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Old October 28, 2012, 02:30 PM   #1
doofus47
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reloading/preloading commercial ammo

Sorry if this is a common question. I have absolutely no idea how to do a search for key words related to this particular topic.

I have an Arisaka 99. I like it. However, I"m making a switch to solid copper bullets for hunting. Short summary: I bit into a piece of gliding metal from a bullet jacket while eating some deer stew and I would prefer it not happen to my kids.

Problem 1: there is no commercial 7.7x58 ammo that I can find that uses solid copper bullets.
Problem 2: I don't have loads of free time to start reloading.
Solution A: I buy an off the shelf brand of 7.7x58 ammo that I like and then I replace the original bullet with a same grain/same diameter copper bullet.

I've thought of one possible issue: The length of the bullet will probably be different and this might affect the depth of bullet seating which might affect the pressure generated by the new, "preloaded" cartridge. But I expect that the commercial ammo is probably downloaded a bit from max pressure, so if the OAL is the same at the end of the process as it was at the start, any increases in pressure should be accommodated. It's not a "last ditch" rifle, so I'm not worried about the metallurgy.

Thoughts?
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Old October 28, 2012, 03:40 PM   #2
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Seems like a bad idea.

First of all, the length of the copper bullets may not be the most important factor for increasing the pressure over what is expected from lead+gilding metal bullets. The pressure increase may be more because the bullets are harder to engrave into the rifling.

Without knowing the powder used in your store-bought ammo, it is not easy to know what the increase in pressure would really be.

If you are willing to go to the trouble of pulling bullets, resizing case necks, and seating new bullets, you are doing most of the physical work for reloading from scratch, anyway. Seating primers and measuring powder are not the much work or expense.

The other part you are skipping, learning how to do it safely by working-up your loads, is a dangerous attempt at a short-cut. It might work-out OK from a safety standpoint, or it might not. And, it is unlikely to work from an accuracy standpoint, because you will not be using a power that was selected for the bullet you intend to use, nor will you be adjusting the powder to obtain the best accuracy in your gun.

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Old October 28, 2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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(Edit: Looks like SL1 beat me to the post button while I was composing, so some of this is redundant.)

It might or might not work out safely. Solid copper generally is not only longer than lead core bullets because it is less dense (a factor that raises pressure) but it takes about twice as much force to engrave it into the rifling, which doubles start pressure and can result in a noticeably higher peak pressure than normal. So this is not a good idea to do. There are banded copper bullets that are not supposed to raise the pressure as much, but even with those I would reduce the weight of the powder about 10% and try it out, working up slowly and watching for pressure signs.

While you can use an inexpensive inertial bullet puller to remove the old bullets, seating the new ones properly will require a loading press and seating die or a Wilson seating die and an arbor press, or a Lee Loader. Simply pushing bullets in with a bench vice is unlikely to keep them or the cartridge necks very straight. Seating them with a mallet can get you killed. Besides, seating depth has to be uniform for pressure to be uniform, too. So it seems like you're getting yourself into reloading equipment anyway, and may as well think about rolling your own.
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Old October 28, 2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
So it seems like you're getting yourself into reloading equipment anyway
Yeah, that's where it seemed to be going....

Thanks for filling in the gaps in my theory.
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Old October 28, 2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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NEVER "dump out a little powder" on anthing....

Edit - good point SL1, post edited to remove bad advice

The question I have is, does anyone even make solid copper bullets in .312" diameter? hornady and nosler dont....

Last edited by dacaur; October 28, 2012 at 11:10 PM.
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Old October 28, 2012, 10:54 PM   #6
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dacaur,

I think the point is that the OP is not a good way to get the ammo you want without knowing what you are doing. An experienced reloader could probably get away with something like the OP proposed, because (s)he would know what to be careful about, and what the exceptions are. But, an inexperienced reloader looking for a shortcut so (s)he doesn't have to learn those things is too likely to get into trouble.

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Old October 29, 2012, 08:03 AM   #7
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for meat hunting volume a Lee hand press, a set of Lee dies, a pound of IMR 3031 and a box of Barnes triple shocks could be had for less than 150 bucks and you would be all set for several years
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Old October 29, 2012, 03:24 PM   #8
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. . . and some primers and some way to insert the primers and some way to meter the powder and dispense it and some way to trim the cases and so on. I recommend reading this sticky on beginning reloading equipment. But yes, those .311" TSX FB 150's should fill the bill on bullets.

This round runs at low pressure (about 45,000 psi peak maximum from the CIP), so you don't want to hot rod it. Still, the 3031 should get the case to between 85% and 90% case fill while staying inside that pressure limit.
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Old October 29, 2012, 07:35 PM   #9
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the lee hand press "set" comes with a ram prime included, and a lee trimmer will set you back under $10 more.... a lee die set will come with a dipper, which is all you really need if you want to stay basic....
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Old October 30, 2012, 08:59 AM   #10
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. . . It is if the solid bullets can be loaded using the generic dipper, but I wouldn't count on that without calling Lee to check first.
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Old October 30, 2012, 09:18 AM   #11
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Back to post #2. Bad idea!!
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Old October 30, 2012, 09:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Solution A: I buy an off the shelf brand of 7.7x58 ammo that I like and then I replace the original bullet with a same grain/same diameter copper bullet.
Could be an expensive short-cut, what with the cost of Medical care these days..... to say nothing of the cost of a replacement rifle.....

Quote:
I don't have loads of free time to start reloading.
It does not take a huge amount of time to work up a single load for a single rifle that works.

What sucks up huge amounts of time is making the perfect load ....

As for fearing that your kids will eat a bullet fragment ..... unless you do all your own butchering ..... you are peeing in the wind.

If you do your own, be careful how you cut it up, and how you shoot it (as in not in the meat) and there will be no worries.
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