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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I loaded my first 50 rounds of .45 ACP for my two 1911's tonight using my new Lee Classic 4 hole turret press! I've got to say, it feels pretty good knowing that I made my own ammo for the first time. :yipee:

I loaded 230 grain FMJ bullets over two different charges of HP-38: 25 rounds at 4.2 grains and 25 rounds at 4.5 grains. That powder has a starting load of 4.2 grains and a max of 5.3, so I figured both of mine should be a pretty safe way to start. I was using the Lee Auto Disk that came in the kit.

I started out using the .40 disk opening, and I weighed a series of 30 charges before I started loading to see how consistent it was going to be. My first 10 varied from 4.0 to 4.4, but then it started getting very consistent. After about #15, it threw 4.2 grains every time except for two, and those two weighed in at 4.3 grains. I was pretty impressed.

When I switched to the .43 disk opening, I weighed a series of 10 more charges before loading any more. 8 charges weighed 4.5 grains, and two weighed around 4.6 grains. Again, I was pretty impressed.

While loading, I weighed every tenth charge (and sometimes more often), and it was always within a tenth of a grain. Hopefully I have as good of luck with other powders in the future.

I wasn't sure exactly how deep to seat the bullet, so I looked at the max OAL of 1.275 that the Lee loading manual listed, and then measured about 8 factory rounds of two different brands which varied from about 1.255 to 1.270. I decided to try 1.268 and figure I can always seat them a bit deeper if I have trouble with them feeding. Does that sound like a good approach?

So, does it sound like I did okay for my first attempt? I guess I won't know for sure until I get to the range with them. Unfortunately, I'm going to be busy this weekend, so I won't be able to try them for almost two weeks. Man, that sucks!

I did manage to crush the sidewall of my second case when I tried to seat the bullet. :bang: I assumed it was due to not putting enough flare on the case mouth (I had been pretty careful to start the bullet straight), so I readjusted for a bit more and tried it again. Fixed! Worked like a champ after that. So, now that I have a destroyed case with a live primer in it, what's the best way to dispose of that?

I also ordered some bullets for my 30-06, but it said they would be shipped in 3-4 weeks. Oh well, I guess the .45s will keep me busy until then.

Just thought I would share a bit about my first experience and make sure there isn't anything I did that immediately throws up a red flag.
 

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Great job! By the way, those OALs are minimum, not maximum lengths.

Edit:

Hang on a sec. Lee should have a diagram of your cartridge, and that should give you nominal dimensions.

When you get to the table, the last column is "Min OAL". That's the minimum, and you should not be shorter than that for the given bullet & charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great job! By the way, those OALs are minimum, not maximum lengths.

Edit:

Hang on a sec. Lee should have a diagram of your cartridge, and that should give you nominal dimensions.

When you get to the table, the last column is "Min OAL". That's the minimum, and you should not be shorter than that for the given bullet & charge.
Ahhhhh...., that might change things a bit.

Well, I just went downstairs and looked. You're right. I guess I just assumed that the OAL given in the dimensioned drawing at the beginning of the caliber listing was a maximum allowable length (1.275). But, upon further inspection, I do see that it doesn't actually say "maximum" anywhere. The OAL minimum listed in the load data for my combination (1.200) does specifically say "minimum." Huh... In that case, did I still do okay?

OAL is one thing that I never really did find much information about as far as a good rule of thumb, etc., so I was a bit unsure about it. How do you know where to start? I know it can really increase pressure the deeper you seat the bullet. I wouldn't want to screw it up and find out the hard way at the range. :eek: Thanks for the clarification and help.
 

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There's always the kinetic bullet puller, empty, recharge and reseat your bullets or you can learn from the mistake, knowing you did slightly overpressure the rounds and try the lighter loads out.
For what it's worth, I did the same exact thing with OAL with a 4.6gr charge of HP38 on 10 rounds and they shot fine.
 
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The first reload I did of my 7.62 x 54R rounds had to be re-reloaded. I forgot to double check the Max OAL and sure was glad that I started over because they were short. Too short equals too much pressure which can equal a ruined firearm; or worse.

Let us know where you got some primers.
 

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I work pretty much the same way except I make up a couple of dummy rounds with no primer or powder with just the bullet. I then check in for cycling in my gun and if it works I set the dummies aside for later use. I then put a primer in a case and use it to check charges. Again when it levels out I set it aside to use again later. Now I start loading. I will load one of the dummy rounds saving one dummy and one primed case for future use. I'm also a fan of HP-38 powder but also load using Bullseye, Universal, Clays, Unique and Titegroup in 9mm, 45 ACP and 45 Colt. I'm still looking a powders and plan to eventually fine the one for each caliber I shoot. I also load 45-70 Gov using Trailboss, IMR 4198, IMR 3031 and Reloader 7. For my Rossi 92 45 Colt rifle a hunting load using either the Ranch Dog 290 gr or Lee 300 gr with Lil'Gun. That load is a bear stopper for sure.
 
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You're good to go. For 230gr hardball and plated I use 1.265" for OAL which is very close to factory hardball ammo. Sierra reloading manual lists the maximum OAL as 1.275".
 

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Ahhhhh...., that might change things a bit.

Well, I just went downstairs and looked. You're right. I guess I just assumed that the OAL given in the dimensioned drawing at the beginning of the caliber listing was a maximum allowable length (1.275). But, upon further inspection, I do see that it doesn't actually say "maximum" anywhere. The OAL minimum listed in the load data for my combination (1.200) does specifically say "minimum." Huh... In that case, did I still do okay?

OAL is one thing that I never really did find much information about as far as a good rule of thumb, etc., so I was a bit unsure about it. How do you know where to start? I know it can really increase pressure the deeper you seat the bullet. I wouldn't want to screw it up and find out the hard way at the range. :eek: Thanks for the clarification and help.
Your load has a min. OAL of 1.200", and you have 1.268" actual. You should be fine. Ammo and firearm makers work to the maximum dimensions you saw (e.g. for the cartridge to fit in a magazine).

OAL is used as a surrogate for case volume, that's why it differs between bullets of different profile that have different lengths. That said, a hollow point bullet has a shorter "tip", but because of the hollow, is overall about as long as a round-nosed bullet. I call it even, and load round nosed bullets to hollow point loads in the absence of better data.

I can't do the same trick with flat point bullets, so I reduce OAL until they can chamber (the flat point bullets taper late, so it gets stuck in the rifling). When compared with a regular round nosed bullet, the case volume is about the same too, and that's important for my peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
...For what it's worth, I did the same exact thing with OAL with a 4.6gr charge of HP38 on 10 rounds and they shot fine.
Good to know. Hopefully mine work fine too.

...Let us know where you got some primers.
I probably won't be much help in locating primers. I bought mine back at Thanksgiving time from Bass Pro Shops and just never got around to doing any loading until now. I've been slowly buying components for the calibers I plan to load for as I find them at half-way reasonable prices. I just scored 1,000 small rifle and 1,000 large rifle primers (Wolf brand) about a month ago from a LGS (well, about an hour away). I was really happy to find them, and especially for $29.99 each. I haven't seen any small or large pistol primers since I started looking seriously back in December. I'm still hoping to find some more large pistol primers soon because I only bought 500 at the time. It's going to be tough trying to ration my range time that much in order to make them last for a while until things calm down. Oh well. It is what is, I guess. I'll keep my eye out and let everyone know if I find a jackpot of primers somewhere. :)

I work pretty much the same way except I make up a couple of dummy rounds with no primer or powder with just the bullet. I then check in for cycling in my gun and if it works I set the dummies aside for later use. I then put a primer in a case and use it to check charges. Again when it levels out I set it aside to use again later. Now I start loading. I will load one of the dummy rounds saving one dummy and one primed case for future use...
I like those ideas. I may have to start doing that for new loads in the future.

You're good to go. For 230gr hardball and plated I use 1.265" for OAL which is very close to factory hardball ammo. Sierra reloading manual lists the maximum OAL as 1.275".
Good. Thanks for the info. Most of the rounds I measured after loading varied from around 1.265 to 1.268, with a couple at 1.264.

BTW, is the variance in OAL due to slight differences in the profile of the nose of each individual bullet? Or is it just due to tolerances (slop) within the loading press [i.e., how far the ram travels each time, minor movement of the die, etc.]?

Thanks everyone for all of the info. You people are a wealth of information and experience, and I love picking your brains every chance I get!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
...OAL is used as a surrogate for case volume, that's why it differs between bullets of different profile that have different lengths. That said, a hollow point bullet has a shorter "tip", but because of the hollow, is overall about as long as a round-nosed bullet. I call it even, and load round nosed bullets to hollow point loads in the absence of better data.

I can't do the same trick with flat point bullets, so I reduce OAL until they can chamber (the flat point bullets taper late, so it gets stuck in the rifling). When compared with a regular round nosed bullet, the case volume is about the same too, and that's important for my peace of mind.
I need to let that percolate in my mind for a bit to completely grasp the concept, but I think I'm mainly with you. :D I've never bought flat point bullets, so I've never had the opportunity to compare them side-by-side with a round nose. I assume your saying the "shoulder" of the bullet is what gets stuck in the rifling, hence requiring a reduction in OAL for it to chamber properly. I also assume that the actual length of the bullet is a bit shorter than a comparable round nose, so even though your have to seat it a bit deeper, the available case volume remains nearly the same as it would be for the round nose bullet. Is my understanding correct?

And with respect to hollow point bullets, you're saying they have to be a bit longer than a comparable round nose bullet in order to have the same grain weight (due to the "missing" material from the hollow point cavity), so using the same OAL should probably result in approximately the same available case volume and resulting pressure?

Let me know if I went off the rails in my thinking there. I hadn't really thought about that before, so that's some great info to store away for future use if I end up loading something other than hard ball.
 

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Bullet tips will vary by several thousandths plus or minus, some brands or shapes more than others. There are devices that measure to the ogive (the place where the bullet starts to curve) that will eliminate most of the variability in bullet tips from affecting your measurements.
HP 38 ( or Win 231 - they are the same powder) meters very well. A lot of powders give less consistent drops from your measure.
 

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Welcome to the reloading ......darkside...................you will never be the same!!!!!!!LOL
Keep it fun and be safe, listen to joecil and others they are some great resources for a great hobby.
Just remember a shorter oal makes for a smaller space which elevates pressure.
 
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I need to let that percolate in my mind for a bit to completely grasp the concept, but I think I'm mainly with you. :D I've never bought flat point bullets, so I've never had the opportunity to compare them side-by-side with a round nose. I assume your saying the "shoulder" of the bullet is what gets stuck in the rifling, hence requiring a reduction in OAL for it to chamber properly. I also assume that the actual length of the bullet is a bit shorter than a comparable round nose, so even though your have to seat it a bit deeper, the available case volume remains nearly the same as it would be for the round nose bullet. Is my understanding correct?
Yes, correct.

And with respect to hollow point bullets, you're saying they have to be a bit longer than a comparable round nose bullet in order to have the same grain weight (due to the "missing" material from the hollow point cavity), so using the same OAL should probably result in approximately the same available case volume and resulting pressure?
Correct as well.

I had to rationalize it to myself before I was willing to go ahead to load and fire such atypical bullets.

Hollow point loads are strangely more common than round nose loads. The flat point story started when I ordered 3k flat points instead of 3k round nose bullets that I'd tested 1k of: When life hands you lemons...
 

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Sounds like you are off to a good start. I also enjoy reloading and being retired living up here in the Rust Belt with the long winters it gives me plenty of time. I like to cast my own bullets for reloading, this takes a lot of time but will save you a bundle in the cost of components. Wheel guns are easy to reload for, just keep your load light enough as to not lead the barrel but auto loaders are a tad harder. I work up to a load that will reliably operate the action in anything you want to use them in then hit the range for some accuracy tests. Using old wheel weights as a casting material I have found that any load that is under 900 to 950 fps will not lead your barrel if the cast bullet is properly sized and lubed. Have fun, be safe and see you at the range....

Reloading Bench 002.jpg Reloading Bench 009.jpg Reloading Bench 013.jpg
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
...I like to cast my own bullets for reloading, this takes a lot of time but will save you a bundle in the cost of components. Wheel guns are easy to reload for, just keep your load light enough as to not lead the barrel but auto loaders are a tad harder...
No wheel guns for me right now, although I would like to change that at some point. I've always wanted a six inch barrel .357 of some sort. That type of revolver was the first handgun I ever shot back when I was in high school, and even though I have not fired one again between then and now, I've always retained a fascination with that type of gun/caliber. I would love to hunt with it and just have some fun at the range too.

With regard to casting bullets, I have a bit of a phobia of getting lead poisoning, and especially concerning my kids. I have very young children right now, and I don't really have a good place to cast bullets where I wouldn't be worried about the kids being exposed to the lead/fumes. I wouldn't be as concerned for my own well-being, but I worry about how a small amount of lead exposure could adversely effect my kids' health and development. My understanding is that if you're careful, an adult body can handle the minimal lead exposure you would surely encounter through casting without suffering any noticeable effects. It sounds like that's a much different story with young children -- even a small exposure can have some serious consequences. Real or imagined, my fear just won't allow me to take that risk right now. That being said, it sure would be nice to save the boat-load of money that can be saved through casting my own though! Maybe someday I'll have to give it a whirl when I get a shed to work in, and the the kids are older.
 

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I usually only load ten rounds at a time until I am sure they will function at that length in a semi auto. I learned that the hard way.

Sent from my SPH-D700 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I usually only load ten rounds at a time until I am sure they will function at that length in a semi auto. I learned that the hard way.

Sent from my SPH-D700 using Tapatalk 2
I know that would have made more sense. It's just that I got rolling with my new toy and couldn't stop. It was just too much fun! Hopefully I don't end up getting well-acquainted with my new kinetic bullet puller as a result of my decision to make a larger batch than I probably should have. ;)
 

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I know that would have made more sense. It's just that I got rolling with my new toy and couldn't stop. It was just too much fun! Hopefully I don't end up getting well-acquainted with my new kinetic bullet puller as a result of my decision to make a larger batch than I probably should have. ;)
Well, if you need any help working that puller we happen to have our very own Kinetic Bullet Puller expert on these forums: RottieJake


And if you do end up making a mistake and end up pulling hundreds/thousands of rounds make a point not to tell us about it cause we never forget and we'll never let you live it down<g>
 
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Well, if you need any help working that puller we happen to have our very own Kinetic Bullet Puller expert on these forums: RottieJake
>
I thought that i remembered that Rottiejake designed a progressive Kinetic bullet puller??--maybe not!
and if you do have to pull a couple thousand rounds and need to vent just send me a private message, i won't tell anyone!!--No really--- seriously-- I can keep a secret!!!-- NO I really can!!!
 
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Several things can change the OAL and density loading of a particular cartridge.
the loading manuals take all this in and provide a safe loading with different powders.
Its not just a flat point vs a round nose , it can have more differences in the material that the projectile is made of, copper for example are always longer in a given weight because the actual material is lighter than a lead or lead core, or even a steel core projectile, so you will find they are not loaded to the same levels of FPS as common projectiles as they reduce case capacity by being seated deeper..
you will also find that usually the more modern JHP will have different loadings than older Jhp because the actual hollow point cavities are larger(ie No weight) so they tend to be a longer projectiel even though the same weight.
Just be sure and follow published reloading info with the appropriate bullet type.
 
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