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Old 10-17-2005, 02:46 PM   #1
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Reloading tales

I'vedecided to start reloading and have ordered an introductory reloading video from Sierra first to see what i'm getting onto.

I plan to buy press and kit after watching the video.

Meanwhile, anybody have any reloading stories they want to share?

What sort of mistakes did you make when starting out?

Did you blow anything up? Is there anything you'd do differently if you were starting out now?

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Old 10-17-2005, 08:09 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
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Reloading tales

Hello. Well, when I was starting out, I got to watching TV while depriming .44 special cases. I was using an old RCBS Jr. single-stage press that I still use for some things today. Anyway, it doesn't take much effort at all to drive the decapping pin all the way to the bone on a finger. It does take quite a bit of effort after lowering the ram to pull the skewered finger off of the decapping pin.


PS: I only did that once! Some of the "best" lessons I've ever learned have been those involving some pain.

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Old 10-18-2005, 02:04 AM   #3
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Reloading tales

"Elmer's Load"..

Years ago I had a 1926 S&W 4" 44 Special. The most prolific gun writers of that time were Keith, Bill Jordan, Skeeter Skelton, and Charles Askins. It was no secret that Elmer Keith favored big bore handguns with heavy charges of 2400 pushing heavy Semi-Wadcutter One of his loads was for 18.5 grains of 2400, a 250 cast SWC, in the old style 'balloon head' brass case.

Since I had a goodly supply of balloon cases, I figured I'd give it a try. After all. it was 'Elmer's Load'. Rather than 18.5 of 2400, I figured that I'd start out using 17.5 in the balloon head cases. My powder scale had two counter weights on the balance beam. One measured in increments of 1 grain, the other measured in increments of 5 grains. I carefully measured each and every powder charge, weighed each and every bullet, and made sure that all the old cases were of the same length so that a uniform roll crimp would be on each round.

I carefully assembled 100 rounds of 'Elmer's Load' and went to the range. The first round fired was a large surprise. Lots of recoil. I marveled at the skill and ability of Elmer who reported that he had once killed a running buck with a similar load at a distance that would have been 'long' for a skilled rifleman. But still, it was 'Elmer's Load' and I proceded to fire the remaining 5 rounds. My hand hurt. I swear that I cound feel it pulsating. And continued to marvel at the pistoleros who could handle big, heavy bullets moved along by healthy doses of 2400. Case extraction was difficult and no more shooting was done that day.

Back at the apartment, I started to put the reloading gear away, and was tring to figure out just what what had gone wrong. I took another glance at my powder scale, although it was from a different angle. It seemed that I had placed one of my counterweights on the balance beam was one notch over on the right. What I had done was load not 17.5 grains of 2400 in the balloon head cases, but 22.5. What I had done was, in effect, assembled heavy 44 Mag loads in 44 Special balloon head cases.

I doubt that even Elmer would have loved it.

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Old 10-18-2005, 05:57 PM   #4
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Reloading tales

Stephen, guess you were ahead of your time considering how popular body piercing is nowadays. That's definitely an image that'll stay with me as I start, though. I used to be a carpenter and got sort of accustomed to banged up fingers. But the thought of extracting an impaled body part makes me shudder.

Salty, well I guess you added a data point to the debate about the strength of S&W revolvers. Sounds like I better wear my reading spectacles once I get going.
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Old 10-22-2005, 08:25 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 46
Reloading tales

Be careful using powders that dont fill a case close to capacity (i.e. Unique in a .38 special case) can be very easy to dump a second charge in the case create an overload I've never done it, but I'm sure those that have didn't intend to do it, either......
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Old 10-30-2005, 03:34 PM   #6
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Reloading tales

I've pierced the nail on my index finger with the decapping pin before. I've also had a perfect circle cut into the pad on my index finger by a piece of brass I was trying to bell the mouth of. Moral of the story: slow down.
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Old 10-30-2005, 05:05 PM   #7
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Reloading tales

Ouch! Did you get a new fingerprint?
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:10 PM   #8
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Reloading tales

One lesson learned.

Have reloaded thousands of rounds for my .45 but recently ran into some range brass with the smaller win clean primers. They were mixed into my regular brass so I ran into 10 or 15 of them while reloading on my Dillon progressive. Real hassle since I found them on the priming stroke of the press. Would have to stop everything, pull the bad piece of brass, cycle everything to the next stage and then put in a new piece of brass leaving a gap in the progression.

Finally stopped and hand sorted the brass to get rid of the oddballs but a bit too late.

At the range the next day with my new Glock 36, can't get these in MA except as a special buy from a LEO selling a personal weapon or someone moving into state owning one, "hens teeth" to put it mildly and somewhat more expensive that you would think when you actually do find one.

6th round through the Glock and BOOM! Blew the floor plate out of the mag, blew the mag release lever out of the frame entirely as well as the plastic plate opposite it for a lefty. Slide ripped my hand on both sides of the pistol. Blew the plastic trigger in half would you believe!

Apparently one of those "stop and remove the bad case" steps I forgot to advance the progressive to the next stage and ended up double charging a round.

Lesson learned; when you hit the 1st odd thing stop and very very carefully evaluate the steps necessary to correct. When you hit the 2nd odd thing it's time to back off completely and eliminate the problem entirely. If you don't have the time or inclination to deal with the problem in its entirety then stop whatever it is that you are doing, it just isn't worth the potential cost.

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Old 12-01-2005, 03:04 PM   #9
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Reloading tales

beantown, I share your pain, literally. Just got back from the range, took a long lunch hour to do a couple hundred rounds practicing draw and double tap.

I'd bought some Hornady XTP hollowpoints and wanted to try out some premium bullets, loaded them with 4.7 grains of Titegroup, the manufacturer's spec.

Oops, forgot to mention my Hipower is .40, not 9, so these were 180 grain bullets. Shot 8 out of the magazine, pulled the trigger on number 9 and BOOM, gas everywhere, my hand was numb and my brand new mahogany grips were splintered. My right hand was numb, but not injured.

Dropped the mag and saw that number 10, still in the magazine, only had about half as much bullet sticking out of the case as should have been.

Apparently the crimp wasn't strong enough and the recoil caused the bullet to set back, greatly increasing the pressure.

The slide release popped out and my new grips were trashed, but no damage to the gun itself. Stripped it down and examined it before continuing, but after I was satisfied it was still good, and my factory grips were luckily still in the case, I put another 100 rounds through it and it worked fine.

I'm getting rid of the Lee FCD and buying the Horndady crimp die, it's worked great for me for the 9mm, and will be carefully testing each cartridge for setback from here on out.

Luckily a lesson learned cheap with no real harm, and I was glad to have a gun as solid as a Hipower when this happened.
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:52 PM   #10
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Brooklyn, Mississippi
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Reloading tales

Here's a story about my brand new "around the corner" .357.

Bob, for auto cartridges you really should take a look at the Dillon crimp dies. The taper crimp is so strong on my auto cartridge reloads that pulling bullets with a kinetic puller is a real chore.

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