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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got me Lee challenger kit last week and had a crash course in reloading yesterday from Wes Ramsey. I got my bench set up today and started working. I've got about 85 pieces of brass prepped for powder and bullets and have 3 successful loaded cases. I have learned some things today that I thought I would pass on to those of you who are thinking about reloading, and to possibly amuse some of you who already do.

1. A tumbler is more of a necessity than a want.
2. I probably should have waited for my trickler. A coffee straw isn't nearly as efficient.

3. When deciding what depth you want to seat your bullets it's best to start out shallow and go deeper until you reach the desired depth.

4. If you don't have a bullet puller use a shell that already has powder in it.
1 unsuccessful case
5. A crimping die does a great job getting the bullets tight in the brass.
6. After crimping a shell you cannot seat the bullet in deeper.
2 unsuccessful cases
7. It takes very little motion to cause powder to spill out of the pan.
8. When taking your powder dump apart have something under it to catch powder. (I think I'm going to set mine up like your Wes, I screwed it to the bench)
9. When chambering a load make sure that the bullet is deep enough.
10. You can get a stuck load out of the chamber with a cleaning rod.


11. Make sure you have plenty extra brass because you are probably going to screw some of it up.
 

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Yep, you learned some of the same lessons I learned and of course you learned the same way I did....the "OH, :censored:" method. Though I have intentionally seated bullets in a case to help me find the lands in a particular barrel. I usually do this with each new bullet I load because of the difference in the bullet size and shape (there's a word for this but I think of it) but it would probably be just as easy to purchase one of them stoney-point thingies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One question about bullet depth. The bullets are about 1/8 of an inch into the rifle treads. Is that too far?
 

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I'm not the best person to answer questions as I've still got a lot to learn but what I do (an xring taught trick) is just barely seat a bullet in the case and then careful chamber it. This seats the bullet down to the point to where it's touching the lands. I've found the rifle I'm loading for at this time likes the bullet just of the the lands so I TRY and seat the bullets .001" shorter than the un-primed case I used to get this measurement. I hope I've explained this right, :censored: as a matter of fact I hope I'm doing it right.

Did that help any? Hope so even though I never actually answered the question.

BTW....I load for bolt-actions, I've never tried this method for anything else.
 

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Don't feel bad about it Johnf I had to learn most of those same lessons too. It will get better and when your shooting super tite groups you'll be glad you stayed with it.
 

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10. You can get a stuck load out of the chamber with a cleaning rod.


11. Make sure you have plenty extra brass because you are probably going to screw some of it up.
That's funny. I have a first cousin that was loading up a batch the night before the modern gun opener a few years ago and he got a bullet stuck in the bore. He had to hunt the first day with a .44 mag instead of his .243. :wink:
 

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One question about bullet depth. The bullets are about 1/8 of an inch into the rifle treads. Is that too far?
Are you talking about the bullet being seated 1/8" into the rifling?? If so, this is way too far. This could cause high pressure. Best thing is to set the bullet back just a hair from the rifling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Are you talking about the bullet being seated 1/8" into the rifling?? If so, this is way too far. This could cause high pressure. Best thing is to set the bullet back just a hair from the rifling.
I've got 3 bullets set like that. Do I need to trash them and start over? Can I get the bullets out without a bullet puller after they've been crimped.
 

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Put them in a box and set it aside. In the near future, you'll be buying a bullet puller. I have a box I throw rounds in that don't meet spec. When I don't have anything else to do, I pull bullets and recycle the components. I use mine quite often. :biggrin:
 

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Mr. C has a great idea there John. Just make sure you label them when you set them to the side. That way you don't chance mixing your powders.

Glad I could help you out some. I spent the rest of the day sprawled out on the couch with a box of kleenex and doped up on cold medicine. I hate getting colds. But at least I can predict when they're coming. "Dangit, the weather's changing again. Better go get some more Tylenol Cold and Sinus and Kleenex." Every time.

Just a couple more tips while I'm here :) Take your time. There's no reason to rush through any part of reloading, and if you can think of one then you probably need to wait until you have more time to do it. I've tried before to load just a handful of rounds, in a hurry to get to the woods or the range, and I always forget simple things like crimping, or zeroing the scale, or actually loading the powder, or using the right powder, or labelling my loads wrong. Almost invariably I end up having to start over. It just isn't worth it to be in a hurry when you're playing with things that can really hurt you.

Also, some of the tools I showed you (like the primer pocket uniformer and flash hole reamer) you may not necessarily need or want. Those are considered 'benchrest techniques', though they're working their way into standard reloading techniques. Your hunting loads may or may not benefit from those steps, and you may not ever even shoot enough to tell one way or the other. I think they help me, so I use them. I'd get some other opinions before you buy those tools. In fact, I'll tell ya again - go visit a couple of other reloaders and see how they load theirs. You may find something I do (or told you to do) that you don't like, don't care for or that you think may be unsafe. It's best to learn all you can from as many sources as possible, then sort it out by trial (and hopefully not too much error).

Anyway, it was great to meet you, and I'm always happy to help!
 

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How much of a necessity do ya'll consider crimping?
I'm by no means an expert, but I'll offer my opinion anyway :biggrin:

In all honesty, I'm a firm believer that you should ALWAYS use it in some situations, but not if you don't want to :thumb:

Really, it doesn't matter all that much, but it can help sometimes. Sometimes heavy-recoiling rifles can jar bullets in the gun's magazine - the force of the recoil or even the bullet actually contacting the magazine body can cause your bullets to change length. Even if ever so slightly, and certainly not always, but if you can crimp 'em you don't have to worry about it.

Bullets in compressed loads also can have a tendency to 'creep' out, and a crimp stops that. I don't know if it's just the powder expanding back after seating or if temp/humidity changes make the powder expand, but it happens. Crimping also helps seal the case better against humidity.

Crimping also can help decrease the standard deviation of your velocities by keeping the bullet in the neck a hair longer than it would stay without the crimp. That allows pressure to build up without the bullet moving, and when it gets hot enough the bullet breaks the grip. That also helps level out your pressure curve. Of course, too much crimp can cause too much pressure, and ANY crimp on some hot loads can give you too much pressure, so play with caution.

It might help your accuracy and it might hurt it. You just gotta try it and see!
 

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Whenever I 'thrash" loads that I messed up on, I stick em in zip-loc bag with the load data on the bag with a sharpie...that way when you do re-cycle the components...you don't mix powders etc........which can lead to disaster:smack:

Another big thing to remember when first starting out..........Keep your mind Focused......NO DISTRACTIONS...like Tv or the ballgame on the radio, and NO phone calls!!!!!!! Afriend of mine learned the Hard way...took a phone call while loading some '06 loads....DOUBLE CHARGED a few cases.......ruined a good rifle, and almost lost an eye!!!!!!
 

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How much of a necessity do ya'll consider crimping?
I use a Lee Factory Crimp Die on all of my loads, handgun and rifle. This is one of those things that is personal preference, I like it myself. If it can keep one bullet from setting back in a semi auto rifle or one bullet from creeping out and locking up a cylinder on a magnum revolver, it has paid for itself. On the semi auto loads, I just kiss the mouth of the case just a little. On heavy recoiling revolver loads, I put a pretty good crimp on it.
 

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I guess one thing I didn't take into consideration is even though I'm loading for bolt rifles only it would still be possible to actually seat the bullet a little deeper while chambering it.
 

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I also use the Lee factory crimp dies. Trim length isn't nearly as important as with a roll crimp, and you can crimp ANY type of bullet - cannelure or no. I just started using them for my .270 and .30-06, so I can't speak to whether they give me more accuracy or less, but I love the idea since I use Sierra GameKings in both (no cannelure).
 
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