View Full Version : dragonmouse's learning curve

05-14-2017, 07:43 PM
Reloading press used (list modifications if relevant):550b
Bullet (Weight, Coating, Profile, Manufacturer): 185gr mcwc
Powder manufacturer, type and charge; volume, type (ball, stick, flake):4.5 gr wst ball
Dies used: RCBS
Primers used: CCI 300
Cartridge Overall Length (COAL):1.145
Chronograph data (if possible):
Goals intended with this load: target, plinking
Results - accuracy, smokiness, clean burning, flash, temperature, smell, brass deformation, etc.poa/poi really clean, easy recoil, shooting 10ish yards just to test function
first time we tried these had all kinds of issues with feeding, going into battery, using 1.210 for col and .0473crimp. My old lyman book had these way short at 1.135 and that left no shoulder to crimp on. Col as above and crimp was .471 One stovepipe in that 21. all the rest did well. I had one set of winchester brass that really didn't do well belling and resizing and that was one of those rounds. Maybe just coincidence.

Problems encountered and fixes applied:
I will get to the range with some more of these in the next couple of weeks, but since I have 500+ of these I will be using them even with some minor feeding issues. I have some 200 lswc's loaded as well will give load info on them as time allows. and as this journal grows maybe I can learn to post pics.

05-15-2017, 07:41 PM
Had a small issue when I went back to finish up yesterday, I broke the powder measure on the dillon. I had one for the small bars and one for the large bar so I simply swapped out the bars and reset for weight and kept on rolling. The part of the powder dispenser that the operating lever screws on to (the piece that moves up and down)for that measure broke clean off. No bind just one round to the next and the little roller wheel ended up in the floor. I stopped and got to checking and realized there was the casing piece laying on top of the press. Have sent dillon and email along with some pictures and will see what they do if anything before I purchase another one. Just wanted to make sure I didn't have something set wrong that caused it, but it has loaded several hundred rounds in it's current configuration so I really don't think so.

Also in the last couple of weeks using unique for the 45 colt I noticed that my weights were really variable, as much as 3tenths. I am way on the bottem for that load so was just checking every five or so rounds but it makes me wonder if maybe that piece has been giving some, causing that variation. I am not loading the volume a lot of you folks are so I weigh more often than is probably necessary and visually check powder level in the case on EVERY load. When time allows this week will throw out a story about why I pulled 100 240gr jhps two weekends ago. Stay tuned!

05-17-2017, 06:46 PM
Ok here is the story, with a bit of backstory first to help explain my lack of understanding. About 5 or so years ago I was
gifted with some reloading stuff as long as I paid the shipping, good deal right? 15 boxes over 1000 lbs delivered ltl and about 800
or so dollars and I was suddenly in the reloading hobby. A progessive dillon, a rock chucker, a shotgun press and enough brass
bullets,shot, dies etc, for multiple calibers I didn't even own. So I jumped in with both feet, read cover to cover three different manual's,
set up with dillon's help and tried my hand at some 45acp,colt and 44mag rounds. Did well, minor problems but still real early in the learning
curve. Did well enough for a few hundred rounds monthly or so and had a good time.
Fast forward through a couple years off from reloading due to lifes issue's, and now few months ago, reread the basics, buy some extra
powder, and primers and here we go again. New birds head italian clone in 45 colt and managed a respectable round for poa/poi. 8.5 grains unique over 255gr keith style lswc, Moved to the
45acp, loaded a few hundred 200gr lswc's and then I relocated this box of bullets. They were 240gr sierra jhc in .4515.
I thought cool maybe a little heavier round for my sig simply to play with maybe take the odd nanny doe really close come deer season. (legal in this state as long as 4in barrel)
Couldn't find much for load info and rather than starting on the bottem as I only had 100 of em I thought well take the 230 gr jhp numbers that in my
Lyman book maxed at 6.5 unique IF I remember right, I don't have it at my elbow atm. So I figured mid range to be around 6.0 should be plenty safe, ok maybe a tad warm
but the sig is rated +p so should be well below pressure. So load em up!

Reckon I'm OK at this point?

Well after a whole lot more reading I was becoming skittish about shooting them, since I err on the side of safety and was not finding anything good about
heavy bullets in the acp, I was really questioning whether I should just pull them and start over and use them on the colt as that has easy loads for that bullet.
The second thing that happened is I found out that Unique was no longer metering well. I had never had, had a problem but I was getting the occasional heavy
weight +4 tenths or so. I suspect that the press was flexing that piece that broke later, on on load for a light load, then dumping heavy the next time. I will
verify that when the new part gets here by running 50 or so weights with all stations loaded just to see.
Switching to WST meters so much better in 100 weights I only got 1 tenth difference on both the balance beam and the digital so that's where I stand on that at the moment.
Anyway with that kind of spread I couldn't make me shoot them especially since I am still a little confused which will build more pressure lead or jacketed. I will prove
that to myself over the chrony, when I go shoot the next time as I have 185gr in both to compare. Either way I pulled all of the 240s weighing about 50. The lowest weight with a target
of 6.0 was 5.6. the highest was 6.7 so I feel I did the correct thing as that is to much difference in my opinion, newbie as it is.
So I wouldn't mind some feed back as to what I might do different, I have addressed all the problems that I can see, but other eyes might point out something
I havn't thought of and that is the idea of the journal right? I just don't see how I can be more careful, and that was frightening. I caught it yes but there's just so much
I might miss.

05-20-2017, 11:52 PM
A bit of frustration today, went to town got a few hundred 230gr tmj in .451 for the sig and a lb of Unique just because.
Came home with the idea of resetting the press for 44 rem mag to load some 240gr jsp with h110. Also was going to finish
the pack of primers with a few 240gr lswc's. Looking for a recipe for the lead it seems as if loading lead bullets over h110 really doesn't do well, these are not gas
checked and everything I have been reading says it's just not a good idea, so just do the sp's and
then change out the powder station and finish up with the unique. That's a pain but ok just roll with it. The dies in the tool head needed reset as it's been couple
of years for the ruger. Checking the measurements on the bullets for oal and confirming weight just to be sure, I found the first issue. I had apparently mislabeled the
box of bullets, they were 200 gr instead of 240's. so back into the house from the loading shed, find new recipe and once again h110 supposedly doesn't really do
well for lighter bullets?
Wait a minute, my Lyman manual lists h110 for 180s but nothing for the 200s? So getting conflicting information I just said heck with it will just use the Unique and do some
moderate loads for both the jsp's and the lswc's. Back to the shed and continue setting up for the jsp's. Primer decap is set, I do primer load as last step so I am not fighting
live primers to do my few test rounds for length and crimp, powder dump is empty but set the slight bell and move to the bullet seating station. Backed bullet seating stem out
set die to contact the case and start the seating stem down. When I felt it touch the bullet I lowered the ram to find the bullet seated about 1/3 into the case. Thats the TOP of
the bullet. WTF????? Redo the whole process and once again there is no resistance from the bullet being pushed all the way into the brass.
With a tiny amount of bell on the case mouth there is no way it's overbelled so what diameter are these critters? I had the box marked .429 in great big black marker.
Break out the calipers again and lo and behold the actual measurement is .426 Somehow that one box of jsp's are for 44/40 and not 44spec/mag. I had loaded maybe 100
of them a couple of years ago, for my ruger redhawk, they chambered fine and was using really light loads of unique (7.0 gr) just for fooling around with. I gave up on
that load because it was terrible for accuracy. Now I know why.
Bottem line these jsp's are not for this caliber so I just wasted a couple of hours. Oh well let's salvage the day and load the lswc's. Well guess what, these are 200grlswc as well. Since they are not gas checked I
will keep them less than 1200 fps, According to my Lyman manual and multiple online sources I should be able to start with around 9gr and gradually work up to around 10 grs or 10.5 of unique for numbers in that range. Oal for 240s is generally 1.610, and I am about 1.640 to crimp on the crimp groove with these 200s so probably losing a bit of velocity there but with about a thousand or so on hand of these, I am hoping to find a sweet spot that the ruger likes. Mostly for target shooting but after chrono work and maybe a bit of testing on
a brisquit I might consider them for whitetail at short (under 50yds) ranges.
As usual any comments are sure welcome, If someone had one of those load data programs to punch in the 200lswc and unique I wouldn't turn down some additional info.

On a side note I did find a box of 100 180gr jhc speer in .4295, and the Lyman shows 29gr of h110 as a starting load up to 31.....something I would have to look for max. Think I am going to load bout 24 of them at min load, just to see how big a halo of fire I can make for memorial day;) Starting over tomorrow maybe a bit more productive day/sigh!

Jim Watson
05-21-2017, 04:53 PM
1. Get organized, know what you have, quit picking up one bullet thinking it is something else.
2. Dillon will replace your broken part, no charge, no questions asked. They will give advise on how to get the new part in right.

05-21-2017, 06:55 PM
1. Get organized, know what you have, quit picking up one bullet thinking it is something else.
2. Dillon will replace your broken part, no charge, no questions asked. They will give advise on how to get the new part in right.
Thank you for the response.
Yes dillon is sending the replacement part, as to the organized part, thats more difficult. I got all this reloading stuff gifted, unfortunately most
of the bullets were not labeled anything except caliber. I have found that I had a learning curve with a set of calipers that I didn't know was there and
most of my issues that caused, have gone away after a bit of training. After a two year hiatus from the reloading I came back to find that there was much I had been
doing wrong the first time. I made the mistake of going with numbers that I measured back then instead of redoing it all again. Lesson learned.
On another note, I don't believe the 200 gr lswc's are going to work very well above really light loads. It seems the lube on them has dried to much and anything over
about 7grns of unique causes serious leading and keyholeing. After 18 rounds at 10grns I got a mess in the ruger to clean up. These were actually marked and measure .4295 with a
medium crimp in a lee fcd.
Not sure what I'm going to do though because they shoot so low at that loading with the sights set at magnum velocities that even plinking isn't much fun. I'm not fooling with the sights that
much from time to time. On the upside the 250gr lswc's in the colt replica,over 8.5 Unique,were dead on at about 20 yards out of the little 3.5in taylor. Will run the chrono next weekend
for the 45acp, and the colt, but the 44 mag is on the shelf until later in the summer short of factory loads.

Jim Watson
05-21-2017, 07:04 PM
While I have relubed bullets with inadequate lubricant, it is not worth the trouble unless you have a lot of them. Probably the simplest thing to do with those 200s is to give them to a caster who will melt them down.

05-21-2017, 07:44 PM
yeah my thoughts exactly, will hold them as casting is something I will try in a few years as I get closer to and retire. Right now will concentrate on the things I can do well.

05-23-2017, 04:25 PM
Working on straightening out your first post, give me time.

05-23-2017, 06:53 PM
Working on straightening out your first post, give me time.

I guess you can tell I'm not really great with a computer, I figured out I did it wrong and I think I know what I did, so I get it right next time
but trying to edit that might not have turned out so great. I'll try harder!

05-23-2017, 07:05 PM
Well I think I figured out what went wrong with the 44ruger. After starting from square one I finally figured out that what I thought was a depriming resizing die
turns out was a seating die that only resized a small portion of the case. I was never getting a total resize even though the rounds chambered in the firearm and
fell right out nothing I had done several years ago was resized either. In all these dies there is simply not a resizing die at all. All of the bullet seating dies and there are
4, only resize the top 1/4in of the case even set as far down as it will go and still operate the ram.
So I will be reordering a brand new set of carbide dies, probably lee unless someone gives me a reason for something better thats not the reddings. I am after all
just a working joe so they are kinda out of my price range atm. I also am still putting the 44 aside for a while as the two 45's acp and colt give me enough to
get a tad more experience as well as not adding all the additional measurements for a third caliber right now. I've got a good start on the 45's and getting them exactly
where I want them first is simplifying things for me a bit. Organization as Mr. Watson suggested above is a good thing.

05-28-2017, 06:10 PM
Well the chrono is fubar. So tomorrows shooting session will be just simply working with the 45 colt 250gr keith lswc's over 8.5 unique. That load
seemed to be best for poa/poi, in the last session. I have some 185 gr jswc's for the 45acp and some of the 200 gr lswc's over ~4.3 grains of
WST that I wanted to check numbers on but for now will just shoot em for function as col is glitchy on the 185s. I can hand cycle them and they
clunk when you chamber them on the barrel in the sig so the occasional ftf or whatever is just practice on malfunction clearing and I can certainly use that!
Got email in to pact on the chrony, probably will replace the entire screen system as the box has always worked well, but that's gota wait on $$. Will update results in
the coming week whatever happens. Going to try dot torture and some of the simpler drills for accuracy, just don't get to shoot often enough to do much on speed atm.

05-29-2017, 06:44 PM
Original post in this journal for the round info.
Shot ~150 of these today, 7yds and 10yds. They are just fun, no other way to put it. At either distance they tear one ragged hole out of an 8in target. Slow fire, as fast as I can get them off, Can't tell any
difference in wwb factory fmjs and this load for recoil or noise. Were extremely clean burning.
Now the downside. In 150 I had three ftf, two fteject, and one simply failed to fire. The fail to fire primer was a clean strike, even tried it several times, simply didn't get primer ignition, No clue about that one. Will pull the bullet but may never know. These have a really short col in order to feed in my sig at all. Longer and the bullet shape causes it to hang up on the ramp. In the ftf/fte cases every time I dropped the mag to clear the malfunction, the next round in the mag fell into my hand from the mag well. I believe that I may have the answer for that when I can get the chrony working again. I had about 20 of these rounds that were left over from the 4.2 grain test batch and unfortunately I mixed them into the 4.4 target loads when packageing so I can't help but wonder if that 4.2 load is almost to light to cycle these guys as I had one in 21 on the function test ftf.
Whether I find the solution or not these are great for a sunny afternoon putting holes in paper for pennies, I will post the 45 colt information and results later in the week.
One final note, I loaded the lswc's the same except for oal and they were abysmal. ftf, 2 in every mag, A couple wouldn't go into battery even though they passed the plunk test, and several that hung on the case mouth hard enough to ding the case mouth bad enough that I will be pulling them. I simply have never had good results with lswc's in the sig so I'm done with that. Only jacketed from now on, as it's simply not worth the frustration. All in all with the baby colt fun and all this a great day at the range!

06-17-2017, 07:22 PM
Well the wife surprised me with an early fathers day gift and got the lee 44 mag four die set early as in couple of weeks ago. Upside, I now have the correct
resizing die and have done two batches of 18 for testing. I don't have the exact oal numbers and such in front of me, but I did 18 with 9.0 grains of unique
under 240 gr lswc's. I also did 18 with 13 grains of unique under a 180gr sierra jhc. These will work fine for testing function and a start on accuracy testing.
Now the downside, I absolutely hate the decapping setup on the lee dies. even after degreasing the pin shaft I cannot seem to tighten it enough to keep it
from slipping about every fourth or fifth primer decap. So what I am going to do on that setup is take a spare tool head and put the old decapping/seating
die in by itself and just deprime all the cases after tumbling. Then I will just change to the full toolhead setup and run the rounds normally. Will take a bit longer
but I'm not going to do more than a couple of hundred at a time even once I get the loads settled.
The other downside has been that my finances for the chronograph got preempted by a sick puppy that required vet care so the chrony will not be until
later in the summer or early fall. If I can't make that by deer season, then either I test the lswc's on a brisquit or just give up and use the rifle's one more year.
I would like to eventually get it settled for use in a couple of ground blinds where distances would be less than 100yds. The 7.5 in ruger is much easier to pack in
and out and manipulate in the tight confines of the blinds I have. The 3030 works but the ruger would just be easier.
Have acquired some fmjs for the 45acp and have some 230gr lrn in .452. Next couple of weekends will build a couple of hundred each with wst, for some range time including
a fast or two as I have acquired a timer finally and will be seeing where I am at with speed. I am prepared to be completely humbled but at least I will finally have a base
line to give me where I need to practice my dryfire.