reloading dangers - have you ever had an accident?


July 14, 2011, 02:55 PM
To the old hands reloading here, my question is two-fold:

1. How dangerous do you find the reloading process? What I'm getting at here is how sensitive are the primers to accidents? And secondly, just how bad is a double-charge in a handgun like a .45? I've seen pictures of chucks of metal and understand that a double would likely destroy the gun, but what about the shooter?

2. Have you ever set off a primer or worse, a box of primers? What happened? Ever had any other accidents? Do you wear any kind of protection while you are reloading?

Just trying to get a full understanding of the risks before I start reloading. I'm fully aware that my own safety is in my hands (and head) but I wanted to tap into the collective wisdom of others with experience doing this. I plan on reloading for .45ACP.

The last thing I want is to be hand-priming on the couch while watching tv and somehow blow my hands off. :eek:

So I'd like to know if you guys have ever had an incident of a primer(s) going off accidentally or a double-charge that you fired, or any incidents with powder.

Thanks in advance, sorry for the newbie question. If it helps, I am currently reading the ABC's of Reloading.

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July 14, 2011, 03:07 PM
about as dangerous as driving you car.

July 14, 2011, 03:08 PM
I'm not an old hand, but I've had 2 accidental primer discharges while reloading. The primer didn't completely line up with the primer pocket and instead of seating the primer, the press caused the primer to go off. This was reloading 9pm using small pistol primers. I had my head turned to the side slightly and the resulting noise was incredibly loud. Instant ear ringing on the one side. It was so bad that I could rub my fingers together right up beside my ear and not hear a single thing! Took about two days to get back to "normal". A week later it happened again. Same thing. Now I wear earplugs when I reload.

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July 14, 2011, 03:09 PM
Yes I understand we all take risks in a daily activity such as driving. But I'm familiar with the risks of driving but not so much with reloading. Was hoping some could share words of wisdom regarding minimizing risk and/or lessons learned.

July 14, 2011, 03:10 PM
Words of wisdom I SHOULD have listened too: don't go with a progressive press to start out with. Too many things going on at once.

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July 14, 2011, 03:22 PM
I follow KISS principles and (knock on wood) have never had a major mishap. I use only CCI primers and I only load with the hand primer and hand press. That way I can feel problems before they arise. A progressive press with auto prime features gives you much more leverage but can also mask problems. So if there's a burr or obstruction I instantly feel it and don't press the primer home. So far that's saved me from a primer KB.

But primers are unlikely to do any major damage anyway. The big danger is the double charge or the squib you fail to notice that creates an obstructed bore. I also always make a point of using a load tray fifty at a time and directly inspect each and every cartridge prior to seating the bullet. I use a bright headlamp or tactical light (though not held close enough to ignite anything).

July 14, 2011, 03:27 PM
It's far less than driving. Any primer that goes off is caused by operator failure.
Haven't had any issues of any kind in 30 plus years. Mind you, I did get bit by the press once. Caused by not paying attention to where my mitt was.

Arkansas Paul
July 14, 2011, 03:27 PM
How dangerous do you find the reloading process?

Not very dangerous at all if you pay attention to what you're doing and NEVER go above listed max loads.

And secondly, just how bad is a double-charge in a handgun like a .45?

Very. There are pics, some on here, of mangled hands. I don't know if it's .45s, but anytime your gun flies apart, there's a big danger of you getting hurt.

I've never had a dangerous incident, thankfully, in the two years I've been loading. I've got to the woods and couldn't chamber a round, because I didn't trim the cases. I have double charged a case or two, but I caught them because I always insepect the charged cases and make sure the powder levels are the same. Always check.

The .45 ACP is a good round to start on by the way. It's low pressure and pretty forgiving.

It's good that you are so concerned for safety. But like I said, if you follow the book to the letter you should be fine. It gets dangerous when people think that the max loads are more suggestions than strict rules. You're also right about sitting there priming while watching tv. I wouldn't do anything distracting while loading. It deserves your undivided attention.

Welcome aboard.

July 14, 2011, 03:29 PM
Well... one time I kinda strained my back when I went to lift 2000 .45 Colt bullets out of the back of my truck. They weigh quite a bit. Use proper lifting technique. And the other day I sorta scraped a knuckle when I was tightening a bolt to remount a press.

But I've never had a primer go off when loading. I do try to keep my glasses on though when priming cases.

Actually, I think the most danger comes from when I'm trimming or chamfering rifle cases. I use an electric drill with either my Wilson trimmer or the chamfer tool. Sometimes those brass shavings come off fairly fast. It could be a nasty thing to have a tiny piece of brass shaving imbed in your eye.

July 14, 2011, 03:38 PM
tuj -

1. No more dangerous than walking out to pick up the mail..... so long as all safety rules and loading by a published manual are followed. When a person loads outside these simple parameters bad things can happen.
If you read on a message board someones load data, take it with a grain of salt at best and never, ever load any round without verifying the load data in a published manual or manufacturers on-line data. Preferably cross check with a 2nd manual.

2. Yes, set off a primer once with a "whack a mole" Lee Loader for 38 Special. No damage and went on to finish loading what I started.
Never had a primer go off in 15k + rounds on my L-N -L AP.
When using a press, SS, turret or progressive, don't force anything. With the Lee Loader, by the nature of design one pounds the primer in with a steel rod and mallet.
Sounds bad, but really it's a very safe tool and as simple as a rock.

The ABC's of reloading is an excellent book.... Keep reading, then read it again.

July 14, 2011, 03:40 PM
tuj -
My comment was not a joke. When learning to drive, you learn to shift gears, work the pedals and steer. Same thing with re-loading. Learn the rules (THR is a good place to learn) and OBEY them. Yes, I had one mistake, loaded a 40 SW FC HS case that blew up. Had seen someplace that they were bad, but forgot or didn't check HS. Lesson learned.

Jim Watson
July 14, 2011, 03:41 PM
I have popped one primer ever in a loading press, about two years ago after 31 years of practice on that one machine. My elderly CH AutoCHamp did not advance the case all the way and the primer punch sheared a primer over the edge of the pocket. It was louder than you might expect but did not throw fragments around. My fault, I seldom use that machine any more and it needed cleaning and lubricating but I tried to just start it up.

I have squashed and flattened a number of primers in the seating step but always with gradual pressure and not the impact or shear it takes to set them off, except as above.

I have never had a double charge, a no-powder "squib", wrong powder in the measure, or other powder handling blunder.

The only double charge I know of on our range demolished the gun but did not injure the shooter.

July 14, 2011, 03:55 PM
There was a fellow posted a picture of a primer tube that was stuck in the ceiling of his reloading room. Apparently, one set off the whole tube and it went off like a rocket and stuck in the ceiling. I have been reloading for about 12 years now and so far I have been very careful and have not had any "major" catastrophes. I tend to load mostly for rifle so it would difficult to get a double charge. I have had a couple of "squibs" which if not caught could have caused some damage but I knew as soon as I fired them there was something wrong. Other than that, I would say this isn't any more dangerous than fishing or hunting. I found that one can become complacent while reloading as some of the steps are somewhat monotonous (cleaning primer pockets). It helps reading about mistakes made by others to make one realize they may have gotten a bit lax and this can be a dangerous hobby if all steps are not done properly. It's just like many things we do that can be somewhat dangerous (driving, shooting, hunting) if you stay alert and follow the rules it can be an enjoyable and safe hobby.

July 14, 2011, 03:59 PM
I've had:

1) A squib. My very first batch. I intentionally used an empty primed case to set my seating die, then forgot about it. It says right on the instructions for my press, DO NOT use an empty case when setting the seating die.

2) My friend somehow managed to load an unsized case with the old primer still in and didn't notice the lack of neck tension. When it fed, it setback almost all the way. Of course it didn't go off. But I'll never decap unsized brass with a universal decapping pin, because of that.

3) I've accidentally tried to doublecharge my rifle brass several times. I verified from the start that a double charge wouldn't fit, though. And I check the lot before seating. So it was no big deal when it happened. With my pistol setup, I can't easily do a double charge or a squib. But I load the rifle on a block, moving (or forgetting to move) the funnel from case to case.

I've mangled up a bunch of primers. Never had one go off. I've never used Federal primers, though. They're supposed to be the most sensitive. Lee even advises against Federal in some of their priming systems, although I'm not sure if it's because of that, of maybe due to slight dimensional differences.

July 14, 2011, 04:13 PM
Had a batch that was loaded with weak charges. Just enough to get the bullet stuck most of the way down the barrel and just enough recoil to be deceiving. I weigh each charge now and I don't trust meters. For me, reloading is a slow, painstaking process where I shoot for consistency and accuracy not found in manufactured ammo. If I didn't, it wouldn't be worth it.

I like what that one guy said. It is about as dangerous as driving your car. So don't text and reload, that could be bad.

July 14, 2011, 05:03 PM
First rule that I follow is no distractions while loading.
Watch TV to watch TV.
Prime when you want to prime. Don't do both at the same time.
Distracted loading is like distracted driving. You can get away with it up untill the moment it catches up to you.
Rule 2 Don't reload if you are in a hurry. Better to miss a match that you didn't get ready for in time than try to rush it.
3rd Rule is Don't reload if you are tired thinking it may take not that much effort to reload some rounds. Tired people make mistakes.
I have been reloading a fair bit these last several years without mishaps.
I do it in private without noise or radios on. I check cartridge charges on a regular basis even on the progressives just to be sure that something hasn't gone amiss.
If you develop good habits and follow the rules then reloading is quite safe and very rewarding. If you get sloppy or careless then you will reap what you sow as it were.

July 14, 2011, 05:21 PM
I have been reloading for over 57 years in all that time I had one incident that just happened the other day--my girl friend came into my cave and told me she was PG, well, I turned around fast from my reloading bench and knocked my beer on the floor.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 14, 2011, 05:27 PM
I've been doing it for about 30 years and have never had a problem. Sure, a sideways primer in the early days, a split case neck, etc. Never anything major. I don't remember EVER having to pull more than one bullet off a case.

I attribute it to what others have stated, I try to be organized and very methodical - triple-checking EVERYTHING! When it comes to reloading, take nothing for granted. Check, check and double-check again! Never any distractions at all. I reload in my basement and I can either hear the hum of the dehumidifier in the background during summer months or the sound of my boiler heating system running in winter months. That is it, no radio, no music, no TV.

It is a heck of a lot easier to do it right the first time than to have to go back to Re-Do it!

July 14, 2011, 06:06 PM
1. Reloading is safer than mowing your lawn.
2. Been loading for over 45 years. I have never set off a primer but, I have done the following:
- Put powder from my powder measure into the wrong CAN. I caught it right away and ruined about $25 in powder. Makes good fertilzer.
- Overloaded a 220 Swift case that caused a VERY STIFF bolt lift and the primer fell out of the case. Still have the case as a reminder.
- Stuck a couple of 30.06 cases in a sizing dies due to not enough lube. That was before I discovered Imperial Sizing wax.
- Had 1 squib 9mm pistol round while learning to use my LNL AP press. Easily tapped out of barrel with a dowel.
- Spilled a package of primers on a shag rug (Circa 1970).

empty hull
July 14, 2011, 07:00 PM
After 30 years of reloading, I shot my first squib in a 1911. I am lucky I only have to replace the barrel and bushing. My fault as I was distracted twice during the reloading process. Tim

Romeo 33 Delta
July 14, 2011, 07:19 PM

I reload with a single stage press.

I prime 50 cases with a Lee Hand-held Primer.

Once I begin assembling a round I:

1. Measure and add the powder to a case
2. Seat the bullet
3. Only then do I move on to the next case

No TV, maybe the radio, no visitors.

If I am interrupted, I either finish the round I am working on or dump the powder and start over later.

I double check my load data, either from my books or from the card that is in each box of ammo I have previously loaded.

It's NOT rocket science ... just common sense and the ability to read and follow directions.

July 14, 2011, 07:29 PM
Watch TV to watch TV.
Prime when you want to prime. Don't do both at the same time.

I watch TV all the time when loading, but only as background. Or an AM radio. I wouldn't advise watching something with subtitles while trying to reload.

July 14, 2011, 07:48 PM
I have been reloading off and on for 30+ years. So other than the occasional crushed/stuck case/primer I have been lucky to have become aware of any hazards and corrected them before they became a danger. If you think that it will never happen to you, just know that it can happen today or tomorrow if you become lax in your process. The best thing is to become amazingly boring when reloading.:D If you do the EXACT SAME thing EVERY time then the chances of making an error are diminished significantly. Also do not stop half way for anything. Finish the process you started or go back a step. For example I load my empty primed brass primer up in a loading block, pick it up turn it over and add propellant. Then I put it into a different loading block neck up. Repeat as needed to transfer all brass from one block to another. If I am interrupted I will put the empty case back into first block and then resume later or finish and put the full one in the next block and stop there. No setting the brass somewhere with the process incomplete. Careful and methodical and you will enjoy a great hobby. Let er slide and you just roll the dice again.:eek: I drive a car, mow the lawn, weld, use saws etc in woodworking, and many other things besides reloading. They are all safe if you pay attention and know what the risks/benefits are before you start.

July 14, 2011, 07:59 PM
The Lee Classic (hammer) loader has set off primers for me. Not my fault. :D Fixed it by buying a hand priming tool. See photo links below of KABOOMS and other reloading tips. :) Some have info with the pic.

July 14, 2011, 08:13 PM
I used to make mistakes while reloading.

Then I got Ceiling Cat.

Ceiling Cat meowrs whenever a double charge is spotted.

July 14, 2011, 08:34 PM
Reloading is NOT rocket science, it is a simple, albeit, repetitive process that requires you to FOCUS. I have taught my kids at the age of 6 to reload pistol and shotshell.

Why do all the new folks with the plethora of data from the internet and online sources have so much trouble with something that those of us who started before the net had NO issues with?

Has the intelligence level of the typical shooter been lowered that dramatically? The components and processes haven't changed..............GEEZ!

July 14, 2011, 09:18 PM
A hard mallet and an aluminum gutter-nail, finished so as to fit onto / into the bullet that has become stuck in the barrel. Don't worry; you'll have a lot of on-lookers when you try hammering that pill back towards the chamber. ((1-oz. Damning with faint praise; we are allborn dumb, but some unnecessarily hone it to a weapon's edge.))

July 14, 2011, 09:46 PM
I'm going to make an attempt at humor here -

if you dont have the patience to use the shift and punc keys and just write everything runon like this without breaking thoughts into pagrphs and like to use abbrevs like l8r and stuff like that because you arnt at your computer you might have some trouble with reloading safely

On the other hand, if you can read and follow instructions (even though they are tedious), and have the patience to work with small parts, gauges and simple hand tools, you will probably find reloading to be a rewarding challenge.

Seriously, one of the serious hazards associated with reloading is the dust from spent primers, encountered when you are handling media used for tumbling. The bullets aren't a problem, generally, but the primer dust is. Nitrile gloves and separating media outdoors is a good idea, IMO.

It took me a little bit of nerve to use a kinetic bullet puller the first time. You have to believe the primer doesn't go off on inertia, but requires deforming the cup and crushing the pellet against the anvil. Then you look at the design of the bullet puller, set up the cartridge, and whack it against something solid. Works just fine, but I found this more unsettling than handling primers or powder during the reloading process.

I believe many reloaders wear eye protection when reloading, though the likelihood of a primer going off is very low. I know I do. And it helps to realize that you haven't created a loaded round while you're priming. Once you have a primed, charged case with a seated bullet you have something that will create tremendous energy if it is fired, especially if it's in anything that resembles a chamber. So you don't reseat high primers, but pull the bullet, dump the powder, reseat primer, powder charge, bullet seat.

IMO, reloading isn't hard, but there are a lot of fussy little details that can be important if they are skipped or performed incorrectly. If you understand the process, you will probably have a lot more success than if you try to memorize it. And understanding takes a few weeks of study, typically, followed by a few weeks of experience. At that point you will probably feel somewhat confident and pleased with your results and will start asking advanced questions about powder selection. You might even buy a chronograph! :)

GW Staar
July 14, 2011, 11:30 PM
Sorry for the tome, but your question deserves a full answer.

I never had a kaboom reloading accident in 41 years, at the bench, or at the range. Knocking on wood.....and continuing to closely watch Murphy. (If it's possible for something to go wrong it will.) That said, when I first got my progressive, I let the primers run out once. Finished rounds that leak powder out the bottom is annoying, embarrassing, (if your friend, whom you just demoed the new toy to is laughing), but not particularly dangerous.

I'm not so special, anyone can load safe. I just takes the ability (and desire) to pay attention to details. If you aren't good at details maybe another hobby is there's no place for sloppy procedure in this hobby. As I am now starting the twilight years, I have to be even more vigilant than I was...forgetfulness is not forgiving. I carefully document loads I use and I take good procedure notes. Since I can no longer remember what I did last month perfectly, I reacquaint myself with what I did then using my notes.

I spent my first 10 years loading on a Rock Chucker, priming on the press without blast shields. That's dangerous since the whole tube can blow up in your face. Most progressive presses still use tubes that are prone to that kind of accident. Companies deal with the danger these days by encasing their primer tubes in blast tubes. That doesn't stop the accidents, but it does make it safer...especially if users wear hearing protection and eye protection. When a tube of primers in a blast shield explodes, the shield diverts the blast upward. So the worst thing that happens is holes in the ceiling, and if unprotected, ear damage.

Those first 10 years I had no kabooms, didn't wear protections, I was just flat lucky. Year eleven is when I heard of the dangers so I removed my press priming system and loaded using Lee's hand primers....first one at a time...then when they improved the tool, used their trays. I reloaded that way for 29 more years. No accidents with that system either....even using Federal primers sometimes (which Lee warned against). But I've never been a "if it won't go, force it" sort of guy. If a primer won't go in easy, I find out why, and fix the problem.

3 Years ago I joined the progressive club buying an RCBS Pro 2000 autoadvance. It uses their APS priming system, with primers preloaded in strips of 25. I find it safer and faster, and the best feature of the press. Primers can't all go off at once, like they can in tubes and trays, unless you throw a strip into the fireplace.

As for double-loads and squibs, if you load on a single station press, and do it right: each step in batches of 50 or 100, and you physically look at each batch after charging with powder, you aren't going to have a double charge or a squib, period. That's not rocket science, just common sense.

Progressives are another matter, since it's easy to make ammo faster than you can look. Lock-out dies work for pistol. For rifle, powder cops work , and lights & mirrors work too, either way you do have to slow down and look at each and every case to be sure.

The other "danger" is being stupid. I'm referring to getting a load off the internet, from a magazine, or from a friend, and using it without working up the load for your gun, and bypassing the published reloading manuals to find safe starting loads.

July 15, 2011, 12:24 AM
Reloading is NOT rocket science, it is a simple, albeit, repetitive process that requires you to FOCUS. I have taught my kids at the age of 6 to reload pistol and shotshell.

Why do all the new folks with the plethora of data from the internet and online sources have so much trouble with something that those of us who started before the net had NO issues with?

Has the intelligence level of the typical shooter been lowered that dramatically? The components and processes haven't changed..............GEEZ!

Well said.

I have not had problems with unplanned primer discharges in 31 years of reloading but will not say I will never have one.

I quickly learned what effort was required to do things like seat primers, seat bullets and resize brass. If I encounter a situation where I need greater force, I stop and solve the problem before continuing. The "don't force it, get a bigger hammer" routine is not appropriate when reloading.

Yes, I have had squib loads but have improved my techniques to minimize them. I did not have any for 25 or so years until I bought a progressive press. I quickly fixed that problem.

I am deathly afraid of double charges. Cartridges charged in loading block for single stage press reloading are visually checked after charging. The progressive has a powder check die on it.

I store powders away from my reloading bench and get out only the powder I am using at the present time. I never remove primers from their original packaging until I prime the cases. I check and recheck my reloading data before launching into a reloading session.

Reloading in itself is not dangerous, the results of poor reloading practices can be.

But, I guess I am a rare male, I read instructions.

Excuse me while I knock on wood and find my lucky rabbit foot. I'd hate to think I just jinxed things.

July 15, 2011, 12:42 AM
I started reloading in about 1969 or 1970. Shotgun mostly; using a set of tubes, a dipper and the bathroom scale. Did that for almost 10 years.

Then a single stage for rifle from a company that is long gone.

Sometime along about 1990 or 91, I bought my first progressive press. A few years later another, then another a few months later. Along the way I acquired two more single stage jobs and a hand press.

A couple years ago a shotgun press too.

Never had any type of kaboom, never a fire. I doubt I've even come close. Never had a squib. I don't have any checkers or lock-outs. I run a clean, neat set up, always. I figured once that I've loaded well over a half-million rounds, maybe closer to 3/4 million.

Only once did I have more than a handful of poorly made rounds. Enough to require me to spend an evening pulling.

Safe is something you just do; guess I've done it just fine.

July 15, 2011, 01:14 AM
I've been at it with pistol ammo on a Lee Classic Turret for a couple years now. IMO it's safer than driving your car. Just like driving tho, you need to be sober & paying attention. The devil is in the details.

Primers are actually very stable until seated (properly) in the case. Try seating them a little short & you'll find out. First trigger pull... "click" Now the primer is seated. Second pull... "BANG!"

I worry more about squibs than I do double charges. You would need to screw the pooch pretty vigorously to get a double charge with a Lee Classic Turret w/Auto Disc. It can be done, but you'd need to really not have your head in the game.

Never have more than 1 can of powder on the bench at any one time. Mixing up Bullseye with 2400 can really ruin your day.:eek: And don't guess. If in doubt, throw it out. Powder is relatively cheap. Eyes, fingers, guns, etc are not.

I wear eye protection when loading and shooting.

If something feels wrong while loading, it probably is. Stop & find out. Maybe a split case, maybe a .38 case got in with the .357 or a .380 with the nine... any number of things. You will develope a "feel" for what's right.

July 15, 2011, 01:31 AM
Worst accident I have had was back in the 60's. I was still living with my Mom and Dad and had a Lee Loader, (what you now call a "whack-a-mole). My parent s were facinated by the reloading process. We had visitors one evening and Mom wanted me to reload one for them to watch. It wasn't a good time to set the primer off while seating it, but I did. I guess I was the only one in the room that didn't have a guilty concience, because when it was over I was the only one there.LOL. :D

July 15, 2011, 09:42 AM
Reloading is NOT rocket science Maybe, maybe not, but this reloader sure launched one. :D

July 15, 2011, 10:20 AM
If you are careful and meticulous, you can make better/safer ammo than the factory.

If you shoot for factory production, and are careful and meticulous, you can still do better than factory quality ammo.

Take the careful and meticulous out of the equation, and all bets are off.

July 15, 2011, 04:03 PM
In loading thousands of rounds over more than 30 years I've never had a primer accident. I do not prime on a press. Once, many years ago, I lead a soft lead wadcutter lodge in a revolver barrel. Since then I load with the radio off, in an area by my self, and visually inspect every case before putting a bullet in.

July 15, 2011, 06:05 PM
I have been reloading only five years. I have never had a primer go off until I wanted it to. I have never had a double charge and had one squib when new. I think the worst thing I had happen was I got my thumb caught between the case and die on the upstroke once. Trust me you don't want that to happen. :cuss:

July 15, 2011, 06:49 PM
The last thing I want is to be hand-priming on the couch while watching tv and somehow blow my hands off.
IMO if the TV is going to be your main focus it's a bad idea. Reloading is very safe IMO but required total focus on the task at hand.

I have never had a double charge or had a primer go off when reloading. I have even de-caped a handful of live primers without incident.

You are speaking of loading 45's. I was at Cabela's today and the cheapest .45 Auto ammo was on sale for $19.99/50 rounds. Most times they are well over $24/50 rounds. That alone should convince you reloading is well worth the "slight" danger involved. (considering at current component prices I can load 50 rounds of LRN for $6.50 and FMJ for $8.50)

July 15, 2011, 06:53 PM
I "kilt" three vacuum cleaners on purpose, vacuuming live 209 primers.

That is my story, and I'm sticking to it...


July 15, 2011, 06:54 PM
Like Rusty the only mishap I have ever had was a few pinched fingers--it hurts but makes you more careful. Like many have mentioned-visually and carefully inspect each powder level prior to "bulletizing" if using a single stage press. I keep a strong hand held light on the bench just for that purpose-and helping me read fine print. Letters seem to have gotten smaller in the last few years-lol. I use loading blocks religiously even with small batches. Makes it easier to double/triple check. At the spring gathering we had a reloading class and the youngsters really loved it. They really enjoyed shooting their "new" ammo the next day. There are pics if interested-PM for links. My son recently got heavily into reloading so he could competively compete with his sniper buds. Must be nice to have a 1K range in your "back lawn". Gave him my 700 and he loves it.

July 15, 2011, 07:22 PM
Must be nice to have a 1K range in your "back lawn"
I would think I'm in heaven if I could shoot on a 1000 yard range any time I wanted... Wow, that is unreal!!! :eek:

July 15, 2011, 07:55 PM
I've only been handloading for a couple years now, and I started on a progessive.

I made an error or two, and learned from them. Loaded a squib or two and one double charge of a .45acp. Scared the crap out of me, sprayed my face with teeny brass particles when the case partially let goa at the base. I still have the case and keep it as a reminder.

Powder was 231, did not hurt the pistol one bit (steel 1911), but it destroyed the magazine and split both wooden grips.

In talking with other loaders, I found someone who had done the same thing, with similar results. Except he had Hogue wrap-around rubber grips, which "ballooned up" briefly but did not split.

So while I don't recommend it :) I don't think a double charge will do you or your gun any harm. Polymer gun? May not work out as well.

I do wear eye protection while loading, but (knock wood) have never had a primer go off.

July 15, 2011, 08:09 PM
Early in my loading career as a no rank, no money GI, I came into a stash of surplus .30/06 ammo. As it had corrosive primers, I pulled the bullets to salvage the brass. Having read all about crimped primers I didn't want to risk breaking the expensive decapping pin in my uber expensive RCBS sizing die so I made a decapping rod from a piece of steel and dumped water in the cases.

Next evening I started decapping by placing a case in the shell holder and tapping the primers out. Apparently, I missed one case with the water. The primer blew out the slot in the ram and I got a couple of powder burns on my left thumb and index finger.

The next batch got a double shot of oil and a couple days to soak.

July 15, 2011, 08:37 PM
Haven't had a squib in 30 years, but I did remove a chunk of flesh while decapping some .44 magnum brass. I had a good rythem going and didn't get the finger out of the way in time. Sharp brass tubing (case), solid surface (sizing die), huge mechanical advantage, zip! Right through the finger!

July 16, 2011, 07:40 AM
about as dangerous as driving you car.

The exact same as I tell my children.
This is a firearm.
In the right hands it's a useful tool.
In the wrong hands it's a dangerous weapon.

July 16, 2011, 08:33 AM
Has the intelligence level of the typical shooter been lowered that dramatically? The components and processes haven't changed..............GEEZ!

Only thing different is the internet. All this went only long before we had laptops and internet forums for entertainment.

Arkansas Paul
July 16, 2011, 10:04 AM
I have even de-caped a handful of live primers without incident.

Though I would never recommend this, I too have been known to do it. I bought some brass once and it had about five pieces with primers put in backwards. I put on the safety glasses, turned my back to the press and ran the stroke very slowly. No incident. Like I said, I would never endorse this behavior, I'm just sharing it so you know, primers aren't as volatile as some would have you think. That being said, you should still be careful, and probably not do like me.

July 16, 2011, 01:14 PM
As I am an old fart, with border line ADD, and easily distracted, I built my reloading room out in my office in the barn. The only noise maker, other than me, is my radio/CD player, and it is never on while I do any reloading. I even have to keep the blinds pulled, so I don't catch a glimpse of the occasional deer that meander through my back yard.

After taking those precautions, I have safely loaded a lot of ammo without incident. If I can keep focused on the task at hand, anyone can. :)

July 16, 2011, 02:41 PM
Been doing it for over 30 years and haven't had one single mis-hap.
Primer's are very stable to the extent I accidentally tried to doubel prime a shotgun hull on my Mec and nothing happened.
Powder charges are where we really get into trouble. Avoiding a double charged case is critical, it can kill you. To avoid a double charge case or the effect being excessively high pressures, I have always used slow burning powder's. The powder charge with slow burning powder is such that you can't usually squeeze a double charge into the case. And with many cartridges and slow burning powder a double charge or attempted D.C. isn't likely going to cause a KB.
Another area to watch is seating depth. A 9mm round seated .030" deeper than SAMMI recomended produced 63,000 cup opposed to the 28,000 cup it's tested to work at. The rule of thumb here is make sure you are not seating deeper than the listed OAL. A longer OAL can cause problems with feeding and other issues related to function, but it isn't going to KB your gun in 99% of circumstances.

July 16, 2011, 06:35 PM
OK, I will come clean on a near disaster. I thought it would be fine to smoke while loading, if I was careful lol. So I have my can full of powder that I use my dips in. Then I have the ashtray. :what: No I didnt confuse them :) I thought the ashtray had a grain or two in it, but it had way more. So I put out the butt and the ashtray spits out a bunch of sparking grains. I clearly saw one of them in particular, jump out in slow motion and land and fizzle out in the tin can filled with powder.

Arkansas Paul
July 17, 2011, 04:31 PM
You didn't call yourself any durogatory names after that did you icanthitabarn?

July 17, 2011, 09:26 PM
If I didn't, I probably should have. No doubt that I was thanking the Lord above, as he watches out for umm what type does he watch out for?

Jim Watson
July 17, 2011, 09:52 PM
So while I don't recommend it I don't think a double charge will do you or your gun any harm.

Heaven protect me from experts with a couple years experience.
The only gun I know to have blown up on the range here was almost certainly a double charge.
Shooter: "I'm done, out of ammo."
Helpful Harry: "Here, take some of mine."
Lessons learned:
1. Don't use ammunition loaded by somebody else. Let him blow up HIS gun.
2. Don't use Bullseye for max load .357 Magnum.

July 17, 2011, 09:59 PM
Heaven protect me from experts with a couple years experience.

Amen, Brother.

July 17, 2011, 10:01 PM
I've been at it for about 3 yrs. now, with no mishaps (except almost puncturing my thumb with a decapping/resizing die). In a former life I was a dental technician, and as such learned daily safety and awareness (open flame, torches, 1800 degree ovens, surgical blades, etc.). I have my 10 rules posted right over my bench, and every so often take a moment to re-read them.

The other night I was tired enough to neglect to visually check my charges when the cases were in the loading block; I dismantled all the bullet-seated rounds, and just to be sure, dumped all the charged cases back into the bottle and started over.

It's not the "experts" I have to be careful of—it's me.

July 17, 2011, 10:29 PM
15 years reloading. 8 with a Dillon 650. First batch on the Dillon I loaded a pair of squibs in 9mm. Stuck one in my M16 and the other in my Beretta 92. Knew I had a problem instantly with both guns and did not rack the followup shot.

No further squibs. Developed a very specific "rhythm" that I do not deviate from or stop in the middle of. It works.

Did detonate a primer once on my workbench, but not while reloading. Just about blew my finger off.

I dispose of any questionable components, regardless of cost. Turning a firearm into a hand grenade is not on my to-do list.

July 18, 2011, 08:09 AM
Win1892: How did you accidentally detonate the primer on your workbench?

July 18, 2011, 11:30 AM
I started reloading shotgun shells back in 72. Got into metallic back in 84. I have had one painful mistake that lasted for years and was due to my own stubborness. I was reloading 38spl. and did not use enough lube. Well the case became stuck in the die no problem I will just knock it out like I did with the last one.
I had been using a 22 cal. cleaning rod to remove the stuck cases. Stick it in the die and give it a good hard wack with the palm of my hand. It worked like a champ up to this point. So when the next case got stuck no problem grab the rod and wack. This time case refuse's to move,wack again with more force, no luck get mad hit rod hard this time. Results plastic handle explodes
rod bulges skin on the back of my hand and i stare at it for a few seconds say a few choice words and remove the rod.
A cyst forms that grows in the palm of my hand for years. It gets so big that I can't use my hand. I now have a 3 inch scar in the palm of my right hand where I had to have surgery. But all turned out well.
Simple things can happen to anyone that is why they are called accidents.
But my stubbornes can't be called an accident.

Ignition Override
July 18, 2011, 06:48 PM
No, but luckily the 'squibs' barely launched two .303 (.311) bullets, which blocked the next rounds from going into the chambers.

My solution (unless there is a better one): after the powder is in each case, slowly move a flashlight over each one, primarily to check that they have powder, and are at the same height.

Then do it a second time.

July 19, 2011, 03:22 AM
I've been reloading for 50+ years and the worst mishap I've ever had was hitting my head on something chasing a wayward primer around the floor. Listen to Cosmoline in post #6 and you'll be okay. I load my powder as a separate operation and set the case in the loading tray. Then look to see that the powder level is the same in all. Never had a double charge or squib. And I've never had a primer go off, even when I've crushed them when I missed one of those darn crimped primer pockets.

Foto Joe
July 19, 2011, 09:34 AM
I know the conventional wisdom is to begin your reloading career on a single stage press and I do agree, although....

After 10+ years of shotshell reloading on a progressive I got tired of shotgunning and switched to pistols. I started with a "Whack-A-Load" which I think is about the worst way you can imagine to seat primers and yes a large pistol primer in a 45 Colt case will make your ears ring for a prolonged period of time!!

After a year of using a Lee Single Stage I recently switched to a Classic Turret. What I have discovered is that the consistancy is much better. As stated in a previous post, you'd really have to NOT have your head in the game to double charge using this press.

Learn the basics first and the best way is on a single stage press. Limit your distractions, no radio, no TV and no smoking. The no smoking is more to prevent you from having to experience lead poisoning that blowing yourself up but both are an issue. If you enjoy the occasional "Adult Beverage", the loading bench really isn't the place. Spilling your beer on the bench can and will result in ruined components. Did I mention that you should limit your distractions?? Have a beer when you're boxing your finished rounds, not when you're making them. Valuable body parts are not something you want to attempt to re-grow.

July 19, 2011, 10:02 AM
I've been using a Lee Challenger since my dad bought it in the late 80s, and I got more interested in reloading than he did. I got a nice dented fingernail once with the decapper and a .223 case, but nothing bad. I've always used a ram primer in the press and haven't blown one, but I have smashed one in sideways and another upside-down. I got a Mec 9000g last year, and the worst I've done with it is to flip the shot bottle holder over while the red cap was off of the bottle. Luckily it was running low on shot, so I only dumped about 2 lbs. (calculated out to about 15000 BBs)

July 19, 2011, 11:44 PM
I have been reloading for only a few months now and although I have not had a problems but I also do not take anything for granted.

I purchased some 9mm used brass that was "once fired, cleaned and lightly polished from an indoor range". When I received the brass I was impress on how nice it was until I started counting out groups of 100 and putting them in zip lock bags for later reloading. I noticed a size difference on the cases and meticulously sorted out 119 pieces of .38 cases and one 9mm case that was fatigued and split on the side.

The point I am getting too is that you need to pay attention to every detail even before you sit down to your reloading machine and once you do that you should have no problems with being a safe re-loader.

July 19, 2011, 11:50 PM
Been reloading for 7 years - never had an accident. Have had some questionable things where I decided the risk wasn't worth it. IE, when loading up a batch of rifle rounds a few years back (probably about 50 rounds) I did as I always do: balance the scale, then set it to my desired charge. Add powder until it balances. Did that, finished the rounds. Came back out to the shed where I load the next day and the scale was 10 grains higher than what I was loading at. Now, the door had been left open and there's a good chance one of the cats or a chicken had been in there and bumped it (wouldn't be the first time), but I decided that it wasn't worth the risk. I didn't have a bullet puller at the time so I threw away the whole batch.

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