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Reloading Ammunition - Zombie Survival & Defense Wiki

Reloading Ammunition
It looks like reloading has come up in some of the threads, but I thought I'd do a page on reloading for 2 reasons: 1) to help anyone interested in the steps of the reloading process (in plain language); 2) For those scrounger teams to know what items to look for on their scrounging trips. Reloading ammunition is not magic. It is a technical process to a degree, but is no harder than following a recipe when cooking. What I mean is that MOST of the time beginning and intermediate reloaders use published data from a major bullet or powder manufacturer. This data has been test and test and test again by the manufacturer before they publish it. The data will give you specific information and measurements to allow you to reload a round safety. Just as when you cook, you measure a specific amount of an ingredient - same goes for reloading. No harder than that. So if you follow the basic rules of reloading, you can reload with confidence and not worry that the thing will blow up on you this is always the rumors you hear about reloading. I can tell you that ALL the issues of "blowing up" are due to negligence by the reloader themselves and NOT the published data. I have been reloading for 25+ years and have NEVER experienced a "blow up". Reloading Manuals "The Book" First thing you want to do is get a reloading manual or reloading guide. This is THE BOOK that tells you what you need to know to reload. These come in hard back books or you can download a .PDF online at many of the major bullet and powder manufacturers websites. For this article, I will use Alliant Powder's reloading manual found here http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/index.aspx I use alot of Alliant Powders to reload with, so I like their manuals. My number one reloading manual is a Speer #13 Edition manual. Yes, the guys at Speer have a sense of humor about their 13th manual....LOL! It was one of the best selling reloading manuals in their history too! The 14th edition is out, but it doesn't matter, the 13th is my go to book. NOTE: DO NOT WORRY THAT YOU FEEL LOST OR CONFUSED OVER THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. I NEED TO GET YOU AND I ON THE SAME PAGE TO SHOW YOU AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT. SO HANG IN THERE TILL I COVER EVERYTHING. I PROMISE, IT WILL ALL COME TOGETHER : ) Most manuals are divided into pistol/revolver, rifle and shotgun loads. If you go to the Alliant website, I will take you through how to look up a load for the 9mm. After the legal stuff (and yes all of them have that), go to pistol/revolver data. Then go down till you see 9mm (at the bottom). Since they only show Speer brand bullets, we will select the first one - 115 gr Speer GDHP (115 grain Speer Brand Gold Dot Hollow Point) - I'll explain what that all means below. Next they list 5 different Alliant brand powders that you can use to reload with. My selection is Unique powder. Reading across the line.....just hold that thought now that we have a page to look at. Scroungers: Reloading manuals are GOLD! Grab them at every opportunity. Reloading manuals don't go out of date, they just get updated with new bullets and powders - so old manuals are just as valuable as new ones. Components: I will now cover the 4 basic components of a bullet. These are the 4 things you need to reload any round. The picture to the left is from firearmsID.com and one that gives a cutaway look at a bullet so you can see all the components of a shell. In this case, it's a 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger. ALL ammunition has these components, so this is a good picture of it.

The 4 1) the 2) the 3) the 4) the

Components for reloading are: bullet powder brass case primer

The Bullet: Bullets are manufactured for a specific caliber of firearm. A .452" .45acp bullet will not work in a .355" 9mm. You get the idea. So be very specific. Bullets have three major criterias for you to know: 1) diameter of the bullet or caliber (in inches) 2) weight of the bullet (in grains) 3) type of bullet (design of the bullet) - usually the brand of manufacture is included. In our example with the 9mm: 1) it is a 9mm or .355" diameter bullet

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2) a common weight would be 115 grains (gr.) 3) (pictured) is a Jacketed Hollow Point Bullet (JHP)

Reloading Ammunition - Zombie Survival & Defense Wiki

In short, you want a 9mm (.355") 115 grain JHP bullet. And that should be written on the box of bullets just like it does when you buy loaded ammunition. Remember the Alliant reloading .PDF manual, we chose 115 grain Speer brand GDHP (which is a jacketed hollow point bullet). We could have chose 124 gr. or 147 gr. GDHP's. The point is that EACH SPECIFIC bullet has a SPECIFIC POWDER CHARGE for it. The Powder: Powder is the chemical propellant that pushes the bullet and is measured by charge weight (in grains). Each type of powder has different chemical properties and you cannot substitute another powder for it. Reloading manuals will give you several options for powders for each bullet, but they are mutually exclusive. Some manuals will give you a low/high range for the powder charge. This is fine too and I prefer it as it gives you more of a spectrum to work with letting you choose the power of your load from low (mild) to high (heavy). I prefer something in the middle and I suggest that any beginners use low/high data and target for the middle as it will give you some room for human error. For example: (back to the Alliant manual) The row for Unique powder shows a charge weight of 5.8 grains. If you want to use, say Blue Dot, it's charge weight is 7.9 grains. Which means you CANNOT substitute one for the other. NOTE: EACH powder has it's own "unique" charge weights and cannot be used for another one. This is a VERY common mistake for reloaders to make by crisscrossing the rows when they look them up. Using the above example: The reloader picks Unique, but crisscrossing to the 7.9 grains for the Blue Dot! My solution to this issue is simple - get a second opinion! When reloading, use more than one source for your loads, specifically to double check the powder charge weight. So next to me is my Speer 13th edition reloading manual. I look it up the same way as before - 115 gr JHP 9mm using Unique Powder. My manual this time gives me a powder charge low/high range - 5.6 grs. to 6.3 grs. of Unique. So if I'd made the crisscross mistake above, my 2nd opinion would have not been constant and made me look again. Scroungers: Powder comes is 1 lb, 4 lb and 8 lb containers. Usually plastic jugs like one pictured above. The Brass: Brass is simple - it's the leftovers of a fired round. It is the case that holds all the components together in one waterproof (we hope) container. Three things to look for in brass: 1) Head stamp is the right caliber that you are looking for - i.e. 9mm Parabellum 2) Is it reloadable 3) Is it damaged? Head stamp is same as loaded ammo, so you should be able to look at it too. It should have the caliber on it unless it's military ammo. If military ammo, then see step two first. The main thing here is you don't want to try and reload an odd-ball shell mixed in with the ones you want. This could damage your reloading equipment. Is it reloadable? Simple test - look inside the case and at the bottom, do you see one flash hole or two? If one (it's a Boxer primer), yes it's reloadable. If two (it's Berdan primed military ammo), no it's not reloadable. Simple. Is is damaged? Simple test - do you see any cracks in the casing? (dents are okay.) If yes, then it's trash. If no, it's reloadable. Simple again. With brass, you need to clean it by using a shell tumbler (or just tumbler). This is a vibratory bowl that is filled with a media (like walnut pellets) that will rub against the brass case cleaning it (inside & out) and polishing it. That's why all new ammo is so clean and shiny. Clean brass works better in your guns. Clean does not always mean "polished" as a dull case is not a problem as long as it's completely clean. Scroungers: ALL BRASS IS GOOD BRASS! If you get a chance to grab some, do it and don't worry about the caliber on the head stamp or if it's reloadable. Pickup all brass cases and sort them later. Even if you don't have a firearm that uses it, brass is a good trade item. A great place to find brass is at a local public shooting range. Most people don't reload, so there's always some laying around. The Primer: The primer is the "spark" that sets the whole thing in motion. It sparks the powder to burn and the burning powder pushes the bullet. There are several manufacturers of primers, but what you need to know is what size primer you need. There are the following types: small & large pistol; small & large rifle; shotgun and magnum versions of all of them. In our example: (Back to the Alliant reloading manual again) - it lists to use the CCI 500 primer for a 9mm. The CCI 500 is a small pistol primer. So this load is setup to use a CCI primer. Primers can and are a LITTLE different from each other, but NOT to the extent that powders are. A CCI small pistol primer is a LITTLE different from a Winchester small pistol primer (WSP). In my experience, this is only a factor when you are pushing the limits of a round. - i.e. "hot loads". The reality is that if you are staying in the middle range for your loads, you will probably never have an issue with the manufacturer of the primer as long as you're using the right type of one.

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Reloading Ammunition - Zombie Survival & Defense Wiki


Reloading Equipment: Now let's look at what tools you need to reload your components. I will use mostly Lee Reloading pictures for this equipment. Find them at http://leeprecision.com/ Shown here is the best starting kit around - the Lee 50th Anniversary Reloading Kit. This kit has everything you need to get started reloading, except the die set for the caliber you want to load. It's a simple kit, but a good one. Yes, there are some tools that are "better" or a little different from the ones here, but for the money, this is a great buy $134.00 to get you started. As with the components, there is a few pieces of equipment that you must have to reload. They are: 1) Press 2) Die Set (in the caliber you want to reload) 3) Priming Tool

4) Powder Scale or Powder Measure (or BOTH!) 5) Micrometer Caliper (Vernier inches) - measuring OAL (Overall length) Press: The Press is the main tool for reloading. Heavy iron, it's mounted to a bench for a solid base to work from. Reloading dies screw into the top of it and the handle is pulled down to use it. The one pictured is call a "single stage" press in that the die must be removed for each "stage" of the reloading. Single stage presses are best to start with and work great for low volume reloading. Even more experienced reloaders use single stage press for high precision reloading. Single stage presses are MUCH cheaper running about $36 for just the press. There are many other presses, some have rotating tables that allow for doing several stages with one pull of the handle. These are called Progressive presses and are used to mass produce ammunition. These can be complicated and more difficult to mechanically keep working with precision. Progressives are much more expensive, starting at around $250 for just the press. Personally, I use a couple of single stage presses. This allows me to step back and forth between stages without changing out the dies. Also, if I have help reloading, more than one person can work be letting each do one of the stages of the reloading. I just find that single stage presses are much less trouble than progressives and for the cost, they are less expensive to have a couple to work with. Scroungers: Reloading presses have to be bolted down to a solid surface, so there will be 3-4 heavy bolts holding it that will either have to be removed or cut to take a press. Extra presses are nice, but not a necessity. So get them if you can, but only if you have the time to unbolt them. Die Sets: Die sets are made for a specific caliber and are used to reshape the brass through a series of stages. Pictured is a 3 die carbide pistol set. It usually comes with 3 to 4 dies in a set. I will discuss the use of each shortly, but for now, you need to buy one for each caliber you want to reload. Carbide pistol die sets do not require you to lube the brass before reshaping it. Steel dies, mostly for rifles, require a swipe of case lube to work. So for our example above, we want a carbide die set marked for 9mm Parabellum. This will be marked on all 3 dies. Scroungers: Grab any die sets you see! The more different die sets we have, the more calibers we can reload. These also make for good trade items. Also keep in mind if you want to use some fancy "wildcat" caliber firearm, you better be able to come up with a die set for it too. Priming Tool: Once you have removed the old spent primer (I will explain how shortly), you need to replace it with a new one. Replacing the primer is easy and care has to be taken to not crush the new primer. Crushing the primer is basically what you do when your gun's fire pin hits it - BANG! This is not a problem to do safety if you use a good priming tool like this one shown and take your time. The priming tool shown here is the Lee Hand priming tool. It's simple and a good one that I've used my entire 25+ years of reloading. Primers go into the disk area and are pressed "up" into the primer cup in the back of the shell. When done correctly, the primer should be flush with the surface of the brass. Three things to note when using a hand priming tool: 1) Use steady and even pressure 2) Make sure you make a complete cycle of the lever 3) Hold it away from your face! (Safety glasses recommended for the stage of the reloading process.) Note: A common mistake is "reverse loading" a primer. This is were the primer is loaded upside down. I suggest that you just trash the brass now. Trying to remove it now (in this position) is dangerous. This WILL happen from time to time (it just does) - trash it! Powder Scale & Powder Measure: Powder charges are measured by weight (in grains) or by volume (in CCs). The weight charges you need a powder scale. The Lee scale is shown to the left here and is remarkable accurate. To use it, you simply set the scale for the weight you want and add powder to the dish till you balance the pointer. The you load the powder into the shell. Doing this for each round is how high precision shooters do it to make sure each and every round is precisely and accurately weighed. Of course, this take alot of time, but it is the most accurate way to measure your powder.

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Reloading Ammunition - Zombie Survival & Defense Wiki

The second way is to use a Powder Measure like the Lee Perfect Powder Measure (shown to the right). A Powder measure works by using a volumetric measurement. With a powder measure comes a conversion chart to let you convert grains into CCs. Don't worry too much about your math here as the chart is easy to use and once you've established your load, you don't have to convert back and forth each time. What the powder measure does is fills a little "cup" from the powder hopper at the top each time you rotate the handle and dumps the desired amount into your brass out the bottom. We call this "throws" or "throwing powder". All progressive style presses use a powder measure to measure their powder. What you want to do is check that your powder measure is working accurately by weight of the "throws" . For example: I set the powder measure for 4.6 grains of Unique, which equals .50 CCs. I dump the powder in the dish and weight it. If it matches, then I'm good. Then you just dump powder in each brass, checking every 100th round or so. Much faster than weighing each one. My experience has been that powder measures are terribly inconsistent. Yes, others have better luck, but I do not. So I'm going to show you a simple and "old school" way to measure your powder by using Powder Scoops that's quiet accurately and very safe too. Powder Scoops ("old school" volumetric loading) Powder Scoops (shown here) are plastic scoops that you use to "dip measure" powder - just like you measure ingredients for cooking. Please note that in the picture, in the back of the box is a white slide rule conversion table that converts grains to CCs. This also tells you want scoop to use. Like our example above, I want 4.6 grains of Unique (which converts to .50 CCs), so I use the .50 CC scoop. Very simple. Here's the trick - be constant in how you scoop your powder. I use a plain ceramic coffee mug to dump my powder in to scoop it. When I scoop, I "push" the scoop into the powder and "lift" it out to a nice rounded measurement instead of "digging" or "shoveling" into the powder like it was a spoon into a sugar bowl. This constant stroke will give you very constant measurements of powder and that's the real trick to reloading. You still check every 100th round or so on our powder scale till you get use to it, but I've found this true after thousands of rounds reloaded. In fact, once you get this down, you won't have to check your measurements on the scale, you'll be able to see if your scoop is different. Just dump it

and scoop again.

The nice thing about using scoops is it makes reloading on a single stage press much faster. The other thing is that if you are use to reloading a particular caliber with the same load over and over again, you'll only need the scoop to reload it later. This cuts down on the amount of equipment you would have to carry and the scoop is much more durable that a powder scale or powder measure. SCROUNGERS: If you see these scoops, take them. Extra scoops allows more combinations of loads. If I need .60 scoop, I can use two .30 scoops to make it. Micrometer Caliper (in inches and not metric) You need an inch measuring Caliper for measure the Overall length (OAL) of the cartridge once you load it. This is the first and most important measurement to allow it to function in a firearm. If the cartridge is too long, it won't chamber and lock the bolt (or slide) to let you fire and/or won't let you load it into the magazine. If it's too short, it will create too much pressure that will damage your firearm. Go back to the Alliant manual now (http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/default.aspx ) for the 115 grain Speer GDHP using Unique Powder. It lists the OAL as 1.125". That's what yours should be when you are done reloading it. I will explain how to adjust the OAL later, but for now - you need to have a Caliper to reload. Scroungers: Dial calipers like the one pictured work fine, but digital calipers are easier to use. Get either if you don't have one, but go for the digital if you have a choice. The Stages of Reloading (Step by Step Guide): Now that you know what tools you need and have a working knowledge of what reloading if, let's go through the actual reloading process. I am going to continue with using the 9mm Parabellum as my example and use Lee Dies for this exercise. First you'll need a carbide Lee 9mm Parabellum die set. It will come in a flat or cylinder container (both shown to the right). You'll get 3 dies, a powder scoop, shell holder & an abeviated reloading manual (sheet) for the 9mm. On the back of the sheet is instructions for reloading. It's a good sheet, so keep it handy as it has the grains to CCs conversions for that caliber on it as well as lots of bullet and powder options. You will reload in stages. Stages are points are which you will do a process to ALL the brass you want to reload. You do this so you don't have to keep switching back and forth with the dies into your press. The Five Stages of Reloading are: 1) Depriming 2) Expanding 3) Primer 4) Powder Drop 5) Seat & Crimp the Bullet I'm going to step you through the initial setup process as well as the five stages of reloading. The initial setup is something that's not really covered in detail in anything I've read. Most manuals do cover it, but it's very quick and assumes you have seen reloading done before. If you're new to it (and most people are), it could be very confusing to get started, especially if you have not actually seen someone do it. So I'll go through each step now. You will be able to skip through most of this once you get your press and dies setup and just stick to the five stages.

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Step 1: Insert the shell holder into the press. This holds the brass in line with the die and allows you to insert (and remove) the brass from the die. Then push the handle of the press down, raising the press and shell holder up to set it with the depriming die (step 2).

Step 2: Screw the Depriming die into the top of the press. (pic to the right) The Depriming die is notated my the retaining nut on top and the pin protruding out the bottom. Screw the Depriming die down till it almost touches the shell holder (with the handle down on the press). Now tighten the retaining ring against the press to hold the die firm. It is important the die doesn't move during reloading once it's set. If the retaining ring has a set screw, tighten it so the next time you deprime your die will be close or set and ready to go. Now loosen the nut on top and push the pin down till it's about 1/4" below the bottom of the die. Remember checking the brass for see if it's reloadable by looking in the bottom for a single hole? That's where the pin goes into the brass and pushes out the old primer. This process will also reshape the brass "in" at the same time. (Compare the brass you just deprimed to one you have not to see what the die is doing.) Load a brass case into the shell holder and run it up into the die. The primer should pop out. If it does not, then remove the brass; loosen the nut and let the pin down a LITTLE more; retighten the nut; and try again. Keep doing this till the primer pops out. Then try another brass. If the primer pops out - you're go to go. Make sure you tighten the nut so it stays in place. You will probably not have to change this again. Now deprime ALL the brass you have ready to reload. That is Stage One: Depriming. I recommend you do this by using two different boxes, bins or bowls and take one and put in the other as you deprime it. This just keeps things separated and not mixed up between the brass you have done and the brass you still need to do. You'll do this on each stage of reloading as it's a good way to keep things straight. Step 3: Remove your Depriming die and insert the Powder Through Expanding Die (or just Expanding Die), but DO NOT TIGHTEN DOWN YET. Pictured is the cutaway of a Lee die showing the inside of this die. This die is identified by the top of the die looks like a large open top nut and there is a hole through entire die. This is to pour powder through when you use a progressive press - hence the name Powder Through Expanding Die. The process we are now doing is call "Expanding the brass". What this means is we want to open (expand) to mouth of the brass to receive the bullet. If you don't, you will crush the brass when you try to push to bullet into the case. To setup is a little more complicated, but not hard. What you want to do is insert a deprimed brass case into the shell holder and run it to the top. Now tighten your die down till you feel it hits the mouth of the brass or is "resistant" to finger turning. This means you're close to the top of the brass. Now pull the case back out of the die and tighten the die down about 1/2 a turn. Then tighten the retaining ring - finger tight. Take the case back into the die - does the mouth of the case open or flare like a funnel? If not, repeat this adjustment - tightening the retaining ring each time. Once you start to see the mouth flare out, start testing the size of the opening with the base (bottom) of the bullet you want to use by hand. If the bottom of the bullet will "cleanly" start into the case - meaning the whole bottom of the bullet will start without hitting the leading edge of the case mouth; your there. To test, you should be able to set the bullet on the case without it falling off. Lead bullets require more than jacketed bullets. Tighten the retaining ring and try another case. If the result is the same and the bullet will start, you're done. Think of it this way....Is it easier to stuff a ball into a straight pipe or into a funnel. Same idea here. We want a nice little "funnel type flare" to get the bullet started into the case. Now use your two bins and run ALL your brass through the Expanding die. This is Stage Two: Expanding. Step 4: STOP and inspect ALL your brass for splits in the cases. After reshaping the brass in and then flaring it back out again will sometimes cause cracks in older brass. Now is the time to inspect it before you waste time and primers try to prime a case that's split and have to trash it and the primer too. Use your two bins and inspect all your brass. Step 5: Priming your brass using your Hand Priming tool. The Lee Priming Tool (shown) has a separate set of shell holders (in a little red box) that come with it and two different primer rams to use. The rams that come with the tool are: one for small primers & one for large primers. The 9mm uses small pistol primers, so you insert the small ram into the tool. This isn't hard, but if you switch between large and small primers alot, you will want to get a second one so you can have them both ready to go. There cheap, so it's not a big deal to have two. On the back of the red box is a list of calibers and what shell holder to insert in the priming tool. For 9mm, it's #19. Insert this holder into the top of the priming too. Now, remove the circular plastic cover of the primer tray and dump your primers in to it. Make sure all your little primers are facing up towards the flash hole at the bottom of the brass - one side is smooth metal like the back of a load round, the other is "up". Make sure ALL your primers are correctly facing up. Remember the note under primers about make the mistake and loading a primer backwards? This is were it's going to happen, so take care to check your primers now before putting the cover back on it. To use the priming tool, take it in your strong hand and insert a case into the shell holder. Now with one smooth, constant press - squeeze the handle till it closes completely flat against the body of the priming tool. It may take two hands to do this over and over again, but that's okay. The important part is that the back of the primer is flat with the bottom of the case. Usually if it is not, the case cannot be removed or is hard to remover from the priming tool - this is why I like the Lee Hand Priming tool. It checks things for you during the normal process of priming. Now use your two bins and prime ALL your brass. That is Stage Three: Priming. Keep out 2-3 cases and DO NOT prime them. (If it's your first time, keep out about 6 cases.) We'll use them for dumbie setup rounds below for the bullet seating die.

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Step 6: Is the setup of the third and final die - the Seating & Crimp Die. We're going to set this up now, because when we're ready to seat the bullet after we pour the powder, we don't what to have to fiddle with it then. Be patient as there's a couple of things (intermediate steps) we need to setup to get ready for this, but when we go, you'll start seeing loaded rounds coming together quickly. So remove the Expanding die and insert the Seat/Crimp die into the press, but do not tighten down. Also, back out the big knob several turns, but do not remove it. In pistol reloading the seating of the bullet and the crimping of the shell happens at the same time. With rifle ammunition, this can be two different dies. The Seat/Crimp die has a large finger knob on top of it. Setup is similar to the Expanding Die, but you will have two different things to look at - bullet seating depth AND crimp.

First, is setting the bullet depth into the case. Remember the OAL measurement? This is were it comes in. For the 9mm, the OAL is 1.125". Get out your caliper. The easiest way to get close to the OAL we want is to take a loading 9mm round, preferably a FMJ as they are usually the longest OAL, and insert it into the shell holder. Bring the round up CAREFULLY into the press. There is no danger here of the round going off as nothing will hit the primer, but you can crush the case or seat the bullet back into the case when you are first setting things up and ruin your good loaded round. Later we will actually load some dumbie rounds to do this with instead of a loaded round. This will save you tons of time later. Once you have the round into the die, finger tighten the body of the die down to touch the case - just like setting up the Expander die. Any resistance, stop and try loosen the finger knob out more until the die body hits the case. The finger tighten the retaining ring. This is setup for the crimp. Next, you will do the same with the big finger knob - adjust it down till it hits the nose of the bullet. This will be easier and stop firmly when it gets there. Just don't force it. Bring the loaded round out of the die and remove from the shell holder. Now turn the finger knob down about a 1/2 turn - we're done for now. Step 7: This is an intermediate step that I use. I set out a batch of 25 rounds in 5 rows of 5 rounds out on my bench. This allows me to see all the rounds for the next step - Powder drop. You can use what is called a "loading block" for this if you want. Step 8: Powder Charge Selection. What powder and powder charge do we use? This your biggest step yet! It is going to take some planning to do, but once you get some experience, this will get easier and you won't have to go through all of this - you will KNOW what you want. Check your reloading manual again. http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/default.aspx We wanted to use Unique powder. Alliant said 6.3 grs of Unique for the 115 gr Speer GDHP. My Speer manual says powder charge range 5.6 grs to 6.3 grs. (Remember to get that 2nd opinion to make sure you're on track and correct.) I want something in the middle range - between 5.8 grs & 6.0 grs. Using the grains to CCs conversion chart that comes with the scoops, I have the following options for Unique powder: .30 CC scoop = 2.7 grains - not close .50 CC scoop = 4.6 grains - TOO LIGHT! .70 CC scoop = 6.4 grains - TOO MUCH! I don't have a .60 CC scoop which would be close to mid range load I want. I have several decisions to make here: 1) I use two .30 CC scoops with rounded topped measurements - check on powder scale first for accuracy. After checking against my powder scale, I find out my "push" and rounded scoops come out to convert to 5.6 grains. This is inside the manual's range (on the light side), but under my mid target range between 5.8 to 6.0 grs. This makes a nice light target round if I want to try it. So I may load up a dozen of so rounds (using my powder scale only) and try it and see how it works in my pistol. My experience was just that - light round and will sometimes fail to eject in MY pistol. More would be better for reliability in my pistol. 2) I can take a .70 CC scoop and cut it down to .60 CC - checking on the powder scale for accuracy. If I had two .70 CC scoops, I would probably shave down the .70 CC to make a .60 CC scoop since I will probably be loading alot of 9mm ammunition. But I only have the one .70 CC, so this is out. 3) Change powders to one that I have a scoop for - remember, everything this far has been using Unique powder and Unique only, so to change powders I would have to research EVERYTHING in my load recipe for a different powder. IF I have other powder listed to work with, I may use it to make it easier. Remember the crisscross mistake? Here's when it happens. In this case, yes - Bullseye powder would be volumetrically easier to reload with, IF I had it. But I don't have Bullseye. 3) Make another .60 CC scoop with maybe an empty .380 case OR cut down 9mm case (using a file)- you can glue a handle on it if you want. This is my answer. I cut down a 9mm case till it measures .65 CCs (or 6.0 grains) of Unique - note that since I'm "customizing" my scoop I can get the load exactly where I want it by using the powder scale to weight out 6.0 grs of Unique to measure how long the shell needs to be. DON'T FILE THE SHELL WITH THE POWDER IN IT! Just dump it in and out till you get the right length. Also note that my .65 CC (rounded) scoop is a little over the "mathematical" mid point, but still in the middle. This is the reasons for targeting a mid range load, so that you can "error" a little up or down in your round off, and still be way under the max load and way over the min load. Then I glue half a popsicle stick or solder a piece of coat hanger to it. Write or tape on the handle "9mm 115 gr HP. Unique 6.0 grs.(.65 CCs).CCI 500". Thats the bullet, the powder and the primer info all in one place on your scoop. Now I'm ready for the next step. NOTE: It may take you several trips shooting to determine what the best load is for your particular pistol. Try loads at 5.6 grs, 5.8 grs, 6.0 grs & 6.2 grs. Be sure you keep them separated and marked so you know which ammo is which load when you go to test them. One may work better than the others. So use your powder scale to load a dozen of so rounds at each level and try them. Just be very careful when you approach the max load (or min), because the closer to the extremes you get, the more accurate your powder measurement becomes. Also, remember that weighing each powder charge on your scale is the most accurate way to measure it. For low, volume shooting & test groups, it is the best way to do it.

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Step 9: Powder drop using scoops. This is another intermediate step to get us ready to seat the bullet into the case. Pour your powder into a bowl or coffee cup. I use a ceramic coffee cup, my homemade scoop and a powder funnel (pictured). The powder funnel will come with a couple of inserts for the base of the funnel. This lets you use it for different size rounds. Pick which one goes down over your case mouth. Taking my layout of 25 rounds (in 5 by 5 rows), I start to load the cases with powder. I use the funnel in my left hand and scoop in my right. "Push" the scoop into the powder and lift, then pour into the funnel and into the case. Move to the next one and so on till you load them all. STOP! Once you have loaded all 25 cases, take a good light or flashlight (preferred) and physically check each case that it has powder in it and that each case has approximately the same amount of powder in each one. This is the single most important step now and forever in your reloading. This checks for two common mistakes that can happen during reloading: 1) No powder in the case; 2) "Double loading" or Over-loading the powder. No powder in the case will cause a "squib" load or one that will fire the primer and the bullet will stick in the barrel of the gun. This is NOT good as it plugs the barrel for the next round. Remember those horror stories about gun blowing up? This is how MOST of those accidents happen. The shooter gets a squib load and doesn't realised it and fires again. This time the full loaded round fires into a plugged barrel - BANG! Gun destroyed and shooter injured. Easy to fix check over your batch now before you seat the bullet to ensure each round has powder. "Double loading" is pretty much the same thing and number 2 for causing horror stories. You will notice that when you reload, you don't fill the brass up all the way. This is normal as you need room for the bullet and a little air for the powder to use to burn with. But double loading the safe powder charge is another BANG! Again, easy to fix - check over your batch now and make sure they are all similarly loaded. Don't worry, a double charge WILL stand out. Step 10: Setting up to seat the bullet. After you have checked your batch of 25 rounds for powder charges, you are ready to seat the bullet. Before we start, we are going to load a couple of dumbie rounds. Dumbie rounds will help you set up your bullet seating die much faster when you want to reload again and will help you gain consistency in your reloading from batch to batch. First, take one of your brass that you DID NOT prime. Put it in the press's shell holder and sat a bullet on top of it. If you did the expanding (flare) right, you should only have to steady the bullet on the case. Now slowly run the case up into the seating die hold the bullet in place - careful not to pinch your fingers. You will feel a point of resistance as the bullet's base goes into the case. Once you have made a complete stroke with the press's lever, bring the brass back out. You should have the bullet just seated into the die, if it is not, then turn the top finger knob another 1/2 turn down. If you have a "crimped case", then your flare is not enough to clear the rim of the case. STOP! Go back and re-expand your brass. This step sometimes takes a few times back and forth to get it right. Using the dumbie rounds makes it easier. If you do have to re-expand your brass, it is okay to do so with the primers still in, but NOT the powder. Once you get the flare right, then keep one of your dumbie rounds out with the correct flare. Again, this helps to repeat want you've done again. Next, now that your flare is correct, you want to start to set the OAL and the crimp using your dumbie rounds. Turn the top finger knob another 1/4 to 1/2 turn and run the brass & bullet up again. You will start to see the bullet move down into the brass. Most of the time, you will see the bullet actually "bulge" the brass just a bit. This is a good thing! It keeps the bullet from being rammed back into the brass when you are shooting - that's bad, especially in a pistol. Continue to adjust the bullet down into the case, running it in and out of the die and using 1/4 to 1/2 turns on the finger knob till you get close to the top of the cannilure. The cannilure is that little indented line around the bullet that you crimp the edge of the brass into it to seal it. This usually denotes close to where the bullet will be when you finish and crimp it. One you have adjusted the bullet down into the case to the top of the cannilure, you are going to now adjust the WHOLE DIE down for the next couple of adjustments. Run the brass in and out until you see the top edge of the case "crimp" or "bite" into the cannilure. Do not adjust the top of the brass past the cannilure. Now use your caliper to measure the the Overall Length (OAL) of the round. For 9mm, we want 1.125" with the Speer 115 gr GDHP or other JHP - EACH BULLET TYPE HAS A DIFFERENT OAL. Continue to adjust till your loaded dumbie round is 1.125" for our GDHP. Make sure you are NOT shorter than 1.125" as this will cause problems with too much pressure. So this measurement does need to be precise. Once you have completed this, tighten your retaining ring, remove your dumbie round. You know have a quick and close "pattern" to adjust your die for seating a GDHP or other JHP bullet by using the dumbie round. You need to make a dumbie round for EACH TYPE OF BULLET you want to reload. Just do this before you start each time and you'll be good to go. Also, when you do start using the dumbie round to setup for bullet seating, always back off 1/2 turn after you set it to allow you to adjust each batch of ammunition. Yes, the dumbie gets you close, but you want to adjust that last bit on the first round of each new batch of ammunition. Step 11: Now you are ready to start making loaded rounds or ammunition. Using your cases that have been primed and powdered, insert into press and set bullet on top. Run into press. Out should come a completely loaded round. For the next couple of rounds, check the OAL on your caliper to ensure things are constant. Then maybe check only every hundredth round or so for OAL. Keep your empty boxes from your ammo to use for holding your reloaded ammunition. Label the box with the recipe you used and "Reloads", so you don't confuse it with factory ammo. Reloads are great for practice and usually less expensive to shoot so you can save your factory ammo for the Zombies. Don't mistake that your reloads are less reliable than factory ammo, because they just as good - once you get experience reloading. Reloading is a skill that with practice and experience, you will become more proficient. There are tons of other things I could talk about with reloading, but this is a good overview to get you started. If you have questions, I'm always available at ironhand13@hotmail.com or post a question below. No question is stupid, Just ask! Good luck and good Zombie hunting! Misc Info and Tips:

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Quick note about reloaded ammunition (in general): SOME GUNS WON'T SHOOT RELOADS: Not all guns will fire reloads due to exacting tolerances in their chambers that make them "tighter" than say a military weapon. They will sometimes have trouble with some factory loads too, but not always. So don't think it's necessarily YOU that did something wrong if your gun has trouble with locking up or jamming with reloads. Try shooting the ammo in a different gun and see what the results are. I have had experience with a number of same caliber pistols that some would shoot reloads and some will not. Also, the issue may be the TYPE of bullet - i.e. lead vs FMJ. Some guns like lead ammo, some don't. Just keep this in mind. DO NOT TRUST ANYONE ELSE'S RELOADS! As a general rule of thumb, do not trust someone else's reloads. You don't know if they took the same care you do in their reloading. Factory ammo manufacturer's have tight quality control. So as a general rule, only use reloads from people you trust do it the right way. Common Mistakes during Reloading: 1) Crisscrossing your powder charge data in the manual. SOLUTION: Get a second opinion. Use at LEAST two different manuals to figure our your powder charges. 2) Reverse loaded primers. SOLUTION: Check that primer is "up" in your priming tool tray and before inserting brass into the tool to prime it. WHEN this happens, trash it - DON'T TRY TO REMOVE A REVERSE LOADED PRIMER! 3) Squib Loads - no powder in case. SOLUTION: Check brass for powder before you seat the bullet. 4) Double Loads - double powder in case. SOLUTION: Check brass for TOO much powder before you seat the bullet. HousekeepingTips: Notebook: Make a notebook and record all your reloading "recipes" and performance information; especially your test loads - i.e. light load, good/bad accuracy, won't eject or jams gun. Do this so the next time you want to reload that caliber, you won't have to start from scratch. Also, it creates a good history of what you've done for reference. Label the Box: Label the box of ammo with the reloading recipe so you know what it is. Crescent Wrench: You'll need a crescent wrench to tighten the retaining rings on your dies. Websites for reloading info and suppliers: * NOTE: These are some of the suppliers that I use and have experience with that I would recommend. No I do not get paid by them! * Alliant Powders - http://www.alliantpowder.com/ IMR Powders - http://www.imrpowder.com/ Laser Cast Bullets by Oregan Trail - http://www.laser-cast.com/ (best lead bullets) Lee Reloading Equipment - http://leeprecision.com/ (Anniversary kit is good starter kit) Midway USA (Component Supplier) - http://www.midwayusa.com/ (good selection & service) RCBS Reloading Equipment - http://www.rcbs.com/ Sierra Bullets - http://www.sierrabullets.com/ Speer Bullets - http://www.speer-bullets.com/ Ironhand

Latest page update: made by ironhand , Jul 7 2010, 9:56 PM EDT (about this update - complete history) Keyword tags: ammunition reloading bullets ironhand
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Threads for this page Started By ironhand Thread Subject Reloading Ammunition
Thread started: May 25 2009, 10:47 AM EDT Watch

Replies Last Post 18 Apr 12 2012, 1:15 PM EDT by OutlawJames

Please post any questions or comments you might have. Show Last Reply popawell AvtomatKalashnikova Ammunition manufacturing/reloading How many times can I reload a single casing? 2 4 Feb 8 2012, 5:18 AM EST by Marsden Oct 6 2010, 6:43 PM EDT by OutlawJames

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Related Content (what's this?) How many times can I reload a single casing?

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