Am I too cautious in reloading? - THR

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Old Today, 07:21 PM   #1
Join Date: July 14, 2014
Location: NJ
Posts: 57
Am I too cautious in reloading?

Here's my procedure for reloading:
1. Tumble brass for 1-2 hours to clean them before resizing.
2. Lube, resize, deprime in press with die.
3. Tumble brass for 1-2 hours to remove lube.
4. Measure each case for length and trim, if needed.
5. Chamfer case mouths on RCBS Trim Mate Prep Center.
6. Pick out any walnut media in flash hole with an awl.
7. Remove military crimp, if needed.
8. Examine brass for defects, splits, etc.
9. Use RCBS Trim Mate Prep Center brush to clean primer pocket.
10. Prime brass.
11. Fill with powder.
12. Examine each case for under/over/no fill.
13. Place bullet on case and use seating die to seat.
14. Done!

So, am I too cautious in all my steps? Are these the same steps as others use? Does everyone measure each case length? Does everyone tumble the brass twice?
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Old Today, 07:29 PM   #2
Join Date: July 1, 2016
Posts: 45
i only tumble once and i only trim the first time. so while I'm doing less than you, i would t say you're over doing it. Ive seen much worse

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Old Today, 07:34 PM   #3
Join Date: July 14, 2014
Location: NJ
Posts: 57
Tumble when? Before or after sizing?
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Old Today, 07:36 PM   #4
Join Date: June 6, 2011
Location: Illinois
Posts: 706
I would skip #3 till after you load then just tumbel for 5 or 10 min
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Old Today, 07:36 PM   #5
Join Date: September 30, 2005
Posts: 8,193
Am I too cautious in reloading?
No such thing. If your happy and safe, not a reason in the world to change.

That said there are faster ways to get the same results but they also cost more.

If it's a labor of love and you like your results, keep on keeping on.

Added: I don't put dirty brass in a size die, if you want a clean primer pocket and don't want to tumble first get a decap die that won't size. Either a "universal" die or just one from a caliber so large it won't do anything except poke the primer out.
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Old Today, 07:38 PM   #6
Join Date: January 7, 2012
Location: nwkansas
Posts: 296
Good process. I measure a random selection and if they need trimming it is easier and quicker to set up my forster trimmer and run all rounds through it for all my rifle rounds but 223. 223 I am not as worried unless they are over max length for plinking. I do a more thorough process for 223 hunting rounds just like my other rifle rounds.

I size with lube, trim, chamfer and clean pockets before the final tumble. By tumbling after all the prep i can note what I did and load anytime.
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Old Today, 07:40 PM   #7
Join Date: October 19, 2010
Location: East TN
Posts: 6,585
I agree with jmorris.
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Old Today, 07:41 PM   #8
Join Date: October 22, 2008
Location: MN
Posts: 820
I wet tumble after sizing/depriming. That way the primer pocket gets cleaned and I see no harm in running "dirty" brass thru the sizing die. I've been doing that for decades. I think I read somewhere that the "dirt" or carbon on the brass acts like a little lube and prevents galling.

I measure and trim only high power revolver calibers where I need the crimp to be uniform. Usually one trim on the new brass suffices for quite a while. Not as critical with lead bullets due to the shape, but cannelured bullets I am more careful with the OAL on those.
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Old Today, 07:50 PM   #9
Join Date: September 30, 2005
Posts: 8,193
I wet tumble after sizing/depriming. That way the primer pocket gets cleaned and I see no harm in running "dirty" brass thru the sizing die. I've been doing that for decades. I think I read somewhere that the "dirt" or carbon on the brass acts like a little lube and prevents galling.
Just curious, if you believe dirt and debris act as a lube, why do you bother to clean them at all?
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Old Today, 08:01 PM   #10
Join Date: December 29, 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 7,395
Tumble brass for 1-2 hours to remove lube.
I will wash the RCBS water soluble lube off rifle brass. Then for various calibers, especially 308 rounds used in M1a's, I apply a dry lube to the clean case and shoot it that way. Pistol brass, I am currently tumbling my 45 ACP brass but that is more due to obsessive compulsive behavior than anything else. For many decades now, I never tumbled pistol brass unless the stuff was muddy, tarnished, etc. I sized and loaded the stuff.

I trim rifle brass because I don't want a long case neck in the throat. Once I trimmed 44 Magnum brass because I used it in a rifle. Afterwards I determined even trimming pistol brass for a rifle was a waste of time.

When you get a progressive you will no longer have to examine the amount of powder in the case. I am of the opinion that more double charges happen on loading blocks than progressive presses.

I recommend for rifle brass, that you hand prime and examine the base of each cartridge to determine that the primer is below the case head.
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Old Today, 08:06 PM   #11
Join Date: November 16, 2015
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 470
So, am I too cautious in all my steps?

Are these the same steps as others use?
Pretty much.

I use my reloading procedures as a printed checklist. Every time I reload, I print my procedures on a piece of paper and check off the steps as they are accomplished. That way if I get distracted, I know exactly where I left off. When I am done, the checked-off procedures are attached to my load data sheet and either filed in a 3 ring binder or folded up and taped to the ammo box containing the loaded cartridges.

My procedures are 20 steps long, but I include as explicit steps such things as:
  • Verification nobody present has been drinking alcohol (I use Federal Aviation Regulation 91.17 - generally no alcohol within the previous 8 hours),
  • Nobody is eating at the bench (who needs crumbs in with your powder?) and
  • Only components for only one caliber, one powder and one bullet weight may be on the bench at any time.

I inspect my brass before doing anything else. I then deprime it as a first step with a decapping die. I wash it in a weak acid (such as Lemishine or Vinegar) and detergent in place of the first tumbling.

I also include objective criteria for inspecting the brass (i.e. degree of tarnish based on reflectivity, measuring diameter of case near the head to see if it is bulged, etc.) as well as additional post-assembly inspection.

But, in substance we're doing pretty much the same things.
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Old Today, 08:32 PM   #12
Join Date: January 19, 2016
Posts: 364
I tumble after resizing/depriming. I inspect cases after belling; that's when splits can occur at the case mouth. I do check powder level before seating bullets.
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Old Today, 08:38 PM   #13
Join Date: December 7, 2008
Location: Mount Desert Island Maine
Posts: 5,883
I also do much the same as you do but some of the steps are in a different order. Sometimes if the brass is not nasty dirty I only tumble once with SS pins/Dawn/ Lemmishine after they are sized/decapped/primer pocket crimps removed etc. Never did like picking corn cob "lint" out of primer pockets either. You can get a finer grade of media to use that will not plug the primer pockets at all.

If this is the procedure that nets you the best possible brass for you to reload then I would not consider it excessive either.
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Old Today, 08:40 PM   #14
Join Date: September 19, 2006
Location: Adirondacks of NYS
Posts: 1,060
A person can never be too cautious when reloading.

For non bullseye pistol loads, simply tumble then size with carbide no lube is needed.
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Old Today, 08:52 PM   #15
Join Date: August 29, 2012
Location: Lassen County, California
Posts: 1,761
I would say to reduce one step, use a smaller grit of tumbling media. It won't get stuck in the flash hole. Otherwise, you can't be too safe.
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Old Today, 09:31 PM   #16
Join Date: January 30, 2009
Location: Sawtooths
Posts: 920
Sounds like the OP is doing a good job. I make sure oal is within specs, lube, size and prime.
then powder and seat bullet. With pistol rounds and carbide die skip the lube and open the case mouth is added. I wipe lube off with cloth. My rounds are not pretty but have done 10s of thousands without problems. I admire you guys that make them pretty and are exacting in all the steps...I have too many other hobbies to take the time. lol
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Old Today, 09:36 PM   #17
Join Date: May 7, 2015
Location: Colorado
Posts: 648
I don't think I've ever inspected as a separate step. If I'm handling an individual case, it's getting inspected again.

Through the prep process they tend to sort themselves out, too.

I don't know if there is such a thing as "too safe" when building your own bullets
But, thats just my opinion.
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Old Today, 09:51 PM   #18
Join Date: April 17, 2012
Posts: 1,406
Nope, you pretty much covered the basics of loading rifle cartridges. Pistol brass only needs tumbled once, doesn't need media picked out of pockets and wont ever need trimmed.

3- 15 minutes will do.
4- I use a WFT for my 300blk brass. Nice thing is that you dont need to individually measure or case gauge brass before trimming. Just run every piece through the trimmer. If it needs trimmed, it will get trimmed. if not, it won't. Only takes a couple seconds a case and is much faster than mic'ing each piece of brass.
5- I chamfer all of my new pistol brass but only because I load cast bullets and because you don't trim pistol brass, you don't ever need to chamfer again. I don't chamfer my 300blk cases when using fmjbt bullets. No need, the trimmer doesn't leave any burrs and the bullets seat just fine. Flat base rifle fmj bullets- yes chamfer.
9- Not needed.
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Old Today, 09:55 PM   #19
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Join Date: August 13, 2005
Location: Clay Center, Nebraska
Posts: 1,368
You do more than I do, and I suspect that as time goes on, you will find some of your steps unneeded, especially depending on the reason for the load.

My plinking loads have fewer steps than my hunting loads...........a misfire, or other hangup at the range when "playing" is nothing more than an annoyance, when hunting it could mean the difference between having Bambi and not having Bambi in the freezer.
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Old Today, 10:50 PM   #20
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Join Date: October 19, 2013
Location: Southern CA
Posts: 2,092
Am I too cautious in reloading?
Caution is a good healthy thing.
(even if maybe I didn't learn it until about 19 or 20)

The only person you have to please with your process is yourself.
There is a lot to be said for if it's not broke don't fix it.

The outdoor range where I shoot has really sandy soil so a lot of time the first thing I do is toss it all in a bucket of soapy water for a bit to rinse the sand away.
I examine the brass before the first tumble, since I generally need to sort it anyway.
I get rid of any cases that are split, steel, aluminum, not boxer primed, or I just don't like the looks of, no reason to waste any time on them.

Before I got my wet tumbler I did a quick tumble for about 1/2 hour before resize/deprime with corncob to do a quick clean to protect my dies.
Then a longer one after I had the primers removed.

If you are just trying to remove the lube I would think about 1/2 hour in corncob would do it.

Frankford corncob media seems to be small enough not to stick in flash holes, tried Lyman walnut (with the red stuff) but got tired of it sticking in flash holes.

Caution is always a good thing.
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Last edited by Dudedog; Today at 11:07 PM.
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Old Today, 11:09 PM   #21
that's 3
Join Date: August 28, 2016
Posts: 3
No not at all.

You are doing it correctly, best to start out correctly later on you can cut back some if you like.
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