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Your reloading process. The long version.

 
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  #1  
Old 03-21-2005, 11:28 PM
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Your reloading process. The long version.

I know this might be alot to ask but I was hoping a few of you reloaders would be able to outline your reloading process for those of us looking to improve or refine our own process.

This question is directed to all of you ogive measuring, meplat trimming, brass weighing reloaders that are getting very consistant results already. Like a mini reloading clinic.

I am not asking about the process of working up a load since that is covered about 6 times a year but rather all the mechanical steps taken to prepare the 4 components (bullet, brass, powder and primer)then physically assemble and adjust them. Sort of a "Step 1, blah blah blah. Step 2, then I yada yada yada."

It might even help if you start a whole new post titled "My reloading process." by Goodgrouper or "My reloading process." By Fiftydriver or whomever. That way questions about a particular process stay in that persons topic thread.

Like I said, it is going to take a little effort but I'm sure alot of people like myself that have been loading for years with good to slightly better than good results would like to see a few examples of the big picture from folks that have it working for them already.

A great big thanks to those who take the time to reply to this tall order.
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2005, 05:37 AM
 
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Re: Your reloading process. The long version.

I myself would find this great to view. I've been reading presision reloading book and am amazed at what I have "NOT" been doing. I'm looking forward to the weather breaking here and getting to the range.

Lab
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2005, 06:33 AM
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Re: Your reloading process. The long version.

good quertion, mine was going to be a question on sorting primers? i've been noticing on fed210gm match that some have full red filler(or whatever it is)to some having none?thats why im assuming it is a filler?i have 5 of the best(full red) and worse(no red) loaded to test next time at the range maybe this evening.
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  #4  
Old 03-23-2005, 09:59 PM
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Re: Your reloading process. The long version.

4ked,
here is my process for my LR loads, assuming I am working from a load known to be accurate, using the same componets.
Im going to skip over most of the assembly steps, and let somebody else work on this aspect. If nobody else does, and theres a call for it, ill go over these too.

Brass:
Debur flash hole with RCBS tool, measure case neck thickness to weed out the extremely "out of wack" ones. I don't weigh, and I don't neck turn. I don't use cases with more than .001 variation in neck thickness for LR work. Im one of those guys that is of the opinion that variations in the neck thickness likley means variations in case wall thickness as well. I have been considering sorting by case volume after fireforming, mainly as a path towards low ES. I know others who are doing it, and having some success. I also know some for the guys who shoot regurarly around 2000 sort cases by MV consistancy on a single case Ie: cases with low ES, and like muzle velocity are batched together. Since doing this kind of sorting essentially requires a Oehler 43, or 35 with very long skyscreen spacing, im not going to start any time soon.
Other than that, trim, debur, chamfer, and size....

Bullets:
As of today, and I say that because this is always changing,
Open my box of 220SMKs
sort into batches by bearing surfaceto the .001", then sort those batches into consistant base to ogive length. Trim Meplat either as little as possible so that all of them clean up to the same length (as long as possible) or to a predetermined length that I know will clean up all the bullets, regaurdless of the lot#. The "as long as possible" ones are used for targets at known distances, and the "so they all clean up" bullets are used for unknown distance targets where a reliable BC is more important than the absolute highest BC.
Last of all, I run them across a scale. I don't sort them by weight, all im looking for is that the weight is not wildly different from the rest. Most will be somewhere between .2 and .5 grains in variation. If its off by 2 grains, its a fouler, if its off by a grain, its a sighter.... more than 2 usually means a short core (not enough lead). Ive seen short cores from green boxes that were 12 grains off the wt marked on the box. Rare, but nothing is perfect.
Seat bullet length by bearing surface, and measure every round after its loaded, and stack them in the box accordingly. If a particular bullet seats harder or softer than its companions, its a sighter too.

Powder:
If its going to see more than 600yds of air, every charge is thrown into the case from the measure, then poured onto the scale to be trickled up to weight. I believe that unless you have a very expensive digital, its better to weigh powder on a mechanical scale. Other than that, mke sure its the same lot # as before, and double check that the powder on the label is what you want.

Primers:
I do a visual inspection, and thats about it. If it looks different, its a fouler.
There are guys much more anal about primers than me. I know a few guys who weigh every one, and batch them by weight. They have better groups at 1000 than I do, so im not going to say its a waste of time, however, im not convinced that there is a guarantee that the variations in weight are priming compound, not in the cup, anvil, or foil.

As for adjusting loads, The only thing I do, is check my throat length every time I do a batch (either 50 or 100 rds). It only takes a few minutes, and lets me keep track of throat erosion. It usually takes a few batches to have to readjust, but it makes me feel better, and thats important.

Feeling confident about your rounds is the most important thing to improving performance.

I have to know without a doubt, that when I squeeeeeze my trigger, and that striker drops, that this is the most accurate combination possible. I know that my bedding is solid, the scope bases, and ring screws are tight, and that the scope im peering through is a quality piece of glass, that I have proven to be dependable, and reliable with my own hands. I have to know that if a bullet pokes a hole in something other than what I wanted, that one of two things happened, 1. there was a change in conditions downrange that I missed, or 2. there is a loose nut behind the buttplate, and I have to be ablt to figure out which one it is.

Some great groups have been shot without all of the prep I have listed here. I have 2 on the wall over my loading bench. That don't mean that all of this is in vain however. The more you shoot, the luckier you get, and you can quote me on that. If a guy had the resources, a one time, 5 shot 1000yd group of 2.000" is possible with a 22lr, but im not paying for the ammo.

Some great groups have been shot with more prep than I have listed here. Lots of them better than what I have shot, many of them by much. Many of the things that I don't do have been shown to shrink groups(neck turning), and others would if tested enough (primer sorting???) it all comes down to how good are your componets, and how much time are you willing to invest in making them as perfect as possible?
Its worth it to me to do the things I have listed because I can demonstrate that they shrink groups, and produce more first found hits, and at least for the time being, thats all I know.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2005, 12:51 AM
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Re: Your reloading process. The long version.

abinok thanks for taking the time to put all that in black and white for us.

Questions:

When you deberr flash holes are you touching the hole with the tool and trimming off snags or do you go a few thou deeper and put a clean little chamfer on the inside of the flash hole?

Whe you talk about measuring neck thickness is it .001" thicker than the others or is it .001" difference from one side of the mouth wall compared to the other side or is it .001" thicker than the previous measurement on that same batch of brass?

Semi related question:

Tonight I was sizing .308 brass with my FL die but not all the way down. As I lowered the ram and pulled the mouth over the expander ball some of the cases gave almost no resistance and others pulled through tight. Why? Shouldn't they all give resistance if they were squeezed in the same die and expanded with the same ball? Is this a sign of my brass getting brittle at the mouth?

All the rest was loud and clear.
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2005, 06:57 AM
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Re: Your reloading process. The long version.

Deburr flashholes. Something I've been doing since 1975. Now that I've said that, you need to research that issue. Some time back there was an article in PS magazine on this subject that indicated we might being doing more harm than good to accuracy using this practice. As I recall the article said that it changed the direction of the flame into the powder column from the center to the side. Well I quit doing this and could tell no difference in my bench-rest barrels. Uniforming primer pockets I still follow this as it does (after fireforming) as it does clean the pocket and flattens the bottom, gives the cases a uniform depth for seating. Primer seating. This I do by hand using the Sinclare tool, I love this tool as I have the control and feel with it to know that the primer is at the bottom of the pocket without crushing the pellet. Yes it's high cost, but I feel this to be one of the most important steps in the hunt for accuracy. Dies. This has got to be one of the most misunderstood subjects in accurate reloading and in general reloading that I know of. Remember the SAMMI spec. This is where the trouble all starts. To put it in simple terms get your sizer die cut to your chambers dimensions, minus. This is why when you start a new barrel project ask the fellow doing the barrel work if he has the re-size reamer for his finish reamer. You sure want him to cut the sizer for this chamber job. You will want him to make you up a gauge to check your shoulder set back also so you can bump back the shoulder and know your getting the set back you want when you adjust your die. If in your own mind you have found a ctg. that really suits you (and you know you will stay with), buy your own reamer set. to send out for the next barreling job. Powder. This is one of those deals that can be a hard one to make work out, cause you need to buy enough of what works best in your barrels at your location and conditions that you can burn the tube out and not have to worry about lot changes. This is why you will run into savvy shooters that buy a lot of the same surplus powder and learn to shoot that powder. Somewhere along the road it starts to dawn on some shooters that mass produced bullets just have to many variables to waste barrel time on them and some folks find a guy that runs a small shop and makes them on one set of dies, or they loose there minds and get pissed and start making there own. Some would say the last course is a road to madness (usually a spouse) In all my years of competitive shooting I have only known a hand full of shooters that have reached this level of frustration. These are the control freaks, the people that want to eliminate every last reason for inconsistency in there shooting. "Do not follow this path", "DO, BUY BULLETS FROM THEM"! Well as I'm sure you know this could go on forever. I have to get back down to the shop and load some ammo. More later, if you want?
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2005, 10:33 AM
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Re: Your reloading process. The long version.

Thanks 3six. You hit on the reason I asked about the flash holes. I had a knoledgeable customer years ago that told me of this same problem with actually putting a small chamfer on the inside face of the flash hole. He claimed that he experienced this taking safe starting loads to almost unsafe pressures by this step alone. That dosen't mean it is conclusive but certainly worth the question.

As a side note he also claimed that brass polishing fluid used in corn cob media caused all but the last 6 inches of rifling in his barrel to become abraded away. He believed that it loosened the powder residue from the inner walls of the case which in turn landed on the bore after each shot. This then laid down an abrasive surface for the following shot to bulldoze out while "Fire sanding" the bore on it's way.

That last one sounded a little steep to me but he was an experienced loader and BR shooter. Who knows?
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