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OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:11 pm
by DaveK

This week our net will be on the subject of ammunition handloading/reloading.

We plan to cover as many of these areas as time permits.

  • Why should I handload
  • Equipment and safe conditions
  • Learning sources - how to get started
  • Safety and common sense

  • Component availability and sources
  • Brass selection
  • Case cleaning methods
  • Loading manuals
  • Loading information for non lead bullets
  • Lead safety
  • magazines/books

DISCLAIMER / SAFETY WARNING: Like all of our nets, this net is informational only, and if you intend to engage in any handloading activity, you must educate yourself properly and follow the directions and warnings of any equipment or components you use as well as the handloading manuals that relate to the particular cartridge you are handloading (reloading.) Handloading requires undivided concentration, an interference free environment, an exceptional focus on safety, the need to employ multiple safety checks on nearly everything you do, careful reading of all instructions and warnings, and a willingness to take the time to thoroughly educate yourself on how to safely handload cartridges.

Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:14 pm
by DaveK

Even if you don't shoot cast lead bullets, all jacketed or plated bullets contain lead, as do some primers, and chances are that when you handload or shoot, you will be exposed to lead. Removing this lead is an important health consideration. Regular soap will not do the job. Some years back the Center for Disease Control (the CDC), developed the technology for safely removing lead and licensed the production to Hygenall Company ( And, made in the USA!!!

Hygenall wipes and soap remove 99% of many heavy metals, including lead, from the skin. Both the soap and the wipes should be permanent part of your shooting bag and used every time you handload. Here is why:

Hygenall LeadOff™ Tactical Hygiene™ Series products do everything that regular soap does, plus one more thing that regular soaps are not very good at: remove lead and other heavy metals. Hygenall LeadOff Tactical Hygiene products are designed to replace regular soap and wipes in your home and vehicle, on your workbench, or bathroom sink at home.
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Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:47 pm
by DaveK

Cleaning your brass after firing (or after storage for years) is a necessary part of the handloading process, for a variety of compelling reasons:
  • removes fouling and dirt
  • makes the sizing process soother and more effective
  • makes it easier to spot cracked, split, or damaged cases
  • keeps your dies cleaner and more effective
  • makes firearm loading and extraction safer and more effective
  • mekes 'em "purty"
There exist 3 ways to efficiently and quickly clean your brass. The use, benefits, and cost will be discussed on the net. Quick preview: they each have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your budget and your willingness to add effort to the cleaning process.


Being the "eco-conscious" guy that I am, I put this method of cleaning at the top of the list, as it uses natural walnut shell or corn cob as the cleaning media (thus the terms' "organic", and, hell, it's probably gluten free, for all I know.) The Lyman tumbler, pictured below, is just one example offered by the major manufacturers, all of which will do a fine job of cleaning.

Lyman Tumbler.jpg
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Tumbler media is treated and will not last for ever. Replacing it is a good option, as it is quite inexpensive. Recharging it is another option. Lyman also makes such a product ( ... vator.html):

Media Recharger.jpg
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Ultrasonic cleaning is not a new thing, as jewelers have been using it for decades. It is relatively new to the shooting world, however. Several of the major manufacturers offer them, and features and cost are usually the only thing which will differentiate them. The RCBS unit is an excellent example ( ... se-cleaner.) Here is what they say:
Save time and get reloading faster with the new RCBS® Ultrasonic Case Cleaner. Its 3.2-quart stainless steel tank holds a huge volume of brass cases, rapidly removing tarnish, carbon buildup and metal oxides. Use the keypad and display to select one of five preset temperature settings and set the timer from 1 to 30 minutes to match their case-cleaning needs. Use with RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (sold separately) for perfect results every time. It features a powerful 60W transducer, 100W ceramic heater, 36kHz ultrasonic frequency and a sensor that indicates when to change out solution. The cleaner has a degas function, plastic basket, and convenient drain valve and tube.
From the RCBS website:
Ultrasonic cleaner by RCBS.jpg
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Using steel balls as a cleaning media is a relatively new process. This media is placed in the tumbler along with your cases, water, and dish detergent. Sinclair offers this unit and has prepared a video of its features, benefits and instructions, see: ... 42993.aspx.

Here is what Sinclair says:
The Sinclair Stainless Steel Tumbling Kit features Thumler’s Tumblers Model “B” 15 lb. tumbler and 5 lbs. of Stainless Steel tumbling media. This kit can handle up to 2 pounds of brass and is designed for wet tumbling use. DO NOT DRY TUMBLE!!!! Put the 5 pounds of Stainless Steel media into the tumbler, fill with 1 gallon of cold water, and add up to 2 pounds of brass and a couple teaspoons of dish washing detergent. The tumbler usually needs about 3-4 hours to completely clean the brass. Remove brass from solution, rinse with cold water and dry. Once finished, your brass will be cleaned inside and out, even in the primer pocket. For additional shine on your brass, tumble them for a short time in a standard vibratory tumbler with corncob media and polish.
Stainless steel tumbler by Sinclair.jpg
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If you are using a traditional walnut shell/corn cob media cleaner, you know how big of a PITA it is to separate the media from the brass. The solution is simple and inexpensive - a tumbler separator. Just about everybody makes one or has their name put on one, and they all operate the same. You dump the contents of your tumbler (brass and media) into a slotted basket, which is turned until all of the media exits out the slots. What is left in the basket are the cleaned cases, sans the media.

RCBS makes one and says this ( ... rator.aspx):
In short order, separate the cleaned cases from the cleaning media. Merely empty the cases and media from the case cleaner into the separator basket. With several turns of the basket handle, the media falls to the bottom of the separator, leaving the cases clean and ready to use. The fine dust from the media is trapped inside the separator.
RCBS breass-media tumbler separator.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:16 pm
by DaveK

EVERYONE who handloads or expect to do so, must have at least one loading manual/handbook, and preferably several. For reasons we will discuss on the net, it is essential to ALWAYS have a current manual as part of your handloading gear, regardless of how many you have. This advice applies to seasoned handloaders as well as beginners.

It would be unfair, and frankly, dishonest, to say that any one manual is "the best", and this means that you cannot go wrong with the one that you pick. The selections are numerous, and a quick glance at some of the websites I have listed below, will get you started. Most manuals these days include extensive sections covering all aspects of handloading, what tools are necessary, how to properly prepare a load, and a whole lot of advice on how to do it all SAFELY!!!. And, while it seems like this information would be of interest only to beginners, IT IS NOT. VETERAN HANDLOADERS ARE WELL SERVED BY CONSIDERING IT TOO.

Today there are more bullet, powder, primer and brass choices than ever before, with more coming out all the time. Again, for reasons we will discuss on the net, having the most current handloading manual it is sometimes just not enough. In these cases, you will need to turn to the bullet manufacturer, and sometimes the powder manufacturer, to get loading data for their newest products.

Here are a couple of highly recommended books for anyone who handloads or wants to:

Lyman Reloading Manual #50.jpg
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For better or worse, the vast majority of us will not be able to take a quick spin to our local sporting goods store to buy what we need. The only exceptions are those who live near the sources I mention below. So, bottom line, (and this is not a bad thing), we will need to do our shopping on line. Each of the retailers or manufacturers I mention below, not only have a TERRIFIC selection of quality handloading components and equipment, but they have very knowledgeable staff that can help you make the right choices and answer your technical questions. What's so great about them is that many of them don't just sell these things, they engineer, design, and manufacture them as well. They really know about handloading.

These companies carry and/or make high quality handloading supplies, and I recommend that you put each of them in your bookmarks. As you might expect, some offer slightly different stuff, but they are all excellent. Time permitting, I will discuss some reasons why they are standouts.

1. Sinclair International -

2. Brownells -

3. Mid South Shooters Supply -

4. Precision Reloading -

5. K&M Shooting -

6. Forester -

7. Gunstop Reloading Supplies and Ammunition -

8. L.E. Wilson -

9. Harrell's Precision -

Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:18 pm
by DaveK

From the very first introduction of smokeless powder, it suffered from several problems, one of which was its sensitivity to changes in ambient temperatures. Under the best of circumstances, these changes would cause shifts in the point of impact. Worst case scenarios involved failures to ignite or hang-fires. While these problems were not acceptable to the civilian market, it was of particular concern to our military.

Eventually, technology came to the rescue, and beginning in the 1930s, the DuPont Company developed a line of propellants that were considerably less resistant to temp changes. They introduced this line of products under the name of "Improved Military Rifle" or IMR, and they are still manufactured today and are some of the most popular on the market.

These improvements however, while doing a good job of reducing sensitivity, did not eliminate it or reduce it as significantly as was needed, especially by our military. Again, technology came to the rescue, and as a result of efforts, started in response to military needs, there are now powders available on the civilian market that have nearly eliminated this and other problems, (or pretty close).

As an additional benefit to these advances in propellant technology, several powders now come with a feature that should be of immense value to volume shooters and those who hate cleaning their firearms - a copper fouling eliminator. Yes, that's right, these powders will greatly reduce the copper fouling that comes from firing jacketed bullets. FYI, sufficient barrel fouling, can have a significant impact on accuracy, and to some extent, on velocity and pressure, as well. Such a problem was highly unacceptable to our combat troops. Thus, we now have propellants that address this problem.

Currently, there are civilian offerings from three of the top manufacturers/suppliers that have both of these features. There are other benefits as well, but if your shooting requires accuracy, regardless of the temperatures (for the most part) and/or you are a volume shooter, these products deserve your attention. The three companies here are IMR (in their Enduron line), Hodgdon (in their Extreme and CFE lines) and Alliant, (in their Reloader line.)

From the Hodgdon, IMR and Alliant websites:

IMR Enduron Powder.jpg
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Hodgdon CFE.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:26 pm
by Diesel4x
Thanks for early check in, KF6KOC Randy.

Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:17 pm
by DaveK

This is why you follow the rules of handloading. With a massive explosion going off either in your hands or a fraction of an inch from your face, you might need to think twice, or thrice, about following the rules as you handload!!!

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:07 pm
Please check me in. Thanks.

Getting back into reloading after 40 years, I originally tried using a tumbler with detergent solution and stainless steel pins. This requires decapping (removing the spent primer) before tumbling so the pins can do a fair job of cleaning the primer pockets. This has really good results, but takes maybe 10 minutes to set up, an hour of tumbling, and then requires separating the pins from the cleaned cases and dirty solution. I would also give the cases a half hour rinsing run in the tumbler. The cases (and pins) must then be dried. I found this process time consuming and messy.

I had a small, industrial ultrasonic cleaner, so I tried this on some deprimed cases using Hornady One Shot Cartridge Case Solution for 10 minutes, and found the results quite satisfactory (see below), though in the future will twirl a brush in the primer pocket before ultrasonic cleaning to get them even cleaner. A quick rinse and drying in a convection oven (never removing from the wire basket), and I was ready to reload.

This will be my preferred cleaning approach for 100 or fewer cases, which for me is the vast majority of the time.

The pic below shows before and after images:

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Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:27 pm
Check in please - Thanks - Bernie

Re: OAUSA Net - January 17, 2019 - Ammunition Handloading

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:36 pm
by NotAMog
Please check-in -

KN6VL John

KD6GCO Bruce