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First time reloader -- Success!

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by SPU, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Finally got things together and felt I had read reloading books, watched videos and been advised enough to try a few test loads. I loaded .38 special lead RN 158 grain over Unique 4 grains. CCI primers. Figuring out the bullet seating die was a challenge. Only 9 rounds to see if I had it right. Lots of remeasuring and weighing. All nine fired first time and I even hit what I was aiming at. No signs of stress in the reloaded range brass. I did notice it seemed dirty.

    One question -- a few grains of unburnt Unique fell out of the spent brass. Is that normal? I don't remember seeing that with commercial loads.

    But bottom line -- Yahoo! That was cool. :bananadance:
     
  2. PX4WA

    PX4WA Tacoma, WA Active Member

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    not normal... indicates that there was incomplete combustion... you were probably undercharged...

    slowly work your loads up... a chronometer would be helpful if you can find/borrow one...

    congratulations... remember you are not saving anything... just shooting more...:laugh:
     
  3. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    I went with the minimum load for Unique in a Speer manual. I'll bump it up -- thanks. I went with Unique over Bullseye because it had a larger range for acceptable loads and thus better safety in case I measured wrong.
     
  4. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    Unique will work better at mid range loads.A faster powder like Bullseye or W231 will work better in small cases like. .38's. The seater die is hard to figure out for a newbie since it also crimps the round,in most cases.It is MUCH easier to get another die and make the crimping a seperate operation. Once I did this I never went back to using 1 die for both operations. Congrats on a good start to a fun hobby.
     
  5. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    Thanks for the response. I originally bought and was going to use Bullseye, but after reading the tables and seeing the rather tight range in the books for low-high powder ranges, I thought I would give myself some wiggle room and bought the Unique to minimize first-load "booms" if my scale was set up wrong or I had a brain fart.

    As for the die: after ruining 7 rounds trying to get it right, I ended up seating the die, then crimping with the factory load crimp die. That worked for me.

    I appreciate the advice and may try Bullseye next or stick with Unique and try 4.3 grains or so next.
     
  6. Sheldon

    Sheldon California Member

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    Congrats on the first reloads!! It is a kick to start. I remember my first reloads still and that was over 25 years ago.

    The long revolver cases will make it tough to see how much powder you have in them so you gotta be very careful when charging the case to ensure you only drop a single charge. Those long cases will easily take an accidental double or triple charge without overflowing.
     
  7. plumberfishes

    plumberfishes Gresham oregon Active Member

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    one thing that will help, istead of the large green plastic reloading try, make yourself a wooden loading block, mine is for 10 rounds spaced just over an inch apart, a 1/2" thick base block and a 1/2" block on top screwed to it with 1/2" holes drilled , i load 10 rounds at a time, and then reset and load 10 more, i can do 100 an hour, and thats on a single stage, with die swaps.. and yes reloading your own rocks!!!!
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A double +1 on making your own wooden loading blocks. You get to choose the spacing that works best for your hand and fingers as well as having a nice piece of "furniture" on the bench. I made 4 blocks out of a 2" thick piece of Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) that cost me less than $16.

    I go one further though when loading on my single stage. I get all the cases prepped, ready, and primed. When I put the powder in the case I then seat a bullet immediately. I don't leave any charged but "uncovered" cases in the block. That way there I can see the level of powder and don't expose it to a powder spill or any other contamination. This especially works well when I use my RCBS Chargemaster. While I'm seating a bullet, the unit is dropping another weighed charge for the next round. 100 per hour using this method is a piece of cake.
     
  9. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    A wooden reloading block sounds like a small project that is fun and functional. Good idea. I have a single stage cast press. What I did was deprime and clean my 600 or so .38 special cases. I plan to prime one days worth of cases to be loaded, then I can concentrate on the charging and bullet seating. I'm looking for ways to work on my technique, consistency and efficiency, so advice is welcome.

    Once I get the steps down completely I'll pick up a turret press and use the single stage for rifle reloading and messy depriming.

    I saw a video on You Tube where a guy stacked three 2x4 pieces together, and put his beam scale on that so it was at eye level -- so he didn't have to scrunch down to read it -- might do that today.

    Thanks for the ideas.
     
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Rather than a solid block like the 2x4's one could also consider either a shelf attached to the wall or reloading bench that's at the optimum height or a "box" that allows one to store frequently used items beneath the scale. Make it open to the front and put the scale on top. If you need to temporarily "anchor" it, a full box of bullets or two usually does the job.

    As for the reloading blocks, one can never have too many. I process my brass in batches. Once cleaned, trimmed, neck turned, etc, I then prime it and put it in a block ready to load. When one block is full I put another on top of it. I can stack prepped and primed brass (.308) 4 tiers high,l side by side, ready for a loading session.