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Old 02-07-2011, 02:01 PM   #151
Aurelius OP
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Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
So - you guys that are already reloading: How do you track the number of reloads for your brass? Some kind of etched lot number, or just different colored ammo boxes for the finished product/recently expended cartridges? What I mean is - what's your system?
My practice has been to reload only X number of cases (usually 50) and keep using only those until I see signs of case failure (usually after about 12 reloads). Once a significant number of cases have failed, I throw out the lot and begin with new cases.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:03 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
So - you guys that are already reloading: How do you track the number of reloads for your brass? Some kind of etched lot number, or just different colored ammo boxes for the finished product/recently expended cartridges? What I mean is - what's your system?
For low pressure loads like the 45 ACP it was simple. They would resize but no longer hold the slug tightly. If you could pull the bullet or twist it by hand, toss the case. Also look for a half moon bulge at the bottom of the case on one side where it is not fully supported by the barrel chamber in a 1911 or other semi auto pistol like it. If that happens on your ammo, the load is likely too hot and stretching the case, toss the case and reduce the load. The .38 and .357 cases would simply split on firing or when you resize them.

For tapered, necked rifle cases get a piece of stiff wire, like baling wire. Bend one end 90 degrees and only about 1/8 inch at the bend so it fits inside smaller cases. Run the bent end inside the case and feel for a small groove just above the case floor (interior) with the pointed bent end of the wire. If you can feel a groove there the case has stretched and is very thin there. The case end will split at that location so toss the case. Some of them will show a shiny ring on the outside of that spot indicating excessive stretching of the case. Toss it.

A loose primer pocket is also a symptom of a VERY high overpressure load or a very worn case. If the primer is loose in the pocket toss the case. If it is obviously loose right after you fire it, stop firing that ammo and check for overloaded ammo. Pull the bullets and weigh the powder charge before you blow up the gun and yourself.

Brass is LOTS cheaper than medical care if a case lets go on a rifle and you get a face full of powder, brass and dirt at high velocity. It hurts too, even if it's only a pierced primer that does it. I got that when a primer was weak and allowed gas back into the rear of the M16 I was shooting at the time. Fortunately I had on large diameter prescription glasses so it didn't hurt my eye. It still stung my face and eye though. Since then I never shoot without either my regular glasses or safety glasses on.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:11 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
So - you guys that are already reloading: How do you track the number of reloads for your brass? Some kind of etched lot number, or just different colored ammo boxes for the finished product/recently expended cartridges? What I mean is - what's your system?
I'm in the same camp with VegasKLRider, Aurelius, and Motor31. I used to shoot a lot of IPSC and some IDPA, and would end up with buckets of range brass which was a hodgepodge mixture of whatever I was shooting and some of what everyone else was shooting as well. This was all either 40 or 45 in my case, although sometimes 38 & 357 when I got into revolver shooting in some IDPA matches, but that didn't get mixed as badly as not so many guys were shooting revolvers in those matches and it was easier to pick my own. I'd use the brass until it just looked funky, primers fell out, or it split, then toss it.

Rifle or heavy handgun rounds like the 500 & 44 Mag. I keep track of. I have noticed that the belted magnums seem to have shorter case-life than more standard rifle rounds like the 30-06 and 308. That is especially true of tapered brass like the 300&375H&H rounds, I found that when I FL sized them, as opposed to neck-sizing, I'd only get about 4 loads with close-to-full charges before they became unusable. Those rounds are prone to case-head separation, and that's something you don't want as it ties up your gun until a gunsmith can deal with it (unless you have a special tool), and it's potentially dangerous. But it doesn't happen much with standard rounds like the 308.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:12 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by PolloAsado View Post
You know what would be GREAT?

To have a step by step with the single stage.

From spent cartridge cleaning to fully seated and ready to go round.

I have a .44 magnum and my big "to do in this life list" is to reload for it.

Here ya go . . . this is a step by step write up for getting started reloading on the cheap:

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech...h_notes.htm/51
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:23 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by bjw741 View Post
Here ya go . . . this is a step by step write up for getting started reloading on the cheap:

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech...h_notes.htm/51
GREAT writeup!

Even a caveman can do it!
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:38 PM   #156
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Just something that I wish someone had told me before I started reloading: Don't get into it to save money, because you won't. Whatever you do save will be put back into reloading. If it costs you even half as much as you save by reloading, you'll end up shooting twice as much. And then you'll probably start playing around.

Looking for that perfect load. Adjusting your powder weight by half or even tenths of a grain, adjusting your bullet seating, trying to figure out wether Lapua Scenars are better IN ONE OF YOUR RIFLES than Hornady A-Maxs. Cast vs. jacketed. Moly coated or not. And then you'll HAVE to do it for EVERY gun you own. I have 3 10mm handguns. ALL of them have different preferences. One of them loves 155 gr. cast semiwadcutters with a medium powder charge, another loves 200 gr. XTP with a stout charge, the third adores 180 gr semiwadcutters with a beyond max load of 700X.

Just know going in you probably won't save money, but you will find another hobby/money pit.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:23 PM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
So - you guys that are already reloading: How do you track the number of reloads for your brass? Some kind of etched lot number, or just different colored ammo boxes for the finished product/recently expended cartridges? What I mean is - what's your system?

I just look at the brass before loading for cracks, etc. If it looks good, it is good. Some will crack after being shot one time, others seem to be more malleable or something, and acn be reloaded again and again, so there's really no hard and fast rule. If you shoot much at all and were to try to keep track of individual lots of brass, you'd go crazy. And you'd probably be wasting your time anyway.

While you do need to be careful and meticulous in the details of reloading, it ain't rocket surgery. You wouldn't do it if it weren't fun.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:29 AM   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke Markham View Post
Just something that I wish someone had told me before I started reloading: Don't get into it to save money, because you won't. Whatever you do save will be put back into reloading. If it costs you even half as much as you save by reloading, you'll end up shooting twice as much. And then you'll probably start playing around.

Looking for that perfect load. Adjusting your powder weight by half or even tenths of a grain, adjusting your bullet seating, trying to figure out wether Lapua Scenars are better IN ONE OF YOUR RIFLES than Hornady A-Maxs. Cast vs. jacketed. Moly coated or not. And then you'll HAVE to do it for EVERY gun you own. I have 3 10mm handguns. ALL of them have different preferences. One of them loves 155 gr. cast semiwadcutters with a medium powder charge, another loves 200 gr. XTP with a stout charge, the third adores 180 gr semiwadcutters with a beyond max load of 700X.

Just know going in you probably won't save money, but you will find another hobby/money pit.
I agree, that the economics of handloading almost never results in money savings, but instead in more shooting. It is a hobby unto itself, related to shooting, so if you like to shoot you'll most likely enjoy handloading.

One economizing practice I've adopted in the past decade is to limit the number of powders I use. I use three pistol powders and two rifle powders for 99% of my reloading anymore. Bullseye, Universal, and H110/W296 (same powder, different can) for handgun, H380 and WW748 for rifle. I currently handload for 38, 357, 40 S&W, 44 Magnum, 45ACP, and 500 S&W Magnum in handgun, and 223, 308, 30-06, 9.3x74R, and 45-70 in rifle, and those powders cover the bases very nicely. Of course, each shooter is going to be different based on what he shoots, but I have found that not tinkering with a bunch of different powders saves money, avoids confusion, and works very well, plus I don't have oddball partially used cans of powder. Same with bullets. I try to narrow it down to one or two bullets per round, one that shoots well and meets my needs, and stick to that once I've developed a good working load.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:47 AM   #159
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But i thought the point of reloading was so you could shoot more rounds for the same over all cost?
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:52 AM   #160
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But i thought the point of reloading was so you could shoot more rounds for the same over all cost?
It is. It also allows you to tailor your loads to fit your personal needs, or to conform to the rules imposed by certain types of shooting sports.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:56 AM   #161
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But i thought the point of reloading was so you could shoot more rounds for the same over all cost?
Exactly. Plus what Aurelius said. It also frequently allows you to create loads for your personal guns that are considerably superior to any loaded ammo that you can buy commercially.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:07 AM   #162
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Exactly. Plus what Aurelius said. It also frequently allows you to create loads for your personal guns that are considerably superior to any loaded ammo that you can buy commercially.
This is especially true when it comes to certain pistols that use cartridges developed for rifles, or vice versa. I imagine there are a few people who had to learn the hard way not to use rifle reloading data when using .308 cartridges in their XP-100.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:53 AM   #163
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Hardcase,

I economise even more. I use one or two powders for handgun loading. I found that shotgun powders like red or green dot will handle most handgun loads from light to medium heavy. I stopped trying to push the velocity bus a long time ago with the .357 or .44 and use medium velocity loads now. A side benefit was that it is harder to miss an overcharge of the shotgun powders than it is with bullseye. Yup bullseye will get you more rounds per pound but it is very very easy to let a double charge slip past with that powder since it takes up so little room in a .38 or even a .45 ACP case.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:33 AM   #164
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Hardcase,

I economise even more. I use one or two powders for handgun loading. I found that shotgun powders like red or green dot will handle most handgun loads from light to medium heavy. I stopped trying to push the velocity bus a long time ago with the .357 or .44 and use medium velocity loads now. A side benefit was that it is harder to miss an overcharge of the shotgun powders than it is with bullseye. Yup bullseye will get you more rounds per pound but it is very very easy to let a double charge slip past with that powder since it takes up so little room in a .38 or even a .45 ACP case.
I hear ya, am very careful with Bullseye. I don't use it a lot anymore, and when I do it is only for very light target 38 Special loads with wadcutters. I used to shoot a lot of those but not so much anymore.

I really like Universal Clays a lot, originally a shotgun powder and very similar to Unique in burning rate, but not nearly as dirty. I used a ton of it when I was shooting IPSC in both 45ACP and 40S&W. I use H110 for heavy loads in the 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, and the 500 S&W Magnum. So I use Universal and H110 for about 90% of my handgun ammo anymore.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:48 AM   #165
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Teach a man to fish and you won't have to kick him in the nuts when he bitches that he's hungry the next day. Different kinds o economics in the whole wide world. Never know.
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