A few reloading questions

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by field, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    ok im just using a Hornady single action press and i have all of my dies and got my powder dispener set up accurately and all that. Last night i went through the procedure and loaded a few rounds. but theres a few things i need to know about before i actually try shooting any rounds i load.

    i am loading 9mm ammo.

    1. what does the carbide sizing die do other than punch out the old primer? does it narrow the case back it original dimensions?

    2. when using the expander die, how can i tell if i have 'expanded' the case too much? like it says to expand the case just enough to allow you to seat a bullet with your fingers. what would indicate i have expanded too much or not enough?

    3. how possible is it that a bullet would not get seated comletely straight in the casing? what would happen when firing a bullet out of your gun that is not seated 100% straight? im probably dumb for asking this but still.

    4. what is the effective difference between a 'soft' crimp and a 'hard' crimp? what difference does this make when a bullet is fired? if i am loading regular 115g 9mm ammo how can i visually tell if i have the correct crimp? what would happen if the crimp is too soft or too hard?
  2. Southern Boy

    Southern Boy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    110
    Hello, to answer your questions, first off the sizing die does just that, re-sizes the brass back to spec., and straightens the case walls. When you have'nt expanded enough, you cannot start the bullet in the case by hand. You need to expand just enough to start the bullet into the case, thats all otherwise the bullet or case could be damaged from cathing as the bullet is seated. When seating the bullet to the proper deptth, it will be straight enough. None are really perfect unless using a reading match grade seater or similar high dollar, but they will be pretty darn close with any die in good shape. Nothing to worry about there. Crimp is a little more technical. Of course you have to crimp tight enough to keep the bullet from moving in the case and possibly falling out and spilling powder, that could be dangerous. I set my crimp fairly tight, then adjust by measuring FPS. Usually on a mid. caliber pistol you need a fairly tight crimp to raise pressures to load data info, but...not to tight. Just set the dies to the die instructions then ensure bullet is not loose by trying to pull out bullet. Then maybe fire 10 or so round and check for accuracy, crimp a little mor if needed. I have worked up several loads over the years that the only way to perfect after weeks of trial and error was to tighten my crimp some more. Look at some good web sights or better yet, visit a friend that loads and try to learn more about crimping. Most people never realizs what difference a crimp can make. DO NOT OVER-CRIMP. Too tight could cause damage, you know this I'm sure but...... I'm sure some more folks will chime in with more info for you, Good luck, and practise makes perfect.
  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Messages:
    10,552
    Location:
    NW Florida
    1 - yes, it squeezes the brass back down to original dimensions

    2 - you want just a slight flare on the end of the case. If you don't have enough, when you try to seat a bullet it will crush the case (if using jacketed) or cut big chunks out of the bullet (is using lead). A good way to tell that you don't have enough bell is that it is very hard to get the bullet to stay on top of the case as it is going up into the seating die.

    You have belled it too much when it will not go up into the seating die. :eek: The more you bell it, the easier it is to seat a bullet. But, the more you bell it, the more the brass is worked, so the sooner the mouth will crack. And, as I said, if you bell it too much it will be too big to go up in the die. The good rule of thumb is you want it belled just enough to let the bullet sit in it. It's hard to explain, but when you have screwed a couple of cases you will know how much is too much and how much is not enough. Just part of the "learning curve".

    3 - no impossible, but very unlikely. The curve in the seating plug will tend to straighten the bullet as it seats it. If it is not seated straight you should not have to worry about what happens when it is fired, as it most likely will not chamber.

    4 - that's another, "you've got to learn that one for yourself" kinda thing. The way it was explained to me, when I first started loading for automatic pistols, was to take a loaded round and put the nose up against the side of my loading bench. Then lean my weight on it. If the bullet did not go into the case any further the crimp was sufficient. And, sometimes that won't be enough. I have three 9mms sitting on top of my safe. They, all three, had their noses jammed into the bottom of the loading ramp, instead of going up it, and the force of the slide under spring pressure both gouged a huge divot in the nose of the bullet and pushed them back down into the case. Different loads, different guns, different times. But it happens.
  4. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    wow ive been doing some loading...and... im kind of wondering why anyone would recommend using a single action press for reloading pistol ammo over a turret press. Other than worrying about somehow double loading a case im not sure why you would want to take almost 4 times as long to produce the same amount of ammunition
  5. FTK87

    FTK87 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Messages:
    481
    Location:
    Chouteau, Oklahoma
    A single stage is better for someone starting out because they really get the feel for all the different processes that you go through in making ammunition. It will make you appreciate each step much more.
  6. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    lol yeah you got that right
  7. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    awsome so i shot my first 50 hand loaded rounds and they alll worked great, they seemed just as accurate if not more accurate than the factory ammo i was using. k time to go all out on the primers
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,296
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    A couple of points:

    CRIMPING:

    9 mm pistol dies come with a crimp die that makes a tapered crimp rather than a roll crimp that normally feeds into a groove on the bullet (as used on revolver cartridges). Set the crimp die up EXACTLY as stated in the die instruction for the proper amount of crimp. Taper crimps normally do not take well to trying to adjust them as an excessive amount of crimp collapses or necks-in the bullet itself, which can be detrimental to accuracy.

    RELOADING PRESSES:

    There are three styles of presses: Single stage as you currently use; Turret press where all dies are installed in the press and the cartridge is only put into the press once and the handle operated multiple times to do the required steps to complete a round; and Progressive presses where three or more cartridges cases are in the press at once, each having one of the processes done to it and each pull of the handle produces on completed round.

    Single stage presses are limited to one process at a time taking multiple changes to the press and multiple placements of the case into the press and multiple pulls of the press handle to finish one round.

    Turret presses get you one completed round with multiple pulls of the handle (usually three) but the case is only put in the press once. Turret presses can be used also as a single stage press, if you wish.

    Progressive presses require the case be put in the press once and every handle pull yields one completed round, as multiple steps to multiple cases are all done at once. But most progressives can be used as a Turret press or a single stage press. My favorite (no surprise here, folks) is the Dillon RL550B as it is the most versatile of any of the progressives (in my opinion and others will differ here) but is backed by the best manufacture's warrantee program ever... the press is guaranteed forever against breakage or anything else that makes the press inoperable (even house fires, no kidding, as one guy found out but that's stretching it a bit beyond Dillon's responsibility but it happened). If a Dillon press wears out then Dillon rebuilds it for free. Mine is on it second rebuild in over 20 years of use (I reload for over 30 different cartridges!). If Dillon upgrades parts of the press they upgrade your press for free. The RL550B has been around for decades, is a proven design, has been updated several times at no cost to the owners, is durable and flat works.

    LDBennett
  9. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    4,942
    Location:
    SW Fort Worth
    Welcome to TFF.
    Had a couple of ??? for you,

    Which reloading manuals do you own?
    Which powder scale/dispenser do you use?

    my take on single stage presses:

    You will never get rid of a single stage press if you continue to reload. It will serve a purpose, ALWAYS. Hence, when given the initial costs, simple operation and better ability to focus on each individual step; its 100% the logical choice to lead a beginning reloader. I made very good use of my Chucker with my recent problems with the Fed pre-primed brass; it was clogging up my dies on the prog. So much easier to deal with a problem in only one stage of reloading, rather than having it affect other stages all at once.

    Be Safe and Enjoy !
  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,296
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    woolleyworm:

    I said:

    "But most progressives can be used as a Turret press or a single stage press."

    "Turret presses can be used also as a single stage press, if you wish."


    There is no reason to shy away from presses other than a single stage press or retain a single stage press if you have either a turret or a progressive. Nothing says you have to load up the table or attempt to do more than one stage at a time to "solve" problems with either the Progressive or the Turret press. Both will do the job of a single stage press if you stay away from Progressives that have Auto Table Rotation like the Lee and the Hornady and the RCBS (????). The Dillon RL550B is versatile BECAUSE it has manual table rotation and no tricky means of holding the case to the table. It can easily double as a single stage or turret press if you so desire.

    Once a person has a Dillon RL550B there is no reaosn to have or retain a single stage press for normal reloading, in my opinion.

    LDBennett
  11. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    yeah i can see myself loading LOTS of cartridges at this point so im pretty sure sometime soon i will get a multi action press i mean yeah i guess reloading is kind of fun but to me its more something to be economical and allow me to shoot higher quantities of slightly better put together cartridges in order to become a better handgun shooter so i kind of would like the process to be as breif as safely possible.
  12. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Messages:
    10,552
    Location:
    NW Florida
    I realize that when you start something new there is usually new terms to learn, and you're new. But

    Single action is a type of gun. A press is "single stage".

    No such thing as "multi action" press. It's "progressive".

    And, while I have a Dillon, it is sitting in the box, where it has been for the past 4 years since I swapped into it. I've been using a Rockchucker single stage for the past 35 years and can't begin to count the amount of ammo I've loaded on it. The last couple of months I've been using a Lee Hand Press. Single stage that isn't even bolted to a bench. Probably loaded ten thousand rounds. Yes, mostly pistol, but still. Turning 'em out. Progressives aren't REQUIRED.
  13. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    1,258
    Location:
    Las Vegas NV
    Field,

    My situation is that I first bought a turret press and its great, however now I want to go to single stage for match quality rifle ammunition, the good thing about your situation is that you have learned a great deal on a single stage rather than squibbing a load on something that is overwhelming to a new reloader and getting injured. Are you batch loading (processing 50 or 100 at time then moving on to the next step) It will cut down a lot of time on a single stage. Have fun!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  14. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    4,942
    Location:
    SW Fort Worth
    Agree 100%, my comment was just specific to opinion of single stage presses only. Entry level cost and the aspect of "nothing to overly complicated" was all I was intending to highlight. I think the 550 is an excellent press; we're both fans of the Blue machines; ( I'm a little more silent on my dislike of Lee though ;)), but I think the 550 for a beginner is a little more of a challenge. If someone had a mentor or some assistance, I think the 550 would be perfect. All the parts, pieces and pages of instructions for most of us here wouldn't be an issue, but in the hands of a green reloader, it may prove a bit more mentally challenging.
  15. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    4,942
    Location:
    SW Fort Worth
    Which turret do you have? You shouldn't have any problems getting high quality ammo out of a T-7, AT500 or the RCBS. I've had issues with the Lee being a little "sloppy", other than that, turrets are pretty much single stage with each stage "pre-set".


    Field - still wondering..
    Which reloading manuals do you own?
    Which powder scale/dispenser do you use?
  16. colt

    colt New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    147
    Location:
    Ky.
    Lots of good info LD, and all. Looking to get into the reloading soon, and will be going into it as a true rookie. Lots to learn.... THANKS.
  17. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,296
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    Agreed, the Dillon seems complicated but the instruction are good and if used as a single stage press it is no more complicated than a RCBS or Lee single stage press. That's because it is not automated like the RL650 or the Hornady progressive. It has no case feeder or bullet feeders, just a primer feeder that is similar to any primer tool that holds a supply of primers in it. You hand feed the cases and the bullets. You manually rotate the table. When working progressive (and few people who start out using it single stage stay at single stage...99% go to progressive operation after as few as one or two reloading session) you get into a rhythm: advance table, insert case into station one while adding a bullet to station three, pull handle, set primer with handle, and repeat. I can do it blindfolded and in my sleep.

    It can get complicated IF something screws up but because the RL550B is simple the problem is easily fixed. You go slow and deliberate at first, then you pick up speed but there is no need to race as you are many times faster than a single stage press. And it makes quality ammo equal to any single stage press.

    Sorry for the sales pitch but so many shy away from a good progressive press when their reloading experience would be so enhanced by the use of a good one like the RL550B. But remember the more automation in a progressive then the more complicated, the harder to learn, and less it is like a simple turret or single stage press. That simplicity gives versatility, instead of speed.

    LDBennett
  18. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    lol thank you i appreciate the info in another thread i was talking about the 'plastic thing in the magazine' and then this guy told me 'that is the follower' and now i use the word follower instead of plastic thing.
  19. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    yeah ill usually do as many cases as possible when going through a particular stage of the process.
  20. field

    field New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    Hornady manual and with the other 2 things...

    when i get back ill just take a picture of them
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ammo & Reloading Forum beginer reloading questions Feb 19, 2014
The Ammo & Reloading Forum several questions on reloading 30-30's Oct 13, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Just purchased my first reloading press and have a few questions...? Jul 22, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum reloading and some black powder questions. Nov 29, 2012
The Ammo & Reloading Forum reloading for a 30-06 pump (questions) Oct 27, 2012