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Reloading for rifle wiith a progressive press

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by OldguyGW, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. OldguyGW

    OldguyGW Salem New Member

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    I have been reloading pistol rounds using my Hornaday progressive press. I recently purchased a 223 rifle. Will my rifle reloads lose accuracy because of the progressive press? Help is appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Great question! But not the answer you might expect...rifle rounds require 12 steps (at least at my bench) prior to the press. Deprime, polish, lube, size, trim, swage (if military brass) chamfer, deburr, ream flash hole, brush neck, polish again, install primer (you will learn after ruining a few primers in your progressive, trust me!). Consider a case prep machine of some kind. I use a Lyman prep center and cannot believe how much easier it has made the job. Once your dies are properly set up you can rock and roll on your progressive and the results will be uniform. Just remember to check OAL often, as with any progressive, a mistake can be repeated many times if not noticed. Hope this has proved helpful. Enjoy!
     
  3. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    That press should provide acceptable results/accuracy. The main difference that'll screw up/add a hiccup to a progressive's speed compared to straight-walled pistol is that after sizing, you must check for length and or trim.
    That's about it.
     
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The answer to your question depends on two things... first, what is your expectation of accuracy?

    In general, when running rifle on a progressive, I do my reloading in two steps, first I have a head or die set that I use for processing the brass, this means I size (small base is a must for semi-auto rifles), deprime, and trim with a dillon RT1200 trimmer. For .223, you are likely going to have to ream the primer pockets, this can be done by hand for the amount of material you're going to be doing. You can also use a deburring tool for reaming the pocket to remove any crimp, doesn't take much.

    In general the processing steps break down to:

    Wash and dry the brass - this removes grit and dirt that will wear your dies out faster
    lube - before going into the press
    Deprime, trim, and size - I accomplish decapping in a separate step from sizing. When running on a progressive, if you take the decapping pin out of the sizing die (just the pin, not the stem that includes the expander ball) and screw the expander ball further up, so you're expanding closer to the top where you're in the power stroke of the press, it's much easier to expand and your press won't be so jerky. If you're running a dillon RT1200, I usually put this after decapping but before sizing. It seems to work better that way.

    After this, wash and dry the brass again (removes lube), and then tumble the brass in corncob, using either dillon rapid polish or berry's case polish (the white stuff).

    Now load just like you were running new brass, your loading will go much smoother, and you are going to get a better work product out.

    For washing, usually I use either laundry soap (powder), mixed with vinegar, or I've also used a very diluted mix of phosphoric acid.
     
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  5. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    To add a step I clean and inspect before de priming just to make sure I'm not sending any debris into my dies.
     
  6. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    No.
     
  7. OldguyGW

    OldguyGW Salem New Member

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    Thanks for the great information.
     
  8. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    Actually, unless you are really into precision shooting and have the rifle to support it (multi-thousand dollar custom rifle), all those extra steps are just for the fun of it.
    However, after you resize a bottleneck case, you have to check the case length and trim as required. You will want to trim all the cases to the same length, so you will be resizing them all before you start to seat primers or charge the case (or, you pull the case after sizing and priming and trim as required, one at a time).
    The press will load as accurate a round as any other, unless you buy an arbor press and custom made dies made to your exact chamber dimensions. You chamfer the case mouth after trimming.
    The real question is: does a progressive press make sense for bottleneck cases?
    For those who need to load a LOT of rounds, the many steps that people do for absolute consistency will be eliminated, and many of them get a Dillon trimmer mounted to the press so they don't have to stop after sizing to trim.
    So, what do you want out of your reloads and can you live with using the progressive as a single-stage press or are you willing to forgo all the "fun" and spend the money for quantity?
    I have loaded VERY accurate ammunition on a $25 Lee Reloading Press. It isn't as fun as a bigger press, but the ammunition is just as good.
    It isn't the press, it is the reloader that makes the ammunition.
     
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  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Progressive presses are not always as consistent as a single stage press when it comes to seating bullets uniformly. If your rifle is sensitive to varying seating lengths then you might see some accuracy issues.

    Also, consistency of powder charges can be an issue but can be overcome with powder selection. Powders like AA2230, H335, and CFE223 meter well in progressive powder measures. Powders like h-4895 or Varget, not so much.

    If one does the basic case prep prior to loading on a progressive like de-priming, cleaning, trimming, the results won't vary much on finished ammo provided you take a couple other steps.

    The largest problem with most progressive presses is that the ram travel is limited by a part of the linkage rather than a positive stop at the top of it's travel. On my Dillon 650 I've solved this by using extra powder measure dies, adjusted down so they contact the shell plate at the top of the ram's travel. Since all sizing and trimming has been done prior to the loading process this means I have a powder die (Basically an empty threaded cylinder with a lock nut) in station one and station 5. Seating is done with a "Dead Length Die" which is also in full contact with the shell plate when the ram is fully up. Result---a uniformly seated die with comparator measurements that don't vary more than +/- .0015"

    More "sloppy ammo" is produced on progressive presses by "sloppy operators" than merely the fact that the press is a "Progressive".


    The only time I worry about "Progressives" is when they get elected to office but that's another topic for a later day:cool:
     
  10. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Another thing to look out for on a lot of progressive presses when it comes to slop is how sloppy the head and ram are. I know when the 1050's start to get worn out you will get different COLs depending on how many stations are full. This really comes into play when you're sizing. One of the best solutions out there is the one deadshot suggested.
     
  11. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    I reload 308 & 30.06 on a Hornady LNL (H4895 powder) and haven't had any problems. While I am sure that you can get more precision (powder et al) from a single stage we are not shooting for competition for the most part and don't find that to be an issue.
     
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  12. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I get very consistent and accurate 5.56 rounds. Haven't tried 308 though.

    However, on my LnL I have discovered a weak yoke just below the shell plate. If I get a case stuck in a die, there's a good chance I can break the yoke while trying to yank it down.

    Consequently, I deprime, tumble, and resize before using it in the LnL. I prime in the LnL 'cuz it's fast and effective.
     
  13. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    I was working with a friend who made the transition from pistol to rifle cases on his progressive (Hornady), and in the process he learned he wasn't using enough lube and bent a couple shell plates. So just keep that in mind.
    Personally, I think a progressive makes the loading of ammo much faster, but it's the case prep that takes the most time in my room.
     
  14. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I absolutely agree that rifle case prep is 90% of the entire process. And while I realize that AR ammo doesn't require as much attention to detail that my .22-250 does, for example, the use of a case prep "station" makes case prep much less arduous, especially for a geez like me with arthritis in my hands
     
  15. FA9

    FA9 Hillsburrito, ORgun Well-Known Member

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    Not sure bout accuracy but when reloading 223 on my lnl I resize/deprime/trim/and prime separately. Then the rest I do on the lnl( powder, seat the bullet and crimp ).
     
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  16. decay

    decay NW OR Member

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    my .308 was more concentric when loaded on my 650 than on my RCBS single stage rockchucker . Fed charged cases @ station 3 .
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I do most of my case prep while watching TV with the wife for all my .308 cases. I deprime in bulk then clean the cases in SS Pin media. Nice and clean now. Neck size and shoulder bump using a Lee hand press. Good exercise for arm and chest muscles.

    Have an RCBS Lathe type trimmer mounted on a "Lap Board" and trim, chamfer, and de-burr in a single stem with a 3-Way cutter on it.

    I also have a run-out gauge mounted on a lap board so I can sort cases for concentricity. Neck turning can also be done while lounging in my recliner.

    Still don't need to leave the chair to prime all the prepped brass.

    Add prepped brass I've been building up into the case feeder and load away.

    Case prep may take some time and effort but I just use the "lounging time" to do so with tools I've adapted to my laziness. :cool:

    I
     
  18. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Here is my .02 on the subject of “production loading” of rifle cartridges, for my “gas guns.“ Let’s start with “once fired” LC military cases, in whatever number of cases you want for your, “lot.”

    1) Inspect and clean the cases. I use a liquid brass cleaner (Birchwood Casey # 33845 CCI). Follow the mixing instructions on the package. After the soak/cleaning, the cases are removed from the solution, rinsed and air dried. The solution is re-usable. IF, you want to use an oven for drying, use the lowest heat setting.

    OR……..

    Hot water with dish soap and some vinegar will also do the job. But, it won’t be as shiny. “Lemi shine” added to water is said to add shine to your brass. That being said, brass doesn’t have to glint in the sun to be clean enough to reload.

    Why a liquid brass cleaner? Well, it eliminates the need to buy a tumbler (or vibratory machine). I don’t have to buy media and I save on electricity. There is the added bonus of no noise and/or dust in my work space. And, if I were to tumble/clean de-primed brass, I would have to worry about stuck media in primer pockets and flash holes.

    2) With once fired military brass, this next step only has to be done once. You could de-cap primers with the standard de-cap/re-sizer die. Though due to the primer crimp, there is a high incidence of parts breakage. IMHO, de-cap the once fired military brass using either, a “universal” de-capper die or with a skinny nail/punch and anvil (with a hole in it, large enough for the old primer to fall out of, but still support the case rim). Or, buy the LEE military primer de-capper set (#90102-.30 cal., #90103-.22 cal.). Simply, run the nail/punch down through the case neck. The nail/punch will enter the flash hole and rest against the old primer. Put the case on the anvil (old primer centered over the anvil’s hole). Then, with a hammer hit the nail/punch head and knock out the old primer, letting the old primer fall through the hole in the anvil. Yes, the military crimp is sometimes that stubborn.

    3) Again, since we’re using once fired military brass, this next step has to be done only once. The primer crimp will need to be removed. The crimp gets either swaged or reamed/cut. My friend has a Dillon swage and I use a Lyman hand reamer/cutting tool. Both can do the job......one is cheaper. Lyman hand reamer (#7777785 Large, #7777784 Small). I do the crimp removal while watching TV. It's as simple as: pick up a case, insert the tool into the primer pocket and twist, remove case, next.....

    *Commercial cases, usually don't have a primer crimp to bother with. So, steps 2 and 3 can be omitted. Likewise, for the next time you load these “already treated” military cases.

    4) Next, is lubing the cases. I use a spray lube on the outside of the cases......not too much......and not too little. As you re-load more and more, you'll get better at judging the amount needed. You don't want dimples on the shoulders of your cases (too much lube) and you don't want a stuck case in your die (not enough lube). I simply lay a single layer of cases on a piece of cardboard and spray. Shake the cardboard a little and spray the cases again.

    5) Also, I like to use a little bit of mica inside of the case neck. It lubes the inside of the neck and I don't have to hear the "squeak." For me, not every case gets the mica. You can feel it and hear it, when you're getting to the point of having to add more mica. I use a Forster original case graphiter (#011341). IF you have a carbide neck expander button you won't need the mica.

    6) I use a single station press (RCBS Rock Chucker). You could use a progressive Dillon IF you wanted to. It's a personal choice. But, with whatever press you choose, consider shell plate/shell holder and/or press "flex.” I use a regular FL size/de-capper die, NOT the small base dies. To begin, lube your cases. Then, FL size and de-cap, 1 or 2 cases for a test. Gauge the re-sized case(s), to confirm that the "correct re-size" has been achieved. I use a Forster Products case gauge (the Wilson or Dillon case gauges are also popular choices). Holding the gauge vertically (large hole up), insert a case into the case gauge (DO NOT place it on the table top). The headstamped end of the case, needs to be at or between the high and low cuts on the gauge, to pass. This checks for the “correct re-size.“ While the other end, is used to check if the case will need to be trimmed (a job for later on). IF, it’s not the “correct re-size,” your die setting will need adjustment. Lower the ram and simply screw the die in or out a little. Don’t forget about the lock nut. Then, re-size another couple of test cases and check your work again. Repeat the test and adjustments, as needed. When you're satisfied that your test cases are properly re-sized, do the entire lot (remember to test some cases throughout the run).

    7) Case trimming. Check first: Place the gauge (w/cartridge case in it) headstamp end down, on a flat surface. The case should not be stuck in the gauge, it needs to sit on the flat surface. For the correct length, the end of the neck should be, at or between, the two cuts on the gauge. IF you have a caliper.........measuring works too.

    For ME, first time: New, once fired (purchased and given) and range pick up brass are always trimmed (with few exceptions) for consistency sake.

    I'll trim the cases with my Gracey trimmer (it’ll trim, chamfer, and de-burr in a single operation). Remember, we are doing this as a "lot." So, IF one case needs a trim......they all get a run through the trimmer.

    More info on the Gracey Trimmer…………

    Match Prep, Home of the Gracey Power Carrtidge Case Trimmer

    Or, choose the Giraud.........

    GTC Home

    NOTE: IF it's not done with your brand of trimmer..........don't forget to slightly chamfer and slightly de-burr the necks. It'll ease bullet seating. Use this style of tool.........

    www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=364181&t=11082005

    8) Clean off the case lube. Either with another soak in Birchwood Casey cleaner or a quick wipe off with a cloth dampened in solvent. You can also tumble (or use a vibratory machine) but, remember what I said about the media getting stuck in flash holes and pockets? So, make sure it's clear.

    9) While you're holding the cases......inspect them for, "other problems." Splits or impending case separation. IF, I see it or suspect it......the whole lot may get dumped (or just a few). With my 7.62x51 NATO brass (shot through an M1A), I don’t anneal, I’ll usually get 3 re-loads out of a case. IMHO…..a 4th would be, "pushing it."

    10) Some old primer residue may still be left in the primer pocket. It’s optional to clean it. I use a LEE primer pocket cleaner (#90101). It flips over to do both large and small primer pockets. Insert the tool into the primer pocket and twist.

    Also optional, is to de-burr and make the flash hole a uniform size. The tool is a simple device that is inserted through the case neck. An adjustable flange on the shaft prevents it from going any further into the case. A quick twist and the job is done.

    More info on Preparing Cases For Long Range Accuracy

    One of the Many Great Articles from the Archives of Precision Shooting Magazine...

    11) My cases are then primed w/ a handheld LEE Auto Prime tool (#90230). It comes with both large and small primer rods. But, you'll have to purchase the correct shell holder(s) for your caliber of choice.

    12) Then, it all gets loaded, as usual (powder is measured and dropped into the case, bullet gets placed and bullet gets seated).


    Aloha, Mark
     
  19. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The only ammo I'm "serious" about is my hunting ammo. I spend inordinate amounts of time with the brass and turn out nice, consistent ammo.

    The stuff I do on the Dillon 550 is what I'm using for handgun ammo (higher volume) and rifle practice ammo.

    But, for some reason, the stuff I crank out on the Dillon isn't far off of the stuff I spend a LOT of time with...

    May be noticeable at longer ranges, but at 150 to 200 yards if won't matter when hunting elk or deer.