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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. Joe D

    Joe D Member

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    Feb 21, 2004
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    Alabama
    Mink Oil is one of the best case lubes I have ever used. Just swipe your forefinger across the surface every 5 or 6 cases. When you pick the case up a little get deposited on the neck. Does not take much at all. Smells good also.
    Put an empty .45ACP case on the plastic primer rod for Dillon primer feed.
    A Vibra Prime will be the best $25 you will ever spend. You can fill a primer tube in 5 seconds with this thing.
    Best tumbler I have ever used is the Hornady M3. Holds over 1,500 9mm rounds.
    The 9mm and .40 Dillon shell plates are the same. Just change the brass pins.
    Walnut or corn cob can be bought at your local sand blasting supply house dirt cheap. Paid $17.50 for 50# of walnut.
    A regular Lee carbide .40 S&W die will remove the Glock bulge on 99.999% of the brass. The "U"/EGW die does not work any better.
     
  2. capbuster

    capbuster Member

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    wow what a wealth of information. I dont know if I can add any helpful hints but here goes.most of these are borrowed suggestions and although I have taken them as my own I was not the creator. You might consider mounting a small vise at one end of your reloading bench. It is great for small projects and you can mount such things as powder measures to it with the addition of wooden blocks attached to the device used.one forum member mentioned the importance of having one can of powder on your bench at a time and I strongly agree.different types of powder from the same manufacturer come in similar shaped canisters and one day I almost loaded bullseye for unique,not good. I now keep a small notebook in the cabinet where my powder is stored. I record the bullet type, powder type and load,and date each time I pull out a can of powder making sure that I have looked at the canister and read out the type I have in my hand.I use a dillon 550 progressive for most of my 45acp loading and the following are some things that I have used to make life easier for me.I use a universal deprimer and a rcbs single stage press to depime my cases. the rims of fired cases are checked by inserting them rim first into a case gage such as my dillon brand. if they slide in,they are reloaded,if not they are canned. may sound wasteful but it seems to cut down on failures.One of my big concerns is a properly seated primer and on my dillon press, I seat the primer,rotate the case and apply pressure again,remove the case and check its bottom with a steel rule to see if the primer is flush or better. I know it takes time but it makes me happy.finally I have a lamp positioned where I can check the powder level before a bullet is seated.
     
  3. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    Location:
    Northern Indiana
    By mc223

    Varget and the Dillon powder measure.

    Over the past few months there have been a few threads about bridging and related problems with Varget and other stick powders in Dillon powder measures and small mouth cases.
    I had the same problem with mine, so I set out to cure the problem. First came polishing the drop tube. Helped some, but still had an occasional mess to clean up. So I used a taper reamer to enlarge and smooth the drop tube followed by an extra fine polishing. Much better but still got a bridge about 1 in 250 rounds.
    I worked at a place once that mixed chemicals. Mostly granular type stuff. They used shakers to keep the stuff flowing.
    I used a small sealed electric motor and a piece of 1/2 in scrap steel mounted to the motor shaft like the one used on tumblers. This assembly was then mounted to the Dillon Strong mount and wired to a dimmer switch to control the shaking force.
    Powders flow smoothly and more accuratly. And since the whole machine is vibrating there is some settling of the powder in the case, which reduces the old familiar crunch. Bullet seating seems smoother also.

    This system is in place and operating. The drop consistancy at .1 grain.
     
  4. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    Fantastic thread. Keep 'em coming, guys. I've filled half a notepad already.
     
  5. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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    As a former technical writer I tend to write my own procedures for complex tasks, primarily so I don't have to thumb through owner's manuals to find the manufacturer's procedure, to document helpful notes, and to have a simplified outline type procedure to follow. Because there are times when I go long periods without reloading I put together the following procedure for operating my RCBS Pro-2000 progressive press that I keep posted at my reloading bench. It refreshes my memory and brings me right back up to speed: http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/Pro-2000_Operating_Procedure.pdf
     
  6. Navy joe

    Navy joe Member

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    Place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of your Dillon powder hopper and then press the lid down on it. Helps keep the powder airtight, but most importantly dissipates the static cling that sticks powder to the side of the measure.
     
  7. MikeHaas

    MikeHaas Member

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  8. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    A couple people mentioned losing track of the powder in the powder measure (and only keeping one powder on the bench at a time or using a post-it). I made that mistake once, but got lucky because I had Red Dot in the tube. Ever since I put a 3x5 card with the powder written on it in the tube, so I always know whats in it.

    I also use Mobil 1 for gun lube. I figure a gun is an internal combustion engine that throws away the piston, and it's hard to compete with the R&D funding of a major oil company....

    I'm going to try to attach a pic here of the reloading cabinet I made:
     

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  9. phique2000

    phique2000 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
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    Location:
    Mt. Holly, NC
    Since I only load handgun, I made a lockring that fits around the ram of my Lee turret press, set it about in the middle of the ram, and now I have a nice short stroke.
     
  10. earplug

    earplug Member

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    Colorado Springs
    Single Stage press primer

    Some times the coil spring on the primer seater is stronger then needed. The seater cup will drag on on the case holder, the cup and spring will toss the primer out of the cup. This results in upside down primers, or sideways primers. Cut a coil or two out of the spring.
    Polishing the bottom of the case holder helps too.
     
  11. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    great ideas.

    i toss a paper towel in the tumbler. the towel gets pretty dirty. my media is probably 15 or 20 years old.
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Real cool organized setup. Way better than mine.
     
  13. TooTaxed

    TooTaxed Member

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    Standardize on powder! I now use #231 for all pistol from 9-mm Makarov up to .45 Colt, #4895 for all rifle from .223 up to .30/06. Besides the cost benefits...buy in bulk!...you always can recognize what you have in the powder measure! And it saves a LOT of space on my powder shelf. (For years I had about a dozen expensive little cans of different powders...:uhoh: )

    The 2-1/2 lb clear, square-shaped, wide mouth snack nut containers from Sam's Club make super containers for cartridge cases. They stack nicely and are labeled by strip lablemakers. And, you get to eat the nuts first!!!:D Biggest problem: getting the original labels off...:cuss:

    A small, folding Black & Decker workbench makes a fine portable bench for all single-stage tool loading and case trimming operations except full length resizing rifle cases, which is best done on a heavy workbench. Bolt a 3/4" piece of plywood to the top to strengthen it. I frequently get a lot of case processing done while watching television, as I like to have my hands busy...everything but loading powder!!! That needs to be done away from TV and other distractions where you can keep your full attention on the process.

    Keep a medium-sized 3-ring binder, tabbed by cartridge, for reloading notes, shooting test load notes, ect...you'll be surprised how much you use it!

    Different sizes of Zip-Loc plastic bags are great for organizing odd lots of brass, cartridges to be salvaged, die sets, ect. Easy to label and see what's in them, protects from moisture.

    The plastic fishing lure trays from Wal Mart are great for storing small parts and tools...adjustable compartments, simple labeling.

    Plastic garbage bags make fine reloading tool covers.

    I built a four-level 2' x 2' shelf stack 6' high from 2 x 4s and 3/4" plywood next to my main loading bench...unprocessed cases on top, sized and decapped cases below, then primed cases, then full-loaded cartridges on the bottom shelf, all organized from left to right by size of cartridge. Bulky stuff like my case vibrator, media, and media separator fit on the floor beneath. At a glance I can see where I'm running short...

    Two or three inexpensive single-stage presses mounted side by side, each with a different die, makes a "poor man's progressive". (Yes, I've owned two progressives,,,but find that most of my reloading is still done single-stage...cartridges I don't shoot often, test batches with slight variations in powder charge and/or seating depth for different bullet weights and types...I like to find optimum loads for a particular firearm...and they do differ!:D )
     
  14. flutedchamber

    flutedchamber Member

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    Oct 1, 2006
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    Location:
    NJ the state of total despair
    Getting labels off of containers

    To remove stubborn labels from containers I first heat them with an old blow drier. After about a minute, start to peel one corner of the label where you heated last slowly away from the bottle. Use more heat if the glue is not giving up easily. When the label is off, use Goo Gone or any cleaner with orange oil in it to remove the sticky mess that is left. Hope this helps you, Too Taxed.:neener:
     
  15. TooTaxed

    TooTaxed Member

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    Thanks, FLUTEDCHAMBER! I'll give it a try.:D
     
  16. 4fingermick

    4fingermick Member

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    Location:
    Bathurst, Australia
    My ideas.

    It's late and I am too tired to read all of these, so I acknowledge anyone who came up with these as well

    Handy bits:

    Get a pair of big funnels from the junk import shop. Cut the spout to an inch or so on one. Use the short funnelled one for returning powder to the tin without spilling it also useful for dumping a box of Federal Primers in their goofy big packets onto a small Lee or similar flipper tray. Place the funnel mouth on the flipper tray, hold it on place and dump the primers into the funnel (make sure you keep it in the cupboard so it is not clogged with dust, etc or wipe it before use.) Lift slowly and your 98% federal primers wll be all on the tray! (I call them this, because you normally can only get a maximum of 98 on the tray, two (at least) always end up on the floor.

    Ammo tins: I store all primers in these (you need 50 cal ones if you are using those pesky Federals). Also each handgun round I load has the bulk ammo stored in these and I decant from these into range boxes.

    Plastic meat trays/ice cream trays, etc: ALDI stores in Australia have excellent plastic ribbed meat trays which clean up and are very handy, as are ice cream buckets for trays while you are loading/polishing, etc, can't seem to have too many. In this house, the ice cream containers are Dad's, OK?

    Plastic zip lock sandwich bags with white label panel:

    These are especially handy for working up loads. Each level (10 at the lowest level, handy to have a few extra if something goes wrong and 5 for each other level) is placed in them and when fired, placed back into the same bag so that you can examine carefully for pressure signs at home without the distractions of the range, etc). I always carry a few bigger ones as well, just in case I pick up some brass, etc.

    Loading dies:

    Keep a spare pack of decap pins of each type. Write on the shelf where you stored them, it's often a long time between uses and you might not remember and have to pull everything apart (ask me how I know this :) ).

    If you have a calibre where you load two types of bullet, make up a tag which shows what the die is set up for (marked on both sides), this works especially well with the Lee upright dies holders.

    I keep my eyes open and buy spare seating dies when I can, this saves you a lot of fiddling. They are usually very cheap when sold as an odd die (the micrometer option would be the best option.)



    Dummy rounds:

    I keep samples of each bullet used, clearly marked, in labelled zip lock bags if there is many of them. This allows very quick seat die set up.

    For each rifle, I also seat a flat based bullet back to front in an empty case and close the action carefully and extract it carefully. This will give you a quick eyeball gauge that you can comare against any loaded bullet to see where in realtion to the start of the lands the bullet sits.


    Powder:

    I only have one tin on the bench at a time. This will be returned before getting another one out. You don't want to be mixing Bullseye with your Lincoln Logs!

    Loading tricks:

    When setting up a bullet seating die which I am going to roll crimp as well (yeah I know, Ive tried separate roll crimping on numerous occasions and it never made that much of a difference to me, not enough to add another stage to the loading process. Not many people believe me on this, I'm going to have to conduct this test again) I always seat at least three bullets before applying the roll crimp. If you screw up, you dont have to start again, just pick up the second round and use that.

    If just setting the dies up or changing the settings, bullets, etc, I always try the rounds in the chamber of the revolver or auto before I crank too many of them out.

    If I am using softish bullet lube, I pick up a round very frequently and comare it aginst one of the first ones I have loaded, to make sure the seater is not getting plugged with lube and affecting the depth setting. Doesn't happen very often, but huge pain when it does.

    Progressive presses:

    careful now! I always stop at exactly the same stage in the loading operation if interrupted. I have explained this to my family and if they see me cranking them out they wait a moment until I stop. I stop with the handle raised, a bullet seated in the charged case (seals it if I have to leave the press for a while) and an empty on the launch pad. I know when I return to loading, I just have to pull the handle and I am back in business. I absolutely refuse to stop at any other point.

    I also try and go to the toilet before I go downstairs to load or tinker, because if I don't I'll be back shortly. We call it a gravity attack :)

    Boy, that guy sure can talk! Sorry about that!

    Mick.
     
  17. robertbank

    robertbank Member

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    Hey Mick thanks for those. Never thought to be on the look out for the seater dies.

    Take Care

    Bob
     
  18. 4fingermick

    4fingermick Member

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    Location:
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    Yeah I visit one shop which always seems to have an odd die or three. When I get a big order together, I get them thrown in as a sweetner usually. When I'm not buying and just looking I sometimes just bury them at the back of his heavily laden shelves:D .

    I remember Peter Abela (gone now) who owned the biggest gunshop in Australia. He had a huge low table with tons of boxes of bullets on it. I use to fish through looking for oxes with old price tags, etc which were cheaper than the others. The table also had a low shelf which was also loaded heavily. If I saw anything that I wanted, but couldn't afford, I used to salt it away under the table and retrieve it sometimes months later when I was cashed up. This was in the days when I had the breeze in my drawers bringing up kids and shooting and hunting on a shoestring.

    I was looking for a box of bullets one day and couldn't find any of the type that I wanted I asked Peter if he had any out the back and he said 'no, don't you have any stashed under the table?':uhoh: Sprung! He didn't mind though, he knew I'd be back to get them later.
     
  19. 4fingermick

    4fingermick Member

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    Location:
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    New style Lee Auto Disk Powder Measures and conversion kits.

    Another thing that I do, no doubt everyone does this, but when I first started using the new type powder hopper on the Lee Powder Measures, I used to spill a bit of powder removing the hopper. PITA, got into the press workings everytimes. The system I worked out is that when I want to change the disk/powder/whatever, I twisted the hopper and cut off the powder supply to the die. There will still be a bit in the workings. I place a fired case under the die and work the press once or twice, tip the powder into the hoppe, one or two pumps more and I have all of the powder out of the workings and back into the hopper. I then remove the hopper assembly without spilling a drop. I was very pleased with myself when I worked this out. Probably outlined in the instruction manual and probably everyone else didn't have to 'invent' it, but it works for me and makes those new hopper conversions indispensable.

    Another thing for RCBS Rockchucker users who load pistol and short rounds:

    See if you can pick up an old 'Case Kicker.' These are great bits of gear once you learn to drive them and eject the shell automatically when you are sizing, seating, crimping, etc. When you are charging the cases or loading long cases you just swing the ejector spring (part no2 in the diagram) out of the way and by pass it. This little gizmo is worth it's weight in gold.

    here is the link, the Case Kicker is on Page 16. handy diagrams as well.

    www.rcbs.com/equipment/Parts_Book.pdf

    Mick.
     
  20. Darth Muffin

    Darth Muffin member

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    Here's a quick tip I saw on another forum that I plan to try:

    Use a gravity fed dry cat food dispenser to hold your bullets, place in on your bench right next to your press to minimize hand motion. You won't have to refill it for a LONG time and fresh ones are always right there at hand in front.
     
  21. Babalouie

    Babalouie Member

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    Location:
    South Florida
    For Shot reloader...Get a cookie sheet pan, the kind with a 1/2 inch lip, lay it down on the bench and mount/bolt your MEC reloader right through it. Now when you have a double charge of shot, or dropped shot, as seems to happen much more often that it should, all of the shot stays in the pan and not on the floor.
     
  22. Tidewater Tom

    Tidewater Tom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
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    Location:
    Tidewater Virginia
    Gewehr98 said:

    "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."

    Well my only small contribution to this good thread is that I use blue painters tape on my Dillion powder measure tube. I use a sharpie to mark it with the appropriate info; powder type, etc. It comes off easy and clean when I'm ready to change loads.
     
  23. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I put a Lee Loader decapping rod in a collet bullet puller.
    This makes the stiffest and stoutest and best centered decapper possible.

    You may have to shorten the rod.
     
  24. kahr404life

    kahr404life Member

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    North Carolina
    Good ideas.
     
  25. Bronson7

    Bronson7 Member

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    New use for a cat feeder:
    Bronson7
     

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