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  What are the steps to reload?

ReloadingA common question which seems to arise frequently is “how do I reload”. Reloading rifle, pistol and shotgun cartridges is a fairly simple and safe process. Below are the steps to reload rifle cartridges. New reloader’s should purchase a reloading manual and read its steps to be more familiar with the process. A quality reloading manual is an absolute requirement.


(Pictures are coming very soon)

Step 1). Begin with a close inspection of the empty cases. Inspect the neck area and shoulder, looking for any cracks or signs that the case may be failing. On belted magnum cases, inspect the webbing just above the belt for potential separation. Inspect the primer area and look for signs of worn primer pockets, usually black sooty edges where the primer contacts the case. Minor dents and blemishes are ok but sharp creases in the case from dents etc are unrepairable. Discard any questionable cases.

Step 2). Clean the cases by using a tumbler or vibrating case cleaner. Brass polishing compounds are not recommended due to Ammonia which will weaken the case.

Step 3). Cases must be lubricated prior to resizing or they may become stuck within the reloading dies. Apply a thin coating of Case Lubricant to the case walls. Avoid lubricant on the case shoulder as this can case shoulder collapse when the case is resized. Lightly lubricate the inside of the case mouth with a case neck brush.

Step 4). Lower your presses handle thereby raising the ram to its highest position. Select the resizing and primer decapping Die for your rifle caliber. Screw it into your press until it contacts the presses ram. Return your presses handle to its upright position and tighten the resizing die another ¾ to 1 turns (consult your dies instructions if available for correct installation of the die). Tighten the dies lock-ring.

Step 5). Place the base of the case into the shellholder at the bottom of the ram. Apply pressure on the handle forcing the case up into the sizing die. Note the primer which is pushed out the bottom of the case. Apply pressure to return the press handle to it’s up position. The down stroke of the presses handle will force the case up into the die, changing it’s size and removing the primer. The up stroke of the presses handle will resize the case neck and mouth. It shouldn’t be too difficult to resize a case, if so there might not be enough lubricant on the case.

Step 6). Resizing of cases will cause the case length to grow. Using a set of calipers, measure the length of the resized cases. Use a case trimmer to return any cases which are too long to their original length. This length is available out of your reloading manual. Calipers are also reasonably cheap, I recently bought some locally for $14 so it’s something no-one should be without. Remove the die from the press when you are finished resizing your cases.

Step 7). Using a case-neck deburring tool, remove the burrs from both the outside and inside of the case mouth. This only needs to be done once after case trimming and not again unless the case has been trimmed. Also, you are only trying to remove the sharp edge of the case to aid in bullet seating so if your case feels “sharp” then you have removed too much material. Use a light touch.

Step 8). Apply the new primer. Follow your presses manual to install new primers or, if you have a hand priming tool, follow it’s instructions to install new primers. Be very careful to use dry, oil free hands when handling primers as any oil or case lube can render them inert.

Step 9). Consult your reloading manual to determine the correct amount and type of powder for your rifles caliber and bullet weight and type. Check and double check you are using the correct components as listed in the manual (example: H4831 is not the same as IMR4831 even though the numbers are the same). Using a quality, accurate measuring scale, measure out the amount specified for the load. Pour this into an empty, primed case and set it aside. Repeat for all your empty cases, placing charged cases in another location from empty cases to avoid confusion and accidental “double charging” of a case.

Step 10). Install your bullet seating die the same as in step 4 with one exception. Place an empty case into the shell holder and screw the die down until you feel it contact the case. Back off ¼ of a turn from this contact point to avoid crimping the case (note: if you desire a case crimp, follow the Die’s instructions, or your reloading manual for setup). Tighten the lock-ring for the die. Back off the Dies seating adjustment screw several turns.

Return the press handle to it’s up position and place a bullet over the mouth of the charged case in the die (hold the bullet with your hand to avoid it falling). Slowly lower the press handle until the handle is at it’s lowest position. Note: Stop if you feel the bullet contact the dies seating unit.

Step 11). Now we need to adjust the actual seating depth of the bullet into the case. We start off by having the adjustment screw backed off enough that it doesn’t contact the bullet on the down stroke of the press handle. We do this so we can increase the depth a little at a time until we achieve the correct depth.

The presses ram should now be in the down position and the case and bullet not contacting the die itself. Screw down the seating adjustment screw until you feel it contact the bullet. Raise the presses handle partially and screw down the seating adjustment 1 turn. Lower the handle and you should feel the bullet being pressed into the case. Remove the case and compare the length of the cartridge with the OAL (over all length) as specified in your reloading manual. If it’s too long, place the case back onto the ram and tighten down the seating adjustment another turn, repress and remeasure. When you have achieved the correct length as specified in the reloading manual, set the lock-ring for the seating adjustment screw. Press in bullets for all remaining charged cases.

**Note: A quick shortcut for beginners to achieve proper seating depth is to place a previously loaded “Factory” cartridge onto the ram, and adjust the seating depth until it contacts the “factory” bullet. Make sure that if you use this method, the factory round uses the same bullet type and weight as the ones you are reloading. Press a bullet into a charged case and double check the OAL.

Step 12). Wipe off all excess lubricant from the case.

Step 13). This is a very important point. WRITE DOWN ALL INFORMATION REGUARDING THE LOADS YOU JUST CREATED! Information such as Date, bullet type, bullet weight, powder type and amount, primer type, number of times the cases have been reloaded, seating depth etc etc are VERY useful down the road. I recommend buying a cheap pack of stickers, which can then be slapped on the outside of the ammo box. If you *****t a more professional look, Midway sells rolls of reload information stickers which are simple to fill out.

Step 14). We are all done! Clean up the reloading bench and head for the range! Go shoot and have fun!

Posted by DallanC on Tuesday, May 10, 2005 (23:47:49) (11128 reads) [ Administration ]
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