Novice Mistakes


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whubbard
February 21, 2012, 08:46 AM
So I've only been in the business of reloading for 2 months now, but I thought I would share some things I've learned along the way and some mistakes I've made as well. Hopefully it will help some others as they begin to reload.

1) You will buy many more accessories/tools than you initially plan on.
Just some I've already picked up: Hornady Lock'N'Load conversion, RCBS powder stand, primer pocket uniformer, flash hole deburring tool, Lee Factory crimp die, etc. Are these all necessary, absolutely not.

2) The Full Length sizing die is smaller than the Neck Collet sizing die
Well, it took me a while to figure this one out (sadly). I'd watched all the lee videos on setting up the dies 4/5 times each, but I never really paid any attention to exactly what the dies looked like. I just assumed (and made an ass out of myself) that the larger one had to be for full length resizing. It took me trying to feed LC machine gun fired brass into what I thought was the neck sizing die, as I thought it had already been fully sized, to resize a slightly bent neck before understanding that the die clearly required lube. Put 2 and 2 together (got 4 :o) and than realized my mistake.

3) If you crush the collet on the Lee Collet Neck die, you have to seriously open it back up.
Lee recommends you don't ever close the press on the die without brass in for this reason, but it can still happen sometimes. If you notice your brass it being squished down into the case it is likely the collet. Open up the die and seriously open up the gaps in the collet. They should taper outwards to the open end.

Hope this help somebody. I'll add some more later.
West

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whubbard
February 21, 2012, 04:26 PM
Some more. I guess these aren't all mistakes; but more things I've learned.

4) Don't bother with corncob/walnut media and vibratory tumbling.
I haven't yet been able to purchase as rotary tumbler and stainless steel pins, but as soon as I have the funds I will. The costs are close enough and ease and quality of the clean is worth the extra money.

5) If you are hand seating a primer and it becomes stuck, transfer the holder and case to your press and deprime.
After looking at the primer following it being mangled in (with the use of a vice), it is something I will certainly never do again. I knew it was dangerous as I put on gloves and ear pro (I was already wearing eye pro), but it was only when I saw the jacked up primer that I realized how much. Just take out the shellholder and deprime.

GLOOB
February 21, 2012, 04:29 PM
6) Don't try to use the Lee Auto Prime shellholders on your press. Your common sense is right on this one. Listen!

whubbard
February 21, 2012, 04:41 PM
6) Don't try to use the Lee Auto Prime shellholders on your press. Your common sense is right on this one. Listen!
I'm using RCBS shellholders, RCBS Hand priming tool and an RCBS press so it's okay! I just don't think I want to have to crush a primer using a vice again, I'm pretty sure I was applying over 100lbs of pressure.

rcmodel
February 21, 2012, 04:48 PM
Sounds like "someone" needs to ream or swage some Gi crimped primer pockets!!

rc

Samari Jack
February 21, 2012, 05:26 PM
I haven't got into rifle reloading yet. I have a .308 & 5.56 but don't have a case trimmer or the other stuff needed for rifles. A friend of mine, really anal about his rifle rounds, even counts the grains of powder. I don't have the patients for that and killed my interest. This is for pistols.

Mistakes I've made learning to use my Dillon 550B:

The unit comes with the large pistol primer installer in place instead of the one for the small pistol primer. Resulted in primers not installed properly till I caught the mistake.

The outside diameter of the primer pickup tubes for the large and small tubes have the same outside diameter. Naturally, I started out with the wrong one. Results=more messed up primer installation.

The directions for creating the bell at stage two that come from Dillon flares the brass more than is necessary. I called Dillon about this and they said 15 thousands was plenty for most brass instead of 20 listed in the direction pamphlet that came with the unit.

My Lyman reloading manual only lists one OAL. It's not a one size fits all as I first thought. I reloaded 12-15 before realizing something wasn't right. I printed out the correct length for each bullet weight using the internet from the powder supplier.

The crimp setting needed a lot of tweeking to get right. I used factory rounds as a guide initially. After researching types and amount of crimp, I think I now have a grip on what is needed for each bullet, lead or jacketed, etc.

Don't scrimp on the small stuff. I didn't have check weights to start and trusted my beam scale but "trust but verify" is good advice. Makes for a lot less anxiety over powder weight.

I tried to get by without a bullet puller. Found myself putting marginal bullets in the "to shoot" box that should have gone into the "pull bullet" box. Tempting to do so to not waste rounds.

There is no such thing as to much light over the loading bench or table. I like to be able to SEE the powder before the bullet goes on.

Having a dust buster handy to clean up messes is a good addition.

My loading bench is an old Black & Decker workmate table with a roll around secretary chair. Works very well. I clamped a board in the vise part to form a trough to hold bullets and duct tape over the holes.

Out of the first two boxes I had one bullet that went spwett instead of bang. Had to scrounge up my wood dowel rod. What happened was when I checked the weight of the powder, I dumped it back in the hopper and put the brass under the powder funnel, stopped, and came back to the bench later. Instead of filling with powder, I progressed it to stage three, where the bullet is placed. Another related issue, I had a failure to feed where the bullet, powder, and brass followed each other into the chamber in trail (no crimp), or at least tried to. Had to field strip and clean. I now have a set routine. If something interrupts my routine, I start over. I don't leave any stations open if I have to stop loading. I have a habit of daydreaming with assembly line type tasks and have found it better to stop if I go off on a mental tangent.

After loading about 1500 or so rounds, I've developed a "feel" when something isn't right. Most feel issues involve seating the primer. Learning my equipment.

I'm having to mark across the primer with a magic marker to tell new from reload, even though they are kept in seperate boxes. I suppose that is a good sign. I'll load a mag in my carry gun and then a few days later forget where they come from new or second time around.

rsrocket1
February 21, 2012, 05:56 PM
Load the minimum number of rounds you need until you are absolutely sure you have the right load dialed down. Otherwise learn to be good friends with your bullet puller.

Use case lube sparingly. A thin uniform film is way better than a splotchy thick film. Case lube does not spread out over the length of a case just by the sizing die. A build up of case lube has nowhere to go except toward the vent hole and will dent the shoulder.

A crimp doesn't do the majority of holding the bullet in the case, it's neck tension. Your cases must have enough neck tension to hold the bullet and initiate the powder ignition and pressure build up. Crimps only hold the bullet in and prevent setback or pullout due to mechanical bumping and jarring.

Don't force anything, you'll likely just break it. This includes primer seating, depriming and stuck progressives.

When loading, if you have any interruptions, take all cases out of the press and start from station 1 when resuming. For fewer squibs and kabooms.

whubbard
February 21, 2012, 06:15 PM
Sounds like "someone" needs to ream or swage some Gi crimped primer pockets!!
That's exactly what happened. I didn't have the Dillion Super Swager tool setup to swage deep enough. It's setup properly now.

After loading about 1500 or so rounds, I've developed a "feel" when something isn't right. Most feel issues involve seating the primer. Learning my equipment.
&
Don't force anything, you'll likely just break it.

This seems to be very good advice that I'm slowly learning. When done properly reloading should be a nice smooth process. The use of force seems to be absent in any good setup.

Novice Reloader
February 21, 2012, 06:20 PM
I should probably watch this thread...

Question: It's possible to make hollowpoint rounds, right? You just need a hollow point bullet mold?

beatledog7
February 21, 2012, 06:24 PM
Check your powder charge. Did you already check it? Are you certain? Good. Now, check it again!

New to reloading? Read. Study. Get a single stage press and learn how to use it. Don't over equip your bench with a complicated press that muddies the water and that you aren't ready to use.

Choose one caliber to load, buy quality components for which load data is specifically available, start with published starting recipes, and work up slowly based on actual range results. Practice with that one caliber until you can't get it wrong (and never believe that you can ever really achieve that). Then start another.

With all that said, just one more thing to remember...

Check your powder charge. Did you already check it? Are you certain? Good. Now, check it again!

TheCracker
February 21, 2012, 09:24 PM
A friend of mine, really anal about his rifle rounds, even counts the grains of powder.

WOW!!

That's some dedication. I've never heard of that! I can't even imagine doing that!!

rcmodel
February 21, 2012, 09:37 PM
Question: It's possible to make hollowpoint rounds, right? You just need a hollow point bullet mold? Yes, No.

Casting hollow-points is possible, although the amount of time and work to make them for any more then occasional shooting makes it pretty pointless.
They are extreamly dependent on proper casting alloy to even open up without shattering.
Or not opening up at all, and acting just like a SWC cast bullet.

If you want HP's, buy them.

even counts the grains of powder.Anal isn't what he is.
Clueless is what he is.

You can bet the farm 500 counted out numerical grains of powder have nothing at all to do with 500 grains weight of powder.

And you can count out another 500 physical "grains" of the same powder and get a completely different grain weight.

I don't care who ya are.

rc

orionengnr
February 21, 2012, 10:00 PM
4) Don't bother with corncob/walnut media and vibratory tumbling.
I haven't yet been able to purchase as rotary tumbler and stainless steel pins, but as soon as I have the funds I will. The costs are close enough and ease and quality of the clean is worth the extra money.
Are you kidding? Have you checked the cost of a Thumlers Model B and the SS pins?
I have bought three vibratory tumblers. Put together they cost less than the Model B, which goes for ~$155 (plus shipping). Did I need three? No,but I am prone to excess. :)
I gave the $40 Frankford Arsenal to a friend, have been using the $50 Cabela's one for several years, and the $45 Hornady is a spare (currently on loan to a new loader). I could get by with any one of them.
The pins go for about $50 (plus shipping, because they are not available locally). I can buy a lifetime supply of walnut or corncob (or both) for that price.

That said, I will probably end up with the SS tumbler and pins, but it certainly won't be due to cost savings, or because I see any advantage to cleaning the inside of cases. (Hell, I don't deprime before tumbling. Nobody sees the inside of my cases or primer pockets but me.)

I will do it because I'm a tool junkie, and because I can sell the vibratory tumblers and media and "kinda/sorta/almost" break even.

If I were starting out, there is no way I would spend $200+ for an SS tumbling set-up. A vibratory set-up (including media) for ~$50 will get you into handloading just as effectively, and most new loaders are getting into handloading to save money, not spend more of it.

rcmodel
February 21, 2012, 10:02 PM
If you are not getting good, or great results with a vibratory tumbler and walnut & corncob?

You are doing something very wrong.

I got past the wet cleaning methods in 1960 something.

Drying wet cases is a PITA!!
I don't care who ya are.

rc

ranger335v
February 21, 2012, 10:03 PM
"Hope this help somebody. I'll add some more later."

Sounds like in only two months you've learned all those things that were mentioned in the instructions are correct as stated. ??

You will learn to enjoy wet case cleaning too. At least until you learn it's a messy PITA and meaningless to your reloads.

Greg Mercurio
February 21, 2012, 10:08 PM
I'll take the high road on this one and just say thanks for sharing. I would hope that by now some of you have gone back to the manuals you probably skimmed and actually read them. The Darwin Awards has plenty of candidates, they need none from the shooting fraternity. :)

And for the record, I make errors as well. As anyone who reloads knows, we're seldom perfect reloading machines. I have a Camlock puller, a collet puller, and an inertia puller.

whubbard
February 21, 2012, 10:36 PM
I'll take the high road on this one and just say thanks for sharing. I would hope that by now some of you have gone back to the manuals you probably skimmed and actually read them. The Darwin Awards has plenty of candidates, they need none from the shooting fraternity.

Greg, when you say you're going to take "the high road" and then imply that I'm going to kill myself, not really the high road. But I do think you're post was well intentioned, it just came off sour.

I always find it ironic when browsing over various gun forums everybody likes to think they are better than everyone else. I don't know about you all, but when I start something new there is a good chance of errors. I don't care how many times you read the manuals (I have 4 and have read them all) mistakes will be made. My biggest one, switching two sizing dies. The cost, 8 pieces of brass. Had the primer blown when being crushed, I would have had no damage to myself as I had placed myself between a barrier and the case (not that it was even necessary). In regards to it all being in the instructions, sure, the lee instructions say to open the collet back up if crushed, they don't specify how much.

I am extremely careful with the powder. Beyond reasonably careful. I also inspect to see that all primers are seated flat. Finally I inspect all cases for defects.

I came here to share some things I had learned. To pass on knowledge. Many seemed receptive and some shared their own knowledge. I plan to continue to share what I've learn in this process. If there are those that want to insult me for doing so, fine.

gamestalker
February 21, 2012, 10:39 PM
I'm concerned that you may not have enough fundamental experience reloading, and I think it would be wise to go back to square A for safety sake. An individual that reloads would most certainly know that counting granules of powder would have no value, not too mention how inherently dangerous a cartridge loaded in this manner would be.
I mean absolutely no offense.

whubbard
February 21, 2012, 10:42 PM
An individual that reloads would most certainly know that counting granules of powder would have no value, not too mention how inherently dangerous a cartridge loaded in this manner would be.

What? Really? The fact that all my cases contain the same amount of powder is dangerous?

Mind Blown

beatledog7
February 21, 2012, 11:17 PM
An individual that reloads would most certainly know that counting granules of powder would have no value, not too mention how inherently dangerous a cartridge loaded in this manner would be.

What? Really? The fact that all my cases contain the same amount of powder is dangerous?


Consistent charge weight is essential, but counting granules is not how one achieves it. A scale is the way.

whubbard
February 21, 2012, 11:23 PM
I always use a scale. Never mentioned doing it any other way.

beatledog7
February 22, 2012, 12:40 AM
Whubbard,

Post 18 noted that counting granules would be at best pointless, and in Post 19 you seemed to question that assertion. Thus my post.

whubbard
February 22, 2012, 03:56 AM
No worries beatledog. I understood what you were questioning. I'd never bother counting granules, can't even believe that's possible. Considering I only said I was very careful, I assumed I was being called out for measuring ever powder throw.

GLOOB
February 22, 2012, 04:58 AM
Drying wet cases is a PITA!!
I don't care who ya are.
Actually, it's quite easy. Just put 'em in a vibratory tumbler with corn cob media. Of course, if you're gonna do that, anyway, might as well just tumble them clean while you're at it! That's exactly what I do. Sift them around in hot water and dish soap to get out the dust and grit. Grab them by the dripping handfuls and dump straight into the tumbler with the lid off. The cases and media are dry well before they're done cleaning. Doesn't take long at all. At least not in the Arizona desert. :)

Greg Mercurio
February 22, 2012, 10:47 AM
whubbard: No offense but jeez. Did you miss the smiley? I guess humor is lost on some. I'll stop.

unknwn
February 22, 2012, 12:19 PM
I really can't figure what all the fuss is about.
After learning that the pros of stainless pins in a thumler's FAR outway the cons of dry vibratory case cleaning I learned the low effort/high satisfaction method of drying my wet brass:
After rolling them back and forth in the large towel I dump them into a brass sorting plastic strainer and hang it above the exhaust side of the dehumidifier that dries out my basement. The air blowing out of the dehumidfier is both warm and dry. After a few hours or so,they are as dry as you could expect.

Simple, low effort, no additional cost. What's there to argue about?

dbarnhart
February 22, 2012, 12:47 PM
6. When using the RCBS Primer Pocket Swager, get your thumb out of the way before you pull the handle.

:-) (I bet you can figure out how I know that)

Dentite
February 22, 2012, 05:20 PM
I want to eventually get into wet SS cleaning. I use vibratory with walnut but I don't like the small amount of dust (and no dryer sheets are going to remove ALL the dust). So after vibrating I rinse them off good in a bucket. Dump them on towel and roll them back and forth for 30 seconds. Dump them into a container and leave in the garage for a while and they are nice and dry here in AZ even in the winter.

I've decided I dislike wiping off sizing lube enough that now I just dump them into a container, then I go wash them off and repeat.

Won't work easily if you want to go from sizing to seating in one day but if you are batch processing it's no big deal for me to wash the brass. Oh...and I get waterspots but they don't bother me that much.

More than one way to skin a cat that's for sure!

Ryanxia
February 22, 2012, 06:06 PM
As someone hoping to get into reloading/handloading I find this thread interesting, not to mention the stickies are helpful in this section. :)

mcdonl
February 23, 2012, 12:53 PM
My "favorite" mistake so far.... tumbling 9mm with .45ACP brass... Oy Vay... talk about a pain in the butt!!

788Ham
February 23, 2012, 01:25 PM
I've cleaned my brass to get the fired, black crap off the cases. They're easier to inspect for cracks, or split necks, plus they load and extract a little easier also. I don't think because I clean the brass, I'm going to win first prize at the grange picnic or county fair, seems like some really go to a whole lot of non-sensical BS to do a simple job, and the tumbler does that for you.

gilly6993
February 24, 2012, 11:45 AM
I've made plenty of mistakes but the most important thing I've learned is never force the press while doing anything.....nothing good ever happens...

whubbard
February 24, 2012, 11:49 AM
I've made plenty of mistakes but the most important thing I've learned is never force the press while doing anything.....nothing good ever happens...Any stories gilly?

gilly6993
February 24, 2012, 11:56 AM
Any stories gilly?

As embarrassing as theses are here's a couple that come to mind.....

I have a Hornady AP and I remember when I first started the press would go all the way up on the down swing....instead of taking a step back and looking things over I mad sure it went up with some pretty good force....turns out there was a primer jammed in the feeding system and I would up bending the rod that guides the feeder....

Another time I was loading 9 mm and a case would size/ deprime.....well I forced that sucker in there and turns out I had a 22 case inside the 9....well I jammed the 22 on the depriming rod that it ruined it.....

Another good story....if you have the wrong plate on the press it's not good....I had a 45 plate on the press while loading 9's....didn't get very far as the 9 case got stuck in the die....got it our with the help of this site but it ook some time....

long story short....the few extra seconds it takes to step back and look over the situation will save a lot of time and money by forcing something

rsrocket1
February 24, 2012, 12:09 PM
My "favorite" mistake so far.... tumbling 9mm with .45ACP brass... Oy Vay... talk about a pain in the butt!!


A reloading anti-god must have invented cartridges such that 9mm, 40 S&W and 45ACP fit tightly inside each other and make tumbling a PIA.

I heard that if you put the larger cases in the tumbler first, they fill with walnut/corn cob and won't get the smaller ones stuck inside them.

My thought is that if you've separated them already, why would you want to mix them back up again only to have to separate them again!

Samari Jack
February 26, 2012, 08:05 PM
My "favorite" mistake so far.... tumbling 9mm with .45ACP brass... Oy Vay... talk about a pain in the butt!!
.380 ACP & 9mm tumbled together = a lot of sorting with a sharp eye and re-tumbling.

ArchAngelCD
February 26, 2012, 08:48 PM
I should probably watch this thread...

Question: It's possible to make hollowpoint rounds, right? You just need a hollow point bullet mold?
I own a Forster Case Trimmer (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/614276/forster-original-case-trimmer-kit) which is actually a small lathe. Forster makes a Hollow Pointing Tool (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/371968/forster-universal-hollow-pointer-1-8) that adds a hollow point to the bullet. I don't own one but I have seen it used and it's actually quite fast and works well.

Make your favorite LSWC bullets and practice with them. Then load up a dozen or so for carry and cut a hollow point into them. That ya go...

jeeptim
February 28, 2012, 01:32 AM
WOW!!!!!!

longdayjake
February 28, 2012, 01:42 AM
I too will have to chime in about how good a vibratory tumbler is. Just use it right and it is plenty good enough.

fatmanonabike
February 28, 2012, 02:21 AM
Found on youtube.
If you are using a Frankford Arsenal bullet puller, forget the fiddly aluminum collet/o-ring assembly. Use a shell holder instead. It works orders of magnitude better and locks down tight as well. With a bit of practice (unfortunately) you can pick up the defective round directly with the shell holder saving some more handling time. Be sure to point the shell holder entry towards the handle. The OP seemed to feel like it distributed the forces more evenly and it made sense to me.

jfremder
February 28, 2012, 08:33 AM
Found on youtube.
If you are using a Frankford Arsenal bullet puller, forget the fiddly aluminum collet/o-ring assembly. Use a shell holder instead. It works orders of magnitude better and locks down tight as well. With a bit of practice (unfortunately) you can pick up the defective round directly with the shell holder saving some more handling time. Be sure to point the shell holder entry towards the handle. The OP seemed to feel like it distributed the forces more evenly and it made sense to me.
Just dont try this with a high primer and an off centered cartridge...

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