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Old October 17, 2012, 06:25 PM   #1
p loader
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Just created my first live 223 rounds (Lee Classic Turret Press)

If you want to know my long and confusing journey to this magnificent event, please read the thread I started here.

I want to thank everyone on this forum who provided invaluable information to get me to this point, via responding on the other thread or helping me out via PM. Thank you so much.

So here is what I have managed to achieve after working so hard to tweak my Turret Press (or rather me figuring out how the thing actually worked).

I have loaded 10 rounds:

-55 grain FMJ

-Once fired brass

-CCI 450 Magnum Primers (the regular were out of stock and after researching online I found plenty of people that used these without problems)

-OAL of 2.25. What I found is that although the books I referenced stated OAL should be 2.260 I measured a Federal Round and PPU round and they came in at 2.24 and 2.25 respectively. I made a phone call to inquire and figured staying in and around 2.24 to 2.26 should be ok, hence my choice of 2.25.

-Powder: Accurate 2230 with 22.0 grains. The Lee manual states 21.6 and Lymans says 22.4 so I started at 22.0. I figure it shouldn't be that big of a deal as I am nowhere near the max load.

My next step is to create 10 more with a load of 22.4, and then a batch of 22.8 which will give me 30 rounds to shoot. I'll be able to record the results to see how they performed.

A few things I encountered while making the live rounds today:

-For some reason the powder dump always loads heavy on the first pull (if I wait a couple minutes). If I want 22.0 it will dump around 22.4 on the first load and then the next 3 or 4 consistently dump 22.0. Weird.

-I had issues with the primers seating correctly, I realized besides using the chamfer tool to remove the crimp I also needed to clean the pocket as well (with another tool). This resolved the problem. I still have one bullet with an ever so slight off level primer, barely imperceptible.... Should I not fire it?

-Checking, double and triple checking can be exhausting. I hope over time I learn to get faster. Right now I am so paranoid just creating a few rounds took forever. Measure and measure again. Pull the shell out from each station to examine it. Dump powder 3 or 4 times and measure each time before actually dumping and then seating bullet.

Needless to say I feel great and thanks everyone for the help.
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Old October 17, 2012, 06:30 PM   #2
jimbob86
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Congratulations on your entry to the wonderful world of rollin' yer own!

Quote:
Checking, double and triple checking can be exhausting. I hope over time I learn to get faster. Right now I am so paranoid just creating a few rounds took forever. Measure and measure again. Pull the shell out from each station to examine it. Dump powder 3 or 4 times and measure each time before actually dumping and then seating bullet.
Better safe than sorry!

Establish a routine. Stick to it. Don't get complacent.

Now go test your ammo!

Have fun!
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Old October 17, 2012, 08:49 PM   #3
stu925
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Quote:
-For some reason the powder dump always loads heavy on the first pull (if I wait a couple minutes). If I want 22.0 it will dump around 22.4 on the first load and then the next 3 or 4 consistently dump 22.0. Weird.
I have the same issue with my RCBS powder measure, I believe it's the weight of the powder in the hopper compressing the powder in the charging drum.

Quote:
-I had issues with the primers seating correctly, I realized besides using the chamfer tool to remove the crimp I also needed to clean the pocket as well (with another tool). This resolved the problem. I still have one bullet with an ever so slight off level primer, barely imperceptible.... Should I not fire it?
If it's a high primer don't fire it. I didn't see any mention of the rifle you're shooting but if it's an autoloader you may end up with a slam fire if you have a high primer.

Reloading can be very time consuming but in the end it's worth it when you find that perfect load for a particular rifle. You will eventually get a bit faster but make sure you do it safely and keep up the double and triple checks. Good luck with those test loads.

Stu
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Old October 17, 2012, 08:54 PM   #4
p loader
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thanks Stu, I wont fire the bullet. Save it for a visual reminder not to do it again.

Good explanation on the powder issue too. thanks
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Old October 17, 2012, 10:16 PM   #5
mrawesome22
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If you keep calling the entire shell the "bullet", it will become confusing and aggrivating when the time comes and you ask for help. Plus it makes you sound like a noob.

Cartridge, round, or shell refer to the assembled bullet, powder, primer, and case.
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Old October 17, 2012, 10:21 PM   #6
p loader
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Great info, I guess I should learn the terminology when stepping up to the reloading level.

Bullet has just been beaten into my head for many many years...I shall henceforth refer to the assembled device as a cartridge...


Last edited by p loader; October 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM.
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Old October 18, 2012, 12:07 AM   #7
p loader
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Another lesson learned.

So I was emptying the powder dispenser, I didn't have much in there so I thought to just use a shell casing to dump powder into and then pour that back into the powder container. I read somewhere you never want to leave powder overnight in your reloader....

I did this about 10-15 times and started to get impatient. Heck, why not just double charge the shell casing, this would cut my time in half!? Pull once on the lever, good to go. Pull twice....whoops. Powder overflows the casing and all over the reloader and onto the floor. Crap

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Old October 18, 2012, 12:56 AM   #8
Lost Sheep
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Shell?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrawesome22
If you keep calling the entire shell the "bullet", it will become confusing and aggrivating when the time comes and you ask for help. Plus it makes you sound like a noob.

Cartridge, round, or shell refer to the assembled bullet, powder, primer, and case.
Couldn't the term "shell" be misconstrued to mean just the shell casing, cartridge case or case?

There are also those who refer to unjacketed lead bullets as "boolits" to differentiate them from jacketed or plated bullets.

I don't know where "slug" falls in that pantheon or if there is a term that distinguishes between pure lead (typicallly used with muzzleloading and black powder firearms) and alloys of lead (typically used in smokeless ammunition).

Just trying to be precise.

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Old October 18, 2012, 01:06 AM   #9
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Yep, lessons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by p loader
Another lesson learned.

So I was emptying the powder dispenser, I didn't have much in there so I thought to just use a shell casing to dump powder into and then pour that back into the powder container. I read somewhere you never want to leave powder overnight in your reloader....
Yes, the solvents in powder can etch some plastics if left in contact for a long time. If you have more than one powder in your inventory you may forget which one is in the dispenser and contaminate one powder with another. Lastly, (I am told) some powders have some volatile components which may evaporate and leave your powder with a different energy content or burn rate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by p loader
I did this about 10-15 times and started to get impatient. Heck, why not just double charge the shell casing, this would cut my time in half!? Pull once on the lever, good to go. Pull twice....whoops. Powder overflows the casing and all over the reloader and onto the floor. Crap
A dropcloth under your work area makes cleanup a lot easier. Also, dropped primers, small tools, etc. Use cloth, not plastic. Static on plastic tends to make spilled powder scatter. Cloth is quieter than plastic and drapes better, leading to less bounce and roll of small objects.

About your high primer. This is what bullet pullers are for. Disassemble the round, carefully deprime and reload. Of course, some people would have you seat the primer deeper, but there is a small amount of risk with that if some powder has fallen through the flash hole and jams up against the primer. Small amount of risk, but be aware.

Good Luck. Congratulations on your successful foray into loading.

Lost Sheep
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Old October 18, 2012, 06:51 AM   #10
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Don't reseat, not at your stage in the game. Pull the bullet,save the powder and deprime...slowly. Think about what is possible if the round goes off when you try to seat the primer again.

Max loads aren't always the most accurate and use more powder. If your of shooting to the max of a given calibers distance you may not need a max or near max charge. But every situation is different

Good job.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:04 AM   #11
p loader
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I guess it's time to order that bullet puller. I have tried to reseat a few primers (and it worked) just on the empty shell casing, but NEVER on a live round. Noooo wayyyy.
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Old October 18, 2012, 01:49 PM   #12
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Great to have you here.

Here's a suggestion for the betterment of the forum:
Your initial thread, the one that you linked in your first post is the best place for you to put the entire contents of this thread. It's all the same topic -- your adventure and how you've gotten here. It's good stuff, but the less threads we have, the less stuff gets pushed off the front page.

Instead of opening a new thread on the same subject, simply reply to the original thread and continue that discussion.

Too late now, but will work for the next new subject.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:00 PM   #13
p loader
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Thanks Sevens, noted.

*******************

Range Report (with pic)

Went to the range earlier today, shot 3 separate loads (10 rounds each) plus 10 rounds each of Federal and 10 rounds of Prvi Partizan, just for comparison's sake.

I was shooting at 25 meters, sitting down and I used my range bag for a rest. Not the most accurate method ever but it's still decent. I was using my Colt 6920.

I specifically picked the target type so I could shoot all 5 variations on one single target. Here is the order and load data for each point of aim.

Top left: Federal XM193 5.56

Top right: Prvi Partizan 5.56

Center (Load #1):
-55 Grain FMJ projectile
-CCI Magnum 450 Primers
-Accurate 2230 Powder: 22.0 Grains
-OAL of 2.25

Bottom left (Load #2):
-55 Grain FMJ projectile
-CCI Magnum 450 Primers
-Accurate 2230 Powder: 22.7 Grains
-OAL of 2.25

Bottom Right (Load #3):
-55 Grain FMJ projectile
-CCI Magnum 450 Primers
-Accurate 2230 Powder: 23.3 Grains
-OAL of 2.25

I did have one "dead" primer while shooting, other than that no issues whatsoever (other than my lack of grouping ability and that I need to probably adjust my EOTECH down some).

I have to admit when I squeezed the trigger for the FIRST shot of the ammo I had made, I was SUPER nervous. After my Colt didn't explode into a million pieces I felt instant relief and smiled. Now that I know all 3 loads work, I can start to produce more. I really can't see too much difference between any of them, in that any "flyers" or wide rounds were probably my fault. That said if I had to stick with one load I'd probably go with #2, or what I was shooting at the bottom left.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 223 loads.JPG (216.7 KB, 33 views)
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Old October 19, 2012, 11:50 AM   #14
Sevens
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Quote:
I did have one "dead" primer while shooting
It's been my experience that this is a truly RARE occurrence, though certainly not impossible. Ensure that you seat the primers FULLY to the bottom of the pocket. A primer that isn't quite fully seated will often take a blow that inserts it further but doesn't detonate it -- typically will fire the second time.

In real numbers, I would say that I've had less than 10 truly non-firing primers over 20+ years at the bench, where the primer simply wouldn't fire no matter what.

Did you give that round a second try, see if it discharged with a second hit?
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Old October 19, 2012, 02:28 PM   #15
p loader
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I did not try to re-fire the round, the primer had a good dent in it from the firing pin. At this stage of my reloading I'm going pretty slow and I make sure each primer is seating flush, but maybe it wasn't.

I'm also careful never to touch the primers with my hands. In any event I'm sure that misfire was due to something I did, rather than the primer failing (as you mentioned that seems pretty rare). I'm just not sure what that is at this point.

I also am considering splitting my reloading process up into two parts.

1- case prep
2- the rest of it

Knock out the old primers, remove crimp from NATO brass, clean primer pocket...

Do all of that as prep work and then go into production.
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Old October 20, 2012, 11:13 AM   #16
velillen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p loader View Post
I also am considering splitting my reloading process up into two parts.

1- case prep
2- the rest of it

Knock out the old primers, remove crimp from NATO brass, clean primer pocket...

Do all of that as prep work and then go into production.

That's how I do it with my lee turret. I like to just sit after tumbling and deprime, inspect, resize, and Bell the mouth the toss them onto my clean and processed bins by caliber. I don't reload tons though and usually just sit and do 100 pistol cases at a time which only takes 15 minutes or so.

That way when I'm ready to reload its a simple prime then powder and seat the bullets. Let's me focus more on the process than everything all at once.

Now if I start doing more accurate reloading then ill probably deprime then ultrasonic or stm clean the cases then do my process
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Old October 20, 2012, 01:04 PM   #17
p loader
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Yea I just knocked out about 150 cases yesterday, now they are ready to load which I will get to today. Of course the goal would be to stay ahead of the game and have way more cases ready to go than I would need. I mounted the Lee chamfer tool to a dill bit, this really helped buzzing out the primer pocket crimps on the once fired brass.

I did the zip loc baggy method for lubing the cases and used way too much lube. It was the first time so I know not to repeat that. At least the Lee lube states that it will no foul the powder if inside the case. Lesson learned.
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Old October 21, 2012, 11:56 PM   #18
chris in va
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Get some Lyman Unique case lube. Similar to silicone grease, just dab a bit on your fingers and smear it on the outside making sure to keep it OFF THE SHOULDER. Scrape a bit to the inside of the case mouth.
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Old October 22, 2012, 12:12 AM   #19
p loader
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Question: Why shouldn't lube get on the shoulder? When I resized the last 150 cases or so they were pretty much all completely coated in a light bit of lube.

If you were to use spray lube like most suggest (put them in a pan, spray and then roll them around) wouldn't that mean lube got on the shoulder as well?

Just wondering.
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Old October 22, 2012, 12:29 AM   #20
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If you get too much lube on the shoulder the pressure from the die will dent the case shoulder. Doesn't do any functional harm but it is a waste of lube.

There is no need for lube on the shoulder, especially on .223. The only real friction is at the last .5 - 1" at the base if the case. When I spray I have the cases inverted and lube inside the necks separately. When I use wax I wipe my thumb and forefinger across the wax and then wipe around the base of 2-3 cases, repeat.
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:07 AM   #21
p loader
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Thanks for the tips. Thought to update this thread as I'm starting to make more progress. I loaded 100 rounds last night and case prepped another 150. It's not that I'm rushing either, just methodical and churning along.
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Old October 26, 2012, 01:33 AM   #22
mohr308
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P loader

I'll pass on a few things, I'm not a veteran of reloading but I have learned a few things along the way.

1. Try using less of a spread on your load testing. Like .3 grains instead of .4 or higher. I missed a nice load by jumping over it, found it after re-testing, just wasted bullets.

2. Give Hornady One Shot a try, it's a great way to lube a lot of brass at once! Also, just before I start sizing, I give a very short burst into the die, seems to make things flow nice. My dies have a vent hole to keep pressure from building up.

3. Take some factory rounds out and zero in at 100 yds, then put up a fresh target and use 1 target for each load, save all your targets for evaluation afterwards. I still have all mine! Write down all the data for each load on the target.

4. download and print free targets from here:

http://www.about-shooting.com/Sight-In_Targets.php

http://www.about-shooting.com/

5. Have fun!
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Last edited by mohr308; October 26, 2012 at 01:39 AM.
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