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Old July 9, 2012, 11:16 PM   #1
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Dumb things you did when you first started reloading?

What were some of the things you did wrong (or just did the hard way) when you first started reloading?

I'll start this off - before I started reloading, I read lots of books and articles, but I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the pictures. I didn't realize just how little the cases needed to be flared before seating the bullets, so my first few .38 Special cases ended up with mouths that looked like trumpets!
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Old July 9, 2012, 11:45 PM   #2
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You want a confession!?

You want a confession?

I learned in the military, "Never volunteer for anything."

Well, I learned that that if you carefully pick your volunteer jobs you can parlay them into a good deal.

So, in the spirit of turning wrongs into rights, I will admit to:

Loading without eye protection for several years.

I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step.

But he left out advice on eye protection. I did not figure out the value of that until I heard other share stories about accidental primer ignition while seating. Thank goodness for the internet.

Recently, I have learned that calipers are an essential tool. Previously, I relied on manufacturers' accuracy on sizing bullets and such. 30 years, I was fortunate (save for 50 rounds of bulged cases with one batch of oversized slugs that would not chamber).

That's all I have for now. If I feel more confessional and remember anything else foolish, I will be back.

Lost Sheep
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Old July 10, 2012, 12:46 AM   #3
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Pushing shoulders back too far.

Using powders that didn't provide good case fill.

Buying a couple Lee products.

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Old July 10, 2012, 01:11 AM   #4
chris in va
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Using a 356 bullet in my CZ.

Last edited by Shane Tuttle; August 10, 2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old July 10, 2012, 03:09 AM   #5
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Dumbest thing I ever did reloading was working up loads one at a time for my 44 mag SBH, firing them into my bullet trap in a concrete basement with 7 foot ceiling. I'd load a round, put my shooting muffs on and fire it into the trap, then check for pressure signs. Just when I got to near max, I forgot to put the muffs on and fired. I really thought I had deafened myself, but after suffering tinitus for about ten days, my ears finally quit ringing.
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Old July 10, 2012, 03:49 AM   #6
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didnt lube the boolits at all.
my youtube channel
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Old July 10, 2012, 05:48 AM   #7
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Buying a couple Lee products.
I could definitely agree with that. But... I prefer to consider that a "learning experience." Not all Lee equipment is trash. It just takes a few mistakes to figure out which ones are worth the cost.

My biggest beginner mistake:
Buying too many different bullets to test.
A box of this, a box of that, a box of those... I ended up with at least a dozen different bullets for each cartridge. I still have most, today. In those first few years, I learned a lot about bullet technology, terminal ballistics, and other important factors. So, now I have a bunch of projectiles that I'm slowly "wasting" in various tests and plinking loads. And some of them weren't exactly cheap, but aren't worth trying to trade off; and I have no desire to work up a load for them.

Keep it simple.
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
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Old July 10, 2012, 06:24 AM   #8
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The most painful thing I've done is trying to meet a production pace on a single stage press while sizing and de-priming. My thumb decided to test the strength of the depriming pin. The brain registered the pain a little to late, one deprimed thumb nail! Lesson Learned.
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Old July 10, 2012, 06:55 AM   #9
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I am still fairly green at this so not too many mistakes. Thumb/finger in presss, yep done that. Biggest setup issue I had was using the Lee 10/40 dies and setting them up by the directions. After I crushed a few 10mm down to 40 length I wised up.
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Old July 10, 2012, 08:15 AM   #10
Strafer Gott
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I didn't use a Lee FCD on my .45 acp. Fixed that. Never any problems after that! Lee are still the easiest dies to set up and use. Sure, I have and use other makers' dies, but Lee makes the easiest to use and adjust. YMMV.
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Old July 10, 2012, 09:28 AM   #11
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I started reloading 50 some years ago so as far as what I did wrong when I first started reloading, it been long, long forgot.

Regarding the dumbest thing that I remember, purchased a Lee FCD for 45 ACP, worked and worked with that for 2/3 months till I finally went back to adjusting std. seating/crimp die as it was ment to be. This was the end of my problems crimping lead bullets. And no more post sized bullets, accuracy came back also. Lee FCD & cast bullets solve all sorts of problems that do not exist. IMO

All this and I still think Lee is an excellent company.
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Old July 10, 2012, 09:30 AM   #12
David Bachelder
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I had trouble adjusting the bullet seater die. Fought it an hour or so, then I decided to read the instructions. It was like someone turned a light on. Amazing.
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I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06
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Old July 10, 2012, 09:59 AM   #13
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I told the guy I bought my press from that I wanted to load for the .45 Colt. He sold me the press and everything I needed, except the brass, to load for the .45 ACP.

Luckily I started loading for the .45 ACP a few months ago (Again, thanks to the guys who suggested W231!) so I guess it was not all that bad of a mistake.

I did learn to make sure I knew what powders and bullets I needed before I bought them.
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
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Old July 10, 2012, 10:13 AM   #14
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Proof tested a few back in the beginning.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old July 10, 2012, 10:19 AM   #15
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These are the things you normally don't want to admit because it makes you feel like that much more of a moron. I guess if it helps others then here are some things that I've learned the hard way in the last 6 mo. of my reloading experience.

1. As said before work with one bullet type at a time. Its easier to keep track of and lets you focus on the other perameters of that bullet.
2. With an auto progressive press (at least the Hornady LNLAP) there is only one docking hole that the depriming die goes. All the others will break your depriming pin.
3. don't use long cylindrical powder in a progressive powder dispensors for small .22 neck cartridges. It bridges terrible and can create a mess several times. With a progressive you have to clean under the plate every time you spill otherwise it won't work right.
4. as mentioned before. Keep those fingers out of the way and take it a little slower, don't get into a hurry. The design and pressure of a press can crush a finger really easy.
5. when resizing pistol cartridges make sure to set your FL die down far enough to get proper bullet hold. I thought I was all the way down and loaded several rounds only to unload them because the bullet would slip with finger pressure.
6. when you set up a new rifle round. make sure you bump the sholder back far enough, and test the first few unloaded cases in your gun. otherwise you may not get your bolt action down.
7. be generous with spray on lubes otherwise you jamb cases in your FL sizing die and have to spend extra time getting them unstuck. Don't pound on the loose decapping rod to try and get the stuck case out otherwise you will bend the rod and possibly the pin.

Thats all I can think of right now, If I think of any more I'll add them. Reading is essential. You can read and read, but it sticks in your head more when you do it. Reading can really help with watching for major things that keeps you safe. Some of the smaller things are a matter of learning the hard way IMO.
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Old July 10, 2012, 11:29 AM   #16
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I think the biggest mistake I made was buying way too many different components to test. I really got carried away with the components when it came to shotshell reloading. I think after 40 years I’m finally down to one lifetime supply of shotshell hulls. I was really fortunate to have a very experienced reloader as a mentor when I first started out, and that probably saved me a lot of grief.
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Old July 10, 2012, 11:56 AM   #17
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Pardon me?

Not using hearing protection as it was not something a REAL MAN would do.... So I now go around using the Manly term Pardon Me?

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Old July 10, 2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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I bought about 500 rounds of brand new Remington 45acp Brass......

Still kicking myself for that waste of money....
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Old July 10, 2012, 04:56 PM   #19
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Someone has to buy them new and get the reloading cycle going.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
“Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent.”
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Old July 10, 2012, 05:11 PM   #20
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Trimmed some 220 Swift cases WAY too short. These days if more than just a small bit trimmed off I'd immediately recheck to see if I had the target length right. Back then, I just kept on trimming. Still, I do know and can tell anyone that short neck 220 cases still shoot great. And then I shot them and reloaded about a zillion times and then bought a neck sizing die. I neck sized a few, put in the primer and powder and then went to seat the bullet. Fell right into the powder. Hardly touched the neck walls. Necks were really thin.
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Old July 10, 2012, 05:21 PM   #21
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I started with a single die that was supposed to do the whole reloading process. That was 40+ years ago but it nearly soured me on reloading all together. The one die thing worked but what a pain. I just didn't know any better at the time.
Do things as if your life depends on it. It COULD!

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Old July 10, 2012, 08:06 PM   #22
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I remember measuring out and putting the powder in 18 cartridges for a small load test. When I moved the first filled cartridge to the press to insert a bullet, I realized I had forgot to put the primers in! I had a whole loading tray full of powder . . . duh.
What direction did that last shot at Kennedy come from?
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Old July 10, 2012, 08:22 PM   #23
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I learned on 9mm. The first bullets I loaded were Berry's 115 grain RN. When I seated the first bullet and the tip of the bullet was even with the top of the case I knew something just didn't look right.
I don't ever remember being absent minded.
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Old July 10, 2012, 09:08 PM   #24
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The dumbest thing I did as a newbie reloader this winter was to build my dream reloading setup from scratch (early birthday present from my wife) and decide to save a few bucks and not get a tumbler. Over a few months I spent $1000 on assorted presses, dies, turrets, ammo boxes, dry boxes, a storage trunk, prep tools, gages, scales, etc. and yet somehow decided that I should save a few bucks and do without a tumbler.

It took me about a week to realize how silly I was washing range brass in a bucket and drying them in an oven when a good Franklin Arsenal tumbler for $42, $10 worth of pet store media, some old dryer sheets and some nufinish would do the work for me- and do a better job of it. 5K+ shiny cases later I am pretty thankful I came around.
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Old July 10, 2012, 09:27 PM   #25
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Listening to nonsense on the internet which turned out to be bad advice.
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