How I reload for handguns


September 9, 2009, 06:03 PM
How I reload for handguns.

I load for volume, speed, and savings. My handgun ammo is loaded on a Dillon 550 or a SDB.

As I do not load my ammo to the top edge of sanity so I do not weigh anything but to check as I set up or if I have any doubts about what is happening.

Brass gets used untill it splits. If I am going on a big hunt or shoot I may grab new brass (I keep plenty on hand) for the trip then throw it in will all others as it gets used.

Triming, weighing, sorting, ect. has not helped in the tests I have done. I do a visual inspection of the bullets as I cast/size/load them and look at the brass as I load it. The finished ammo is looked over as I bucket/box/bag it.

I cronograph when testing to help learn the pressure range the powder wants with the bullet/brass/primer combo I am using.

I have never used a load that if I increased the powder charge by a grain or two it would put me in danger of blowing a gun. When testing I will up the powder charge a grain or more at at time.

I have found that my 500 Linebaugh will shoot bullets from 400 grains to 468 grains with the same powder charge of 2400 verry well. A 454 will do the same with bullets from 260 grains to 325 grains, and a 44 will with 240's to 320's.

I use CCI 350 primers for almost every thing as I buy them 20K at a time.

I use HS-6, 2400, and H-110 for almost every thing with 2400 used WAY more than anything else.

With 2400 the case on most handgun ammo is near or over 1/2 full. A under, over, or double carge is easy to see. I have a mirror mounted on my Dillon's so I can see each powder charge as I place the bullet in the case.

I test loads sitting with my hands between my knees at 25, 100, and 300 yards. Some loads that shoot well up close will not shoot good at long range, but all of the loads that have shot well at long range also shoot good up close.

I do alot of testing, with good record keeping. Shooting 1,558 rounds of 500 Linebaugh to find "my" load. The better loads were shot hundreds of times to learn how they shot and how I liked them.

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September 9, 2009, 08:05 PM
Okay. ??

September 9, 2009, 08:14 PM
Hummm, and to think I just reload for the enjoyment, I must be missing something.

September 10, 2009, 04:56 PM
big bore revolver on a dillon 550B

Pics would be good

do you lube your brass before you load?

Marlin 45 carbine
September 10, 2009, 05:33 PM
I don't have that one but it's a good write-up Tex.

September 10, 2009, 05:41 PM
If you buy 20K primers at a time,how do you buy powder? My guess would be by the truckload!

September 10, 2009, 08:27 PM
:neener:The point is??:what::what:

September 10, 2009, 08:49 PM
I use CCI 350 primers for almost every thing as I buy them 20K at a time.

Everything is bigger in Texas.

September 10, 2009, 09:45 PM
My question is: How do you get a CCI350 in the small primer pocket on the 454 case?
I've never had a 454 case with a large primer requirement, I've always used small rifle magnum primers.
Where do you get the 454 brass with the large pockets, I'd like to experiment with some.

Crowbar Muldoon
September 10, 2009, 09:56 PM
Ya'll don't mind Texas, he's a good neighbor and a good shot....he's just been on the range a bit too much lately. :)

The mirror mounted to the press is a cool little trick. Might have to try that.

September 11, 2009, 08:49 AM
Some of yall are missing the point. I am not trying to brag, just wanting to start a disscution on how different people reload and what there thoughs are. Some are corse loaders like me and others are very piticulare as in weighing each carge, increasing power charge by 1/2 grain or even 1/10 grain at a time, starting low and working up with a mid range load, ect. Also I just might learn something.

floydster - I enjoy reloading too. It's that I just can't leave well enough alone.

hadrulaicman - 454's and 44's are easy on a Dillon 550, the 500 Linebaugh took a few press mods and Dillon helped me get the mix and match conversion parts (50AE powder drop/expander, 348 Win shell holder and locater buttons, ect) I lube my brass with homemade spray lube. I will get pic's for you.

Lj1941 - I get 48 pounds of powder in 8 pound jugs along with 20K primes and it works out they run out at about the same time. I get them delivered without hasmat fees and the last shipment was $1028 if I remember correctly.

MMSCRET - Early 454 brass used large primers and they can be found it you look for them but it's not worth the trouble. FA switched to small primers to have stronger brass and has steel inserts to convert large primer pockets to small. Oh yea don't forget the "almost" in my post. The CCI-350's are used in 10MM, 44Mag, 44Spl, 45ACP, 45Colt, and 500 Linebaugh.

September 11, 2009, 10:17 AM
Yes; I knew about the early 454 large primers, in fact I have seen a very early 454 case that was two 45 Colt cases brazed together and the head turned off one, same way Elgin Gates started with what later became the 357 Maximum. Dick Casull and the Baker family were developing the 454 in the same time period as Elgin Gates was working on his and they were only about 50 miles apart as the crow flies.

September 11, 2009, 10:14 PM
YO TEXAS!; just a little note from one of the re-loaders in Tennessee that caught that bit about being a "coarse" loader. this info might just help a little.

all kidding aside; please be careful when checking your powder loads and this might help all of us to stay out of the local surgeons office. its all about pressure and its physics. the US Mint uses pressure to help make coins the instantaneous pressures obtained in their presses can "pressure liquefy" the metal enough to allow it to flow into a coin die and make a very nice coin!
we as loaders DO NOT want to go there!!! the difference between a handgun and a hand grenade is the amount of powder in it. this is common sense and you don't want to push the envelope here.

we use pressure to push a bullet but we use it in a very controlled way
to avoid too high pressures, you can tell if things are wrong if you just check the primers. i did a drawing with notes for this and please print it or email it to whoever you think can use it. it shows what to look for in the spent primers after you de-cap one. (get a magnifying glass if you need one) just look at it. it takes a 25 ton vertical press to make those little cups and they punch them out one at a time. goes to show you how much pressure is involved there and in the average gun. a .30-06 can use pressures up to 60,000 psi. thats 30 tons per square inch!! the .50BMG is even higher!!

but handguns are NOT hand CANNONS. everyone on these threads and postings is a human and can make a mistake. the primer pressure test is based on physics that cannot change. it will read correctly for you always, but it is up to you to be critical of your loading methods and your ego. if you cannot check them at the door before you load, then you don't need to be doing it at all. please use this to help keep your head in one peice

September 11, 2009, 10:45 PM
I use CCI 350 primers for almost every thing as I buy them 20K at a time.

Everything is bigger in Texas.
Esp. the BullShi!

September 12, 2009, 12:03 AM
Sounds like the OP is happy with his set-up and methods. I guess that's what we all want.

Some of us Texans shoot 9mm and only have a Lee turret press. And like the OP says, we nitpick every new load by tenth's of a grain, tweak it for accuracy and a power factor of 130ish. 9mm pretty much demands attention to smaller details.

Can't shoot CCI spp in my 'tweaked' 9mm. They're too hard.

While I don't trim my 9mm brass, I do sort brass because with my little press I can 'feel' a BIG change in pull force with some brass. I like a nice steady pace with predictable results mostly within +/- .001" oal. Maybe it's me, but loading a 124 9mm in a Win case and follow with an FC case the OAL is always off by more than double my preferences. With ALL FC cases I can set up to be consistent.

Oh yeah, I really enjoy shooting shiny brass--but that's just me.

Finally, I enjoy the process of developing a new load--a lot.

Otherwise, we mostly practice the same procedures to get our output.

Yours works for you. Mine works for me. We both get what we 'pay' for: the enjoyment of shooting our loads in our guns of choice.
I hope we get to keep this 'right'!

EVERYTHING IS bigger in Texas, but maybe the bull.... is just 'better'. ;)

September 12, 2009, 01:40 AM
sniper1259 - Rest assured that I set my powder measures carefully, but I do not worry about a 10th or 2 of a grain of powder. I load in batches of a few hundred and would adjust to small changes in the performance of my ammo but have not needed to. I have never used a load that a couple of grains + - would blow a primer much less blow a gun. Except in 2 rifles that shot better and better the harder I ran them. They were loaded to the limit I felt was safe.

Reading the primer is a indicator of pressure but it is not as reliable as case head expansion. Bolt thrust can greatly affect the appearance of fired primers and can be changed by a clean or dirty chamber or brass, a oily or dry chamber or brass, and finish on the chamber or roughness of each piece of brass.

I don't know how you re-loaders in Tennessee do your stuff but we get along just fine.

September 12, 2009, 01:51 AM
billybob44 from Indiana - you think 20K primers is BS? Sorry for the fuzzy pic's I used a phone camra.
Over 30K primers.
Over 80 Pounds of powder on the front row.
A good 9K of brass.
About 9K bullets.
About 9K more bullets.

Crowbar Muldoon
September 13, 2009, 06:17 PM
And as you can see, the reloading benches are bigger in Texas, too.

September 13, 2009, 08:39 PM
Tex, just be careful man!:)

September 13, 2009, 09:51 PM
Guess I'd have to consider myself a "Coarse" loader. I load pretty handgun ammo pretty much like Texas. At slightly less volume, of course. Hell, I thought I was buying in bulk when I bought 16# of powder and 15k primers!
Here's one back at ya, Texas:
I load 9mm 125gr LTC, .40 S&W 170 LSWC, and .45 ACP 200gr LSWC using the same powder charge for all three. Both the 9mm and the .40 make minor and major power factors respectively. I don't go anywhere near max loads as they serve no purpose for my use. All chronograph in the expected range and show no pressure signs in any of the pistols I run them in. I'm not suggesting this practice to anyone, it just one less step in caliber changes for me. I do fuss a little with rifle loads.----lol

September 15, 2009, 05:35 PM
Texas, ok,ok, youve convenced me you are a safe loader as well as a "coarse" loader. but from now on I wont refer to you as a "coarse" loader. from the pics i can tell you are as organised as i am and that leads to safety no matter what you do. Ill have to get some pics together and post 'em later. just got in an order for 50,000 (yes FIFTY) 9mm and 50,000 .40S&W from the same contractor( thank goodness over the next month!!)
100k rounds will take about 2.2 weeks but getting the parts is always the prob lately!!

good news is that i am starting to get some of the parts direct from the manufactures and getting better prices too (amazing what happens when you say you need 500 lbs of powder, you get this intresting visit from the FBI. but with all the paperwork in place they didnt scream much. sold one of them 2000 .40 S&W!! aint making money FUN!! once they saw what was going on, they were very cool about it. said i was in compliance and the records were some of the best they had seen. paper work might be a pain but it keeps you out of jail!!!)

just for the record i dont check every round either, about every 100 to 200 will get checked just ti make sure the powder measure is on the mark.

if you guys keep track of the rounds like i do here is a trick i use to count them

get a small heavy duty cardboard box and cover the bottom with the trays you get from the factory ammo boxes (you know, the little 5X10 styrofoam or plastic trays the ammo is in in the box)
then pour in (carefully!!) a few hundred rounds and kinda "slosh" the box around a little (again , carefully!!) most will drop nose first into the trays, and the trays hold 50 rds each. as they get full replace it with an empty one. i can get about 6 trays in to the bottom of a Jack Daniels box( pint or 1/2 pint size box) and this is really fast. if done right it is safe and can count 3000 in a 15 to 20 minutes. i usualy use Ziplock bags storage quart size to put 200 rds in at a time and have mailing labels printed out (this is a good use for the computer you never saw coming) from an old dot matrix printer on tractor feed ( 5000 labels and continus feed!!!) 4 trays and a sticker and you are done with an accurate count you can rely on. fit nice in a .50 cal can as well.

this works for me as i go thru so much in so short a time that im always looking for faster but safe ways to get it done. i wish i could say all the loaders here in tennessee were as organised as Texas, but i cant. but his is a realy clean setup. i am truly impressed with it.

Texas; keep on hammering. looks real good from here.

Brian Williams
September 23, 2009, 04:39 PM
500 an hour, 10 hours a day = 5000 rounds.
5000 a day 10 days straight = 50,000 rounds
50,000 a 10 day for 9mm and 40 = 20 straight days of reloading
This is assuming that you can do 500 an hour on a dillon 550

From the Dillon web siteThe RL550B is able to load rifle as well as pistol cartridges The RL550B uses standard 7/8 by 14 thread per inch dies, as long as they deprime in the size die Manually indexed shellplate Manually fed cases and bullets Capable of loading 400 to 600 rounds per hour

Also what FFL do you have?

September 24, 2009, 08:40 PM
(amazing what happens when you say you need 500 lbs of powder, you get this intresting visit from the FBI. but with all the paperwork in place they didnt scream much. sold one of them 2000 .40 S&W!! aint making money FUN!!..)

FBI... so ATF didn't bother? How did that 500lbs ship? What FFL do you posess?

September 25, 2009, 12:53 PM
Floppy D; the ATF didn't bother because you have to provide your manufactures license number to the powder manufacture to even place such an order. it ships freight ground only on 2 pallets (don't even talk about the hazmat fees!!ain't cheep but the price break works out well) with a stack of forms for the DOT ( 49 CFR lookup the rest)

as for what FFL, of course you have tho have the right stuff here!!! lookup the BATF on goggle and call them already (toll free 1-800 number), they actually are very helpfully and will GIVE all the info, forms etc you need to stay out of jail. but i am no expert in the law 'nuf said

and yes the 550b CAN hit 1255 rounds in an hour(my personal best) but i average about 700-800 an hour with the case feeder these days. you have to be in good shape to do this. if you aren't, go pound some steel at the gym. the XL650 does a bit better. the only stoppages i get are bad primer pockets (crimped in or just worn out cases. i have help in the shop, one other person to feed the primers, refill the powder and brass, very large bins for the bullets (i grab 10-20 at a time, saves trips to the bin, there is a drain tube on the spent primer catch cup to keep from having to empty it(thing only holds about 400 anyway, there are instructions for this mod in the thread on "invented or discovered" feel free to use it, instructions are free and the parts are less than $5 at the local home improvement store) never gets more than about 1/2 inch deep in there now. SO i modified the press for speed, so what! the press is still one of the best right out of the box for a 4 stage progressive and i take advantage of it.
also i shortened the low primer alert rod by cross drilling it and using a spare primer straw pin. the holes are 1/4" and 1/2 inch down from the brass ferrule at the top, this alerts me at the approx 8 or 13-14 primers left in the feed magazine point so my helper can reload it safely without having to rush, or me having to slow down. the powder monitor was modified for adjustment also to make sure there is at least 400g powder left when it goes off, i added 3 blinking LEDs to it to be able to tell at a glance which needs filling, powder or primers (no LEDs on the primer monitor)

this sounds like hopping up a car for race day, but is there really a difference except for what it does and the prices? both are machines, one less complicated, but neither less modifiable than the other. use your head a little and these mods make a lot of common sense for the average user, and keep the "speed loaders" like me out of trouble, and i will be posting more as i can get to them. so yes a 550b can be "race tuned" (did i actually say that???!!)

PS that order for the 500 lbs was over 20 years ago, haven't had one like it since, way too much hassle with the Fed (ATF FBI etc) i just use 8lb containers like everyone else these days, although more of them. a few of the presses i have are older( the 2 XL650 are and one of the 550b)

quote me on this, the difference between a handgun and a hand grenade is the amount of powder. be careful!!

September 25, 2009, 05:25 PM
Brian; i have a standard mfg license, covering reloading in bulk. it is registered with the BATF and was issued by them. because almost 90 % of what i do goes to law enforcement and military contractors, i would like to think that i am helping fight crime and terrorism. have no fear, my legal side is in order.

ps i like the quote you left about "a rather large number of Electrons and Magnetic Particles were somewhat inconvenienced." I dont mind bothering them a bit myself. My main buisness is designing robotics systems for the military, but i am not at liberty to say whitch ones or what projects i have done. siffice to say some of my "stuff" has gotten some payback for 9-11 and will continue to do so in the future.

my quote; the smile on my face isnt always my wife....sometimes it payback in the middle east!!

September 25, 2009, 07:40 PM
PS that order for the 500 lbs was over 20 years ago, haven't had one like it since,

good news is that i am starting to get some of the parts direct from the manufactures and getting better prices too (amazing what happens when you say you need 500 lbs of powder...

So was it 20 years ago, per quote A or just now, per quote B?

My main buisness[sic] is designing robotics systems for the military, but i am not at liberty to say whitch[sic] ones or what projects i have done. siffice[sic] to say some of my "stuff" has gotten some payback for 9-11 and will continue to do so in the future.

Okey doke.

September 25, 2009, 08:00 PM
80lbs of powder
500LBS of powder

Maybe this is just my pyro-side talking, but I do believe you need a magazine for any quantity of powder over 50 LBS....80LBS sitting on a shelf sure won't cut it....

September 26, 2009, 05:46 AM
All I can say is that I am jealous.

September 26, 2009, 12:04 PM
Floppy D; the powder order was over 20 years ago, the bullet orders are just lead and copper, and 20 years ago i had 2 suppliers within 40 miles in the city i lived in THEN. moved twice since

as a result the local shops are starting to have a fairly good supply of powder, so i don't need to order it from the mfg. bullets however are another matter. check the web site for Zero brand bulk bullets. some of the price breaks are at 25,000 !!!! and they make a good quality 9MM G FM slug that works well in my Dillon and in their (the mil contractors) UZI, MP5, and Glocks, (you can get good function in a glock without blowing it up!! goggle "glock KB" sometime, scary what factory ammo can do) and even their 9MM carbine rifles.

(the feedback has been fantastic so far. with 2 of my customers dropping their regular suppliers in favor of my work. they know they have to return the brass for reprocessing and have no prob with it at all, besides it keeps the range clean)

the bullets can ship freight per 49 CFR/DOT with no hazmat fee.

as for the magazine, anything over "50lbs in a single container shall be stored in a spark and flame proof metal storage device or magazine of approved design" at the time it cost me over $1000 for the one "approved magazine" it doesn't say it outright, but it IMPLIES that a container of less than 50lbs size doesn't have to be stored in an "approved magazine" but it is still a good idea just the same.

as for Texas, i worried that much might break a shelf, but the looks of his shop said "neat and clean". that tells me he thought about it before he built and the shelf rails ARE available at home depot and Lowe's that will handle 200lbs per shelf. i use them to hold 5 server computers in my array (i use them as backup and file servers for my network, 23 systems in the engineering network alone) feel free to check out the rails and shelf attachments, they have double rows of slots for the attachments and can handle a 24 inch wide shelf! not cheep but strong. most of the lab is setup with them.

(to prevent future questions, the lab is a bonus room here in the house where i do my robotics research and developement work (read zero commute time) its 20x26 and i will post pictures later. but the word "wow" and "man-cave-heaven" have been used to describe it. almost anything with electronics, motion, robotics or computers can be designed and prototyped in this room. dont be too quick to be envious, the cost was over 3 times what the house cost ($490,000.00 + for all the parts equipment, tools workbenches that had to be custom built, lighting, power feeds. all approved by inspectors. took 2 years to get it right!! but we were building 'bots long before finishing it) its not considered a comercial endevor at this location, after all it is still my home. the mass mfg is about 2.5 miles away in a 16,000 sq ft building i built just for it. the really big toys are there. but that is another story i dont have time for right now.)


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