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What clever little things have you "invented or discovered" that you can share?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by James THR, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. dodgestdshift

    dodgestdshift Member

    Feb 6, 2003
    Marilla NY. (outside Buffalo)
    When weighing powder, whenever I go over the wanted weight, I remove some of the powder into an empty container, reweigh the powder and if necessary trickle from that container. This means that you will never go farther off than since it is very easy to trickle from a small amount of powder.
  2. mc223

    mc223 Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Just Down the Road
    I mounted my MEC shotshell loaders on 16X16X1in aluminum plates. I can just take them from thier storage shelf and sit them on the bench to load. The plates are wide and heavy enough to not tip. Yet light enough not to cause any internal body damage while moving.
    I made my own version of a Primer pocket uniformer with an 8 point reamer that I ordered from a machinery supplier, a bullet meplat trimmer from a 1/4 in 4 fluted endmill, a case trimmer for 223 using an endmill and a piece of scrap steel, a case mouth straightener which is just a Taper pin mounted in a handle.
    Put used dryer sheets in your tumbler, they pick up dirt and crud from the media. To refresh corn cobb media I use a capfull of NU-Finish car polish( no it does not contaminate powder or primers. it is not a wax. it is a solvent, thats why it will remove oxidation from auto finishes and make your brass realy shiny).
  3. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    another thread reminded me of this...

    if you have rifle dies that have an expander ball, polish the expander. If you don't they may be rough. This makes the ball hard to pull thru the neck and also contributes to case lengthening

    Remove the expander and chuck it in a drill. I use emery cloth with oil on it. A few seconds really polishes it up.
    DavidG likes this.
  4. Darth Muffin

    Darth Muffin member

    Nov 9, 2005
    Hornady One-Shot spray lube is great. I spritz my pile of pistol cases with it before sizing them. Even though I have carbide dies it still helps. Just a quick spritz is all you need, I don't get all of the cases nor do I get both sides.

    I've been covering my workbenches with vinyl floor remnants for a while now. I love it. A great feel to work on, easy cleanup, and you can get remnants cheaply.
  5. Ian Sean

    Ian Sean Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    So many great tips and ideas! :)

    Maybe this thread should be made a sticky?
  6. caz223

    caz223 Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    SW Michigan
    Copied word for word from another thread. I'm just too lazy to retype it all over again.

    I go to the local dollar store and get no-name freezer bags, the gladware containers, and use them in conjunction with my ammo cans.
    I load ammo until I have gone through 200 primers, then I dump the ammo in a gladware container. I put on a numbered lid, and keep them in sequence. Then I verify everything again, and start loading until I get to the desired number.
    Then I dump them into a white plastic tray that .45 acp blazer ammo came in, nose down.
    Tip it and shake to level it, then check all the primers, if they are all good, I put another tray over the bullets, flip it over, then take off the top tray. Voila, I am now looking at the bullet end. I check for OAL variations, deformed bullet noses, make sure the brass isn't wrinkled at the neck, etc. I grab one or two bullets at random and drop them into a case gauge, and dump them into a freezer bag. I do that 3 more times, and I have 200 in a bag. I get a small piece of paper, and write on it some essentials like the date, the load specifics, the sequencing number (Like 201-400 of 2000), etc, then drop it into the bag, and throw the baggie into the ammo can.
    It's too easy for me to lose track of what I'm doing and make a bunch of bad ammo if I don't follow my routine.
    My system makes it easy to keep track of things, and if you throw empty brass or different loads into your can by mistake, it won't ruin your whole day.
    It's also easy to figure out how much ammo you have left, what it is exactly, how long it takes you to shoot 1000 rounds, how old the oldest ammo in your 9mm can is, etc.
  7. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    North Texas
    I must admit I haven't been keeping up with this thread.

    I wasn't too concerned, because I have a system that works well for ME. I recently rcvd a msg from redneck2 suggesting the sticky idea, for benefit of new loaders, so I went back and took a look. I see there's a similar suggestion from Ian Sean.

    There's some really good tips here. Mebbe I'm not too old to learn after all. :D I'll float this thread to the top of the forum, at least for a while. Thanks for the suggestion, guys.

  8. Seismic Sam

    Seismic Sam Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Afton, Minnezotah
    One stupid thing I did once....

    which can be translated into some good advice for others is to ONLY keep ONE container of powder on your reloading bench at any one time, no matter what!!

    One day I was reloading some 10mm loads with Blue Dot, and got done and poured the rest of the powder back into the black plastic bottle with the blue label. Then I screwed the cap on, and put it down, and then fiddle around for a minute, and picked up ANOTHER powder bottle to put it away, and saw it was the Blue Dot powder bottle! :what:

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!! :cuss: So what bottle did I wind up pouring the Blue Dot into?? Turns out it was my bottle of RL-25, which also has a blue label. :banghead: Realizing that the RL-25 was hopelessly contaminated, I did the only thing useful thing you can do with scrap smokeless powder, and I went out to the garden and sprinkled it over my hot pepper plants. :fire: For those of you who may not know, the high nitrate content of smokeless makes it very good fertilizer, and my peppers got very big and hot that year.
  9. James THR

    James THR Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    The round plastic knob that came with my Lyman Mag-T has always irritated my hand because it has a groove cut into the circumference of the ball.

    Today I was in my local hardware store and they had the exact size round wooden (Teak) knobs. I bought one and drilled and installed it. The smoothness and the nice feel of wood under hand is miles ahead of the plastic knob that comes with the Mag-T. Amazing how small little improvements like that can make a huge difference.
  10. Steel Talon

    Steel Talon Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    Cochise County AZ
    Ear foamy in bottom of kinetic puller, protect bullet tip damage.

    Be careful on using shell holders with kinetic bullet puller, A club member had an explosion the primer was sideways in .243 case used shell holder case trick somehow case shifted in shell holder and got a bit under the holder on the down stroke ,detonated.

    I use a sharpie marker and directly mark load weight ,powder, primer, and bullet grain on side of cases when I load develop.

    I add a capful of Nu-Finish car wax to my tumbler media.

    I built my own strong-mount out of 1x6 common pine, stained etc. based on Dave in Florida's plan! Thanks for posting that Dave...

    Use uncle Dons Tips to set up your Lee Load-master. Thanks Don

    To use dry graphite lube for locks etc. suspend in rubbing alcohol filled in hand sprayer. delivers graphite flawlessly and into hard to get to places, Rubbing alcohol evaporates leaving graphite.

    Steel Talon:cool:
    jradisch likes this.
  11. 44and45

    44and45 Member In Memoriam

    Mar 3, 2003
    Northern Wisconsin
    Primer catchers for Lyman AA press, and C-H 4-Die station press

    The All American Lyman turret press has never had a primer catcher as long as I can remember, have developed a knurl knob brass plate to hold primer cup that is easily removable to dump contents. The orange cup was made from a plastic pill bottle.

    The C-H 4-die station pistol press has a primer catcher that rises and falls on the shellholder platform to dump spent primers into white cup below.


    Attached Files:

  12. mrmeval

    mrmeval Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Greenwood, Indiana
  13. High_Cap

    High_Cap Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Dryer Sheet Uses

    I don't know if this one has been posted, but I have done this for a while now. I take half a dryer sheet cut it into 1" strips and throw it in with my tumbling media.

    Reason being is the static doesn't build up and the media does not seem to get dirty. The dryer sheet will come out totally black and collect all the dirt from the casings. Media stays cleaner and lasts longer. Plus you don't have the static cling to the media.

    Also the work great for getting rid of any static like on powder throwers, media bowls, and others.

    And of course makes your brass smell like mountain air.:D
  14. Mantis

    Mantis Member

    Sep 30, 2003
    I can't take credit for this, but it's a similar idea: Home Depot or other places carry plastic wingnuts that perfectly fit the nut on a Dillon powder bar. Press the nut on and you can easliy turn it by hand with no tools.
  15. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    A few.

    BTW, I'm an absolute believer in Imperial Sizing Die Wax!

    1. Ultrasonic cleaning tanks are great for cleaning brass before tumbling (with used dryer fabric softener sheets, keeps the media cleaner longer). That's especially true with black powder .44 Special and .45-70 brass!

    2. The little plastic primer trays that are left over after you've used 100 primers make darned good drink coasters!

    3. Never use your wife's sooper-dooper Dyson jet-engine vacuum cleaner to suck up those unfired primers you drop every now and then. Trust me. :what:

    4. If you're in the habit of leaving powder in the powder measures of your Dillon press, do yourself a favor and rubberband a card or sticky note to the hopper with the powder type and charge weight. Don't assume the charge weight is dead on after coming back to the press, either. Weigh it.

    5. An RCBS case mouth deburring tool can also bevel the top edge of primer pockets, so if the military crimp isn't too deep...

    6. Some European brass brands use smaller flash holes than their American counterparts. RWS brass woke me up to that, so a pin vise and proper twist drill are sometimes appropriate before one bends another decapping stem. :eek:

    7. Crisco, lard, and beeswax make a pretty darned good BP lube, but it's a pain filling up a Lyman lubrisizer with the stuff.

    8. Several brands of case trimmers have arbors configured to chuck into a cordless screwdriver/drill. That's a lifesaver!

    9. A taper crimp on hot .357 magnum loads works much better for plated bullets than a roll crimp. You don't want to cut through the thin plating into the lead underneath. Wonderful for the Desert Eagle!

    10. Seen elsewhere on this forum is my Microsoft Access reloading database. I always document my loads and the subsequent results. It's nice to come back to earlier work and know exactly what did and what didn't perform.
  16. cmb3366

    cmb3366 Member

    Sep 29, 2003
    Southwest Virginia
  17. LongShotsin10

    LongShotsin10 Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Connecticut - yuck!
    Replacement for STP

    Rooster Wildcat CFL-56 case lube - never had a stuck case with it and clean up is much easier then STP. 2oz goes a long ways! :)
    Track of the wolf has good prices on it!
  18. Mantis

    Mantis Member

    Sep 30, 2003
    +1 on the Imperial Sizing Die Wax. I've been using the same 2oz tin for years, and I'm not even close to using it up yet.
  19. lamazza

    lamazza Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I use wire pulling lube-wax based and you can buy a huge bottle for a bout $3
  20. Darth Muffin

    Darth Muffin member

    Nov 9, 2005
    I have a frankford arsenal brass tumbler (cheap from midwayusa). The bowl is held in with a wing nut. It's a real pain to get that wing nut all the way up and down the threaded center post to get the bowl off.

    I replaced that wing nut with two spacers I bought from Home Depot (in the nuts and bolts section). Now I only have one wing nut to remove. Saves 2 minutes and my wrists each time I clean a batch of brass now. It also keeps the lid from deforming too much when you tighten the top wing nut down (to keep it from vibrating loose).

    BEARMAN Member

    Feb 24, 2003
    Screw driver

    I shoot COWBOY ACTION and most of the screws on early style guns loosen up after a lot of shooting, so you have to always have a screw driver in your bag. I didn't invent this idea but I made one up real quick after seeing one. Take a rimmed rifle cartridge(I choose a 25-35 win) and drive the screwdriver bit from an electric screw driver in where the bullet would go. Solder it in place if necessary. This cartridge case handled screwdriver can now slip into your cartridge loop on your gun belt. If you pick the right size bit it will tighten most of your pistol and rifle screws right at the loading table where you usually find them loose.
  22. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

    Sep 24, 2003
    Midway sells a "speed nut" to replace tumbler wingnuts. It has an oval shaped threaded hole. It simply slides down the threaded shaft to the bottom, then you twist it down tight. To remove, you unscrew a turn or two, then it slides all the way up and off with no more screwing. Wish I could say I invented it.
  23. toecutter

    toecutter Member

    Oct 11, 2006
    Peoples Democratic Republic of **********
    Case cleaning made easy

    Before sorting big lots of brass, I wash it in a solution of water, vinegar, laundry soap and salt according to the following formula:

    1 gal water
    1 pint white vinegar
    1 cup powder laundry soap (the liquid doesn't work as good)
    1 tablespoon salt

    Works well at getting the crud off cases. Put the whole mess in a big bucket and shake. I also use it to remove case lube after sizing.

    Home made case lube: (taken from a website)

    1 part liquid lanolin
    4 parts isopropyl alcohol

    Works great and is REAAALY cheap. Used for .223, .30 carbine, .308 etc.

    Cheap Tumbling media:

    Most pet stores sell ground up corn cob as lizard and bird bedding, look around, it sells for about $7 for 5 lbs. Works well on most brass, but the particles are big and sometimes stick in bottle neck rifle cartridges < .308.

    Case polish:

    In a pinch I've added toothpaste to tumbling media, works as a great abrasive. Try to use something with low sugar. (I've had luck with arm and hammer)

    Rotary vs. Vibratory tumblers

    Last month someone gave me a thumler's tumbler. For S&G I did a head to head competition. The Vibratory was a Midway 1492, the thumler's was... unknown. The first thing I noticed was the rotary made almost no noise. After a bit of tweaking each was loaded with 5 lbs of media and 300 .30 carbine brass. After 8 hours, the rotary tumbled brass was bright and shiny, the vibratory tumbler still needed some time to finish.

    Conclusions - the rotary tumbler is faster, and makes waaay less noise, but it's a pain to open. The vibratory tumbler is slow and noisy, but is easy to check progress and access the brass.

    I think that's all I got for now.
  24. nvshooter

    nvshooter member

    Mar 12, 2006
    somewhat east of Reno, NV
    Little helpers on my reloading bench

    I use alot of Lee reloading equipment because that's what I started with 20+ years ago. I've found it holds up if you take care of it, as would anything.

    My proudest achievement is the welding of the case trimmer cutter (the stainless steel thing about 1/2" in diameter and about 2-1/2" long with the cutter teeth on it) to a 5/8" combination wrench at a 90-degree angle. The shellholders on the trimmer are just slightly larger than 5/8", so I had to file them down a bit. What I do is tighten the shellholder with the wrench and then cut the case to length without ever having to put the trimmer down. It saves alot of time.

    My primary bench tool is a turner I made from an old pencil sharpener. I used the base and the handle. I used a threaded stud with fine threads on either end and about 3-1/2" long. I ran the stud through the hole in the base and attached a 3/8" drill chuck to one end and used a few nuts to take up the slack on the other, to which I attached the original crank handle. What I have is a neat, little hand-powered lathe for trimming cases to length, scouring out primer pockets, chamfering flash holes from the inside with the RCBS tool, cleaning the inside of the casemouth with a .38 caliber bore brush chucked into the drill chuck and chamfering the inside and outside of the casemouth with my L. E. Wilson chamfering tool. Any function that requires my hand to rotate to do the job can be done on my little lathe quickly and easily. I can put a case into the trimmer, tighten the clamp, trim it, chamfer it inside and out, and remove it for another in 24 seconds.

    I used a piece of golfshaft from an old club to make a droptube for my Lee Perfect powder measure. I just measured the diameter of the original short, black, plastic funnel-mouth tube that came with the measure, found the same size on the golfshaft and cut myself a four-inch piece. Now my hand is well below the crank to drop the charge and I can drop it straight into the pan of my digital powder scale. It has increased my loading speed quite a bit.

    I tumble my cases in badly-overused walnut media, then wash 'em in hot, soapy water with lots of old rags, pieces of non-scratch scouring pads and sponges, then I rinse 'em really well in warm water. You'd be surprised at how dirty the water comes out. I then lubricate my cases with PAM cooking spray or the cheaper alternative from the Dollar Store. I can lube about 150 .223 cases in the broiler pan from my oven. I spray 'em and slide 'em around to get the spray all over the cases. It works well and cleans up with hot water and dishsoap. I then put my resized and deprimed cases into a stainless steel skillet with a thin bottom and fry them on low heat until they are dry. Only takes about ten minutes and they are completely dry and very hot, so watch it! I then trim them to length, et cetera.
  25. MoShooter

    MoShooter Member

    May 12, 2006
    Central Missouri
    This is a great thread! So many good ideas.

    Here are a couple that I find usefull.

    I use a Lee Pro1000. The primer feed is very sensitive to dirt and dropped powder. I use a short length of small diameter tube to blow the junk out of the area around the primer feed and ram. Just put the end of the tube down in there and blow.

    I made a large brass tumbler. In addition to the normal use I find it a great way to lube cases. I first take a few paper towels and dampen them. They go in the tumbler for a few minutes. This cleans out most of the dust. Remove the paper towels and dump clean brass in. Then I throw four clean oily cloth shop towels in and run it for 10-15 minutes. I use a mix of STP and hydraulic fluid for the lube. The cases come out just right.

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