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Old May 27, 2005, 10:28 AM   #1
Bert223
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New to reloading questions

Hi, I'm fairly new to reloading (about 5 years) and I have a few questions that I can't find the answers to in my books.

1. When I resize rifle brass, a crease forms around the bottom of the case about 1/8" up from the rim. Also my handgun cases are belled looking at the bottom after resizing. Is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

2. I have and RCBS case tumbler and I was wondering how long I should leave the cases in there for? Also the necks of my rifle brass never come out clean, the bodies are clean but never the necks.

3. I use aa#5 right now for magnum pistols (.357, .44) and I've found that It sticks to everything plastic (powder meter, funnel) and its a pain to clean up. Is there a different powder that I can use that would work better?

4. Is it good to trim brass after every shooting?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old May 27, 2005, 12:30 PM   #2
Dave R
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1. Mine show a line there, but I always thought that was just the boundary between the part of the cases that gets re-sized, and the head area that really doesn't. But I could be wrong...

2. I tumble for 2-4 hours after shooting, and half-hour to an hour after resizing, to remove case lube. I have occasionally forgot and left them in overnight. Posted in a panic about it, and was reassured that you really can't 'over-tumble' the brass. I just don't seem to see much additional benefit after 2-4 hours. My necks are never as clean as the bodies, either.

3. ??

4. Pistol brass generally does not need to be trimmed. Rifle brass, I measure after 3-4 shootings, and generally have to trim a bit off a few at that time. This is for .308, .223 and .17 centerfire. Bigger calibers may need measuring more often? I dunno.
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Old May 27, 2005, 02:13 PM   #3
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Get an aluminum funnel and line your powder measure with a sheet of fabric softener. The fabric softener somehow stops static cling. #5 meters too well to abandon over something that easy to fix. A carpet sample under your measure will trap any minor spills. Just take it outside and shake it once in a while.

Most rifle cases will go 3-5 firings between trims. I never bother trimming pistol cases unless I am getting ununiform crimps.
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Old May 27, 2005, 04:18 PM   #4
Bert223
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Hmm fabric softener sheet huh? I'll have to try that. AA #5 does meter great, really consistant. I did want to try to get more zip out of my 44 mag and 357 mag though. I was going to try h110. I usually trim the cases everytime because they are always longer than the minimum case length. Thanks for the tips guys .
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Old May 27, 2005, 05:59 PM   #5
Mike Irwin
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What kind of rifle cases? This is normally seen with belted cases, but can happen with others, as well.

As long as they still chamber easily, though, you should be fine.
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Old May 27, 2005, 10:47 PM   #6
Bert223
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.243 .223 .30-06 rifle cases
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Old May 27, 2005, 11:05 PM   #7
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Yes, the fabric softener trick works wonders. I used in my measure to great success.

I also find that at least 223 brass needs to be trimmed about every 3rd time. I measured some Many Times reloaded .44 Mag brass, and it did not need trimming, far from it actually.

H110 is a fun powder. I use 23 grains under a 240 grain bullet for .44 Mag and 15 grains/158gr/.357 Mag. Magnum primers, of course.
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Old May 27, 2005, 11:58 PM   #8
gschwertley
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Reloading Questions

About the slightly belled look toward the bottom of the pistol cases. If you are using carbide sizing dies, this is pretty normal. This does not occur with steel dies; the look you describe is one of the compromises you must accept when buying into the convenience of carbide dies. It has to do with the fact that a steel die is a full-length sizer, the exact shape that the case should be after re-sizing. With carbide dies, the carbide ring is only at the mouth of the die and so can only size the case the same diameter all the way down. Even supposedly straight cases have a hair of taper toward the case head end and this gets pressed in with a carbide die.

About the smoking on the case mouths of fired rifle brass. Yes, this can be stubborn stuff depending on powder used and amount of charge (smaller charges often smoke more than hefty ones because they don't seal the gas off at the case mouth as well at the moment of firing.) Sometimes, no amount of tumbling will clean these up. As long as you get any crust removed, the dark staining won't hurt anything. If you are a stickler for appearance, there are a number of things you can do. For one thing, you can use a chemical case cleaner like Birchwood-Casey, which is a mild solution of phosphoric acid. This usually works well but wear latex gloves when working with it and rinse brass well when done; air dry. You can also remove stubborn staining like this with very mildly abrasive polishes, like Brasso, or Ford Chrome Cleaner, or Simi-Chrome polish, or similar. Just carefully wipe them down until the staining is gone, then tumble like you ordinarily would. I use some very mild stuff the Air Force uses to polish airplane plexiglass that I got at the swap meet. Some people use fine steel wool, but it still leave burnishing marks.

I think others before me have covered your other questions.
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Old May 28, 2005, 11:11 AM   #9
Bert223
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Thanks for the great help guys! It's nice to know that I'm doing it right so far .
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Old May 28, 2005, 11:38 AM   #10
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Another trick to stop the "static cling" problem is to wash the plastic parts in dishwashing liquid but don't rinse, let them air dry and no more static cling.
The dryer sheet trick is about the best, but if you live in a dry area (little to no humidity) and the dryer sheet doesn't work for you, try the dishwashing liquid thing.
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Old May 28, 2005, 11:45 AM   #11
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Are you "centering" your dies ?

Many people etheir dont know or forget to do this and it is an important step.

Before you tighten the locking ring on yor die make sure that you have placed a case into the press and bought it up to the die with the locking rings loosened off.

Then gently lock the ring...with the case still in it. This is called "centering" the die. The reason for this is that their is enough clearance built into the threads of the die and the threads of the press that there will several thousands of misalignment. This misalignment can cause "belts" to from on your cases and it may be more on one side than the other. If it is really obvious, it could prevent chambering but in most cases it just looks bad.

For accurate amnd good looking ammo, dont forget to center the case.



As for your rilfe rounds not getting clean around the neck...it may be that you are looking at the annealing process around the neck which causes the brass to be a bit of a different color than the rest of it. This is normal and there is no need to worry about it. Some cases such as .223 are more evident than others.
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Old May 28, 2005, 04:51 PM   #12
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Is this the kind of discoloration you are talking about? This discoloration is caused by the annealing process.

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Old May 29, 2005, 12:43 AM   #13
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Bert, in responding to your DW .44 mag. thread you already know I believe that #7 or Ramshot True Blue will work better for you. #5 is an excellent powder for a lot of different types of loads and I have used it also. Accurate believes it is the ball powder equivelant of Unique in it's flexibility and I really couldn't argue that. #7 is denser and will meter even better. Density as rated in grams per liter is something worth knowing. #7 is 985 grams per liter and as far as I am aware, it is the densest pistol powder available today so when someone says, as I do even incorrectly that it meters like sand, that's not quite right. It's better than that. Grain size is extremely small, but I covered all this in your .44 thread.

As far as your rifle cases, what brand dies are you using? Some think I am snobbish with my constant recommendation of REDDING dies, but I guarantee you, it's not because I like to spend more money so that I can feel superior because of my high dollar dies. (I would go buy a Corvette insted) Redding machines to the tightest tolerances in the industry with the hardest steels available and geometric tolerances are something I happen to understand fairly well. I don't buy handtools at Wal-Mart for the same reasons. I full length resize rifle cases and that is enough for a heated debate right there. If others feel neck sizing gets it done, hey, I'm all for it. I do a number of things in reloading that may not seem necessary and after 20 years I still use a single stage press so I can do other things I feel necessary to match grade ammo during the process that make a progressive little more than a concept of high production. I clean primer pockets almost every loading and I know most don't and don't believe it's necessary. It's their ammo and I know how mine works. REDDING full length resizing dies for example will give you a very concise explanation of setting your dies to match the chamber of an individual rifle and neck sizing is the reason a lot of reloaders go that route because returning the neck to factory dimension gets them back to shooting for a particular rifle. Your brand of dies may have nothing to do with the ring, but I don't get them with REDDINGS.

Your tumbling and still slightly dirty case necks are not hard to understand if you think about it. The media is being displaced by the larger diameter of the case body and so less pressure is exerted to the case neck and like many have pointed out there are many good solutions. Soaking your brass in water diluted apple cider vinegar before tumbling is another. Make sure the cases are completely dry before they go into the thumbler.

Case trimming is another area of great dispute here and there are all sorts of remedies. Mine is the Lyman Case trimmer. I trim pistol brass usually once to get all of my cases to one uniform length and this is mainly for consistency when taper or roll crimping. Magnum revolver rounds are a little more likely to stretch than autopistol brass and some find it uneccessary to trim at all and discard the brass if it does get overlength. Rifle cases are a different story and should be checked after each loading. I treat Magnum revolver loads in a similar fashion in case they end up on a hunting trip and I want either to be the most accurate thay can possibly be.

After 5 years of reloading, you sound like you have a pretty good handle on things. The one thing I feel some take too lightly is the burn rate geometery of the powders they use and if one really wants to use the best powder for a specific load, it is worth the time to read and understand pressure curve charts and all of the engineering specs associated with a given powder. There are many powders that will do a number of things well, but only a few will be the best and when you can do more than just analyze a burn rate chart, you can start doing things like accurately predicting which powder might be best for your .357, .41, or .44 Magnum rather than discount the fact that your guns may vary in barrel length from 2.5-10". You buy guns to accomplish different task and you buy gunpowder, bullets and primers for the same reason.
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Old May 29, 2005, 07:49 AM   #14
pearson1662
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burn rate geometry

Can you give link to a page explaning "burn rate geometry"? Thanks, Jay
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Old May 29, 2005, 04:31 PM   #15
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Pearson, try www.ramshot.com and on their website they give some pretty good info with three of their ball pistol powders that range from fast, ZIP from Belgium (similar in burn rate to W-231) Silhouette from U.S. (similar in BR to HS-6 and made from the same base chemistry, by Primex and was formerly sold as WAP) True Blue from Belgium (Similar to AA#7 and Blue Dot in BR, but with competition consistency like VV 3N37 and 3N38). Or, order their free loading guide.

European powder makers have been a little better about providing this kind of tech data and now some American powder companies don't even provide annual load booklets anymore. Pressure curves and time to peak are the key elements of burn rate geometry after an analysis of the burn rate chart has put you in the ball park. Volumetric density is another subject that can be useful in powder selection and right now, Accurate and Ramshot are the only American companies that provide information.

An example of how I make this work for me is with magnum revolver cartridges and with 6-7.5" barrel lengths, I use magnum powders for magnum loads. But say you have a 4, 3, or 2.5" barrelled magnum. To avoid the excess muzzle blast and in particular the bright flash you don't want with defense loads in a 2.5" or 3" .357 magnum, you can move up the burn rate chart just slightly and look at the BR geometry of several different powders you may already have or would like to use, say between the burn rate of HS-6 and Blue Dot. Consider the pressure curve and time to peak pressure and the pressure required to obtain the velocity you want. I most often choose a ball powder for this type of loading and one with a very low flash signature. These powders will not give the velocities of AA#9, W-296, or H-110 in a barrel of 6-7.5" or longer, but once you get to 4" or shorter things equalize fairly quickly because a powder with shorter time to peak will be less affected by barrel length loss. I kind of scratch my head when I see recommendations for H-110 with magnum loads that will be fired from 2.5 and 3" barrels, especially when they have defense application in mind.

AA#7 is a great choice for this as is Ramshot True Blue, VV 3N37 and N350. Haven't used Hodgdon Longshot, but it would be worth a look. Target loads at near magnum velocity, even in 6-7.5" barrels, is one area where #7 particularly shines. True Blue could even be a tad better and is an extremely consistent powder for all the cartridges it is suited too. Ramshot states that as from .380 to .454 Casull. Think I might start with 9mm rather than .380, but since I don't shoot .380, that would be speculation. Would seem kind of slow for that use, but I do know that HS-6 has application in the .380, especially if one has a pistol robust enough for 115 gr. bullets. In Ball form, True Blue might be a slow version of Universal/Unique as far as it's utility, but with a burn rate similar to N-350 and AA#7. It does tend to excite me a little and I now have a source for quantity. www.powdervalleyinc.com They're in Kansas BTW.

Another example where this is very useful is with the small case capacity of the 9 X 19mm. You are looking for a very narrow window of performance where it is necessary to get close to maximum pressure for peak efficiency for reliable function and the higher velocities that are required for good defense loads. Many feel, faster burners are the way to go and I disagree, unless it is purely from a standpoint of economy and since there are 7000 grs. in a pound of powder, this doesn't make a lot of sense to me in the 9mm anyway. Load density is a very key element along with flash generated, so good powder selection will work wonders in 9mm. Dense ball powders that will give 100% load density will also prevent bullet setback issues associated and exasperated by the use of powders faster than AA#5. You can also eliminate the possibility of a doublecharge and do all of this while getting better performing handloads. AA#7 was developed specifically for high performance 9mm and yet it is vastly overlooked for this application. People think you need to use faster burners for target loads and that is a carry over from the .45 ACP that operates at around half the pressure of the 9mm, or even .40 or .357 SIG. I always use slower burning ball powders in the 9mm now, but occasionally and more often previously, I used extruded flake. Probably the most accurate 9mm load I ever developed was also one of the higher velocity loads that I shot at the time. The powder was Alliant (then Hercules) Blue Dot and sub 1" groups at 50' were very common and they were max loads with very high velocity. Flash was brilliant at night! HS-6 is a good powder for the same purpose and I use it more frequently since I started shooting a CZ P-01 with a barrel slightly under 4". Velocity can be as good as you want within reason and accuracy is excellent and flash was less than I thought it would be with max loads in the shorter tube. VV 3N37 is about the best I have ever used to cover all the bases of high load density, low flash, accuracy with velocity high enough that I would have to give charge weights by PM only as the loads would now be considered +P. Vectan SP-2 (Nobelsport) was a close rival, but importation has stopped while they set up their own distribution. When it becomes available again, I will be buying it in quantity. Like AA#7 and VV 3N37 and N350, it is great for high pressure autopistol cartridges, including the 10mm. It also works extremely well when you want magnum velocity with shorter barrel revolvers. VV 3N38 is another powder that should be very useful , but load data has not been generated yet for all it's potential uses and it is one of the more expensive powders on the market. Vectan SP-2 is a very good alternative and has almost NO flash, even when using it for magnum loads in shorter barrel revolvers. BTW, I do shoot my loads at night to confirm these theories.

Probably, way more information than anybody needed. But, what the heck, it's raining in the beautiful hill country of N. Central Texas, or I would be at the range!
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Old May 29, 2005, 08:44 PM   #16
Bert223
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Wow lots of info guys thanks a bunch. Does anyone know the best way to figure out what loads will shoot best in your gun? I mean how do you know youre not missing out on a really accurate load because you are using a certain type of powder, or a different bullet type? For instance, my .243 shoots 5/8" groups at 100 yards with nosler 55 grain ballistic tips, 43.5 grs of varget, cci large rifle primers and winchester cases, but how do I know that say hornandy bullets wont shoot better or that remington cases might give better accuracy? Just trial and error? There's so many variables that could be changed around, I could never try them all.
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Old May 30, 2005, 12:15 AM   #17
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Bert, that is a pretty decent .243 group for 3 rounds and if you are shooting 5 round groups, beating it might be difficult. What the heck, but before you try other combinations, I would shoot 200 yard groups if you can. Small groups at 100 don't always equate small groups at 200 and vice versa. Varget is a great Short Action Powder, but others will give you higher velocity in the .243. Maybe not enough to warrant a change unless the same accuracy can be had. I keep pretty up to date on available powders and their characteristics, so when I develop a new load, I usually have a powder in mind, but that is based on the performance of the powder and what I want the load to achieve. If that powder doesn't do it for me, I move to another with similar characteristics and burn rate. So, yes it is trial and error.

Just for plinking and you have some powder around you don't really need? Good time to burn it up. Building a high pressure defense load like a .357, 9mm or .40, then I would look at powders in the service/magnum range and maybe the slower ones in service range that are ball types that limit muzzle flash. High velocity .357 Magnum? I would use Blue Dot or Accurate #9. Same gun but less velocity required where accuracy is the highest requirement? AA#7 and Ramshot True Blue.

Ramshot also has a new powder that might be worth a look in .243 it's called Hunter. What's special about that? It is a unique new Ball powder from Belgium that rivals extruded powders as far as insensitivty to ambient temperature fluctuation. It is also a pretty slow burner (Similar in burn rate to Reloader 19) that would allow you to reach maximum velocity for hunting loads when outdoor temperatures are cold enough to make that temperature insensitivity a valued commodity and at 950 grams per liter, metering will be a piece of cake, although I would still weigh individual charges.

I started this process obviously long before the internet could help me, but I would have used it, had it been available, because I am about 98% self taught. A solid engineering background and in particular a great deal of experience dealing with pressure and Hydraulics, obviously hasn't hurt. But no need for anyone to worry about that now and this is a very good forum to get really good help and just remember that there are conflicting views at times, but usually enough experienced reloaders become involved for clarification to the thread poster and we have a very experienced reloading moderator that I know for sure, keeps an eye out for both technical correctness and civilty, even when Sturm gets flustered! He may even be a Texan, so I'm sure I have been allowed some tolerance I may not have deserved! I think he believes my goals are sincere even when my tolerance is a little lacking!
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Old May 30, 2005, 08:39 AM   #18
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sincere lacking

Sturm offers some very good points.

And 3N37 or WAP are the best 9x19 powders still........



Somewhere in those posts he shoulda mentioned Alliant Power Pistol
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Old May 30, 2005, 10:46 PM   #19
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Wow, that's scary. Thanks WES! Are we there yet?

You're a very funny guy Sally! trying to get me with that small print stuff about PP! At least we agree on Sihouette, oops, I mean WAP. You can't call a pistol powder WAP!
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Old May 31, 2005, 04:46 AM   #20
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truth

I (still) have furniture made from (full) cases of WAP..........gotta smoke?
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Old May 31, 2005, 04:37 PM   #21
Sturm
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Yeah, my memory ain't so bad and since we did have some disagreement earlier, you know I like to mention Silhouette as often as I can find it relevant. Don't quite understand why Winchester dropped it, but glad Ramshot chose to keep it available. I think they call that "Marketing"!

I'll give you this, you had me with the small text and I had to edit to include the second statement ! I actually do read your posts a little more accurately than you might think on most occasions, but I will be paying closer attention to the fine print in the future!
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