M*CARBO Brotherhood

Reloading Safely

With the recent shortages of ammo a lot of people have taken up reloading. I’ve been doing it over 40 years and the first thing I tell people new to it is DON’T rush into it! Reloading under current conditions can certainly save you money and even increase accuracy in some cases (though modern ammo has become so accurate in most cases it won’t). That being said there are A LOT of safety factors that need to be learned. Reading books on reloading and learning the basics should be done first and working with someone that’s experienced can be valuable. We all like to look for shortcuts to save time and that’s the easiest way to make a mistake. Any mistake with things that go BOOM can be catastrophic!
I load some very dangerous loads and what that means is High pressure small volume cases. The 22TCM is one such round. It’s not hard to load and can even be loaded on a progressive press IF the proper safety precautions are taken. You should work loads up from minimum on any listed cartridge. One thing to look for is shiny rings that appear on the case near the shoulder or the head (top and bottom). This first picture shows how much a shoulder moves after firing on a 5.7x28mm,


Every time a round is fired the case becomes more brittle at critical points and resizing stresses the metal. Some cases are more malleable than others but pro shooters will usually re- anneal their cases at the neck after every firing to stress relieve them. This requires some specialized equipment that most of us don’t have and don’t need if we have an adequate supply of brass. Here’s what happens with a case that was fired one time too many.
This is a best case separation because it didn’t cause any damage, usually you won’t be that lucky!
Tcm cases are much more rigid than 5.7 cases and the necks are prone to cracking.
That’s a toothpick next to those cracks which gives you an idea of how small they are. Shooting these rounds would most likely result in damage to the gun at minimum! These rounds were reloaded 4 times without annealing. One last picture here to show what case head separation warning signs look like. These are from my 6.5 Grendel and were due to the wrong powder/primer combination.
The ones on the bottom are extreme and you usually will get a line without the expansion before separation happens but that’s the location to watch.
Sorry if this is long winded but I just want people to have fun and be safe when they reload!
Only use one powder at a time and don’t mix powders. When done don’t leave powder in the dispenser, put it back in the original container and then back in it’s place. Don’t leave multiple containers on your bench. Make sure your using the proper primers, don’t use magnum primers when standard are called for. I find it’s best to do everything one step at a time and I’ll de-prime, clean, then lube, trim and chamfer cases. I then size, re-prime and wipe down my cases before charging and seating bullets. That’s just how I do it, I’m sure other people do it different but I’m getting older and this helps keep me from blowing parts off!

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@Grumpyolman Thank You’ for Great Post and Using the 22tcm as a Example, My First Batch of Ammo Out from Overseas, Was full of Nightmares from Loading Issues to Split Cases etc, Then they Opened the US Plant and things got better. :+1:

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Hey Grumpy there are more people reloading today than years past and I am one.
I started a couple years ago and no means an expert. I enjoy reading these pearls of wisdom.
A lot easier to read in small amounts than read an entire book and hope you get it right.
Thank you for sharing. :peace_symbol:

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@Grumpyolman Thanks for posting this!

I too am new to reloading, I just started this year. It is quite difficult finding supplies, wasn’t too bad at the beginning of the year. But now it’s much more difficult to find stuff.

Where I’m located it is quite difficult to find any reloaders local to me. The ones I know, have long since retired from reloading (due to old age). But there are plenty of helpful people online though!

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I bought a book almost a year before getting my first press, shiney new Dillon 650. Read that book and one more on the subject, talked to guys at gunshows,. not much internet then, I don’t even think the press was out when I bought the book, but when they showed up on display at the LGS didn’t take long to decide.
Internet is nice but not as good as a book or 3.

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Yeah if you can read. I struggle with dyslexia.
The net is not the only source but bits like this are easier to read.

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Wow. Be careful. Extra careful.

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Thank you so much for that information.Reloading is something I have not done but it’s obvious there is a science to it.My father was really into reloading years ago and he offered me all his gear which was essentially everything I would need.At the time I declined and I am still kicking myself for not taking that equipment.I think it would be a blast(no pun intended).Maybe someday I will dabble as it does interest me ,but I do appreciate the warning because Im sure you can do something stupid or push the envelope and get in trouble easily. Thanks again for really good advice.

-Rob

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Good to hear some other people shooting the 22TCM. I have the RI 1911, and it’s one of my favorite guns. So fun to shoot, esp. at night!

I haven’t started reloading for it yet, but have been saving the brass. I have noticed that the last few times I have bought ammo they have switched to a different case, so the brass is going to be harder to get.

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I get brass cased and nickel plated brass. Both load the same. I don’t load for it, but my stash includes components and dies to keep me shooting if Armscor abandons the project.

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I have been reloading for over 50 years and I have a perfect safety record. I have averaged 25K rds annually for the past 15 years. I cringe every time I read or hear about a new reloader buying a progressive press and they brag about “knocking out” 1000 rounds yesterday. I also find it cringe worthy when they ask online for load data and I discover they don’t own at least one good reloading manual! Personally I own 38 manuals. I know you don’t need that many but you should have at least one.

I have witnessed several shotguns, pistols, & rifles damaged by faulty reloads and have read or heard about dozens more.

This not a hobby that you should just jump into without proper training.

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The NRA has reloading classes, or “usta did” any way. I tried to sign up but
COVID happened.

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Yeah this Covid crap sux.
My brother in law has been teaching via his iPhone using FaceTime. I’m thinking about doing this myself. I just ordered a tripod to hold my iPad. I have two students that want to do this. I’ll let you know how we do

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That was me, but I did my homework ahead of time, started with easy calibers to get right. Plus I’ve always been pretty mechanically savvy. Everyone at the gunshows said start with a single stage, progressives were relatively new to the home handloading scene back then. I have added 2 rockchuckers to the bench but if I can load it on the progressive, I usually do. One trick that works well with the Dillon for premium rounds, run semi-progressive, progressively de-cap, size and power trim, 1st pass, then tumble clean the lube off and hit the primer pockets, flash holes. Then run through the progressive without the powder measure or the middle button and pull as they go by that station and hand charge, then back in to the middle station to seat and crimp progressively. Do my 308, 300WBY, 338 WinMag that way. Some calibers I do a combo of a rockchucker and the dillon, like my 405 Winchester loads. No one “Right” way, what ever the handloader is comfortable with that works.

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I started with a single press until I was confident
then went progressive using lee equipment.
I will decap, clean, clean primer pocket and flash
hole, then re prime with hand primer.
Set powder weight and OAL and then
I check weights and OAL periodically as I load.

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Worth mentioning for our new reloaders,

Don’t store powders and primers together.

Don’t re-use old powder containers.

Don’t smoke.

Do keep your work space clean.

Verify your scale with a tare weight.

Inspect your brass thoroughly before reloading.

Keep detailed records.

And, if you plan on using military surplus brass, you will need to remove the primer crimp.
(you may also notice many factory .223 Remington brass is also primer crimped)

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Not to preach, but if you’re reloading bottle neck (and some straight wall) cartridges always check your case length and trim and chamfer to recommended length! This is not only critical for accuracy but more importantly safety.

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Some 45 ACP use small pistol primers and others use large pistol primers.

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This is how I started back in the early 80’s



I couldn’t afford a press so I started with one of these Lee Loader kits for 25-06 Remington . It only neck sized the cartridge which was great for accuracy as long as you were only loading for one gun…

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Lee Loader was my first one too! for 45acp

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