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PBE Shield Stickers and Deagle Boltface Patches On Sale Now!

File 133851399199.jpg - (746.86KB , 2848x2136 , 13296953776.jpg )
3628 No. 3628 ID: 10f34c
Note: This thread was originally posted by me December 2011 and lost in the Great Fiasco. I now present it again in its entirety.

So I just reloaded all my loose 7.5x55 Swiss brass. Let's start from the beginning.

Here's my bench, made from 2x6 cutoffs and a couple of 2x4's. 30"tall x 4' long x 2' wide, screwed together, glued, reinforced and sealed with a couple of coats of polyurethane.
Expand all images
>> No. 3629 ID: 10f34c
File 133851408455.jpg - (786.98KB , 2848x2136 , 132969643239.jpg )
Nevermind the RCBS Lubesizer on the end. It's for sizing and lubing cast lead bullets, which we aren't going to cover in any detail here. Casting is a while 'nother can of worms.

>Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Anniversary Kit
About $90. Comes with press, powder measure, powder scale, priming arms and primer holders, case lube, plus a slew of small infrequently used tools.
>Your choice of dies
$30-$80. Lee makes cheap good quality dies, but in the case of 7.5 Swiss, they size the brass to the GP11 ammo dimensions, rather than to the size of K31 chambers which is larger and accounts for case expansion. My Redding dies came highly recommended. Lee dies work great for .357 Mag.
>Powder, bullets and primers
Powder has a median price of $25/lb in small containers, but pistol powder and bulk powder and MUCH cheaper. There's also pulldown and foreign mfg powders for those looking for super-economy.
$30-$40/1000. Primers pretty much have to bought new. There are Small Pistol, Small Rifle, Large Pistol, Large Rifle, #209 and magnum versions of all. Large pistol and rifle are the same size, but the rifle primers are harder and thicker to account for the increased chamber pressures. #209's are used for shotshells.
Bullets are all up to you. I haven't reloaded a single jacketed bullet yet. Every one of them has been a homemade cast lead boolit. Even buying cast lead is a minor fraction of the price of new jacketed.

As you can see, getting started is not expensive at all.
>> No. 3630 ID: 10f34c
File 133851539394.jpg - (955.77KB , 2136x2848 , 132969654979.jpg )
The Lee Challenger Breechlock press is a solid piece of cast aluminum. Lee also makes a cast iron press.
>> No. 3631 ID: 10f34c
File 133851541957.jpg - (0.99MB , 2136x2848 , 132969666139.jpg )
The large primer arm is white, while the small primer arm is black. Each comes with its own tray.
>> No. 3632 ID: 10f34c
File 133851544864.jpg - (857.56KB , 2848x2136 , 132969685836.jpg )
I clean my brass in a cheap Harbor Freight tumbler using polish-treated walnut shell media.
Cleaning is not necessary 95% of the time. The insides DO NOT NEED TO BE SHINY. Wiping down your brass with a soapy rag is all it takes, but I went the extra mile for yall today.
>> No. 3633 ID: 10f34c
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The trick with the cheap Harbor Freight tumbler is to adjust the motor to tighten the belt as soon as you get it. The most common complaint is broken belts, but I've run mine on the original belt for over 200 hours now.

The rubber drum seals up tight and shows NO signs of wear.
>> No. 3634 ID: 10f34c
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Watch very carefully when you tumble without first depriming. Lots of walnut can fit in a bottleneck case and occasionally it will stop up still half full of media. Give them a good shake.
>> No. 3635 ID: 10f34c
File 133851552370.jpg - (806.67KB , 2848x2136 , 132969730138.jpg )
A quick wipe with a shop rag to remove the dust and tada, new-looking cases.

Instead of spending $20 or more on loading blocks, I made several from 2x6 cutoffs with a drill press.
>> No. 3636 ID: 10f34c
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The priming arm is pretty simple.
>> No. 3637 ID: 10f34c
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CCI and Winchester primers are top-tier. Stay away from Remington and Wolf.
>> No. 3638 ID: 10f34c
File 133851557250.jpg - (731.07KB , 2848x2136 , 132969766588.jpg )
The trick to filling the primer tray is to turn the sleeve over, hold it over the tray and pull the paper off slowly.
>> No. 3639 ID: 10f34c
File 133851559538.jpg - (621.66KB , 2848x2136 , 132969776564.jpg )
This will give you a nice little pile of primers. However, they all need to be cup-up.

The Lee primer trays have lots of tiny nipples molded into them. Just give the tray a little shake...
>> No. 3640 ID: 10f34c
File 133851561144.jpg - (660.24KB , 2848x2136 , 132969781873.jpg )
...let the nipples catch the cup edges to flip them over...
>> No. 3641 ID: 10f34c
File 133851562889.jpg - (667.24KB , 2848x2136 , 13296979792.jpg )
...and tada. Slap the lid back on it and reconnect the arm. It just snaps together.
>> No. 3642 ID: 10f34c
File 133851565178.jpg - (0.99MB , 2136x2848 , 132969806166.jpg )
Then reinstall the arm.
>> No. 3643 ID: 10f34c
File 133851567756.jpg - (678.68KB , 2136x2848 , 132969836313.jpg )
This is the priming lever. It hangs from the press rod, and primers are deposited into it at the top of the upstroke by just pressing the white assembly on the bottom of the primer arm over.
>> No. 3644 ID: 10f34c
File 133851569528.jpg - (636.92KB , 2136x2848 , 132969886946.jpg )
Then at the bottom of the down stroke, the lever rocks over, in line with the case. The spring-loaded sleeve slips back, allowing the primer to be pressed into the case by the ram.
>> No. 3645 ID: 10f34c
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Here's the die set we'll be using today. On the right is the full-length sizing die, which deprimes and shapes the case and mouth. The left die seats the bullet and crimps it.
>> No. 3646 ID: 10f34c
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Here's the disassembled sizing die.
>> No. 3647 ID: 10f34c
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Here's why I like the Lee breechlock press

Instead of just screwing in the dies, you put them into the breech plug, adjust them one time and set the lock nut. The breech plug drops freely into the body...
>> No. 3648 ID: 10f34c
File 133851575855.jpg - (588.52KB , 2848x2136 , 132969936574.jpg )
...give it a sixth of a turn, until the spring loaded button lines up with the notch in the plug...
>> No. 3649 ID: 10f34c
File 133851577251.jpg - (584.34KB , 2848x2136 , 132969942731.jpg )
...and we're all locked in the same as last time, without any testing or adjustment needed.
>> No. 3650 ID: 10f34c
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You don't need a case lube pad ($4 used) but it comes in handy. Case lube is water-based. Oil-based lubes do not have the correct properties for this, and using WD-40 will only get a case stuck in the dies that has to be removed at the factory, if ever. A tube of case lube ships with the Lee kit and is a year-or-longer supply.
>> No. 3651 ID: 10f34c
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Lay down the cases...
>> No. 3652 ID: 10f34c
File 133851583172.jpg - (565.88KB , 2848x2136 , 132970162032.jpg )
and give them a roll.

This is too much. It takes very very little lube.
>> No. 3653 ID: 10f34c
File 133851584662.jpg - (582.58KB , 2136x2848 , 132970174045.jpg )
Put it into the shellholder and run it all the way up into sizing die.
>> No. 3654 ID: 10f34c
File 133851586224.jpg - (702.89KB , 2136x2848 , 132970189175.jpg )
While the case is in the die, tip the primer arm over and deposit a primer into the lever.
>> No. 3655 ID: 10f34c
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At the bottom of the downstroke the case is primed and ready to switch out.
>> No. 3656 ID: 10f34c
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>> No. 3657 ID: 10f34c
File 133851593346.jpg - (573.05KB , 2136x2848 , 132970212710.jpg )
The spent primers fall through the hole in the shellholder, down through a keyway in the ram, bounce off the primer lever and exit through this hole, then falling into the catch hose.
>> No. 3658 ID: 10f34c
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The hose just hangs there with a cap on the end. It could probably hold 300 or more primers between emptying.
>> No. 3659 ID: 10f34c
File 133851596213.jpg - (621.25KB , 2848x2136 , 132970235730.jpg )
This is the Lee "Safety Scale". It only has a 100 grain capacity, so it's useless for weighing bullets. The common complaint is that it's hard to read...
>> No. 3660 ID: 10f34c
File 133851598389.jpg - (537.51KB , 2848x2136 , 132970244366.jpg )
Remember that a grain is 1/7000th of a pound. The scale is clearly accurate to .2 grains.

ALWAYS zero out your scale prior to use.
>> No. 3661 ID: 10f34c
File 133851604789.jpg - (647.86KB , 2848x2136 , 132970316935.jpg )
I only reload .357 Mag and 7.5 Swiss for the moment, so my powder selection is limited.
When reloading, especially with cast, chamber pressure is the most important consideration. Without a minimum pressure, the case will fail to seal the chamber and you'll get gas blow-back through the action. Too high and gun goes kaboom. Pistol powders burn fastest, followed by magnum pistols, then small rifle powders, then magnum rifle powders. In fact, the powder used in .50 BMG burns so slow that it's known to often fail to ignite in smaller cases with standard primers.

Unique is an all-purpose fast burning pistol powder that's useful for reduced loads in magnum handgun cartridges and rifles.
2400 is slower, and useful for magnum handgun loads as well as reduced power rifle loads.
H110 is specifically for .357 and .44 maximum loads. It's also so damned fine that it leaks from the Lee powder measure. NEVER USE H110 FOR REDUCED LOADS.
H4895 is a mid-range range rifle powder. A 4895 analog is what the Russians used for 7.62x54 and what most .30-06's, .308's and similar cartridges are loaded with.
>> No. 3662 ID: 10f34c
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A full powder burn rate chart can be found here: http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html

The faster a powder burns, the less it takes to hit a certain chamber pressure. While I can shoot 20 grains of 2400 all day long, 20 grains of Unique would kaboom.

Right now I'm using H4895. It's an extruded stick-type powder with a green-gold color. I'm trying to work up a high velocity cast load.
>> No. 3663 ID: 10f34c
File 133851629680.jpg - (616.64KB , 2136x2848 , 132970383810.jpg )
The Lee powder measure is a volumetric measure that is adjusted by unscrewing the black plastic plug in the aluminum pipe. It's graduated in 1/100cc if you have a density chart, but trial-and-error is just as easy.
>> No. 3664 ID: 10f34c
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Drop a load, weigh it out and adjust the plug as necessary to get to your goal. In this case, I want to try 36 grains of H4895, which should give me an estimated velocity of 2300 fps. Not quite full power, but getting close. To go any faster without losing accuracy requires an even slower-burning powder. I can't be certain of velocity without a good chronograph, but that's an educated guess based on known .308 Win and .30-06 data.
>> No. 3665 ID: 10f34c
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NEVER use jacketed loading data with cast lead. They work differently in the chamber.
>> No. 3666 ID: 10f34c
File 13385163573.jpg - (620.24KB , 2848x2136 , 132970435866.jpg )
There are several powder styles around.
Unique is a flake powder with a large surface area compared to mass.
2400 and H110 are ball powders, but H110 is so much finer it's ridiculous.
>> No. 3667 ID: 10f34c
File 133851636654.jpg - (615.50KB , 2848x2136 , 132970442691.jpg )
Seriously, I dislike H110. It's hard to handle and has very limited usefulness.
>> No. 3668 ID: 10f34c
File 133851637988.jpg - (536.05KB , 2848x2136 , 132970473553.jpg )
Find your mark, check, check and recheck what the dispenser is dropping with your scale. When you're getting consistent loads, it's time to fill cases.
>> No. 3669 ID: 10f34c
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One more thought on powder:

A double charge is a very real danger when reloading reduced power loads. If I were putting my usual 15 grains of Unique or 16 grains of 2400, an accidental double charge would mean a bolt flying back into my eye. With 36 grains of H4895, a double charge would overflow the case, so visual inspection is sufficient. With the faster powders, I take a tire pressure gauge, pull the stem out, and run it down into every case looking for a double charge. Vigilance is key when trying to save money.

The bullets I'm using today are from a custom mold I had made specifically for K31's. 180gr flat nose, with the nose tapering to be a bore rider in the front, an extra-large lube groove and then gas checked in the back. A gas check is a copper cup that crimps onto the base of the bullet and grips the rifling better than the softer lead alloy. Without a gas check, lead bullets are only good to about 1600 FPS. With one, they can be successfully fired to around 3200 FPS. When using too small or too soft of a bullet, the bullet gets forced down the barrel faster than it can spin, stripping off the out layer and leaving flakes of lead lodged in the grooves between the lands. Too hard of an alloy will fail to seal the barrel, causing the gas to leak around it and cut divots.

The reason I wanted a bore rider bullet is that K31's are notoriously "difficult" (compared to everything else) to reload for with cast because it has such a short throat. These chamber and shoot like a dream, though, unlike the two other bullet molds I've tried.
>> No. 3670 ID: 10f34c
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Screw in your seating die.
Put a powdered case into the shell holder.
Take a bullet in one hand and the handle in the other.
Hold the bullet over the case mouth as you pull the handle.
Let it slip through your fingers until the bullet enters the seating die.
Shove the ram all the way up.
>> No. 3671 ID: 10f34c
File 133851650622.jpg - (636.45KB , 2136x2848 , 132970624114.jpg )
And now we have a completed crimped cartridge.

The dents in the shoulder are from using a hair too much case lube when sizing. They'll straighten out when fired.
>> No. 3672 ID: 10f34c
File 13385165289.jpg - (0.96MB , 2136x2848 , 132970639559.jpg )
For shits and giggles, I seated my last round without powder so I could pull it and show you how the bullet still gets a good crimp without a cannelure.

This is a Frankford Arsenal bullet puller. It's pretty simple.
>> No. 3673 ID: 10f34c
File 133851654751.jpg - (835.30KB , 2848x2136 , 13297064803.jpg )
It comes with 3 sets of collets held together with rubber o-rings. You simply place the case in the collet, screw the collet in place and whack the living shit out of it.
>> No. 3674 ID: 10f34c
File 133851656340.jpg - (853.27KB , 2848x2136 , 132970667826.jpg )
Just don't hit anything harder than soft pine, or the plastic will shatter and you'll be out $12.
>> No. 3675 ID: 10f34c
File 133851663364.jpg - (823.63KB , 2136x2848 , 132970677546.jpg )
Got a good, strong roll crimp right where I want it, just above the lube groove.
>> No. 3676 ID: 10f34c
File 13385166393.jpg - (534.04KB , 2848x2136 , 132970680886.jpg )
>> No. 3677 ID: 10f34c
File 133851666671.jpg - (620.94KB , 2848x2136 , 132970688214.jpg )
Four dozen reloads ready to rock and roll, shoving 180 grains of lead at 2300 FPS.
>> No. 3678 ID: 10f34c
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Feel free to ask any questions at all about the physics, process or anything with reloading. I've put over a hundred hours of study time in before even buying a press. YOU don't have to, just for reloading, but casting bullets is an art unto itself.

A well fed K31 is a happy K31.
>> No. 3679 ID: b93bdd
Thanks for the pics and comments, it's helpful. Couple questions, what do you think of the hand primer vs the auto prime? And where did you find that kit for $90?
>> No. 3680 ID: b93bdd
I mean hand primer vs the safety prime
>> No. 3681 ID: 9a4cd1
Great posts would you mind detailing the process one might go through to determine the proper powder to use for a particular cartridge? I'm looking to build a precision rifle in .260rem and haven't had too much trouble choosing most components other than powder. Is there any major factors to consider when choosing the appropriate brand and etc?
>> No. 3682 ID: f1f2a8
you need to consider burn rate, energy density and load density, costs and availability. you won't get insight into most of those without trying or quickloading, so the easiest way is to search for recommendations of experienced loaders.
>> No. 3683 ID: d07210
Don't have any reloading equipment, but I am saving my GP11 brass for when I have some.

A fudd at the range told me I can't reload GP11 ammo because they use Berdan primers.

Is he full of shit?
>> No. 3684 ID: 42e9c9
you can reload berdan primed cases. there are several approaches from simply priming with berdan primers again to converting the case to boxers. you'll figure out the most practical solution when it's time.

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