Alright you have all your supplies and equipment picked out and set up on your new bench so let’s get started!!! While you were setting up your bench hopefully you put your brass in the tumbler to clean it. If not that’s okay go ahead and do that now…. To clean your brass you want to run it for at least 30 to 45 minutes to clean it and up to a couple of hours to really get it shiny. Okay your brass is clean and shiny now let’s pull it out and separate it from all the media so we can start loading.
Now that you have your brass clean it’s time to size and deprime. If you have new brass you still need to do this step you just won’t be depriming. So 1st thing you want to do is set your die (instructions for this should have come with your die) once you have your die set you want to lube your cases. My preference is still spray lube but if you use a lube pad or just wipe it on the non spray types can be put on too thick and that will cause small dents in the neck of the case if this happens it’s ok you can still use the case just put less lube on the next one. You also shouldn’t have to put a lot of force on your press it will take time and practice to see exactly what it feels like and you will get the feel for it so you don’t get a case stuck in the die.
Now that you have your case cleaned, sized and deprimed and possibly primed depending on your press and preference. For the next step you will need your reloading manual and calipers look up your max case length and your trim to length in your manual and measure your brass if it’s not between the two then you will need to trim your brass to trim length or if you have a a lot of inconsistency in the length of brass it’s not a bad idea to just trim it anyway (remember consistency equals accuracy) once you have it trimmed you will need to debur the brass to remove any sharp edges.
If you haven’t already primed your cases go ahead and do that now. Now we are going to measure out powder and seat the bullet. When you choose your powder charge make sure you are using a reloading manual don’t go with a load someone told you works for them on the internet if you want to use a load that worked for someone else you still can but you NEED to check it against a manual to make sure it’s not at or above the max load. When you pick your powder charge you should pick in the midrange to low end and work your way up to max load while watching for pressure signs ( we will talk about that in the next article) There are a couple of ways to go when it comes to adding powder and bullets some people like to put powder in all of their cases before seating the bullet others like to put powder in one case then immediately seat the bullet. For the new reloader that is also my recommendation but in the end only you can decide what will work best for you. A few reasons that I recommend it is you have less chance for error and are less likely to miss a case when adding powder resulting in a squib round. And if something comes up when you are in the middle of loading then you also won’t be leaving cases full of powder sitting out. However you choose to add your powder the important thing is consistency if you want an accurate round. For my precision loads I won’t accept anything that’s not within less the 1/10th of a grain of powder.
Now it’s time to seat your bullet this part isn’t hard but adjusting the dies can be time consuming every type of die is a little different in how they adjust but the best advice is to start out way long on C.O.L and adjust it to what your book says slowly until you have it set. Once you have it set most dies stay fairly consistent but for precision loads I still measure every round after I load it.
This next step is optional and and that’s crimping some die sets don’t don’t come with a crimp die and some do. So if you have a crimp die and decide to crimp now is the time. Every brand is different and will have instructions on how to set your crimp die. When it comes to crimping it’s a bit of a controversial subject some people swear by it and others hate it and say it’s a waste of time. To be perfectly honest both sides are right. for a lot of people it can be a waste of time and if you don’t do it right can decrease accuracy. While neck tension can be important to get the most accurate loads we are talking a difference of less than 1/10th MOA most of the time and to be blunt most people reading this and just learning to reload probably won’t be a good enough shot to tell the difference anyway. That type of thing comes into play at benchrest matches. I only crimp my pistol and non precision .223 rounds so take it for what it’s worth.
Well you did it you have your 1st rounds loaded now it’s time to go to the range and see how they shoot. In the next chapter we are going to talk about load development OCW testing and a few other things to do at the range. So stay tuned for part 5