Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ref Brigid's reloading post,

I'll throw in a couple of things.

That bright-red Lee hand press in the pictures? I've got one; first press I owned. I loaded a LOT of .38 Special and .357 Mag on it, and a bunch of .303 British. And yes, full-length resizing a .303 case with it will give you Arms and Shoulders of Steel! if you do much of it. The press I learned from Dad on- which he still has- is a massive old Herter's swaging press, built like an I-beam. Strong enough, and leverage enough, to swage bullets. It's a 'C' press, as the body is 'C'-shaped, open in the front; and 'O' press is closed in front for more rigidity with less weight. If you wind up doing much, I'd suggest getting a 'C' or 'O', as they bolt to the bench and give you more leverage for rifle cases. But I still have that Lee stuck away, as a backup. And because you can take it and sit down and resize/deprime and bell cases in the living room with a movie on.

When you get a scale, the basic you should look at is a good balance-beam scale; very basic, very accurate and will last forever if you take care of it(much like a good press and dies). If you decide to get an electronic scale(Dad has one and loves it) as you primary scale, get a good one. Which is going to cost around a hundred bucks or more. The small ones that you can find on sale for $20 are fine for spot-checking, but they tend to 'drift', as in not holding zero, which means you can weigh a couple of things(charges, bullets, whatever) and then start getting odd weights because it forgot where 'zero' is, so you have to recalibrate, and it's a pain to have to keep doing it. Something like this RCBS, for example(the one Dad has) ain't cheap; unless something's wrong with it, it won't forget where 'zero' is every time you turn around, either.

Brigid covers that you can wash cases to clean them without using a tumbler; you can also wash them AND tumble. Rifle cases that have to be lubed for resizing I usually* wash and dry before I tumble to get rid of ANY traces of lube. She notes you should only use the 'warm' oven setting; reason is, you get the brass too hot and you're annealing it to some extent(accidentally leave the oven too high and you'll completely anneal them) and, as she says, this is Bad. Annealing is something you do to the case mouth area only, and then only when actually needed; anneal the base and the area above and you take away some of the ability of the case to hold pressure, which is indeed a Bad Thing.

Please do not misunderstand, I think she did a damn fine job of covering "Starting Handloading"; it's just that I have a hard time not throwing things in.

*Some lubes are water-soluble, and those that aren't will usually be cut by adding some suitable dish soap(I usually use Dawn). For some jobs I use this stuff, which is flat wonderful, and when you're done you can just wipe those cases with a paper towel to clean it off.


the pistolero said...

I have yet to reload for rifle, but it's a snap for straight-walled pistol calibers. Those with any kind of mechanical aptitude whatsoever — which, I would think, describes most of those interested in loading their own — should have no problem whatsoever with it. I dove right into it after just reading about what I needed to do. And I know rifle is a bit more complicated, but then again there's that whole aptitude thing.

Fire said...

I find that water-soluble lubes are best, too. ;) The paper towel is optional.