Hand Loading (aka Reloading) can a dangerous sport/hobby/endeavor. Do so at your own risk. Nothing on this site or espoused by any member is considered expert advice. Please use load manuals to determine your proper loads and examine ALL matters of information carefully before proceeding.

Load for .40 Carbine and for .40 Taurus PT101-P
By C. R. Watson (copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved)
In November 2013 I purchased from Extreme Bullets 500 each of the .40x180grn HP, 500 each of the 9mm x 124grn HP, and 500 each of the .30cal x 155grn FP Rifle, all copper plated bullets from Freedom Munitions.
CVA, Hunter, .223, Single Shot
My CVA Hunter Load
By C. R. Watson (copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved)
After several weeks of test loads, shooting, and going back to the drawing board I finally discover that my first loading group was the best. Considering that one can not spray and pray with a single shot rifle accuracy is more important than how many shots you can hit within three seconds. If I need fast shots I will pull out the Saiga or semi-auto carbines. If I need more energy I will need the .30-06 with a 168hpbt and max loading. This was an exercise in seeing how accurate I could make the short, stubby brush rifle after hearing that break actions are not as accurate as bolt actions. (I don't see the difference in the target to the right.)
Shots 1,2,3 were with 25gr Varget and Berger 55 grn soft points. 4, 5, 6, and 7 were from 24.9gr of Varget pushing the Hornady 60gr V-Max. Shots 8, 9, and 10 were 24.4 BLC-2 behind the 55 grain military pulls. Some would consider the entire group acceptable at 100 yards with a light, blustery wind from my 8 o'clock position but those cutting paper were what I was after.
P.S. These were from once shot brass (out of the Hunter, of course) with neck resizing and trimming using the Lee trim tool on a Zip Trimmer. Primers were Remington 7-1/2 Bench and the powder was hand measured using the Lee balance scale (left) where I am dropping one granule at a time.

Twist Rates
By C. R. Watson (copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved)
"If you twist rate is too fast you will fragment the bullet before it hits the target. If too slow your accuracy will suffer needlessly." Twist rates seems to be one of the most confusing issues when it comes to smaller caliber guns used with a "varmint" rating. Why we don't pay as much attention in the larger calibers is a mystery to me. Twist rate is just as important for the big boys as much as the little buggers too.


Because knowing the twist rate of your gun allows you to focus your loading efforts on speeds and bullet weights that will work. You will save time and money to stay away from trying to load bullets that might fly apart, or never stabilize no matter how many times you change the recipe.
Chuck Hawks has one of the best pages on twist rate I have seen. Chucks pages are not chocked full of glitzy graphics and ad hoc stories about hating the opposite political party. He only has one or two ads and stays focused on the subject. His site would be a great visit by anyone looking for solid answers based on years of experience.
Lee Zip Trim - Inner Chamfer

Lee Zip Trim - Outer Deburring
Showing unfinished and finished Case
Bullet Trimming (Continued)
By C. R. Watson (copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved)
Bullet Trimming is too easy a step to pass up with the right tools. It can significantly improve your accuracy plus help to insure safety at the range. There are a variety of tools and methods to trim the overall length whether you resize only the neck or the entire case.
You brass case will expand and stretch from the heat and pressure when it is shot. Resizing your bullets will get them back to a standard size in diameter and shoulder distance from the base, but the overall length might need to be trimmed as a last step before loading. Bullets that head space off the case mouth might be so over length as to not allow the bolt to close entirely. If you force the bolt shut onto an over length bullet case you can do any of several things.
First, you can shove the case mouth into the chamber opening and squeeze down onto the bullet enough to dangerously raise the pressure as it tries to move the tightly crimped bullet. Next, in a different condition the bullet with a swaged case mouth might now slide forward enough that firing pin cannot get enough penetration to set off the primer. Not only do you have a misfire, you now have a "hot" bullet with a partially dinged primer to contend with.
Trimming your bullets is a case of using any of a variety of tools such as the Lee Zip Trim and Trimming tool. Before removing the case from the zip trimmer you also chamfer the case mouth inside and deburr the case mouth outside. This will help to center your bullet when seating and remove excess material that can affect feeding into the chamber and proper seating.

cleaning brass, tumbler
I prefer to hand buff my shell casings using a sized birch dowel rod in a drill press and 3M pads. This allows me several safety factors.
Cleaning Brass - Tip 1 - Cleaning your brass before inserting it into the sizing and decapping die helps prevent the buildup of powder residue and dirt that can scratch new brass and shorten the life of steel dies. Making sure the shell is also clean inside helps insure the correct volume. Dirt or debris can reduce the volume causing over-pressure the same as setting the bullet too deep. This can cause a catastrophic failure of the bullet and the gun. Following are reasons I use the dowel and brown 3M pad shown here to clean brass rather than the vibrating bucket. (Green 3M pad is to push up against the shell.)
1. Carbon and dirt will collect inside any crack and cause it to standout more.
2. The dowel rod is shaped like the inside of the shell. When the shell is inserted onto the rod it will displace and scrub any debris such as sand from the inside.
3. If the shell is the wrong size it will not fit. Either too tight or too loose.
4. If the shell is deformed it will not fit or wobble. Either way it stands out. clearly.
(copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved)


Tracking Powder - Tip 2 - When using a powder dispenser on the die set or the bench I use painters blue tape to temporarily mark what is inside so that I don't mix powders when I return the unused portion to the approved container. I also note the particular disc for that load in case my next load happens to need it even though the powder might be different.

If I should happen to use Magnum primers instead of standard you can not tell that simply by looking at them in the Lee Safety Primer Feeders. I will mark that with blue tape as well and then return the Magnum Primers to their container and detape the face of the dispenser.

(copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved)


Make Your Own Load Data Page - Tip 3 - Use a commercially available Reloaders Log or make one yourself. I created a load number that depicts the YRMODA-LOAD FOR THAT DAY. So the first load of a day would read 130216-01 and 130216-02 for the next load of that day. This means that any reference I make to a particular load automatically indicates the date, but by adding -01, or -02 and so on, and it still has a unique identifier in case I want to repeat the load or NOT repeat it if it proves too hot or inaccurate.

Why is it important? This insures that you tract your loads and refer to them later by a unique identifier so that you can incorporate them into reports, cell spread sheets, or data bases at a later date. I can also write that number on each hole, or target to insure that I know what produced that pattern.


Tracking Your Loads - Tip 4 - Another use for blue painters tape is to record your load information on your bullet container (i.e. Franklin Arsenal Case) so that you can follow a specific load. This is especially useful if you are testing different loads for accuracy or speed with a chronograph. It also helps when you go back to your workbench at a later date. I have returned home after a long day and sit the boxes down, not getting back to them for a week. By that time I can assure you I would have completely forgotten the details of what was in each box and how they shot. By going back to my load number and recorded data from the field I can see what I shot.

What Equipment Do You Use?

Some folks will swear by one brand or style while others wouldn't touch them. Then, there are people like me. I care about results. For the past two years I have used the Lee (TM) 4 hole Turret Press as a starter set up. I have loaded about 5000 rounds of pistol and rifle so far with great results. This press is great to ramp up on moderate volume loads while still having the hands-on mind set. One tip I would recommend is that if you are going to load many different loads, purchase a 4-hole quick change turret for each load. Once you have the dies set up you can keep it ready to go and just change the disk when you change calibers. I will post some photos later of this process if needed. We would like to cover each type and brand of press here, especially with helpful tips and cost saving ideas.

Hand Loading (aka Reloading) can a dangerous sport/hobby/endeavor. Do so at your own risk. Nothing on this site or espoused by any member is considered expert advice. Please use load manuals to determine your proper loads and examine ALL matters of information carefully before proceeding.

© 2013-2014 c.r. watson - all rights reserved
Reloading and Outdoor Sports described on this web site are dangerous and risky. All information on this web site is presented "as is" without warranty. C.R. Watson and his agents and or heirs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information as it may come from unofficial sources. Proceed at your own risk.