading project?


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ny32182
January 2, 2008, 09:56 AM
So I have all my reloading gear here! Finally. :) (Well, almost everything I need except components... enough gear to start playing with it, and I've got some brass to prep.)

So anyhow, I was hoping to get some input on whether this would be a good project.

I have about 700+ rounds remaining of Paki surplus 7.62x51 that is tremendously innaccurate (extreme vertical stringing) in my FAL. I have good reasons to believe this is being caused by large variance in pressure (and therefore velocity).

-As I said, of the rounds that make it on target, there can be up to 12" in vertical string at 100yd.
-Ejection is very inconsistent. Some cases are thrown far, and some just drop out the side. I even had one that did not cycle the action enough for the empty case to hit the ejector. This is on a gas setting that cycles better ammo... umm... very strongly and consistently.

So, what I would like to do as a "first reloading project" is see if I can get some of this ammo to a more consistent state. Would this procedure be possible? For each round (performed on 20, 50, or 100 rounds):

-Measure factory OAL
-Pull bullet
-weigh factory powder charge
-Assuming factory charge weights vary significantly, recharge each case with an exact average of the charge weights recorded.
-Re-seat bullet to an exact average factory OAL as recorded prior to pulling the bullet.

The biggest potential problem I see here is that I will not be getting any neck/mouth expansion before bullet seating as my plan does not currently call for running the cases through a sizing die. I'm not yet sure if I could do that successfully or not.

So, any thoughts? Does this sound like a reasonable project?

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res45
January 2, 2008, 10:59 AM
I do it all the time, I shoot the Bulgarian LB & HB ammo but its not very accurate in my 1944 M44, they were all over the 8 1/2 x 11 target. So I tried a little experiment I took 20 Rds. and pulled the bullets using a RCBS 30 Cal. collet bullet puller. Use your seating die to push the bullet down into the neck about 1/16" first makes pulling the original bullet easier. Then I weighed 1/2 of the powder charges to come up with an average charge weight in the surplus ammo. Since the Rds. were hot and causing cratered primer I decided to reduce the powder charge down to an even 47 1/2 Grs. which was down about 1 Gr. plus or minus a couple tents from th original loading Next I ran the brass through my resize die minus the decapping pin to resize the necks and trimmed all the cases to there correct length on my Lyman trimmer. Then I weighted out on my scales the 47 1/2 Grs. of the factory powder and reseated the original FMJ bullet or one of these pictured below and crimp with Lee factory crimp die. My rifles will shoot 2" groups with any of these bullets. I get the same results with the LB ammo that I break down and reload using the same charge weight as the HB ammo and using the original LB FMJ or one of the 150 Gr. bullets. I use 150 Gr. bullet or the 174 Gr. RN in the HB cases also,my rifle seem to like the 150's best.

Pulled bullets plus 150 Gr. SP and 174 Gr. RN replacement bullets.
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j1/rhsikes/test003copya.jpg

Primer on original Surplus ammo
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j1/rhsikes/Ammo007.jpg

Primer on reduced charge Surplus ammo
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j1/rhsikes/Ammo008.jpg
Target using reloaded Surplus LB ammo and 150 Gr. SP
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j1/rhsikes/scan2A.jpg

Target using reloaded Surplus LB ammo and original FMJ bullet
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j1/rhsikes/scan1A.jpg

Target using reloaded Surplus HB ammo and 150 Gr. SP
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j1/rhsikes/scan1.jpg



All targets were shot at 50 Yds. with iron sights.

strat81
January 2, 2008, 11:34 AM
The biggest potential problem I see here is that I will not be getting any neck/mouth expansion before bullet seating as my plan does not currently call for running the cases through a sizing die. I'm not yet sure if I could do that successfully or not.
Yup, just pull the decapping pin from the die. Be careful which lube you use so you don't contaminate your primers. I'd go with a little dab of Imperial Sizing Wax.

ny32182
January 2, 2008, 12:04 PM
Thanks for the input guys, well I guess I will give this a try sometime then.

I *think* with my particular dies, I can back the decapping pin out enough so that it will not reach the flash hole, without fully removing the pin.

ny32182
January 2, 2008, 04:27 PM
Can I tumble primed cases?

gandog56
January 2, 2008, 05:35 PM
I wouldn't advise it. You could get media stuck in the flash hole, causing all kinds of problems.

strat81
January 2, 2008, 05:38 PM
Ja. Seat a bullet first, then tumble.

ny32182
January 2, 2008, 05:41 PM
I thought you were never supposed to tumble loaded rounds due to the powder breaking up and speeding its burn rate to the point of causing dangerous pressure/KB.

res45
January 3, 2008, 09:35 AM
I would never advise anyone to tumble a primed case or loaded round some may have done that but just from a safety stand point those are two things I would never do.

Hutch
January 3, 2008, 10:14 AM
I can't point you to the original work on this "Don't tumble loaded ammo" issue, but I used to be in the same boat (Don't). Having read a very thorough testing procedure that someone did regarding pressure before/after, accuracy, pulling bullets and inspecting powder, etc. etc. with stick, ball, and flake powder, I'm now firmly in the other camp. It's okay. It won't hurt a thing. YMMV

ny32182
January 3, 2008, 11:50 AM
Well, these cases have some light corrosion on them, so I really don't want them going up in my dies as-is. I can tumble the loaded round first before pulling the bullets, or I can tumble empty/primed cases after pulling bullets. Which method would be better? If there is a danger of igniting a primer from tumbling a primed case or loaded round, I would think that the primed case by itself would cause less destruction if one got ignited somehow?

Also, I plan to use this ammo for range use only, so if a bit of corn got in the flashhole and somehow prevented ignition, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I wouldn't mind checking inside each case with a flashlight on the way out of the tumbler. Would that be one way (although time consuming) to make sure that media wasn't in the flash hole, if I did decide to tumble the empty cases only?

ny32182
January 3, 2008, 07:29 PM
Well I'm hoping to get started on a sample of 40 rounds tonight. They are in the tumbler right now. After reading the other thread about tumbling loaded rounds, I just decided to tumble them loaded in order to not have to worry about media getting in the flash holes.

I measured the OALs before dropping them in the tumbler, and the smallest was 2.784", and the longest was 2.794" The average was 2.787". Is this a large spread in OAL?

rcmodel
January 3, 2008, 07:46 PM
You could get media stuck in the flash hole, causing all kinds of problems.What kind of problem?
I have never yet seen any conclusive proof that a tiny speck of walnut hull could possibly cause any sort of problem when the primer popped!

It would stand the same chance as a fart in a hurricane when the primer fires.
It couldn't possibly hurt a thing.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

ny32182
January 3, 2008, 11:11 PM
Well I tumbled for an hour, but the corrosion spots were still there. I hit the rough patches wth some very fine sandpaper (600 grit). Now they are uniformly smooth, even if the spots are still there. Next I pull the bullets and average the powder weights.

ny32182
January 4, 2008, 01:17 AM
After weighing the powder charges, I find that the lightest was 44.3gr, and the heaviest was 45.6gr. The average was 45.0gr. Is this a be enough variation to lead to poor accuracy?

I measured the bullet weights as well. Low was 144.9, high was 147.6. Average was 146.288gr.

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