Reloading for Fun: From Primers to Finished round
Reloading can be fun and easy. In part one of our series; we saw how to get you case and table ready.
Next, we will want to put a new primer in the casing.
Casing goes into the shell holder, place a primer in the primer holder and then lift up on the arm of the press to press the primer into place.
DO NOT FORCE!
Now we are ready to measure our powder and put into the casing.
This is one way to load your powder and is very time consuming. This is good for working up your loads from the beginning. After you have a load that works well for you, there are different metering devices available that will automatically dispense the amount you dial in, thus removing the need to measure for each casing as I am demonstrating here.
Now we are ready to put the bullet in the casing. In the previous step, the die actually spread the mouth of the casing ever so slightly so a new bullet could be set, ready to be pressed in. Note: some dies require the casing to be lubricated, so they do not get stuck. I use Lee carbide dies which does not require the cases to be lubricated.
If you are doing the bullet for the 1st time, you need to back out the height adjustment and have your calipers out so you can adjust the over all length (OAL) to the proper specification listed in your loading manual.
The bullet is seated, and now a slight crimp is required to complete the process.
There is a knurled knob that can be turned to adjust the crimp. Read your manual to see how much to crimp.
The bullet is now ready.
Nevertheless, we are not done until the paperwork is done. Always keep good records of your loads. Records will help you build data that will help you in the future.
After you get set up, you can do batches of reloads. I like to do batches of 100 at a time. That way I can stop, check my work, make a head call, and see if my wife needs anything (because she knows to never bother me when I am reloading).
Some tips I would like to part with:
Primers come packaged with a quantity of 100 per tray. Some brands have different sized packaging, but there are only 100 in each tray.
Most powders can be bought by the pound, but some are only 14oz. You can also get 4 and 8 pound bottles. There are 7000 grains to one pound. So say, for example, a load is 5 grains for your handgun round. This means you could reload 1400 rounds with that 1 pound.
Lead bullets come in so many different configurations. Some are hard cast, as the one I used in my example, some are jacketed. They can come in round nose, hollow point, wad cutter and semi wad cutter, etc... You can usually get the best prices by buying in bulk (500/1000 units). Always shop around. Some may want to start melting lead and pouring (casting) their own bullets. This is another option for the
reloader that could make it more enjoyable. I do not have any experience in making my own at this time.
The most expensive part of the round is the brass casing, so save your brass!
In closing, it is my hope that you would get immense pleasure out of reloading.
May you have the satisfaction of having done it yourself and, as always, be safe!