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Old November 30, 2019, 10:51 AM   #1
TheClasonater
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New reloader, Need some reassurance on a couple things

Hello all, I'm excited to be a part of this site. Read a lot on here over the years and it's been helpful. This is my first post.

My father in law passed away unexpectedly about a year and a half ago and everybody is now starting to get back into a more settled groove. My mother in law left his complete reloading set up and bench untouched this whole time. She finally rejoined their pistol league and asked if I could reload her target rounds. .38 spl. 125 gn fmj with 4.5 grains of bullseye. Very light.

I had helped him in the past but never really wanted to pursue it yet. I mostly shoot shotguns. I understand the process but I really dont have a feel for it yet. Here are my two questions.

He used a walnut medium and there is a small amount left inside the case. Not mounded up or anything, just enough that its noticeably red. All the primer holes are free and clear of debris. IS THIS SAFE? Or do I need to swab this out? I never really noticed this before helping him out, but I wasn't looking for it either. I have read a dozen other threads where this same question was asked, but all the threads immediately turned to a corn cob vs walnut vs ss debate, and never answered the ops question. I'm not going to buy cc because he left us gallons of new walnut medium that will probably take me years to get through.

My second question. He used an rcbs hand primer. Its janky and horrible to use. I have no feel for it, and never have. About 50% of my rounds yesterday came out with with a little half moon shape indentation on the ptimer. I researched the cause of this and I understand why, but again, IS THIS SAFE? Will they go bang?

If I were shooting these I honestly wouldn't care, but these are for somebody else, and I want to make sure that I will not send out a potentially unsafe box of rounds. P.S. I bought a bench primer last night because I ain't dicking with hand circus no more.
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Old November 30, 2019, 11:17 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

When you say the cases are red inside, I presume you mean some of the rouge commonly added to walnut media as polish has come off inside the cases, and not that there are visible walnut pieces in it. In that case, shooting it is just fine. If anything, over a very long period, that rouge will help polish the bore of the gun barrel, making it a little less prone to accumulation of metal fouling. But that would take a lot of shooting. In a blued revolver, I suppose the rouge would gradually remove some of the bluing from the cylinder face, due to being blown out through the barrel/cylinder gap, but powder fouling gradually does some of that anyway, and I'm guessing you'd be hard-put to tell the difference.

All hand priming tools are not created equal. That said, the mark you see is not uncommon in the mass-manufactured tools, where the more expensive machine shop made ones have less slop and are less prone to the ram favoring one side of its tunnel and marking the primer as you describe. It is ugly, but I know of no danger posed by the mark. If you were firing a high power rifle load at over 50,000 psi, I might concern myself with the possibility of primer piercing at that site, but I can't recall it ever being reported. It wouldn't be dangerous in any case, as the worst effect of that is a small gas cut pit in the bolt face.

Get a good book on reloading if you are unsure of any of the steps. Some of the YouTube videos are OK, if often a bit slow and boring to watch.

The main hazard of working with Bullseye (and other fast pistol powders) in the tall .38 Special case is "Bullseye Surprise", in which a double-charge has accidentally been put in the case, unnoticed, and develops enough pressure to burst a revolver cylinder. Obviously, Bullseye is not the only powder that can do this, so it's really just a general warning to look at the powder level in every case.
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Old November 30, 2019, 11:29 AM   #3
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Get 2 or 3 good manuals, I like Lyman, Hornady, Speer, Hodgdon. Read them!!!! When I instructed reloading classes, the Lyman Manual was my "textbook."

But also remember that manuals are guidelines, not holy writ.

Pay very close attention to what you're doing, but don't "over think" every little detail.
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Old November 30, 2019, 12:01 PM   #4
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Rouge on the inside of a case is of no concern. The powder doesn't care, the bullet doesn't care, nor the case or the gun. Any possible erosive effect is completely overshadowed by the erosive effect of hot powder gas at thousands of PSI pressure.

I used the red media in a rotational tumbler for decades, only switching to the light colored "corncob" stuff when I went to a vibratory "tumbler".

The "half moon" dent on the primer is a result of something being misaligned or improper. Which "hand primer" do you have? Bench mounted or hand held?

the dent comes from the primer punch not being centered on the primer. This is normally because the case isn't in the right place in the shellholder or the shellholder isn't in the right place in its mortice. Check for dirt/crud buildup, especially in the shellholder itself. A little bit of crud in the groove and the case goes ALMOST all the way in, but is off center enough so the primer ram leaves a mark.

Another possible cause is not having the right primer punch installed. Older priming system often came with 4 punches. two of each size. one flat faced, and one with a curved (concave?) face for the old style primers that were rounded. Today the flat face primers are the standard. Using the "wrong" punch will still seat the primer but will usually leave a mark, even if everything is lined up properly.

The mark is not a concern for safety. it just looks bad.
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Old November 30, 2019, 12:28 PM   #5
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I presume that since your in-laws were members of a pistol league, that they have been members long enough to get to know some people. I also presume that, like most leagues, the members are very friendly and helpful. Don't be afraid to go with her, introduce yourself as the son-in-law and ask for help. If your late father-in-law left any rounds, I would measure the COAL, then pull a couple of rounds to identify the brand of piwder. Bullseye looks a little different than other powders I use and you can weigh a few to confirm the charge.
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Old November 30, 2019, 06:00 PM   #6
TheClasonater
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Thanks for all the help. Now that you say rouge, that is exactly what it looks like. Kinda of like rusty colored make up brush stuff. And no, there were no chunks, just a stingy statickyness to it. As for the hand primer, it is an rcbs and it is very sloppy. I cleaned the shell holder multiple times without change. I think its older and it just feels little worn out. I'm not doubting whether or not it's a good tool, or that I was even using it correctly. I've never really felt confident with it. The way it feeds from the tray is damn frustrating. My only real concern is that the primers go bang
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Old November 30, 2019, 06:05 PM   #7
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If you ever use the little RCBS bench mounted priming tool, you'll never use a hand held tool again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-638LgQp4gc
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Old November 30, 2019, 11:46 PM   #8
TheClasonater
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DMV, my father in law left a log book of target recipes. And enough components to load those for a long time. He was into it.
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Old November 30, 2019, 11:49 PM   #9
TheClasonater
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Ben Dover, I ordered one last night. Can't wait to try it.
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Old December 1, 2019, 12:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Dover
If you ever use the little RCBS bench mounted priming tool, you'll never use a hand held tool again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-638LgQp4gc
I use the Lee hand primer. After watching that video, that thing looks like a LOT more work, and a slower process, than my hand primer.
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Old December 1, 2019, 10:05 AM   #11
Ben Dover
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I use the Lee hand primer. After watching that video, that thing looks like a LOT more work, and a slower process, than my hand primer.
IME, the RCBS tool is far more precise, and has a much better "feel" when seating to the bottom of the pocket. But to each his own.
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Old December 1, 2019, 02:35 PM   #12
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My condolences on your loss.
4.5 grains of Bullseye is the Max load for a jacketed 125. A .38 Special, light, target load it is not. 2.5 to 2.8 of Bullseye with a cast or swaged 148 grain WC is the classic .38 target load.
"...pull a couple of rounds to identify the brand of powder..." That won't tell you anything but the colour of the powder and the shape of the granules. You cannot tell anything about any powder by just looking at it.
"...walnut medium..." Been using it for eons myself. Never had any red residue, but if you take it out you'll be fine. Probably just walnut shell dust anyway.
Only ever used the press to decap. Never had any issues. And speed is about technique
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Old December 7, 2019, 11:55 PM   #13
TheClasonater
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Hi all, it's been a few days, but I took your advice and decided to track this down further. I found an ammo box full of 38 reloads and there were probably 500 rounds with the load I mentioned above. So, I can assume my father in law liked that load. Also, they shot target with ruger Redhawks. My paranoia about the load went away When I saw the Redhawks come out. Upon talking to others he was in touch with, he had been experimenting with 3.5 gns, which is what the lyman book wants. I discussed this with my mother in law and she said were just gonna have to go out and shoot a couple hundred rounds to see which one she prefers. I love that women.

I do however have a couple more questions. The first is, he stockpiled about 5000 rainier 125 jfp boolits. These do not have a crimp groove. Everybody I talked to said taper crimp it. He left me with the 3 PC rcbs carb die set that does not taper crimp. Can I achieve enough crimp with careful settings with this die even though it's designed for a roll crimp? After inspecting cases he had loaded with calipers he had made no effort to crimp.

Second question, I've dabbled in reloading shotgun shells for busting Clay's and ducks. I was re checking my load data and came across 700x as a popular powder in the shotgun realm. The Lyman book supports a load with those boolits and that powder. The pressures looked a lot lower than bullseye, and the book said specifically that it was a clean burning powder. There were a couple other loads around the manual with this powder. Do any of you have experience with it, and what do you think of it?
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Old December 8, 2019, 12:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
The first is, he stockpiled about 5000 rainier 125 jfp boolits. These do not have a crimp groove. Everybody I talked to said taper crimp it. He left me with the 3 PC rcbs carb die set that does not taper crimp. Can I achieve enough crimp with careful settings with this die even though it's designed for a roll crimp? After inspecting cases he had loaded with calipers he had made no effort to crimp.
OK, to be clear, you're looking to shoot the 125s in a Ruger Redhawk, with a target level load in .38Spl cases?

You probably won't need any crimp. You're not using a slow powder that needs a firm crimp for proper ignition. So all you need to worry about is recoil "pulling the bullets" (jumping crimp). Recoil of a light bullet over a light load in a HEAVY revolver is seldom enough to do that.

IF you don't over expand (& flare) the brass neck tension should be enough in a Redhawk. Might not be enough alone in a light weight snub nose but in a heavy gun like the Redhawk, it shouldn't be an issue.

If the bullets have a slight ledge or step you can seat to that and crimp over it. IF not, not a big deal, you can carefully adjust your die to remove the flare and then jus "kiss" the leading edge of the case, giving a very light crimp that doesn't dig into the bullet enough to cause any issues.

To find our if no crimp (just removing the flare) or a very light crimp is enough, you need 11 rnds. Load 6, fire 5 and measure the unfired round for bullet movement. Repeat with the same round unfired. Measure again. If the bullet didn't move, you're good to go. You're probably ok if it doesn't move after the first five but doing it twice gives me a more "sure" feeling.

Can't help with 700X used one can in shotguns back in the 70s, never tried it in pistols.
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Old December 8, 2019, 07:10 AM   #15
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For good all around loads in .357,.38sp, and 9mm 700X is an excellent powder. The only drawback is volume wise in .357 it's hard to see in that long case to be sure you dropped a single load vs. a possible double load. In .38sp it's not too hard to see and in 9mm I get about as much as you can get in without compressing it. This is using a Lee classic cast turret press with a small strip light installed on it. Another nice shotgun powder in my .38sp, .357, and .41mag is Green Dot or Red Dot. Green dot is my go to powder in .41mag.
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Old December 8, 2019, 10:11 AM   #16
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If you want cleaner loads, look at something very fast, like Clays or N310. The maximum charge will be smaller (see load data) but the peak pressure is as high and it burns more completely. They just aren't good for as much velocity as a slower powder is.

For crimping, the only drawback to adjusting the roll crimp to eliminate the expanding flare will occur if the cases are not the same length within a couple or three thousandths. A long case will then over-crimp, which bites into the bullet and can adversely affect accuracy on 50-yard slow-fire targets, in particular. But you can measure some of the cases and see what your variation looks like. If it is much, you can buy a separate taper crimp die in almost any brand. RCBS has a taper crimp seater if you don't have a turret or progressive without an extra press position available for a separate crimping operation (the old Lee 1000, for example).

Note that Ranier Bullets closed its doors this year, so you will be the only guy on the block with those after awhile.
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Old December 8, 2019, 04:28 PM   #17
TheClasonater
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Thanks for the help fellas. Yes, amp 44, that is the sitch. I never thought about loading six and checking the sixth for movement a couple times. That's what I'm gonna do. I'll report it when it happens. As for a double charge danger, the set up is a single stage and an rcbs charge master. So, pretty slow but it keeps me from blowing through it. I am not deep enough into yet it for a progressive. I'm glad to hear about 700x, and ya, when I researched rainier I found they had closed up. Shame, but hey it happens.

As for the crimp, if I do have any bullet movement I'll price out a TC die. Also, just a thought, when I do bell the cases, should I err on the side of too tight? When I set the dies, I set them per the instructions in the box. My father in law had them right on the money, would it be wise to back the expander out a 1/4 turn for a smaller diameter expansion by just a smidge? And then re check for any bullet movement?
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Old December 8, 2019, 06:17 PM   #18
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Can't hurt. The less you work the case mouth, the longer the brass will last.
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