New Reloading heebie jeebies


May 2, 2008, 11:53 PM
Hi Everyone
I am fairly new to the forum, been following the site for awhile. I am just getting my reloading bench together and need some advice. I have gotten a
Dillon Square Deal in 9mm. Once I start reloading ammo I am a bit hesitant about shooting it through my brand new Sig 226 X5 competition. I have other 9mm guns that I wouldn't hesistate to shoot with own reloads. My goal is to make my own ammo because I plan to shoot this new gun a lot, so I just want to feel confident that if done properly all will go well. Thank you for any advice about this.

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May 3, 2008, 12:16 AM
Welcome to reloading. Let's assume you have acquired good books and manuals, and you've actually read them.

First, make good decisions on powder load, bullet selection, brass prep, primer, and overall length. Make those decisions carefully BEFORE sitting down at the press.
Second, proceed as you learned from the books, and look into every case to check on the powder level before you seat the bullet.

Let me repeat #2 with different words: I've been loading since 1968 and I look into EVERY case before I seat a bullet. The most experienced and accomplished loaders are also the most careful.

Do the two things above, and shoot with confidence.

May 3, 2008, 12:50 AM
It always gives me pause when a new reloader wishes to start out with a progressive machine. The things that are causing your HJ's are magnified a hundred fold with a progressive machine that is doing 4 things at once.

I always recommend that you get your reloading feet wet with a single stage press so you can get all the operations down pat...and make some workable ammo. Get comfortable with the whole process. THEN get the progressive up and running.

If you do some research, you'll find many..if not most..reloading 'oopsies' that blow up guns come out of progressive presses. NO, they are NOT dangerous devices at all. But, they DO require some advanced amount of care and forethought to run safely. These are things that come with experience and time.

A perfectly set up progressive can turn out dangerous ammo if the person pulling the handle doesn't pull it properly. Fact of life.

Please be careful and get a cheap single stage press like the Lee for only a few bucks and start on that before going on to the Dillon. Good luck!

May 3, 2008, 01:28 AM
"...I am a bit hesitant about shooting it..." Hi. As long as you set up the dies the way Dillon told you to, followed your reloading manual religiously and the loaded ammo drops into the chamber of your X5 correctly(using the chamber as a guage isn't a bad nor unsual thing. It's actually the best guage), you'll be fine. The pistol really doesn't matter. Ammo that shoots safely in one will be safe in all of 'em.
Mind you, you do have to work up a load that both shoots well and cycles the action of your X5. No two firearms, even two consecutively serial numbered firearms, will shoot the same ammo the same way.

May 3, 2008, 02:05 AM
Hey there:
I load from a Dillon SDB in .45 acp and have for years. The .45 is less fussy than the 9mm. but you should have no problems. The one thing that mine did give a problem with was the primer feed tube. their plastic rod was not heavy enough to keep the primers coming all of the time. I put an empty case on the top of the plastic rod and have not had a problem since. My son and I together can load about 800 plus rounds per hour on it. But if you try to go tooooo fast. You will soon see powder on the bench. That auto indexing can really fly. so slow down just a little and that won't happen. You can stroke the thing so fast that the powder will fly out of the cases. Seating depth is in your manual. There should be some warnings on that subject . too deep and the PSI can rise in small 9mm cases. Other then that , that dillon and you will get to know each other fast and you will learn to love it. Most squibs and bad loads come from progressive reloaders. (the machines) Pay attention and nothing bad should happen. My SDB has loaded somewhere around 80 to 100,000 rounds and still works just fine.
Have fun and don't worry about the new gun.

May 3, 2008, 02:42 AM
You can run your cases thru an SDB one at a time until you get a very god feel for what the dies do .No reason to hurry into loading up the machine and having to think about several operations at once.
rule no. 1; If you thnk you messed up,pull all the cases and start from square 1.
Rule no. 2; see rule no. 1

May 3, 2008, 07:08 AM

I would steer away from propellants that are on the fastest/densest side of the range and "heavy" bullets regardless of powder used. Good old Unique is very bulky and of a moderate speed that fills the bill perfectly. Max data charges of Unique using 115 grain bullets are very case filling, so if you were to double charge, the results would be very evident.

Not that I have data to prove this, but I would venture to say a 9mm case full level to the mouth with Unique, and a 115 grain bullet seated would not lead to a catastrophic failure, maybe not even proof pressures. Can not say the same for Bullseye of other fast propellants. FWIW, it seems I see more problems posted about ammo that used Tightgroup and/or 147 grain bullets and a person new at reloading than anything else. IMO, I would try Unique and stick with 115 grain jacketed bullets for starting out. Lastly, If I can not see the propellant level in the case, a bullet does not get seated... It's that simple.

May 3, 2008, 09:57 AM
Thank you all for your replies. I realize I should start out on a single stage, but I got a great deal on the used Dillon. It sounds like I can use this press in a single stage style press, only 1 bullet at a time from start to finish... thank you all for that input. I went whole-hog into this project and bought 4 lbs of Titegroup and 1000 Montana gold 124 jhp on a reloading friend's suggestion. I will inspect every round and I do appreciate your input on this matter. Everyone has been so helpful and I look forward to all your input.

May 3, 2008, 10:40 AM
Check the charge in the cases on a progressive. Another guy recently nearly blew up his gun when his powder measure bridged part of a charge and dumped it into the next one. One weak load, one really hot one. untill you get comfortable, take your process slow and methodical. Get an idea how much space your charge fills in the case.

Safety in reloading requires constant vigilance. Welcome to the hobby.

May 3, 2008, 11:01 AM
What you're feeling is certainly nothing new to reloaders. Most reloaders get the nervous twitch just before setting off that first handloaded round. "Did I do it right?" "Did I put in too much powder?" "Will my gun blow up and wreck my shooting hand?"
Personally, I'd love to see more "Reloading 101" classes through the local sporting goods stores and volunteer mentors thru local shooting ranges. This would have waylayed MY reloading fears but I couldn't find any in the fall/early winter when I started reloading. (There are some offered during late winter/spring around here but I was well on my way and gaining confidence by then.

Don't be watching TV or listening to the radio. Set aside several hours so you can "get in the reloading mode". Don't treat reloading as something that you can do in 15 minute spurts or as a filler during commercials. You'll lose track of what step you did and then the problems start.

Once you get into the reloading hobby, you'll gain confidence and know that you're loads are very safe to shoot thru that nice new gun.

May 3, 2008, 11:24 AM
It is not all that big a deal to start out with the progressive as long as you understand that vigilance is an absolute must. If you are good at attention to detail, you will be fine. Go slow, check, and double check. :)

Welcome to THR

May 3, 2008, 11:35 AM
Personally, I'd love to see more "Reloading 101" classes through the local sporting goods stores

I know what you mean, my friend. I live in Southern California and one of the places I shop locally is the Fowler Room in Orange, CA. They have sister store in Westminister, CA called The Stockade (Ask for Bob). Every so often, they have a reloading clinic completely free of charge. They have a guy on Dillon progressives, I guy on single stage, and a guy for case prep teaching. A newbie can go over and basically ask questions and they will walk you through the answers. Pretty cool. That's why, while I like the discounts of Internet and mail order, Don't forget to support your mom and pop stores! Keep them in business.

Lloyd, go slow and keep your wits about you, Mate.:cool:

May 3, 2008, 11:55 AM
What helped me with those concerns is doing what was suggested by some old time reloaders. Buy 2 or three reloading manuals. Read each one cover to cover, highlighting issues of particular interest.

Then read them again. Cover to cover. Then when you set up your gear, read the instructions. I know, I know... sounds simple. But how many of us here have opened a box and said "Oh that's easy... I don't need the instructions". Read them. Check and measure everything multiple times. Use the right lube in the right locations.

Now you are all set up and have a lot of new found knowledge. You need tools. You need to be able to measure things accurately. Get quality calipers and micrometer. I like a digital caliper personally. Have a bullet puller on hand - You WILL need to take loads apart. Make sure that you have a high quality digital scale. This cannot be overstated. You need to weight 1 out of 10 powder charges for a while until you are comfortable you know how long it takes your powder measure to settle in.

Case prep goes without saying. I am absolutely a fan of electric equipment - electric case trimmer and the RCBS case prep center. Practice with belling the case mouth as little as possible. This will help your brass last longer... you will now be picking up all your own brass, right?I don't know where you will be doing this work, but it is important to be organized - have ONE can of powder out... the one you are loading right now. Have ONE box of bullets out... same thing. Don't have a lot of tools, boxes, etc laying around. If you aren't using it now, put it up.

Keep good records! Use those little sticky notes on top of each cartridge box with the load details. Record shooting impressions by load at the range - recoil, report and of course accuracy. Then record that information in a log. This will help you when you go back and can't remember the details. It will help you know which load(s) are most accurate in your guns. Even if you only make 15 rounds of load A, you can put 3 different loads in a 50 round box - just make sure you mark the box correctly.

Lights... can't have too much light... a shadow cast across the case mouth after the charging station can give you a false impression that case is charged. If possible, attach a very small mirror that looks down into the case mouth from where you sit or stand. I did that and it has saved me more than once.

For the first trip or two to the range, no rapid fire. You might just make a squib load and it is a lot easier to punch a stuck bullet free than try to shoot it out with the next one. :eek: Oh yeah... have you read those manuals yet? Twice?

May 3, 2008, 12:08 PM
Starting on a single stage is great advice but I am not a firm believer that it is a must. I didn't start on a single stage, I understand what I'm doing and haven't had any close calls. I have only been reloading for two years. I load 9mm, 38/357, 45 and 223. I'm not sure about the SDB because I have never used one but most progressives will let you put a case in and run it all the way through by itself. That would be my suggestion until you understand the press and the concept of reloading. That way you are only watching one case and seeing the process of each die without the distraction of trying to watch four cases and dies at the same time. Start at the beginning charge and work up. The powder charge must be checked on a scale to verify it's the correct charge. Welcome and load safe.

May 3, 2008, 01:08 PM
Take your time.

Verify a load with several resources. Get some books, look at manuf.'s load data online, search forums like these, ask. Lots of combinations. If nothing else, go straight off the published recipe.

I started on a Lee Pro 1000, another progressive. I ended up getting a Lee single stage. I use both. Progressive is quite a bit more to learn. Single stage always good to have around.

Straight wall pistol case is a good idea. 9mm sounds like a pain. 41 Mag with no crimp was where I started, then 45ACP and large rifle.

Dillon case gage is pretty handy for 11$.

Sig X5 sounds really nice. I really like the 226 and 220 pistols.

May 3, 2008, 09:48 PM
Hey again:
You got some of the best from some of the best. Head their words. Pay attention is the key. Your Dillon is a fine machine and will be a good loader.
It has a life time warranty and they are pretty easy to get along with.
Reloaders can make very accurate ammo. They are way aheade of factory ammo . Always have been and always will be. Have fun be safe.

May 4, 2008, 05:33 PM
i read this thread with interest.
3 years ago i decided to start reloading.
after reading online lots of different opinions .
i took some advice to heart and bought a lee anniversary kit.along with 3 different manuals.
about 8 months later i got a good deal on a lyman all american turret press and used that for awhile.
yesterday i found a good deal on a
dillon rl 550 b 12 sets of dies and plates ,electronic primer alert,cover.bullet catcher tray,yadda yadda .

i think i am ready for this step now that i have a real good idea of what it entails.
thanks to people like you folks
now i am ready to crank out some ammo!

May 4, 2008, 09:13 PM
yesterday i found a good deal on a
dillon rl 550 b 12 sets of dies and plates ,electronic primer alert,cover.bullet catcher tray,yadda yadda .
Sounds good. I load on a Lee Classic Turret but have loaded on a friends Dillon 550. You will be very happy with the Dillon. If you haven't used one before just take your time, it will take a little getting used to.

May 4, 2008, 09:42 PM
i found a series of 5 videos on the web that shows step by step how to set this press up.
it is REALLY helpful!

May 4, 2008, 09:44 PM
i think i did good .i got this for $400 +shipping
Dillon RL550 press
auto powder measure
auto primer alarm
4 primer tubes and extra parts
.38 dies
.357 dies
.45 acp dies
30/06 dies
.308 dies
.30 carbine dies
.44 mag dies
.32 S&W Dies
9mm dies
.223 dies
7.62X39 dies
.380 ACP dies
13 die stands
13 tool heads
trays, bolts, wrenchs, Cover for press,
2 handles for press. Instruction manual.

13 die tool heads

i already have
303 brit
45 long colt
454 casull

May 4, 2008, 09:58 PM
i think i did good .i got this for $400 +shipping
It doesn't look like you did good to me, it looks like you stole it. If I ever found a deal like that I would jump all over it.

May 4, 2008, 10:42 PM
the main reason i wanted one was to speed up my pistol ammo making and i have a feeling this is the ticket.
p.s. the guy i am buying it from just emailed me.
he found the Dillon case length gauges for it and a set of 8mm dies.
he threw them in one of the boxes as a freebee

May 4, 2008, 10:48 PM
shipping from anchorage should be about $150 i am guessing.

May 8, 2008, 11:19 AM
And you can make some of your small investment back by selling off the dies that you don't intend to use.

June 8, 2008, 12:38 PM
i will probably keep the ones i dont have duplicates of.
but i didnt need 3 sets of .308 dies for instance.

June 8, 2008, 07:53 PM
A lot of good advice here....

Since you are starting out on a progressive... take your time; don't try to break any speed records (in terms of volume being reloaded per hour, etc.) until you've built up your confidence and technique.

Use powders that would nearly fill the case to overflowing if you double charged them, as opposed to using really dense powders, like Bullseye... that alone has saved my butt once or twice, it's hard not to notice a double charge with the case filled to overflowing... you may not notice a double charge with the denser stuff.

Check your powder charges visually, and pull a case every so often to verify the measure's working reliably.

Welcome to a fun, rewarding hobby; just pay attention to detail, and you'll be fine.

If you enjoyed reading about "New Reloading heebie jeebies" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!