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  1. Again, this is not a question, just an ongoing report from a first-time reloader that hopefully other first-time reloaders will benefit from. After about eight weeks of reloader-manual reading, YouTube trolling, and enos-forum browsing, and cautious, step-by-step-while-asking-the-enos-forumites die-configuration, I finally reached the stage where I was ready to load and shoot my first rounds. I had one minor kerfluffle. I wanted to set the powder-charging screw on the powder bar to zero, then carefully back it out a little at a time until I got the powder weight I wanted. But I was now dealing with explosives. Step One: EYE AND EAR PROTECTION ON. After watching the Dillon video as carefully as I could, I got it exactly backward and had the powder-screw full open and dumped powder all over the shell plate. Since I was dealing with gunpowder, I stopped dead and called Dillon. I was straightened out in about ten minutes. Although taking the 550B completely apart and vacuuming up all the loose powder took another twenty. For the record: The powder die has to be BACKED ALL THE WAY OUT to set the powder charge to the minimum possible. Screwing it in increases powder weight. Screwing it out decreases powder weight. (To Dillon: I love your customer service but man, you guys GOT to work on that video. A lot of the camera angles are bad and the explanations are just not detailed enough.) I set the powder weight I wanted, 3.9 grains of Titegroup. Now I had to test it for reproduciblity. Now here I did something analytical-chemist. I have a little dinky Hornady powder balance. (No florescents anywhere close or excessive vibration.) I tared the balance with the shell case and that way all I saw was the powder weight. "Tare the balance" means I put the empty shell case on the balance and punched the "ZERO" button. Now I could adjust weight VERY quickly. Drop powder into case. Put tared case on balance. Wait thirty seconds for balance to stabilize. (Normal balance behavior for very small weight changes. Adjust screw as needed. Dump powder back into hopper. Tare case again (Powder clinging to case wall. My experience with this indicates retained powder reaches around 0.1 grain when the interior case wall saturates.) Repeat until you have the desired weight. I have seen practically everybody put the powder in the shell and then pour it onto the balance pan. Bad method, people. Fine powder is clingy. When you pour it out, some of it is going to be left behind sticking in the case. Your resulting weight estimates will be a touch low. My final weights were 3.9, 3.9, 3.9, 3.9, 4.0, 3.8. (It's possible stroke technique may be affecting powder weight. We'll see.) Now on to loading primers. It appears the RL550B has a slight primer system design problem. Here is the video from the guy who found and fixed the problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI7HpdHvlco Here is the forum link where the solution to the problem can be found: http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=210141&hl= Again, this is something the Dillon video isn't too clear on, but I got this one right and got the primers in the tube like they were supposed to be without blowing myself up. Now that I finally had everything set up, I made ten rounds. VERY slowly, checking the primer for proper seating, checking the powder in the shell each time, starting to build a routine. I still had problems. Three of my rounds didn't have a primer in them. This was because the little paper-clip-looking spring wasn't close enough. I took the faulty rounds apart with the bullet puller, put the powder back in the hopper and it all worked better the second. I didn't recycle the bullets. I put new bullets in. I don't know If I could've re-used the old bullets or not. When I had all ten bullets made, I checked the OAL. 1.151 within tolerance, exactly like I had set it last night. Primers all looking good and recessed a tiny bit into their pockets like they ought to be. So, finally, off to the range with my reloaded bullets. Shot 100 rounds of Blazer factory stock first, which has been my normal practice up till now. I then put up a fresh target, loaded ONE round into the magazine, racked the slide and sighted up on the ten ring twenty feet away. I have to say I wasn't really worried. I have received so much useful input from you guys here and Dillon I wasn't particularly concerned. Bang, went the gun and a nice hole appeared in the ten ring, and the slide locked back nice and easy. I repeated one-round-at-a-time for five straight rounds. Not the slightest problem. Damn, it was SMOOTHER than the Blazer. It's difficult to explain, but the bang felt smoother.I wasn't really expecting that, I loaded three rounds in the mag, couldn't quite bring myself to do five. Bang, bang, bang, right in the ten ring, again REALLY friggin' smooth. Did the last two one at a time, still not the slightest problem. Life is good. (Yeah, I've watched hickok45.) I must admit I was slightly pumped after I fired the last round. Everything had worked. One thing I forgot to do and couldn't have done anyway. I forgot to inspect the brass for signs of overpressure. There was so much brass on the ground I couldn't have found the right cases anyway. I'm pretty certain that's not happening because 3.9 gr TiteGroup is a minimum load, but it pays to be thorough. I am going to make a couple hundred rounds tonight (still going slow, you bet) and shoot them tomorrow. Quality control: Check powder weight every fifty rounds. Create Excel reloading record logbook and record relevant data. Tag reloaded rounds with logbook entry number, (So much of this reloading thing is like the way I have to work.) caliber, and date of manufacture. Maintenance: Pour powder back into container and seal. Clean hopper with 95% alcohol. Clean primer tubes with 95% alcohol. Disassemble shell plate. Vacuum up any loose powder and primer cups. Wipe with 95% ethanol. Rinse die interiors with paper towel soaked with 95% ethanol. (Although my brass is absolutely squeaky clean.) A clean 550B is a happy 550B. For the record: 3.9 gr Titegroup, 115 gr Hornady FMJ, 1.151 OAL, 9mm. Don't have a chronograph so don't know what PF was.
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