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John Kloehr

John Kloehr's Reloading Thread

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Posted (edited)

I want to learn reloading. Read a bunch, still feel clueless. Never done it. Can't afford to compete unless I learn it.

 

My goals for SASS:

  • I want to make smoke (Black Powder Substitute, not Holy black)
  • .44 Russian for 2 Uberti 1873 Cattleman Revolvers (built for .44 Special)
  • .44-40 for a Winchester (Miroku) 1873 24" Rifle
  • 12 GA Stoeger SxS (not yet purchased) running Brass Hulls (inbound)
  • '97 Pump Shotgun (have lots of AA hulls)

 

Also plan to reload smokeless:

  • .38 Special
  • .357 Magnum
  • .45 ACP
  • .223
  • 12 GA Shotgun

 

Not really looking for help here on the non-SASS smokeless reloads (that is for other sports), but including this info as hopefully the same gear will work for everything (except maybe shotgun).

 

Not looking to reload 9mm at this time as the savings are minimal, at least by pre-covid prices. but might start saving brass if the supply chain does not sort itself out by August. Again, not looking for help here as much as letting you know I want to keep my options open.

 

Leaning towards Dillon for the presses, multistage as I would like to run at least 500 of anything once I am set up for it. Well, that is for rifle and pistol. Shotgun might be different.

 

I have 1,000 rounds of .44 Russian and .44-40 commercial LRNFP for scavenging brass, so I have time to get everything together and learn what the expletive I am doing, but have heard there is a primer shortage and powder is getting scarce. And even tools might get scarce. And I need bullets, I'll check with Scarlett for those.

 

So lets start with what I need to buy. First supplies, but tools too. And I expect this thread to run for many months as my time each week is limited and I think I have a lot to learn. Maybe first shotgun shells in quantity by Halloween, and first pistol caliber before the New Year?

 

I think I should focus on reloading the Magtech brass hulls (incoming) for the Stoeger SxS I don't yet have as that seems like  a simpler venture.

 

And while on the subject of shotguns... Can I run brass shells in a '97 or should I also look at reloading the AA hulls I acquired? That would be the second goal.

 

But if there is something (particularly primers) I should be looking for now, please jump in and guide me. I want to be ready to load pistol calibers without waiting on "stuff."

 

I wish I could go to the Dillon showroom, but that is several days journey away form me. And finally, what is a good tool for measuring bullet velocity? I'm an engineer, and like to measure things.

 

And mixing BP and smokeless? I plan to be anal about labels and processes and procedures to prevent mixing them up. I like my fingers and my eyes. I am willing to share how I keep them separate for review by others. I really do like my fingers and my eyes.

 

Hopefully, in addition to me learning a new skill, others in the future might find value in this thread from documenting the journey.

 

 

Edited by John Kloehr
glorious typos

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Check out Warden Callaway 's very helpful playlist, includes loading brass shells and other good tidbits.

 

 

A suggestion,  since you don't have a Stoeger yet, don't get one. Save up a little more  and get a new Charles Daly 512t or save a bit more and find a SKB.

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Best is to find someone local that can mentor you into reloading.  Visit a shoot and get to know people, you might find someone that can be your mentor.

One word of advice it is very handy if your pistol and rifle rounds are the same caliber.  This way you can’t get them mixed up and you will only need dies and other equipment for one caliber.

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This is a very nice chronograph that links up with your phone to keep track of your shot lists.  Very handy for analyzing your loads.  Midway and Amazon have them for a little less than the mfr’s. Site.  

 

Good Luck!!

 

https://www.competitionelectronics.com/product/prochrono-dlx/

 

 

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1 hour ago, Nickel City Dude said:

Best is to find someone local that can mentor you into reloading.  Visit a shoot and get to know people, you might find someone that can be your mentor.

 

^^^^THIS^^^^

 

Better to find two mentors. Not every person that reloads should be mentoring others. I have met a few that in my opinion shouldn't be reloading at.

 

The Lyman reloading manuals have a good introduction to reloading as part of every manual.

 

Cannot stress enough the importance of attention to detail and eliminating ALL distractions.

 

If there is ANY doubt stop, empty the press and start over.

 

Some will tell you differently but I would recommend that initially you choose a powder that fills the case more then 1/2 full. Probably the most dangerous mistake you can make is double charging a case.

 

Lots of people don't like Trailboss but it has two really big pluses for new reloaders. Double charges are impossible and it puts enough powder in the case to make visual inspection easy.

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This thread is "pinned" in the SASS Wire FAQ forum:

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Keeping powders separate is easy. When you are done for the day put the powder back into the original factory labelled container. Put a tag on your reloading press with the powder type and charge weight. Always verify sharge weight before starting a session. Use a case gauge to verify loaded rounds. I check the first 10. Then I check a couple every time I refill the primer tube.

 

Keep a log book with all the particulars.

 

As for telling BP rounds from smokeless I color code.  I buy powder coated bullets. My supplier offers a minimum of two different colors of the same bullet. One color is always loaded with smokeless and the other is always loaded with BP.

 

I know you are a little OCD but it is fun to put a few BP rounds in with your smokeless loads. Really wakes up the posse when bang bang bang suddenly becomes BOOM.

 

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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2 hours ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

A suggestion,  since you don't have a Stoeger yet, don't get one. Save up a little more  and get a new Charles Daly 512t or save a bit more and find a SKB.

Consider what TC has to say regarding saving your coins and upgrading to the next step! 
I started with a couple of Stoeger which served me well, yet at the same time  stifled the learning curve! 
SKB‘s and the CZ Sharptail are superior SxS guns hands down. I shoot both and would recommend either brand! 
I don’t have personal experience with the Charles Daly guns, but  those that shoot them Seem pleased. 
  
Unless your looking for “ style points” , consider the economics of plastic hulls versus brass and the learning curve  will be less daunting for someone starting from the ground up IMO! 
 

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I've found that loading a "brassie" to be more time consuming but easier than plastic hulls.  First thing you'll have to decide with brass SG hulls is what you're going to stuff them with.  You can use either Nitro Card, Fiber Wads, overshot card, or plastic wad and overshot card.  Whichever you choose I suggest working up 4-6 shells with different combinations of powder and shot and take them to the range and pattern them.  While a wide pattern is good for bird hunting it's not the best for our type of shooting.  At 20-30 yards shooting a KD you'll want to keep the pattern tight so most of that small shot will hit the KD.

 

For primers I try to use Federal Magnum in every Cowboy load.

 

Reloading is a lot of trial and error and having a mentor will save you lots of errors and keeps you and your ammo safe from risky mistakes.

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Lassiter sells the Charles Daly sg. If you are going to load brass sg call Circle Fly as he makes wads for reloading. If you tell him what brass sg shell you are using he will know what size wads you will need.

kR

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10 hours ago, Tyrel Cody said:

A suggestion,  since you don't have a Stoeger yet, don't get one. Save up a little more  and get a new Charles Daly 512t or save a bit more and find a SKB.

 

7 hours ago, Captain Clark said:

Consider what TC has to say regarding saving your coins and upgrading to the next step! 
I started with a couple of Stoeger which served me well, yet at the same time  stifled the learning curve! 
SKB‘s and the CZ Sharptail are superior SxS guns hands down. I shoot both and would recommend either brand! 
I don’t have personal experience with the Charles Daly guns, but  those that shoot them Seem pleased. 

Someone loaned me their slicked SKB at my first full full shoot. Yes, it is nice, but I'm not yet good enough to take full advantage of it. I am considering the Stoeger as my future backup gun and it is so much better than what I have available at the moment.

 

I have also borrowed slicked Stoegers, and while I could tell the difference compared to an SKB, the bang for buck was not as noticeable.

 

And considering shooting what I have versus the future Stoeger or an SKB, I have already learned softer cowboy loads are much faster to shoot than my commercial 3 Gun loads.

 

At this time, I think I will get more benefit from developing my skills (shooting and reloading) than I will from spending twice as much on a shotgun. I say that now, but no promise for what itch I might get a little later than the road.

 

I suspect I will ultimately learn your advice is correct, but then the Stoeger will be a perfectly good backup gun I might never use again. Or a nice loaner.

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3 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

 

Someone loaned me their slicked SKB at my first full full shoot. Yes, it is nice, but I'm not yet good enough to take full advantage of it. I am considering the Stoeger as my future backup gun and it is so much better than what I have available at the moment.

 

I have also borrowed slicked Stoegers, and while I could tell the difference compared to an SKB, the bang for buck was not as noticeable.

 

And considering shooting what I have versus the future Stoeger or an SKB, I have already learned softer cowboy loads are much faster to shoot than my commercial 3 Gun loads.

 

At this time, I think I will get more benefit from developing my skills (shooting and reloading) than I will from spending twice as much on a shotgun. I say that now, but no promise for what itch I might get a little later than the road.

 

I suspect I will ultimately learn your advice is correct, but then the Stoeger will be a perfectly good backup gun I might never use again. Or a nice loaner.

 

Ask @bgavin his opinion on new Stoegers. 

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10 hours ago, Nickel City Dude said:

Best is to find someone local that can mentor you into reloading.  Visit a shoot and get to know people, you might find someone that can be your mentor.

 

9 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

^^^^THIS^^^^

 

Better to find two mentors. Not every person that reloads should be mentoring others. I have met a few that in my opinion shouldn't be reloading at.

I will find local mentors. And since I will be loading for multiple sports, BP and smokeless, rifles (pistol and rifle calibers) and pistol (revolver and semi-auto in multiple sports) and shotgun (several)... That is a lot of complexity to work through.

 

I am also considering this forum collectively to be a community mentor in aggregate. Not in any way a substitute for someone looking over my shoulder and watching me like a hawk, but invaluable nonetheless.

 

I also hope this thread might become a resource for someone else getting started, by serving as a record of my choices and being honest about what did and did not work over time. Though my documentation here will be focused mostly on SASS rather than the other sports.

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11 hours ago, Nickel City Dude said:

One word of advice it is very handy if your pistol and rifle rounds are the same caliber.  This way you can’t get them mixed up and you will only need dies and other equipment for one caliber.

I'm already at 9 or 10 variations between calibers and powders. I participate in multiple sports.

 

But one thing I have done to avoid a mixup (at a SASS shoot) is to load my revolvers at the loading table first. This is to avoid accidentally stuffing a short round into the rifle. I almost did that as a guest in Greenville with a full loaner set of guns.

 

Your advice is good, and I initially planned to use .38 Special exclusively for CASS, also was going to use smokeless. So having made those decisions... For someone new I do recommend starting at the shallow end, what I'm doing is more like diving into the deep end.

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Posted (edited)

There are spot shortages of powder and primers though I could easily restock today from online retailers.  I was at Paul Miller’s range in Colorado last weekend and bought some bullets from him (Colorado Cast Bullets).  His storeroom was well stocked with bullets.  He can supply you if needed.  Regarding Winchester AAs - you can buy these for $7.87 a box at WalMart and get a $2/box rebate through the end of July.  I quit reloading low recoil loads for my wife since I can buy them inexpensively.  I suggest you just focus on reloading BP shotgun shells.   APP is a good sub though I use 777 for metallic cartridges.

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971
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9 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Some will tell you differently but I would recommend that initially you choose a powder that fills the case more then 1/2 full. Probably the most dangerous mistake you can make is double charging a case.

 

Lots of people don't like Trailboss but it has two really big pluses for new reloaders. Double charges are impossible and it puts enough powder in the case to make visual inspection easy.

Or not charging the case at all and thinking the (possible) resulting squib was just a miss... Either way, the gun is now a grenade.

 

Also have read under filling a case may result in the powder charge not igniting as the charge is not in contact with the primer. Can be the same result as not charging the case at all (a possible squib).

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What fun is there wading in the shallow end?

 

Plenty of lifeguards on here anyway.

 

 

I'd suggest contacting Scarlett and get 5K Federal large pistol primers. Pretty sure she'll be at Black Gold in July and you could either pick them up there or have someone else pick them up; I'm positive someone from your local club will be there.

 

No worries with different calibers either, sounds like you have a plan to handle it.

 

Get a RCBS lockout die for smokeless reloading on a progressive press.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Captain Clark said:

Unless your looking for “ style points” , consider the economics of plastic hulls versus brass and the learning curve  will be less daunting for someone starting from the ground up IMO! 

A lot of my interest is style, this sport is grounded in style.

 

But separate from style, have learned I can load brass shotgun shells with almost no tools. Slow to do but also low volume compared to the amount of pistol and rifle brass needed each match. Roughly 5:1.

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52 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

Ask @bgavin his opinion on new Stoegers. 

:D I think you just asked him for me!

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10 hours ago, Two Shoots said:

This is a very nice chronograph that links up with your phone to keep track of your shot lists.  Very handy for analyzing your loads.  Midway and Amazon have them for a little less than the mfr’s. Site.  

 

Good Luck!!

 

https://www.competitionelectronics.com/product/prochrono-dlx/

 

 

That looks affordable. Was thinking around $100 anyway and not having to go look at the display after every shot is worth a few bucks. Will read the instructions later and maybe order it.

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Looking at this caliper:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IG46NL2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3DUGAUYYGAN56&psc=1

 

$110.95, accuracy is +/- 0.001". I can read the old dial-type tools but my old eyes will appreciate the digital readout. I do understand that about doubles the price but I can see the numbers easily.

 

Overkill? Or not accurate enough?

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Just took my first look at scales, Amazon may not be the best place to choose one.

 

How much accuracy and resolution do I need in a scale? And how much full-scale weight do I need?

 

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Some folks have problems with digital scales. A good balance beam scale is more than sufficient for cowboy usage. I would stick with a Dillon or Lyman or another good brand.

kR

A lot of folks do very well with slicked up Stoegers.

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44 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

Looking at this caliper:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IG46NL2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3DUGAUYYGAN56&psc=1

 

$110.95, accuracy is +/- 0.001". I can read the old dial-type tools but my old eyes will appreciate the digital readout. I do understand that about doubles the price but I can see the numbers easily.

 

Overkill? Or not accurate enough?

 

Unless you're doing some really high precision shooting IMHO it's overkill.  You can go to any of the big home stores and pick up a set of digital calipers for less than half the price.  Most ammo you load only needs to be measured 1/1000 of an inch and even then being off a thousand or two (as long as the round chambers fine) will be good enough.

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2 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

Unless you're doing some really high precision shooting IMHO it's overkill.  You can go to any of the big home stores and pick up a set of digital calipers for less than half the price.  Most ammo you load only needs to be measured 1/1000 of an inch and even then being off a thousand or two (as long as the round chambers fine) will be good enough.

Isn't that the same as 0.001"?

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Just now, John Kloehr said:

Isn't that the same as 0.001"?

 

sorry meant 1/100

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37 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

Just took my first look at scales, Amazon may not be the best place to choose one.

 

How much accuracy and resolution do I need in a scale? And how much full-scale weight do I need?

 

 

I'm pleased with my Frankford Arsenal digital scale.  This is it at Midway Scale   Personally I like digital scales, I have trouble reading the lines on beam scales, but beam scales are accurate.

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^^^ That's what I have too. Frankfort Arsenal also makes a great wet tumbler, which you'll want when you switch to BP.

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John,

 

I haven't met you yet.  The wife and I are normally regulars at Oak Ridge, but we haven't been up recently because of the "plague".

 

One of leadership team at Oak Ridge is Jackalope.  He is without a doubt one of the best resources in your area on shooting BP.  I can think of no one better as a mentor on loading BP.  

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Just now, TN Mongo, SASS #61450 said:

John,

 

I haven't met you yet.  The wife and I are normally regulars at Oak Ridge, but we haven't been up recently because of the "plague".

 

One of leadership team at Oak Ridge is Jackalope.  He is without a doubt one of the best resources in your area on shooting BP.  I can think of no one better as a mentor on loading BP.  

 

+1 on Jackalope

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OP, I'm in Central Ohio so I can't help you with a local mentor but I do have a few years experience on my Dillon 550 and about 9 years on my Lyman turret press. If you'd like to do a video chat, I'd be more than happy to do that. I can show you how my 550 is set up for about 4 calibers now (.38/.357, 9mm, .223, 6.5cm). I use two different powder measure brands, dies I use,  where I get my bullets, etc. 

 

Just PM if you're interested. Wish I could show you side by side difference between the 550 and 750, but YouTube is your friend there. 

 

I'm another vote for Dillon. You really can't go wrong with a 550 or the new 750. A 750XL will be my next press for sure. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John Kloehr said:

Just took my first look at scales, Amazon may not be the best place to choose one.

 

How much accuracy and resolution do I need in a scale? And how much full-scale weight do I need?

 

Loading manuals specify charges to a tenth of a grain.  You need to be able to weigh to a tenth of a grain accurately.  Rifle rounds will need the most powder.  Check loading manuals for the cartridge, bullet and powder you want to use and that will tell the full-scale you need.  From your list I suspect 30 grains will do. 

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971

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Quote

Looking at this caliper:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IG46NL2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3DUGAUYYGAN56&psc=1

 

$110.95, accuracy is +/- 0.001".

John - my $18 Harbor Freight digital caliper is accurate to 0.002 calibrated to certified plug gages ... 

https://www.harborfreight.com/6-in-Digital-Caliper-63711.html

BTW - there is no need for a caliper to measure for reloading to +/- 0.001".  A manual caliper is my Go To

 

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Refined caliper option:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KZ3NOO/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

 

Carries the Hornady name which probably adds a couple bucks in licensing fees but 0.001 accuracy (half the resolution of the first caliper) for only $36.24.

 

And a Hornady-branded scale for $35.96:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017S6PPNU/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

 

Not ordering yet as I want to review other replies, but easier on the budget than what I found before.

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