Reloading the 25ACP
I used a Hornady hand prime, a Lee .25 ACP die set and shellholder, and a Lee turret press. I tried two bullets, one is the Hornady 35 grain hollow point, the other 32 grain Impala monolithic.
These were the only two kinds of bullet for .25 ACP I could get. The Hornady bullets were very old stock lying at the back of a shelf, and I don't expect to find them again anywhere.
The Impala are made to order, the supply is on-demand and therefore reliable.
I also have a custom made thread adapter to fit a Hornady powder measure to a Lee Universal powder charge die. In the following pages, where I refer to the thread adapter, it's that part on the bottom right of this picture I'm referring to.
I could probably have used the powder-thru die that comes with the Lee set, with this measure, but I prefer the Universal. The internal threads on the top of the powder-thru and the Universal are the same.
Lee Turrent Press
I used a Lee Turret, this is the Classic Turret, and in my opinion is the finest press Lee have ever made. [ I've owned and used the Challenger, the old Turret and the Loadmaster ] . I use this one instead of the RockChucker where the process involves multiple dies, as it is much more convenient to have all the dies setup and available on the turret. The index bar is removed, I use this press single-stage only.
Clockwise from bottom left - the powder thru die, the decapper, the Universal charging die with the custom thread adapter, and the seating die. The powder thru die is redundant in this setup.
This is a Hornady powder measure attached to a Lee Universal Powder Die with a custom made thread adapter.
I would not be able to use a Hornady LnL case-activated measure to reload this caliber, as the case is too short to fully actuate the powder measure.
A Lee disk-type measure would work in a Lee powder-thru die for case-activated measuring.
Here, powder is dropped manually, but the big advantage is that I can drop any weight of powder reliably from 0.2 grains and up, which with a Lee disk measure needs a micro-disk, and you have no flexibility in making fine charge adjustments.
I have a pistol rotor fitted here, and the insert is set to drop 1.4 grains MP200.
The most challenging aspect of reloading this caliber is not to leak powder all over the place. This setup has it under control with zero spillage, and no manual handling of powder.
The underside of the Universal die, showing the insert. Using a combination of inserts provided with the Lee Universal Powder Charge die, you can have the drop hole smaller than the diameter of the case, which eliminates leakage of powder.
Using the manually operated measure to drop the powder.
The Lee bullet seater can't handle the Hornady hollow point bullet. The concave seating plug is the same diameter as the top of the hollow point, the sharp edges on each mis-align on each other and cause the bullet to shift during seating.
In this case, a bell on the case during sizing would not help, the mis-alignment of edges would still tip the bullet at the top of the seating stroke.
If I keep this Lee set, I'll have to take that seating plug and grind the end flat. I was going to buy a Hornady set, but the Lee was much cheaper.
The Hornady set comes with two plugs, one for round nose bullets and one for flat. The Lee die is only geared for round nose. A Hornady bullet seater die also has a guide sleeve that keeps the bullet aligned on the way up to seating, which would help a lot here.
If you are not just reloading round nose bullets, I would recommend you spend a bit extra and get Hornady dies, or at least any other make that offers two plugs, otherwise the Lee set is fine.
Seating of the monolithics worked perfectly.
Seating depths shown vary a bit, I was trying crimp settings.
I was not able to do a one-step seat and crimp without damaging the brass, I tried several settings. In the end I did not use any crimp.