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Old July 25, 2010, 01:06 AM   #1
dschild
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First Reload

Ok, my Lee Challenger kit arrived. Got it all set up. One extra screw from the perfect powder measure. Came out of the funnel area. No big deal. Still seemed to work.

Ok.. I read the ABC book (halfway..). At least I got through the rifle loading bit. I didn't read much of the rest yet..

I had a hell of a time figuring out how much powder to use. I looked all over the internet. The two most promising sites said I had to pay. I figured I'd keep looking because I'm a cheap bastard.

I'm loading the following:
Bullets: 30 Cal .308 150 gr InterLock® BTSP
Powder: AA2520
Cases: 30-06 Springfield (some cheap ass cases I can't remember the name right now.

I couldn't find a load anywhere with these specs. Found a site where some guy using Sierra 150gr Spitz with Federal - 2.485 Trim measured 46gr. So ok, I'll go with that. (If someone reading these has a better suggestion let me know..

First time de-priming the pin comes out. ****. I'm freaking out because I read somewhere about sending the die back to Lee for a replacement. Not cool. I try putting it back in the press and try getting a bit more lube in the casing. 3 more tries and the pin comes out. Read instructions about tightning the lock screw. Ok next.

Size the case. Ok. I think that worked. Not sure. Moving on.

Chamfer tool and cutter and lock stud. What the hell. How does this work? Do my best to hold it. Give it a couple of quick turns. Ok.. next.

Can't figure out the damn measure thing on the "Perfect" Powder Measure tool. I get it in principal, but couldn't make it measure close to the proper charge. Couple more pumps and I get 46gr on the scale.

Ok, go to prime the case. Didn't realize I had two sizes of discs for my handheld primer tool. 10 minutes later.. Got the new disk installed. Go to load the primer.. How hard to I push? The lever is not going all the way in. I give it a good squeeze and check the case. Case won't come out. Primer sticking out a little bit. Put it back, squeeze a bit more.. done.

Next, put the powder in. That was easy.. Next.

Load the bullet. Ok.. I think I just place it, and press it, right? Instructions say turn the nob on the die so it doesn't push the bullet too far in. How far do I go? What's too much, what's too little? Dunno, best guess. Moving on.

Press. Check. Bullet loaded.. Looks a little odd, but ok. Grab caliper, measures under max length. I guess I'm done. At this rate I'll have 20 loaded by next Friday.

So that was my first (in)-experience. I didn't lose a hand. If someone thinks I should not fire these speak up now or forever hold your peace.

By the way, how loud is a primer pop in a case without powder or bullet? Will my neighbors hear it? Tune in next time to find out.
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:22 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with your specific LEE, but may have some generic answers… If your cases are GI (common with the cheap ones), then the primers will have been crimped in place. Your difficulty inserting primers suggest this, with the LEE hand primer, they slip right into commercial cases. You need to ream or swage the primer pockets to remove the crimp -- LEE makes a tool for this. A primer shot off sounds like an old school kid's cap gun. How close is your neighbor? You could always flush the toilet or run the garbage disposer at the same time.
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Old July 25, 2010, 04:17 AM   #3
T. O'Heir
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AA2520 isn't an Accurate Arms suggested .30-06 powder. It's a .308 powder. The whole point of the .308 was to get .30-06 velocities with the then new powders in a shorter case.
IMR4064, IMR4895, H4895 or Varget will do nicely.
Read all the instructions that came with your press.
"...didn't lose a hand..." That won't happen. Wouldn't shoot the ammo either though.
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Old July 25, 2010, 08:21 AM   #4
MO. Shootin
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I am a little worried for you bud.

I just wish you knew the min and max on your powder charge and the part about the seating depth for the bullet.

What do you mean it looks the cartridge looks kind of funny? You don't mean it looks like the bullet is set to deep do you?.

If you really want to get the kind of accuracy you can by reloading you really need to make 5 bullets of each of different powder charges and test them. Then you can experiment with the seating depth to really tune it in.
That is the quickest easiest way.

If you do fire those rounds take a good look at the 1st case and bring your manual and check for signs of pressure before you fire anymore. What kind of rifle are you shooting these out of? Good luck.

Does somebody have a manual handy they can check so nothing bad happens here?
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Old July 25, 2010, 08:27 AM   #5
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I'd suggest buying a reloading manual (if you havent yet) and read/re-read/study from cover to cover. (except all the loading data not specific to your rounds).
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Old July 25, 2010, 09:30 AM   #6
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Dude I'm a little worried. Will the round dry cycle through the rifle? That will tell us about the case. I think I would get a bullet puller and change powder. IMR4064 would be good for a 30-06 I use it in my 270. I agree with if you don't have a reloading manual GET ONE. I have 4 or 5 maybe more.... I think your OK on the primer. With all of the little problems you had I think finding someone nearby that reloads would be a big help to you. I think all of us that didn't grow up reloading (passed on by dad or grandpa) have stumbled when starting. 15 min with someone who knows what they are doing would be a great help. Don't rush to the firing line take your time and produce a good quality round. Good Luck and WELCOME to reloading!
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Old July 25, 2010, 10:27 AM   #7
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Go to Free Load Guide, fill out the form and hit the submit button. Accurate Arms will mail you their load guide.

OR

Go to Hodgdon's Reloading Center and follow the directions to get data on Hodgdon, IMR and Winchester powders for reloading your 30-06.

None of that will substitute for a good manual that tells you the minimum trim length for your cartridge (2.484); Max length (2.494); Max AOL (3.340 - but varies with the bullet used), and other good things you should know. Lyman's is a favorite of mine and is now in its 49th edition.

Had you done any basic research, you would have known that AA2520 is (as T. O'Heir says) a .308 powder (it's also good for 30-30 ).

None of this is meant to Dis you in any way. Handloading can be a very enjoyable and rewarding hobby. But there are several technical things you have to observe, for reasons of safety. Safety for you as well as your firearm.

I'm with T. O'Heir. Judging from what the AA load data says, I wouldn't shoot that cartridge.
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Old July 25, 2010, 10:50 AM   #8
dschild
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Two things...

1. I saw that it was .308 powder. The bullets are .308 bullets too. I asked the folks at the Sportco Warehouse in Fife, WA where I bought the stuff and they all told me .308 is 30-06 and not to worry. Figured they knew their **** so I listened. Like I'm doing here. I trust you guys know more though. Now I have a bottle of useless powder and presumably useless bullets. Yeehaw.

2. My scale is retarded. I'm using the scale that came with the Lee kit. I put powder in the spoon (46gr I thought) and measured. Scale would go up and show measurement. I'd take the spoon off and put it right back on. Totally different measurement. Tried a third time. Again totally different measurement. Did not change the powder in the spoon at all.

3. (bonus). The "Perfect" powder loader leaks out the left side when I turn the handle.

Feel like I bought a lemon...
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Old July 25, 2010, 12:00 PM   #9
rtpzwms
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Quote:
Feel like I bought a lemon...
Give the folks at lee a call on the issues you have and see what they say. I'm sure they will work with you.
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Old July 25, 2010, 12:22 PM   #10
MO. Shootin
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I seem to remember doing the same as you with the lee scale and getting slightly different weights also. We still loaded some dang accurate ammo with that stuff though. I did eventually buy a hornady beam scale though because you always want better when you can afford it.

It really does not take a lot of expensive stuff to make very accurate ammo though. No offense to anyone but don't ever just take someone working at a stores opinion when it comes to your safety or on here for that matter.
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Old July 25, 2010, 12:24 PM   #11
MO. Shootin
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One more thing on that scale thing you are not doing this reloading right next to an air vent or ceiling fan are you buy chance. That will mess with a beam scale.
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Old July 25, 2010, 12:29 PM   #12
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BEFORE you blow your reloading bench (or your gun) up, READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS until you completely understand them. Next, you "cheap bastard", go out, pop the bucks, and buy a reloading manual. You're gonna need it.

A single primer detonated in the open will be loud enough to make you wet your pants, but not loud enough to disturb the neighbors. If there are other primers in contact with it, you may get what sounds like a pack of Black Cat fireworks set off. Wear protective eyeglasses.

Last edited by CWPinSC; July 25, 2010 at 12:35 PM.
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Old July 25, 2010, 12:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
2. My scale is retarded. I'm using the scale that came with the Lee kit. I put powder in the spoon (46gr I thought) and measured. Scale would go up and show measurement. I'd take the spoon off and put it right back on. Totally different measurement. Tried a third time. Again totally different measurement. Did not change the powder in the spoon at all.
+1 on making sure there aren't any air drafts near your scale. I've never had anything like that happen with my Lee beam scale. Also, make sure the razor blade pivot on the beam part (as well as the trough on the base it rides in) are perfectly clean.

Lastly, I don't know how big of a difference you're getting when you remove and replace the pan, but keep in mind that the Lee beam is *very* sensitive. Being a couple of pointer-widths off of the index mark on the base can represent significantly less than a tenth of a grain difference. In other words, if you measure a quantity of powder and the pointer aligns perfectly with the index mark, then you remove and replace the pan and the pointer comes to rest just above or below the index mark, then the scale is still indicating the same quantity, within the tolerance of the scale.
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
The bullets are .308 bullets too. I asked the folks at the Sportco Warehouse in Fife, WA where I bought the stuff and they all told me .308 is 30-06 and not to worry.
To address this single point, (leaving many still unanswered), there can be confusion between "cartridge" (sometimes called caliber) and "bullet diameter" (also sometimes called caliber) -

Cartridge----------------Bullet diameter
.308 Winchester---------.308"
.30-06 Springfield--------.308"
.30-30 Winchester-------.308"
.300 Winchester Magnum-.308"

All of the above are generally classified as "30 caliber", as they use bullets of the same diameter.

You will find loaded ammunition marked by cartridge designation (.30-06 Springfield), but the manufacturers don't know what cartridge you're going to load, so the bullets are marked by diameter (.308")

I deliberately included the .30-30 Winchester in the list, because you can physically reload .308" spitzer bullets in those cases. However, spitzer bullets aren't safe in tubular magazines, so you are probably doing something unsafe (unless you have a rare bolt-action .30-30). Sometimes the manufacturers include warnings about things like this, and sometimes they don't.

What I've seen are "general" warnings, which go along the lines of

All data contained herein is intended for use by persons familiar with handloading practices and their own loading equipment. If you are uncertain as to the operation of your equipment, contact the equipment manufacturer for additional assistance. New reloaders are strongly encouraged to read and understand the text of this manual. It has been written to give clear instruction in the processes used in reloading.

This was lifted from the first page of the Speer #13 Reloading Manual.

You need to get this, or something very similar to it and sit down and read it. Chapter 1 is a history of Speer and can be skipped. Read Chapters 2 through 11. This is only 90 pages so it won't take a week. Then read pages 126 and 127 before you try using any of the rifle data which follows.

I believe that you can do just fine, but you can't "skip ahead" with reloading. Finding a mentor to lead you through the process step-by-step is ideal, but not all of us have a reloading buddy or neighbor nearby, or we're new to an area (like you) and haven't found one yet. So, if you can't find an instructor, slow down, study and work into it slowly.

Lots of folks here have time and patience to answer questions, but "How do I do it?" is just too broad. Do some studying, and come back with specific questions as you work through this.

Good luck.
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Last edited by dmazur; July 25, 2010 at 01:17 PM.
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:31 PM   #15
dschild
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My reloading area is in the basement. No vents, no open windows. The scale seems to jump about 1/8 of an inch above and below the line.

While it's been mentioned a couple times that the powder AA2520 is not meant for 30-06, what is the risk of using it with a 150 bullet and charging 44gr? My rifle is a Savage 30-06 110. Does this pose a major risk?

To answer others, I will buy a reloading manual as suggested. I have read the ABC book now cover to cover and a few more times in the actual reloading steps section.

Couple other questions. If I shake the "loaded" bullet should I be able to hear the powder sloshing back and forth? I assume so, but wanted to ask.

Should the bullet itself be super tight, or should I be able to easily twist it with my fingers?

Thanks for all the answers folks.
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:38 PM   #16
dmazur
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More info -

Obviously, there's nothing wrong with using .308" bullets in .30-06 Springfield, as that is the correct diameter.

As to AA2520, I got this off another forum (where somebody corrected my misunderstanding of AA2520's use with Garands) -

This is directly from the Accurate Arms Site:

Quote:
2520 is a medium burning, double-base, spherical rifle propellant designed around the 308 Win. 2520 is our “Camp Perry” powder and is extremely popular with many service shooters. It also performs extremely well in 223 Rem with heavy match bullets (62 to 80 grain). This versatile powder has superb flow characteristics and is well within the threshold limit for the M14 systems.

If it is recommended for the M14 it will be just as good in the M1 Garand. AA2520 and AA2495 are both very similar to IMR4895. AA2520 is the Ball powder equivalent of the Extruded AA2495. There are more powders than you think which are appropriate for use in the Garand. Most of them will deliver accurate ammo too.

BUT, there is no reason to trust anyone here even though you did come here and ask. Call Accurate Arms and ask them, they will give you the information you are looking for...


And, someone's AA2520 load data (off the Internet...) -

http://members.nuvox.net/~on.melchar/30-06/index.html

If you click on AA2520 150gr Spitz you should find a couple of loads that were tried in an '03 Springfield with bullets similar to your Hornady 150gr BTSP's.
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:46 PM   #17
dmazur
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Quote:
...what is the risk of using it with a 150 bullet and charging 44gr?
One of the loads I found was 44.0gr with 150gr jacketed bullets, and the other one he tried was 46.0gr. Savage bolt-action shouldn't make a difference. Note that there is a suggested COL listed, so this should be a rough guide for bullet seating.

Quote:
If I shake the "loaded" bullet should I be able to hear the powder sloshing back and forth?
Yep. This depends on powder density, of course, but if the powder doesn't fill the case to the bottom of the neck before you seat a bullet, you can generally hear it moving around if you shake it. Doesn't make any difference.

Quote:
Should the bullet itself be super tight, or should I be able to easily twist it with my fingers?
This generally is wrong, IMO. The neck inside diameter is controlled by the expander button as you pull the case out of the resizing die. This creates a consistent diameter for the bullet, regardless of neck wall thickness. So it sounds like your resizing die isn't set up correctly. This can be dangerous in semi-auto rifles as the bullet can be pushed back during chambering, creating high pressure due to reduced case volume. So, yes the bullet should be tight.
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Last edited by dmazur; July 25, 2010 at 01:52 PM.
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:47 PM   #18
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With the Lee beam scale, a quarter-inch deviation centered around the index mark on the base isn't much of a deviation at all. To see for yourself, wait for the pointer to settle out, then see how much you have to move the fine weight adjustment (the slider, not the knurled zeroing screw) to make the pointer line up perfectly with the index mark.

I just tried it with mine, using an empty casing. Setting the ball/slider to 83.2 gr lined up the pointer perfectly. I then adjusted the slider until the pointer was 1/8" below the index mark, and I didn't even get all the way to 83.3 grains on the weight setting.
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Old July 25, 2010, 05:18 PM   #19
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Also do not forget to download the load data from Acurate. It is a free download. It is not the end all of data, yet it is good to have data from the powder maker. Also I know you may be cheap, but do yourself a big favor, and buy at least one more dedicated load manual. They usualy cost well under $40 and you get to keep the book. It is cheaper than blowing up a good gun, and possibly injuring your self.
Welcome to the forum.
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Old July 25, 2010, 10:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
One extra screw from the perfect powder measure. Came out of the funnel area. No big deal. Still seemed to work.
Quote:
3. (bonus). The "Perfect" powder loader leaks out the left side when I turn the handle.
Coincidence ? Nahhhhhhhhh.
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Old July 25, 2010, 10:24 PM   #21
dschild
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I agree about the possibility of coincidence. But! There is no where I can see to put the screw. Besides, I took off the adjustment screw and re-seated everything and the leak went away.

So I have to say this has been a great experience working with this board. I'm grateful for all the advice.

I have one more question for the night. My neighbor is offering me their lapidary tumbler which they used for stones. Is this something I could use for cleaning cases as well? I understand it rotates where as the typical case cleaning ones I've seen vibrate.
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Old July 26, 2010, 12:01 AM   #22
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Tumbler's a tumbler. Seems the rock polishing tumblers often have sound insulation. Fill with proper media and use it!
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Old July 26, 2010, 02:47 AM   #23
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OK, I looked through my downloaded stuff on the .30-06 and I found a .pdf file from Accurate Powder just for the .30-06 -

Accurate powder - 30 06 Springfield.pdf

Fortunately it's small enough to attach. If you look, you'll see 2520 data for SRA 150gr SP. I think these are reasonably similar to the Hornady 150gr BTSP.

Remember to start with the smallest load shown and "work up".

Read the reloading manual to determine what "pressure signs" are before you get too adventurous...
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Old July 26, 2010, 04:59 AM   #24
sob (sweet ole bill)
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first hand loads

IMHO, mind you only been loading 36 years, you NEED to find a mentor 'fore you damage your self or some luckless bystander.
Funny post tho, you sure know how to point out the wrong way to handle reloading.
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Old July 26, 2010, 07:11 AM   #25
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Get Real

It seems the only thing you aren't lacking is enthusiasm ! When you can elevate your knowledge to the level of your enthusiasm you will be ready to reload . Mistakes that can kill you are only made once as a rule . At this point you are a danger to yourself and others ! Slow down and read , read and then read some more , every thing you need to know to get started is written down somewhere . Always verify your source , " not always possible on the internet " !
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