Okay, so I got all my new equipment and books and manuals, after reading and studying for months. I bought some jacketed ammo and loaded for both my .357 and .45, paying very close attention to everything I had learned and it just worked fantastically!
Then I moved to lead bullets for the .45 with high hopes. The LSWC's did not feed well in my XDm. Posted about that. I shortened the OAL and they feed better, only 1 in 20 or so seem to fail to go into battery, and I think I can probably figure out how to get them to work reliably. However, that was quite a set back from my earlier success
Then I bought the Missouri Bullet Company's IDM #4-XD bullets which are bound to feed in an XDm (given they work in XD's), and failed miserably loading those as well, but this was due to my unfounded confidence in my wonderful abilities
I shot one cartridge of the 40 I had loaded, and the second jammed to the point I could not even pull the slide back to clear the jam! When I left the range, dejected, I was convinced that I needed to take the gun to the shop the next morning. I Googled, and figured out that all I needed was a bit more leverage on the slide to clear the gun, but it woke me up. Hell, I had a live round stuck in the gun, something that scares me when I have no control over it!
I finally figured out what actually went wrong with the whole process. I knew from all my studies to check that the bullets actually chamber and that the headspace is right, using the actual barrel, and did so when I loaded for the .45 the first time. However I seem to have skipped this simple and obvious step when I loaded my new lead bullets. I had the OAL too long for these bullets, and the bullet was interfering with the lands (not sure that's the right term) and keeping the cartridge from going all the way into battery. But I had made matters even worse than that.
Not having loaded lead bullets before, I failed to consider how soft they were. When I flared the cases before seating, I did it the same way that had worked for jacketed bullets. The result, and something I did not see till I studied this under my new illuminated magnifying glass thing, is that when I seated the bullets the case pushed a tiny ring of lead ahead of them that was promptly flattened to the bullet just ahead of the case by the crimp, in effect lengthening the case.
I'm very new at this stuff, but am convinced that I screwed up because of being overconfident with my book knowledge and lacking real experience. I learned valuable lessons.
Maybe this will help some other newb. I would suggest that anybody new to reloading study, study, study, like I did. Read the ABC's of reloading and everything you can find on the net multiple times, like I did. But then I would suggest that you create a checklist, based on all the new found knowledge, of every step and every check you need to perform with every cartridge you are reloading, and follow that checklist, something I did not do, but am about to!
Just my two bits,