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Old January 28, 2013, 12:47 PM   #1
johnwilliamson062
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Safest Cartridge to reload:

45 colt, 454, 460, 9mm, 40 SW, 223, 7.62X39, 22-250, 7.5X55.

Which is the safest? I assume 45 colt with a few powders is near fool proof like the 357. I think when I looked at getting started I was told 357 with green dot and if you could seat the bullet and it looked correct a GP100 pretty much wouldn't blow. I don't have a GP100 anymore, but I am thinking my Encore in 460 should be able to handle the 45 colt in a similar fashion.
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Old January 28, 2013, 12:56 PM   #2
ScottRiqui
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Actually, a potential problem with 45 Colt is that since it's such a large case, it will hold an accidental double (or even triple) charge of many modern smokeless powders. .38 Special is the same way. I can fit a quad-charge in a .38 case and still seat the bullet.

I think you may be thinking about this the wrong way, though. ANY caliber can be loaded safely, if you use an established recipe and work up gradually from the starting loads. Likewise, ANY caliber is capable of turning your gun into a grenade if you just go by "what fits", or "what looks right", or rely on a particularly stout firearm to give you an extra safety margin.
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Old January 28, 2013, 12:59 PM   #3
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Safest cartridge to reload: 25 ACP. You will never reload enough of them to be dangerous.

Yes, any cartridge can be safe to reload as long as you are safe and know what you are doing. We hairless apes are the weak link in a lot of processes.
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Old January 28, 2013, 01:07 PM   #4
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Splitin hairs, rifle cases are the safest to reload for reasons that Scott stated. Using a book I can't think of one rifle load that it's possible to double charge. Many many hand gun loads can be double charged and some you can't detect with the naked eye.

But if you're thinkin that there's enough differnce between em all to overcome bad habits you'd be sadly mistaken and maybe missin a finger or eye.
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Old January 28, 2013, 01:08 PM   #5
johnwilliamson062
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Quote:
I think you may be thinking about this the wrong way, though. ANY caliber can be loaded safely, if you use an established recipe and work up gradually from the starting loads. Likewise, ANY caliber is capable of turning your gun into a grenade if you just go by "what fits", or "what looks right", or rely on a particularly stout firearm to give you an extra safety margin.
I knew I would get this reply... Starting out I'll take any extra safety margin i can. I know with some powders I could easily fill a multi-charge, but I am under the impression that with others it is not possible to exceed a proofing charge. I am pretty terrified of the whole thing which is a big part of why i have had the presses and materials to get started for three years without doing anything. I am going to start casting bullets this week and try to work up to loading cartridges.
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Old January 28, 2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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John are you trying to scare me? "pretty much wouldn't blow"!
All but fool proof, .45 Colt with 255 or so grain bullets and double or triple F Black powder. Dirty and smoky but far from likely to "blow"

Start with one or more loading books. Read them cover to cover. Start loading at or very near the bottom load listed and work up until you get the results you want AND have NO pressure signs.

Small capacity cases are small and generally use more robust powders (and are more difficult for my fingers to deal with anymore). Rifle cases, bottle necked, need some more processing (check case length and trim when needed), one more thing to add to the mix.

Please think about what you are doing and follow established guidelines.

Be safe,

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Old January 28, 2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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Safest? Use H-4931SC in any common handgun cartridge, even the most negligent reloader will be safe.
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Old January 28, 2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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Bang, bang, bang. Three entries in three minuets.

With your added information...

I would delay on rifle loading till you get you feet on the ground.
Casting bullets, good, I would look at the .45 Colt first.
You did not say what equipment you will be using. What ever it may be take you time and adhere to known listed beginning loads. Don't 'hot rod' your loads. You are in a learning process.

Please error on the side of safety.

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Old January 28, 2013, 01:43 PM   #9
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Most reloading errors come with speed and if I had to guess some of the safest reloading is done by newbs rather than by guys with a few 1000 rounds under their belt. Take it slow and you'll be fine. Measure every load to start and visually check powder in every case.

If you're wanting to get your feet wet with your first loads the SA revolver cartridges using Trailboss powder is where it's at. With handguns double charges and squibs are the worst things and Trailboss is about the easiest to avoid these issues with. Avoid powders like TiteGroup. They fill very little of a case and double and even tripple charges are easiliy done.

Next comes bolt action and single shot rifles using H4895 and Trailboss powders for the same reasons I mentioned above. It's easy to SEE if you have close to the right powder in them and both don't care if you're a little short.

The biggest and sometimes hardest thing I can recommend actually has nothing to do with the reloading but instead with the shooting. If something don't feel right, STOP and figure things out. Following a stuck bullet up with another round does bad things to guns.
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Old January 28, 2013, 01:54 PM   #10
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My best suggestion would be to find a mentor. Someone who has loaded a few thousand rounds of various cartridges and goes by the book. I was lucky enough to have had a friend in college who showed me how on his RCBS rockchucker. We loaded thousands of rounds of .38 Special and .357 Magnum together for several years, until I got my own press. When I bought my first centerfire rifle (a .243 Win), we also bought dies at the same time and he showed me how easy it was to load for that, too. (It just took a little less powder than his .270 Win.) He had studied on his own for a while, and then met a game warden who was an avid reloader. That was how he learned. I am teaching my oldest son, and also one of his buddies. It isn't difficult, but is serious stuff. It just is a lot less nerve wracking to have someone on board who can make sure you don't make a serious error.
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Safest? Use H-4931SC in any common handgun cartridge, even the most negligent reloader will be safe.
If you don't get enough pressure, and you stick a bullet in the bore, there's nothing about that situation that is safe.

If you want the SAFEST, and also the EASIEST cartridge to learn on, I truly believe it's the .38 Special...to be fired in any .357 Magnum revolver. And for many, many reasons.

You didn't put either of those in your list in the original post.
Do you really not own a .357 Magnum revolver?!
Then before you start any handoading, let's take care of the basics. You really need a .357 Magnum revolver! We all need at least a couple.
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:19 PM   #12
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I'd say they are all safe to learn on. I started a year ago with 9mm and .223. Used Titegroup in my 9mm and H4895 in my .223. As long as you follow the recipes and work the load up from min to max and look for signs of over pressure then you should have no problem.

One thing that was preached over an over to me by my dad ( AF 20+ years) and the military when I was in, was attention to detail, attention to detail and attention to detail. As long as you pay attention to detail, you'll be safe as anyone when loading any caliber.
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:19 PM   #13
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I load alot of Trailboss... you pretty much can't double charge a load without compression...

so caliber aside, I guess I'd rather look at powders... I generally like a full case of powder when I set a bullet on the case mouth... more than a double charge issue, I like powders that fill the case, of which there are many for both rifles & pistols because I'm sure I'll get a good ignition... never liked such a small amount of powder, that boxing the cartridges bullet down might get me misfires, because of the position of the powder charge...
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:35 PM   #14
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Do you really not own a .357 Magnum revolver?
Not currently. I did when I got this idea and intended to start there(GP100). I had a 6" and wanted a 3-4" and through a series of trades I have only the money to buy a used one. They don't come up locally all that often. I had a "Lee Loader" to get started with.

I have two manuals and I have read them. I have talked with a few people and know someone who handloaded in the past and has offered to show me the ropes. I think he has a genuine interest in doing so, but we seem to have scheduling problems(He's pretty busy).

Trailboss looks like the key. I am sure I will be able to find lots of load data for 45 colt. The 454/460 is what I am most concerned about reloading anyways, so I should be able to work up to that. All my other guns are cheap cartridges or C&R I don't shoot that much.
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:43 PM   #15
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That's gotta be a record - over 5,800 posts and no .357 mag revolver.

Seriously, I started reloading soon after getting my first centerfire gun and have never looked back. Take your time, be careful, verify the powder levels before you seat the bullets and you will be fine. Trailboss would offer an extra measure of safety but I don't believe you will be able to get real .357 mag performance with it.
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Old January 28, 2013, 03:58 PM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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13,000+ posts and I don't own or have any desire for a 357 revolver.

Anyway, the OP may have "expected" (and apparently rejected) the response that they're all safe if you do it right and none of them are if you don't, but it's the absolute truth.

I started out loading 357sig, I see people all the time saying to stay away from it if you're a beginner. Silliness. It's the same as any other cartridge.

I now load for 357sig, 10mm, .204Ruger, .22-250, .243Win, .243AI, .270WSM and 7mm-08.

I don't consider any of them to be safer than any of the others. The can all be loaded with enough powder to blow up a gun and none of the published loads or accepted practices are anywhere near blowing up a gun.

Follow the established safe practices and published load data and they're all safe. Don't, and none of them are.

If someone thinks they should start out with maximum margin of safety "in case" they do something wrong, they should seriously consider not reloading. Believing that you can't follow the basic steps, practices and data and looking for a way to protect yourself is a strong indicator that you may not be the type of person who should reload.

No insult. It's not for everybody. It's not rocket science but it does require certain attitudes and skills.
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:07 PM   #17
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Silliness. It's the same as any other cartridge.
That's not accurate and you know it.

Not saying you can't start with .357 Sig, but it's simply not accurate to say it's the same.

You can teach a 16-year old girl to drive for the first ever time with a Dodge Viper. Truly, you can. It doesn't necessarily have to go badly. It could go well.

In reality, a Camry is probably a better choice. Doesn't mean you have to.
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:09 PM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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Why's it different?

Size, flare, charge, bullet.

Repeat.

All the same.

Some don't flare. They're easier... I guess, but not safer.

None are less safe.
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:34 PM   #19
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Everything Brian said.....

Reloading,.......It's not for everyone. I doubt that there are any guns that couldn't be destroyed by too much of the wrong powder. Some rifle cartridges take compressed loads of slow burning powders like Reloader-25, or H-4831, for example, and you just couldn't overcharge them........Unless you mistakenly used perhaps IMR-3031 when you thought you were using IMR-7828. Some powders have names so similar that a mix-up could easily happen. SR-4756 and SR-4759 come to mind here and the confusion of the two powders in the worst direction will very likely turn a 45 Colt into a bomb.
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:52 PM   #20
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All but fool proof, .45 Colt with 255 or so grain bullets and double or triple F Black powder. Dirty and smoky but far from likely to "blow"
There you go... About as safe as you could possibly get. You can't get enough BP in the .45 Colt cartridge (or .357, .44-40, etc.) to hurt anything. All you need to do make sure it is at least slightly compressed and you are good to go. If you can't visually check a load of BP ... well, honestly you shouldn't be reloading.

About the only other powder that is tough to go wrong with is Trail Boss. As long as you never compress the stuff, you'll be fine. BTW it can be compressed in say .44Mag ... but in general... fill 'er up to base of a seated bullet and good to go.

That said,

Quote:
Take your time, be careful, verify the powder levels before you seat the bullets and you will be fine.
and
Please think about what you are doing and follow established guidelines.
+1 . Worked for me for many years now. And don't spend your time loading on the 'upper' edge. In other words, don't push a .38 to make it perform like a .357, or try to make a .357 perform like a .44Mag. Use the right tool for the right job.
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Last edited by rclark; January 28, 2013 at 04:58 PM.
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Old January 28, 2013, 06:39 PM   #21
johnwilliamson062
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That's gotta be a record - over 5,800 posts and no .357 mag revolver.
A 357 revolver is a great all around do anything gun, but it isn't the best at anything. My G26 is a better defensive weapon and the 460 is a better hunting gun. I have a gun that fills every role the 357 mag is ufficient for but better. I nearly bought a Charter Arms 357 last week at a really good price, but realized I would always wish it was a GP100 or 686. I'm holding the cash from the old ones sale, and when a GP100 set-up how I want comes up I will buy it, but absolutely no hurry.

I'll start with trail boss. Once I get comfortable with how everything works I will move to something else.
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Old January 28, 2013, 08:35 PM   #22
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You fellers say'en I'm s'post ta have a three fifdy seven. I ain't had one ah dem in 35 year...

Back to reality. Some of us just don't care for pistols that don't start with a '4'. The fact is, the only '4' that I have to push is a .40S&W, all of the rest just loaf a long and do all I want.

My 'safe to load' big boy is a .44 Mag loaded with 240 grain lead swc. Easy to handle, load.... eases in right there with the old .45ACP.

Enjoy,

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Old January 29, 2013, 11:29 AM   #23
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I place a bullet in every case I charge with powder, immediatly. As soon as powder goes into a case I follow with a bullet on top. Have been doing it that everr since I first read about folks double charging thier cases. and I've never ( knock wood ) double charged a case or had a squib load. Just a slight variation in the batch loading sequence, but it has kept me safe since the late 60's ( more knocking of wood )
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Old January 29, 2013, 11:44 AM   #24
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I place a bullet in every case I charge with powder, immediatly. As soon as powder goes into a case I follow with a bullet on top.
I used to do that but I actually feel it's safer to powder up a set number (I use 10) and then seat the bullets. It gives me the oprotuntity to lean over and visually check to make sure the powder appears right/equal in all the cases. I found myself forgeting to look at my powder load when I was going straight from the powder measure to bullet seating one at a time. Even caught myself missin the powder measure on a case and and seated a bullet over nothing but primer. On another time I found that my powder measure had closed up (turned) and was dropping inconsistant charges.

From now on it's weigh a charge, charge 10 cases, stand up and check them, then seat 10. Repeat.
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Old January 29, 2013, 12:34 PM   #25
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I place a bullet in every case I charge with powder, immediately
I've done the same for 35 years and yet to have a problem with this method. But I can see Kilkenny's point too.

What's a .357???? Just kidding. Probably my least used caliber though. From .22LR (shoot the most of), I jump to .45 Colt. And periodically I pull out the .44Specials (In fact went through a couple 100 just last week). Then occasionally the .44Mags. Once is a blue moon does the o' peanut .357s get out...

Quote:
I'll start with trail boss. Once I get comfortable with how everything works I will move to something else.
Good choice. I probably would have started with it too back when... if it was available. I started with Unique.
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