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Just tried to load for first time...questions and help!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Warp, Oct 5, 2012.

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  1. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Okay. I don't know if I'm just being an idiot here, or what, but I would like to say that the instructions that come with the Lee products are TERRIBLE. Anyway. Let's get on with it.

    #1: What is the preferred method for cleaning up powder you spill, well, kinda everywhere? Including carpet.

    #2. How do I get my primers to seat properly? I think they are a bit high as they protrude from the bottom of the case. I'm using a Lee Classic Turret Press with safety prime and CCI small pistol primers in .38spl cases at the moment (see picture of result below). They didn't always even seat like that, some were seriously wonky. What could I be doing wrong in seating the dang primer? It starts out sitting all nice and proper in the little cup, I move the ram/shell holder all the say down...I get what is pictured below usually but sometimes even worse or crooked. Why??

    #3. Is it normal for the Lee Powder Measure disc to throw noticeably less powder than the estimate given with the included chart? I was trying to get around 4.0gr of Unique as the starting load for .38spl with a 158gr LSWC. I selected the .46 disk opening which should have been about 4.2gr, and I was getting only about 3.5gr as measured by my Dillon beam scale. I moved up two slot sizes from that and was then getting about 4.1gr pretty consistently. Is that normal? The scale is zero'd at zero and dead nuts on with a 10gr check weight as well.

    :banghead:


    [​IMG]
     
  2. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    #1, many people will disagree, I pick up/sweep up what I can, and then use the vacuum.

    #2 I use the same press and priming system. I find that you simply have to use a lot of force with some primers in some cases. If you are using PMC cases, they will be harder to seat than othbers. RP cases are by far the easiest in 38 special. Try using more force. I have crushed primers and not set them off.

    #3 First of all, the numbers in the Lee chart will never be right. They are always a little low. Second, I have never had good luck with Unique in that particular powder measure.
     
  3. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Okay, thanks. I'll give this all another go tomorrow.
     
  4. edfardos

    edfardos Member

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    some lots of primers are too tall, cci was .003" too high one time.. Don't try to seat them further in loaded rounds. They'll be safe in a revolver. If they misfire in double action (no pre cocking), then you know you coulda seated them further (hammer energy goes into seating the primer and it won't detonate).

    try to apply more pressure, get'm at least flush. If these were autoloading rounds, they'd be unsafe.

    edfardos
     
  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    They definately arent that much too high! If he puts some more pressure, they will seat. It takes a while to get used to the feel of the priming on that press. I know it took me a few hundred rounds before I got used to it. I used to hate RP 38 cases, until I started loading them on the Lee Turret and priming on the press. Now I buy them every chance I can at a gun show, even if they dont get as many reloads per case.
     
  6. 918v

    918v Member

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    Get a Hornady hand priming tool. Use a vacuum. Get a Redding BR-30 and 10x powder measures, or a RCBS Little Dandy with the appropriate rotors. I also started off with cheap tools, but soon realized they weren't up to the task.
     
  7. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    IMO the lee auto disk is a very consistent powder measure, but yes the chart is always a little off. I use the lee perfect powder measure for my rifle loads and it has been very consistent. About the only thing I don't care for from lee is there scale, but I don't like beam scales anyway which is why I use a digital scale. I also use the lee turret press and have found that the primer arm is sometimes a little wonky, and that some cases are indeed harder to seat a primer in than others.
     
  8. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    1. I'm also in the "scoop up and save what you can" camp. An index card works great for this. Just vacuum up the rest.

    2. Don't be afraid to push the handle forward with some force to seat the primer... if you still have a problem... try different brass. As noted, some brass runs tight. I guess it could be an equipment problem.... but I suspect not.

    3. The Auto-Disk is a VERY consistant powder drop with ball powder. It also does very well with short stick powder (i.e. RL-15). I don't use Unique, because it is well known to not meter as well in the Auto-Disk. The tables are an estimate and will almost always throw light... just go one disk size up from the table value for your start point.... weigh and make adjustments as needed.

    These all sound like inexperience problems to me... which everyone went through at some point in time. I would keep working on your skills and not follow recommendations to ditch your equipment for more expensive kit.
     
  9. Warp

    Warp Member

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    No worries, I did enough research that I'm sure it's all operator error and not equipment. If other powders do meter more consistently than Unique I'll figure that out first hand by the time I get through the powders I ordered to start with (4lbs each Unique, 231, 2400) and take that into consideration the next time I get supplies.

    With healthy force on the primer seating they look good, and I got a pretty consistent 4.3gr with the slot a couple sizes up. It was certainly consistent enough for my purposes.

    Thanks all for the input.

    First 50 rounds complete. :)
     
  10. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    A lot of this problem comes from some powders being more dense than others. Unique is not very dense so it will fill the .46 hole in your disc before it's weight is correct. Titegroup and li'll gun is dense so it would probably weight heavy by the time the .46 hole is filled.

    Lee disc are callibrated on volume not weight, so you basically have to experiment until you find out which hole fits your needs.

    The chart will get you started but you will have to definately weigh you charge on scales to get what you need, reguardless of what the chart says.

    I use a pro auto-disc and have found it to be extreemly accurate at throwing consistent charges, after I defeated the static problem I had in my reloading room.

    The priming part of your question is something you have to learn for yourself by feel. Make sure your problems are coming from brass that had crimped primers. Their will be a ring around the primer pocket that will tip you off to it. They are mean to prime until you take the crimp out of the primer pocket.

    Good luck and don't loose faith. You have a good press there.
     
  11. Warp

    Warp Member

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    I almost mentioned this, and other things, but kept it short. What did the static problem do and how did you get around it?

    One of the things happening yesterday was that the granules of powder were sticking seemingly anywhere possible. When I would dump the powder from the case into the weigh boat for measurement, for example, several granules would stick to the edge of the case neck. I would push them off with the tip of a small screwdriver...which they promptly stuck to. Just examples.

    It was better today but I don't know why.
     
  12. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    As the graphite from the powder builds up on the measure and stuff the static will get less.
     
  13. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    My problem was my reloading room was air conditioned and the air was to dry.

    Powder sticking to all three of my powder measures was horrible but my powder throw were so inconsistent that it was varying up to .5 gr.

    Totally un-acceptable.

    My reloading room has a door that joins to my garage and I have to go open it and leave it open with the tops off my powder measures for about 1/2 and hour to let the humidy in, before I start loading and before I fill the measures.

    All three of my powder measures settle down to throwing consistent charges of being dead on to being only .1gr off as stated by the mfgs. as soon as I do this.

    Titegroup powder sticks to everything no-matter what.
    Universal Clays is only half that bad
    Power Pistol doesn't seem to stick to anything.

    The point is you are always going to have powder sticking to powder measures to some degree. I've never eliminated that. After I dump the powder out of my measure I stick the nozzle of my Ridgid contractor shop vac in there for a second,
    That cleans it out good and the nozzle fits all three of my powder measures.

    My Lee pro auto disc is every bit as consistent as my hornady and my uni-flow is. The volume vs. weight is a pain though.
     
  14. lead slinger

    lead slinger Member

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    get rid of the lee podwer drop or get the upgrade lee droper the good on is black and dosnt leak really at all. or go with a rcbs,hornday etc
     
  15. 06

    06 Member

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    Have quit using primer loaders and have gone to a Lee hand primer. Nice to "feel" primers go home. I size every pocket and flash hole and give the edge a turn or two to bevel slightly. They feed in more easily and it gets rid of any military crimp.
     
  16. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    fill the hopper with powder and hold the cover on and shake around.... dump back into the jug, refill and repeat.

    I cover my pro auto disk with a single sheet of aluminum foil (~4"x4") and then place the plastic cover over the top.... this seemed to help with static early on. It also makes the cover fit tighter. I also mark the foil with a sharpie to i.d. the powder that is in the hopper.

    The hopper is coated with carbon now and any static problems are long gone. I still use the foil for the other reasons mentioned.
     
  17. T Bran

    T Bran Member

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    For minor static problems I wipe everything with a dryer sheet. Some days I need it some days no static at all.
    I do however live in a very humid area within a very humid state.

    You may want to invest in a primer pocket uniforming tool or a hand held reamer as they will definately make your life a bit easier. At some point you are bound to come across some crimped pockets.

    Luck
     
  18. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    And Lee's naming conventions could use some work, too.
    I never do. I lay a dropcloth in my work area and just gather up everything (dropped spent primers, ash debris from the spent primers, spilled powder, small tools. Everything gathers in the center when I fold it up and I can sort it out easily.

    I never recover spilled powder. If it hits the floor, it is contaminated. Gunpowder is rich in nitrogen and makes good fertilizer. It is a hazardous waste, officially, so I don't use it on edible plants, nor so much that there is any chance of runoff.

    Besides, I don't spill that much. I am cheap.

    If I have a tablespoonfull, it makes good entertainment for the neighborhood kids and is a good object lesson in flammable materials. Remember, black powder explodes. Smokeless powder burns. It burns very fast, and burns faster (approaching explosive burn rates) when under pressure. But a tablespoonful will produce a bright hot flame 10"-20" tall for a second or two.

    Make sure the priming arm is all the way in the ram. The arm is SUPPOSED to do that by itself, but if there is something crooked, that might be the problem. Ensure the case is fully inserted in the shell holder, too and that the shell holder is all the way in the ram and centered.

    You should feel the primer start to enter the primer pocket, and then watch the movement of the press' handle/arm. It should move the same amount every time. I have my actuating arm positioned to that I can wrap my fingers around the press' frame with my palm against the handle/arm. This allows me to feel with great sensitivity how well the primer is seating.

    Then, pull the case and inspect the primer. Doing this before charging with powder, it is perfectly safe to re-insert the case and seat the primer deeper if it is insufficiently seated. The primer should be just a little below flush.

    If you attempt to seat a primer deeper after the case has (or has had) powder in it, there may be granules that fell through the flash hole, and could crush while you seat the primer deeper. This is not particularly risky, but if the worst happens, the primer might go bang. Just maybe. Probability is very low. Consequences are not too dangerous, but the reason we wear safety glasses when loading and keep clean underwear handy.

    Yes, the Lee Chart, the Lee Dippers and the Lee Powder Measure all throw light. But even if they didn't, I ALWAYS verify my powder charge drop with a scale (not every drop, but in selecting the dipper or cavity to use, and with the adjustable charge bar, where the adjustment is). Only after verifying that I am dropping the desired amount, do I actually start loading.

    Thanks for asking our advice.

    Lost Sheep
     
  19. Warp

    Warp Member

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    My spreadsheet says that I save, counting ONLY supplies, about $0.23 per round on .357 magnum and $0.19 per round on .38spl, which are the two I am currently set up to load. I also intend, at some point in the future (money permitting...) to acquire calibers with an even greater savings. 10mm, .45 GAP, .44 magnum, .454 casull, etc. And I intend to reload my 5.56 and .30-06 at some point.

    The amount saved with equipment calculated depends, of course, on how many rounds you get out of that equipment. I intend to get an awful lot before it's all said and done
     
  20. poco loco

    poco loco Member

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    The money saved depends on what you are loading and you can not count time as reloading is a hobby in its own right.

    I cast my own bullets and can load a box of 45 Colt for under 5 bucks with used brass....357 mag and 44 mag similar... rifle rounds too though the gas check adds 3 cents per and they take a little more powder.....

    even full house 44 or 357 magnum defense loads using XTP bullets and W296 powder is
    still under 20 bucks for 50 instead of the buck+ a round in the stores....

    Really, the only round it does not make economic sense to load is 9mm and if building a premium defensive type round it saves big there too......

    I find myself shooting to get my brass back on the oddballs like 7.65 Argentine, just so I can try another combo......

    Is there a Reloaders Anonymous?:uhoh:

    My name is Poco and I am a reloadaholic.........:evil:
     
  21. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Why he isnt having problems with that? I use ball powders and as long as the screws are snugged down I dont have any problems with that either.
     
  22. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Member

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    The bushings in the auto-disk are smaller, like many have said. There is an additional issue to be aware of, however: Each lot of powder will vary slightly in density, and even a given lot can vary a bit if the humidity changes. You have to confirm by weight which bushing will get you the closest to your desired charge weight. I personally use the perfect powder measure for all of my reloading, and with the powders I use, it's very rarely off by more than .1 grains. (BLC-(2), Red Dot, Promo)
     
  23. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    You are on the right track with the LCT, PAD, and Safety Prime. Keep after it and you will find you have the smoothest working, most cost efficient set-up available.
    Unique IS hard to throw consistent. Try your 231/HP38 and you will be amazed at how consistent it is.
    The Lee tables are only a starting point, and so far as I know Lee is the only measure that gives that detailed a table.
    I store my PAD with a rolled up, unused, dryer sheet in the hopper. Also use the sheet to wipe the scale tray when I start. As stated, running powder through the measure will soon coat everything with graphite. DON'T clean it off.
    Keep at it and good luck.
     
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