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tajjeep

New to reloading

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Longtime listener, first time caller (so to speak). I joined on here about a year ago when I was going to attempt my first build (first ever rifle owned larger than rim fire). At the time I was going to load what I shot through it. I was given some advice which I listened to and bought a complete gun(Stag 15) and soon another (Tavor X95). I was also told to shoot. A lot. I still am no closer on my build, but that’s a different topic.

 

Back to the reloading. I have not reloaded anything yet, but I have kept my brass over the course of this past year. I am sitting on about 2.5k .223 and another 2.5k 223 still to shoot. Once I shoot up my supply (assuming I don’t buy more) I will have approximately 5k of 223 brass at which point it may make sense to reload. Regardless, I have decided I should start processing the brass. My Frankfurt Rotary tumbler showed up yesterday and I couldn’t wait to run a batch through it.

 

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I separated by headstamp. The small red bin are PMC which were range pick up. The lesser of the black bins are “GFL” (I assume these are the Fiocci I bought on sale last year). The larger black bin are “FC” which I assume are Federal. The “FC” have the noticeable circular crimp while the other two headstamps do not.

 

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1. Is there a way to check the other headstamps for a crimp or would it be visible? I do not have any primers on hand with no intention of purchasing them until I decide I want to load and get the other components.

2. I assume the most forgiving method for a novice to remove the crimp would be with a handheld reamer (I have seen a version by Lyman). I do realize that with 4K of the Federal brass to handle this will not be a pleasant experience and a Dillon Super Swage may get added to the tool kit in short order. Are there any other recommendations?

 

As for resizing, I have a Lee full die set, a Lee handheld press (worked awesome for decapping), a Lee breechlock single stage, and my brother in law is giving me his RCBS single stage. Unless directed otherwise, I feel this is sufficient.

 

For trimming I have the small handheld Lee sets that came in the breechlock kit. I also feel this will be a pain and plan to pick up a WFT. Unless there is something else I should look at.

 

I have intentions to pick up a 45LC single action revolver which will be what I will load first as there is a financial savings for that cartridge. I keep my 9mm brass, but I have a pretty good stockpile of Blazer rounds that it may be awhile before I do anything with it.

 

 

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You're on the road to a good addiction.

 

Single stage press is sufficient for starting out. I would highly recommend getting the Dillon swager and take a look at the Giraud tri-way trimmer.

 

A primer pocket swage gauge will come in handy also.

 

If you're loading for an AR, small base dies.

 

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Welcome to the board. You will get lots of advice here for sure.  I'll chime in more later.

 

Greg 

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I don’t ream my primer pockets.  I don’t like removing material.  But that’s just me I guess.  I use the RCBS primer pocket swager.  It mounts just like a die on your press.  You can knock out those crimps as fast or slow as you can load the press and pull the handle.  And your hands don’t get tired from holding a drill and a case.  

 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012920663

 

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Another item you may look at is the Giraud Tri-Way trimmer.  It’s a little more expensive than the WFT, but, in my opinion, it’s well worth the extra cost.  The Giraud trims, deburs, and chamfers at the same time.  It is one of the best tools on my bench.  

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We all have our preferences. I ream more than I swage but I stlil swage some at times.  I have the Dillon rig and the old RCBS but never use the later.  Be cautions with the Dillon and only do about 100 ata setting. I did around 1000 one afternoon and ended up with horrendous tennis elbow for almost six months.  My Forster lathe type trimmer has a power attachment but I also use the big Dillon on 650 and have the Gracey on the bench too.

 

Greg

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Thank you for the welcome and the advice.

Although I had seen them, I was unaware of the necessity of the small base dies. My set does not state that it is small base, so I would assume it is not. I am fortunate to have a fairly well stocked reloading store on the West side of Minneapolis. I checked their website and they stock the go/no-go gauges along with both of the mentioned swagers. I am sure they would have a small base die. I will try to run over there tomorrow at lunch.

I checked the Gracey trimmer out. I think at this point for me it may be a bit much (I like the simplicity of design with the direct drive motor), but the Giraud is more of what I was thinking. Smaller and portable.


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I'll go right out and state that 99% of the time Small Base dues are NOT needed. I use them for making up wildcat cases formed for very tight custom chambers but in all my years I've never needed one for any 556/223 I load for. At last count that's right on a dozen uppers BTW.

 

The Gracey is nothing like the Giraud screwdriver/ drill driven unit that mimics the. WFT trimmer. The REAL Giraurd bench tool and the Gracey are bench equivalents. 

 

Greg 

 

 

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Thanks for saving me some money in the short term. I am sorting through my second load of brass and have come across a few range pickups with random head stamps (some of which the primer crimp was clearly chamfered out). I think the course of action I will take is to pick up some bullets and assemble a few dummy rounds with those cases (no primer, no powder). I think it would be a zero risk way to work through the assembly steps. I could use the dies I have and check the dummies in the two rifles I have. If the empty rounds are tight, then maybe a small base die would be the answer.

The Gracey trimmer I looked at was a benchtop unit. I have a full woodworking shop and the majority of the stationary tools are pulley drive. While necessary under load for those machines, I appreciate the simplicity of the direct drive motor (less chance of introducing vibrations or imbalances). Compact for what it is, but a more industrial strength motor. Honestly, if I enjoy reloading, I wouldn’t hesitate to get one. However for this first go around, the WFT or Tri-Way is appealing. Especially since I could grab a small toolbox worth of equipment and take it up to the lake for the weekend and sit by the fire or on the deck and trim the brass.


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The 3 way cutter is neater than pockets in a suit. I have a few decades of accumulated tools but if I were starting out that would be on my shopping list. 

 

Now to save you a bunch of headache and future bandwidth for help order up the Hornady Head Space Gauge set up to adjust the shoulder bump/sizing.  You could review the sticky on the poor man's head space gauge in the reloading area.

 

I would also go to BROWNELLS and buy the Sinclair Overall Length tool to allow yourself to measure distance to lands. The Hornady Comparator rig is decent but you need threaded cases to use it and it is not as repeatable as the Sinclair that uses a fired case from YOUR chamber that doesn't need to be drilled and tapped by you or Hornady and the results will be far closer than using the generic cases sold by Hornady that are far sloppier than using your own. 

 

Greg

 

PS Get a couple of special notebooks to keep notes. I hound guys to document their work.  Less mistakes are made and money is saved.

 

PPS Get a GOOD set of calipers. You'll need a set for the Horndy HS tools anyway and you're going to live and die by consistent repeatable measurements. 

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I just want to Welcome you to the board. 

 

We have a brain trust here with literally centuries of handloading experience, and they can (and will) help you out with everything from 

large quantities of  .223/5.56 to very long range ammo for any number of cartridges,  from  P-dog loads, to Cowboy Action Shooting .45 Colt rounds. 

You have chosen well. 

If you end up liking this group of men who adhere to the philosophy that "there are no dumb questions" and  down the road when you decide you enjoy their company as well as their expertise and willingness to help, consider becoming a Patron, please. 

 

It's obvious you have done a lot of homework already, and are a sharp guy.  Again, Welcome !  By my estimation, you will fit in quite well, and these gentlemen will thoroughly enjoy enabling your addiction to the AR platform and rolling your own.  Just one word of warning.  They will really enjoy helping you drain your wallet as the BRD

(Black Rifle Disease)  progresses.   However, from your first posts, you may already have an advanced case of BRD.    :laugh:

Best wishes,

John

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Welcome to the reloading world!

 

I personally have only removed crimps with a chamfer tool.  Just make sure you don't go too deep.

 

The Giraud benchtop model is a Cadillac as far as trimming and chamfering is concerned.  A fair amount more than the hand held (hand drill) units, but it's pretty nice for volume work. 

 

Youre wise to to separate by headstamp.  It'll pay off later in regards to consistency.

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11 hours ago, GLShooter said:

The 3 way cutter is neater than pockets in a suit. I have a few decades of accumulated tools but if I were starting out that would be on my shopping list. 

 

Now to save you a bunch of headache and future bandwidth for help order up the Hornady Head Space Gauge set up to adjust the shoulder bump/sizing.  You could review the sticky on the poor man's head space gauge in the reloading area.

 

I would also go to BROWNELLS and buy the Sinclair Overall Length tool to allow yourself to measure distance to lands. The Hornady Comparator rig is decent but you need threaded cases to use it and it is not as repeatable as the Sinclair that uses a fired case from YOUR chamber that doesn't need to be drilled and tapped by you or Hornady and the results will be far closer than using the generic cases sold by Hornady that are far sloppier than using your own. 

 

Greg

 

PS Get a couple of special notebooks to keep notes. I hound guys to document their work.  Less mistakes are made and money is saved.

 

PPS Get a GOOD set of calipers. You'll need a set for the Horndy HS tools anyway and you're going to live and die by consistent repeatable measurements. 

 

 

I kind of made my mind up on investing in a 3-way trimmer.  I will mull over the choices for the next week or two.  I usually do not hesitate on tools with the buy once, cry once philosophy (too many times I have bought "sufficient" tools and upgraded them over time at considerable extra expense).  I find it far more economical to purchase the better to begin with.  I have found (as I would imagine everyone else as well) that longevity and retained value go hand in hand with quality tools.

 

The head space issue is a fair amount of information I had not thought about.  Forgive my ignorance on the matter, but from what I have figured out, the above combination would tailor the round to my individual chamber.  The benefits being that accuracy could be improved (projectile is closer to the rifling, less "jump" (probably wrong terminology)), barrel/chamber life possibly improved (projectile not bashed around in the throat since it is closer to the rifling initially), and brass longevity improved as the brass is not constantly being reworked to excess.  Does this sound correct?

 

When sizing the brass to my desired headspace, would the final trimmed length of brass be a custom measurement for each configuration or would the brass still be trimmed to the 1.76" "standard"?

 

Cartridge overall length would be tailored to fit the limitations/dimensions of that particular rifle (be it magazine restrictions or chamber restrictions)?

 

With the above, if I wanted to make loads that would work in either of the two rifles I currently own, I would use the lesser set of dimensions?  (thinking the shorter shoulder distance and shorter OAL)?

 

Personally, I don't think I could tackle reloading without taking detailed notes.  At least in the shop.  At the range, my shooting ability isn't there yet.  Who knows, eventually I may get into chasing the accuracy and analyzing every variable.  But to begin with, I will probably compare factory load to whatever load I create.

 

I have several calipers.  I use them frequently in woodworking.  Wood is fluid however, it moves and preciseness is somewhat relative.  I occasionally measure to the tenth of mm (about .004") unless doing machine setup, but that is with feeler gauges and dial indicators.  I will have to double check accuracy on what I have, I have a viewpoint that the number is arbitrary as long as the same device (and only that device) is used with repeatable results.

 

I really appreciate everyone's patience and insight.  I am sure my questions are the same as you all have answered countless times previously, yet you took the time to answer them again.  Thank you!  Hopefully I will get to the point where I have sufficient knowledge and can give back in a similar positive way.

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1 hour ago, tajjeep said:

 

 

I kind of made my mind up on investing in a 3-way trimmer.  I will mull over the choices for the next week or two.  I usually do not hesitate on tools with the buy once, cry once philosophy (too many times I have bought "sufficient" tools and upgraded them over time at considerable extra expense).  I find it far more economical to purchase the better to begin with.  I have found (as I would imagine everyone else as well) that longevity and retained value go hand in hand with quality tools.

 

The head space issue is a fair amount of information I had not thought about.  Forgive my ignorance on the matter, but from what I have figured out, the above combination would tailor the round to my individual chamber.  The benefits being that accuracy could be improved (projectile is closer to the rifling, less "jump" (probably wrong terminology)), barrel/chamber life possibly improved (projectile not bashed around in the throat since it is closer to the rifling initially), and brass longevity improved as the brass is not constantly being reworked to excess.  Does this sound correct?

 

When sizing the brass to my desired headspace, would the final trimmed length of brass be a custom measurement for each configuration or would the brass still be trimmed to the 1.76" "standard"?

 

Cartridge overall length would be tailored to fit the limitations/dimensions of that particular rifle (be it magazine restrictions or chamber restrictions)?

 

With the above, if I wanted to make loads that would work in either of the two rifles I currently own, I would use the lesser set of dimensions?  (thinking the shorter shoulder distance and shorter OAL)?

 

Personally, I don't think I could tackle reloading without taking detailed notes.  At least in the shop.  At the range, my shooting ability isn't there yet.  Who knows, eventually I may get into chasing the accuracy and analyzing every variable.  But to begin with, I will probably compare factory load to whatever load I create.

 

I have several calipers.  I use them frequently in woodworking.  Wood is fluid however, it moves and preciseness is somewhat relative.  I occasionally measure to the tenth of mm (about .004") unless doing machine setup, but that is with feeler gauges and dial indicators.  I will have to double check accuracy on what I have, I have a viewpoint that the number is arbitrary as long as the same device (and only that device) is used with repeatable results.

 

I really appreciate everyone's patience and insight.  I am sure my questions are the same as you all have answered countless times previously, yet you took the time to answer them again.  Thank you!  Hopefully I will get to the point where I have sufficient knowledge and can give back in a similar positive way.

 

The basic idea is to get the cases to fit in to the chamber that will allow for easy chambering and removal of the unfired/fired case. If the case is too large then obviously the chambering will be hard and may in fact be impossible. Remember as the AR is fired the pressure is still hammering the brass and moving the walls and shoulders forward. The BCG is unlocking and if you measure a FIRED AR case depending on a few variables, you will end up with numbers that are larger than actual chamber dimensions.  If the same chamber was cut in a bolt gun and the same charge were fired with the same brass there would be variation in what you get coming out.

 

Ideally in the AR you would like to see a MINIMUM of 0.003 of shoulder set back from the chamber shoulder are and about 0.0015-0.002 on case body under-sizing in diameter. This allows for the criteria of in and out with little effort.  Why 0.003 works so well is that you could run down to 0.002 in most set ups but brass varies from piece to piece even within the same lot and some may work hardened more than others and give more spring back so instead of a 0.002 bump you might only get 0.0005 to 0.001. Given a hot chamber with dirty powder residue and carbon build up you may well experience chambering and unloading difficulty. In my single shot matches I will run down to 0.001 but I’m also dropping the full weight of an unimpeded BCG on that case and it will “size” a bit more. Unfortunately on that ragged edge it may well be nigh impossible to extract the round without mortaring or tapping the charge handle open. Should cease fire catch you mid-string. Not good!!

 

Just running a die down to the shell holder plus 1/8-1/4 turn will usually get you ammo that runs but may also increase case stretch causing early case head separation and that is bad ju ju.  The less working of the brass the better off you are. Now in an SD gun loaded for the real deal a bit of extra room in there is a god thing to have.  Reliability over bras longevity at any cost is needed then. 

 

The amount of closeness to the lands you get is not of importance as the case is still going to be only XXX long. A shoulder 0.004 taller just means a neck that is 0.004 shorter. Teeter totter in action here.   Also just because the bullet is right up tight and out of sight in the lands does not guarantee increased accuracy. I have one I’m working with right now at 0.006 off the lands and from what I’m gathering this one likes 0.030 and up to 0.060 off. That is a huge jump as I usually try to run at 0.008 to on the lands and in some set ups in the lands. When you get that close you will increase cartridge pressure so that must be dealt with by adjustment of your powder choice. Also bullet design/construction can adversely affect your pressures and may in fact demand that you back off at least 0.050 from the get go.

 

Magazine limitations can bite you in the tookas at times. Commercial chambers are often very generous in their amount of free bore and a case loaded to true SAAMI MAX may well not even get you in the same zip code of the lands.  In the AR the established length is 2.260. Many bullets will need to be 3.300- 2.455 to reach the lands. That is a bit much right?  WE cheat. The GI is 2.60. The CP products are 2.4300, per my one I have and the ASC’s will hit 2.318, nominal, in many usages. Now we can also window, cut the front out of a magazine, and based on mag well dimensions load out to 2.400 and 2.50 in some rigs. I have one custom lower that will do 2.450 with ease. Also WARNING WARNING WARNING just because it’s an AR DOES NOT MEAN you can load EVERYTHING to 2.260 and get away with it. The bullet may be too short and fall out of the case or the bullet shape may be fat and squat with an ogive much closer to the tip and at 2/..260 may well be 0.0330 IN THE LANDS!! Not good!  Tools my man, tools will save you some real heartbreak on the range or near your face.

 

Trim length is USUALY 0.010 below stated MAX length for a given cartridge. The 223/556 says MAX of 1.760 and we trim to 1.750. This 0.p010 lest case growth occur and still gives you a safety margin. Now a chamber has a “shelf” angled area into the lands that is USUALY 0.0100 in front of that 1.760 or XXX as the case may be. This is by SAAMI spec in most instances. I have some that are around 0.020 longer vs. 0.010. I have one that is 0.065 longer than the SAAMI spec for that case per our reamer design. With the proper tools you can measure that “shelf” distance and could trim to that length less 0.010.  In many instances that means you might never trim a case during its lifetime.

 

With multiple rifles you will size your case to fit the shortest one. I have chambers that are 0.000 SAAMI spec up to those that are SAAMI + 0.008 over  SAMMI MAX.  If I want my cannon fodder for all of them it is sized 0.003 under SAAMI. BTW much FACTORY ammo comes to you at SAMMI less 0.005 0.008 under MINIMUM and a shoulder on the first firing may well move as much a 0.015 or so. One time is fine but four or five times set back to original factory height is not god for the case o, your rifle or your face.

 

Those records will really help.  Without records down the road you can be like a dog chasing your tail over and over again. I take measurement on virtually everything and spread sheet it all along with my targets. I just pulled some data the other day from 2004 for a guy and it gave him a leg up on where to start on the 204 Ruger.  My records saved him time and money.

 

Ask a way and the guys here will help you fill in the blanks and I will chime in as I can.  The brain power and experience on this forum is awesome and they do share.

 

Greg

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I agree with Greg : I slightly chamfer crimped primer pockets and do little swaging anymore ; as I also run Dillon equipment . I've never experienced any primer related problems with chamfering and the only material removed is ever so slight and on the extreme rear of the case . Pressure Isn't exerted there or had better Not be . 

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