Reloading Safety.

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Dallas53, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member

    safety, safety, safety. it can't be stressed enough when reloading.

    i consider reloading to be a very safe hobby in addiction to shooting, as long as a person follows safe reloading procedures. so how does one learn to reload safely? easy. learn from an experienced and safe reloader, or read several books on the subject. one of the best ones i have seen is the book "The ABC's Of Reloading" is an excellent book for the noob, the novice or even the veteran reloader. it has lots of useful information for anyone thinking of getting into reloading and for those who have been doing it for some time.

    i will also preface this with, that reloading isn't for everyone. if you can't follow certain procedures, or able to devote your undivided attention, or want to take shortcuts, or not very organized and structured in the way you do things, then it's quite possible that reloading isn't suited for you and you would be much better off buying factory ammo instead.

    when you fire a round from a gun, you are in essence setting off a controlled explosion in very close proximity to your body and or face. think about that, and let it sink in for a moment. not paying attention to the rounds that you loaded, is very good way to end up hurt or dead, or with a damaged firearm in the least. people have died, have lost fingers, and even their eyesight from improper reloads. i am not trying to scare anyone from thinking about getting into reloading, but that if a person doesn't follow the safety guidelines of reloading, it can be very potentially dangerous.

    some basis tips of safety i will pass along.

    work in very organized manner, and keep your reloading areas clean and organized.

    keep only one powder at a time on your bench when reloading.

    wear safety glasses while reloading. you only get one set of eyes. protect them.

    do not reload when you can't devote your full attention to what you are doing. if possible, a closed and locked door from the wife, kids and dog are good advice. if you can't give it your full and undivided attention, then do it when you can.

    do not use another reloader's recipe's for your guns unless you can verify their safety to use in your firearms. verify them. if you can't, then best advice is to ignore them. just because the load works well or is safe in another person's gun doesn't mean it's safe to use in yours.

    if unsure about something, whether it's what someone told you, or if you are not understanding something you read about reloading, ask a question. there are no dumb questions!

    be safe and enjoy.
  2. armoredman

    armoredman Active Member

    Amen, and DON'T watch TV while loading! I knew a guy who blew the bolt on his Savage from double charge because he thought it was a good idea to watch a movie while loading. My bench faces a blank wall, and the only thing I have playing is soft music. The only REAL important thing I can add is triple check those powder levels.
    mikld, Rex in OTZ and Dallas53 like this.

  3. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member

    i agree about the double-checking and triple-checking what you are doing, especially when charging the cases with powder. double charges of powder can be very dangerous.

    personally, i like a radio playing in the background too. if it's too quiet, that messes with my concentration!
  4. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

    My loading room is a small closet and I often close the door, no distractions. Absolutely NO DRINKING, before or during. If you use double base powders, double check your loads, overcharges can and do destroy firearms, I stopped using these powders. I like powders that fill the cases to the bottom of the bullet or even slightly compress the charge.
    Rex in OTZ, locutus and Dallas53 like this.
  5. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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  6. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

    I always use a powder that will overflow the case if double charged.
    This is especially important if using a Dillon that cranks out 500-600 rounds per hour.

    But IMHO, the most important safety item is being able to concentrate 100 percent of your attention on what you're doing.

    Develop a routine and do not deviate from it.
    woodlander, Viking and Dallas53 like this.
  7. Mouser

    Mouser Active Member

    Where possible, position yourself above the case so you can get a visual on the powder (auto disc) for example

    When interrupted, stop and double check your work.

    Weigh powder, again for auto charging, periodically. Use shell holders to keep track of where you are weighing and to provide a visual double check on your finished round.

    Do not decap live primers

    If it doesn't feel right, it probably isnt

    Double check your initial set up in terms of seating depth, powder charge, primer seat etc...

    Try not to day dream, get methodical and always put components/do things in the same order.

    A story about how things can get messed up...Over Thanksgiving had family over for dinner and my brother-in-law bought a new Sig Legion so we were shooting on my shop is where I load so it was open. The kids took the primer collection tube and dumped spent primers in the powder reservoir...I caught the issue as I noticed spent primers on floor and the tube was missing some so after a quick disassemble of my press, I did set it all in order. All of my components etc were out of reach, just not my press...learned my lesson and avoided issue. Sometimes it is the unexpected that gets people so get systematic and always check your work when setting up...I mean Always! Complacency causes more firearm related accidents than any other thing I can think of.
    sheriffjohn and locutus like this.
  8. Ireload2

    Ireload2 Member

    Buy a full set of all "Handloader" magazines going back to the late 1960s. Read them all and you will be a much more knowledgeable shooter and handloader.
  9. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

    And get a Lyman reloading manual.
    I used the Lyman as the textbook in the reloading classes i taught.
  10. RaySendero

    RaySendero Active Member

    Thx Dallas.
    I usually begin to "catch-up" on all my handloading about this time of year. Your safety reminder is very appropriate and timely.
    Dallas53 and locutus like this.
  11. F4U

    F4U Well-Known Member Supporter

    I mostly reload shot shells, so I will add pay attention to your hulls, make sure they are suitable for another loading, you can only reload a hull so many times before it won't crimp properly, or it splits when you drive the wad in.
    sheriffjohn likes this.
  12. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Amen to the wisdom imparted so far ! I wish to add that proper storage of components and ammo is also important. As one gets older, the eyes may go a bit south, making it hard to distinguish between some calibers without checking the markings carefully. I have too many different but similar cartridges lying around in too many places. Add to that cartridges formed from other cartridges (.270's from 30-06, etc.). I try to sort and re-box, but always run across a few odds and ends left from friends at deer season.

    The worst for me are military cartridges. Several mauser cartridges in particular, Jap, etc. look pretty similar and some smaller cartridges will actually feed into and chamber in the wrong guns. I like my .222's AND my .223's, but without examining each cartridge, sometimes get 'em in the wrong place. Anyway .. be careful.

    One more thing. Over the years, I amassed (or amessed) quite an assortment of cartridges and components from people who brought them to me at the Sheriff's Office when people passed away, etc. NEVER, NEVER ...I mean EVER take for granted the belief that an opened powder container given to you contains what it says. Likewise, reloaded cartridges from unknown sources are greatly suspect.

    One fellow who shot clay birds for like ..ever decided he could "blend" his own shotshell powder. A highway engineer by trade, he knew more than the folks at Olin, Hercules, or other manufacturers. Some of his loads were bloopers, others quite impressive. No one stole his shells or even borrowed any.
    stalkingbear and Mouser like this.
  13. mikld

    mikld Member

    "i will also preface this with, that reloading isn't for everyone. if you can't follow certain procedures, or able to devote your undivided attention, or want to take shortcuts, or not very organized and structured in the way you do things, then it's quite possible that reloading isn't suited for you and you would be much better off buying factory ammo instead."

    I would also add that if one is mechanically challenged (if you have to repeat to yourself "righty tighty, lefty loosy" every time you pick up a screwdriver) they might consider not reloading. Most of reloading consists of using hand tools and very basic machines (presses, case trimmers, precision measuring tools) and one should have mastered basic hand tool use prior to learning to reload. I've met folks that while experts in their field, they don't know how to properly use a hammer...
  14. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    Well written & very informative! I do have to bring up when you sad explosion, was you simply trying to simplify it so noobs understand? I ask because all black powder (and black powder substitutes) explodes, while all smokeless powder burns. Now smokeless powder burns VERY slow if not ignited in an enclosed space as the chamber/bore, but if fired in an firearm, it has much faster burn than blackpowder explodes. The smokeless powder produces MUCH greater volume of expanding gases, how much faster depends on the type & specific powder designed for different firearms. Except for allowing for the different shapes of powder granules (flake, flattened ball, ball, & extruded-long tubes or sticks), and the fact that almost all smokeless powders are either single base or double base, most smokeless powders would share similar burn rates if not strictly controlled by the type & amount (thickness) of the flame retardant coating/s on the powder.
    Dallas53 and RKB like this.
  15. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Well-Known Member

    I reload for probably for 6 rifles ranging from .222,.223,.303,30/06AI,.270,22/250AI. I first put the empties into a tumbler and then measure the cases for length and putting those that have stretched into a separate container to be trimmed back to length. If I'm doing a couple of calibres I do 1 calibre at a time from go to whoa that way there's always 1 powder out and the 1 projectile size.

    After tumbling and checking for length and trimming if need be I then de prime and full length resize. This is then followed by putting new primers in each case after being inspected for cracks or splits in the cases.
    Now comes the important parts of setting up the scales and loading powder into the cases. I use a RCBS beam scale and YES I do realise that digital scales are quicker etc etc BUT with beam scales I don't have to recheck powder weights every 10 loads or so but that's me.
    After I do 5 cases I then seat the projectiles this way I'm not missing a case with powder and loading a projectile into a case with no powder and this does happen.

    This may be a bit slow but I generally load on a Sunday afternoon because I just like doing it that way with the radio on listening to either the cricket,Rugby League or just plain old rock music depending on what time of the year it is sports wise.
    Have I had stuff ups? Yes I have but thankfully far and few between.

    Working up new loads is basically the same but I write little notes and put them in with the different loads on that particular load of 5 rounds and divide the loads.
  16. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    Strange, or maybe not. I do the exact same thing when working up a load for a new build or rifle. I arrive at the range with a bag full of quart ziplocs with 5 rounds in each, with a slip of paper and powder charge, seating depth, primer, etc on it.

    Another thing I do is when testing a rifle is I'll shoot 1 shot at a target, put the rifle up, shoot other firearms. Then next week or month, I'll pin the target up again, shoot it 1 time then take target down. By the time I shoot 5 or 10 shots at it, all are cold bore shots, and shot under different temps & weather conditions. Then when I get done, I KNOW what it'll do, regardless of atmospheric conditions. That tells me much more than sitting at the bench waiting for the barrel to cool between shots, losing patience and shooting again before it really cools plumb back down.

    If a barrel does "walk" when it heats up, the scope gets pulled off, stock off, and it gets sent to 300 below. I cannot attest to any other benefits for sure, but do know based on before & after results on a couple dozen rifles that the cryogenic stress relieving process DOES stop a barrel from "walking" as it heats up.
    locutus likes this.
  17. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Who is doing the crypt treatment?
  18. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    There are several companie out there doing the cyro treatment now. 300 Below was 1 of the 1st. To begin with, they, like all that are bringing something new to market, whether it be product or service, claimed it would do everything from cure the common cold or cancer, to automatically wiping your butt for you. I haven't been able to see an clear difference in any category except for the stress relieving of cyro, heat, then cyro again is it flat plumb stops barrel walk.
  19. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

  20. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

    I started on a Dillon 650. It's amazing how fast one can create bad rounds that have to disassembled. Even with some experience, if something is wrong, the entire turret is cleared.

    wrt paying attention, I looked at a case that seemed too full. Highly unlikely, and it was only a tiny bit overfull. 380 round sneaked into my sorted ammo