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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:09 PM   #1
pumperp5
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How many times can you reload rifle brass?

I'm thinking about reloading some rifle ammo. .223, .308, 30-06, .270, maybe even 9mm & .40 s&w?

1. Is it really worth it? If I do it its going to be a single stage 1 at a time press. More of a hobby/time killer than anything. How many loads can I get out of a case? Most brass I see is worth as much as new cheap ammo.

2. Is it safe? I love saving money, but I like my hands, face, and guns better. How can I tell if brass is not reloadable?

3. What does Berdan primed mean?

Im looking to get into a base simple 1 round at a time reloader. Any info or help would be great. Thanks


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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:34 PM   #2
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I'm thinking about reloading some rifle ammo. .223, .308, 30-06, .270, maybe even 9mm & .40 s&w?

1. Is it really worth it? YES! If I do it its going to be a single stage 1 at a time press. More of a hobby/time killer than anything. It will definitely help you kill time. How many loads can I get out of a case? Depends really. I'm getting 6 reloads per .223 case and still counting. Other calibers that I reload, I do not shoot as much, but they still look good. Most brass I see is worth as much as new cheap ammo. Remember, brass makes up about half the price of the cost of ammo.

2. Is it safe? As safe as you are. I love saving money, but I like my hands, face, and guns better. How can I tell if brass is not reloadable? Steel cased is generally not used, but some people still do it. Use brass cases. Check for imperfections, cracks, case head stretching, you'll learn what the signs are.

3. What does Berdan primed mean? Two off center flash holes. They cannot be de-primed by conventional means. (and the primers aren't standard)

Im looking to get into a base simple 1 round at a time reloader. Any info or help would be great. Thanks Start with a single stage and move on when you're ready. I just got back in from loading (500) .223 with a single stage setup, tedious, but worth it.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:39 PM   #3
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Great info! Thats a lot of the info I was looking for. Thankyou very much. Ill let you know how I make out. Thanks guthook


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"The Second Amendment is our Country's FIRST line of Homeland Security."

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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:47 PM   #4
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Great info! Thats a lot of the info I was looking for. Thankyou very much. Ill let you know how I make out. Thanks guthook
No problem. Just be safe and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before diving in. Get good reloading bookS, study them and refer back to them often. Be safe and you'll have the biggest smile on your face the first time you pull the trigger on one of your home rolled loads. It's very addictive.

If you get stuck or need help, MDSF members are tops at helping a guy out.

Read through the Reloading section. There is a wealth of info there.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 09:48 PM   #5
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http://www.mdshooters.com/showthread...ghlight=budget


lot of good cheap reloading info


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Old March 1st, 2010, 10:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pumperp5 View Post
I'm thinking about reloading some rifle ammo. .223, .308, 30-06, .270, maybe even 9mm & .40 s&w?

1. Is it really worth it? If I do it its going to be a single stage 1 at a time press. More of a hobby/time killer than anything. How many loads can I get out of a case? Most brass I see is worth as much as new cheap ammo.

2. Is it safe? I love saving money, but I like my hands, face, and guns better. How can I tell if brass is not reloadable?

3. What does Berdan primed mean?

Im looking to get into a base simple 1 round at a time reloader. Any info or help would be great. Thanks
For most, Yes it is worth it, you can save from 50%-80% on ammo, control quality far more than most manufacturers, and load to a huge range of specs, barn burning full power loads, a reliable supply of rare, expenive or obsolete calibers, or make soft shooting reduced recoil loads, it's up to you. A single stage is a necessity for any reloader, and still useful even if you choose to add a progressive press later on to load ammo faster. It does take a lot of time, as much as you are willing to spend on it.

For brass, in most calibers, I just buy factory ammo, or once fired brass, and reload it. Light loads in straight walled revolver cases probably last the longest, possibly a dozen or more loads, hot loads in semi-auto rifles(especially with loose mil-spec chambers) may only last 4 loads. There are many factors that dictate case life, but more or less every time the brass is bent, streached, or formed it hardens the brass and makes it a little more brittle, eventually the case cracks, usually in the mouth or neck, this is why you want to check every round every time.

As far as safety, reloading is only as safe as you make it, in many cases there is no room for error, at all. Someone once said reloading is like a math test where if you get a question wrong, you lose a hand. That may be a little bit of an aexaggeration, but not by much. You need to develop a routine and consistent process where you perform many checks during several stages of loading. I start by separating and tumbling dirty brass and range pickups, then visually check every case, any case that is cracked, bent severely, or worn out gets thrown away, the rest go in gallon zip-lock bags for storage. Then I grab hadfulls of brass, look at them again, and dump them in the hopper for the progressive press, or throw them in a box for spray lubing(bottleneck rifle calibers). They get sized, (lubed rifle brass gets tumbled again, and trimmed/length checked) then primed, any case that has almost no effort to seat the primer gets thrown away(primer pockets wear too). The cases are then charged with powder, checked visually to make sure the case did get the proper ammount of powder, and about 1 in 5(rifle)-1 in 25(handgun on the progressive) charges are weighed for consistencyand a bullet is seated to a specific overall length. The ammo then get a final visual check while crimping and goes into ammo boxes, stripper clips, or storage of some sort. I lso check the ammo when at the range loading my weapon, this goes for reloads, or factory ammo. All in all there are at least 5 seperate visual and measurement checks for every peice of brass, every time , and the probability for mistkes are probably comprable to factory ammo.

Berdan priming is a system where the primers are simple cups with a priming compund, the brass has a small point in the center of the primer pocket called an anvil, and 2 small flash holes on the sides of the anvil. The firing pin piches the priming compound between the outer primer cup and anvil, detonating it, and sending the flame through the 2 holes lighting the powder. Most belive this brass cannot be reloaded, and while it is difficult and time consuming it can be done. Either a die filled with water pops the primer out with hydraulic pressure, or a small screw or lever tool bites into it and pulls it out. A decapper pin won't normally work, the holes are very small, and you would have to turn the brass in the die to line up the two holes.

Boxer priming uses a small triangle shaped metal anvil in the primer cup instead of being part of the brass, the priming compound has to be under some pressure before being struck and lit by the firing pin. When a primer is pressed and seated into it's pocket the tiny anvil presses firmly into the priming compound, essentially priming the primer. This only requires a single large flash hole in the center of the pocket as the flame travels around the anvil placed in the primer cup and then through the hole to light the powder. Being the flash hole is centered, a single pin on a die will push the spent prier out, making this easily reloadable.

For a press, the Lee classic cast is a great press for the money, I have an RCBS Rock chucker that I love, and while a little pricey, it is very solid and well made. If you are looking to load a lot of hangun or bulk rifle ammo, a turret or progressive press will greatly spped up the process. Where you may be able to stamp out 100 rounds of pistol ammo in a single stage per hour, a decent turret press can do 200-300RPH, and a progressive can stamp out more than 500RPH with ease.


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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:24 PM   #7
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500 RPH? really?


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Old March 2nd, 2010, 06:52 AM   #8
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500 RPH? really?
I could do the 500 on my Loadmaster. 100 primers are dropped into a tray in one shot, 100 cases are dropped into case collator cup, again, instantaneously. Pulling a handle with the right hand and placing a bullet with the left one takes less than 5 seconds per cycle. With disk measure there is no need to check powder drop every 100 or so rounds. I would say that 500 may include packing the rounds to ammo boxes, but does not include time for setup and cleanup.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 10:06 AM   #9
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Wow! Awesome info! Thank you very much.


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Old March 2nd, 2010, 10:29 AM   #10
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It also depends on how much time you want to invest per money saved.

I shoot a lot of .45 and 5.56, but the only thing I reload is .50 Beowulf. Why? Because Beowulf ammo is going for $50-60 for box of 20 rounds (if you can find it), and I can reload for ~$0.26 a round; that makes it worth the time, effort, and scrounging (I HATE scrounging for brass). Plus, I don't feel guilty about shooting 100 rounds of wulf because I make it myself.

Even at $0.45 a round, I'd rather buy .45ACP then reload it. I can get 5.56 for ~$0.40, so same deal (Did I mention I HATE scrounging for brass?).

Some people love reloading and consider it a hobby, in and of itself; some reload out of necessity. I'm the latter. Don't get me wrong- I find it interesting, observing changes in performance with changes in velocity/bullet seating/powders, but I have limited free time, and would rather spend it shooting.

Oh, and as for your "how many times" question, I can tell you I have never pitched a piece of Beowulf brass from wear, and have some with 7 loads on it. I know guys with 10+ loads on their beowulf brass, and it's still functioning fine. I also don't load hot, either.


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Old March 2nd, 2010, 12:00 PM   #11
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500 RPH? really?
A Dillon 1050 with electric case feeder will do about 1,000RPH, add an automatic bullet feeder, and the only thing the reloader has to do is keep brass, bullet, powder and primer resevoirs full, and keep pulling the handle, it is possible to stamp out a completed round under 3 seconds, and approaches 1,500RPH. That setup is about $2,000, but for a serious competitor that may shoot a couple thousand rounds a week, or for a small volume commercial reloader, it would pay for itself rather quickly, after about 14,000 rounds, or about 12 hours of use. On the other end, I have a small tabletop single stage co-axial press I got for free from a buddy I took shooting(he got it from a yardsale for $10) I clamp it to my desk for loading on slow weekends at work, or bolt it to a board along with a $20 lee powder measure, and take it to the range in order to dial in loads while shooting. There have been times I took about 25 loaded rounds with me, and ended up shooting about 100 rounds total, being they were getting reloaded on the tailgate of my truck, and giving me the flexibility of immediately changing loads, and comparing the chronograh results to published data and dialing in accuracy.

Reloading can be as simple, or advanced as you make it, weither you want to stamp out a couple dozen loads for deer season using bullets not available as loaded ammo in the caliber you are shooting, or are tooling up to start a small weekend buisness, there is something for every interest level, and many people here that can help you with any question you have.


Dillon 1050 with auto case and bullet feeders, all you have to do is keep pulling the handle.


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Old March 2nd, 2010, 12:04 PM   #12
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i can reliably crank out 400 rph of 45ACP (probably the easiest round of them all to reload) with my Dillon 550. I do not have the auto casefeeder either.


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Old March 2nd, 2010, 01:47 PM   #13
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Dillon 1050 with auto case and bullet feeders, all you have to do is keep pulling the handle.
Actually the 1050 in the video has the Ponsness Warren auto drive so you dont even have to pull the handle. Seems more like ammunition manufacturing than reloading.
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