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Old 03-17-2011, 10:14 AM   #241
wyowillys46
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Originally Posted by EvilGenius View Post
Why is that?
After 150 years nobody's really certain. Theories still float around in the BP cartridge realm. Problems mostly show up as rings formed in the chambers, which then cause difficult extraction. The only apparent difference is that BP is an explosive and smokeless is a propellant.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:37 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by wyowillys46 View Post
After 150 years nobody's really certain. Theories still float around in the BP cartridge realm. Problems mostly show up as rings formed in the chambers, which then cause difficult extraction. The only apparent difference is that BP is an explosive and smokeless is a propellant.
What's the difference?
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:30 PM   #243
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What's the difference?
One goes bang and the goes whoosh.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:15 AM   #244
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Switching gears a little here, I have always used mostly RCBS equipment, ever since I started handloading back in the 1960s with my dad. I've had good luck with it and nowadays when I need some bit of gear, whether it be dies or some other item, I tend to look at the RCBS stuff first.

So last weekend I went shopping for a set of 45 Colt dies. I'd handloaded that caliber back in the '70s, but had sold the gun long ago. I didn't get another until about Y2K when I picked up a Ruger Vaquero Sheriff's Model 3.5", a sort of impulse buy. I shot the gun a few times, but think I put a grand total of 100 rounds through it before it got stuck in the back of the safe. I didn't handload for the caliber at the time, just used some factory stuff.

Recently I acquired another 45 Colt gun and also dug the Sheriff's Model out of the safe, am now wanting to shoot them. At upwards of $32 per box for even basic (except for aluminum case non-reloadable Speer Blazer stuff) ammo, I decided it was time to handload again. I went through my old gear box looking to see if I still had the 45 Colt dies from the '70s......it would be possible, I tend to hang onto stuff forever......but no luck, they were gone, I must have sold them or traded them when I sold the gun.

So I went shopping. I found a set of RCBS with a carbide sizer, and the shop wanted $43 for them. Sounded okay, but no shell-holder and they didn't have the right size one in stock. Then I happened to notice a set of Lee dies, carbide sizer, and it INCLUDED a shell-holder, for $26! Quite a savings. I think an RCBS shell-holder would have cost me $10 if I could have found one or had to order it. So for half the cost I threw brand-loyalty to the wind and bought the Lee. Haven't used them yet, but have no doubt they'll work fine.

Sorry for the long ramble about a fairly minor anecdote. Mostly I wanted to keep the thread going, but am also curious about people's experience with different kinds of reloading gear, what has worked, what hasn't, that sort of thing.

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Old 03-19-2011, 09:58 AM   #245
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Originally Posted by HardCase View Post
Switching gears a little here, I have always used mostly RCBS equipment, ever since I started handloading back in the 1960s with my dad. I've had good luck with it and nowadays when I need some bit of gear, whether it be dies or some other item, I tend to look at the RCBS stuff first.

So last weekend I went shopping for a set of 45 Colt dies. I'd handloaded that caliber back in the '70s, but had sold the gun long ago. I didn't get another until about Y2K when I picked up a Ruger Vaquero Sheriff's Model 3.5", a sort of impulse buy. I shot the gun a few times, but think I put a grand total of 100 rounds through it before it got stuck in the back of the safe. I didn't handload for the caliber at the time, just used some factory stuff.

Recently I acquired another 45 Colt gun and also dug the Sheriff's Model out of the safe, am now wanting to shoot them. At upwards of $32 per box for even basic (except for aluminum case non-reloadable Speer Blazer stuff) ammo, I decided it was time to handload again. I went through my old gear box looking to see if I still had the 45 Colt dies from the '70s......it would be possible, I tend to hang onto stuff forever......but no luck, they were gone, I must have sold them or traded them when I sold the gun.

So I went shopping. I found a set of RCBS with a carbide sizer, and the shop wanted $43 for them. Sounded okay, but no shell-holder and they didn't have the right size one in stock. Then I happened to notice a set of Lee dies, carbide sizer, and it INCLUDED a shell-holder, for $26! Quite a savings. I think an RCBS shell-holder would have cost me $10 if I could have found one or had to order it. So for half the cost I threw brand-loyalty to the wind and bought the Lee. Haven't used them yet, but have no doubt they'll work fine.

Sorry for the long ramble about a fairly minor anecdote. Mostly I wanted to keep the thread going, but am also curious about people's experience with different kinds of reloading gear, what has worked, what hasn't, that sort of thing.

Raises a point I've been pondering though.
Decades back I purchased a Ruger .44 carbine - PO threw in a set of RCBS dies and ~100 rounds of handloads - question: Do you have to "match" dies to press etc? *I don't have anything but the dies, but am still thinking about learning how to reload for .44/.45ACP & .38/.357

Tanks,
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:16 AM   #246
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Die questions/info

HardCase,

I have used Lyman, Lee and RCBS dies ofer the years, and can't see any difference in the finished product. The Lee dies offer really good value, and I prefer the long expander in the bottleneck rifle dies. The O-ring locknust are great, too.

Tony the Tiger,

As long as you have a standard press that uses 7/-14 threads, any standard die set will work.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:03 PM   #247
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I got into hand loading just because it was impossible 35 years ago to find the obsolete ammunition that my 100 year old rifles needed. Once I found that most of these rounds consisted of modifications of cases that were still being sold it made it much more attractive.

Back in the day most lever action ammo could be made from 30-30 cartridges. 25-20 from 32-20. 38-40, 44-40 from .45 cases and so on. Same with bullets, if you searched, you likely could come up with a bullet meant for another caliber that had the proper, or near proper size. It was an economic choice in some cases. Making your own, was much cheaper than buying a 50 rd box of 32-20 for $50 in 1975.

I then started loading for my hunting rifles, primarily a .308, and found that my guns improved their accuracy with bullets a certain distance from the lands and could improve velocity within reason.

It is a different game now. Depending on the cartridge, it is cheaper to buy your ammo for practice loads. Components have gone way up, and thanks to cowboy action shooting you can purchase most shells that were formerly obsolete. I even buy some ammo for my hunting rifles because I can't match the accuracy or velocity. It only makes economic sense if you shoot a lot of ammunition.

Making your own ammo is not something to take lightly, you could take an eye out. Make sure you understand the mechanics of it. You need to know what effects pressures. Understand what the pressure signs are, but don't rely on the fact that you are safe just because you don't see any. Don't rely on an internet sites for your load info. Get more than one load manual for your information, there is a lot of discrepancies, especially with the old rounds. Beside the basic reloader kit, get some measuring tools. Follow the manuals load data explicitly. It is a rare powder, bullet combo that I have found, that was most accurate at its maximum loading. If you are looking for more velocity buy a bigger gun.

Reloading can become a hobby as much fun as collecting or shooting the guns.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:59 PM   #248
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
Raises a point I've been pondering though.
Decades back I purchased a Ruger .44 carbine - PO threw in a set of RCBS dies and ~100 rounds of handloads - question: Do you have to "match" dies to press etc? *I don't have anything but the dies, but am still thinking about learning how to reload for .44/.45ACP & .38/.357

Tanks,
No, I believe that all commonly available presses, RCBS, Lee, even Dillon, are threaded the same way and that dies can be swapped among them. I do have a Dillon 550 that I bought when I was shooting a lot of IPSC and, later, IDPA, and did find that it worked better with proprietary Dillon dies, but other brands would work in a pinch. Using different brand-name dies in a single-stage press is no problem.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:04 PM   #249
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Originally Posted by itsatdm View Post
It is a different game now. Depending on the cartridge, it is cheaper to buy your ammo for practice loads. Components have gone way up, and thanks to cowboy action shooting you can purchase most shells that were formerly obsolete. I even buy some ammo for my hunting rifles because I can't match the accuracy or velocity. It only makes economic sense if you shoot a lot of ammunition.
It depends somewhat on the caliber. I find that I can handload most calibers more economically, by a fair degree, than purchasing even cheap practice ammo. Even the 9x19, which I used to forego handloading for a number of reasons including cost, is now starting to look more and more like a handloading candidate to me.

I was in a shop just this morning and the guy behind the counter was telling me that ammo costs are going up 67% in the next few months!!! I asked why, and he said "because they can" and then went onto say that the raw materials used in making ammo have actually gone down in recent months. I don't know if I consider what this guy was telling me to be Gospel, but I've known him a few years and he's not a total yahoo. Still, I'm hoping that he's very very mistaken.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:52 PM   #250
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When I said depending on the ammo, I was specifically thinking of 7.62, 9mm 7.39 and .223. There was a time that stuff was pretty cheap. Seems like most that post here are talking about modern weapons. My thing is the old guns. Even the few I have that are modern are discontinued.

Nothing like lighting up a 1878 44.77 rolling block with a smokeless equivalent for black powder and live to tell about it.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:53 AM   #251
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When I said depending on the ammo, I was specifically thinking of 7.62, 9mm 7.39 and .223. There was a time that stuff was pretty cheap. Seems like most that post here are talking about modern weapons. My thing is the old guns. Even the few I have that are modern are discontinued.

Nothing like lighting up a 1878 44.77 rolling block with a smokeless equivalent for black powder and live to tell about it.
Definitely if a guy is wanting to shoot an "obsolete" caliber, handloading is the way to go. I have a 9.3x74R which is a 110 year-old European cartridge originally intended for hunting in Africa. Ammo for it is occasionally available from Norma and Hornady, but costs nearly $80 for a box of 20. I was able to find 100 new brass cases for $110, but can get about five or six loadings out of each. The bullet, depending on what I use, powder and primer costs roughly .75 each. So the initial loading costs me about $1.80, and subsequent loadings cost .75. That's quite a savings.

You are right that rounds like the 7.62x39, 223, and 9mm don't result in as much per-round savings if handloaded, but if you are shooting those in any sort of volume, i.e, competition, you'll still save a pantload of $ if you handload.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:50 AM   #252
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So I went shopping. I found a set of RCBS with a carbide sizer, and the shop wanted $43 for them. Sounded okay, but no shell-holder and they didn't have the right size one in stock. Then I happened to notice a set of Lee dies, carbide sizer, and it INCLUDED a shell-holder, for $26! Quite a savings. I think an RCBS shell-holder would have cost me $10 if I could have found one or had to order it. So for half the cost I threw brand-loyalty to the wind and bought the Lee. Haven't used them yet, but have no doubt they'll work fine.

Sorry for the long ramble about a fairly minor anecdote. Mostly I wanted to keep the thread going, but am also curious about people's experience with different kinds of reloading gear, what has worked, what hasn't, that sort of thing.

I've used 'em all. Lee blows their competition away when it comes to value, but there are two things I don't like about the Lee dies:

1. They have a short neck, which means that they won't screw in far enough on some of my non-Lee presses.

2. The adjusting collars are held in place by a rubber ring, which means they can get out of adjustment pretty easily. I much prefer the locking screw method used by other die makers. Most often, I simply swap out the Lee adjusting collar for one from another die which I'm no longer using.

One thing I DO prefer about the Lee dies is that their decaping pins never come out, because they're one solid piece of steel. Other die manufacturers use a friction fit to keep their decaping pins in place. When these fail, it's a PITA to remove the stuck decaping pin from the case. Especially when they protrude far enough from the primer pocket to make removing the shell from the shell holder impossible.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:56 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by tony the tiger View Post
Raises a point I've been pondering though.
Decades back I purchased a Ruger .44 carbine - PO threw in a set of RCBS dies and ~100 rounds of handloads - question: Do you have to "match" dies to press etc?
No. I've got dies made by Redding, Lee, RCBS, Bonanza, etc. They all have exactly the same threads and will fit in any single stage press. However, the threaded portion on the Lee dies is shorter than it is on other dies, and if you try to use Lee dies on a Dillon or Hornady 'progressive' press, you'll find that they're too short. You can make it work, but there will only be one or two threads holding it in place.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:50 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by McNeal View Post
One goes bang and the goes whoosh.
But is it burn rate that defines one or the other, or something else entirely?
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:58 AM   #255
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But is it burn rate that defines one or the other, or something else entirely?
FWIW, black powder is alleged to explode in an unconfined space, whereas modern gun powder will only burn. However, I've made lots of black powder as a kid and never once had it explode when tossing a match in.
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