First Bullets, First Guns

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KeithOR posted this 5 weeks ago

Hi! Thank you all for creating such a great community and hobby. I am only getting started but I have already gained a lot from what many of you have written.

Somehow, last Fall, I got interested in guns. I found and read the Cast Bullet Handbook and found it fascinating. I very much liked the idea of making cheap ammunition, so decided to make some 358-sized pistol bullets. I made about a thousand bullets--Lyman 358477, 358156 and 358429, which all came out close to 359, and very much enjoyed that. Then I had to learn how to make the cartridges. I got reloading equipment and primers, used brass, and a big jug of Bullseye and started making cartridges. I must have read the reloading manuals from Speer, Lyman, and Lee almost cover-to-cover now and have tried out many thing on paper and spreadsheets that I haven't had a chance to do in practice yet.

In order to have something to shoot the bullets with before I made too many mistakes, I found a used Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver for a low price on-line. This particular gun was used by the French police since some time in the late 1960s. It arrived in good working order. I disassembled the gun completely--which was a project and learning experience in itself--and noticed that it has been continuously maintained, with a number of parts replaced. I cleaned it well and polished a few of the bearing surfaces, but was basically satisfied that the gun was good. The upgrade I will make eventually is to install an oversize cylinder stop to correct a very small side-to-side wobble there. I slugged the barrel and one of the cylinder chambers, and based on what I had learned at the time it seemed that 359 would be the right size for the bullets, so I had been lucky. At this point I acquired a used Star Lube-Sizer to speed up the process of making cartridges.

I loaded up a bunch of different charges at different load levels, going as high as 3.1 grains of Bullseye for the 358429. I assumed that the 3.0 grain load was going to work across the board and made most of the cartridges at that load level. I left the gas checks off the 358156 bullets at first, tried forming gas checks for, and eventually put my work toward other bullet shapes. I tried the shake method of powder coating and got it to work well enough to try out, sizing the bullets after double-coating for the first experimental loads.

Eventually I shot the gun, and it was great fun, which is also lucky, since I have rarely shot a gun since I was kid. A major complication in finding a place to shoot was that none of the nearby ranges would both allow reloads and allow me to recover my lead bullets. The shooting club that might have worked out requires NRA membership, and I even though I admire the NRA of the past I don't want to join today's NRA. Fortunately there is a wilderness area not too far away where shooting is allowed, and an old rock quarry there where people gather to shoot. Most of my bullets worked, even though I made some that would not fire because the primers were set too deep, and I had to fix that in my reloading process. I started out shooting with a chronograph so I'd know my loads were doing what they were supposed to do and no more. With limited hobby time, I've only shot the first 1000 rounds so-far, really just learning to shoot, and have been figuring out what to do make the gun do next.

Meanwhile I put together some AR-15 rifles--a 16 inch barrel with pistol length gas system chambered in 300 Blackout, and a 16 inch barrel chambered in 223 Wylde. I also assembled a pistol lower from parts and will build an 8.5" upper in 300 Blackout in a week or two when the parts arrive. I've been totally enamored of the 357 magnum during my research, and I realized that the 300 Blackout is very much like a 357 but a little bit more energetic with better ballistics and sectional density. I've been casting the Lee TL309-230-5R for 300 Blackout and formed some cases for it, but have not shot 300 Blackout yet. I did make and shoot six hundred rounds or so of 223 ammunition using commercial 55gr TMJ bullets and a moderate charge of 20gr Shooter's World Tactical Rifle / Lovex D73-01. I had to get a little more sophisticated about processing and sizing my used brass to make my 223 rounds chamber reliably, but the gun and ammunition work reliably now.

The thing I've gotten into recently is using software tools to work out experimental loads, and I've been learning new things from that.

The projects I'm interested in next are:

* Construct a durable bullet trap to save all my low-velocity lead without breaking the bullets. Catching 3000fps bullets is too difficult for me right now, but for pistol speeds, progressively heavier hanging plates of spring-tempered steel with the lightest starting around the bullet weight seems to work on paper..

* Quiet loads in 38 special (4" barrel revolver), 170 grain bullets, target velocity 620 fps, target muzzle pressure 497 psi, 165dBA at the muzzle. I have a plan, using tiny compressed loads of Bullseye powder, bullet seated at the bottom of the case, with cardboard wads to protect the bullet base directly on top. I have an SPL/dBA meter and the chronograph, which I should be able to use to calibrate the simulation fit versus case volume. I can work up loads by seating the bullet progressively deeper and decreasing the charge weight for each step on the ladder. That is necessary to avoid stuck bullets and safely approach the combination of charge and load that will meet the target without exceeding .38 SPL +P pressures. If it works with Bullseye then I will start again with Clays, which is the quietest load I can simulate, at around 158dBA or so at the muzzle. The whole process has to be done for a particular jug of powder because the safe ranges are so narrow, and the load may turn out to be too temperature sensitive to make safe and general purpose bullets with, or the loaded ammunition may age in a way that causes it to become dangerous over time. There are reasonably safe ways to find out the answers, though, and I'm going to try. I do think that consistent velocities will not happen unless the bullet seating pressure can be controlled during loading, possibly with a spring behind the stem of the seating die. On the plus side, cases might not need to be sized at all: just deprime, install the new primer in a dirty case, drop in the powder, wad and bullet and seat and crimp in one operation. I think this idea is not new and that someone reported something similar to this in a forum that I read early on, though I did not understand it at the time.

* Make the 300 Blackout guns work, first with subsonic and heavy lead bullets, and then with lighter lead bullets. I have a design process for selecting loads that will cycle at a particular velocity, but I need to calibrate it for my particular gun by experimentally determining the gas port pressure for one load below which the bolt won't lock back on an empty magazine. This can be done with the chronograph and software. After that it should be possible to find the minimum load for any powder and bullet that will cycle the gun. Subsonic ammunition with the 8.5" barrel without a suppressor appears to be possible, and testing is only needed to find the fastest (and quietest) powder that will do it for that gun. The 16" barrel with pistol length gas system may cycle with subsonic ammunition, but the highest available gas port pressure with any powder is about half of the MILSPEC pressure for 16" carbine-length gas system. So there is a little physics exercise needed to figure out what may be possible.

* Make the 223 work with lead bullets, preferably without gas checks.

* Possibly if the work with the 38 and quiet loads goes well, then the success could be improved with a different gun. In simulation I can create 600 fps loads for a 24" barrel, 327 Federal case, and 130 grain bullet that are below 100 psi muzzle pressure, which is 151dBA at the muzzle. That would also be a fun gun to use with a suppressor because it starts to get into the range of normal sounds. The entire powder burn would happen in the case, so the barrel would last forever.

Thank you all again for creating and participating in this group. I pretty well knew I would like this hobby, but I'm finding it deeper and more interesting than I expected. I hope we'll have some fun in the near future and hopefully create some new things together.

Keith

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Squid Boy posted this 5 weeks ago

Keith, welcome to the forum and you certainly jumped in to the game with both feet. I might suggest a little test for your Model 10 before you do anything else to it. Make sure it's unloaded of course and cock the hammer, then pull the trigger like you normally would. After the hammer drops don't release the trigger at all but hold that position and try to move the cylinder. It shouldn't move and if it doesn't that's a good thing because the cylinder lock and hand are OK. You can try it double action as well, just make sure you hold the trigger back. If it does move then the hand and/or cylinder lock should be replaced. It is possible that the ratchet on the ejector could be worn but that would be unlikely in a gun that was well maintained. I use gauge pins to check cylinder to barrel alignment but don't often find one out unless it was really beat on. Anyway, good luck for the future, you have plenty of projects to keep you busy. Squid Boy

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JimmyDee posted this 5 weeks ago

Welcome aboard.  It sounds as though you have some interesting projects in-hand.  Good on you!

... I made some that would not fire because the primers were set too deep, and I had to fix that in my reloading process.

Could you expand on this, please?  Viz, how were you seating the primers?  How did you determine that they were seated too deeply?  What did those primers look like after they didn't ignite?

 

 

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KeithOR posted this 5 weeks ago

Hi Squid Boy, thanks for the tip! Sadly on one of the six cylinders there is a tiny bit of cylinder motion after the hammer falls and with the trigger still held down. It is an extremely slight motion but it is there. I guess I need to figure out which of the three parts needs be replaced and fitted. The hand and cylinder lock may be possible for me to do myself with some additional learning. I think If I tried to fit a new ejector I would destroy the first one or two of them before I got it right, and I don't know if new parts are even available--they don't seem to be from dealers, but they may be from Smith & Wesson.

I had better obtain gauge pins to check the cylinder-to-bore alignment before and after repairs, and so I can figure out how to fit a new cylinder stop if or when that is needed. It does look OK visually, looking down the bore into the chambers with the cylinder turned as far as it will go counterclockwise from the shooter's perspective.

Now how do I figure out what is wrong? If I could check the cylinder-to-bore alignment then it should be possible to know that the cylinder lock is ok from just that? If I would assume the cylinder lock is ok then I could try to fit a new hand. Is there a simple diagnostic procedure that I can use to further asses the situation? I would very much like to do the work myself if it is possible, even if it requires more time and money than taking it to a gunsmith.

I really appreciate that you thought to mention this check. I'll try to cautiously investigate this as much further as I can figure out how to do it.

Keith

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KeithOR posted this 5 weeks ago

Thanks Jimmy! I might very well have misinterpreted the problem with the non-functioning rounds, and I do have all the ammunition that didn't go off waiting to be checked more carefully. Here is what happened with the primers:

I had quite a few undetonated rounds from my S&W Model 10 at first, and I haven't checked this as carefully as I should, but here is what I observed so-far. When I am shooting and a round doesn't go off, I seem to most always be able to feel that it is seated below the base of the bullet, just running my thumbnail over it. When I check my unfired ammunition I only notice this condition on a small minority of the rounds. The primers are indented by the firing pin, but more lightly than the rounds that work. Sometimes dropping the hammer on the same round a second time will cause it to fire and other times not. Maybe that works half the time. If I take the cartridge out of the revolver and then put it back in and try it again, most of them seem to fire, and I have imagined that is because I'm hitting a slightly different place and pushing the already-indented primer brass down against the anvil. If I select a tray of ammunition that doesn't have primers seated deeply enough to notice, then they seem to all work. The ones I loaded later work more consistently than the ones I loaded earlier, so it is best to try to diagnose the problem before I run through the last of that

I'm using mixed brass and seating primers on a Dillon XL650. If a cartridge rim is thicker than average then the primer will seat deeper. I'll have a careful look at the machine

I've been working through a backlog of loaded ammunition and I've been lazy about driving this problem to ground. I'll report back with some additional details, like the actual measured depth of the primer below the case head for failed and unfired rounds. I'll take some of the nonfiring rounds apart and look for clues. At the beginning I did not clean excess bullet lube before loading. I could have more than one problem. I will also bin my remaining bullets by primer seating depth and collect some statistics to make sure the primers really have anything to do with the problem. I have my subjective idea of what is wrong,but I know I can be easily fooled.

I think you are right that I really should be careful enough to come to a really clear understanding of what is happening with all the dud rounds. What else should I try? Thank you so much for your thoughts.

Keith

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 5 weeks ago

Keith,

As a certified S&W armorer I can help you with the issues on your model 10. If the cylinder stop comes up or engages on each chamber, then there is no issue with the hand or cylinder stop. This should be checked by holding the revolver up at eyesight and slowly cock the hammer. Watch to see if the cylinder stop engages the cylinder each time before the hammer locks. Do this on all 6 chambers. Once the cylinder stop is engaged you can check for some side play by pulling the trigger and holding back, while trying to rotate the cylinder from side to side. A minimal amount of play, say 0.001- 0.002" is acceptable. Anymore then you may want to replace the cylinder stop. However it is less of an issue then the timing of the cylinder. Back and forth cylinder movement is another issue altogether and requires a simple repair. Again the slight play of the cylinder side to side is a minor issue compared to the timing or endshake.

  

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
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pondercat posted this 5 weeks ago

Welcome to the forum KeithOr,

Prepare yourself for a learning experience of a lifetime, for a lifetime.  It seems like every time I work with my guns or reloading I learn something new - or at least re-learn it.  I believe you will also.  You have a terrific start in this hobby and you just hooked up with a bunch of the best mentors in the shooting world!

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

hi Keithor ... welcome to the group ... great to see your enthusiasm for our hobby/sport/obsession ...  

as mentioned above, many of us have been " practicing " for many years and haven't run out of things to learn yet .... in fact, you might notice that even for the past several years of the forum here ....  that there is a lot of effort being put into understanding the most basic functions of cast bullets ... 

?  need gas checks ?  hard lead alloy better ? what does lube do ? how many shots to test accuracy ?    

so, i suggest that even though you might be a relative newcomer to shooting .... you actually know as much about it as the rest of us ::  not enough. ( g ) .  

*************

one thing i am 51 % sure of is that primers should be seated just below the surface ... the anvil should be pushed firmly against the bottom of the primer pocket .. a slight crush !!    i am not much of a handgun guy but suspect not enough firing pin strike depth, or a soft hammer/main spring, or a cushioning effect when you fire, such as unsized/bulged case bases.  ... ? bullets too snug in chamber throats ? 

part of the fun of this hobby is finding solutions to problems .  even more fun is giving wild guesses about problems discovered by other people ... ( g ) .

please keep us up with what is happening with your projects.

****************

oh, i have been watching the 300 blackout threads ... but am really exited about the new " 358 

blackout " cartridges being played with lately .....  kinda a rimless 357 max ...  big holes !! 

ken

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JimmyDee posted this 4 weeks ago

When I am shooting and a round doesn't go off, I seem to most always be able to feel that it is seated below the base of the bullet, just running my thumbnail over it. When I check my unfired ammunition I only notice this condition on a small minority of the rounds. The primers are indented by the firing pin, but more lightly than the rounds that work. Sometimes dropping the hammer on the same round a second time will cause it to fire and other times not.

We call these "high primers" and it occurs when the primer is not seated deeply enough -- i.e., protrudes from the base of the case.  Your use of the word "deep" is the opposite of the way we use it.

High primers result in misfires when the hammer strike seats the primer and doesn't crush the priming compound between the cup and anvil.  In revolvers, high primers will often prevent the cylinder from rotating into battery.

I'm using mixed brass and seating primers on a Dillon XL650. If a cartridge rim is thicker than average then the primer will seat deeper. I'll have a careful look at the machine

I would be surprised if case rim thickness is causing high primers.  I think that you would have trouble getting the case under the shell plate if it was excessively thick.

On your XL650, the primer is seated as you push the operating handle beyond its resting position on the up stroke.  (If you release the handle, the spring on the rod connected to the powder throw mechanism returns it to the resting position.)  You should be able to feel a subtle but abrupt resistance to your push as the primer bottoms out in the primer pocket.

I don't mean to bore you with things you already know, but I suspect this is where your issue lies.  Check your set-up and develop a feel for seating primers.

 

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thanks Jimmy and Ken,

Yes, you had my meaning right the first time. By "seated too deep" or "below the head of the case" or "low" I meant below flush and not protruding. I think you may be right that the problem is not primers seated too deeply though. When the primers are seated low enough that I can easily feel the ridge on the case head with my fingernail, those are the bullets that seemed less likely to work. Or that was what I thought.

I had to know, so I just measured ~200-250 bullets from different load lots with a digital caliper--using the tail end of the slide to measure the depth. The deepest I found was 0.004" which I would think is OK. The vast majority were 0.001-0.003 below flush, which I would think is excellent. I think I get them seated at the bottom of the primer pocket for the most part because as Ken said I can feel the feedback from the handle on the machine. That is unless the handle stops before I reach the end of the primer pocket, but I haven't figured out if that is possible yet. The fingernail test does not give me good feedback for below-flush primers they way I thought it did, because there is some variation in how square the rim of the primer pocket is from case to case. So the fingernail will catch on some cases even when the primer is perfectly flush.

It is not that I didn't have any high primers. I did have a very few high and crooked primers from two of the trays of 50 cartridges that I shot, and I don't know what went wrong there. When I was measuring the seating depth just now I included some cases I'd primed for a plan of loading some while shooting in the future, and one of those had a primer seated sideways and squashed flat. But I can't produce evidence now of either high or low primer seating with my unfired ammunition.

I'll have to try to figure this out and report back. One disturbing thing I found when I looked in my supplies just now is that my fail-to-shoot bullets are missing and I'm afraid that I may have shot almost all of them by recycling them in the gun a second time. I know there were at least a few that just wouldn't go off, so hopefully the dud bullets are still together and only misplaced. It felt good at the time to shoot the duds, but now I wish I had them all to inspect. What I thought I saw at the time was that the primers were substantially below the bullet base and that they were less indented than the rounds that detonated. Hopefully I'll be able to re-observe the problem and figure this out because at this point it could just have been a problem of perception.

One possible explanation is that I deformed the cases of the dud rounds myself before loading. I got a primer pocket swaging tool--the Horniday one that works on the press--for the 223 cases and randomly swaged some 38 special primer pockets with it at the start. At first I think I was using too much pressure on the first cases with that tool, and the primers on those cases may seat a little bit deeper. I will try to reproduce that later.

All my current brass is used, and some of my 223/5.56 brass was amazingly deformed. I had a problem with some cases where the head was not symmetrical behind the case body and protruded enough to prevent chambering. After I got a cartridge gauge to understand my sizing problems I found the problem and fixed those cases by rotating them in an electric drill and sanding the case rims uniform. That experience may have biased me toward trying to explain my 32 Special duds by case variation.

The thing about the 38 Special cases is that some them are irregular but because of the forgiving nature of the case shape they still always chamber. For the purpose of learning I sorted them by head stamp before loading the first time, so when I have duds on a particular tray those were loaded at the same time and also have the same head stamp. That is a good and a bad thing for identifying the source of the problem. It would have helped if I'd inspected the duds more carefully. The thing I was thinking about the case rim thickness was that a rim that is a bit thicker might press the primer seating plunger a bit deeper. The primer seating mechanism comes up to a fixed maximum height during the priming stroke, but the height of the bottom of the case in the shell holder varies by the rim thickness because while the primer is being seated the shell holder bears against the top side of the rim. Maybe the handle is always stopped when the primer reaches the bottom of the pocket and not before, so in that case rim thickness might not matter.

I think I'll test the primer-seating function of the press during my next hobby break by making some "extra-deep" primer pockets with the swager, find out if they are really deeper, and find out if they really seat any deeper. I'll also find the mechanical stop on the press With the handle cranked all the way down and the primer seater all the way up I'll see if I can fit a feeler gauge between the stop on the frame and its mating surface on the ram. That should prove that the problem I am imagining is not possible.

Keith

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Hi David,

Thank you so much for your great description of the function tests for the Model 10 revolver.

For the first test, everything is good. The cylinder lock does lock consistently on all six cylinders before the hammer locks.

On the test for cylinder rotation with the hammer pulled back things are not as good. The amount of rotation varies by cylinder. I found the cylinder that has the most rotation with the trigger held down and laid the gun on a metal table using the top strap and barrel to stabilize it. Then I used a dial gauge bearing against the cylinder cutout while I rotated the cylinder quickly back and forth through its range of free motion. I measured about 0.008" of play, and with the angle of the cylinder to the stem of the gauge it probably would have been 0.010" at the tangent.

There is minimal gap between the front of the cylinder and the forcing cone. I have checked it before, but checked it again just now and it is between 0.005 and 0.006 measured with feeler gauges. That is, the 0.006 gauge won't start behind the cone from either side, with the cylinder pulled away from it. The 0.005 gauge will fit most of he way in between.

I guess it is time soon for me to learn how to fit a cylinder stop. Should I use the oversized one that Power Custom makes, or something different? I need to make a plan for how to do this properly. It seems like the challenge will be to get the bore aligned as well as possible on all cylinders after the job is done. I need to figure out basic things like how to use gauge pins to check alignment, how to figure out what pins to get in the first place, and what the loop of tasks that need to be done between each measurement as I shape the new stop. Also whether to touch the window that the stop fits through or whether to leave it alone. Any advice you might have will be welcome!

Keith

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

consider that primers seated not deep enough ... that is, not all the way bottomed .... will " cushion " the firing pin blow ..... some of the pin energy is taken up by the firing pin finishing seating the primer.

so that could explain why the second try sets off the primer.  the first try is actually finishing the primer seating for you.

***************

in full disclosure, i still after 65 years of seating primers have a dud occasionally ... but then i have many excuses ...  i carry that list in my wallet ... mostly has to do with setting a new record for cartridges loaded per minute ... ( g ) ...

*****************

i might mention that many serious shooters use simple hand squeezer primer tools so they can feel the primers bottoming.

************

oh, i prefer a benchrest quality primer pocket uniforming cutter to the swaging types ... will take off mil crimp while it is at it.  not sure it is actually better than swaging, but less force for sure.  if your swager has a built in stop, it won't swage deeper.

just some thoughts, ken

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thank you Ken and PonderCat! I am really surprised by how interesting all of the cast bullet and gun stuff is to me too.

The 350 Legend or 357 AR-Max look really interesting to me too. The 300 Blackout is more complex to load for than I thought it would be, and that is for the good. I guess that with the 350 legend some very heavy bullets would be possible because you can seat deeper into the straight-walled case. I need to find out some basic parameters of the AR platform and I'll write them up on this forum as I do.

Well, thanks again to everybody and I hope I will be in contact with all of you more.

Keith

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JimmyDee posted this 4 weeks ago

One possible explanation is that I deformed the cases of the dud rounds myself before loading. I got a primer pocket swaging tool--the Horniday one that works on the press--for the 223 cases and randomly swaged some 38 special primer pockets with it at the start. At first I think I was using too much pressure on the first cases with that tool, and the primers on those cases may seat a little bit deeper. I will try to reproduce that later.

Swaging tools shouldn't remove any material; they are used to remove crimps which are used on military-grade cartridges by opening and putting a radius on the mouth of the primer pocket.  Other tools (called something like "primer pocket uniformers") do have a cutting tool that will remove carbon fouling and shape the bottom of the primer pocket but should not make the pocket any deeper.

You can't seat primers too deeply without applying significant pressure and deforming the primer cup.

With the handle cranked all the way down and the primer seater all the way up I'll see if I can fit a feeler gauge between the stop on the frame and its mating surface on the ram.

This confuses me: On the XL650, the primer is seated when the handle is all the way up and pushed slightly forward.

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Swaging tools shouldn't remove any material; they are used to remove crimps which are used on military-grade cartridges by opening and putting a radius on the mouth of the primer pocket.  Other tools (called something like "primer pocket uniformers") do have a cutting tool that will remove carbon fouling and shape the bottom of the primer pocket but should not make the pocket any deeper.

You can't seat primers too deeply without applying significant pressure and deforming the primer cup.

I took a short break and checked this on the press. Mind you that I intentionally swaged the primer cup hard for this test, but also that I was pushing the nose of the Horniday swager too far down into the pimer cup at first, so this is an exaggerated version of what I may have seen on some of my cases.

Primer cup depth before swaging measured 0.115, and after swaging measured 0.137. Difference was 0.022. I used a 9mm case I picked up at the quarry where I shoot. This is an extreme example done to check whether such a thing is even possible. After swaging a spent primer will drop into the pocket with no force with the top of the primer at a depth of 0.009 below the case head. I guess I could push it deeper and "seat" it. But of course the case is ruined for any practical purpose.

I did something similar but less extreme to some of my cases. I didn't measure the primer pockets after running the swager. There is nothing wrong with this swaging die, but I had to learn how to use it properly. At first I had the idea that I would adjust the swaging die so that I would pull the handle all the way over center to its hard stop--this is on a fixed press. But each brand of 223 case, and 38 special for that matter, have a different distance between the bottom inside of the case and the bottom outside. The way to do it right was by feel and sight, and it took some practice to get right. I had a few--but just a few--223 cases that I am almost sure that I wrecked that way. Those were the ones that didn't fire and had light primer strikes.

I figured out that I was over-swaging the pockets and stopped doing it but I didn't know that I'd actually wrecked the early cases. The trouble if I am right is that I need to go through my shot cases and fish out the ones that I deformed the primer pockets on. I know I made this mistake on some 223 cases now, and I suspect I did the same for a few some of my 38 special cases.

It doesn't mean that I didn't have some cartridges that failed to fire because they weren't seated deep enough, because I very probably did. I do see your point about how a slightly loose primer seated at any depth could absorb the hammer energy in friction--seating the primer better in the process. It would leave a light indentation just like I observed. I really do hope I a few of the dud cartridges will turn up so I can look at them more carefully, and the next time one doesn't fire I'll treat it as a special thing to be studied carefully.

This confuses me: On the XL650, the primer is seated when the handle is all the way up and pushed slightly forward.

You are right of course! Handle goes up, shell plate goes down. I just visualized the motion backwards as I was writing the description.

Cheers, and thank you.

Keith

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tony1960 posted this 4 weeks ago

Ah primers, the bane of revolver shooters.

 

So for my sake, are we talking single or double action when there are misfires (light strikes) on the primers. It makes a difference.

Primers like men, are not created equal, some are harder then others. I would be surprised to find that your revolver is not setting primers off single action, unless someone has played dramatically with it. Is the mainstring screw touching the mainspring, good place to start is give it a full turn in.

So for arguments sake we will consider the issue is happening double action only, there are three main causes, mainspring tension, primers too high and too hard primers. The first and last are easily recified, screw the mainspring screw in or try a different brand of primers. Personally I won't buy anything other than Federal because my revolvers have been modified to shoot a soft primer. If I use a CCI or Remington I will get maybe one out of the six may work. Everything works in an Auto (god bless them).

So, do not be afraid to seat your primers. I seat them hard so you can see the dimple of the anvil on the cup, overkill maybe but in a comp where there is noi reshoots.......

Another thing to look out for is seating the primers in square, the concpt of the shell plate does not allow for full 360 degree rim contact, so the case will tip, only has to be a bees whisker to put the primer in lopsided. On my RL550 when I have seated the primer I back the arm off and turn the case 360 and seat again, yes it is slower but I have full strikes each time also. After a while you will get used to it and I can get 100 rounds loaded in under 17 minutes, how fast do you need to go?

There are cases with extremely thick rims, Lapua for one but they actually only cut down the headspace so in reality bring the primer closer to the firing pin. I had some Super brand (an Aus manufacturer) which had extremely deep primer pockets, not the best for double action revolvers, fine for single action shooters. The major brands I have found to be pretty good and have had no issues with any.

 

My model 10 also is from the '60's but was Aus police issue.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Tony

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JimmyDee posted this 4 weeks ago

(I was wrong -- I guess you can go gorilla and deepen primer pockets with a swaging tool.)

Let me offer this: if it ain't easy, it ain't right.  Presses and tools are designed to provide all the mechanical advantage you need to hand load without great force.  Sizing cases requires the greatest effort but, even then, if it's hard, you're probably missing a cleaning or lubrication step.  Sizing necks on military bottle neck rifle cases might be the worst but significant force is only necessary when the inside neck is dirty or is not lubricated.

Small primer pockets - both pistol and rifle - run from .123" to .117" deep.  Primers are to be fully seated in the pocket, 0" to .008" below the face of the case.

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

That is excellent Tony. The mainspring screw actually was an issue the first time I shot the gun. I'd had it completely apart and learned how to put it back together and I'd read glowing reports of reduced action hammer springs for revolvers via some helpful marketing-funded personal testimonials. So on my very first shooting session I had the hammer spring screw backed off enough to reduce the trigger pull by "half". No actual trigger pull meter or fish scale was available to calibrate this. That was the first sensitive test of the quality of my ammunition and they mostly shot but a number did not. About five hundred rounds in, after the gun got really filthy and before it eventually stopped shooting, I had a lot of duds light primer strikes. The cleanliness of the gun may have been unrelated to the light strikes because I was shooting trays of 50 bullets loaded at the same time and with the same head stamp.

After that I cranked the main spring retaining screw down to what I think is its regular tight position--about as tight as felt reasonable and safe, and on the second shooting session I still had some duds, though there were far fewer. I could crank the mainspring screw down harder or replace it with a fresh new mainspring, but it seems more desirable at this point to make the bullets shoot as things are.

Isn't the Model 10 a wonderful thing though? The place where I shoot is mostly attended by kooks--individuals like myself who have bought their guns from a local sporting good store or pawn shop or internet and are just figuring out how to use them. No one else is reloading, I don't know any reloaders face-to-face, and I've never shot factory ammunition in my guns. So I've had function problems that I haven't seen in others but have also had the gratifying experience after just a few sessions of shooting to be able to hit targets at around 50 yards that no one else with pistols seems to, and inexplicably some of the rifle shooters can't. Not all my ammunition has been accurate. The variability is interesting given that there is not a lot of variation in the loads I'm using. They are 2.7-3.1 grains of Bullseye, mostly behind the 358429, with the great majority at 3.0 grains. The primers are all CCI 500 for now. I shot some with cardboard wads and did not see a huge improvement in consistency, though I guess I might have if I'd actually recorded everything in a spreadsheet as I originally intended. Most are lubed with beeswax/parafin/tallow. I have ultrafine aluminum oxide, molybdenum disulfide, and hexagonal boron nitride to try as additives once I get systematic enough to evaluate them. I shot some with powder coating, including some with bad powder coating. I shot some malformed bullets and a lot of carefully cast and selected ones. My bullets with cardboard wads didn't seem to work better than those without, but then I have not collected and evaluated the data in a systematic way yet. Most of the time I'm limited by my shooting ability, and am just getting to the point that I'm really clear that a particular bullet did or did not hit where I aimed.

My revolver is not perfect, with some tiny amount of erosion past the forcing cone and a visible ripple halfway down the barrel. It seems it is already a little bit broken in the sense that it is due for a new cylinder stop, which I'm very much looking forward to. I will try to shoot out the barrel and to fix everything myself along the way if I can manage it. I do hope it breaks often so I can learn everything about it, with the more difficult things breaking later than the easy ones. One day in the future I'd like to fit a new barrel.

I also have a Walther P1 here, a shot-out aluminum frame gun from before they added the steel reinforcement pin across the slide to reduce frame wear. It is not currently safe to shoot in my estimation. Repeatedly decocking the slide lightly indented the primers in the ammunition that was in it when I took it from the collection of my dad's personal effects. My brother has shot that gun and says it is frighteningly inaccurate, like maybe the slide will come fly loose. I took it because it seems like a good way to get familiar with automatic pistols. Eventually I may try to get it working. I enjoy metalworking and I think if I put steel inserts through the frame at the right places and filed them to shape that I might be able to tighten up the action. Maybe clamp the gun in a fixture and pull the trigger with a string for testing.

Thank you for your encouragement and camaraderie!

Keith

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Mike H posted this 4 weeks ago

Keith,

Please stop what you are doing and take a deep breath,you obviously have no idea what you are doing,before you harm yourself and perhaps others.It isn’t possible to aquire a lifetime of knowledge in a week,slow down and take small steps,Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Mike.

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Don't worry, Mike. Nobody is going to get hurt, and if it's true that "I don't know what I'm doing", what is the harm in that? You're thinking of the risk of destroying a shot out old gun while tinkering with it? Blowing up a gun is not even slightly dangerous if none of the pieces can hit anyone when it happens.

The risk of something not working is one thing. The risk of harming yourself is something completely different. It's very important to try things that don't work, and also important to understand what the possible outcomes are.

Pointing out specific risks to someone can be a service to them if they are taking risks they are not aware of. But when you tell someone they don't know what they are doing you are unlikely to accomplish anything good.

I read six books on reloading and slowly acquired the equipment and learned to use it for five months before I shot the first bullet I made, with many iterations of problem solving, puzzling over things, and going back to reference materials to understand some of the puzzles better. I'm under no illusions that my short experience makes me an expert or for that matter a competent practitioner. But I'll be very surprised indeed if I hurt myself.

I've known a number of people who have been shot with guns and several who were killed--an accident in the living room, a suicide, and two murders. When I was a kid the next door neighbors got in a drunken fight and the wife shot her husband in the stomach with the family's .45. Half the people I've known who owned guns did at least one deeply stupid thing with them that put them in great legal, moral, or physical danger. I have to tell you that despite all my excitement about this hobby I take a very great deal of care not to put myself or other people in actual danger. I considered all of the risks of owning a gun for many years before I decided to get one myself.

Last year I did some downhill skiing and some back country skiing. Skiing scares the hell out of me. When you are in the back country among trees, after a big snow, you can fall 12 feet down a tree hole and if your friends don't see where you went you may very well die there. The day before we were at one resort, two people died on the regular ski runs. My companion was a back country emergency responder with extensive experience, and on car trips I got her to tell me about accidents and risks for at least eight or ten hours before we ever went out. I read the classic avalanche and back country book, took every precaution, and you know there is still some risk when you do something like that for the first time. I've done a lot of things that have some level of inherent danger and known a lot of people who've been hurt or killed in pursuit of their fun. I've never been one of those people or even close to it. I've discontinued several hobbies because I judged them too dangerous for my own risk tolerance, but I don't blame other people for taking risks they are comfortable with.

Is it possible you are conflating enthusiasm for a new hobby and interest in trying out new things with a lack of care? Because if we are talking about experience I will fully agree with you that I have just started. But if you think I'm not evaluating risks carefully or that I'm engaging in anything reckless then you're the one making bad assumptions.

Keith

 

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Brodie posted this 4 weeks ago

Keith,

It sounds to me like you take great care in what you do, assessing each task or adventure and researching it prior to attempting to actually do it.  I think that you are probably a very safe and conscientious person and I would not mind shooting with you.  I have met and (unfortunately) been involved with too many people who jump in feet (or head) first and endangered themselves or others.  Good luck I think that you will go far with your new hobby.

B.E.Brickey

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BigMan54 posted this 4 weeks ago

 Welcome,

You are Unique, first time I've ever heard of anybody getting Into by casting bullets first.

Primers, I seat Mine by hand. Even though I load most of my handgun cartridge by progressive.

Clean, size & decap on RC and prime by hand. Them move on to progressive. 

Good Luck, seems you really got a hold of it.

Rog

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Mike H posted this 4 weeks ago

Looks as though you have it under control,all the best for the future.

Mike.

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thank you Brodie, and I really appreciate that. I really am careful, and I'm sensitive to real danger. Being careful allows us to do so things that would not be safe otherwise. I had a stint with metal casting, a lot of welding, some projects that involved high voltages, some wilderness adventures, and similar other things that could have had bad outcomes if I was not careful. I'm always afraid when there are real risks, and once in a while I do something and realize that I took on more risk than I meant to. That's a bad feeling that I like to avoid. It's why I only shoot with a chronograph for now. If the measured bullet speed doesn't match what I'm expecting then something is wrong. Since I've used using two different scales with calibration weights to check the volumetric powder charges and have been careful as I know how with bullet weights and seating depths, and shooting moderate book loads, that it puts the risk at a level I can accept.

I'll try to make sure if I write here about projects and ideas that I write them up in such a way that other people don't misunderstand and try something that could hurt them. For example, I hope no one will try out the idea of compressed loads with small charges of fast powders without taking a path that actually proves safety. In simulation, some charges that generates 18.5K PSI with normal seating depth can generate 200K+ PSI compressed in a fast powder, which will either damage the gun or blow it up. With very small charges that won't happen in the simulation, but there is no good reason to believe that the simulation is accurate. Such things have to be approached carefully.

Keith

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thank you very much Mike. I hope I did not snap back too much at you and I appreciate your response.

Keith

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thanks Rog! Everyone is telling me to try a different method of priming and maybe I need to. I don't own a hand primer but there is a primer tool on the manual press I have--a Redding--and it has some advantages. There is a gap between the ram and fill tube, so if the primers blow up they probably won't blow the whole tube full. Also you see the primer before it is installed, so they are never installed crooked if the primer pocket in the case is ok. My impression with 223 loads has been that the Redding primes more consistently than the Dillon. Maybe I need to organize an experiment:

1) I'll use 400 of the chromed Winchester cases because I have 2000 of them and they are the most uniform cases I have. I'll only use cases I've never loaded before, so they will be used cases that I've already deprimed and cleaned. My long-term plan is to get completely away from cleaning cases, but for this experiment I'll start with clean cases sized just enough to hold the bullet. I'll size them all the same way on the progressive press. I normally lubricate little before sizing and I'll do that for this experiment. Normally I don't clean the case lube before loading, but for this experiment I will use the vibratory tumbler and walnut shells to clean off the case lube and reduce any possible contamination of the powder or primers.

3) All 400 cases will be primed. 200 on the manual press and 200 on the progressive. I'll use my best technique and care in priming both sets, and I'll check the primer seating depth before charging. High primers will be re-seated, and at this time I'll also bin the cases by seating depth: 0-1 mil, 1-2 mil, 2-3 mil etc. Differences in the bins between the two different loading methods is already interesting data and I'll post it in a new thread here.

4) I'll shoot the 400 bullets and record the velocities. If any don't fire I'll keep them organized according to their source for later inspection.

I'm a little bit afraid that I won't turn up any misfires at all this way, but something interesting should come from the bin data even if all the bullets work. The sample size is large enough that if some of the primers are not being seated to the bottom of the pocket that should show up in the velocity data. If I find a problem on one machine or the other then that is interesting. If all the bullets work I'll go back to my recently fired brass and repeat the experiment. It may be at the end of this I'll want to get a hand primer.

I'm guessing I won't get this set up for some weeks since my hobby time is limited, but I'll report my progress.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the primer issue and suggested potential sources and fixes. It is great encouragement to solve this once and for all.

Keith

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M3 Mitch posted this 4 weeks ago

You know, just mastering the obvious, for a new to casting guy, you seem to know a lot.  Do you have a lot of experience reloading, and are just now getting into casting? 

I think you are going about it the right way, reading up to the state of the art, rather than trying to make all the mistakes yourself (no one lives long enough for that to work).

One thing that can't be over-emphasized is eye protection.  Casting, loading, shooting, doing other non-gun-related stuff like hammering, spraying, grinding - use serious eye protection!  Damage to the eyes makes good shooting a lot more difficult to accomplish, if it's even still on the table.  Not sure why I just wrote this last paragraph, maybe I want all the new guys to read and heed, maybe all of us need to be reminded from time to time.  Hearing protection, too.  There are electronic muffs out there, not very expensive, do a good job.  So many of the Old Lions of the sport, Bill Jordan, Charley Askins, etc. were, I have read never met any of them personally, damn near completely deaf, mostly from shooting with no ear protection.  "Don't be that guy!"

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thanks Mitch, and I do appreciate the warning. For eye protection I've been using some Winchester brand shooting glasses that a former girlfriend mysteriously left behind, and the over-ear protection that I've used all these years in the workshop with the angle grinder and other loud tools. It is good enough. At first, shooting the AR-15, I doubled up ear protection with the foam plugs. That was OK but seemed unnecessary after a while so now I just use the over-ear headset.

The thing with me and guns is that I got interested last year and started reading for it early last Fall. I started casting bullets right away, a long time before I got the reloading equipment. I've always liked the 38 and 357 revolvers and knew I'd get one eventually. Finding out how 38/357 works with bullet casting is one of the things that made the path I wanted to take clear for me. The fact that casting and reloading make the incremental cost small was really attractive, even though of course the startup costs were a lot higher. So in late December I got a Dillon press and some dies and made some bullets.

So, right around the time I started loading cartridges, which would have been late December or January, I ordered the S&W Model 10 in 38 Special, and this one is a very old used gun. I didn't shoot it though. I took it apart and put it back together a few times and I think I ended up taking every single assembly apart down to the last little pin. I read a book on gunsmithing and watched a ton of youtube videos showing maintenance operations for various revolvers and other types of guns. I tried to figure out my new gun was in good working order, and it seemed to be. There has been a sort of consistent process of learning about the mechanics and operation of guns since then, and as you know that is a large undertaking. I put together some AR-15 rifles and just now have been building an AR-15 pistol in 300 Blackout. I got all the basic hand tools like pin punches and so-forth and learned how to use them. Getting the AR-15s set up well so they operate smoothly and don't shake and so-forth was a project.

Learning about reloading had a lot of twists and turns for me. Learning about the press was interesting. It didn't go as smoothly at first as I'd expected. I had to make little modifications to the press to make it work like I thought it should. The threads that hold the shell plate assembly onto the ram were not clean and I had to clean them with a tap before I could take the machine apart and put it back together without that assembly binding up. At first the hand that advanced the primer feeder was getting bent because its spring was jamming up inside a casting. It was the wrong spring and I ended up replacing it from a spring kit I had. I put some industrial UHDPE tape on all the cams so they run smoothly. I ended up putting all the aftermarket bits on it, for even smoother operation, so stray powder can't get under the shell plate as it did at first, and so I can turn the primer and case feed on and off easily. All the initial tendencies the machine had to bind up are fixed. I got some extra dies and tool heads and tried a bunch of different configurations based on things I thought I'd want to do later. I found that not everything I wanted to do would work well on the progressive press so I added a Redding rotary press. And honestly you know there is still always more to do, because pretty soon you want to make special shelving to keep things organized and decide to mount things on the bench a different way. I'm sure you know very well about this.

I usually have pretty limited hobby time, so I just kicked along the reloading learning and didn't worry about shooting. To avoid making a ton of bullets that I might have to pull later if things went wrong I got 3000 mixed brass casings in 38 special and 2000 chromed Winchester cases, all used, and I deprimed and cleaned and processed and sorted all of those and sorted the mixed brass by head stamp. I spent time looking at the cases with a good digital caliper. I sized cases that I was not reloading yet to practice using the machine and make sure everything was working well. I slugged the barrel and one of the chambers of the 38 special, got a good sizer, and eventually started making larger quantities of ammunition.

I read all the forums and watched all the youtube videos that had to do with the different parts of the hobby. I bought five reloading manuals and read them over and over until I felt like I had a good understanding of how everything worked. I read the PDF reloading guides from all the powder companies, and found PDF copies of old editions of manuals and some older writings about guns and shooting and read those too.

Eventually despite slowing things down as much as possible I'd loaded the first 1000 cases of 38 special and I started over, going through the same process with 223, except that with 223 I started out with 55 grain boat tail bullets. I used the the cheapest I could find at the time, and seem to be clones of the popular Hornidy bullet with the cannelure. I want to cast 223, that seems like a good later step instead of something to start with. When I had about 600 223 cases loaded I found a place to shoot and tried both guns out for the first time on the same day.

I did work up loads, which I'd prepared in batches, and I sort of prepared myself for the possibility that I might have to pull 1000 or more bullets in the worst case, but that didn't seem likely and no such thing was necessary. The worst thing that happened is that I had to re-size some 223 after loading it. I didn't go to maximum loads anywhere--not even into the NATO or +P pressure ranges. I had already made a lot of variations of 38 special bullets so that was interesting, with different bullet shapes, bullet qualities, lube strategies and three different ways of using powder coating. I had gotten a chronograph so I could get some insight into what was happening when I started shooting. And of course I started learning to shoot accurately, because I have not shot guns before, except occasionally when I was a kid.

I've only been shooting a few times now, but everything seems to be working ok. I joined the CBA back in December and just sort of read the materials and figured I would join the conversation after I had gotten to a place where I could participate. It might seem a little bit strange to wait so long to actually start shooting, but I felt better to get a solid foundation and educate myself well. I'm not part of any real-life community of shooters, so the first time was really putting theory into practice. Things that would be more obvious to an experienced shooter are not yet to me, so I had to have answers to all the questions that start with "How do you know if..."

The path from here is to really nail down my reloading technique for the 38 special with a range of bullet types and weights and 223 with jacketed 55g boat tail bullets that I have 2000 or so left to go through. I'm getting pretty good at shooting the revolver by my modest standards and hopefully will continue to improve. I've gotten good at handling the 223 gun and bore sighting the scope and basic shooting and cleaning everything--the simple but satisfying things about running the rifle. Casting bullets is going very well. With a bunch of iterations I've gotten fast at it. I am very close to having my whole pipeline of casting and bullet making down so I can make a large number of rounds very quickly. After that, 300 blackout is going to be exciting. I've already been casting bullets and making some brass for it and at some point I'll make 1000 cases in a big batch and move forward with loading subsonic un-suppressed for the 8.5" and 16" guns.

Also, very important to me, is that I want to make a special bullet trap. I have read about every bullet trap I can find online and I am not satisfied. I'd like to save all my lead every time I shoot without a lot of complication, and without breaking the bullets into tiny pieces. It bothers me every time I go shooting and then the lead is gone. At some point I may just stop everything else and get the bullet trap done. I've done a lot of calculations for it and explored various designs on paper. It is something I'll have to describe at length another time, but I'll document the design process because if I can get it to work as I envision then other people may find it useful too.

Well, that's pretty much my whole story and I suppose it probably answers your question. If can I ask you the same thing, how did you get into shooting, reloading and casting bullets?

Keith

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M3 Mitch posted this 4 weeks ago

Well, I got into shooting first with .22's, with Dad teaching me, I guess the usual way to go.  Dad was not a reloader, but as soon as I got a shotgun, I started keeping all the empties for reload.  My first real job I moved to Texas and bought a .22-250 Ruger that I still have, then a 30-06 Model 70 from 1948.  A buddy there first gave me some cast bullets, then showed me how to cast using his mold.  First cast loads were for the 22-250, which is not a round I would pick out as a "first date" for a new caster, but, not knowing any better, I loaded the 225415 Lyman flat-point over some 700X, they shot reasonably good.  The oilfield job played out and I moved back home for a bit, a cousin started shooting with me, we shot, cast, reloaded, and did a lot of shooting back around 1980 or 81.  My first reloading tool was/is a Lyman 310 tool, in 1980 they had them from the factory for 22-250.  I am still a fan of the old 310 tool.  Bought several other presses and shotshell reloaders.  I read Gun Digest, American Rifleman, Guns and Ammo, etc. so I understood academically what I was wanting to do, long before I had a job making any money so I could afford to set up and do the loading.

As to a good bullet trap, I remember in old American Rifleman magazines seeing a "snail shell" type bullet trap for pistols and probably small rifle rounds up to about 44 Magnum.  It has been a while since I saw this design.   Some guys on here have used wood logs, one tried burning the log, hoping that the lead would melt into a nice little pool, but instead it oxidized and was not usable.  Others have used logs and just mechanically split them to get at the lead.  Some people just shoot through a target into a dirt berm, then "mine" the lead after "enough" has accumulated.  I like to shoot at steel gongs, and these make recovering much of the lead problematic.  I guess I am not going to get the powder back, so I am OK not getting the lead back, I guess.

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thank you Mitch for your story. I think a lot of shooters get to shoot a lot growing up. I didn't because I grew up in Los Angeles, but both of my parents are from Alabama so I usually got to shoot guns some when I was back there. I have gotten some benefit from living in cities, but I think there are tremendous things you get from growing up in the country. It is strange to go back to Alabama now because things have change a lot there as I guess they have everywhere, but I remember it particularly in the 1970s as having an extraordinary depth. And of course you have some practical uses for guns growing up in the country. I don't have any need or real use for guns, but the hobby is a way of exploring a lot of interesting mechanical and physical things, and to think about manufacturing, and possibly to reconnect with something.

I have seen that snail trap and it is a good thing. It splatters the lead but at least it catches most of the pieces it in way that lets you collect them easily.

Keith

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pondercat posted this 4 weeks ago

Keith,

What Brodie said I could not have said better.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. They remind me of me thirty something years ago when I first delved into the art and magic of the re-loader's world. There is very little that thrills me more than when a load I am working on comes together in performance - well, maybe catching a LOT of fish on a fly I just tied big_grin  Or possibly producing a really, really, really good astro image - but those are subjects for another time and place.

Glad to have you aboard.

Terry

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

...  bullet traps ... well, when we were shooting a lot of 22 rimfire, a friend took an old type cast iron water heater and cut a target-sized window near the top ... then we tilted it a bit, and the bullets whizzed round and round and wound up near the bottom, where we had cut another little retrieval window.  made a semi-portable out door trap.

for indoor, we took a 4 x 4 foot square sheet of 3/8 steel and tilted it at about 45 degrees and propped it up with steel legs.  it bounced our 22 rf into about 6 inches of sand, and we had a roll of tar paper hung over the front to staple targets on ... just roll down fresh tar paper when it got too holy; kinda self-sealing though, and the tar paper kept the sand/lead from splattering.

the trick in both above was to have the bullet impact at an angle .

*********************

but ... to take it up a notch ....  how about a bullet " catcher " where we could look at what happened to the bullet in the barrel ?   a good ( but tedious ! )  read is a work done by Franklin Mann about a hundred years ago, entitled " bullets flight from powder to target " .... ( it was a free download somewhere on the internet if you can find it ... but better to  get the book from amazon etc., it has to be read at least 10 times ... ) ....   anyway, he used oiled sawdust and took pics of his many experiments.   

a couple 3 years ago, there was mention here of a water-tank catcher ... i suppose a half-mile of dense water vapor would be perfect .... heh ....  an interesting but straight-forward physics problem would be how many g's would it take to stop a 2000 fps, 12 bhn,  bullet without deforming it .

we could learn a lot if we could catch our bullets un-deformed by stopping them gently.

.... the above just so you don't run out of ideas and get bored ... heh ...

ken

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Thank you Terry! And I will look forward to hearing about the Astronomy hobby in particular. I also think that is one of the most fascinating things we humans have going right now.

Keith

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

Ken that is very interesting. I will find and read this book you mention.

The oil and sawdust idea sounds like it probably works very well. The thing they do at commercial ranges with the shredded rubber sounds like it works, but the vacuum-sifting way they get the bullet fragments out sounds bad. At least with oiled sawdust you should be able to screen out the bullets.

I think with the 22 rimfire things cartridges things might be a little easier. With pellet guns I remember we'd just use a box of old newspapers. The 38 special does not look awfully bad, but the heavier the bullet is the more of a problem it is to shed the energy without tearing up the bullet. The 223 looks bad to me and fast rounds that are heavier than that look really hard to stop well.

If we're willing to squash the nose of the bullet flat, which is fine for lead recovery, the frontal area of the bullet times the yield strength of the lead is the most force we can tolerate. I think we can tolerate flatting the bullet more than that, maybe up to the size of a circle twice the bullet diameter. Based on some assumptions like that I was using 700 pounds as a rough working number for a 170 grain bullet at one point.

If we want to stop the bullet without distorting it at all then I guess we can take the whole frontal surface area for some working purposes, because it's going to be impacting something with a lot of give. For an impractical solution you can imagine several sheets of falling water with air gaps in between as the stop for that case. We can calculate the force on the front of the bullet by taking a circle some small multiple of the bullet diameter times the thickness of the sheet of water times the density of the water and treat that as the reaction mass for an inelastic collision. We'll just adjust the thickness of the sheet of water so that the peak pressure on the nose of the bullet is less than (let's say) half the yield strength of the lead. For a practical but expensive solution we could cut a block of ballistic gelatin into slices and leave a healthy gap between each slice, maybe 4-5x the thickness of the slice. If the slices are thin enough then the bullet will stop with no damage. We could even do the same thing with paper if we had a special frame to leave an air gap between each sheet and use many sheets--but it might take a lot of sheets!

When a bullet hits a block of wood or a steel plate a lot of the kinetic energy actually goes into heating the bullet and tearing it up. There was a wonderful old article from a shooting club in LA where the writer had done a lot of experiments with hanging logs and wondered over the mystery of this.

I noticed a funny thing about shooting into water from a video I saw online. If we shoot a rigid tank in the middle of one side then the bullet will move more-or-less straight through the water. On the other hand I saw a video of some guys shooting a portable swimming pool through the side with a 50BMG, and they could never recover the bullet. In fact the bullet didn't make any other hole except where it went in, and the trajectory was angled slightly downward. In the video they just chocked it up to the mysteries of life, but you can see what happens: the surface of the water is free to move and the ground side is not. So the pressure as the bullet moves through the water is less on the top, and the bullet will make a smooth but short curve until it is angled sharply upward. This is an interesting lesson for people who like to shoot bullets into their swimming pools: always shoot straight down if you do this. Shooting at a downward angle with a powerful gun will very possibly launch the bullet back into the air.

Keith

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 4 weeks ago

I haven't had time to look at all the posts or read through all of some of the long ones, but it seems like I remember reading about some primer issues and work (or in my world, hacking, not meaning to offend anyone smile) on the model 10. One thing stood out though and that was comments relating to the mainspring and strain screw. The mainspring should never be touched (filing, grinding smoothing, ect.) and the strain screw should always tightened down fully. The strain screw can be shortened by filing to lessen the trigger pull some. However it requires some specialized equipment to measure the hammer strength afterwards. That is all I will say about that because I promised 37 years ago to not publicize that info as a requirement of my armorers academy. I hold still hold that info close because some people will try and find shortcuts in the process rendering the revolver unreliable or unsafe. The internet can be as dangerous as it is informing.  dizzy

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

thanks dave r. for the comment on springs.

i might mention that i " hacked " a lighter mainspring for my beloved dan wesson 8 inch 357 ... carefully tested in single action just before i entered a practical match, where you shoot double action ... oooops.

embarrassment in front of 30 cops amplifies the experience. ( although lightened a bit when half of their match 1911 s jammed ... heh ... ) 

murphy lives ... and doesn't need encouragement ...

ken

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KeithOR posted this 4 weeks ago

My experience was similar. Backing off the main spring retaining screw also did nothing for me except reduce the effectiveness of primer ignition and I ended up tightening it again after trying it out once. David made the point that the screw is always supposed to be tight and I've seen the identical statement in other places in the same form: "Never install the main spring with the retaining screw less than fully tight." When the screw is tight, friction at the shoulder prevents it from potentially working loose as it operates the action.

Keith

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BigMan54 posted this 3 weeks ago

This discussion of springs and screws reminds me of a back and forth I had with my DAD, over a light firing pin strike with my NM Blackhawk. 

You have to remember that this was in 1974. We were writing letters back and forth. My DAD told me turning in the Hammer Screw would cure the light Hammer Strike problem.  He couldn't understand the fact the New Model Blackhawk didn't have a hammer screw. 

I was in Bethesda, Maryland and he was in Los Angeles, California. 

His BlackHawk's were all old Models. He had to go down to Pachmyer's to look at one and have old Fred take the grips off a New Model Blackhawk to understand the difference. 

It was quite the correspondence.   

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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harleyrock posted this 3 weeks ago

KeithOR,

When you decide to get a handheld primer tool, please look at the RCBS for consideration.  I have tried the Lee and the RCBS.  The Lee and others require a shell holder which you have to change appropriately for every different case head.  The RCBS has a universal shell holder, it works for any size case head.  If you get only one you have to change it when you go back and forth from small primers to large primers.  I have two RCBS primer tools one set for small and one set for large primers.  

With a hand primer tool you can develop a very good tactile sense seating primers.  You can tell when pockets get loose....too hot of a load or just the end of the lifetime of a cartridge case loaded many times.

You have collected a lot of information and sophisticated equipment is a very short time.  I appreciate your cautious and studious approach to casting and handloading.

 

Tom Stone

Lifetime NRA since 1956, NRA Benefactor, USN Member, CBA Member

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KeithOR posted this 3 weeks ago

Harley I really appreciate your recommendation and if I get a hand priming tool I will get the RCBS as you suggest. It seems like a good idea for a few different reasons that people have mentioned above, and maybe good for reloading while shooting when I work up to that.

I've selected, sized, deprimed and flared 400 cases for my 200x200 AB test of the priming systems in the XL650 and Redding press. They went through the resize process easily without case lube this time. There was no oil lubrication on the cases but I had added polishing grade alumina powder and a very small amount of dimethicone (silicone oil) to the walnut shells in the vibratory tumbler in the past, before I cleaned this batch of brass. That seems to have the dual benefit of lubricating the cases and polishing them. It may be harder on the dies, but I'm guessing it won't do more than keep them smooth.

The next step in the AB test is to set up a numbering system for the case trays, so each case has a unique number, and then measure the depths of all the primer pockets after another vibratory tumbler run to clean soot from the bottom of the pockets. I'll be operating the priming station of the XL650 like a single-stage press for this test, just pushing the case into the primer seating station, priming, and replacing it in its tray. The cases will be charged by hand using an accurate hand powder measure. I think I've got the powder measure on the XL650 set up accurately enough, but I'm being extra careful this time because I'd ideally like to read the differences between the two tests out in the velocities.

I'm kind of excited that the alumina+dimethicone in the vibratory tumbler seems to have worked so well. If the benefit for 38 special doesn't extend to 223 then I might try adding a small amount of hexagonal boron nitride and/or molybdenum disulfide to the walnut shells. It may be a fantasy, but my hope is to make the walnut shells last forever (by periodically adding alumina) and also powder lubricate the cases while tumbling. It doesn't matter for 38 special, which I'd prefer to reload without cleaning, but if it worked for 223 it could eliminate several steps and cut down on reloading time. Anyway I won't do anything new to the tumbling media until the primer test is done and the results are back, in case for any reason I need to run another batch for the same test.

Keith

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