help new reloaders

How many post start with "looking for good load for----"Never use a load that you see on a bbs like this one never use a load that someone says is good. Verify it!!Bullet and powder companies spend millions developing loads and testing them they also spend millions on test equiptment. Use loading manuals. Update your manuals regularly I have been handloading since the 1960's I have a lot of olds manuals that show loads I would not think of useing now a days. Ammunition companies and powder manufacturers use blended powders over time the blends can change slightly. But if your loading max charges a slight increase in powder burn rate can make a drastic differance, so use currant loading manuals. Pet loads may work well for the person who developed them, in one firearm, but in another they could be too hot depending on things like chamber wear exct. Remeber that each rifle , pistol , or shotgun is a law unto itself they are like women in some things what one may like another may hate.

My own rules for handloading
1 Always use eye protection.
2Always use current data, and components
3. Never use data that is from an unknown source.
4 Never use diferant components than what is specified unless working up to a known load. This means that is you are loading from a manual and it says use a CCI SMall rifle primer do not substitute a Fed small rifle mag primer because someone said it works better. In some loads that type substitution can cause major injury to you or your firearm
These are simple rules and have been stated several times in many places
Best advice I can give is develope a routine and stick to it. This advice is for folks using a single stage press setup. I have both a single stage press and one of Lee's turret presses that I use as a single stage press. I just like having the dies all set up in it's individual turret.

Mine goes something like this:

1. Deprime brass with a Lee depriming die. (this does all sized of cases)

2. I use one of the RCBS case prep stations so I clean the primer pockets and the inside of the necks and do an inside and outside chamfer to the case mouths.

3. Tumble clean, seperate your cases from the media, check primer pockets for stuck media. Be sure and poke out any media that sticks in the primer flash hole. I use a Lee Trimmer. The point just fits thru the primer flash hole.

3. Place in loading blocks and spray with Hornedy one shot sizing lube. I do it from two sides at a 45 degree angle so it gets into the case mouth as well as on the outside of the case.

4. Resize. If your using the Lee collet neck sizing die you do not have to lube. If your using full length sizing dies then the spray lube works good for me. Some folks use Imperial sizing wax and that is also an excellent lube.

5. Put the cases back into the tumbler for an hour to clean the lube off them. Some folks don't do this and it's OK, I just don't like the idea of any excess lube inside or outside of a case thats going into the chamber of my rifles.

6. Prime all the cases. I use a Lee auto-prime and have since they came out. It lets me feel the primer bottom in the case.

7. Charge your cases with powder. I used a standard measure and scale for years, then went to the RCBS electronic dispenser and measure. Very consistant loads, but check on your beam scale once and a while.

8. Once you have powder in your cases and under good light look into all the cases while there sitting in the loading blocks. If there are any gross differences you will be able to see them. I have a four foot double floresent light above my reloading bench. I like to pick up the blocks of cases that I've just charged with powder and tilt them several ways as I look into them.

9. Seat your bullets. I like to try my reloads to see if they function in the rifle. Do this with the safety on and the gun pointed in a direction that would be safe if it went off. If I'm loading lots of varmit rounds I will only try one magazine full.

The idea is to do one step at a time, depriming, case prep, lubing, resizing, priming, powder and bullet seating. Check your work as you go. I find that as I do each step I like to move the cases from one loading block to another. This keeps the confusion of "have I done that row of cases" to a minimum.

Do wear safety glasses.

I like to listen to the country western station (cause I'm old), but televisions are a no-no.

Good luck you new reloaders, crafting your own ammo is a great hobby in its own right.


One more to add to the list.

Try to develop a habit of keeping a record of your loads. Documenting the components & procedure in your reloading not only ensure the consistency (accuracy), it’s also a part of the safety measurement. Specially, when you have multiple guns sharing the same caliber.
As you already know, ammo load for one gun may not work well or is safe to shoot in another & cartridge that looks the same can easily get mixed up over time so it's very important for you to keep them apart.

You may use different ammo containers to help you distinguish them, adding a detailed label on each box is indispensable. You should also have a way to ID them once they are removed from the box, it can be done in many ways, I happen to like using different components to tell them apart. For example, I have several guns in .223, to help me I use CCI BR4 primer exclusively in the AR and only Remington 7-1/2 for the bolt guns, the two primers have difference appearance, then between the 2 bolt guns, one shoots the Lapua brass exclusively and the other use Winchester. If you have more, any of the brass/primer/bullet combination also makes it unique.
I think IDBob has a good point, a solid routine. On my bench are two signs, one; for what to take to the range (ever forget something?)two; for the procedure of reloading. At one time I thought that I schould load case's in 223 in advance, the problem was I have (2) 223's. So are these ns or fs, or labled. So as was mentioned a loading log, and I use a range log to compare the loads, and post it as to what stage this case is in the system.
I agree one multiple manuals, I stay up to date on Hornady, Sierra, and Speer. Country is OK but so is Jimmy Buffet and Mozart, for reloading.
need to also keep up with how many times your brass has been some point they are going to go bad.this is something that also veries between guns.i have had brass that i reloaded 9 times and had no problems in one gun while in one of my other guns i would start having problems after 4 reloads.
Need to remember that ladder loading the smaller cartridges is alot different than ladder loading the bigger ones. It is very very easy to suddenly hit high pressure problems with the smaller guys like the 17 and the 204. Ladder loading with these small guys should be .2 gr at a time MAX.
It is very easy to go from a "safe" load to a dangerous "hot" load in just a couple of grains. The bigger calibers are a bit more forgiving in this aspect.
This is good stuff! I am proud to be a member of this site... everyone who has added has atleast touched on safety. This is'nt like some job requireing you to wear a back belt to lift some stuff. This is people with common sence useing it! Safety is very real when it comes to this stuff. People can, and have been seriously injured or killed from reloading. We learn from they're misfortunes. If we cant learn from an accident then the accident was pointless.

As far a working up loads goes, a good pair of shooting glasses are worth alot more then you paid for them. I dont care how much you pay. They just seem to be one of those things you dont appreciate until you need them. If you dont have them when you need them then its too late. Theres no going back at that point.

Theres alot of bennifits of reloading. But even the most experianced oldtimers doing this forever know that safety is first. They dont take shortcuts and neither should you!
Okay I have been reloading for about 20 years now and one of the most valuable tools I have ever purchased was a cronograph. Pressure is what blows up your gun. As velocity increase's so does pressure. Loading manuals give a max velocity as well as a max powder charge. Some guns reach that max velocity max pressure point at somewhat lower powder charge's than what's listed. You need some way to measure this accuratly. I can't count how many time's I have been at the range clocking loads and been approached by some guy wanting to know the velocity of his "pet load". You'd be suprised at how many time's that load clocked over max for that powder/bullet combo. 9 out of 10 time's there were no visable signs of exccesive pressure. But it was there. Be safe get a cronograph. Know for sure your not on the ragged edge.
Not sure your logic makes any sense. Even though pressure and velocity is closely related, but they are also very different and I don’t believe a Chrono is a good devise used to measure the load pressure.
Just because a load is below the published velocity, it does not mean it’s always safe and vise versa.
The interior of a bore, the dia and twist rate all will affect the velocity. That said, some barrels are faster than the other. Pressure signs are pressure signs, if they are there than you should back off regardless of the velocity reading.
A Chronograph is used to measure the speed of a projectile. I use it to check the uniformity of my loads but its far from a strain gage which is the devise used to measure the load pressure.
you guys have really come through on this one.MAKES ME PROUD TO BE A MEMBER HERE.i will stress one more time something that has been said in every post SAFTY is the most important thing.if you have any doughs what so ever stop.get on this board and ask someone. matter of fact you can pm me your number and i will be glad to help you any way i can.
There are old-reloaders and there are bold-reloaders, but you won't find any old bold-reloaders.

Don't take load recipes from a person that’s blind in one eye and missing a few fingers.

Speed is nice but accuracy is final.
Thanks guys. This is fantastic. I am just getting into predator hunting. And because of this site the desire to reload. All of this information is great. To bad high school and college wasnt this informative. I might have paid a little better attention.
I know I can get any help I need askin questions here, which I'm sure I will be doing. I also can ask my uncle for help if I need it. Bein a member here and reading posts and reading the answers here is what made me finally decide to get my own reloading equipment and start reloading once and for all. By the way, this is a great idea for a post, I'll be keeping track of this one.

/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinning-smiley-003.gifLots of good advice here. One little thing I'd like to add that I don't think was mentioned. If you use several different powders, leave the can out that you are using at the time. That way you are sure to get the leftover powder back in the right can. Also remember, The only stupid question is the the one thats not asked. If you are unsure about something, get some help.
For my personal opinion, take the time to find someone in your immediate area that reloads. Whether you run into them at your local range, ask your local reloading supplier, or know them through a friend. This is assuming you have a manual and have read it.

Buy them a cup of coffee and ask them to come over and check out your equipment, help you go through the basics, and if there is some anomoly that pops up, stop and give them a call until you can understand what is happening. I have yet to meet anyone in the shooting community that wasn't willing to get a 'new guy' started on the right path.

I've reloaded straight-wall pistol cases for years and have just started reloading bottle-neck cases (.204 & .223) and have a well respected reloader in the next town (4 mi.) as a mentor. (Sounds odd as I am older than he is /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif) He's not retired and has his own busy life, but he's always been good for a phone call... or to have me stop by on a weekend or evening.

I agree with everyone else on starting lower than any max. load listed. Don't become a "Speedfreak" at the expense of safety. I like a flat shooting load as much as the next, but I want predictability more. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinning-smiley-003.gif
I have been reloading for about any and everything "boom" for over 25 years. The one best website i have ever found is here- check his relaoding page......
AFTER reading a good reloading manual cover to cover (I recommend the latest Lyman manual, it is like a very rounded text book, not just load recipe's) (Like the other guys posted)

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Don't get in a hurry. If you don't have enough time to do it right, start the job at another time.

Develop a system or routine. Follow it every time.

A chronograph is one of the most valuable tools. If you are working up a load and see a sudden spike in velocity, you just passed the max load. Doesn't matter what your brass looks like or that your bolt opens easily, it's time to back up a half a grain or so.

Only keep one powder can on the bench at a time.

Don't mix cans of the same brand/type of powder.

Don't pick up used brass. You never know how many times that it has been fired. Brass is relatively cheap, hands and eyes are priceless.

Store your primers separate from your powder.

Have fun. Do it safely. You get a great sense of accomplishment when you shoot that .25" group or fill the freezer with your own custom load.
My first piece of advice is to make sure that the data you are using is for the powder you have, since some companies use the same number as another company for a somewhat different powder (just different enough that the data is not interchangable).

4350 is particularly bad in that respect (3 companies at least) but also 4064, 4831 and 4895 need to be double checked. And those are just from the Lee manual.

The second piece of advice is to be the type of person who learns by reading. And get several different manuals and compare them.
I will touch on the record keeping again

For very close record keeping, I have a 3 ring binder for all my reloading info, I like to keep it 1 rifle to 1 book. I print off all my testing targets from the internet, 8 1/2 X 11 sheets, once shot they get 3-hole punched and inserted along with chrony data on that load. The chrony sheet has places for all data along with comments, powder used, charge used, bullet, OAL and temp on that day, you could add wind or other enviromental data, gets alittle deep though for me. There is no question if you tried something before.

The short version
Never throw away those old targets, take a sharpie and write the load data on the target along with a brief comments like pressure signs etc. Use a couple file folders to keep it straight. I have targets from testing going back years, come to think about it......I still have targets from rifles I no longer have /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I should do something about that!!

Record keeping is just as important as anything else on your bench, it can keep you from wasting time, money, eyes, fingers or worse.
Develope a routine and stick to it. Zero your scales periodically.

Buy your bullets, primers, brass & powder in bulk with the same lot numbers.

Good point on saving targets. I also have a target file with notes on each bull as to load, date, outside temp, rifle etc.

Keep your loading bench clean and well organized.