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Thread: What major problems have you discovered while handloading?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default What major problems have you discovered while handloading?

    I've found major issues while handloading that I've never read about....anywhere. I would never have discovered them if it wasn't for experience. Just to warn future handloaders of potentially dangerous issues.....post them here in this thread. Here's a few of mine:

    I once saved all my buddies brass from one of our shootin sessions at the range. He had bought a bunch of winchester target ammo in 223. After cleaning and resizing the cases......I attempted to prime the cases with my lee autoprime (im cheap). No matter how hard I tried.....many of the cases would not accept the primer even with great force! Upon closer inspection.....The primer pockets were actually way off center! I couldn't believe it, you could clearly see where the primer was damaged by being "press fit" into the side of the primer pocket. I threw all of the primed cases and unprimed cases in a bucket of water and threw it all in the trash the following day.

    I once attempted to load the 358 barnes 225 grain TSX. I called the company to ask them about their "new" triple shock and their older reloding manual to make sure the date would be safe. I attempted to load thier PUBLISHED starting load. The starting load was so compressed that when you cyled the fully reloaded bullets through the rifle.....the bullets would grow in overall length!! Talk about a waste of money on a bunch of bullets that are too long and eat up too much case capacity for even their PUBLISHED starting loads! Lesson learned.....Barnes x-type bullets don't always work well with short actions.

    I once was in a hurry to get a "deer load" for a hunt with my father back east. They didn't have the CCI magnum primers that I usually used so I bought the remington magnum primers instead. When i handloaded these rem primers in my "brand new" winchester brass......It took very little notable effort. The primers were so loose in the primer pocket that they would pop out the head of the case even with a starting load! Upon inspection of the ejected brass case.....you could see where the primer had worked it's way out past the surface of the case head. Lesson learned....stick with my tried and true cci primers that always fit perfect in my winchester .358 brass.

  2. #2

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    I once saved all my buddies brass from one of our shootin sessions at the range. He had bought a bunch of winchester target ammo in 223. After cleaning and resizing the cases......I attempted to prime the cases with my lee autoprime (im cheap). No matter how hard I tried.....many of the cases would not accept the primer even with great force! Upon closer inspection.....The primer pockets were actually way off center! I couldn't believe it, you could clearly see where the primer was damaged by being "press fit" into the side of the primer pocket. I threw all of the primed cases and unprimed cases in a bucket of water and threw it all in the trash the following day.

    W/W generic brass has crimped primer pockets. One can remove the crimp various ways, from using you pocket knife to the Dillon Crimp remover. RCBS andothers make a press mounted tool as well. Crimped primers are also hard on decapping pis in some dies. A dedicated decapping die or the lee punch set works well. LC cases are the same way.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen-ak View Post
    I threw all of the primed cases and unprimed cases in a bucket of water and threw it all in the trash the following day.
    Why the water?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Just a habit.......not really any "legit" reason

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I've found major issues while handloading that I've never read about....anywhere. I would never have discovered them if it wasn't for experience.
    That's an EXCELLENT point to make.

    I've certainly ran into some things that "I've never read about", and that "I would never have discovered", "if it wasn't for experience".

    For example, most of the stuff, I've read about sizing Belted Cases, proved to be mostly hooey. Chamber sizes, tools, etc. can make a huge difference.

    I've seen and disassembled LOTS of handloads put together by others, who apparently didn't understand what WAS written about seating bullets.

    I'm glad for my experience, and the experienced advice I can get, like on this forum.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    When I first started reloading I had brand new Redding dies for 223 Rem and 300RUM still in the tapped box. I began prepping my 300RUM brass for 180gr. Accubonds, primed the brass, charged the case, and then seated the bullet. The neck of the brass was not tight enough to hold the bullet firmly. I could literally pull all the bullets from the brass by hand. After talking to a reloading buddy of mine he thought I was doing something wrong. He drove to my house and ran a few peices of brass through the FL resizing die and still had the same problem. Come to find out the die, no matter how far it was screwed into the press, was not properly resizing the neck. The dies were bad from the factory.

    I'm sure the chances of receiving bad dies are slim, but that's my luck. I swapped them out for RCBS dies and that fixed the problem.

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    One time ago, I got myself a set of Hornady dies for 7x57.

    I stuck the first case I tried to size. I hadda use my RCBS Stuck Case Remover, to get it out.

    I made sure there was good lube on another case but it stuck too, even when the expander/decapper was removed, which BTW, was broken from trying to remove the stuck case.

    I then, measured the necks on the cases I’d removed, and they were .002 smaller in diameter than cases sized with my RCBS sizing die. Armed with this INFO, that I thought was important, I called Hornady.

    The guy I talked to, was irritated and irritating, and he said,,,, “That couldn’t cause the problem”. (I was just tryin to help.)

    To make a longer story shorter, he said send it back which I did, and they replaced it with one that works, NEVER saying what the problem was, rough die, or too tight die, and they didn’t replace the broken expander/decapper. I ordered another one, and paid for it..

    IME, RCBS woulda been more civil. I swore off Hornady for a while. Now, I only use their bullets and One-Shot spray case lube. They can keep their loading tools, because that guy failed the attitude test.

    The point is, if that had happened when I was more a novice, it would have been a much beeger issue for me.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  8. #8

    Smile go slow....

    I discovered I should never load ammo if I am in a hurry, because I don't enjoy it then.

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    Smile lessons

    One major BUFU was that I didnt read the instructions with my reloading dies and did not have them adjusted correctly and struggled with cases that wouldnt fit into my rifle for a long time until I accidentally read the instructions provided with the dies!!!

    Another BUFU was leaving my primers on my reloading bench in the shed. They absorbed moisture or something and half of them wouldnt fire after loading. So now I store all my primers in ziplocks and problem solved.
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

  10. #10

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    not adjusting the bullet seat die correctly and collapsing necks ever so slightly with the crimp portion of the die on a case full of poweder. They would not chamber.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The only major problem I've discovered is that the statement you save money by reloading is a bold face lie! I've bought more guns just because I was curious about the chambering than I ever would have if I'd stuck with factory ammo.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Hmmmmm, let me see here….

    Most of the problems I have encountered with reloading seem to have a common root cause…… me. Distraction, inattention, being in a hurry, poor shop keeping, and improper documentation have all caused me grief at one time or another.

    I don’t know how many times I have picked up my RCBS hand primer and noticed that there was still about 50 primers sitting in the tray, but that I had forgot to put a small piece of paper in with them to identify them…… into beer bottle with some water they go, and then out to the dumpster.

    I recently loaded up some 30-06 with H4350 using my Lyman DSP III but didn’t drain the hopper when I was finished because I fully expected to do some further load development. Good news was that my load was spot on and no additional work-up was warranted, but the bad news was that I left the powder in the DSP for a few weeks and then during a frantic shop cleaning fit I committed one of the true “no no’s” of reloading! Normally when I use the DSP and leave the hopper full, I only leave 1 (one) can of powder on the bench, and that is the powder that is in the hopper. Well….. a couple days before I had stopped by SW and bought a pound of RL #7 and left it on the bench with the intention of putting it away after stocking the fridge with groceries…….. meanwhile the can of H4350 had been pushed to the back of the bench and partially covered with clutter. The end result was that in my haste to “clean up” I emptied the powder hopper full of H4350 into the new can of RL #7…… Now I have about a pound and a quarter of completely useless, and very expensive gun powder.

    In my opinion, mechanical failures, equipment problems, and component defects are comparatively rare with regard to reloading; especially in comparison to human factors related problems. I would suspect that if we were honest with ourselves, we would find that by far and away the majority of reloading issues, problems and errors are caused by yours truly!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    I have goobered-up my far share of reloads as well. Just to name a few...

    I first started handloading with the .44 mag, and my initial efforts at flaring the case mouth resulted in cases that resembled little brass bells. The case mouth was so mega-sized that it wouldn't even fit in the seating die. Of course I had already "super-flared" a whole loading block of cases before discovering that more wasn't better.

    Then, after more than ten years of reloading experience, I recently put a slight bend in about a hundred .223 cases that I was cranking out with my Dillon press...over tightened seating die. I was happily working that handle, marveling at how many rounds that puppy pumps out in just a few minutes, when I noticed a slight wooble as one of the rounds rolled across my bench.

    I'm also good at dumping a case that is primed and charged with carefully weighed powder just as I am placing it in the shell holder to seat a bullet...I am exceptionally good at this trick when loading .375H&H.

    In the beginning I seated a few bullets too shallow, then unknowingly jammed them into the lands when test firing...even blew out a few primers in the beginning. I've also buggered-up the tightening screws on more RCBS dies than I can count (I'm still pretty good at doing this). Then there was the time when I first bought my cool power case prep unit, and I camphered some case mouths so much that I actually shortened the case length. I also ruined some cases with my first few sessions using a flash-hole deburring tool.

    I'm just scratching the surface here guys. I've got lots of material on this topic...all operator errors.

    Doc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post

    Most of the problems I have encountered with reloading seem to have a common root cause…… me. Distraction, inattention, being in a hurry, poor shop keeping, and improper documentation have all caused me grief at one time or another.
    Totally agree! Also, never load with a partner, it adds to the before mentioned.

    Ron

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