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Everything posted by IVC

  1. UPDATE (got back from vacation) After backing off the swager, setting up Lyman Neck Expander "M" die on station 3, adding EGA primer backer die (not really necessary, but keeps the shell plate in place), using the correct shell plate (Dillon documentation for caliber conversion specified "Shell plate #3," while there is a dedicated 38SC shell plate which fits much better) and spraying some One Shot lube on the new cases, the press now seems to run much, much smoother. There is barely a pop by MBF funnel (and, I will back it up further since it's not needed anymore) and the pop on the crimp station is completely under control, where it is perceptible, but doesn't feel like forcing the press. It's a pleasure when so many "moving parts" get sorted out and the press starts performing the way it should. Thank you to everyone who chimed in.
  2. I have the crimp currently set to 0.377. Should I actually look at the finished round, or just go by the calculation and measurement? (Also, I spent some time studying and researching, so I completely understand how and why too much crimp on lead bullets will decrease neck tension and be counterproductive.)
  3. That's the charge I was thinking about - load a small batch of 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 to see how it works. I really like the idea of sticking to a single charge and varying OAL (particularly since I can do it easily with the micrometer seating die) to see what works best for the specific gun. The only downside is that it will likely be different for different guns, so I'll have to have an array of different loads and either find a compromise that works well overall, or adjust it every time I load for a particular gun. Choices, choices...
  4. That's another considerations. Longer normally feed better, but I'll have to test it. I have Tripp Cobra magazines for my 1911 and a bunch of factory stuff for my other 9mm guns. Looks like it's a trade-off between how generic the ammo is and how well it works in the particular race gun. Isn't it always like that in life... ?
  5. Another good point - just for fun, I measured some factory Federal ammo and it was 1.152, which is above the OAL that would pass the plunk test I was just doing. I was confused for a second, but when I thought about it I realized it's all about the bullet shape. Federal has much more pointy FMJs, so the bullet will engage rifling at different OAL. Again, it all makes much more sense now.
  6. That's perfect and exactly what I was looking for - thank you. I pulled out two barrels, SP01 (should be short) and SA 1911 (could be anything), as well as 929. Since I have Redding micrometer seating die, I set it up for 1.169 as the starting point, seated a bullet (130 MG FMJ) in an empty resized case (no primer/powder), crimped it and tested it - both barrels felt "sticky" so I know the bullet was touching the rifling. Then, I kept adjusting depth by 0.010 on the already crimped blank and found out what you were talking about. I could feel the proper "plunking" in the 1911 at about 1.150 and in the SP01 at about 1.130 (I recorded the actual measurements, both the OAL where it passed and the last one where it failed). All of the OALs worked in 929. This makes quite a bit of sense now. I can find the longest OAL that would work, either for one specific gun or for a bunch of them, then adjust the charge. Much like with rifles, playing with bullet jump (effect of OAL) will affect accuracy. So, it looks like the process is: (1) find a good OAL based on the specific bullet and barrel (give or take, based on how generic I want the ammo to be), (2) find a good charge weight to get in the vicinity of the desired PF, (3) adjust OAL for accuracy and charge for PF. Does that sound about right?
  7. I'm setting up 1050 to start reloading 9mm (have .40 and 38SC setups) and am running into simple, but frustrating issue: OAL and powder weight create two dimensional parameter space, where I can vary either one of them to adjust the peak pressure and bullet velocity. With my .40 setup, I got the OAL from the gunsmith who built the gun (SVI) so I could just adjust the powder measure to get the velocity and power factor I need. With 9mm, it seems that the OAL is all over the place both in manuals and online. I understand that the shape of the bullet defines how much space is left in the case which significantly affects the pressure, but so does the amount of powder in the case. Even if I pick a good starting point, I get to play with two variables now - length and charge. So, are there any tricks about picking a good starting OAL? If I look at the manual, I'm seeing same bullet weight but slightly different shape listed with quite different OALs. If I interpolate and pick a good starting point, do I now try to adjust the OAL in addition to the charge, or do I just stick to a "good enough" OAL, look for the overpressure signs and adjust the charge? For reference, I will be using N320 and 147 Blue Bullets, but also have a batch of MG 130 FMJ that I would like to use up. I would want to use the same ammo (if possible) in everything from S&W 929 to SA 1911.
  8. Once you think you have it figured out, go fast on a medium distance target, e.g. a fast draw on a 15 yard target, and fire a single shot. Close your eyes or turn around and make a mental note of where you last saw the sights, then compare with the location of the hit on the target. If you can get this correctly consistently, you're reading your sights. Otherwise...
  9. You are likely not seeing the sight picture. Yet. Calling shots is a skill you have to work on and it's not something you start with. In many ways it's counterintuitive. What you're doing is not so much using vision to align the sights, but to recognize the exact sight alignment at the time you fired the shot. Different concept. What helped me and what I do from time to time (I'm still working on calling shots even if I can reliably hit very hard targets consistently) is the drills you find online and in many shooting books - just shoot into the berm and only recognize the sights. Specifically, where they were as you fired, how far they went up, etc. In a match, you won't be looking at the sights past the point of "bang," but it's quite informative to force your eyes and your brain to recognize and track sights during violent and loud event such as firing a gun during practice.
  10. I found some cross-training to be quite valuable, particularly when it's the same platform in different divisions. For example, I have the same style gun for Open and Limited, so it's the same holster, grip, trigger, controls. Practicing dry fire with the dot helps with misalignment during indexing with irons, where I see the sights correctly, but don't read the amount of misalignment properly. The dot is either on the target or not. What's important here is that it's exactly the same draw from the same holster and with the same grip and controls, so it doesn't change the movement or indexing. Similarly, I have shot a few matches with Revolver and plan on doing it occasionally in the future. Working with long trigger pull helps quite a bit with training the support hand to be the primary hand for keeping the gun still during the pull. It's too easy to be sloppy with the support hand when the trigger is sub 2#. Also, practicing revolver reloads is a fun dry fire exercise. Like learning a new trick with cards. As for being competitive, it always makes me chuckle when everyone says on one hand that a good shooter will outshoot you with any gun, and on the other hand that you won't be competitive if you shoot different guns. Both statements are true, but I would say that learning to shoot well is orders of magnitude more important than the nuances of different divisions. The level of "non-competitiveness" you give up by switching matters mostly at the top level and if you're really pushing for the last ounce of performance. Otherwise, if you're a good shooter, you're a good shooter.
  11. Yes, it's manual. I am beginning to see why Mark VII with ten stations and dedicated sensors is the way to deal with automation - using swaging to detect primers is inherently manual.
  12. I'll have to experiment with this - Dillon rep said not to use unsupported swaging (he obviously said it had to be a Dillon die, but I've now tinkered with MA swage backup without any flaring). I don't care for swaging for 38 SC, as many pointed out, it's just that I like to use it to detect failed deprimes. My current thinking is to keep swager intentionally adjusted lower so that it's not enough to exert too much pressure on the shellplate, but enough to detect a spent primer. With a setup like that, I can use any number of expanders in station #3 and not worry about damaging the shellplate. Interesting.
  13. Thanks for the tip - mine is attached the standard way, to the case feeder. I'm thinking that if it's indeed about vibration and not about how I set it up, it's better to first solve the "sticky stations" problem and only then continue with MBF if the problem remains. One thing at a time and make sure that I'm not introducing additional problems by adjusting too many parameters at once. At the moment, I can tolerate the amount of upside down bullets. Also, I have a shelf in the area above the press, so I might just connect it that way.
  14. I am fine-tuning 38 SC setup on my 1050 and have run into several annoying issues (in separate threads) when reloading new Starline brass. The latest one is that my swage backer (F) managed to pull brass out of the shellplate so I replaced it with just a holder by Mighty Armory. This in turn removes the case mouth expander, but I use MBF and their funnel does the same job. I haven't noticed any problems or difference with removed swage backer. However, MBF funnel is (still) quite "sticky" when it runs, to the point that I feel I'm sometimes using too much brute force. The cases are not overexpanded, they are barely belled at all, the minimum that works with MBF die on station 6. So, I was thinking about removing swage rod (possibly adjusting it a bit lower and using it only to detect primer pullbacks) and running case expander such as Lyman M die on station 3. Is this going to help with "sticky MBF funnel" on stage 5 or am I just wasting time and should suck it up and power through it? (Separately, Dillon has incorrect information in their PDF for conversion kits - it lists #3 shellplate for 38SC which is not correct. I have used #3 and it got damaged when the swage backer pulled out a case. I noticed the problem when I was about to order a replacement so I confirmed with the rep in chat that #3 is not the correct one. He said they'd check the PDF.)
  15. ^^^ Now that's funny right there. I'll look into getting some CCIs and compare the performance. Won't go to magnum yet, at least not until I confirm that I cannot solve the problem with harder SP primers.
  16. I'll get some harder primers and try it out. I got Federals for very close to the cost of other brands - maybe $20 over for 5,000, so half a penny. They are sometimes on sale and when it coincides with "no hazmat fee" it's time to stock up. Do you change your recipe when changing primers, or do you just confirm on chrono that it's "close enough"
  17. As for component availability, I can only dream about "walking into a store" - I live in CA, behind the iron curtain. The only way for us is to order online and it's limited to reloading components now since online ammo ban went into effect this month (there is a way that some of us can still do it, but it's a workaround.)
  18. Correct - I forgot to put that down, I'm aiming for "just above 1,350 fps," which is a touch south of 10 grains of 3N38 and gives about 168 PF (still working on setting up the powder drop and getting consistency). It's not "9 major," though, so I have extra room in the case to work with slower powder (can you even make 9 major with 3N38?)
  19. My latest run (just over 50 rounds, adjusting powder measure and running through chrono) was pretty smooth. As if it took a few dozen rounds to "settle down." The dirtying of the cases also seems to have helped. At this time, I'm just getting an inverted bullet on occasion, but I couldn't replicate it by running MBF manually - a few hundred bullets ran through it while I was standing on a stool and watching and not a single one was inverted. My current hypothesis is that it has to do with the vibration related to the force applied on the upstroke. If I figure anything else out, I'll post in this thread. Thanks to everyone who posted.
  20. So, I've tried the brass that ran through a tumbler (new brass, just dry-tumbled it to spread the polish) and it's much softer running through the crimp die. My guess is that it's the correct answer, so I will get some lubricant and lightly spray the new cases to see whether that solves the problem.
  21. I have just started testing loads for my new Open gun, Infinity 38 SC, and am using just south of 10 grains of 3N38 under MG JHP 124 bullets (with completely jacketed base), loaded to 1.245 and Federal #100 primers. (I have many guns and shoot revolvers too, so I have a stash of Federal primers.) At the initial range trip, I was getting exactly the correct power factor (my recipe is straight from the horse's mouth, the gun builder), but there was an indication of very slight cratering. When I moved my fingernail over it, I couldn't "feel" it, yet it did look different from what I normally see with "standard" calibers. Is this normal? I found some threads on the topic, but they were older, so I'm not sure whether they are still relevant and whether there is some new consensus. What I found was a discussion about small rifle primers, so I figured it's better to ask, even if it's been discussed before. As a side issue, when I use the same primers in my .40 Limited loads, they tend to slightly flatten around the edges (not completely, obviously), but the firing pin imprint is very clean. For that load, I'm using again the recipe from the manufacturer, 4.7/8 grains of N310 under 180 MG FMJ (it's also an Infinity). With 38 SC it's the opposite - the edges are very "round," but the imprint doesn't seem nearly as clean.
  22. Great - thanks. I just wanted to make sure I'm not damaging anything and that it's not something that I didn't notice. Dry tumbling the brass is a very good idea - I'll give it a shot. Who would've thought I'd want to go from shiny to dull, but it makes a lot of sense. Will probably just do a small batch, say 100, to see whether it solves the problem.
  23. I'm crimping to .380, which is about .004 from how they come out from seating die. It's really strange to have the crimping die feel this way, almost as if the brass has sharp outside edges and is somehow catching on the inside of the die. Good to hear about MBF - I'll just keep adjusting it until I get it to be more and more consistent. It looks like heavier and larger bullets are easier to feed.
  24. My new Open gun arrived recently so I set up a conversion toolhead for 38 SC (it was set up for .40) and loaded some initial rounds for testing. I'm running into all sorts of smaller issues, so I figured I ask before doing anything wrong. Setup: SVI 5" Open gun, 10 grains of 3N38, new Starline brass, Federal #100 primers, 124 .MG JHP bullets at .355 (confirmed to match my chamber), loading to 1.245 OAL and crimping to about .380. When using MBF funnel, it seems to either get stuck in the case and requires effort to move the handle up, or it doesn't flair the mouth enough. It is as if the shape of the funnel is such that it will stick before it gets to expand the mouth. I looked at it on the upstroke and if I set it up to the minimum where the bullets can be seated correctly, it gets quite sticky. MBF itself had some issues with flipping bullets in the collator. I had to move the shims out quite a bit and I recently just noticed one upside-down bullet in the tube. Is MBF more finicky with "smaller pointy bullets" compared to the FMJ 180-s in .40 that seemed to have no issues? I'll monitor and keep adjusting, just wondering if there is any trick to it. Also, it will on occasion drop two bullets even though I pushed it to the earliest point where it will release a bullet. I had the assembly touch the powder drop so it was causing issues, but even after setting up much more carefully, it will act up on occasion. The biggest issue is likely a die issue - I'm using Redding crimping die with micrometer and for some reason it seems to "suck" on the round much worse than the MBF funnel. On the upstroke, it feels as if something is being pulled hard and then it gives with the similar snap as when the MBF funnel releases. I took the die out, checked it for proper orientation, cleaned it up with a brush and couldn't notice anything unusual. Has anyone had similar problem with any of the dies? As I'm pulling handle, there are two stations that seem to be preventing smooth operation - the powder measure and the crimp. Any input or insights are greatly appreciated.
  25. Prepping the trigger on a revolver or DA gun is quite different from even touching a light SA trigger. Most importantly, there must be a specific point in time/space where one starts the prepping process, much like disengaging the safety on a single action. That moment defines the point where the gun is pointed in safe direction and must be very well defined. Start rushing it and you'll send a round into the ground at some point. As for revolver shooting, the trigger is prepped during recoil and transitions, nothing wrong with that. It keeps the cylinder moving and speeds up follow up shots. Messing up the exact moment a round goes off is no different than messing up the timing of the press of a SA trigger during transition.
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