Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Moderators: gds, bakerjw, renegade, bamachem

voip-1
Senior Silent Operator
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:54 pm

Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by voip-1 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:14 pm

So, I've finally started into the adventure of handloading and a few Q's have come up.

Here's my set up in a nutshell;

1. Lee turret press
2. Lee 300 blackout die set
3. Lee perfect powder measure (leaked H110 like a sieve), so...
4. Hornady lock n load powder measure.
5. Lee hand primer.
6. Sheridan engineering 300 slot gauge
7. other assorted bits and bobs (franklin digital scale, calipers, etc)

To start assembling my loads I purchased 3 lbs of H110 powder from Cabelas along with CCI small rifle primers, 110 grain Nosler varmageddon bullets and, some pre-cut and pre-finished 300 blackout brass made from once fired LC 223 military surplus.

So, reloading, at least with pre-made brass does not seem to be too difficult but of course being new I am being extremely cautious (I zero my scale and check weight on each charge, etc).

One of the things I started to do is checking each round with the slot gauge... I noticed that probably 20% of the brass is slightly bigger towards the primer end and won't slide into the slot gauge smoothly like new brass without getting stuck 1/4" 1/2" from the end of the cartridge.

Is this a cause for concern? I've been putting those rounds aside even though they seem to chamber in the rifle okay.

Next question. What is a normal variance for a powder measure? With both the Lee powder measure and the Hornady I've seen +/- as much as .2 grains. Is that to be expected? Seems like it would be cause for concern if loading at the upper end of what is recommended load data for a given bullet.

Final question... what the heck is meant by "laddering"? I loaded one magazine with cartridges that have 17.5 (+/- .2) grains of H110 and I loaded another with 18.5 grains. Is laddering comparing accuracy between different loads?

Thanks again, everyone here is super awesome.

BulletFlight for Android
User avatar
smustian
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 3434
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:55 pm
Location: Central Virginia

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by smustian » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:43 pm

Drop the empty brass into the gauge before loading. That should catch the 20% you speak of. Run those through your sizing die and retest with the gauge. If the 20% are already loaded but they fit your chamber, you could just shoot them. Usually the "bulge" is caused by an incomplete stroke during the sizing stage. Could also be caused by the die itself. I say this because some have complained about the Lee sizing die. The slotted Sheridan gauge is cut to max spec measurement. Your chamber could be a little bigger.

+/- .2 grains is probably pretty much standard with powder drop. Be careful if loading at the top end of charges.

Laddering refers to incremental increases in charge weight while leaving OAL the same. IE: 17.1, 17.3, 17.5, etc. Some test in 1/2 grain increments to find the best accuracy and refine between the two.

voip-1
Senior Silent Operator
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:54 pm

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by voip-1 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:49 pm

smustian wrote:Drop the empty brass into the gauge before loading. That should catch the 20% you speak of. Run those through your sizing die and retest with the gauge. If the 20% are already loaded but they fit your chamber, you could just shoot them. Usually the "bulge" is caused by an incomplete stroke during the sizing stage. Could also be caused by the die itself. I say this because some have complained about the Lee sizing die. The slotted Sheridan gauge is cut to max spec measurement. Your chamber could be a little bigger.

+/- .2 grains is probably pretty much standard with powder drop. Be careful if loading at the top end of charges.

Laddering refers to incremental increases in charge weight while leaving OAL the same. IE: 17.1, 17.3, 17.5, etc. Some test in 1/2 grain increments to find the best accuracy and refine between the two.
Thanks a lot for the information.

The brass was already cut and sized by a popular supplier of refinished 300 blackout brass (this was my way of cutting my teeth before I took on the chore of cutting and sizing my own brass). I have not resized any of it and now that the cartridges are loaded I might just have to disassemble the ones that look like their size is not in spec rather than risk a serious malfunction.

User avatar
smustian
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 3434
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:55 pm
Location: Central Virginia

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by smustian » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:05 pm

If you plan to pull the bullets and resize the brass, do yourself a favor and get or borrow a collet puller. Much faster and much easier. A kinetic puller is ok for a couple but after that it sucks. I have also used my collet puller to adjust COAL on factory rounds that did not shoot well in my rifle. I adjusted them in .005 increments until they shot well then reset all the remainder to the new length.

rjacobs
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 1145
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:27 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by rjacobs » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:26 pm

+- .2g is about what you can expect from a volume type thrower depending on powder. IMO with H110 you should be getting better throws than that. a lot of guys will give their volume throwers a little "love tap" every time between throws to settle the powder into the orifice which seems to help. Also as you get more rounds through the powder thrower you will get a little build up of carbon which will help things flow a little better.

Even the popular Chargemaster 1500 that weighs every charge is only accurate to .1g due to the limitations of the scale it uses.

Ladder workups are just that, starting at the low end and working your way up to the max via small increments to find your ideal load for your gun. Look up OCW(optimized charge weight) on Google for a description of it. Its probably the "best" load workup method for rifles. Its got a scientific method to determine your "ladders" to find your optimized charge weight to get you into an accuracy node. Usually you will run into 2 or 3 accuracy nodes while doing rifle load workup and its up to you to determine which one you want to run. The other beauty of OCW is that the nodes tend to be ~+-.2g so your volume thrower that throws +-.2 will still keep you in the node. Same with temp swings, in theory, as the temp changes you wont leave the node.
300BLKOut Brass
[email protected]
www.300blkoutbrass.com

0uTkAsT
Silent Operator
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:54 am

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by 0uTkAsT » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:03 pm

For loading at the top end or for maximum consistency, you will want to set your powder dispenser to throw a few tenths of a grain low and invest in a trickler. I have a cheap Lyman powder trickler that I've been using for a couple of years for that specific purpose and it works fine. Otherwise 2/10ths of a grain variance shouldn't be of any concern for hunting or plinking rounds, again assuming that you aren't nearing maximums or trying to develop the most accurate loads possible.

Sounds like you're off to a great start... a better start than I had to be sure.

JTank70
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:13 pm

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by JTank70 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:08 pm

I am also new to the 300BLK and reloading.
Thanks for asking the questions. I have also learned from the answers given.

I just wanted to drop a note about your brass that will not fit in the Sheridan gauge.

I also recently purchased some processed brass, from a popular supplier as well.
About 80 of my 300 would not go all the way into the Sheridan gauge.
I checked them with my caliper and most were also much longer than the rest.
The good ones were around 1.358 or so and the no fits were 1.367 to 1.372.....

I trimmed them down, re-sized them and then all was good. I had four that just would not go even after re-sizing.
At first I was not impressed because it was supposed to be "ready to load" brass.
But, I got over it and considered it experience for a new reloader.......
After all, I made 50 of my own from .223 brass with a dremel and manual trimer. Re-doing the 80 cases was way easier than that.


Good luck with your new reloading activities.

JT

User avatar
smustian
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 3434
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:55 pm
Location: Central Virginia

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by smustian » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:37 pm

JTank70 wrote:I am also new to the 300BLK and reloading.
Thanks for asking the questions. I have also learned from the answers given.

I just wanted to drop a note about your brass that will not fit in the Sheridan gauge.

I also recently purchased some processed brass, from a popular supplier as well.
About 80 of my 300 would not go all the way into the Sheridan gauge.
I checked them with my caliper and most were also much longer than the rest.
The good ones were around 1.358 or so and the no fits were 1.367 to 1.372.....

I trimmed them down, re-sized them and then all was good. I had four that just would not go even after re-sizing.
At first I was not impressed because it was supposed to be "ready to load" brass.
But, I got over it and considered it experience for a new reloader.......
After all, I made 50 of my own from .223 brass with a dremel and manual trimer. Re-doing the 80 cases was way easier than that.


Good luck with your new reloading activities.

JT
Good point on checking the length. With a slotted Sheridan gauge you would be able to see the problem immediately and know what needed to be fixed.

User avatar
dellet
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 6384
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:25 pm

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by dellet » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:23 pm

smustian wrote:
JTank70 wrote:I am also new to the 300BLK and reloading.
Thanks for asking the questions. I have also learned from the answers given.

I just wanted to drop a note about your brass that will not fit in the Sheridan gauge.

I also recently purchased some processed brass, from a popular supplier as well.
About 80 of my 300 would not go all the way into the Sheridan gauge.
I checked them with my caliper and most were also much longer than the rest.
The good ones were around 1.358 or so and the no fits were 1.367 to 1.372.....

I trimmed them down, re-sized them and then all was good. I had four that just would not go even after re-sizing.
At first I was not impressed because it was supposed to be "ready to load" brass.
But, I got over it and considered it experience for a new reloader.......
After all, I made 50 of my own from .223 brass with a dremel and manual trimer. Re-doing the 80 cases was way easier than that.


Good luck with your new reloading activities.

JT
Good point on checking the length. With a slotted Sheridan gauge you would be able to see the problem immediately and know what needed to be fixed.
When the brass sits high in the gauge, it's rarely due to over all length. The free bore section is very long and will accept a very long neck. Without a bullet seated, it will accept a length of almost 1.390, as long as the shoulder is correct.

Most likely the the above problem was corrected by re-sizing and not trimming. As a matter of practice, Size first, then trim since the length changes when sizing.
300 Blackout, not just for sub-sonics.

Sig220
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 511
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:11 pm
Location: SE TX

Re: Couple of newbie reloading Qs (trying to avoid rookie mistakes)

Post by Sig220 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:59 am

I am going to post a link to reloading pages over at 24 hour camp fire.

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthread ... /4104691/1

This page goes into detail about case prep.

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthread ... ost4108162

This page goes into bullet sorting and preparation.

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthread ... ost4111907

This page is about finding a starting OAL (overall length)

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthread ... ost4191070

This page is about "powdering" it.

I am not the author of the pages, but they contains reams of information about loading with a emphasis on long range reloading which would be most precise.

The last link goes into ladder tests and the like.

There should be some good information for both new and old reloaders alike!! Not all info will apply to the 300BO and not everyone goes into as much detail as these steps outline, but the information is there and again, we can all learn something from it.

Be Safe and have fun!!

Post Reply