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As you are about to dive into the world of reloading, it’s pretty easy to be overwhelmed with information. You might be one of those people who just want to be extra careful to not make too many beginner mistakes. Reloading is one of those activities that you want to be extra careful about because a small mistake can lead to unwanted small explosions, cracked brass, etc.
In this article, we are listing down the common reloading mistakes people make, even the ones who’ve been doing it for quite a while.
6 Most Common Reloading Mistakes You Should Avoid
1. Chipped or Cracked Brass
This is the first common mistake, or more like an issue, that beginners will meet. Not every one-time shot brass will turn up as nice as they were new. It’s a fact that while many of the cartridges may look fine and will shine after a few rounds in the tumbler, they crack from falling out of the gun. It could also be your mistake from processing the brass.
Running around the tumbler with coarse medium or way overloaded with cartridges can cause them to scratch each other. And cracked brass will definitely cause your bullets to not be launched properly. Another cause could be over-crimping your bullet on the cartridge which leads to cracked end on the brass. Otherwise, it’ll create too much tension on the bullet, causing it unable to fly properly.
It’s important that aside from this, you make sure to check the condition of the shells that you are working with. Used brasses always need proper cleaning, trimming and checking so you only use proper cases.
2. Primer Seating
There’s a lot of floating opinions on how primers should be seated. Commercially made bullets have the primers seated slightly in, but home-reloaders believe the primer should be placed deeper to give it that extra push. That said, we recommend that if it’s your first time, go slow when you prime with a PPS system on your reloading press. Don’t push way too deep, just give it enough pressure and manually check your first few bullets to see if you’ve done it right.
A primer that is placed too deep may cause trouble to weapon cycling and even crack under the pressure. While primers that are not seated deep enough may cause unwanted ignition since even the smallest spark will set the powder inside to explode. Primers that are not seated deep enough can be adjusted easily with the press, but if it’s too deep, you have no other way but to deprime it again.
On the other hand, you can also go with hand primers and make sure the primers are flipped the right way before beginning. Then, you just need to manually take one cartridge after another to prime them.
3. Powder Charges Accuracy
It’s very easy to miss the ratio of your powder for your first few charges. Even professionals can sometimes encounter problems with getting their powder charges accurate. It’s very important that you weigh every few bullets to see if your powder measure is giving the right charges every now and then. It’s also important to set your own accuracy margin realistically.
There are several ways to check. First is to do a visual check, which is easier to be done on each of them. Next is to weigh every few rounds to make sure your powder charge is still releasing the same amount. Be sure that you use a reliable, accurate scale for this. Do your scaling on a flat, firm and solid ground to gain the best reading.
A manual scale will definitely get a more accurate reading, but it’ll take some time to get it right. While a digital scale my skew if interference is present.
4. Bullet Seating
Another important thing that beginners make mistakes is when seating the bullet. First is the position of the bullet which comes first before the crimping. It’s easy to mistakenly put the bullets way too deep or the opposite, so learn to feel and visually check your bullets. Bullets should not be seated too far or too deep.
After that is the crimping which should not be done simply ‘tightly’. You should not crimp the sides way too tightly on the bullet or too loose. Both will pose a problem in the projectile of the bullet such as bullet not reaching its target or recoiling from the impact of tight crimping.
5. Not Sure What’s In That Case?
Sometimes, you might encounter a bunch of unused charged shells with bullets still intact. It seems that a bit of polishing is all you need, but stop right there. You best properly discharge those bullets and empty it. Then send it to clean in the tumbler and prep it again. This is because if you are not sure what is in there or how long it’s been sitting in your attic, the inside might be contaminated, it might have been charged for a special gun, etc.
Make sure to dispose of the powder in a safe place, say, your garden because they are good fertilizers (if not set on fire). Do read up on how to dispose of black powder, though. Deprime the bullet, clean the inside, trim and prepare the case and turn it into brand-new-looking shells.
6. Where Do You Work?
Not just any basement can be turned into a working space for reloaders. It’s very important to heed to the warning and standard of space for reloading. For example, it has to be an enclosed area where win won’t possibly be blowing your scale or powder around. It has to be well-lit with enough space to lay your manual book on.
Make sure it’s not too damp that it’ll turn powder into waste during springtime or dry that it might risk sparks and explosions during summer or winter.
Make sure that it’s well-ventilated and that you’ve prepared yourself just in case an accident happens. Install your equipment firmly on the workbench and follow the guides and instructions when you do so. Let your family members know about your reloading activity and children must especially be cautious in approaching the room. An adult has to supervise underage kids in the area.