Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by PistolPete » Fri May 24, 2013 10:22 am

Identity Thief wrote: My 2 cents says to go with a Dillon Press with the matching Dillon Carbide dies. And since you aren't going for making a shit-ton of ammo, the RL 550B is just about the perfect set up.
They don't make carbide dies for bottlenecked cartridges- you have to lube them. As well, a progressive press doesn't make sense if the focus is precision, because you're going to inspect the brass after sizing and clean the primer pocket and weigh each powder charge. You wouldn't be using many of the progressive features of the progressive press.

For blowing out ammo for a class or pistol ammo progressives are great and Dillon leads the class. But when you go to benchrest competitions you don't see people using them. You seem them using single stage presses to reload the same 20 pieces of brass throughout the shoot.

I think the rest of your advice was spot on though.

And you see people trash Lee, but I have to say the only dies I've had a problem with were Hornady dies. I've got RCBS, Hornady and Lee dies and all of them do their job except for one Hornady sizing die that wasn't in spec from the factory. And all the press has to do is apply compound leverage, so the cheap ones work just as well.

Now, if you are getting more precise about your sizing and bullet seating, you'll need to go with more expensive dies. But in the basic die sets ($45 and under), I've found die quality to be pretty similar between brands.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Identity Thief » Fri May 24, 2013 10:27 am

PistolPete wrote:
Identity Thief wrote: My 2 cents says to go with a Dillon Press with the matching Dillon Carbide dies. And since you aren't going for making a shit-ton of ammo, the RL 550B is just about the perfect set up.
They don't make carbide dies for bottlenecked cartridges- you have to lube them. As well, a progressive press doesn't make sense if the focus is precision, because you're going to inspect the brass after sizing and clean the primer pocket and weigh each powder charge. You wouldn't be using many of the progressive features of the progressive press.
Ahhh - good to know. I don't do 300blk so I wasn't aware that they don't make the carbide dies. Also, the reason I recommended the 550B by Dillon is that even though it is a progressive press, it is very easy to use as a single stage press when ultra-precision is necessary, there-by not needing to purchase another press when wanting load in larger quantities. The only drawback is that you need to cycle the round through the empty stages and hand pull it off the back before it drops into the bucket.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by SRO1911 » Fri May 24, 2013 11:13 pm

Dillon and accurate in the same line....yeah about that.
DIllion made their name on QUANTITY - thats what they do, its what they are good at.
Different people have different conceptions of accuracy - and different shooting styles/platforms should be approached differently.
Lee makes some great products for the price, so does dillon, so does rcbs, so does lyman, so does wilson etc..
The trick is to determine what you want and how hard you want to work to get it. I have seen some ar pattern rifle that would shoot .250, maybe a tad under - but it takes a whole lot to get there. It is an unfortunate fact of life that any semi-auto rifle will have more reloading constraints than a bolt gun. C.O.L - brass life, pressure curve, crimp, bullet selection/ogive - all matter more in a semi-auto.

Benchrest shooters eliminate as many variables as possible - tight necks, tight chambers, etc in order to shoot the smallest possible groups. Some of these things carry over to semi's but not many.
Heres some basics -
A good single stage press will be the most versatile option, no special shell plates or one off dies, most dies and shell holders will interchange.
A reliable powder measure (this is one where you typically DO get what you pay for) I prefer redding - their BR30 is hard to beat without spending twice as much on a harrel
Lee case trimmers along with a cordless drill save mucho time and headaches
Wilson and RCBS de-burr and chamfer tools last multiple lifetimes and are significantly more comfortable than Lee's offering.
Depending on the chamber of YOUR gun (they are all a little different) you may need small base dies - if so, you can reduce your expectations on brass life.
RCBS lube pads are pure noob bait - too messy. The sprays are a slight improvement. When you get serious, or if you are even thinking about necking brass up - do yourself a favor and pick up a tin of imperial die wax - I use a little over a can a year, and load probably around 10-12k rounds a year.
CLEAN BRASS- not just about looking good at the range. Less dirt that you feed your dies, the smoother things will go. Also - carbon, dirt, mud, crud - can hide defects like split necks, creases etc. Get something to clean your brass, wet or dry, rotary or vibratory or ultra-sonic... cake vs pie - - something is better than nothing.
A good three ring binder. If I could only save one thing from my load bench (fire flood whatever) it would be my notes. Log everything - all the good loads, the bad loads, the experiments - EVERYTHING -
Im sure theres more - but I've gotta go make more bullets.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by cemoulton » Sat May 25, 2013 12:15 am

They do make carbide dies for .223 and many other bottle neck cartridges we use them exclusively.

And yes you still have to use case lube.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Makarov » Sat May 25, 2013 4:20 am

cemoulton wrote:They do make carbide dies for .223 and many other bottle neck cartridges we use them exclusively.

And yes you still have to use case lube.
Beat me to it...

Regarding Dillon presses and precision; I've had a 550 for 10+ years, and just bought a 650 (to really crank out ammo for my various IPSC needs). I'm going to use the 550 to reload ammo that uses large primers, .45, .308 and 6.5 Swede (none of which I reload at the moment). The rifle ammo is going to be reloaded for precision, but I have no doubt that the 550 will be able to do that. It can be used as a single stage press, doing separate operations. When I reload .223 I use 2 separate heads as well, 1 head for prepping; depriming/sizing and trimming (with a Dillon Rapid Trim), and one for reloading (after removing the lube).
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Identity Thief » Mon May 27, 2013 8:50 am

Makarov wrote:When I reload .223 I use 2 separate heads as well, 1 head for prepping; depriming/sizing and trimming (with a Dillon Rapid Trim), and one for reloading (after removing the lube).
Any chance of seeing a photo of your dual head set up? I'm doing the same but for different calipers - one head for 9mm, 1 for .40, etc... But I'd like to see how you've mounted the case trimmer to the head for moving.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by cemoulton » Mon May 27, 2013 12:39 pm

Identity Thief wrote:
Makarov wrote:When I reload .223 I use 2 separate heads as well, 1 head for prepping; depriming/sizing and trimming (with a Dillon Rapid Trim), and one for reloading (after removing the lube).
Any chance of seeing a photo of your dual head set up? I'm doing the same but for different calipers - one head for 9mm, 1 for .40, etc... But I'd like to see how you've mounted the case trimmer to the head for moving.

I can take some pics of our set ups at work tomorrow if I can shake this stupid head cold.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Makarov » Mon May 27, 2013 2:54 pm

Identity Thief wrote:
Makarov wrote:When I reload .223 I use 2 separate heads as well, 1 head for prepping; depriming/sizing and trimming (with a Dillon Rapid Trim), and one for reloading (after removing the lube).
Any chance of seeing a photo of your dual head set up? I'm doing the same but for different calipers - one head for 9mm, 1 for .40, etc... But I'd like to see how you've mounted the case trimmer to the head for moving.
You think to use the casetrimmer on several calibres?

I don't do that. I only trim .223/5.56 brass, so it's just that I've got a separate tool head with the sizing/depriming die and the casetrimmer.
The second tool head contains the powder-, seater- and crimp-die.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Identity Thief » Mon May 27, 2013 2:58 pm

Ahhh. Ok. Now I'm tracking. Yeah, in my head was a failed attempt to visualize the ability for multi-caliber trimmings. I'm, at the current moment, not actually think too well as I'm in the delivery room with my wife playing the waiting game...
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Makarov » Mon May 27, 2013 3:10 pm

Identity Thief wrote:Ahhh. Ok. Now I'm tracking. Yeah, in my head was a failed attempt to visualize the ability for multi-caliber trimmings. I'm, at the current moment, not actually think too well as I'm in the delivery room with my wife playing the waiting game...
AND posting on ZS?! That's diehard multitasking bro :D
Hope everything's going well for you, and congratulations!

Going back to reloading, I don't really see the need to trim my pistol brass. Most I bother to do is to case gauge the .40 ammo I'm gonna use in competitions (in a STI). Riflebrass on the other hand I've learned to do "right" the hard way. Still have some trouble with my Dillon .223 resizeing die, it's supposed to be small base, but I've had trouble. Started to experiment a little adding an extra RCBS (IIRC) die, but due to time constrictions I've only shot Baurnal the last year.
This'll all be better when I'm finally out of school on June 7 :D
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by eugene » Mon May 27, 2013 7:05 pm

I just found 15 out of 300 of my Brass cases were just slightly too long and needed trimmed. Of course I didn't check until after I had already primered.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by PistolPete » Mon May 27, 2013 7:14 pm

eugene wrote:I just found 15 out of 300 of my Brass cases were just slightly too long and needed trimmed. Of course I didn't check until after I had already primered.
Suckage. There really isn't a great way to deprime live primers that I'm aware of. You may have to fire them off inside your gun one at a time, then deprime, size and trim.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by cricketdave » Mon May 27, 2013 7:56 pm

I spent the day cleaning and sorting a bunch of brass, filled 4 1lb coffee cans with clean 44/40 brass and a couple of them with 45acp and another couple with 38 brass. Finally got my backlog of case cleaning done. Found 20 thousand lead bullets I had forgotten I even had, and now its back to loading.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by SRO1911 » Mon May 27, 2013 7:59 pm

Depending on how much they need to come down -
You can trim them free hand - depending on what deburr/chamfer tool you use. If you have the rocket looking wilson/rcbs tool, and a lee shell holder/lock stud.

Chuck the lockstud up in a drill, then alternate deburr and chamfer untill you get the length you want. If yo need to take quite a bit off you can use a flat file - just keep it square.

I have a set of dies specifically made to trim brass using a file - you will just have to do a lot of clean up on the case when you are done.


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any time you are messing with a primed case - you are playing with fire
best bet is to fire the primer - it will be loud, it will be dirty, you will have to clean the gun when you are done, all the rules apply - - - a primer still has some oompf

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by cemoulton » Mon May 27, 2013 8:01 pm

eugene wrote:I just found 15 out of 300 of my Brass cases were just slightly too long and needed trimmed. Of course I didn't check until after I had already primered.

You can trim them while primed with an rcbs trim pro. Or just deprime and size per usual. no need to pop the primers first. They should not pop during resizing and if they do it's loud but not particularly dangerous.

Always wear eye protection while loading.
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by colinz » Mon May 27, 2013 11:20 pm

PistolPete wrote:
eugene wrote:I just found 15 out of 300 of my Brass cases were just slightly too long and needed trimmed. Of course I didn't check until after I had already primered.
Suckage. There really isn't a great way to deprime live primers that I'm aware of. You may have to fire them off inside your gun one at a time, then deprime, size and trim.
I've punched several hundred live primers out of .303 cases using a Lee Press and a universal decapping die. Didn't have one go bang either. Always check for case length before priming.

Another way I've been told to do it is submerged the primed cases in an icecream container of water overnight to neutralize the primers, then punch them out.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by Identity Thief » Tue May 28, 2013 10:47 am

Most amazing 600 yard group ever I guess this shows what a good hand loaded round (and gun/shooter/weather) can do!
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by eugene » Tue May 28, 2013 4:39 pm

I had read many forum posts saying no need to trim pistol brass but then read several others that said yes do it. I figured since not all the brass came from my gun that some may have stretched and turns out that some did. A few the boy didn't get the primer set quite all the way in so just using the primer tool a second time got those in spec, I was putting the caliper across the whole head to make sure the primer was seated good as well.

The diamond side of my leatherman file brought them down to length without needing to push the primers out.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by ssdtopgun » Tue May 28, 2013 5:20 pm

eugene wrote:I had read many forum posts saying no need to trim pistol brass but then read several others that said yes do it. I figured since not all the brass came from my gun that some may have stretched and turns out that some did. A few the boy didn't get the primer set quite all the way in so just using the primer tool a second time got those in spec, I was putting the caliper across the whole head to make sure the primer was seated good as well.

The diamond side of my leatherman file brought them down to length without needing to push the primers out.
"To trim or not to trim?" The age old question. The rule I have always used is if I am going to seat the bullets with a crimp then I trim the brass. Otherwise you will end up with inconsistent crimps or worst case you will end up with crushed cases if they are a lot longer than the set length for the crimping die. If you are not planning to seat the bullets with a crimp then not trimming the brass is not a huge issue.

On the other hand trimming the brass also helps you determine how much wear the cases are experiencing. If you are loading "hot" loads the brass may tend to stretch more. This will cause more wear and tear on your brass and could lead to case failure in a shorter time. If you are keeping track of when you trim the brass you will know when its getting to be that time to retire a particular batch.

A good example is for my SASS cowboy guns I generally don't trim the brass at all. The loads are so light that the cases seem to last virtually for ever. I randomly check the case lengths periodically to see if they are changing and I have never seen any changes in them at all.

In any event its always good to visually check the cases for splits and damage.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by eugene » Tue May 28, 2013 5:50 pm

I should have kept my once fired separate from the pick ups from others.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by BullOnParade » Tue May 28, 2013 6:38 pm

If you're picking up brass that isn't yours, can't you just assume it's someone else's once fired?
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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by eugene » Tue May 28, 2013 7:01 pm

What it seems though is it could be more than once fired, or someones doesn't have good tolerance and it letting it stretch, hard to say.
I think what I'm going to do is resort and group by length, everything just under max in one batch, another thousandth under that in another, etc. That way I can be a little more consistent. And next time measure/trim them all.

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by majorhavoc » Tue May 28, 2013 7:18 pm

BullOnParade wrote:If you're picking up brass that isn't yours, can't you just assume it's someone else's once fired?
What are you, some kind of mad reloading genius?

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Re: Press therapy - reloading room *chat*

Post by BullOnParade » Tue May 28, 2013 8:55 pm

majorhavoc wrote:
BullOnParade wrote:If you're picking up brass that isn't yours, can't you just assume it's someone else's once fired?
What are you, some kind of mad reloading genius?
Well, take a look through this thread alone. Most reloaders will hunt for that brass. Except for the odd one that may get away, the majority of what's found at the range will be once fired brass.
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