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Observations From A New Reloader

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by MichaelStrick9, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    So I've finally got my reloading operation going. I have the Hornady LNL AP press, and I'm starting off with 9mm, as that is cheap for components, and if I blow up the gun, well, that's the one I will miss the least and it will be the cheapest to replace. (I'm only half joking here).

    After pouring through the brass I have, I've notice some things. My pile of R-P brass came out of a pair of Taurus 24/7s. These have noticeable bulges. The pile of S&B brass were fired from a Glock and 2 different XDs. These have pretty much no bulge at all. And my pile of Federal brass were from a Keltec P11 and a Glock .40 using a Lonewolf conversion barrel. These have slight bulges.

    Are these bulge characteristics more a matter of brass, or the gun they came out of? Would it be in my best interest to use the R-P cases for lower charged plinking rounds, and the S&B's for the higher power zombie defense stuff?

    I loaded up 50 rounds and shot them the other day, using Alliant Bullseye, a Lyman manual, and Hornady 115 XTP projectiles. The book lists 3.5 as the starting charge, and 4.8 as the highest. I started at 3.7, and going in 10 round increments of .2 grains, worked my way up to 4.5. OAL is listed at 1.090, and I settled on 1.092. I used 40 cases of the R-P, and 10 S&B cases for the higher powered charges. All 50 rounds fired flawlessly, and I guess I'm getting familiar enough with my tools as I can definitely tell the difference as I fired them off from one group to the next. I even saved a 3.7 and threw that in last after the 4.5s, just to see. While the difference was not as great I was anticipating, it was noticeable.

    How do you guys layer and organize your generations of reloads? As in, would I be better off loading up a whole pile of once fired, and blowing through all of them over time, while at the same time reloading them but just keeping them in a different can clearly labeled, before going to my twice fired pile? Or is it better to, say, reload them all, then take only 300 or so and work on those until they're no longer usable? I'm thinking it's better to try to keep them all in the same generation. So at this point, I'd blow through the rest of my new stock, then the reload them all and keep them in the once fired can, while at the same time reloading them after they get fired and keeping those in a twice fired can.

    And, finally, is there a particular FMJ projectile that is more accurate or reliable than the others that I should use? I'll probably go Nosler or Gold Dot for my zombie rounds. I'll probably make half my rounds FMJ for plinking and the other half zombie stopping JHP.
     
  2. Abiqua

    Abiqua Oregon Active Member

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    I don't know about your specific guns, but some guns will bulge brass more than others. I use a Lee Factory Crimp Die in my press as a separate stage from seating and it will take that bulge out.
     
  3. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    prolly easier to just 300 brass until they are lost or 'look bad',then use some more brass.Trying to keep oncfired,twicefired,etc seperate can drive ya crazy unless u are super-anal,which I am not.Bullseye and long range rifle shooters do this IM sure,but as a plinker,I don't. I just use 200 until I decide it's their time..ie:noticibly loose primer pockets,cas mouth splits,etc... then use 'newer' brass for a while.

    One look at my bench will take away ANY ideas one might have about my organizational skills LOL
     
    Kevatc and (deleted member) like this.
  4. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    I'm not so much concerned about feeding with the bulge as I am the structural integrity of the brass being work hardened in that area, so even with a crimp remover or bulge buster, that area has still been worked more than the rest of the case.
     
  5. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure I will take a big ration of crap for what I am about to say .....

    I have been shooting some reloaded .40 brass probably in the neighborhood of 20 times. Anyways, I am a lot like Throckmorton in that I have found loads I like for my various rounds and I just set up my LNL and pump 'em out until I run out of components. I really don't keep track of how many times I shoot pistol brass. Rifle brass is another story. Before rifle de-primed brass is thrown in the tumbler it gets a once over especially at the case mouth.
     
  6. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    Some pistols support the case much better than others. Bulges are from open areas at the feed ramp. I shoot brass till it shows signs of age, then scrap the lot.
    I like Montana Gold fmj's in case lots they are reasonable priced. So are their Hollow points.
    If your "zombie" loads are for personal defense, you might want to re-think this. Lawyers say commercial ammo is desired if you have to defend in court.
     
  7. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    Thanks for all the responses! Kevatc, .40 is my other pistol caliber. Those cases have slight bulges as well. I've seen examples of horrendously bulged brass online, but none of my cases look anywhere near as bad as most of the examples I've seen. It's always reassuring to hear reports from .40 loaders who have loaded cases over and over. Seems like this caliber gets picked on more than any other for reloading.

    Motoman, I am well aware of the causes of bulging. I've studied up quite a bit about reloading before I even started buying gear to do it. Seems like different guns from the same model line react differently when it comes to bulging. My personal defense rounds that I keep loaded in mags are always factory. The zombie rounds are for zombies. They don't have lawyers, nor will there be any lawyers after the zombies eat their brains.
     
  8. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I'm sure glad you wrote all that Michael! I'm as new to the reloading as you are and very interested in the answers to your post.

    I understand (I think) what case buldging is but I haven't noticed any in my once fired 9mm cases, nor .38 and .45acp I tumble with primers, deprime/size, measure length, debur and reprime. I only prime as many as I will load in the next day or two. I only measure diameter on a sampling of a few and none have shown any buldging. The rounds went through Ruger SR9c, Sig P239, LC9 and a KelTec P-11. I also have R-P, S&B some Blazer and Federal and notice no difference to speak of.

    I have shot all three and am satisfied, well, my 19th .38special round went PFfffftttt and stuck the bullet barely into the riflings and I can't figure why.

    Mike
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Like others have said, brass bulging is more a function of the firearm than anything else. When the round is fired the pressures inside the case force it out against the walls of the chamber. If the feed ramp extends into the chamber a considerable amount bulges are common.

    I load 9mm by the thousands. I'll save brass and when my "shooting stock" gets low just break open another case of Montana Gold 124gr JHP's (3500 bullets) and load until they're all sitting on top of cartridges. Cases are cleaned after bulk de-priming and during the sort process I discard any with splits or any other visible defect.

    I haven't the slightest idea how many times my 9mm cases have been loaded but some are up in the 20-30 time area.

    As for accuracy? I find that for my 9mm's the 124gr JHP's are the most consistent. The biggest thing about handgun accuracy is proper sight alignment. Sight radius on a pistol allows for far more error than that on a rifle with iron sights. If shooting bulleseyes, slow fire, sight alignment is everything. Also learn about trigger finger placement and grip.

    A good tool is this "target"

    Download it, print it out, and use it for your target. It will show you the errors you are making that no ammo changes will correct.

    You may have to expand the image to full page size unless you like shooting at small targets. Also, shoot at some distance. It may be fun to show targets you've shot at 20 feet but 25 yards is a better "teaching/learning distance".
     
  10. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thanks for that Deadshot! I'd seen that chart before and was wanting it to take to the range with me. Depending on what day and how many rounds I'v put down range I think all of those have applied to me at one time or another.

    Mike
     
  11. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    I sort my brass by caliber only. I could care less how many times they've been fired as long as they are in safe condition via visual inspection. You'll drive yourself crazy keeping track of times fired or head stamps. But, if you like to do that then do it.
     
  12. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    The factory crimp die DOES NOT removing case bulging. The FCD is for remove the bell on the case mouth. Case bulging occurs when the case is not fully supported.
    Using a full length resizing die is how you remove case bulges.
     
  13. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Don't know about YOUR FCD but mine, for my 9mm DOES. The carbide ring right at the bottom of the die sizes the case right down, and into the case web.

    It also leaves a nice burnished finish on the cases.
     
  14. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    The LEE FCD will remove most of the case bulge due to its sizing ring. I don't care for the "crunchy" feeling I get on the press on the downstroke (of the ram) when using the FCD on bulged cases, so I "de-glock" my brass during prep and stick with a standard taper crimp die which makes the press run smoother. I recommend the Redding G-RX die to get rid of the bulge. I used it for about a year until I got my CasePro 100.
     
  15. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    Remington brass is thinner than most other brass, so it is more susceptible to bulging. Some reloaders toss out all their Remington brass because it's so thin. I like to use Remington brass when I'm loading larger than standard diameter lead bullets (.358' vs. 356" for 9mm/357Sig for example) in order to match the specific groove diameter of one of my pistols. This will give me a couple thousandths to play with in overall cartridge diameter and it will still fit in a standard case gauge, where if I had used thicker brass, it would not.
     
  16. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    That would make some sense, as I just pulled a few projectiles from finished rounds that I messed up from the R-P bunch, and they came out after 3 whacks, and nary a mark on them.