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Loading large lots of handgun ammo on a single stage. TIPS?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by R.W.Dale, Jul 7, 2011.

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  1. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I'm setting out on another (my 3rd such) 1000rd loading binge on my RC this time 9mm Luger and 115g MBC "parabellum" bullets.

    I've worked out a fairly good system where I size/expand cases 100rds at a time here and there till all 1k are done, after which I'll prime all 1000 sitting on the couch watching TV in a couple hours. The actual loading takes place in 100rd batches here n there when bored. The entire process will likely take me a week or two.

    Now to you progressive users this may sound like torture. But for me I enjoy my bench time and am in no hurry for this ammo as it will likely last me a couple years.

    Now that I've outlined how I'm doing things I'd like to hear about your process from those of you who also load large lots on a single stage. Hopefully we can learn a few things from one another and streamline our processes.



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  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    There is a reason we have AP presses, time saver. I would probably use the press to prime would save you many many hours. It's a bummer to spend 2 weeks to load and 2-3 trips to the range to shoot them up.

    May want to add the turret to it to speed things up.
     
  3. fields

    fields Member

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    Do all of the steps one step at the time. I might do 2,000 at each step, sometimes.
     
  4. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

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    My first tip would be to find someone with a Dillon that would invite you over for 2-3 hours. Barring my first tip, you pretty much have the procedure down. Be happy you aren't loading on a whack a mole set up.
     
  5. DeMilled

    DeMilled Member

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    I'm in the same boat as you, R.W. Dale.

    I process the brass in large lots (500-1000) and stay on each step my single stage RC is set up for.

    When I get to the actual powder dump and bullet seating I switch to running smaller lots but only because I'm working up a load of .357 LTC and don't know which one my revolver will love.

    One thing I have done to stay organized is to have enough shoe box sized containers market with each step I'm working on. I take the box that is currently full, from the last step in processing I just did, and set it on the work bench. The box marked with the step I'm currently on is on the floor at my feet so that I can pull the shell off the shell holder and just drop it in the box.
    I like to have my station set up so that I make as few movements as possible and get into a rhythm that gets the job done fairly fast.

    I think this is one of those jobs where there are not too many different ways to skin this cat. Patience and relaxing music work best for me...
     
  6. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    I use two single stage presses in tandem. Size on one and move to second press to expand. Seat on one and taper crimp on the other. Makes it a lot easier for me. Presses are side by side. Just finished 1000 rds of 9MM 124 Gold Dots. I too work for a while and stop. Takes me about a week also to finish 1000 pistol loads. A second press isn't very expensive especially if bought used on several different auction sites.
     
  7. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Thanks for the input fellas. I'm surprised how many of us single stagers there are.

    On the time thing again I'm not in a hurry. With it 104 outside and me working out in it 11 hrs a day I'm just thankful for the hobby time that can be performed indoors in the AC. Its so infernally hot aside from my CCW qualification the 23rd I may not go shootin again for several weeks making this my loading season rather than the winter time for most northerners.


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  8. colt1911fan

    colt1911fan Member

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    I will be in the same boat just ordered a new SS set up
     
  9. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    Does the RC have the ability to prime on press?
     
  10. codefour

    codefour Member

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    I recently bought a Pro 2000 progressive. It really speeds things up.

    But before that, I loaded thousands of rounds on a single stage. All my handgun brass was deprimed, cleaned, sized, trimmed if necessary, and belled. I would then place them in storage. for example, I had 2,000 to 3,000 .45 ACP's ready to go at one time.

    I would then prime 200, chrage 100, seat and crimp 100, and finsih the second batch of the 100 primed in the same manner. I coud do 200 rounds in about 90 minutes..
     
  11. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Yes but it's laboriously slow and fiddly on my RC IV. I haven't used the feature in years in favor of a Lee ram prime for low volume rifle loading or a Lee hand prime for handguns


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  12. Cherokee

    Cherokee Member

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    Reads like you have been following your process for a while and have it down. So, guess you do keep records/notes on where you are in the various steps with each batch of cases. I follow similar steps. I have a Dillon 650 but I still do a lot of processing & loading on the single stage presses I have. I size and inspect all cases on the single stage. I also hand prime (Lee) all cases, watching TV as you. For SS loading, I use loading blocks to keep the cases organized in the powder charging and bullet seating process, doing up to 200 in a batch. You are not alone. For the Dillon, I just dump the prep'ed cases in the hopper, set my powder measure and start loading.
     
  13. Vacek

    Vacek Member

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    This is based on my Lee Single Stage Breech Block and Lee Dies for 9mm

    I also single stage it. When I am doing 9mm I also prime at the same time I deprime and size. NOTE: the brass has been tumbled first.

    Then I have the little Lee press setup for the perfect powder measrure and my Breechlock for seating the bullets. I factory crimp as the last step.
     
  14. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Mounting a disk in a dremel and flaring and radiusing your shell holders entry for fast loading really helps with shuffling the cases in and out in one pass. sweep the sized case out between little and ring finger and load with a case between the thumb and index finger. Shallow loading blocks for short cases really helps with speedy handling. When you hit the groove with this method you can hit about 1 case per sec. that's the fun part. Flaring and priming unfortunately requires my thumb on the primer arm so no double shuffle. I'm too picky about bullet seating to double shuffle on that stage. I like maximum case tension thus I flare only enough to barely get them started without shaving. If indeed you do flare enough to really stick your bullets in the case it's no problem to double shuffle for seating too. just keep the powder hopper full, easy to have a bullet come loose and make a mess.
     
  15. mortomr

    mortomr Member

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    New term (for me anyway) the "double-shuffle" - I do that too, different fingers - same idea, thanks Shimitup!
     
  16. Para Cassatt

    Para Cassatt Member

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    I too only load on a single stage RCII. I do process and prime brass in 500,1000 & 1500 round lots but I seldom load more than a couple hundred or so at the time. I like the old primer tube and have only used this method since I started. I have no tricks to speed up anything but for safety I have found that charging a single case with powder measure and placing it in the press for bullet seating works well for me. I just don't like having powder out exposed to humid air longer than necessary and I can stop without having to cover things up. Knock on wood, I haven't had a double charge so far.
     
  17. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    Yeesh. I load on a single stage too but the most I've ever done at a time was 200. As Blue hints at, it's very, very disappointing to know how many steps it took me to make each and every round and know that I'm undoing that every time I pull the trigger.

    Just personally, I see a turret press in my future. When I first bought my equipment it was for loading rifle rounds. I tend to load those no more than 20 at a time. Loading 20 cartridges on a single stage is cake. It's just not cutting it for the handgun ammo though.
     
  18. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    One tip I have is for flaring and/or additional crimping. Turn the shellholder to the right, and put a bin there to catch the shells/cartridges. When you put the next shell in, the last one gets pushed into the bin. You can flare or crimp at a rate of close to 30/min.

    http://s688.photobucket.com/albums/vv241/gloob27x/?action=view&current=loading002.mp4

    Actually, since you prime in a separate step from sizing, you could also do this for the sizing/decapping stage.

    If you can't snug up a bin close enough to your ram, you could rig a little ramp/slide on your bin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  19. Afy

    Afy Member

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    I used to load handgun ammo on a single stage. Got boring very quickly. Not having a powder drop the single longest stage for me was measuring the powder out on the DPSIII.
    Now I just go over to my BIL's place and use his progressive to churn out lots of 1-2K.
     
  20. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I would do it in large batches at a time. Priming would be with a hand primer, I use a single prime Lee "older model or a K&M priming tool. I have 2 single stage presses mounted side by side, one flares case and drops powder, the other seats bullet and crimps the bullet. Would easily do over 500 in one evening, could to all 1,000 in one long evening.
     
  21. amlevin

    amlevin Member

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    I used to load like this and found that the best way for me was to do it step by step on every piece of brass.

    De-prime and clean all brass.
    Size all the cases and clean again to remove lube (only need a short cleaning this time around)
    Trim everything that didn't fit in the jaws of my caliper set to the desired size.

    Prime all of it.

    Then sit down and load by adding powder and seating bullet one at a time until tired.

    For the few calibers I still load on my single stage I start the process by de-priming with a universal de-capping die shortly after I bring the brass home from the range.
     
  22. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    On a single stage press, I do things in batches per operation. I resize, trim if necessary and clean shortly after shooting so this step is done frequently then the cases are stored for future loading. I resize them all, trim them all then clean.

    Loading is done in batches of 100 to 200 mostly because of the space I have on hand. I prime all of the cases with a hand primer, then charge all the cases, then seat the bullets and then crimp if I am crimping. Finally, cartridges are boxed. If I am loading more, I start the process again until I have the quantity loaded that I want.

    By concentrating on one task, I can get into a rhythm and be more efficient until I have completed the batch of brass. I then move on to the next task.
     
  23. bfoosh006

    bfoosh006 Member

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    Find yourself a "RCBS Case Kicker"....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85XGNxFpT90
    (watch the entire video to see its use... saves you from having to remove the case from the shellholder... )

    I bought one for my first RC, it has not been remove once in 15+ years.
     
  24. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    +1 to all the guys that say do it all in batches, this really speeds up the process a lot for me. I do all the brass processing at the beginning. I polish 1/2 hour to get the dirt off, lube and size with the decapping pin removed, polish again till the brass is as clean as I want. Then I will deprime using a universal tool, remove primer crimp if necessary, bell the neck if necessary, trim to length as needed. Then set up with a hand primer and prime away, then put aside for loading in closed containers. I will do this to all the fired brass I have up to a 5 gal bucket full at a time. Then when reloading I will put the brass in loading blocks primer up as a check for backwards/crushed/high primers. Fill several loading blocks at a time, this step saves time for me also. Then charge cases in that block, look in cases to compare propellant level with good light and set aside till all loading blocks are filled. Seat bullets and do a QC check. If crimping do it before QC but I often do not crimp unless I have to for specific problems, tube feed, revolver movement etc. I will do in batches that will not make me tired. With prepped brass I can do 200-500 in an evening The brass prep is the time consuming part of this process for me and something to do on those long winter evenings.:D
     
  25. billybob44

    billybob44 Member

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    Yes it does. And I like to "feel" the primer seat "home" with some of the tight ones.
    Most common handgun done on my Dillon RL550-Most rifle done on my RockChucker. Bill.
     
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