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NOOB at pistol reloading #16043793 04/30/21
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HaYen Offline OP
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Hello Campfire family,

For more than 20 years I have been reloading for long arms (bolt, semi's, level/pump actions) but I have yet to load for pistol. Basically because ... why? I mean I use to be able to find ammo on the cheap and shoot shoot shoot. Not today. So I did my research and it seems like pistol is similar to straight walls I load for with a crimp. I don't use a crimp on my bottle neck cartridges for bolt action guns. I would use a crimp for the 300 Legend out of a bolt gun.

So the steps I have are:

Resize and de-prime (1st die)
Case prep (clean, trim, inspect, sort whatever)
Prime
Flange (2nd die)
Charge

Seat bullet without crimp (3rd die)
back out seating steam and adjust die down to where it contacts brass that has no bullet
turn die another 1/8 of a turn, replace case without bullet with case with bullet and raise the ram
measure the case mouth to the bullet. There should be around .003 difference and or run finger along case mouth looking for a smooth transition
once crimp is achieved, raise ram with loaded cartridge and lower seating stem until it contacts bullet tip.
Now I should be ready to load a bullet and finish the rest of the charged cases.

Sound about right? That is for a 3 die set. How much nicer is a 4 die set? Do you by the sets or piece meal together a set? Is Lyman better than RCBS? Oh also the charge. DAMN 2.7grs? Really? I don't think my beam scale can go that low. The Lee powder dippers start at 3cc's. Using Lees conversion chart, that would still be too heavy a charge. I'm thinking start with an empty pan on top of my Lyman electronic scale and just use a trickler until I reach 2.7grs.

Please comment...I mean keep it constructive.

HaYen

PS I am loading 90 RN into a 380 Auto case using Ramshot Zip

Last edited by HaYen; 04/30/21.

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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16044096 04/30/21
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plainsman456 Offline
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I have found it easier to measure powder for the 380 with my scale.I also load a 90 grain bullet.

Only do 100 or so at a time so it does not take long.

As for crimping the legend the one we have around here no crimp seems to be needed in the ar-15.

These were loaded with 180 grain bullets.

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16044140 04/30/21
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I almost pretty much do as you do and have been loading hand gun ammo for about 50 years.If I was loading match ammo, I might go for better dies.I prefer RCBS, Lee are at the bottom of the heap for me.

If first setting up to seat the bullet, I will do it incrementally until I have the bullets seated at the crimp cannelure about midway.This is with the die adjusted so it does not crimp at first. Once I have the correct seating depth, I back out the seating stem, adjust the die so I get the crimp I want and then run the seating stem down to touch the bullet.

This is with a roll crimp die and bullets with a cannelure. With a .380 you do not usually have a cannelure for crimping and it takes taper crimp.With those, it is trail and error to get bullet seating depth and then adjust die and seating stem to get correct taper crimp.

Your beam a scale should go that low although increments are 1 gr I think.That is pretty hairy to weigh that charge on a beam scale. Trickling up to.2.7 is the way to go on your electric one. You might think about finding a slower burning powder, but it won't change much.Be darn sure to double check each powder loading and even triple check it.You don't have much room for error. Recheck your electric scale too, they can drift a.1 gr pretty fast if you don't watch them.

If you don't have one already, look for an extended shell holder for the .380.Those little cases can get you finger stuck under the ram pretty quick. If you can't find one PM me.I think I have one I don't use that you can have.

BTW, before you jump into all this,check to se if you can find and buy components if you don't already have them especially small pistol primers.No one has any primer is stock right now. .


Good luck


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16044441 04/30/21
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HaYen Offline OP
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@plainsman456 Thank you very much for the advise
@saddlesore Thank you very much. Great information. I have brass (500 pieces purchased online) and bullets. I was looking for powder and hit the jackpot today. Was able to fine 1 pound of Zip, Accurate 5, Titegroup and a few others. I went with Zip because some reviews online said it was a pretty clean burning powder. Primers? Man those are ghost. The local Sportsman's Warehouse said they got some in but they only had 5 and the first 5 people through the door got them. They didn't say what kind of primer or if that was 5 trays of 100 or 5 bricks of 1000. Like I said, I've been reloading rifles for a bit and this isn't my first rodeo with shortages and panic buying. I have rifle LR primers and LR magnum primers but no pistol as this is my first time loading those.

Thank you again folks for the assist. Much appreciated.

HaYen


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16045369 05/01/21
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"back out seating steam and adjust die down to where it contacts brass that has no bullet
turn die another 1/8 of a turn, replace case without bullet with case with bullet and raise the ram"

You asked about 4 die sets, usually the 4th die crimps so you don't have to go through those contortions. Seat all the rounds with the 3rd die then crimp them all with the 4th; no need to do any readjusting unless you change bullets.

If you have small rifle primers, they might work for your pistol. I say might because the pistol might not ignite them reliably. And of course back you starting charge off because they might raise pressures.


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16045894 05/01/21
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Some mistakes I've made loading for handguns.

Too long of a COAL for reliable function in my autoloading pistol. I had an odd shaped bullet and got nervous about the seating depth. If I'd followed the book COAL in the data, I'd have been fine.

Buckling the case with too much roll crimp. Familiarity with use of the tools and help from forum users like on here helped correct it.

Too long COAL for the revolver chambers. Greater care and attention to detail cured that.

Occasionally I've had to deal with brass that was sub par or out of spec. Attention to detail again.

All and all. I think I've enjoyed my handguns more and enjoyed learning to load for them a lot more than I ever anticipated at the beginning.

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16045950 05/01/21
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I am most of the way through a batch of 200 Federal .357 cases. I am loading these with the Hornady XTP 125 grain bullet, over 7 grains of Tightgroup and Winchester small pistol magnum primers.
I clean the cases first, then size and decap. Next is to expand the case, and then re prime. I weigh each charge and then lastly, seat the bullet and crimp. Gotta keep your eye on everything. I usually do about 50 from start to finish, then another 50. I always try to remember to do a handful from start to finish, measuring case length, overall length and then check to see they chamber. Then I go to work.


Sam......

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16046154 05/01/21
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tikkanut Online Happy
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I load 9mm---40 S&W & 45 ACP

My dies mainly consist of the Lee 4 pc set...which includes the factory crimp die

Ammo runs smooth & accurate...Springfield & H&K pistols

My lever gun revolver rounds 357--44 & 45 Colt dies are RCBS Cowboy dies

They're purty !

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16046215 05/01/21
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If you use a progressive set up, or are a plug an chug guy make sure your case lengths are identical...
But if you load strait wall rifle you know that.


-OMotS



"If memory serves fails me..."
Quote: ( unnamed) "been prtty deep in the cooler todaay "
Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16046714 05/01/21
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HaYen Offline OP
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Thank you again folks. Huge help. I'm still on hunt (pun intended) for primers as I am sure everyone else is.


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16047339 05/02/21
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PA_Bob Offline
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Beware the pistol (not revolver) cartridge that headspaces on the case mouth....no roll crimp, uhn uhn.

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16047439 05/02/21
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I weigh pistol charges that are under 10 gr. by throwing 10 of them and dividing. It seems easier to me than puzzling out if the charge was 2.7 gr. or 2.8.


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: tikkanut] #16048488 05/02/21
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Originally Posted by tikkanut


I load 9mm---40 S&W & 45 ACP

My dies mainly consist of the Lee 4 pc set...which includes the factory crimp die

Ammo runs smooth & accurate...Springfield & H&K pistols

My lever gun revolver rounds 357--44 & 45 Colt dies are RCBS Cowboy dies

They're purty !


I was going to say no one going to mention the Lee factory crimp die, but it looks like you did in your post. The best thing I have done in regards to loading very reliable ammo for my 9mm, 40, and 45. I wouldn't be without one now.


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I try to stick with the basics, they do so well. Nothing fancy mind you, just plain jane will get it done with style.

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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16058598 05/05/21
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gregintenn Offline
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Your mileage may vary, but I find trimming handgun brass basically unnecessary. It doesn’t seem to grow like bottleneck rifle cartridges.

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16117002 05/26/21
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SoTexCurdog Offline
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I highly recommend the Lee Case Mouth Expander die set. If you ever load up any lead cast bullets you will greatly appreciate this set. Even on bottle neck cases.

Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: SoTexCurdog] #16117023 05/26/21
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Scott F Offline
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Originally Posted by SoTexCurdog
I highly recommend the Lee Case Mouth Expander die set. If you ever load up any lead cast bullets you will greatly appreciate this set. Even on bottle neck cases.

I agree with one small addition, throw away the two expanders and replace them with expanders from NOE.


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: HaYen] #16117431 05/26/21
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If I had to weigh a few hundred 2.7 grain loads during a session involving Clays powder and .38 wadcutters I would run screaming from the room. I find both my old Belding&Mull and my new Harrell's measures throw those light charges extremely accurately, and setting up/confirming them with my rcbs 10-10 scale to be effortless. Ditto results when loading .32 Longs with 2.2 gr. Bullseye.


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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: tikkanut] #16117447 05/26/21
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NVhntr Offline
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Originally Posted by tikkanut


I load 9mm---40 S&W & 45 ACP

My dies mainly consist of the Lee 4 pc set...which includes the factory crimp die

Ammo runs smooth & accurate...Springfield & H&K pistols

My lever gun revolver rounds 357--44 & 45 Colt dies are RCBS Cowboy dies

They're purty !


This^^
I load for .380, 9mm, and .45 acp.
The Lee carbide 4 die sets work very well and I much prefer the 4 die setup.
The only trimming I do is on my nickel +P brass for the Gold Dot self defense rounds and only because I'm somewhat anal detail oriented.

Last edited by NVhntr; 05/26/21.
Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: gnoahhh] #16118379 05/26/21
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Scott F Offline
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Originally Posted by gnoahhh
If I had to weigh a few hundred 2.7 grain loads during a session involving Clays powder and .38 wadcutters I would run screaming from the room. I find both my old Belding&Mull and my new Harrell's measures throw those light charges extremely accurately, and setting up/confirming them with my rcbs 10-10 scale to be effortless. Ditto results when loading .32 Longs with 2.2 gr. Bullseye.

I have used a Harrell's for thirty years. It's repeatable is amazing.


The first time I shot myself in the head...

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Re: NOOB at pistol reloading [Re: Scott F] #16118687 05/26/21
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Scott, how accurate is the Harrell’s with flake powder like Unique?

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