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This is a discussion on Newbie Hand loading questions within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I'm shocked. I thought I was the only who advocated a progressive from the beginning. I started on a Dillon progressive 550; but only using ...


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Old March 12th, 2020, 03:40 PM   #76
 
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I'm shocked. I thought I was the only who advocated a progressive from the beginning.

I started on a Dillon progressive 550; but only using it as a single stage. One round went from 1st stage to 4th stage; but, I didn't have to change out dies.

Once I conquered each of the 4 single stages; I just started loading a case after each pull rather than after every fourth pull.

It was simpler and easier than the single stage platform to me.


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Old March 12th, 2020, 05:27 PM   #77
 
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Thank you sir! Looks like these can be bought on eBay for not too much $$, so I think this is the way I’ll go.
Just be certain to calibrate it and zero it every time. Get some check weights. I had two squibs early on, when I was not doing that, and now I also carry squib rods from Brownells in my range bag.

Iowegean had a great idea for balance-beam scales: sit them on a 12” floor tile on your bench. It is much easier to get them level and true.
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Old March 12th, 2020, 09:11 PM   #78
 
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So any opinions about calibration weights? Are the $10 sets showing up on eBay and Amazon claiming to be “Class M1” total junk, or are they legit?
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Old March 12th, 2020, 10:54 PM   #79
 
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So any opinions about calibration weights? Are the $10 sets showing up on eBay and Amazon claiming to be “Class M1” total junk, or are they legit?
I have used a set of Lyman check weights for 30+ years. They are high quality, and come with tweezers for handling them, and in a nice plastic box with foam inserts. The set is about $40 now.
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Old March 19th, 2020, 06:34 PM   #80
 
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Myg30, An excellent point! I've seen too many people get into reloading so they can make the hottest loads possible. Generally, these people don't stay with the hobby very long. 38 Specials are pretty forgiving as long as you stay within published load data.

Starting with a low pressure straight wall cartridge such as a 38 Special is what I always recommend. Most newer guns are 357 Mags that can also shoot 38 Specials. This give you a nice pressure cushion in case you make a beginner's mistake. There is a huge choice of bullets and powder that will work well in 38s. Further, brass cases are plentiful, last for many reloads, and are easy to recover when shooting a revolver. Revolvers are way more robust when it comes to load range … no slide or bolt thrust to worry about so you can develop loads from about 600 fps to 1000 fps or more. 38s are pretty hard to beat whether you are an experienced reloader or are just starting out. One of the most accurate handgun loads in the world is a 38 Special with a 148gr LHBWC and 2.8~3 gr of Bullseye powder and a standard small pistol primer of your choice.
Thank you all for taking the time to provide all this great advice. I made the choice to get into reloading last week while trying to buy some Federal LSWC rounds for my M36 that loves them (No dice....but I did find a couple boxes of Magtech that will tide me over). Another decision-maker for me was (finally!) reeling in a Marlin 45-70 lever gun at a great price It'll be a nice addition to the family, but also very expensive to feed with factory ammo.

Now this week with the run on ammo due to the pandemic? Forget about it. I want to be in control of my own supply.

Iowegan - You mentioned a good .38 round to start out with is a "148gr Lead Hollow Base Wad Cutter (LHBWC) and 2.8~3 gr of Bullseye powder and a standard small pistol primer of your choice."

That sounds like a pretty simple, straight forward round to cut my teeth on. Would that configuration leave me with a muzzle velocity under 800 FPS? My M36 seems to prefer rounds that clock in under that.

For the record, I have ordered the Lyman 50th Anniversary, Hornady, and Speer manuals to study and to have as references before I even think about buying any powder or components.

BTW - I owe you a big Thank you for posting all the maintenance advice in the past on the Ruger Security Six. She's a solid ol' girl, but it can be hard to find people who know how she ticks inside. I'm very grateful.
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Old March 25th, 2020, 08:02 AM   #81
 
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OP Here. I’ve got a couple new questions.
First: I’d like to start reloading 38 special or 357 mag for a few of my revolvers, which are all chambered in 357 (except for my 10mm gp100), and I’d like to start with very low power rounds for plinking and target practice. Would it make more sense for me to load extremely weak 357, or mid-range 38 special? Are there convincing reasons to go one way or the other, especially in terms of performance and accuracy? There is the issue of carbon buildup in the 357 cylinder bores, but I’m basically fine with that since I’m a diligent cleaner anyway. On the other side, loading 38 special would grant more flexibility (my mom owns a 38 special revolver, so I could share with her). I’d be interested in hearing other considerations.
Second: Are there any recommendations for a powder that is especially good for revolvers? I’ve heard that some powders can help reduce flame cutting effects (I believe they’re called “sticky” powders?), and will also burn cleaner and make cleaning your revolver easier. Any recommendations would be welcome!
Lastly: here’s a couple pics of my portable handloading kit so far! All I’m missing is a micrometer, but I’ve got a friend who’s going to sell me one for a great price. I really like these MTM boxes.
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Old March 25th, 2020, 12:54 PM   #82
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Devo, The 38 Special 148gr LHBWC load with 2.8~3 gr of Bullseye powder has been around for decades and is the prime choice of most revolver bullseye shooters. My S&W Mod 17 with a 6" barrel will chronograph the 2.8gr loads at 720 fps or 760 fps with 3.0 gr of Bullseye. From a Ransom rest, they shoot one tattered hole …. off hand shooting will depend on your marksmanship skills.

taters613, What makes a 357 Mag revolver so robust is the fact they can be loaded with very light target loads all the way up to serious magnum loads and virtually anything in between. Reloading manuals typically don't have much data for mid-range 357 loads but do have many true magnum loads. You can easily use 38 Special +P load data in 357 Mag cases and get similar mid-range velocity results. I've found I need to add a tenth or two of powder to emulate 38 Specials because the 357 cases have a larger capacity and develop lower pressure.

My recommendation for newbies is to start with 38 Specials. It's an easy cartridge to load and the results are very satisfying. 38 Specials like faster burning powder with my favorite being W-231 or HP-38. These powders meter about as perfect as possible and develop the necessary pressure for safe, accurate, and clean burning loads. Loading 357 Mag cases at lower velocities can be quite a challenge. They will shoot but because of the larger case capacity, velocity and accuracy is not as uniform as the same powder charge in a 38 case.

38 Specials were designed with 158 gr lead bullets so being a traditionalist, I like to use lead bullets. Hollow base wad cutter are the most accurate. Lead round nose are the next most accurate followed by lead semi wad cutters. The accuracy difference from one extreme to another is very minimal at 25 yards. You can buy plated or coated lead bullets pretty cheap and still get excellent performance. Jacketed bullets are also very accurate and don't foul bores like lead …. but they do cost considerably more. Again, the availability of a wide selection of lead, coated lead, plated lead, or jacketed bullets in many different weights is what helps make a 38 Special so versatile to load.
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Old March 26th, 2020, 04:18 PM   #83
 
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Devo, The 38 Special 148gr LHBWC load with 2.8~3 gr of Bullseye powder has been around for decades and is the prime choice of most revolver bullseye shooters. My S&W Mod 17 with a 6" barrel will chronograph the 2.8gr loads at 720 fps or 760 fps with 3.0 gr of Bullseye. From a Ransom rest, they shoot one tattered hole …. off hand shooting will depend on your marksmanship skills.

taters613, What makes a 357 Mag revolver so robust is the fact they can be loaded with very light target loads all the way up to serious magnum loads and virtually anything in between. Reloading manuals typically don't have much data for mid-range 357 loads but do have many true magnum loads. You can easily use 38 Special +P load data in 357 Mag cases and get similar mid-range velocity results. I've found I need to add a tenth or two of powder to emulate 38 Specials because the 357 cases have a larger capacity and develop lower pressure.

My recommendation for newbies is to start with 38 Specials. It's an easy cartridge to load and the results are very satisfying. 38 Specials like faster burning powder with my favorite being W-231 or HP-38. These powders meter about as perfect as possible and develop the necessary pressure for safe, accurate, and clean burning loads. Loading 357 Mag cases at lower velocities can be quite a challenge. They will shoot but because of the larger case capacity, velocity and accuracy is not as uniform as the same powder charge in a 38 case.

38 Specials were designed with 158 gr lead bullets so being a traditionalist, I like to use lead bullets. Hollow base wad cutter are the most accurate. Lead round nose are the next most accurate followed by lead semi wad cutters. The accuracy difference from one extreme to another is very minimal at 25 yards. You can buy plated or coated lead bullets pretty cheap and still get excellent performance. Jacketed bullets are also very accurate and don't foul bores like lead …. but they do cost considerably more. Again, the availability of a wide selection of lead, coated lead, plated lead, or jacketed bullets in many different weights is what helps make a 38 Special so versatile to load.
Great advice, thanks Iowegan! I think I’ll start with some 38 special, then do some weak 10mm, and then maybe some entry level 357. I’ll stick with 158 grain for 38 and 357, and probably 185 or 200 grain for 10mm. Would the same fast burning-powders you recommended for 38 special also appropriate for weak 10mm?
Also: I read somewhere that fast burning, spherical/ball powders can accelerate forcing cone wear and top strap erosion. Is this really the case? Would slow burning, or “stick” powders better in this regard? To me, it seems like slow burning powders might actually be WORSE for flame cutting effects, since I could imagine individual grains of powder delaying their ignition until they make contact with the forcing cone or top strap. This is mainly a concern with regard to my Colt model 3-5-7, which is somewhat of a collectible and I’d like to keep it in tip-top shape.
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