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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Phoenix metro
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What you need minimum to get the job done.
Brass cleaner (unless your gonna do them by hand!)
Media seperator (Optional --or a strainer or by hand!)
Die Set and shell holder
Primer turner (optional but handy)
Powder measure or dippers.
Scale (a beam type will work fine)
Funnel (to put powder back into case)
Dial or Vernier Calipers (to measure case lengths)
Case Trimmer (you will need to trim your rifle brass)
Deburr Tool (you need to deburr the inside and outside of the neck after you trim the brass)
Trickler (optional, you can use your fingers or a tweezer)
Loading Manual (you could get a load from your buddies, but??)
As with anything else there are more then one way of doing things. This is what works for me.
1) tumble clean (before sizing with primers still in the case) I use the crushed walnut media and the Dillon Rapid Polish #290
2) sort out from the media (I use a Dillon tumbler and cleaner-the smaller one)
3) I measure the overall length of the cases. If some of them need trimming, I trim them all to make them all the same length (because of taper crimp die). I use an RCBS trimmer. I removed the crank and put a philips head screw in the shaft. I then use a battery powered drill with the phillips bit to turn this. <<< I now use a monanodnock tool that cuts to length and deburrs ID and OD in one pass. About 2 seconds or less per one case.>>>>
4) deburr both the inside and the outside of the case neck. I am using a hand tool that came with my 007 Pacific/Hornady Kit 20 years ago. (Monanodnock tool)
5) If these are Military Cases and have a primer crimp, then I full length size and decap. Then I chamfer out the crimp with the tool from number 4 above. Some folks use a swage tool for this.
6) If necessary, I clean the primer pockets (not usually for me though).
With the single station press (In my case the Pacific / Hornady 007) The following steps were what I did to reload a 7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester) round.
1) First die is the full length size and decap (deprime) die. I also primed at this station unless if I was doing number 5 & 6 from above in the Brass Preperation.
2) The powder measure was separate from my press. I would dump the powder into the case through the funnel provided with the kit. If I was doing just regular ammo, I’d weigh about every 5th round. If I was doing “match ammo” I’d weigh every charge. Using the regular beam type scale that came with my hornady kit. I’d put each case in the plastic “egg crate type” shell holder.
After charging 50 of these, I would give them the eyeball of the powder level in the case under a light to be sure the levels all look the same. This is important on a .45 ACP Pistol round. (You can double or even triple charge one of these!!)
3) The 2nd die is the bullet seater. This seats the bullet in the case. I used the recommended overall length shown in a reloading manual. You must unscrew the full length die (from #1 above) and replace it with this die.
4) The 3rd die is the taper crimp. This gently taper crimps the case. You should do this on a self loading (semi-auto) type weapon so the bullet does not become unseated. This also helps you achieve consistent neck tension on the bullet which will improve your accuracy. Some folks with bolt type rifles do NOT crimp their cases but instead they back the bullet off somewhere from .005 to .030 off of the rifling of their rifle. (There are books written on this subject alone!! Pro’s and con’s to crimping a case. I now use a Lee brand collet style crimper on .308. I do NOT crimp my .223 match ammo)
Through put was approximated 50 rounds per hour.
This press has served me well for 17 years. I finally bought a Dillon 550 (progressive press). This single station press still gets some use as a bullet puller, or if I am resizing only.
With the 550 Dillon press my procedure is as follows.
1) the first station is the full length resizing die with decap, and also the primer feeder and seater is at this station. You must spray some lube on the cases here. Even if you have carbide dies. I use the Dillon Case Lube. (Less tacky then the Hornady or RCBS case lube and easier to get off of the cases and it is thinner <viscosity>, I have stuck a case in a die using Hornady case lube on my Dillon die set)
2) The 2nd station is where the case is filled with powder. (Bellmouthed also if it is a .45 ACP round). You don’t want to be shaking the press unneccesarily or you will get an inaccurate charge. It is wise to use a ball powder such as Winchester 748, or Accurate 2520. I have also been able to use Varget quite successfully. I have not been able to use the full length cut stuff like IMR 4895. It hangs up, then dumps the powder after the case is withdrawn and you get it all over.
3) The 3rd station is the bullet seating die. Here you seat the bullet (to overall length from a reloading manual). If I am doing “match grade” ammo, I remove the case at this station, dump the powder on the scale (the old Hornady beam scale), I then trickle into it with an RCBS trickler, or take powder out only IF Required. I then put the powder back in the case, and reinsert the case into station three. Put the bullet on the case and seat it. (You did put a fresh piece of brass in station one didn’t you??)
4) The 4th station can be empty, or I have my taper crimp die there. On my prairie dog rounds (.243 and .308) I have a Lee collet type crimp die here. The press kicks the round out into the box on the next index.
At this point you are done. If I am making “match loads” I will wipe each case with a paper towel with rubbing alcohol on it, and drop the case into a wilson brand case gage. I then turn the case gage upside down to drop the round out of it.
My through put on this is as follows: .45, .357, or .38 rounds are 400 per hour. 7.62 rounds are 200 per hour, if “match grade” then it is about 100 per hour. .243 or 25-06 prairie dog rounds are about 200 per hour. This is because you must lube the cases.
Keep in mind, if I am loading .243 or non match 7.62 rounds that my trimming of the cases gets out of sequence. (I don’t want to take the case out of the press at station one if I don’t have to).
So, lets say I want my cases to be trimmed to 2.000. I will trim one case, then run it through station one. If it grew in length to 2.003, I then trim the cases to 1.997. After I size them, they will be very close to 2.000. This way I don’t have to remove the brass from the press until I am done (or station 3 if I am making match rounds).
For 45 ACP rounds, the reloading is the same as listed above for the dillon press, as this:
1) the first station is the full length resizing die with decap, and also the primer feeder and seater is at this station. You DO NOT need to spray some lube on the cases here. With OLD shoulders though, I lube about 10 cases and about every 5th one I stick in the lubed one and I have carbide dies. I use the Dillon Case Lube. (Less tacky then the Hornady or RCBS case lube and easier to get off of the cases and it is thinner <viscosity>, I have stuck a case in a die using Hornady case lube on my Dillon die set)
2) The 2nd station is where the case is filled with powder. Bellmouthed also if it is a .45 ACP round. You don’t want to be shaking the press unneccesarily or you will get an inaccurate charge. I have used Winchester 231 and Unique powder for the 45. I like the Win 231 as it meters smoother and it burns cleaner IMHO.
3) The 3rd station is the bullet seating die. Here you seat the bullet (to overall length from a reloading manual). I check the weight on the first 3 rounds, then at number 50, then 100, I also have a little light above my press so I can look into each case to WITNESS that there is POWDER in there. Call me paranoid, but I have never had a mishap in 34 years of reloading..
4) The 4th station I have my taper crimp die there. The press kicks the round out into the box on the next index.
At this point you are done. I drop the case into a wilson brand case gage. I then turn the case gage upside down to drop the round out of it. I check 100 Percent of the ammo with this gage. It avoids lots of hassles.
Over the years you will find which bullets, powder, primers, cases work BEST for you.
My 45 ACP loads have MIXED brass. Be ADVISED some cases have SMALL pistol primers in them (Blazer and Federal I've seen). I've been told you use the same load and just a small primer but I HAVE NOT tried those yet and when I do, I'll reduce the load and work up and also chronograph them. A-MERC brass is SCRAP. the case thickness varies from .010 to .020 thickness. Max diameter where the bullet is seated will EXCEED specs when you get a thick walled case and it will NOT fit your chamber (or gage).
All OTHER brass I have never had a problem with. (Win, R/P, Fed, Mil, etc)
I use Win 231 powder and have used Unique. I use Winchester brand large pistol primers, and for bullets my best luck in function accuracy and cost has been Montana Gold Bullets, 230 grain Full Metal Jacket (BALL). I have also used their 230 grain Jacketed Hollow Points (JHP). I have used 200 grain lead semi wad cutters also, but the Montana Gold has beat them on PRICE and QUALITY.
For .223, I've used MIL and Winchester Brass. Winchester Small Rifle Primers, 77 grain Sierra Match King bullets (I have a 1 in 7 twist barrel NRA serivice rifle AR), and Varget.
For .308, I've used MIL, and Federal Brass. Winchester Large Rifle Primers and NUMBER 34 CCI Primers (considered to be MAGNUM primers), Varget and 150 grain surplus bullets and 150, 175 grain Sierra Match King bullets (in an M1A rifle for NRA highpower).
For .,243, I've used R/P NICKEL plated brass, Winchester Large rifle primers, and 75 grain V-Max Hornady bullets (for prairie dogs) and varget powder. I know there are better (better ballistic coef. bullets but that it was the shop had) bullets. I used the nickel brass as it was easier to FIND in the grass.
Last edited by formerCav; 03-21-2013 at 12:58 AM.