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My first reloads

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by smokin762, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. smokin762

    smokin762

    5,250
    4
    Apr 19, 2009
    Ohio
    As I have stated before, I am new to reloading. I own the Lyman Manual and the Hornady Manual. Some things are a little unclear to me. For example, which manual do I want to go by when using Accurate No. 5 Powder with Hornady 230gr. FMJ-RN bullets for reloading .45 ACP?

    The other day, I loaded up my first batch to take to the range. I went with the data from the Lyman Manual except I didn’t use their recommendation of going with an OAL of 1.272”. I decided to go with an OAL of 1.253”. This was the same measurement as the UMC factory loaded ammunition that I already had on hand. This measurement chambered nicely for both my Glock 30 and 36 and did not enter the rifling before it was supposed to.

    I know I probably shouldn’t have done this especially since I am new to reloading but I know how I am. I will always wonder what it is like. I went with the max powder charge from the Lyman manual. The Lyman manual max powder charge for AA No.5 is 8.2 grains. While the Hornady manual states a max charge for AA No.5 is 7.9 grains.

    I now don’t feel like the max charge is needed. I am glad I got that over with. I now want to reduce the charge and test that ammunition to see how accurate it is. My goal is to reload reliable and accurate ammunition.

    The 25 Yard target may not be the best of shooting but I am hoping with reloading, I’ll get better.

    If anybody has any tips please fill me in. :wavey:

    [​IMG]

    Target at 21 Feet.
    [​IMG]

    Target at 25 Yards.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. You are brand new to reloading so for your very first rounds you started with a max charge and a shorter OAL :dunno:

    When you say 'I will always wonder what it is like?' Do you mean possibly blowing up your glock and hurting yourself?

    At least you did this with the 45acp.

    Welcome to the funny farm.
     


  3. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,937
    166
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Never ever do that again. Always start low, work it up, watch for pressure signs. You we're over Max by a decent amount. You got lucky. Don't tempt fate again.
     
  4. Smoker

    Smoker

    616
    0
    Jul 21, 2008
    NE Kansas
    Excellent advice above, take it seriously..
     
  5. smokin762

    smokin762

    5,250
    4
    Apr 19, 2009
    Ohio
    If the max load is in the manual, then wouldn’t that be considered to be a safe load? I don’t see how it would be a problem. I would understand if I went over the max charge, then that would be considered to be unsafe and irresponsible.

    From what I have read about before I start this project, .45 ACP is a good caliber to start with because it is a little more forgiving with pressures. That is why I started with it first. Now, I know more is not always better.
     
  6. smokin762

    smokin762

    5,250
    4
    Apr 19, 2009
    Ohio
    Please explain how I was over pressure. The Hornady manual says to have a C.O.L. of 1.230" while the Lyman manual states it should be at 1.272".
     
  7. sig357fan

    sig357fan

    938
    71
    Apr 8, 2008
    SW OH
    Published reloading data is designed to be safe in modern firearms of good manufacture in good working condition, now that being said, the data can’t account for the variables that come into play when components are mixed and matched with what each individual reloader uses.

    Had you used a different powder/cartridge combination with less user friendly characteristics, a max charge with a short COL could have resulted in a far less pleasant experience.

    The best practice in reloading is begin with the starting load data and work up in 0.1/0.2 increments, loading a handful of rounds at each increment to evaluate for function and accuracy. Once you’ve reached your function/accuracy goal, there really isn’t any reason to go further.

    If you get to max without any signs of over pressure and still haven't reached your function/accuracy goal, then change a component and start the process over. I know, I know, it’s time consuming, but, I’ve more time than fingers and want to keep it that way.

    Just the way I see it.


    Sig357fan
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  8. attrapereves

    attrapereves

    2,099
    0
    Sep 11, 2011
    Midwest
    Are you sure you're reading the load data correctly? Accurate Arms load data lists 7.8gr as their minimum and 8.7gr as their max.

    I got decent accuracy with a 230gr Zero FMJ bullet over 8.0gr of AA#5 with an OAL of 1.250", but found it unusually dirty. I think it's because AA#5 seems to shoot better with loads near max. Since I was just looking for a standard velocity range load, I stick with AA#2 because it burns cleaner.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  9. smokin762

    smokin762

    5,250
    4
    Apr 19, 2009
    Ohio
    I don’t have the Accurate Manual. I didn’t notice one at the book table at the gun show. I just picked up the Lyman and Hornady Reloading Manuals.

    Now I am really confused. :faint:

    The Hornady manual states for AA#5 with Hornady 230 gr. FMJRN start powder charge of 6.5 gr. Max powder charge of 7.9 gr.

    The Lyman manual states for AA#5 with a 225 gr. FMJRN start powder charge of 6.6 gr. Max powder charge of 8.2 gr.

    You say the Accurate manual says with a 230 gr. FMJRN and AA #5 is start powder charge of 7.8 gr. and the max powder charge is 8.7 gr.?
     
  10. The reloading manuals list recipes that are put into THEIR specific receivers and barrels. Now you don't know if the barrel is loose or tight chambered so that right off the bat can cause a pressure issue. In addition you don't know if YOUR barrel might be loose or tight chambered, if the rifling is tight or loose, if there is a burr in the barrel, if the throat is tight, if the manufacturer's lot of powder was revised from the manual, if the bullet was lengthened and so on. Those are only a FEW of the variables.

    Now let me explain a bit about pressure, the shorter your over all length the higher the pressure. Some powders will flash differently depending on how short the load is, up to all the powder going off at once instead of in a controlled fashion.

    The MAX loads listed in the manual are the maximum they suggest FOR THEIR receiver and barrel combination based upon pressure testing. If there is a problem in your firearm, say the barrel is tighter then normal so the burn characteristics of the powder change, you can have an over pressure situation which can be catastrophic. Think of the start and max loads as green light red light, you hit max you don't go above that, but you start at green because it's safe.


    Because of the differences in each company's test equipment and also in the way they chose to share the data that is why you get the differences in loads. In addition the way the bullet is constructed plays a big role. Each manufacturer has a different bullet length and that length will vary from batch to batch to get the weight to the correct point.


    Reloading is like baking, you follow the recipe within the guidelines experimenting within them to get the final result you want. If you don't follow the recipe your cake might be overleavened or it might be a hockey puck.
     
  11. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,937
    166
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    You took a recipe. Used the Max charge and then shortened the OAL. That makes it over Max. You don't get to borrow another recipes oal and just plug it in. Follow the recipe. Work it up. Go longer not shorter, lighter not heavier and work things up slowly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  12. fredj338

    fredj338

    21,704
    919
    Dec 22, 2004
    so.cal.
    All manuals are diff because they have slightly diff components & all have diff test platforms. So the wise move is to take avg starting data & work up from there. What you are doing, starting w/ max data, is reloading suicide. Go back to the books, read them again, you missed the part about using starting data or reducing max loads 10% & starting there.
    OAL, noobs really get this messed up. Keep in mind, OAL IS ALWAYS BULLET & GUN SPECIFIC! I don't care what a manual says, Lyman is a good expample. They quote SAAMI max OAL, which may or may not work, depends on which manuf RNFMJ & which test platform. You MUST make sure the bullet fits your barrel & magazine. SO making dummy rounds & trying them in your removed barrel is prudent.
    Again, DO NOT use max data, I don't care whos book it's in. It is safe in that exact test platform & that is not yours. So you ALWAYS work up to max data in 1/10gr increments, never loading more than 10rds to test. This isn't rocket science but you can seriously mess things up going too fast & not understaning the process. Reloading manuals are guides, not gospel. Slow down, do some add'l research before you become another one of those Darwin projects I keep hearing about. A KB is not a fun thing, at least that is what I hear, I have managed to avoid them by prudent reloaidng practices.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  13. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
    268
    Oct 19, 2011
    The Accurate Arms Reloading Manual lists:
    If you want to quote the AA data, then fine. Your load is well under max (if you are loading 8.2 gr) and there is probably nothing wrong with your OAL.

    You should always check to see that the bullet doesn't impact the rifling. I have always loaded to 1.250" for 230 gr FMJ and LRN as well as 200 gr LSWC.

    Hornady is usually pretty light on their loads. Speer is usually a good deal heavier. Unfortunately, Speer doesn't list a load for your combination either.

    http://www.accuratepowder.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/accurate_load_data_3.5.pdf

    Richard
     
  14. Kentguy

    Kentguy

    1,775
    115
    Nov 22, 2010
    Kent, OH
    Smokin762,

    These other guys have given you tons of great advice so I will not re-hash that, however what I have found went testing my ammo is; The "Max" load does not always produce the most accurate load. If you (as stated) start low and test up you'll find some powders actually will give you better results at a lower than max charge.

    Another tip here is when shooting/testing your loads try this, shoot a quantity (1 clip) off a table from some sort of gun rest. This will take any movement from your hand out of the picture, than repeat with (1 clip) in a standing free hand position. This will give you a "feel" for the round - firing, kick and most importantly the speed at which you can re-acquire your target.

    This will give you a more realist picture as to how your reloads act/react in your pistol. The word "accuracy" is a bit subjective here, to some if you hit the broad side of the barn they consider that accurate, to others if you can not hit a knot in one of the pines which make up the barn than that round is not accurate... I think you understand what I'm driving at.

    Also get in a habit or writing down your observations just after each test round is fired. sometimes the littlest things can be the most important when coming up with a really good round, unfortunately these observations can be soon forgotten as time passes... (believe me the older you get the more this becomes true).

    Three words which are vital to reload;

    Experimentation
    Observation
    Documentation - Always remember - The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.

    Just some off the cuff tips, good luck and be safe
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  15. smokin762

    smokin762

    5,250
    4
    Apr 19, 2009
    Ohio
    I did intend to use sand bags. After I unloaded everything from the car, I realized I forgot my sandbags. At that point, it was too late. I just did the best I could.

    I did take a box of UMC factory loaded 230 gr. FMJRN. My intent was to compare them with my reloads. However, the pistol range started to fill up and I was getting frustrated waiting to change out my target.

    I figured for sure, with it being 41 degrees outside and rainy that nobody would be there. I ended up using that box of factory ammunition on the Bowling Pins and got the heck out of there. I know the ammunition I reloaded did not have any different recoil than factory ammunition.
     
  16. smokin762

    smokin762

    5,250
    4
    Apr 19, 2009
    Ohio
    Sweet, I made a copy of their Reloading Data. Thank you for posting that link.

    The problem now is this is one more manual that does not have the same information. Now, I have 3 manuals to go by.

    I get yelled at if I use the Lyman and Hornady manual, but everything is okay if I used the Accurate manual. So confusing. :faint:

    As I stated in another thread this past week, I did check to make sure the bullet was not impacting the rifling.

    I removed the barrels in my Glock 30 and 36. I then placed an empty case into the chamber as a reference point. I then measured the distance the case was protruding from the chamber side of the barrel. I then inserted a UMC factory loaded bullet and measured it. After that, I did the same thing with a dummy bullet. I got the same measurement with all three.

    After this, I looked down the barrel with a factory loaded bullet and a dummy bullet and could see the edge of the brass case. For me, this was a sign the bullet was not entering the rifling.

    I’ll re adjust my seating die for the OAL measurement of 1.250”. I had thought if I made the OAL length a little long it would have reduced any pressures, making it a little safer with the max charge of powder.

    I know, in an earlier thread this week, you stated to dance with the one you brought to the party. With all the data, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around all this. :dunno:
     
  17. Kentguy

    Kentguy

    1,775
    115
    Nov 22, 2010
    Kent, OH
    Smokin762,

    Let me offer one other piece of advise if I may; One thing about reloading that was told to me when I began was that the act of putting together a bullet is very easy, that science behind it takes some serious understanding & homework. There are no short-cuts!

    Numbers differ from manual to manual based on several reasons, one such item is the method they use and the barrel type/length used to test their loads. Longer barrels will produce faster velocities, so find out what they used and factor that in accordingly.

    Develop your own method of gathering informing, and working up loads, and stick with it. Consistency is the name of the game, If not, than your findings will be all over the board and ultimately unsafe.

    If you already know this then just circular file this.

    Use a standard such as duplicating factory loads; For example since you posted about .45 ACP loads, these are the numbers from a .45 ACP factory +P load.
    Hornady "Custom" Ammunition (Factory Ammo)
    230g XTP HP +P
    Velocity - Box listed @ 950 fps / 887.6 fps my 5 shot average @ 75 degrees
    OAL - 1.230"
    Test Gun - Glock model 21 w/4.60" barrel

    Take their velocity numbers now go to your reloading manual, If you want to use Hornady's or some others thats fine, find the section which lists 230g bullets, look for a powder you have on the shelf, in your case AA#5. The test charges will increase along with the velocity. With your "standard" factory numbers you can compare factory velocity to the velocity listed and corresponding charge weight(s) listed in your manual.

    This method will give you a firm footing on which to start working up your loads. In this case the Hornady manual does not give you charge weight that will match (or exceed) the factory +P load... which is GOOD! But like book ends you have a clear idea of where the factory loads are, and where you should start and end.

    Ask lots of questions... everyone here has a great deal of experience and knowledge and can be of a great value to you as you work through your own reloading experience.

    I hope this helps.
     
  18. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
    268
    Oct 19, 2011


    That is what makes this reloading thing so complicated. There just isn't one nationally standardized set of load data. A lot of it has been lawyered up and dumbed down. Some of it has been tested but not with your gun. Sometimes I wonder where the **** it came from!

    Does it seem reasonable to search through every manual looking for the biggest MAX? Beats me! What does seem reasonable is to start on the low side, incrementally step up the load and stop when the chronograph says you have reached some magic point (if your looking for YOUR max) or you hit a sweet spot in accuracy (if that is the goal) or recoil. But it's the 'start low' thing that is important!

    If you take successive chronograph readings and for every increase in powder, there is a reasonable increase in velocity, you can step it up again. If, for an increase in powder, there is either no increase or a much larger increase, then you are at or over the top. Always within the limits of the data, of course!

    Only the 10mm and 9mm Major guys are pushing clear off the page. Well, back when wheel guns roamed the earth, so did the .357 and .44 Mag folks. Many a gun has been destroyed and it shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

    The idea that you can tell anything by 'reading' primers is debunked starting on page 59 of Speer #14. Federal primers flatten in a wind storm, others may maintain their shape up through a 20% overcharge. Of course, if the primer is pierced or the magazine blows out the bottom of the gun, you may have gone too far.

    Don't set the bullet back on my account! Most of the data I have shows a 230 gr as 1.250". It's what I have always used. The thing is, I haven't changed my load since the early '80s. I haven't done much experimentation on .45 ammo. It goes bang, the velocity makes power factor and, if I do my part on the front sights, the bullet goes where I want. Good enough...

    I don't find pistol ammo interesting. Once I have a load, I leave it alone. As a result, I don't spend a lot of time pouring over manuals looking for some quirk in the data. For rifle ammo, I spend a lot of quality time with Sierra.

    We all make choices in this reloading thing. Some choices are better than others.

    Richard
     
  19. RustyL

    RustyL

    980
    135
    Oct 5, 2012
    Arkansas
    A good thread. I'm new to reloading...well...I have purchased everything I need to get started. I'm getting my room set up and hopefully by the end of the month I will be ready to practice what I have been learning.

    Thanks for everyones honesty and willingness to discuss your experiences and knowledge on this subject.
     
  20. Kentguy

    Kentguy

    1,775
    115
    Nov 22, 2010
    Kent, OH
    RustyL,

    Welcome to the wonder world of reloading.

    Please feel free to post any questions you might have, someone in here will have an answer for you or at least be able to point you in the right direction.