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RevolverRob
04-15-2020, 02:30 PM
Basically a place for me to chronicle my adventures in reloading.

Equipment:

Press: Lee APP with automation kit

Dies: Lee carbide

Powder Handling: Lyman Brass Measure and Hornady G2 digital scale

Priming: Lee Ram Prime on press

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You can review the Lee APP thread (https://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?39391-New-Lee-Automatic-Processing-Press!) - But the basics are I'm using my APP both to process brass and bullets and to load.

Some of the trickier bits of loading on the App, include priming with the ram prime. I haven't settled on this being my absolutely final way of priming brass, but I actually do not find it particularly onerous to do it this way and the APP's lever design appears to give excellent control on seating primers firmly, but without having to mash the shit out of them.

The other tricky bit is powder handling, which I'm still not happy with.

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Loading data to follow.

RevolverRob
04-15-2020, 02:35 PM
Reloading press used (list modifications if relevant): Lee APP
Caliber: .38 Special
Bullet (Weight, Coating, Profile, Manufacturer): 158-grain, Swaged Lead, Semi-Wadcutter, Hornady
Powder manufacturer, type and charge; volume, type (ball, stick, flake): VV N330; 3.7-3.9 grains; stick
Dies used: Lee Carbide
Primers used: Winchester
Cartridge Overall Length (COAL): 36.5mm
Chronograph data (if possible): TBA (VV's reloading tables suggest ~880 fps from a 6.5" barrel, so I'm expecting 825-850 from a 4" GP100)
Goals intended with this load: Paper blasting and learning to load, yo!
Results - accuracy, smokiness, clean burning, flash, temperature, smell, brass deformation, etc.: TBA
Problems encountered and fixes applied: TBA
Anything of interest: Not fond of how the Lyman Brass Powder Measure meters N330. The volume is variable, despite measuring each load, because the throws from the measure are varying +/- 0.2 grains from my desired 3.8 grain throw. I'm probably going to switch to a Lee Auto-Disk measure.


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Totem Polar
04-15-2020, 04:26 PM
As a guy who was gifted a press a couple of years ago, and who is sitting on, maybe, 20k of once-fired .38 brass, I shall follow this with interest.

oregon45
04-15-2020, 04:36 PM
I think you'll be much happier with a Redding 3 powder measure with a pistol insert than you will be with the Lee measure. Some Lee products are great; in my experience, that does not include their powder measures. I have had both the Lee disc and Lee "perfect" powder measures and neither was consistent and the adjustments lacked precision and tended to wander with use. Perhaps Lee has solved those issues; I had those measures nearly 15-years ago before I bought my Redding measure.

Also, powder weights can vary with your technique on the powder handle; how long you take to dispense a charge, and how much powder is in the reservoir. I've found it helpful to develop a cadence for throwing charges, and I tend to keep my powder reservoir about 2/3 filled, re-filling after each block of 50 charged cases. That also has the effect of imposing a break in the action and reminding me to shine a flashlight into the filled cases in the loading block to ensure that each case received powder and to check for double charges.

You might also test to see whether a +/- .2gr variation has any effect on velocity with your loads and, if so, whether that effect is enough to warrant investing equipment and time eliminating the variation.

RevolverRob
04-16-2020, 07:38 PM
Reloading press used (list modifications if relevant): Lee APP
Caliber: .38 Special
Bullet (Weight, Coating, Profile, Manufacturer): 148-grain, swaged lead, hollow-base wadcutter, Hornady
Powder manufacturer, type and charge; volume, type (ball, stick, flake): VV N330, 3.0-3.2 grains, stick.
Dies used: Lee Carbide
Primers used: Winchester small
Cartridge Overall Length (COAL): 30-30.01mm
Chronograph data (if possible): TBA - VV load manual suggests about 700fps from 2" snub.
Goals intended with this load: Practice Load for snub.
Results - accuracy, smokiness, clean burning, flash, temperature, smell, brass deformation, etc.: TBA
Problems encountered and fixes applied: TBA
Anything of interest:


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RevolverRob
04-26-2020, 07:12 PM
I started reloading 3-weeks ago on the Lee APP - doing everything in batches. Today I churned out my 300th round. I'm certainly in no hurry when I load, but I'm enjoying it. 50-100 rounds a week is my loading goal. And given my current shooting volume is 0 rounds per week, it's all net positive.

willie
05-01-2020, 05:23 PM
I think you'll be much happier with a Redding 3 powder measure with a pistol insert than you will be with the Lee measure. Some Lee products are great; in my experience, that does not include their powder measures. I have had both the Lee disc and Lee "perfect" powder measures and neither was consistent and the adjustments lacked precision and tended to wander with use. Perhaps Lee has solved those issues; I had those measures nearly 15-years ago before I bought my Redding measure.

Also, powder weights can vary with your technique on the powder handle; how long you take to dispense a charge, and how much powder is in the reservoir. I've found it helpful to develop a cadence for throwing charges, and I tend to keep my powder reservoir about 2/3 filled, re-filling after each block of 50 charged cases. That also has the effect of imposing a break in the action and reminding me to shine a flashlight into the filled cases in the loading block to ensure that each case received powder and to check for double charges.

You might also test to see whether a +/- .2gr variation has any effect on velocity with your loads and, if so, whether that effect is enough to warrant investing equipment and time eliminating the variation.

Lee measures mentioned have served me extremely well. I use one on my Dillon 550. Some powders meter better than others. Ball powders meter best and stick types the least. The Dot powders as a group are not in the best category even though they are flake powders. Red Dot is terrible. It's cousin Unique is so-so. Redding powder measures are good but one of these costs about what Rob paid for his entire rig. However, they are subject to the same rules as all other measures regarding which powders meter well. But they are top notch.

Wise_A
05-27-2020, 12:47 AM
Not having used N330 before, from the looks of it, +/-0.2gr might be all you could get out of a 3.7-3.9gr charge. My Auto-Disk without modifications delivers 2.7-2.9gr of Bullseye (which I just call 2.8). Whether your results are acceptable or trash would depend on:

*how many charges its dropping at the extreme edge (-0.2, +0.2)
*whether you're weighing each charge--because most people don't and if you're comparing your results to what most people claim their measures do, the fact that you know what yours is doing puts you at a disadvantage
*consistency in your metering technique
*scale quality, scale technique, etc

Although I'm quite pleased with my Lee powder measures, I would not suggest upgrading at the moment, until you have a better idea of what you want. For most handgun shooting, I would gladly take gear that's easy to use and produces reliable ammunition over more precise equipment. The Auto Disk Pro (if you're getting one at all, get the Pro) is like that--I just drop in the right disk, run it till it settles, weigh to verify, and I'm off to the races. The tradeoff is that sometimes I have to drop 4.2gr of a powder, or 4.6, because the 4.4 I want to drop is in between two cavities.

And of course, the flip side is that it really might be completely irrelevant, depending on what your expectations are. If you don't need tight velocities, or 50-yard accuracy, it's perfectly okay to not invest the money/effort. Your ammunition isn't any "worse" if it does everything you need it to do.

RevolverRob
05-27-2020, 11:07 AM
So, I have not been weighing each charge. But I've been weighing my charged cases in lots of five (place the five empty cases on the scale, zero it, throw the charge, re-weigh them). With my expected charge weights, I'm giving myself a +/- .5 of a grain range. And I place each charged case on the scale individually (so if the numbers suddenly jump over where I am expecting with one case vs. another I can stop and inspect that charge weight). So far, I'm seeing generally a +/- range of .2 of a grain across five cases. So, I think I'm okay here in terms of what I am throwing.

That said, being an obsessive precision oriented guy, I'll probably buy a Harrell's Precision Schuetzen Measure (https://www.brownells.com/reloading/powder-handling/powder-measures-dispensers/schuentzen-pistol-powder-measure-prod38248.aspx) - Which will definitely cost more than the rest of my setup...But since powder volume and bullet seating depth are the factors that affect the dangerous part of loading ammunition, they are the things I'll need the most control on. That said, I think the Lyman Brass measure I have now is throwing fairly consistently within .2 grains and therefore it is working out fine. There is no "need" to upgrade in this regard.

Wise_A
05-27-2020, 07:02 PM
No--you'd really need to try hard to blow up .38 Spl, especially with a modern firearm. There's absolutely nothing wrong with pride of ownership, either. Sometimes, just using nice stuff is what's fun.

RevolverRob
06-19-2020, 09:22 PM
Little behind in updating on my quest to load .300BLK.

Finally got in the last of my back orders today - to load .300. I'll be doing two bullets at two different charge weights each, for my initial batch of things here.

Brass: Lake City Mil-Spec 5.56; 2006-2014 vintage; cut with tubing cutters; formed in Lee Dies
Primers: Federal Match Small Rifle
Powder: Shooter's World SBR-SOCOM
Bullets: 110-grain Barnes Tac-TX; 125-grain Speer TNT

Load #1: 125 TNT - 16g - COAL 2.12"/53.9mm

Load #2: 125 TNT - 18g - COAL 2.12"/53.9mm

Load #3: 110 grain Barnes - 17g - COAL 2.2"/56mm

Load #4: 110 Barnes - 19g - 2.2"/56mm

All four loads should come in well under max pressure and leave me room for a larger charge (~21-22g max).

RevolverRob
06-19-2020, 10:38 PM
Was adjusting the powder throw to see how this SOCOM meters. It meters really well. Took me a minute to dial things in, but the Lyman Brass Smith getís me about .1g increments with SOCOM. By contrast VV N330 I can usually only reliably get .2 in the same throw.

And in case anyone was wondering...itís impossible to double charge a .300BO using this powder. The minimum load listed is 14g and max is 21g. Below is 21g in a case trimmed to 1.358Ē. No wonder Shooterís World list 21g loads with OALs near max (2.2-2.25Ē). I would bet I could only get down to 2.1Ē if I stood on the handle when seating and compressed the living shit out of the load.

Iím only going to spin up about 20-40 of each of the TNT loads and 10 or so of the Barnes (since I only have 50 of the barnes bullets on hand right now). Once I dial in the loads, Iíll crank out a bunch of them and then move on to playing with subsonics.

Liking this powder so far - but obviously the most important aspects are yet to come in terms of performance.

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RevolverRob
06-25-2020, 09:55 PM
Finally got everything in to load ammo and loaded up 80 rounds tonight. I ended up doing 5 loads, 3xTNT, 2xBarnes - 20 rounds of each of the TNT loads and 10 of each of the Barnes.

1) 125-grain TNT, 16g SBR-SOCOM, 2.12" ~54mm OAL, Fed Match Small Rifle Primer (GM205M)
2) 125-grain TNT, 18g SBR-SOCOM, 2.12" ~54mm OAL, Fed Match Small Rifle Primer (GM205M)
3) 125-grain TNT, 20g SBR-SOCOM, 2.16" ~55mm OAL, Fed Match Small Rifle Primer (GM205M)
4) 110-grain Barnes Tac-X (not Tac-TX), 17g SBR-SOCOM, 2.2" ~56mm OAL, Fed Match Small Rifle Primer (GM205M)
5) 110-grain Barnes Tac-X, 20g SBR-SOCOM, 2.2" ~56MM OAL, Fed Match Small Rifle Primer (GM205M)

I adjusted the length on the TNT over 20g of SBR a little farther out, because I want to observe for any signs of over-pressure in that length range and powder charge. I don't think I'm going to see any, because I'm still below the max powder load listed in the Shooter's World manual (21g) and longer than the OAL on the nearest to max pressure load they list (21g under a 135-grain hornady FTX at 2.12" OAL, pressure is listed at around 54k PSI).

General thoughts on loading .300BO so far...

I know, in theory, that ~2.245" or ~57mm is the maximum OAL for .300BO. I tried loading a few Barnes 110s initially to that length (because that is the length Barnes lists in their loading data), but I did NOT like the lack tension on the bullet, bare handed, I managed to pull a bullet from the case, dialing it a mm shorter really improved the tension, it may have even made the taper crimp I threw on each round unnecessary (in fact it didn't 'feel' like I got much of a crimp through the handle of the press). If I ran my brass towards the longer trim length (1.368" instead of the 1.358" I trimmed to), I think I would have found the maximum OAL much more amenable. I'll bear this in mind if I feel I want to load that length in the future.

That said, loading to 2.2"/56mm over even 20g of SBR-SOCOM was no issue. I experienced no resistance in seating the bullet and I can shake the cartridge and hear powder moving, suggesting the load is not compressed. I think I could cram as much as 21.5g at 2.2" COAL, but it would be a compressed load. The 21g listed as max in Shooter's World Manual is likely accurate for a 2.2" COAL. You MIGHT cram 22g in at the 2.245" max length, if you compressed the load down and ran your brass longer, seems like that would probably be a bolt-action or single-shot load.

This SBR-SOCOM powder really does meter super well. I am +/- 0.1 grains. I weighed out each charge in the powder throw for the load I was loading +5 grains (example 20 rounds at 20g is 400g of powder, so I put 405g in the hopper). And then after throwing all 20 charges, I would dump the remaining powder from the hopper into my scale and weigh it. Each time, I used <2 grains of additional powder, in 4 of 5 cases, <1.2 extra grains. I probably didn't even "use" all of that in my cartridges, some portion of it was lost in adjusting my powder throw and some of it was likely still stuck in the powder throw. I'm very pleased with the consistency.

If I can find a pistol powder that meters this well, I'll be really happy. Not that I'm unhappy with how N330 or 3N38 meter, they just don't meter as smooth as this stuff.

willie
07-06-2020, 12:56 AM
Any ball powder will meter well. You can use Win 231 to load .38 Spl, .45 Auto,, and 9mm. Alliant Bullseye meters well and applies nicely to three cartridges mentioned.

RevolverRob
07-15-2020, 07:45 PM
I do not have a reloading problem...Why do you ask?

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