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Falloutboy89

Loaded my first 60 rounds this week!!! Newb question about process...

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Posted (edited)

Well after owning my XL650 for a year I finally loaded 6 batches of 10 rounds each working up in powder grains to get a sense of the differences. Prior to this week I had never shot a reloaded pistol round (9mm). I've got to say I friggin' loved it. My first ten rounds were 3.6gr of Titegroup with 1.125ish OAL. Shooting a 124gr Hornady FMJ-RN out of my Glock 34 I use for USPSA CO. I worked up .1gr on each of the next 5 batches. I shot all through my chronograph and documented the fps of each round. 

 

But I have a question about process for working up loads and getting consistency with OAL...

 

Like I mentioned I only worked up 10 rounds in a variety of powder grain amount. I have been reading on here (after the fact) and found some suggestions for consistent OAL such as making sure the shellplate isn't too wobbly and making sure each station of the shellplate has a case on it. Both make sense except how do I work up small, consistent batches that way? Am I thinking too small? Should my test batches be more rounds (like 100 or so)? Do I just put the beginning and end rounds aside and shoot them for practice? Or should I recycle the materials for later use? Would love to hear your best practices in this process.


My OAL was all over the place not consistent at all. How consistent should it be? For example if my target is 1.125 what is an acceptable range? What is a preferred? I'm a little OCD when it comes to consistency but I wonder if I'm not being realistic. Hopefully longer runs with a full shellplate will help matters. I think my bell may be too large now as well now that I re-read the manual.

 

I attached my data in case anyone wants to take a look. Just know that the OAL documented is approximate since it wandered...

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

Load-Data-Record-Book.pdf

Edited by Falloutboy89
caught an error...

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Ten of each is a good start - no need for 100 or even 25, to start.

 

Good idea to keep the shellplate fully loaded - makes everything work

better and you get smaller discrepancies.   This is Not important for

the 1st 2 stages - just the 3rd stage (seating the bullet - for OAL).

I just put an empty case in #1 and #2 and seat with a loaded finished

round in the crimping die - then remove it and put it back in for each

round loaded.

 

No need to work up 0.1 gr powder - at least 0.2 is all that's necessary.

 

Just bell enough to get the bullet safely in the case, and your crimp

should be just enough to straighten out the bell (c. 0.378") - too much

crimp and it might affect accuracy and too little crimp may not feed.

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of reloading :) 

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Posted (edited)

On an XL650 it is normal to see a variation of around .005” - .010”

 

When I loaded ammo to 1.125”... I would see 1.120” - 1.128” or so on the OAL. Mind you, that is AFTER all of the expensive upgrades. The shellplate bearing and most of the other things offered by places like Reloading Evolution.

 

It’s normal. Don’t stress over it. Your bullets will vary by .001” to .002” and your brass’s neck tension causes even more variation. The biggest source however, is the partially filled shellplate. If you are resizing a case the teeter-totter like shellplate is tilted to the right. If that station is empty it’s tilted a few thousandths to the left. That matters a lot.

 

That said, I loaded lots of recipes which shot 2” at 25yds.

 

Don’t let your OCD win. If the gun shoots your ammo straight and it chronos consistently, you don’t need to worry about OALs or anything else varying. That’s why I never worried about it at all.

 

Only reliability and accuracy matter. What the calipers say frequently doesn’t.

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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I will add that if you're going to be OCD about something, then make that ensuring you visibly check every case for powder BEFORE you seat the bullet. This will prevent squibs and double loads. 

 

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1 hour ago, MemphisMechanic said:

When I loaded ammo to 1.125”... I would see 1.120” - 1.128” or so on the OAL. Mind you, that is AFTER all of the expensive upgrades. The shellplate bearing and most of the other things offered by places like Reloading Evolution.

 

 

 Same thing here on my 650 

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What you are seeing is normal process variation in your COAL like was said there are multiple factors that influence this. The variation you are seeing won't make any significant impact on your chrono results. 

 

The best way I have found to run test batches on a 650 is to keep the shell plate full and drop the power in the case off the press. I pull the sized, primed and flared case off the press and drop in the powder charge from my RCBS chargemaster. This allows me to keep the shellplate full at all times and just separate the test batches as they drop into the finished cartridge bin. 

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1 hour ago, anonymouscuban said:

 visibly check every case for powder BEFORE you seat the bullet. This will prevent squibs and double loads. 

 

YES.   The most important thing in reloading ….

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  In my experience, COL is NOT going to be exact to .001 inch every time. The brass is going to be slightly different. The shell plate wobble is going to be slightly different. My experience is like MemphisMechanic, +/- .004.

 

I would recommend you record ten-sample averages and standard deviations for powder weight and COL so you will know what your machine did when it was brand-new. So when it starts screwing up, you will be able to detect it.

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On 6/6/2019 at 10:06 AM, Hi-Power Jack said:

Good idea to keep the shellplate fully loaded - makes everything work

better and you get smaller discrepancies.   This is Not important for

the 1st 2 stages - just the 3rd stage (seating the bullet - for OAL).

Thanks for the clarity on this and the crimp.

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On 6/6/2019 at 10:19 AM, MemphisMechanic said:

When I loaded ammo to 1.125”... I would see 1.120” - 1.128” or so on the OAL. Mind you, that is AFTER all of the expensive upgrades. The shellplate bearing and most of the other things offered by places like Reloading Evolution.

This helps a lot too. Appreciate the information very much.

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On 6/6/2019 at 10:50 AM, anonymouscuban said:

I will add that if you're going to be OCD about something, then make that ensuring you visibly check every case for powder BEFORE you seat the bullet. This will prevent squibs and double loads. 

 

Appreciate it. I'm scanning every one of them as I place the bullet on top. I assume that and the powder check should have me covered. 

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On 6/6/2019 at 11:40 PM, ChemistShooter said:

I would recommend you record ten-sample averages and standard deviations for powder weight and COL so you will know what your machine did when it was brand-new. So when it starts screwing up, you will be able to detect it.

 

I struggle to get exact powder measurements too. I'm currently using Titegroup and some of the flakes seem to stick in the brass even after I try to tap them out.

 

Any suggestions on getting a clean read?

 

I'm considering weighing the brass with primer before and after I add powder and weighing it all together and just deducting the empty weight.

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I struggle to get exact powder measurements too. I'm currently using Titegroup and some of the flakes seem to stick in the brass even after I try to tap them out.

 

Any suggestions on getting a clean read?

 

I'm considering weighing the brass with primer before and after I add powder and weighing it all together and just deducting the empty weight.

1. Take a case, put on your scale and zero the scale.

 

2. Now take that same case and run it through the powder drop station

 

3. Remove the case with the powder and measure it on the scale.

 

Not sure if this is how you're doing it. Doesn't sound like it. Sounds like you're dumping the powder onto the scale and measuring it.

 

By the way, I find that Tightgroup meters very well. Very consistent.

 

 

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, anonymouscuban said:

Not sure if this is how you're doing it. Doesn't sound like it. Sounds like you're dumping the powder onto the scale and measuring it.

Correct. I have not been using the case. I have been dumping the powder into a pan which I had zeroed on the scale.

 

Thanks for the reply. I'll try this moving forward.

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Correct. I have not been using the case. I have been dumping the powder into a pan which I had zeroed on the scale.
 
Thanks for the reply. I'll try this moving forward.
No worries man. It's a learning process. I just started reloading at the beginning of the year. It's not rocket science but it is nuanced so some things are less obvious. Lots of great guys on this forum that are always willing to help newbs like us.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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28 minutes ago, Falloutboy89 said:

 

I struggle to get exact powder measurements too. I'm currently using Titegroup and some of the flakes seem to stick in the brass even after I try to tap them out.

 

Any suggestions on getting a clean read?

 

I'm considering weighing the brass with primer before and after I add powder and weighing it all together and just deducting the empty weight.

What do you mean by "exact"? 

 

Here's what I want you to do. Take a re-sized case, put it in the powder drop station. Pull the handle, dispensing the charge. Pour said charge into the pan that came with your scale. Repeat this 9 more times, using the same force and speed pulling the handle each time. Now weigh what is in the pan, and divided by 10. That is the average charge for every case. Adjust your powder drop until you can drop 10 charges and get very close to the exact weight you want per charge...then don't touch the charge bar again, and don't worry about some cases being off 0.1 grains. You are dispensing the charge by volume, not weight, on the press. There will always be some settling causing heavier charges, or other issue causing lighter charges.

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What do you mean by "exact"? 
 
Here's what I want you to do. Take a re-sized case, put it in the powder drop station. Pull the handle, dispensing the charge. Pour said charge into the pan that came with your scale. Repeat this 9 more times, using the same force and speed pulling the handle each time. Now weigh what is in the pan, and divided by 10. That is the average charge for every case. Adjust your powder drop until you can drop 10 charges and get very close to the exact weight you want per charge...then don't touch the charge bar again, and don't worry about some cases being off 0.1 grains. You are dispensing the charge by volume, not weight, on the press. There will always be some settling causing heavier charges, or other issue causing lighter charges.
MIND BLOWN!

I do something like this but I take 10 individual measures. So drop, measure, dump powder back in hopper, repeat.

Your technique is much more efficient. Love it.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

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10 minutes ago, anonymouscuban said:

MIND BLOWN!

I do something like this but I take 10 individual measures. So drop, measure, dump powder back in hopper, repeat.

Your technique is much more efficient. Love it.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

Weighing 10 charges at once, if you had set your charge at say 3.5 grains...if you weigh the 10 and it comes up to 35.9 grains total, you know you are off by about .1 grain per charge. Adjust the charge down, re-throw 10 charges, etc. Since your scale most likely only does 0.1 increments, this lets you know about how much you are off on the throw in 0.01 increments.

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26 minutes ago, GrumpyOne said:

Weighing 10 charges at once, if you had set your charge at say 3.5 grains...if you weigh the 10 and it comes up to 35.9 grains total, you know you are off by about .1 grain per charge. Adjust the charge down, re-throw 10 charges, etc. Since your scale most likely only does 0.1 increments, this lets you know about how much you are off on the throw in 0.01 increments.

This is great. Thanks for the info. I'm heading in to try this shortly. 

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Ok. So I did four sets of ten and here are my results:

  • 1st Set: 37.0 grains
  • 2nd Set: 38.3 grains
  • 3rd Set: 38.0 grains
  • 4th Set: 38.4 grains

I tried to pull as consistent as possible. The first set might have been skewed since I was just getting going. My target is/was 3.8 grains.

 

In your opinion should I be content with this or should I dig deeper?


 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Falloutboy89 said:

 

I struggle to get exact powder measurements too. I'm currently using Titegroup and some of the flakes seem to stick in the brass even after I try to tap them out.

 

Any suggestions on getting a clean read?

 

I'm considering weighing the brass with primer before and after I add powder and weighing it all together and just deducting the empty weight.

I have seen EXACTLY that. Powder flakes sticking to the brass. Also powder gradually accumulating ALL over the shell plate.

 

I thought about it. The only thing I could come up with was case lube building up on the powder funnel. I had never cleaned that before.

 

I took the powder funnel out, cleaned the powder funnel and the die inside and out with a paper towel soaked in acetone.

 

Paper towel came out BLACK the first pass.

 

Worked on it until everything was clean, put it all back together.

 

And poof, problem solved. Got the tightest standard deviation I've ever gotten, and no more powder all over the shell plate.

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54 minutes ago, Falloutboy89 said:

Ok. So I did four sets of ten and here are my results:

  • 1st Set: 37.0 grains
  • 2nd Set: 38.3 grains
  • 3rd Set: 38.0 grains
  • 4th Set: 38.4 grains

I tried to pull as consistent as possible. The first set might have been skewed since I was just getting going. My target is/was 3.8 grains.

 

In your opinion should I be content with this or should I dig deeper?


 

 

 

 

That is pretty dang close. So, your average drop is actually somewhere around 3.79 (using all 4 drops to average). Using the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th drops, your average drop is 3.82.

I would be content with that drop.

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Sub group averages don't mean much in relation to individual drop weights. If you want to control the variation of individual drop weights you need to collect that data not an average of 10.  

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I'd use a case that has not been lubed.

 

Not sure why you got a 37.0 gr ?  That concerns me.

 

Impressed by the last three drops - very consistent.

 

bwikel, very difficult to accurately measure only 3.8 grains of a powder.   And, not looking for precision for

action pistol, as you would for bench rifle.   The Average of 5 or 10 droppings is more than accurate

enough for what we're doing with action pistol - unless you're doing Very Precise 50 yard pistol target

shooting.

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