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Old March 16, 2013, 08:36 PM   #1
vito
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Join Date: June 20, 2004
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Need some help

I finally got some small primers and Unique powder and today had the time to try to start my first reloading. And BTW, I have new found admiration for those of you already reloading since I am having a heck of a time, with some real problems/questions. I was able to de-prime and set new primers without much problem, although I had to use the Lee hand primer since I could not get the self priming disk gadget to work. But so far, so good. Then I went to set up the auto feeder to flare the case and load the powder. I was reloading 38 special, 158 grain bullets, and the Lee book said to use 4.1 to 4.7 grains of Unique. Lee's book said that the disk to set was number 43 for this amount, which I set up. Just to make sure it was working I weighed the powder load, and consistently was getting only 3.1 or 3.2 grains and can't figure out what I am doing wrong. Also, how much flare is the right amount? How far should I be able to push the bullet into the case by hand to check for the flaring; should the blue line on the bullet be inside the case when I place the bullet in the case, or should just the very end of the bullet fit in? Maybe if I can get past these two issues I will actually get to load some ammunition. This seems to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. Any helpful hints would be appreciated.
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Old March 16, 2013, 08:55 PM   #2
Shootest
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Unique is a terrible metering powder (one of the worst) and troughs many experienced loaders through a loop, Use what ever you need to get it to through the correct charge. Check it often.
Use the least amount of flair you can in order to just get the bullet started into the case mouth. To little flair will shave your lead bullets, to much will cause the loss of neck tension on your bullet and shorten case life.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:46 PM   #3
Lost Sheep
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Thanks for asking our advice. Welcome to reloading. It is not really that hard, but it sounds as if you could use some study time before actually pressing components together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post
I finally got some small primers and Unique powder and today had the time to try to start my first reloading. And BTW, I have new found admiration for those of you already reloading since I am having a heck of a time, with some real problems/questions. I was able to de-prime and set new primers without much problem, although I had to use the Lee hand primer since I could not get the self priming disk gadget to work.
Pictures might help. What is the "self-priming disk gadget"?

What press are you using? Are you using Lee Dies, RCBS, Lyman? Some of the die sets are different from different manufacturers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post
Then I went to set up the auto feeder to flare the case and load the powder.
I had to think about that for a minute. I assume your are referring to the Auto-Disk Powder Measure that you have installed on top of the "Powder-Thru Case-Mouth Flaring Die".

Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post
Also, how much flare is the right amount? How far should I be able to push the bullet into the case by hand to check for the flaring; should the blue line on the bullet be inside the case when I place the bullet in the case, or should just the very end of the bullet fit in? Maybe if I can get past these two issues I will actually get to load some ammunition. This seems to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. Any helpful hints would be appreciated.
I suspect the "blue line" is a line of bullet lubricant. Lead bullets always have some type of lubricant. When you first seat the bullet on the case mouth with your fingers, the lubricant ring is still outside the case. If you can seat the bullet deeply by hand, your have seriously over-flared your case mouth and neck. The base of the bullet should just barely inside the case mouth, no more.

Flaring the case (also called "belling" the case mouth, though I prefer the term "flare") should be only just barely enough that you can put the bullet into the case only enough that it does not fall out and the case mouth does not catch on the base of the bullet as it is seated into the case by the press. If the case mouth catches, the case will buckle and be rendered worse than useless.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post
Then I went to set up the auto feeder to flare the case and load the powder. I was reloading 38 special, 158 grain bullets, and the Lee book said to use 4.1 to 4.7 grains of Unique. Lee's book said that the disk to set was number 43 for this amount, which I set up. Just to make sure it was working I weighed the powder load, and consistently was getting only 3.1 or 3.2 grains and can't figure out what I am doing wrong.
Lee's estimates of the charge weight delivered by its powder measure and by its dippers is notorious for being underweight. I ALWAYS check the weight of the powder delivered by any means of measure and regulate according to charge weight, not by cavity number or dipper size. In fact, I rarely even look at the volume-measure-density-weight chart.

My Lee book (copyright 1996, reprint 1997) suggests 3.8 to 4.3 grains for 158 grain SWC. Is yours the second edition?

Sorry I cannot be present to watch what you are doing and advise, but there are some good videos out there. But really, I think a few instruction manuals would be worth their weight in gold to you right now. or at least worth their weight in lead, or blood.

If you are not SURE how the components go together, please go no further without making sure.

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