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Low powder charge, last round of the day, first string, fourth or fith shot. Funny noise, no ring from the target, RO yelled stop. I kind of half expected it from this batch of ammo since my powder was not metering perfectly. No big deal, just had to happen eventually.

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Well, it didn't have to happen "eventually". Glad you didn't hurt the gun, yourself, or anyone else. 

 

Just realize that no machine is perfect, and nothing is a substitute for paying attention to what you are doing when loading.

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8 hours ago, xtian999 said:

First I have heard of a lockout die. Brilliant.

I would not suggest a lockout die for a 550. Having that lockout die means that you would need to seat and crimp at the same station...which would be ok on revolver rounds like 38 Special, 357, etc...but I would keep the stages separate for taper crimp rounds.

 

Get a light and a mirror and position in such a way that you can see inside each and every case before you seat the bullet. 

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I am wondering if it would be better to divide a run into two batches, the first batch running everthing through with a plate  setup for deprime, prime, straighten, then change plates to a second setup with powder, lockout, bullet seat, and crimp and run everything through again. After the second pass, check for oal and proper primer seating and call it done. 

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36 minutes ago, xtian999 said:

I am wondering if it would be better to divide a run into two batches, the first batch running everthing through with a plate  setup for deprime, prime, straighten, then change plates to a second setup with powder, lockout, bullet seat, and crimp and run everything through again. After the second pass, check for oal and proper primer seating and call it done. 

If you have a 5 station (or more) auto indexing press like a 650 or a Hornady LNL AP,, you should be able to run the entire process with a lockout die in one cycle.

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I will go back to shooting factory ammo at matches until I get a little more reloading experience. I don’t mind a “learning opportunity” on my time at my neighborhood range, but having a dnf at a match is a waste of travel time, gas, match fees, etc.

 

I will start checking every powder charge by eye before setting the bullets. No way to check powder level after the bullet is seated when using random brass so will also use new brass and weigh the rounds after loading until I am sure that the system is working.

 

 

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On 3/11/2019 at 1:13 PM, xtian999 said:

 

I will check every powder charge before setting bullets. will also use new brass and weigh the rounds until I am sure the system is working.

 

No reason to weigh the rounds iff you "check every powder charge"   :)

 

Not sure the scale is accurate enough to detect 3-5 grains of powder, with all

the deviations in brass and bullets, anyway.   Certainly do NOT want to use

New Brass - waste of money.

 

Just "check every powder charge" - every single one of them.     :) 

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I started reloading because I had a squib using factory ammo...... in a level II match. Luckily the bullet only went into the barrel a little bit and the next round wouldn’t chamber. Neither I nor the RO heard it. Cost me a stage but my gun didn’t blow up! 

 

I definitely look into each case and verify there is powder before seating a bullet. The light is a good suggestion. I installed a bank of LEDs over my bench and angle one of them right into the powder station. 

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That squib came from my very first ever batch of 100 reloads. Since added a light. If I ever get a different press, it will have more than 4 holes and a different powder system. For now I will just keep an eye on the powder in the shells.

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