The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 4, 2013, 04:20 PM   #1
drainpipe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6
Just shot my first 30 reloads

Hey everyone. I've been lurking here for a while making sure I understood exactly what I was getting myself into and learning from the tips and tricks posted here as well as reading a few manuals. I finally complete my first batch of 9mm loads and I'm happy to report I still have all my fingers

I reloaded 9mm 115gr LRN bullets from Hunter's Supply with 6.6gr of HS-6 packed in some once fired Blazer Brass. I have a few observations/questions that I'd like to throw out.

-I had a tough time getting my loads to sit in the barrel properly using the drop-thunk test. I had to drop the OAL down fairly close to the OAL min for this load (1.10"). I ended up at ~1.12". Even then I was getting fairly inconsistant seating. I am using a Lee turret press with Lee dies, but I am not using the FCD, but instead seating and crimping in one step. I've seen allot of different ways to set this die, but in the end I put an empty case on the shell holder to set the die depth then set a factory round in to set the bullet seating depth and finally gave half a turn to set a crimp, then reset the bullet seating die to the correct depth.

When I shot the rounds, everything cycled fine except occasionally the first round in the magazine would get fed by releasing the slide the way I normally do and needed a tad more 'oomf'.

One thing I noted is that these lead bullets feel a bit sticky, so I polished them all with a rag before I went out the range. That also seemed to help seating a bit when I was testing in the barrel.

-I checked for signs of pressure and didn't see anything that jumped out me. I did notice that when using the Lee Auto Prime that after I loaded about a dozen rounds the charge crept up closer to the max load. I checked the weight every 5 rounds or so to make sure I stayed within range, but it was not as consistent as I'd like.

-Also, I noticed that these reloaded rounds were very smokey. Could that be from the lube used on the lead rounds?

-Last, I inspected my barrel for signs of leading, but I'm not sure what I should be looking for. Anyone have any insights to how to determine if there is lead in the bore?

Sorry this is so long winded, but I can see why so many people get caught up in the quest for perfection!

-drainpipe
drainpipe is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 04:56 PM   #2
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,248
Welcome to the forum.

Yes, the lube is smoky. If you want, you can dissolve it in mineral spirits and put a thinned coating of Lee Liquid Alox on instead. Understand that the role of "lube" is not to lubricate; lead is plenty slick enough to slide down the bore by itself. The purpose is to prevent lead melted by firing from soldering to the bore and building a lead deposit that way. It's Pam for your barrel.

Crimping and seating in one step makes you vulnerable to small variations in case length affecting the crimp tightness. In turn, that can affect seating depth. sing the factory crimp dies should work around that influence.

You did disassemble and clean all your dies in mineral spirits to remove machining lube, and put a light coat of oil on them, right? If not, that may account for the stickiness.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 05:16 PM   #3
drainpipe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6
Unclenick - I did not soak the dies. I read a comment about doing that somewhere along the way but didn't see mention of it in the Lee instructions. I have noticed an oily residue on the cases after running them through the sizing dies.

Its tough to filter out the good from the bad with all the info that's out there. I saw one guy mention that you should tumble the completed rounds to clean them prior to shooting. I did some checking on that and it sounds like all manufacturers say that's a horrible idea.
drainpipe is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 07:56 PM   #4
drainpipe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6
Die Degreasing

I went and picked up some mineral spirits to degrease the dies and went looking for some info on the best way to go about doing it but came up dry. What's the best method to degrease dies? Just take them apart and let them sit in mineral spirits overnight, wipe down, and apply oil?

A few folks have mentioned they use WD 40 to degrease and oil in one step. Any thoughts on this?
drainpipe is offline  
Old April 4, 2013, 11:47 PM   #5
BusterValentine
Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 2013
Posts: 31
For new dies (and any other reloading equipment) I use Hornady One Shot dry lube/gun cleaner. Spray it on, wipe it off, no soaking necessary. BTW, it's great for cleaning new reloading parts, but not such a good gun cleaner IMO.

As for your OAL, 1.12 should be good, I seat my 115gr fmjs to 1.125 (ideally anyway) and they work great. It depends somewhat on the chamber of the gun you're putting them through. If they're not chambering properly check the diameter of the case mouth of the loaded cartridge with a caliper. In my limited experience it should be .010-.015 LESS than the diameter of the base (.387) If it's not you may need to adjust your crimp. Or, you're belling the mouth of the case too much, the bottom edge of the bullet should just sit in the case.

Auto powder throwers are gonna fluctuate +/- .1 and that's just how it is, as far as I can tell. Unless you're loading for precision or loading on the ragged edge of maximum I wouldn't worry about it. And if you are, get a trickler.

All the above info concerns loading 9mm. As for lead bullets . . .


Oh, and WD-40 is not a degreaser, it's meant for water displacement and rust prevention, that's what "WD-40" means, Water Displacement, formula 40.
BusterValentine is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 12:27 AM   #6
drainpipe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6
Thanks BusterValentine. I may try some One Shot on the dies.. I didn't think WD40 had any degreasing properties, but that stuff is magic, so who knows what it can and can not do?

Quote:
Auto powder throwers are gonna fluctuate +/- .1 and that's just how it is, as far as I can tell. Unless you're loading for precision or loading on the ragged edge of maximum I wouldn't worry about it. And if you are, get a trickler.
I was getting more than +/- .1 I started at 6.6 and gradually reached 6.9.. When I turned on the powder I filled and emptied a shell 5 times to ensure I was getting proper flow and then measured 3-4 more times and consistently saw 6.6. I put about 10 rounds through and checked again and I was as 6.9. I checked this about 3-4 times and consistently saw 6.9. So I removed the hopper and the disk, and replaced everything and started seeing 6.6 again.

I'm going to have to do some experimenting with this. I may try to wipe some dryer sheets in the hopper and on the disks as well as verify the screws holding the disc mechanism are tight enough. It sounds like power may leak if the screws aren't tight enough causing heavier than expected loads.
drainpipe is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 01:57 AM   #7
BusterValentine
Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 2013
Posts: 31
Hmm, I've never used a Lee Auto Prime so I can't give you specific instructions on that but after searching the interwebz it seems the Auto Prime has a habit of throwing inconsistent charges even when cleaned and set up correctly.

Make sure when you clean the dies you also clean every part of the Auto Prime with One Shot (or whatever else) Powder throwers generally come with the same anti-rusting gunk/machine oil that the dies do and leaving it on will definitely cause inconsistent powder throws.
BusterValentine is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 07:21 AM   #8
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,248
Drainpipe,

The powder is settling in the hopper of the powder measure with the vibration of operating the machine. You can make an additional baffle from a soda can to reduce this. I have templates for round baffles, but I think your's is square. You just cut the can out to the shape of the inside of the hopper, but about 1.4 times longer than the hopper is wide in the direction perpendicular to where the powder enters the measure from the hopper. Cut a notch for powder flow in the middle of each end of the extra length. Bend that extra length in the middle perpendicular to the extra length direction at not quite 45°. Flex it slightly past 45° to insert it into the hopper about and inch or two from the bottom. This will cut down on the weight settling the powder and tend to keep it constant.

WD-40 could clean the grease, but it tends to dry to a tacky surface that attracts dust, not unlike what you are trying to remove. The mineral spirits soak will work. Brake cleaner or carb cleaner will work. Denatured alcohol will work. The light coat of oil is just rust prevention. Mainly you want it on the outside to keep your fingerprints from rusting the dies. You specifically don't want oil in the powder dispensing tube. Use graphite powder if you think you need lubrication of the expander.

The seating die will build up lubricant from the lubricated cast bullets and need to be recleaned periodically. When it builds up enough, the bullets will can start to seat deeper. A little bit of mineral spirits or carb/choke cleaner on a cotton swab works. You can poke it up inside the die without taking it off the press.

Seating bullets shorter can raise pressure. It's a tough call with lead bullets in small pistol cases because the primer often unseats the bullet out into the chamber before the pressure starts to build. So all you can do back the load down and work it back up if you seat deeper or if you change the brand of primer you are using, just to be sure your pressure doesn't spike. I usually figure out the % case fill under the bullet and try to keep that constant as I seat deeper.

Cleaning cartridges after loading can be done. Manufacturers will always recommend against it because its a variable they can't control. But fellows on other boards have done long experiments on vibrating powder and checking for pressure changes and burn rate changes without finding any. Figure about how much rattling of ammunition goes on in transportation, particularly of military ammo, and you will realize it's not terribly vulnerable.

That said, if I dirty enough rounds to justify cleaning, I usually just take a rag damp with odorless mineral spirits and wipe them off as I box them.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 07:29 AM   #9
YunGun
Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2013
Posts: 22
I assume you mean a Lee Auto Disk powder dispenser, not the 'Auto Prime'...?

This is most likely the result of powder settling in the hopper; particularly when using it on a turret press, the powder will tend to settle more densely in the hopper due to your repeated turning & jostling of the press as you load rounds, & this will increase the throw weights a bit. I've found that dispensing up to 10 'test' throws will help make sure that the powder is settled in before you start dropping 'real' charges; that should ensure more consistency, although you may find that it drops 6.9gr more consistently then your desired 6.6gr...

Although I'm not using it on a turret press, I've run into similar behavior; I eventually just moved to the next smaller disk, which actually throws the charge weight I was looking for very consistently.

I've read of other people resorting to installing some sort of baffle in the powder hopper to reduce the weight/pressure of the powder column right over the disk opening, but that didn't seem to be necessary in my case.
YunGun is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 08:24 AM   #10
kimbers rule
Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2012
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 95
My Lee auto disk also fluctuates for the first 3-4 rounds. Then it calms down and is consistant for the rest of the day. If I leave everything set up and reload the next day it takes another 3-4.
kimbers rule is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 09:52 AM   #11
drainpipe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6
Quote:
I assume you mean a Lee Auto Disk powder dispenser, not the 'Auto Prime'...?
Yes! I am using the pro auto disk! I'm going to throw some more test rounds and see if it starts to settle out. I may make a baffle to see if it helps as well as degrease and lubricate with powdered graphite.
drainpipe is offline  
Old April 5, 2013, 10:55 AM   #12
praetorian97
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 9, 2011
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 455
Just remember that the "sticky wax stuff" on the lead bullets is lube deliberately put there.

Youtube some vids of people making homemade lead bullets. Pretty cool process.
praetorian97 is offline  
Old April 6, 2013, 04:30 PM   #13
drainpipe
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 21, 2013
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 6
Well, I took apart all my dies and cleaned them with Hornady One Shot. I also picked up a Redding taper crimp die and now I'm seating and crimping in separate steps. I ran a few test rounds through and they all seem to sit pretty well now.

I rubbed some drier sheets over the all of the auto disk parts and hopper and that seemed to solve the static issues I was seeing. I also sprayed some powdered graphite through the powder through dies pieces. I emptied 10 cases and then tested 10 more and each was consistent within 1 grain. I haven't made any live rounds yet to see if it holds up, but all this prep has been promising.

I have one more question - should I be using lube on my 9mm cases? I put a little Lee case sizing lube on one case and the sizing die seemed to work a little smoother. I have a carbide sizing die so I thought I didn't need it, but the Redding taper crimp die called for slight lubrication by lubing every 5th case or so.
drainpipe is offline  
Old April 8, 2013, 12:12 AM   #14
BusterValentine
Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 2013
Posts: 31
I lube all my cases, regardless of whether or not it's technically needed. It just makes the whole operation smoother. Not sure about lubing the crimp die though. . . If the manufacturer says do it then do it.
BusterValentine is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:07 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10201 seconds with 9 queries