Been Reloading For A Week Now

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by ninjatoth, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I just wanted to check back in and tell about my reloading experience. Got my Lee single stage anniversary kit a week ago, went in search of powder at the local sports store and the only powder I could find for my purposes of reloading .38 special was Hodgdon Titegroup. I got the beam scale up and calibrated and found that a heaping 0.3ml Lee dipper, as heaping as it can go with some flakes still on the handle only maxes out at 3.2 grains of Titegroup(despite the Lee book saying a level 0.3ml scoop is 3.5gr Titegroup), and it does it extremely consistently no matter how many times I weigh it, so I felt comfortable just using the dipper instead of the perfect powder measure that came with the kit because the starting load for what I am currently making is 3.2gr Titegroup and the never exceed is 3.8gr. Originally I loaded up 100 rounds of 158gr XTP over that charge, which is slightly low for an XTP, but I wanted to go in baby steps. The xtp's were ok, but the minimum OAL was stated at 1.455" and I could barely keep the length consistent, so I settled on making them all 1.460-1.465" to be sure, later I found out I just wasn't getting the dies to stay locked as good as they can be. A few days ago I got 300 Hornady LSWC 158gr bullets and loaded those up. Min OAL said 1.475" and again it was slightly difficult to keep them at that OAL so I settled on 1.483"-1.487" in that area because I was able to always get that length consistently and they just looked right. Again I did 3.2gr of Titegroup, but on seating the bullets I got some lead shearing. I did not know this was not normal so I did 100 rounds this way, it wasn't until I saw keyholes on paper that I realized that this must not be right, so I did 200 more reloads yesterday with a larger mouth flare and they went right in, and with a mediumley aggressive crimp, they felt and looked just right. I only shoot these loads in a .357 magnum so I am not worried about them being too long, however I don't think they are too long at all even for a straight .38 special. Anyways, this is my story, I think I am doing at least average or better for being only a week into this, and that is a result of you guys and the 6 months I spent in the books and on youtube just collecting information before I even started, so thanks again, but I still have a lot to learn so give me as much advice and knowledge as possible. Here is some pics of my "bench" which is an old table and some rounds I made. Thanks.
     

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  2. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Congratulations. welcome to the obsession! :):)

    But be forewarned that the more you learn, the less you know!:D:revolver:

    Been doing it for 50 years now, and as soon as I learn all of the answers, they change all of the questions!:p
     

  3. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    Is this due to the obsession, or due to the lead exposure? :pot stirrer:
     
  4. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As soon as you master one process, someone develops a better process!:)

    That's actually a good thing, because you never get stagnant!

    And BTW, it's a good idea to get a box of those "Purple Nitrile" or latex surgical gloves from Walgreen's to wear when loading lead bullets.

    Probably isn't necessary if you wash your hands thoroughly with strong soap after reloading, but wearing them gives me the "warm fuzzies.":D
     
  5. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I have noticed one thing about those Lee dippers, you have to take the information with a grain of salt, or should I say a grain of powder. The dipper chart that came with the dippers says the the 0.3ml dipper is 3.5gr of titegroup. Then two recipes in the same Lee manual call for the 0.3ml dipper, one lists the charge as 3.2gr of titegroup, the other lists that same 0.3ml dipper and same powder as 3.8 grains of titegroup. I have weighed titegroup charges with the 0.3ml dipper on the scale, and almost with 100% concurring results over and over again, a Lee 0.3ml dipper, leveled off throws 2.7gr of titegroup, and with the same consistency it throws only 3.2gr of titegroup when heaping to its maximum heaping potential, so that's what I go by now with confidence, and i'm lucky because the 158gr LSWC target load that I wanted to make from the beginning before I even started calls for 3.2gr of titegroup. If I do make a few maxed out standard .38spl loads at the 3.8gr never exceed mark I always weigh those ones and pour from the scale pan.
     
  6. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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    Get yourself a scale and get rid of the dippers. Hard to fine tune a load with a dipper.
     
  7. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOL

    I'm a newbie and everytime I load it scares me with how much I learn I don't know.

    Which powder, ask the question. 15 people will provide 22 best powders.

    Which bullet, style, wt, coated, plated, jacketed, lead, on and on and on.

    Primers, soft, hard, magnum, large, small, crimped, LOL

    Brass, how many different kinds can there be... serious side note, I had Aquila knurled brass jam my gun bad during a PPC match. Lost a lot of points on that one!

    I will suggest that people get too worked over exactness that might make a minutia of a difference. I've done several different comparisons and literally see the same variation no matter how consistent or inconsistent the variables are. For matches, things are held a bit tighter and closer, but just for shooting, what difference does it make, LOL.

    I'm a year into it and love it.

    Just a hint, if you like the titegroup, and a lot of people do, order more of it. Nothing more fun than being down to your last ounce or so and being told your order is still probably 3-6 months from being filled. I just paid about a 20% premium on 5 lbs of powder because I'm almost out :(
     
  8. mseric

    mseric Active Member

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    If you are going to shoot lead,

    Do not shoot them at the same range session as jacketed.

    Slug the bore and load bullets that are at least .001 over.

    Check for leading in the bore and forcing cones.

    Remove all copper deposits before shooting lead.

    Remove all lead before shooting jacketed.

    Getcha some All Copper Chore-Boy scrubbers for removing lead deposits.

    Research 'Coated" bullets. They are lead bullets with a HI-TEK coating that virtually eliminates leading. They cost only a few pennies more than lubed lead.

    http://www.bayoubullets.net/38-357/
     
  9. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Not trying to be a dick, just wondering; why are you settling for one OAL specifically, because you can't get some other OAL? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you should be able to set the length and if set properly, it'll hold. WHAT that length is has/should have nothing to do with how it holds that length, right?

    Also out of curiosity; is there a MAX OAL listed?
     
  10. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I can pick up more titegroup at a store a few miles away, got mine for $67 for the 4 lb jug.

    There was never a max OAL listed for the recipes I was loading, and when I would try to make it to the minimum OAL which was listed, many of them would fall below that. From what I understand that is dangerous so settling on lets say 1.480" on what the minimum is 1.475" made me feel comfortable. Even at that setting a few would drop to about 1.477 or so. I feel comfortable with my lengths of those .38 specials going through my .357 Ruger.
     
  11. mseric

    mseric Active Member

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    Forget what the Manuals list for an OAL.

    You are loading for the 38 Special, your bullets have a cannelure(crimp grove), that you are going to use and crimp into, yes.

    Do that.
     
  12. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    But is there not min & max which would be prudent to adhere to? Or is is just by feel, what goes in the chamber nice? (Which seems to me would be kinda dicey)

    And still, I'm wondering what is the issue picking any OAL and making the dies stick to that? Is it a question of there will always be X amount of tolerance, let's say .010", so, you take the OAL and add .010", and you're probably ok?

    The way I imagine it is that the dies adjust with a thread for length, and then you lock it there with a lock nut of some type...
     
  13. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    With the Hornady LSWC bullets I got there is no cannelure

    If you can find a Max OAL for a 158gr LSWC over titegroup than please tell me, I cannot find one, and there is a minimum OAL that I listed, it's 1.475" for that LSWC. Everytime I make just 1/100th of a twist on the seating die it will punch them out at 1.475" with half of them being below that, so I just barely touch it to make them usually come out around 1.477" and some just slightly more. Are you suggesting I let some be under minimum overall length? I figured with a factor of 0.005" over that this wouldn't make a difference either way but it would be better to go on the long side.
     
  14. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    This is some random examples of what I made that I just pulled out of my can. I guess i'm mostly curious about why is slightly long bad or dangerous, or whatever when firing something that's 1.477+ but far less in length than some .38 specials and for sure shorter than a .357 magnum, out of a .357 magnum revolver. There seems to be concern and I want to know why, I do not understand. Is there a legitimate danger if it was "too" long?
     

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  15. mseric

    mseric Active Member

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    Seat your LSWC so you can crimp them into the groove. Done. seat your jacketed SWC to the same length. Done, put the calipers away.

    Bullets vary, trying to get an exact OAL within a few thousands will never happen. Seat to callelure and carry on. BTW a human hair averages between .003 and .007 inches. Think about that when you are chasing the "perfect/precise" OAL of your handoads.

    OAL is always bullet and firearm specific, never manual specific.
     
  16. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Absolutely not. I do not reload. I simply find what you are describing interesting, and am trying to understand it.

    That is what makes me ask about MIN & MAX OLA. If there is no reference point, do you just make sure it is more than the MIN OLA? by whatever works for you? (I suppose that is a question more for Mseric.)
     
  17. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I'm just trying to understand pressure more than anything. I have done so much Googling and one person says(along with the Lee manual) that the MINIMUM OAL is 1.475" for my load, and then the next 10 people say that the MAXIMUM OAL is 1.475" and that they load their 158gr LSWC's to 1.440". What I want to know, cut and dry-is what if you loaded those bullets so shallow that they were all the way up to 1.550" or the maximum OAL of a .38 special, would this have an equally but opposite change in pressure in the same way that too deep would? Would the bullet hit the forcing cone wrong? Would there be less pressure and squib danger? Not that I would do this but I am just curious, and again my Hornady LSWC swaged bullets have no crimp groove and I have most of them 1.477"+ and some a little over the 1.480" mark and am firing them in a .357 revolver.
     
  18. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I know i'm all the sudden bombarding this post with more and more questions, but I had another question specific to the .38 special and it is about case trimming. I have done a lot of research and it seems that some people never trim .38 special brass and some people do periodically. What is the right answer? I just pulled out random brass from my can that they themselves were already reloaded at least once and they are right on the mark with what the case length is supposed to be. And will using the Lee factory crimp die effect this in any way over time?
     
  19. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

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    If you read the OP, you will see he has a scale, and used scale repeatedly to determine the consistency of the 3.2 in the dipper.
     
  20. mseric

    mseric Active Member

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    Yes, Nothing wrong with dippers as long as you can be consistent and verify on a scale, which is what the OP has done.