Okay, I'm ready to start!


benzuncle

New member
I'm all set up. I've got a Lee Classic 4-Hole Turret mounted on a bench with everything adjusted except for the seating depth on the bullet and the factory crimp adjustment. The only laugher was my consternation about the Pro Auto Disk Powder setup; I couldn't get it to function. I watched the Lee video on their site and thought I knew what I was doing, but all was for naught. After a half-hour of piddlin', a thought occured: put a casing in the shell holder. BINGO! Without a casing in place the powder will not dispense!

To date my expenses were approximately thus:
The Lee Classic Turret in Kit form which include:
45ACP carbide dies and the Factory Crimp
Pro Disk Auto Loader
Lever Prime Systems for small and large caliber pistols
Caliper for measuring the length of the rounds
Powder scale
Bullet puller
500 Starline Casings
500 Ranier 230gr. FMJ Round Nose Bullets
Thumler Case Cleaner (Tumbler) and included media.
All this was $499.92 All this was ordered from Kempf Gun Shop - www.kempfgunshop.com

The workbench from COSTCO cost $54.99 This is a set of shelves that looked perfect for my needs.
The extra plywood I bought to beef it up to my expectations and a 48in. flourescent light fixture cost $68.00

The CCI large pistol primers were $24.99 for 1000.
Hodgdon H38 powder was $18.99. (By my figuring, there's enough powder in that pound of H38 to load 1666 rounds of 45ACP.) Buying these 2 items locally elminated the $20 Haz Mat mailing fee. BTW: Hodgdon H38 and Win 231 are the same powder.

Total setup cost including the extra primers and powder: $667 ballpark.

Now, here's my question for you veteran casing stuffers: should I load all 500 or load 50 to see how my setup and settings shove the bullet down the barrel? I am not, am not interested in scooping loads. These will be "starting" rounds.
 

I would strongly recommend that you load a few first (50 still sounds like a high number). Load maybe 10 - 20 rounds and test fire them before continuing any further. This is a great way to "QC" your work. It's better to find out sooner than later if you made any mistakes. I had a friend load 500 9mm rounds once. We got to the range, fired the first shot out of his CX-4 Storm and realized that all 500 rounds were "squib loads". Apparently he used some automatic powder scale. I was "eyeballing" his work while he was loading, and thought that the powder charge looked a little light. He assured me that his "high tech" machine was accurate to the single grain. Apparently his "high tech" machine was on the money, the operator on the other hand had made a grave error in setting the weight of the powder charge. Luckily nobody was hurt, and I had brought along a bunch of factory ammo. ;) This is the same guy that once "loaded" two muzzle loading rifles while we were doing a public shoot only to find that he didn't put any powder down the barrel.:confused:

Key thing to remember when reloading is to check and double check what you're doing. If possible triple check and maybe have an experienced helper around. Keep your distractions to a minimum. The wrong powder charge, primer, etc can have serious consequences.


gf
 

KimberPB

New member
+1 for loading a few to test first. My first batch consisted of 10 rounds. I loaded just one in the mag and fired. I then recovered the case and inspected it for signs of pressure. After that checked out I loaded up 2 rounds and fired. This was to make sure I had the primer seated correctly and the second round was not going to slam fire. Checked those cases for pressure, then loaded up a full mag and went to town.

I have the same setup that you have and its been a great press. The powder pour is very consistent. I visual check each case before seating a bullet and every 10 rounds I weigh the charge. I have yet to have one off by more then .1 grains.

Have fun and be safe!
 

KimberPB

New member
I must be anal retentive because I weigh every charge. :eek:


When I'm loading Plinking ammo I just spot check wieghts every 5 to 10 rounds. If its off more then a tenth I'd pull them and start over. But like I said if its off it's off like a tenth of a grain.

Now if I'm going load workups, loading for accuracy, or hot loads I hand weigh each change.
 

Red Hat

New member
I only weigh every change when I'm loading ammo for extreme accuracy. Not only do I weigh the charge I weigh the brass, bullets and trim as necessary. Everyday shooting loads I load 5 to 10 rounds and fire them. If good to go I run about 50 through and check everything again. Exceptions are my C&H progressive presses. They have a powder bushing and they are preset. Not much you can do but pop out a live round on every pull of the lever.
 

shooter57

New member
Ok before you get started get a notebook and write down everything you do. If anything is on your bench that does not pertain to the loads your working on put it away.
1. Keep all loads labeled and separated.
2. start with the low end of powder in your manual. measure each load on your scale and write it down. Load five rounds.
3. increase the powder charge without going over the max. measure each load on your scale and write it down.
4. do this until you get to the max load. write everything down.
5. go to the range, shoot each group on a target, write the date, load, weather condition, brand of case,primer and distance shot from.

I would test all loads at 21 feet if you can at your range if not 25 yards will be okay.
keep each group apart so you can check them out at home.
After the range you can find the best load for your pistol and adjust your powder measure,make about fifty rounds and go back to the range and make sure your happy with the load. If not you can adjust the next loadings.

I know it seem like a lot of work but very important to be safe not sorry.
Once you get yourself a load you like set up the press and start loading. check the powder charge every ten rounds and after fifty rounds if it's still on you can check every forty rounds.

You'll have lots of time to go out and load 500 rounds a sitting once you fine the load you enjoy shooting.
I've been reloading over 25 years and the hardest part was to go slow when you got enough supplies to load a thousand rounds.

Take it slow and enjoy, Don't forget to write everything down so you don't miss any steps and have a record of what worked and what don't.

ps. If you change anything ie. brand of bullets back the load down and start just like the beginning.
 

shooter57

New member
Forgot to say Ben you did a great job getting everything before trying to load. you did get a reloading manual?
 

benzuncle

New member
Thanks one and all for the great advice! I'll be reading all of your posts more than once, just as I have the manual that I purchased. (I would have bought at least one more manual but everything seems to be on backorder.) I never really expected anyone to say that 500 rounds would be a good place to start, and wasn't even sure about 50. But, you know, being a greenhorn... I'll take some other ammo with me to the range, along with a small amount of my own that's been checked and double checked. Thanks again. ;)
 

DrDavidM

New member
I agree with all. Load a few and see how it goes. I am sure you will be fine. I have never had a round not function properly. However, each time I adjust for a different set of dies I load a few as a test. Enjoy your new hobby. Congratulations!
 

benzuncle

New member
Thanks, Red. I'll use that if I may. After all: Immigration is the gratest form of flatulence. Well, I think that's how it goes. ;)
 

benzuncle

New member
Shot My First 20 Rounds Yesterday!

I loaded the "minimum recommended charge" in these first 20 rounds of 230grain 45ACP. I checked the powder charge in each of the first 3, then in #5, 10, 15 & 20. All were within a tenth grain of "on the money".

I used the caliper to check the OAL of every round. I had read on another site about someone being concerned with the crimp and whether or not the round had bulged in the crimping process. One contributor suggested a Dillon Case Gauge. I have ordered one but couldn't wait. I mean, I've been patient, but... So, what to do? :confused: I broke down my Sig P220, took out the barrel and slipped all 20 rounds in and out. This worked while I'm waiting for that Case Gauge to arrive.

So, I get to the range and put a magazine of factory loads through the Sig, so I can't blame the gun if my loads suck, right? (I just love the shove of the 45ACP!) Then I loaded the first 6 handloaded rounds so that #1 ended up first, etc. I had numbered each round with a Sharpie as I "built" them so I could make any notations as needed. I set the target at 21ft. Here's how my 20 rounds played out:
  • All were way underpowered - the minimum starting load was exactly that, minimum
  • All 20 hit the paper :)
  • None skipped off the floor or bounced off the paper target :eek:
  • There wasn't enough power in the charges to eject the spent casing and shove the next one home; I had to chamber each round
  • BUT ALL OF THEM FIRED :D
  • And I have all of my body parts
Now that I have a reference point, I've increased the load from 4.2 to 5.1 grains. I made the next 20 rounds and went through the same process of weighing, checking the OAL and sliding them in the barrel. I'm not disappointed. All 20, while underpowered were consistent, I have gotten a good start on how to use the equipment, I'm well on my way of establishing a routine (which I'm convinced is very important) and nothing blew up.

Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice! Your selflessness is greatly appreciated.
 

KimberPB

New member
I loaded the "minimum recommended charge" in these first 20 rounds of 230grain 45ACP. I checked the powder charge in each of the first 3, then in #5, 10, 15 & 20. All were within a tenth grain of "on the money".

I used the caliper to check the OAL of every round. I had read on another site about someone being concerned with the crimp and whether or not the round had bulged in the crimping process. One contributor suggested a Dillon Case Gauge. I have ordered one but couldn't wait. I mean, I've been patient, but... So, what to do? :confused: I broke down my Sig P220, took out the barrel and slipped all 20 rounds in and out. This worked while I'm waiting for that Case Gauge to arrive.

So, I get to the range and put a magazine of factory loads through the Sig, so I can't blame the gun if my loads suck, right? (I just love the shove of the 45ACP!) Then I loaded the first 6 handloaded rounds so that #1 ended up first, etc. I had numbered each round with a Sharpie as I "built" them so I could make any notations as needed. I set the target at 21ft. Here's how my 20 rounds played out:
  • All were way underpowered - the minimum starting load was exactly that, minimum
  • All 20 hit the paper :)
  • None skipped off the floor or bounced off the paper target :eek:
  • There wasn't enough power in the charges to eject the spent casing and shove the next one home; I had to chamber each round
  • BUT ALL OF THEM FIRED :D
  • And I have all of my body parts
Now that I have a reference point, I've increased the load from 4.2 to 5.1 grains. I made the next 20 rounds and went through the same process of weighing, checking the OAL and sliding them in the barrel. I'm not disappointed. All 20, while underpowered were consistent, I have gotten a good start on how to use the equipment, I'm well on my way of establishing a routine (which I'm convinced is very important) and nothing blew up.

Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice! Your selflessness is greatly appreciated.

Congrats on the first set of loads. What type of bullets were you using?? 230gr FMJ? What type of powder? Were did you get the load data? 4.2 grains seems way on the low side and jumping up to 5.1 grains is a big jump. I'm loading 230gr lead bullets with accurate #2 and the powder spread is 5.0 to 5.5 grains. I know FMJ bullet powder charge is a little lower but just curious.

Post the powder and bullet type and I'll double check the data for you. Min loads should still cycle the gun.
 

benzuncle

New member
KimberPB, I'm using Hodgdon's HP-38. 4.2 is the start load for FMJ's. I was being very cautious. After reading some comments from others, I chose 5.1 being close to but not necessarily full tilt boogie loads. BTW: that load rating came from the carbide die package in my Lee Dies. The bottom line is that I learned a pile with 20 rounds and expect to learn more with the next 20. Thanks for your interest.
 

KimberPB

New member
KimberPB, I'm using Hodgdon's HP-38. 4.2 is the start load for FMJ's. I was being very cautious. After reading some comments from others, I chose 5.1 being close to but not necessarily full tilt boogie loads. BTW: that load rating came from the carbide die package in my Lee Dies. The bottom line is that I learned a pile with 20 rounds and expect to learn more with the next 20. Thanks for your interest.

Ok thanks for the info. Just wanted to double check cause 4.2 to 5.1 was a big jump. Didn't want you to load something to hot and get hurt.

When I'm doing load workups I take the max load and subtract the min load then divided that by 5. Then load 5 to 10 rounds per increment. Labeling each. Then go to the range and shoot from a supported position to see what load works the best. Just make sure you check for signs of pressure when you get close to max and if you see any stop. I usually borrow a friends chrono and if the load reaches max FPS but not at the max load I stop.
 

Red Hat

New member
Congratulations, benzuncle! Now you have the bug. Those first rounds felt good even though they didn't eject, didn't they! I usually look at the high and low charge and start in the middle. I've found that the low charge is usually too low. Congrats again and welcome to the wonderful world of reloading!
 

shooter57

New member
Congrats on your first loads. Always better being safe, as you stated you found a routine. when you find the right load everything should go smoothly for you and you'll be safe. If you change anything in the load back off a little and make sure it works right,even changing primer brands can make a difference.
Myself I've never liked using the lee loading data,they usually refer to using their measure cups and the number on the cup didn't weigh the same amount of grains when put on the scale so I only use the scale now.
Let us know how the next trip goes at the range.
 

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