Discuss handloading, reloading and presses here.
 #103393  by Mirlen
Well, I finally received my bullet order after FedEx Home decided they didn't want to deliver it on the day the originally planned. Come on guys, the box wasn't THAT heavy, sheesh...

I loaded up 20 rounds of 115gr 9mm FMJ (Hornady 35557) into my Federal cartridges from my WallyWorld target ammo with CFE Pistol. Well, that's not quite true. I actually only loaded 19 rounds as I had 1 error, luckily not a messy or major one. Make sure those retainer pins are in place... :) Had been popping cartridges out to check loads and one round didn't square up under the powder funnel and got clipped...doh!

Next step, firing them... :shock:
 #103395  by radnor
Good for you. Welcome to a new aspect of shooting.

From what I read in the post, it is the ONLY error. Sounds like you took
the time to measure and check all of them. My 1st reloads I shot and did
not let the kid shoot in case. they were fine.
 #103396  by Owen
Congrats! :applause:

A couple of pointers I've gotten and I'll pass them on:

Measure your max cartridge length with your selected bullet. Take a fired piece of brass and put one of your bullets in it. Just place it in by hand so it still can slide around (no crip). Remove your barrel from your pistol. Push this dummy round into your barrel and the bullet will slide back into the case as when the bullet hits the lands of the rifling. Take the now shorter dummy round out and measure the over all length (OAL). If you take away 15 thousands that is the maximum OAL a cartridge can be with the current bullet you are using. Most of the time you are going to be much less than this from manufacturers load data but now you know. You never want a bullet to be touching the rifling when it is loaded in to the chamber as it can lead to a pressure spike and a kaboom in the wrong direction. The bullet needs a slight amount of space to "run up" to the rifling to ensure the pressure is following it/pushing it out.

I typically start at the min load data from the powder manufacturer. I make ten or so, and then work up the powder charge in .1 to .2 grain increments. Then I go and shoot them making note of how they cycle the pistol and if they seem accurate. I've found that .2 grains can make all the difference in accuracy. Check for the soot around the end of the brass. A lot means that the "bang" is not enough to seal the brass to chamber enough to keep the gases in. Also check for primer flattening or coming loose. That is usually only a problem for heavier loads. You can also check the ejection distance to get an idea of how well the load is working. If they are all dropping very close you may be underloaded. Personally I am looking for a load on the lighter side to save powder and easier to shoot. But too little powder can be a problem too so I measure the powder depth and figure out based on the bullet thickness the "gap" between the top of the powder and the base of the bullet. There needs to be space but if the powder is so slight that it can lay on the side of the case it can all go off at once causing a kaboom. You really want it to burn back to front. I use cooler higher volume powders because of this myself.

Another thing to check once you have a load you like is if they function when shooting with your off hand. This ensures that even with a weaker hold will still function. Of course it can still be limp wristed but absent that it should work. I've found this usually makes me add just touch more powder.

For me reloading is a lot of fun I hope you are successful!
 #103405  by Mirlen
Thanks for those tips. I didn't check EVERY powder drop but I did check about 10-20 drops prior to charging cases and then every 2-3 a few times and then ran with most of the rest.
 #103406  by Owen
Mirlen wrote:Thanks for those tips. I didn't check EVERY powder drop but I did check about 10-20 drops prior to charging cases and then every 2-3 a few times and then ran with most of the rest.
A consistent drop after ten throws sounds good. That's how I verify the load setting once it seems close from a single throw. Ten throws added to my scales dish then divide by ten. Also I throw three or four times after I change the setting then do the ten throws. I'm paranoid about a squib (no powder) load and over charges so I have a light set up so I can look in every case. Another way is to weight the bullets. If all else is the same the weights should be very close.

I also bought a go/no go gauge that I drop the rounds in. Every one at first and then only a sampling after I am confident they are coming out good.

As a point of caution if you just hear a pop and the slide doesn't or maybe barely cycles STOP and check to make sure it wasn't a squib. I bring a wooden rod to the range to test because a bullet stuck in your barrel from a squib is probably the most dangerous situation. Don't just rack and go because a stuck bullet can make your gun kaboom.

That said, as long as you are careful and thoughtful you should be fine! :D
 #103424  by Mirlen
Thoughts on using reload data for lead round nose when you have FMJ? I've heard so long as the OAL and weight was the same that you could do this...
 #103427  by Owen
Mirlen wrote:Thoughts on using reload data for lead round nose when you have FMJ? I've heard so long as the OAL and weight was the same that you could do this...
It might be a weaker load with FMJ. Lead usually needs less powder for the same weight bullet because there is no copper jacket to deform as it goes into the chamber. But is it a true copper FMJ bullet of a dipped/plated bullet? Plated bullets are not as hard as FMJ because there is only a thin layer of copper applied not a swaged copper jacket. So using lead data for plated is almost exactly the same but for FMJ it may need a little more. Usually reloaders run into the opposite problem, using FMJ data in lead. If a lead load is to hot it will melt the lead leading to all sorts of issues. That's why I personally stick with plated. Cheaper than FMJ but cleaner than lead. And now there are "plastic" coated bullets too

Personally, my first load was info from an old timer that used lead bullets. I had to increase the charge slightly to get good groups out of my pistol with plated bullets.
 #103436  by Mirlen
The load I did was a bit more towards the middle of the lead round nose but below the max. Thought that would be about right to start considering the above.