Reloading 123

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      This is a guide which new reloaders can use to reload ammo for the 9mmP. The steps listed in this guide is by no means a complete guide on how to setup your equipment, as there are too many different types of reloading gear out there. All reloading tools follow the following basic steps which will be handled in this guide. The same guide can be followed in order to reload most handgun calibers. Be it 7.65 or 45ACP, the basic steps remain the same. Different types of reloading dies, bullets, and powder is to be used for different calibers.

      The equipment seen in this guide is my own which I use for all my rifles and handguns. I also reload for IDPA sport shooting. There are a myriad of different types of presses, scales, dies and powder dispensers out there, but they all work in roughly the same way.

      When a round is fired, the high pressure generated by the burnt powder expands the case to the dimensions of the firing chamber of the firearm. The spent cast therefore needs to be resized to the original unfired specifications before it can be fired again. The case neck will also not grip the bullet with sufficient force to prevent it from slipping if the case is not resized.

      The basic steps when reloading a cartridge, are the following:

      • Cleaning
      • Resizing and decapping of spent primer
      • Case inspection
      • Priming of the case
      • Adding a measured powder charge
      • Neck expanding (only needed if loading cast lead bullets)
      • Seating a bullet
      • Crimping of case.
      • Final inspection

      Lets tackle these steps in more detail.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      I used to prefer to clean my cases after it was resized with a sonic cleaner, but I have changed the way I'm cleaning my cases before reloading to prevent the die from scratching due to sand or other impurities.

      First tumble, then re-size, then inspect, then sonic clean.

      A sonic cleaner cleans the entire case (inside, outside and primer pocket) If you use a tumbler to clean your cases then a lot of shooters prefer to clean them before the resizing stage as some of the media will block the flash hole after cleaning it. This tumbling media is easily removed during the resizing / decapping stage. It is not critically important to clean the primer pocket at all.

      Batch of un-cleaned brass

      After decapping the brass, it goes into a sonic cleaner for 560 seconds. The mixture I use is made up of 2l hot geyser water (not boiling hot!), ¼ teaspoon citric acid, 50ml white vinegar and a good squirt of dishwashing liquid

      After removing the brass from the sonic cleaner, make sure to thoroughly flush them with water before allowing them to dry.

      Cleaned, but wet brass now looks like this.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      Take the resizing die and screw it into your press. Make sure that the case holder touches the bottom of the resizing die. Take the case and put it into the case holder. Pull the lever to force the case into the sizing die and to remove the spent primer in one easy step. It is important to note that if you are NOT using tungsten carbide steel dies, then each and every case needs to be lubed with a special case lube before the case is resized to prevent it from seizing itself into the sizing die. Almost all resizing reloading dies designed for handguns these day are all manufactured with a tungsten carbide insert, so if you have new dies, it is likely to be of the tc variety. The exception to this rule is if you reload a “necked down” type caliber, like the .357Sig, 7.62x25 Tok, 7.63mm Mauser etc. Please make sure to only decap a boxer primed case. Accidently decapping a berdan case might break the decapping pin on the sizing die.

      A typical resizing die.

      Case fully inserted into the sizing die.

      Sized vs unsized case.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      The main reason we clean the brass is to make defects in the cases more visible. You might miss a crack in the case if it’s dirty. Look for any cracks, bulges and the telltale sign of case separation just above the rim of the case. (will be in form of a noticeable ring which can be felt with your finger). Discard all suspect cased cases. If in doubt, discard. It is better to waste 50c on a case than to have to sit with a damaged firearm and / or a broken hand.

      Necked down cases (like rifles and 7.62x25 Tokarev) tends to develop a crack on the case mouth. Included in the picture below is a rifle case (7.62x39) as reference.

      Some people also prefer to use a case gauge as an additional check to make sure the case complies dimensionally to all the relevant specifications. This is a great tool if you shoot a handgun with very tight tolerances on it’s combustion chambers. The Glock range of pistols comes to mind. If you do not own a case gauge, then the barrel of you pistol can also be used to check if the round would load correctly of not.

    Below is a case which looks physically ok, but fails the case gauge check. This case could give trouble when loading it into some pistols.

      It should look like this when it passes the case gauge check.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      A fresh primer must now be inserted into the unprimed, cleaned case. Whether you use the priming insert of your reloading press, or the more convenient hand priming tool. Whichever tool you use, make sure to seat the primer deeper than the bottom part of the case. The primer must never stick out of the case, or even be flush with the case. I use a LEE hand priming tool for the job.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      Most powder dispenser’s works on volume. Because the volume is directly proportional to the weight of the powder, they can throw a consistent charge every time, without the need to weight each and every powder charge. I use an RCBS little dandy pistol powder measure. There are different sized rotors which can be inserted into the powder measure to accommodate different weights of powders. In my example I am using a number 7 rotor to throw a charge of 3.6gr of MS200. I also inspect each primed case to make absolute sure to eliminate a double and zero charge. Firing a round with zero powder in it can be just as dangerous as firing a double charged round. The primer alone will have enough power to eject the bullet from the case, causing a barrel obstruction. Because most powder dispensers work with volume, it important to note that different powders have different densities. MP200 for instance is more dense than MS200 and would require different size volume inserts for the same weight of powder. Using an electronic scale saves a bit of time, but is not necessarily more accurate than a beam-type scale.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      This stage is only needed if you use soft lead cast bullets instead of CMJ of FMJ bullets. It prevents lead shavings from happening during the bullet seating step. Without this step, the lead bullet might cut into the case mouth instead of going into the case, thereby damaging the soft brass case.

      A typical neck expanding die.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

    I am using a 147gr CMJ RN (Complete Metal Jacket, Round Nose) bullet from Frontier, as used by most sport shooters out there. Some prefer different weights of bullet, and other like different shapes of bullet. Whichever one you choose, make sure the COL is correct for your handgun. It should be the longest you can make it, but still be able for the round to go fully into battery with your handgun. A bit of experimenting is needed for each type of bullet you want to load. In my example, a COL of 29.4mm is preferred for my combination.
  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      If you expanded the neck when loading a lead bullet, then this step is absolutely necessary as it will crimp the case mouth closed again. It can also slightly improve reliability of the round if you crimp the case mouth to the bullet, even when using a CMJ or FMJ type bullet. Be careful not to over crimp the case, as it might actually cause a loose bullet in the case. I prefer to use a taper crimp die for this process. Lots of shooters prefer a factory crimp die.

  • Content provided by Michiel Meyer, hosted with permission

      After loading your rounds, I like to inspect each completed round to make sure it is GTG (Good to Go)

      It is entirely possible that an upturned primer was loaded in the case, or the case was damaged during the seating stage. Inspection is a good way to make sure your newly reloaded ammo is in good order.

      I hope you found this posting informative and also hope that all you new guys out there will start reloading soon!