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loaded my first box tonight - Thanks

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by J_McLeod, Dec 5, 2010.

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  1. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    Loaded my first box of 9mm tonight. Thanks to everyone on THR for all the help and advice with learning to do it.

    It took me a week to load the first box, because I wanted to make sure I did it right and safely. Final load is 4.7gr on 231, CCI 500, and Magtech 115gr FMJ, with a OAL of 1.155 +/- .005 except for a few. Going to take them to the range on Tuesday.

    I had a lot of doubts about the Lee perfect powder measure, but worked well and was very consistent. I weight the first 25 charges, every 5th and the last 3 and it was always on. Managed to break one of the dies though.
     
  2. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Mr McLeod -
    Congrats. I know you've worked hard.

    Let me tell you what MAY happen so you don't get too discouraged. 4.7gr is the "starting load" for 115gr. You did good there. But you loaded too many. What if 4.7gr doesn't operate the slide? You'll get to disassemble 45 cartridges!

    If you have bullets and cases left, I'd advise you make 5 each of higher level loads for your outing. Load 5 at 4.8gr, 5 at 4.9gr, 5 at 5.0gr, etc. That way you could shoot groups on new targets and come away knowing what load is best for your gun.

    THEN go home and load 50 at the RIGHT level.

    ;)
     
  3. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    RF,

    Thanks, I hadn't considered that I would have made too many for that reason. I've got a plan though. If the first 5-10 don't cycle reliably, but appear otherwise safe, then I have training ammo. Toss them in large can of BVAC reloads, and I get 40 chances to train on clearing malfunctions.

    I bought in bulk, so I've got over 1k brass and 2k bullets left.
     
  4. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    You're doing good. You'll go far.

    But get about 6 variations on that load to take with you and 6 fresh targets. Then shoot them from an arm rest of some sort. Your outing will be so much more educational and fun. You'll come home grinning ear to ear KNOWING your best load.

    And "knowing" is pretty strong ju-ju.
     
  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I get excited when I read posts like this. It reminds me of my first time loading .45acp. My lowest loads of 700x were far from cycling the slide. Its a great hobby though and will enjoy it immensly.
     
  6. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    Went to the range today and shot every round I had loaded. Surprisingly, not only did every round fire and cycle, but it felt a bit hotter than what I normally shoot. Worked well in my PF9 and XD9. I'm going try scaling down the load a bit.
     
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Glad to hear your ammo worked out well, good for you!
    W231 is a Ball Powder and ball powders meter very well. That's why all your charge weights were right on.

    One question though, how did you break a die??
     
  8. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    The decapping pin broke. After I finished the box I started processing brass and was resizing/decapping them. After I few hundred a .38 super round got on the ram that I did't catch until it wouldn't go in the die. A few rounds later I tried to ram a case that wasn't completely seated, and it didn't go all the way. I fixed, and it worked, but the next round also wouldn't go. So I looked and the decapping pin was bent. Tried to fix it with my pliers and it snapped. That die had seen about 300 rounds.
     
  9. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Don't feel bad. I've bent and broke a couple of pins myself reloading my first few thousand rounds. I figure that it's fairly normal since the replacement pins came as a pack of 5 :D

    I've only been reloading for about a year myself but I'm about 6000 rounds into the game and reloaded about 5 calibers in both pistol and rifle. But mostly 9mm and .38Spl.
     
  10. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Just contact the die mfg & they'll send you a new decapping pin.
    They may charge for or they may ship one free.
     
  11. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Congrats of the great news!

    Scaling back is certainly something you can do as a reloader. It would be really nice to know what the minimum is for that powder in that gun. Two things to remember....

    • When you load this set of test cartridges, you'll want to fire the "starting load" first and work downward to the first sign of trouble. Don't just arbitrarily pick something really low like 2.3gr and start working up, because....

    • Some powders have higher pressures with too small a load. Tool little powder can have a staggered detonation, or simply burn unevenly since there may be too much "unfilled volume" inside the case.


    Be safe. ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  12. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    I am new to this as well so my first inclination would be to try a different powder before you go under published specs in your book. It seems that all powders burn just a little different. I quite using power pistol because I don't like how snappy it is, but I found other powders that work well. I gave my left over Power pistol to a friend who uses it in his Ruger 460.
     
  13. orrwdd

    orrwdd Member

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    McLeod,
    If you are a new reloader, I would be cautious about firing my highest test load first. I am sure that wobbly was assuming that you would be starting at the minimum load and working down from there. As he said some powders do have a potential to create dangerous pressure at tiny load levels

    The normal way to develop a load is to start at the starting load (no coincidence that it is call that) with 5-10 rounds and then move up by .1 or .2 grains at a time. Use caution if you get close to the Maximum published loads. Look for signs of pressure like split or bulged cases, melting primers or hard extraction or brass stuck in the chamber at each level. If you see these symptoms, stop and reduce your load a tenth of a grain or two.

    I use new targets for each test load and mark them what the load is. You can then compare the targets and determine which load gives the best accuracy. I keep them for later reference.

    Hope all this helps.
    Bill
     
  14. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Bill -
    You're right to call me on my wording. On re-reading it could have been confusing. Thanks.

    I've corrected the post.
     
  15. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    JM, congratulations.

    If you aren't already, consider using a tiny bit of case lube even though you are resizing in a carbide die.

    My own procedure is to run a lubed case, then 9 clean cases, then another lubed and so on. This is usually enough to ease the resizing process - easier on you, on the die/decap pin, on the press.
     
  16. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I used the Hodgdon data, that gave the starting load of 4.7gr of Win 231. When I fired it, the first few rounds felt snappier than I was used to for 115gr, so I immediately picked up my brass, and inspected it, but found signs of danger. I've seen other companies suggested loads for the same powder and bullet go as low as 3.6, but not much higher than 5.2. I think I'll go a bit in each direction and see what I like best. Is Win 231 one of the powders that can create more pressure with a light load?
     
  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Not really. Even though W231 is a Ball Powder it can be downloaded and by a lot. Of course down near the bottom of the pressure range it will be a little dirt but not too much. I load very light loads for the .38 Special using W231 and I mean light! (148gr DEWC)
     
  18. 54lariat

    54lariat Member

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    Congrats on your first batch! It is a great hobby, for the last few years and 30k+ rounds I have had an excuse when the wife has errands to run.:evil:

    I would recommend several reloading maunals, I have Nosler, Hornady, Speer, Sierra, Lyman and so on. You will find in the future one book wont have the data for what you are loading, or you will want to check on several publishers before making a decision.
    And anytime I go out to the range (ranch) I press out several differant variants of the same bullet, and find my sweet load. Just bring a notepad!!

    So what kind of press did you go with?
     
  19. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    I have a Lee Breech Lock Challenger. The progressives and turret were attractive, but I kind of like the single stage too.
     
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