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A little bit preachy, perhaps: Reloading round count vs. time

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by beatledog7, Nov 16, 2012.

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  1. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Discussions in the reloading forum often focus on finding ways to complete the various the processes in less time, and that's fine to a point. But when a thread degenerates into something like, "I can make 1,000 rounds before breakfast" and "Oh yeah--well I can make 2,000 rounds on my lunch break," I say a little prayer for the posters.

    We all discover time-saving measures in the various reloading steps, and many physical devices to aid us are available. But regardless of that, the reloader must always be mindful that handloading ammunition presents some inherent risks that the loader must in some way mitigate for every single round. It is not a race. If you get to the point where you can make a batch of safe rounds a little faster than most of us, then that's fine if it's your goal. But to sacrifice any of the QC measures that a smart reloader always takes--just so he can up his per-hour round count--is unwise.

    If you have only an hour to spend reloading, and you plan to "crank out" 100-120 rounds, I suggest cutting that number to "as many as get done" and making sure every one is right. If by doing that you still made 70-80, that's great. But if you only built 30-40, and they're all safe to shoot, that's also great. Conversely, if you must make 100 rounds, don't lock yourself into a time slot. Make your 100, but don't watch the clock. Watch your process instead.

    When I help military shooters qualify, I see many who try to go too fast, thinking that if they don't go fast they will run out of time and at cease fire will have rounds in the magazine instead of holes in the paper. When that happens--well, it always happens--I stress this principle: Going slowly and focusing on consistency in your sequence of movements creates smoothness, and smoothness is the key to developing speed. In short, if you're smooth, and you'll be fast enough.

    Reloading is similar: going slowly and paying attention to the process greatly increases one's chances of getting from "they're probably safe to shoot" to "I'm betting my gun and my fingers they're safe to shoot." After all, that's exactly what you're doing. Practicing the process correctly--never leaving out a QC step--eventually leads to a faster possible pace. If you're ever reloading and find yourself thinking, "I have to get x rounds done in y time," please stop what you're doing and refocus. No matter how experienced we are, if trying to go fast means we lose focus on being safe, we put ourselves and others at risk.
     
  2. Steve2md

    Steve2md Member

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    When I had range Officer duty in the Army, that was my mantra "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast" The smoother you can make any process, the faster you will become at it, while maintaining accuracy.
     
  3. jjjitters

    jjjitters Member

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    Very good reminder. I have a progressive ,but I have yet to make the stated round-per-hour it is "rated" for or even what many say they get. I am too busy just eyeballing everything as I go and double checking everything over and over. Slows me down but I haven't had anything happen that wasn't suppose to and don't ever plan to.
    Too much "instant gratification" mindsets nowadays. Everything has to be done NOW, and with as little time/effort as possible.
     
  4. natgas

    natgas Member

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    Good advice indeed; I have too much fun reloading to hurry!
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    While I agree turning out a large volume of bad ammo does no one any good. If we are talking progressive presses, 100 or less rounds and hour would be unacceptable to many.

    There are some people that think putting in hours of work on a handfull of ammo automatically makes the end result better, just not true.

    This video shows my latest work. A little slower than I can run them manually but at 1800 rounds an hour I wouldn't call it slow. Makes my match ammunition every week and if I don't win, it's not because of the ammo.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. joed

    joed Member

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    A line from a Dirty Harry movie "Know your limitations".

    Not that I'm saying there's something wrong with you if you can't go fast but watch your technique.

    I turn off the phone, do not answer the door and avoid distractions totally. My presses are clean, lubed and adjusted before starting.

    And then I will concentrate on cranking rounds out. Sometimes I can hit advertised per hour round count and sometimes I can't. If I get any mishaps that tells me to slow down and I do.

    Reality is it's a repetitive task. If done right there is no problem and you're not giving up safety.
     
  7. blarby

    blarby Member

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    You and me both.

    It's more than a little sad to watch some of the newer hand loaders on progressives migrate from site to site telling their woes of exploded weaponry, or reloading machines....... sometimes body parts......... with pictures. Its very sad.

    But they still refuse to listen, and every time we point it out, we're seen as lecherous and tedious old coots- it's gotten to the point where I just don't get involved- in the forums, or in RL. These guys show up in the local loading shops, too- and at my local gunsmith.

    Saw one this weekend, as a matter of fact. Poor fella with what used to be an XD. Well, thats what the pieces said, anyway. I was there when he picked up his new auto-turret. He was so happy he wasn't going to need hours and hours to load 200 rounds anymore. He had a slightly different face, this weekend.

    My 'smith doesn't get to see a lot of guns torched by factory ammo. He's got a book of them torched by speedfreaks. He makes sure I look at it every time I'm in is shop complaining about ammo. Nice little reality check that you cant rush perfection. While I doubt that all of them ae solely because of unwarranted speed......... the wide collection of like-factory looking guns and their pieces does tell a certain story.

    Experienced folks playing speed games with each other is one thing. Posted publicly, it gives a lot of "viewers" the wrong idea.

    But, people can watch the TV they want, I suppose. "There's a smart way to watch TV"

    JMorris- I've been watching your progress on that machine....and I must say, I like it ! How much has that ended up costing you at this point, if I may ask ? I have no need for the ammo production that you do, but its still nice to see well made machines that work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  8. joed

    joed Member

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    And I agree totally with the statements by jmorris. Slow does not guarantee perfection.
     
  9. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I agree with everything you've said I've only been loading for a little over a year and advice like this has gotten me this far without issue. I've got two presses that say their good for 200-250 rds an hour I get 125-150 at a comfortable pace, and have no plans to try and go any faster. To me reloading is about quality not quantity.
     
  10. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    I agree completely that going slowly does not ensure getting it right, nor does going fast necessarily lead to getting it wrong. But you have to work within yourself. If in the beginning you think about the process rather than about speed, you will probably be a bit slower without consciously trying to be, and you will almost certainly be safer and more consistent. But you'll gradually become faster, also without thinking about speed.

    Once you've taken the time to properly set up your equipment, you still need to take QC measures. Industrial production facilities do this--why would we not? Stopping the process to check every x round or so, making sure everything is still working as we intended, is just good practice.

    It's going faster than you can go safely that gets people into trouble.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  11. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Member

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    I work to establish a natural rythm with my press, a Dillon 650. The effort is augmented by the Dillon RF 100 primer loader, which eliminates a tedious and boring activity that requires no skill or art.

    The number of rounds I can reload in an hour varies according to the caliber I'm reloading, and how I feel. I'm not competing with anyone, and since I am alone when I reload, no one knows what my production rate is; in fact, I don't even know that myself.

    "Never hurry when making love - or reloading"

    :cool:
     
  12. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    ambi--

    I don't know what mine is either, though I do know it varies by cartridge. Bottom line is, that's the point. Even if you're a licensed reloader who makes a business of it (and even there are caveats, of course), production rate pales in comparison to safety.

    Accuracy matters, too. Consistency drives accuracy, and going fast rarely enhances consistency. But that's another thread.
     
  13. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I can make 20 rounds in one hour.
     
  14. sbrader

    sbrader Member

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    I can't even guess at what my production rate is. I only have a single stage and I tend to do things in batches. I'll resize and deprime a bunch of cases and put them into a bin. Later, I'll prime them and flare the case a bit. At some point, I'll charge them and seat/crimp the bullets. I rarely do everything from start to finish in one sitting. It's a relaxing hobby for me and I'm afraid it would not be nearly as relaxing if I were trying to crank out XX loads per hour. Plus, I'm more worried about safety and consistency than I am about speed anyway.
     
  15. BearGriz

    BearGriz Member

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    Wow, that would be sad. A gun is one thing, but dismemberment is awful. More than once I have seriously considered getting into reloading as a hobby. I've had two hang-ups: Time and Fear. One of these days I may find the time, but these types of outcomes don't work to allay my fears.
     
  16. blarby

    blarby Member

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    They aren't common, but they are becoming more commonplace.

    The worst part is, its completely avoidable.

    These aren't required, nor necessary outcomes. Ever.

    They are complete failures. Born of some witches' brew of ignorance, arrogance, and hubris. As are many such brews, you don't need to drink it if you don't want to.
     
  17. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Perhaps it's all just blustery internet "my weenie is bigger, faster and better than your weenie" type talk.
     
  18. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Some years ago I worked for a sailboat manufacturer that was world renowned for great vessels. One day he announced he had installed an efficency program on his computer and we could see an improvement on production in the near future because of it.;) So after a year of watching how things and people worked and imputing data he showed us the results. We all had weaknesses and strong areas and the program showed where we could improve the bottom line by approximately 5% per boat. He said after each boat we could see another 4%-5% improvement also. I asked what our speed would be after the 100th boat was built. h
    He said lets see-------and imputed the data. The result was that the boats would be finished before we started to make them.:banghead:
    Yeah right.:what: Only so much speed and then the quality/safety goes into the ditch fast with anything.:D
     
  19. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    I pick how many I want to load and when they're done they're done. My time spent is almost always dictated by how much trouble the safety prime on my LCT is giving me. I'm easily able to keep up with how much I shoot since I've built up a stockpile over time.


    Brought to you by TapaTalk.
     
  20. hentown

    hentown Member

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    My time-saving technique is that I never read a thread in which the writer uses 1000 words to say what could be said in 50. :evil:
     
  21. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    I sometimes work as a range officer on a very busy local public range that sees 1000's of shooters each weekend. 30 benches on the rifle range and 20 bays on the pistol range. Waiting lines for both from about 10:00 to 2:00 every nice weekend.

    I would guess that I've seen about a dozen guns blown up by reloads. Every single one of them was using cartridges that were carefully and slowly loaded with either the wrong powder or the wrong amount of powder on a single stage press. The shooters usually had either 18 or 19 of them left, I guess they usually load in batches of 20.

    Most spectacular was a Remington 700 in .308. If I recall correctly, he was using a load of 47 grains of W231. He had mistakenly used the W231 instead of W748.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  22. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    I agree.

    Video teaching has been a great boon for our hobby. There's a lot to be seen and learned, as opposed to simply reading about it and trying to imagine. But when a YouTube starts off with "Watch how fast I can make ammo!" I tell all my novice reloaders to turn it off right then and there.

    The object never was or will be to make ammo as fast as possible.

    Just my 2 cents!
     
  23. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    I usually let these threads go by, and seldom read them, opinions being what they are.

    But 45_auto's post kind of struck a cord. Sometimes I think we do a dis-service making a big issue over some of the things people post. As has been stated here more often than not, it's not about the rate, or the equipment, but the quality, consistency, and safety of the final product. And that has as much or more to do with everything that goes on before and after the handle is pulled on the press than during the actual reloading cycle. I'm referring to the basics, like starting with good data, using the correct components, developing safe procedures from day one, taking the time to do quality checks/verifications during production, etc.

    I see a number of guys here who are very good about gently pointing out the flaws in an idea or an approach or a practice, without demeaning the poster. Keep up the good work guys!
     
  24. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    I take forever, even loading with the LNL. There are several causes, each with a reason.

    1. I don't try to do everything in one go around. The dies with higher resistance create press flex, which creates inconsistencies in OAL. I know it doesn't really matter, but my OAL spread is down to about 0.003".

    2. I hand feed the brass cases and bullets. I do a visual on each brass case as it goes to the press. Is the primer seated correctly? Any case mouth or case web damage? I'll catch it here. And before I seat each bullet, I look into each case. By verifying each case has powder, you virtually eliminate squibs as a risk.

    3. I will randomly recheck my powder measure charge. No heavy charges.

    This takes an epically long time. But forever missing fingers is even longer.
     
  25. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    A good thread for every novice to read, and maybe those 'not-so-novice'.
     
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