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Moving from SS to Progressive


mpmo
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New hand/reolader here.  Got around 500 rds. under my belt, test fired 250 of them, no issues.  A variety of bullets and powders.  Just got a Hornady LNL AP and have it about 90% set up for 9mm.  Fully cleaned with Hornady Dry clean/lube.  Hornady dies, stations will be sizing (brass will already be deprimed before cleaning,) Expanding, Powder Drop, Double Alpha Powder check, Size/Crimp.  I will be frequently checking powder weights until I am more comfortable and completely confident in the powder drop and check.  I will also be measuring each final OAL.  Loading for Minor PF, will be starting with V320, HAP 125's and Berrys 115 HBRN TP.  Waiting on some Blues to get here in 3-6 weeks...

 

Looking for general advice re: Safety, and anything I should know moving from SS to progressive.  I've watched a half dozen videos on setup and use and read the manual from front to back.  Also have one specific question.

 

1.Brass length: Will be reloading from Starline (fired once) and Blazer CCI 115gr (fired once). I would not be mixing these two.  I've noticed a decent amount of variation on the length of the Blazer brass.  as much at 0.050 difference.  The Starline is much closer in length piece to piece.  Any concerns here?  How about for the expanding die?  I imagine the expansion will be inconsistent.

 

 

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Unless you’re shooting major or have the need for precision, as in bullseye shooting, mixed brass, slightly different OALs and powder drops aren’t really an issue. What is an issue is matching your load to the gun. You must learn to plunk, chrono, gauge every round, check for acceptable accuracy, and zero at your chosen distance. 
 

If and when you really get hooked either a Dillon or Mark 7 progressive press will end up in your work area. 
 

Keep searching this forum, there’s a whole bunch of good advice (and possibly not so worthy) advice here. What ever you choose make it work for you. 
 

Enjoy!

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Take your time setting up and familiarizing with the machine’s movement’s, sounds and feel. Everyone gets in a hurry to try the new toy and things get missed, bent or broken. I’ve seen guys try and cycle the handle at the speed of light for what reason I don’t know. Just remember,,  “Always enough time to do it over but never enough time to do it right!”

Edited by Farmer
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In terms of measuring the rounds after loaded, what besides OAL should I be measuring and looking for? 
 

The biggest thing you need to check is that your rounds “plunk” in every gun you will be shooting them through. This usually means changing the oal to fit a certain gun with a short throat, like CZs especially. There is lots of info out there on the plunk test, but essentially it involves removing the barrel(s) from your gun(s) and dropping a round into the chamber. This round should make a “plunk” noise as it drops in. Once it is the chamber the bullet should spin freely. This means that your round is good to go in that gun. If it gets stuck or doesn’t spin, the most common problem is that the oal is too long. The easiest way to figure this out is to color the entire round with a black sharpie and repeat the test. As you try to spin the round the black sharpie will rub off in places where it is too tight. Another common place for problems is not enough crimp.

As someone else said above, crimping and seating in one step can be difficult and should be avoided if possible. Lucky for you, you can put the powder drop in any position on the LNL. My suggestion would be to use an expanding powder drop, I think it’s called the PTX for the LNL. This will in turn expand the case and drop powder at the same time, freeing up one of your stations so that you can then use powder check, seater, then lastly crimp.

As someone else said, check every round you make, especially when you first start out. The cheapest way is to just use your barrel for a plunk test. I did this by finding the tightest barrel I owned (the most rejects out of batch when run through all of the barrels one at a time) and I use only that one knowing that if it passed the tightest one it will pass the others. The other way is to buy a case gauge like the Dillon or Lyman and use that. But that’ll cost you another $30 or so. If money isn’t an issue and you’re loading lots of rounds you can look at the shockbottle 100 round gauge for about $100. IV found the shockbottle is pretty tight, and some of the rounds that fail that will still pass my Glock barrels. The ones that pass are “match grade” and the failures are “practice” for me.

Take it slow to begin with and enjoy the hobby


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47 minutes ago, mpmo said:

what besides OAL should I be measuring and looking for? 


Crimp too much and there is the possibility with plated and coated bullets to have accuracy issues. Crimp to little and the round won’t plunk in your barrel.

 

The “coke bottle” brass effect is good, holds bullet and prevents set back. 
 

Primers must be set deep (not flush), especially if you have reduced hammer or striker springs installed. 


Some brass will bulge with deeply set heavy bullets. CBC is biggest culprit.

Some brass is fake and are really brass colored steel. Not good for reloading. 
Aluminum cases should not be reloaded.

Crimped primer pockets are very common in 9mm these days. Swage them or sort them out. 
 

There’s a lot of opinions out there, but in the end we all learn by doing. Load away and enjoy. 
 

BTW, buy a Chronograph so you can check your loads for velocity and PF. Or find a friend and borrow theirs. 

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How accurate can I expect the Hornady powder drop to be?

Thanks for the suggestion to plunk test after loading! I had only been doing it to determine OAL

I am using a chrono also to determine PF and as a sign for over pressure. Inspecting spent cases for over pressure and problems as well.


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How accurate can I expect the Hornady powder drop to be?

Thanks for the suggestion to plunk test after loading! I had only been doing it to determine OAL

I am using a chrono also to determine PF and as a sign for over pressure. Inspecting spent cases for over pressure and problems as well.


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I only suggest plunk after loading, or a simple drop into the barrel and make sure it slides out only as an alternative to an actual case gauge cause the thing that really matters is barrel fit.

I have had extremely good luck with with Hornady powder measure and still use it on my Dillon 650 and haven’t even tried my Dillon powder measure yet on that press. Out of 10 cases there are maybe 1, and at the very most 2 cases that are not exactly what I have set it to. Usually the others are within 0.1gr, and almost always a light drop instead of varying over or below. I personally thought the LNL needed too many minute adjustments, but the powder measure is absolutely amazing. I haven’t tried it on my 1050 because I don’t think there is enough room for it, but it works well on the 650 and I will continue to use it for my 223, 300 blk, and 45.


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3 hours ago, mpmo said:

How accurate can I expect the Hornady powder drop to be?

It is accurate enough for all action and practical pistol shooting needs. 

Sounds like you're on track!

3 hours ago, mpmo said:

Thanks for the suggestion to plunk test after loading! I had only been doing it to determine OAL

Even though you find the correct OAL for your gun it is essential (okay only if you don't want embarrassing failures during a stage run) to check every round loaded for things like primers (they do get smashed occasionally), bulged and split cases and any other thing which could cause a problem.

 

Welcome to the hobby of reloading. It's good for obsessive and type A individuals. ;) 

 

BTW, this afternoon I loaded 500 rounds and had 1 bad primer and one split case. Every round got gauged and inspected in a 100 round "Hundo." https://benstoegerproshop.com/100-round-9mm-luger-hundo-chamber-checker-cartridge-case-gauge/

Edited by HesedTech
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I am not familiar with your press or powder measure but when I start a sequence (empty press shell holder) I always pull the first shell that gets powder dropped and put the charge back into the hopper. On mine it takes 3 cycles to get to the powder drop and the vibration during those empty cycles can raise the charge around .3 grains. Not much with a light load but with a max load it could sting.  Something you may just check on with your setup. 

Edited by Farmer
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I like the idea of crimping separately for sure. That is how I’ve been doing it on a single stage. I have an expanding doe but haven’t bought the expanding piece for the powder drop yet. So, with a limit of 5 stations will this work?

 

Also for the PTX, do I get the .355 size?  I'm loading 9mm .355 and .356 bullets.

All brass was sized and deprimed prior to ultrasonic cleaning. So can I eliminate the sizing die in station 1? Or should I resize after cleaning.

1.Expanding
2.Powder drop
3.DAA Magnetic Powder check
4.Seating
5.Crimping

Edited by mpmo
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Yes, if your brass is already resized and deprimed you don’t need to do it again. A lot of people choose to process their brass in a separate process, like myself. So when I load I do almost exactly what you said in your last post.
1.exapand
2. Empty
3. Powder
4. Seat
5. Crimp

So yes you could switch powder to station 2 and put the powder check in station 3 then seat and crimp separately


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Pretty frustrated after yesterdays first full attempt at progressive loading.  Set up the dies one at a time.  Stations: Sizing (removed decap from Hornady size die.) Powder drop with PTX expander, DAA magnetic powder check, Hornady seating, Lee crimp.

COmponents; New Starline 9mm brass, Hornady HAP 125gn .356, CCI 500 SPP, VV N320 3.7gr, OAL 1.068

Issues:

1.Primers will only go flush. Known issue with LNL.  I may decide to try some things to get them seated a bit further, but the flush seating has not effected function in either of my pistols. Looking at adding a bit of CA glue to the base or primer seating rod or the spot it hits on the base of the press.

2.Powder drop won't drop a consistent load.  Varies between 3.7-4.0.  I've primed it over and over again.  I finally got it to 3.7-8 10 times in a row, loaded 7 rounds, retested, and it was at 4.0 and stayed there.

3.When I cycle press, the movement of the shell plate spills a 1-3 specs of powder out of each shell.  Even if I do it super slow.  This is making a small mess that will only get bigger as I go.

4.DAA powder check is set to maximum sensitivity and yet it still has about a full grain if not more of leeway.  I was hoping this would alarm +/- 0.2gr.  I expect to continue to do a visual inspection each cycle, and use the check as a double check.

5.OAL is completely inconsistent.  After making the adjustments to try to get to 1.068, most are coming out in the 1.073-1.077 range.  One was 1.079 which is out of spec for my CZ.  I measured one that was 1.055!

 

Really frustrated, mostly venting, but any advice on any of these issues would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

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Don't have a Hornady LNL press so my answers will be some what generic .#2 powder drop issue powder has to settle in measure,drop should be set at an average .Cycle the machine like you are loading. Pull 5 to 10 cases. Dump the first 5 back in measure.Weigh the next 5 to 10.What is the average. That's you weight.  #3 and #4 Remove the DAA powder ck .See if your "spill" problems goes away.At the least it will be less. It only checks  for no powder or double charge regardless of what everyone says.#5 All stations must be full to make adjustments.Sizing die needs to touch shell plate.Your already using single head stamp brass that helps. Again pull the first few set aside then measure the next few cases .That's your OAL.  The last few are set aside also. The first and last will measure different than your full average. As you use your press you will find how to adjust using fewer cases  that you set aside.(they are practice loads)

Edited by AHI
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Adding on powder spilling slow down .Every one that i Have given reloading lesson to wont,s to operate the press to fast and just not very smoothly.

Smooth operation makes powder drop more constant also.

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3 hours ago, mpmo said:

2.Powder drop won't drop a consistent load.  Varies between 3.7-4.0.  I've primed it over and over again.  I finally got it to 3.7-8 10 times in a row, loaded 7 rounds, retested, and it was at 4.0 and stayed there.

That's a big variance between drops. While I use the Dillon there are similar techniques. Use an anti-static cloth and wipe the inside of the hopper and feed area. If the feed area is raw metal consider polishing it with a dremel and buffing tool. Also some powders drop more consistently than other, so do a search to compare what others say about the powder you are using.

 

3 hours ago, mpmo said:

3.When I cycle press, the movement of the shell plate spills a 1-3 specs of powder out of each shell.  Even if I do it super slow.  This is making a small mess that will only get bigger as I go.

Here's a video addressing the problem:

https://youtu.be/AfVpjEhqRjI

3 hours ago, mpmo said:

4.DAA powder check is set to maximum sensitivity and yet it still has about a full grain if not more of leeway.  I was hoping this would alarm +/- 0.2gr.  I expect to continue to do a visual inspection each cycle, and use the check as a double check.

It will only warn you of a gross over or under charge. 

 

3 hours ago, mpmo said:

5.OAL is completely inconsistent.  After making the adjustments to try to get to 1.068, most are coming out in the 1.073-1.077 range.  One was 1.079 which is out of spec for my CZ.  I measured one that was 1.055!

On all progressive presses (some are worse than others as in LEE) the OAL has to be checked with a full press. Basically all the stations have to be filled and working. Additionally range brass (yes I see you're using just one brand, this is just for info purposes) will vary in OAL due to different case thickness and sizing between manufacturers. The 1.055 does seem a bit odd the others seem normal if you set your OAL with an empty press.

 

Once this is all worked out and running well you'll wonder why you didn't do this sooner.

Enjoy the journey.

Edited by HesedTech
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6 hours ago, mpmo said:

Powder drop won't drop a consistent load.  Varies between 3.7-4.0.  I've primed it over and over again.  I finally got it to 3.7-8 10 times in a row, loaded 7 rounds, retested, and it was at 4.0 and stayed there.

 

 


Did you clean the powder measure before first usage? Instructions say:

"Before using, disassemble and carefully clean the inside surfaces of the drop
tube, measure adapter and powder sleeves. Rust preventative oil was applied
at the factory to protect the parts during shipment and must be removed before
reloading. Brake cleaner works well to remove the oil."

 

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Did you clean the powder measure before first usage? Instructions say:

"Before using, disassemble and carefully clean the inside surfaces of the drop
tube, measure adapter and powder sleeves. Rust preventative oil was applied
at the factory to protect the parts during shipment and must be removed before
reloading. Brake cleaner works well to remove the oil."
 

Yes. Had to disassemble anyway to put in the pistol measure. I used Hornady dry lube as I believe the instructions said. I think I am going to do it over again with break cleaner.
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Adding on powder spilling slow down .Every one that i Have given reloading lesson to wont,s to operate the press to fast and just not very smoothly.
Smooth operation makes powder drop more constant also.

It happens no matter how slow I go. When the press hits a certain point in the cycle, it jumps. I’m going to try the suggestion below with the ball bearings. I have an extra shell plate just in case I mess it up...
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6 hours ago, AHI said:

Don't have a Hornady LNL press so my answers will be some what generic .#2 powder drop issue powder has to settle in measure,drop should be set at an average .Cycle the machine like you are loading. Pull 5 to 10 cases. Dump the first 5 back in measure.Weigh the next 5 to 10.What is the average. That's you weight.  #3 and #4 Remove the DAA powder ck .See if your "spill" problems goes away.At the least it will be less. It only checks  for no powder or double charge regardless of what everyone says.#5 All stations must be full to make adjustments.Sizing die needs to touch shell plate.Your already using single head stamp brass that helps. Again pull the first few set aside then measure the next few cases .That's your OAL.  The last few are set aside also. The first and last will measure different than your full average. As you use your press you will find how to adjust using fewer cases  that you set aside.(they are practice loads)

^^^this. And the ball bearing suggestion. I know my Loadmaster isn’t the newest & coolest but I can control how fast the shell plate starts and stops to prevent spillage.  Can’t say that about the dribbling powder measure though. 

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Confused about one thing. If adjustments need to made with a full shell plate (something in every station) then won’t the last shell you load always be off? Ie. on your last cartridge, you have a shell plate that is empty progressively. Maybe that is where I saw the extremely short one?

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