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Old June 19, 2011, 12:47 PM   #1
TXGunNut
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Waking up Ol' Blue

Shot up $44 worth of .45acp factory ammo in a brief practice session with my carry gun yesterday, my sorry perfomance indicated the need for more practice. LOTS more practice. A drunk monkey could have done better.
My Dillon progressive is one of the first 550's and it's been covered for over 10 years. Powder measure was damaged in the last move, everything was dirty and it was set up for .38's. It's "only" loaded about 120K .38's and maybe 10k .45's so it's got lots of life left in it.
I've spent most of the morning performing a "15 minute caliber change" but finding all the needed stuff, repairing the powder measure and cleaning up the bench and a few hundred cases has taken a bit of time as well.
After lunch (and the NASCAR race) I'm hoping I can find some bullets stashed away in my loading room, too damned windy to try out my new molds today.
It'll be fun to get ol' Blue up and running again. Hope I can remember how everything works.
Anybody else feeling the pinch and getting back into volume reloading? Other than the plated bullets and a few new powders I don't think much has changed. Tips? Suggestions?
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Old June 19, 2011, 12:54 PM   #2
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I do that with casting, once every couple of months I'll fire up the pot. Loading, well, it costs more to drive to the range, and with having to work overtime now just to pay bills, I have less time to shoot, so the press sits alone more and more often. Oh well.
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Old June 19, 2011, 12:56 PM   #3
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It will all come back to you. Good luck. And GO JR #88.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:07 PM   #4
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I hear you, armoredman. I feel fortunate to have the bills covered, but not by much. Gas alone for a range trip is $15 these days. I started to buy a few boxes of factory loads @ Cabelas yesterday but put them back on the shelf.
Times are hard, gotta save money where we can. I need to do a fair amount of shooting to get competent again. No way I'm shelling out the bucks to do it with factory loads.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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I'm 200rds into a 500 bullet box of something called bumblebee commercial cast on my SDB, stopped about 6 weeks ago trying to get a primo cast bullet load for that 32 win spec., and casting bullets from a newly acquired .44 mold and recrimping some .45 Colts that tended to walk etc.

Thanks for the reminder Tex.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about the .32 project, Sal. Was wondering if you'd get a handle on that. I found 250 Berry's cast 185 hb bullets in a cubbyhole and will load a hundred for function testing. I don't like 230's in my lightweight little Colt Defender. Have a fair bit of 231 as well. Thinking 5.5grs should do the trick
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Old June 19, 2011, 08:42 PM   #7
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Looks like ol' Blue has another day off, maybe another week. Had an adhesive malfunction, more accurately an application error. Put a little too much glue on the powder storage tube and reassembled the powder measure too soon. Unbeknownst to me the excess glue ran down into the charge bar. First clue was that powder didn't drop into the case on station 2. Big mess. Hope all those little parts go back together OK.
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Old June 19, 2011, 09:34 PM   #8
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Dillon has a great customer service rep...
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:12 PM   #9
Kevin Rohrer
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After ten years of no reloading, the stars finally aligned for me and I just started reloading 45ACP on my 550B.
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Old June 19, 2011, 11:16 PM   #10
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Thanks, armoredman. I can verify that personally. I have one of the first 550's, Rob Leatham had one too, his was possibly a pre-production model. He shot (and loaded) more than I did so when he had a problem they generally had a fix for it and when I ran into the same issue I usually got one of the earliest repair parts, absolutely free, usually before my next match. On at least one occasion the instructions were handwritten. I have a two-pound margarine tub full of old parts. In those days I usually talked to someone actually involved in production that knew something about shooting and reloading, not your typical CSR. Haven't had to call them lately but was perusing a few upgrades on Dillon's website today. We'll be talking again soon, wonder if they'll remember me?
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Old June 19, 2011, 11:20 PM   #11
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Welcome back, Kevin. I've taken time off from volume reloading but have been having a great time with my single-stage and various rifles. Hope you like your new 550. Be patient, follow the instructions and pay attention. It's gonna be awesome.
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Old June 20, 2011, 12:02 PM   #12
Kevin Rohrer
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I have had the 550 for a long time. It required dis-assembly and cleaning to get it going again, but it's working fine now.
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Old June 20, 2011, 08:19 PM   #13
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It's alive! Yes, it needed a thorough cleaning and still needs a tweak or two. Ran well enough to knock out 100 try loads before the pizza came out of the oven.
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Old June 20, 2011, 08:44 PM   #14
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I love my 550, and load and shoot a bit of .45acp.
Even with the handloading, I am still shooting a lot of .22 LR.

At my best, I can load .45acp for .14/round.
I can buy .22LR for .03/round.

So I can shoot five rounds of .22LR for each round of .45, and that ignores the time and effort required to handload.

I try to shoot once a week, and typically shoot 100 rounds of .22LR and 50 rounds of .45acp. Unless it Steel Challenge night, when I shoot ~100 rounds of .45 (and lose almost all of my brass)

By my math, shooting 1500 rounds of .22LR (about 15 weeks) paid for my $200 MkII a long time ago.

I'm not trying to spend your money for you, but a .22LR pistol is an extremely cost-effective way to shoot frequently and develop/maintain proficiency.
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Old June 20, 2011, 09:11 PM   #15
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I agree, I have a well-worn Ruger Mark I and a S&W 617, latter was bought to facilitate PPC practice during a previous primer shortage. 617 paid for itself in one season. Ruger has fired more than I can carry. Sometimes you just have to shoot the carry gun, it needed cleaning anyway.
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