ehd

proper procedure for loading pistol rounds

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question for the loading gurus.. I have been loading pistol rounds with a minimum powder charge, as they are nice to shoot. What I have been doing is using the powder dump, weighing every 3rd cartridge. My load is 6.8 with max at 8.1 universal. I understand that near max loading you should weigh each load, should i be doing the same for minimum loads? I dont want to start loading with sloppy habits? Thanks for the input!

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Once I have the measure set, I will throw and weigh 10 to make sure it doesn't change. After that I will weigh every fifth to make sure it is still throwing accurately. If a throw comes up off, I then dump the five back to a known good one. I have always felt that was a good tradeoff for speed v safety. and do teh same for light or near max/max loads (but I have never used a powder that doesn't flow well through a powder measure, and so the loads don't vary by more than they might single weighing everything). It also helps to have a set routine on your measure. mine is two taps at the top stop before throwing, tap twice at the bottom/dump, and then two taps again at the top stop. It has always given me very accurate drops. (And always make sure you have a good amount of powder in the hopper. If you are hard core benchresting, they weigh every single throw (as well as spin the bullets and weigh them and all sorts of stuff like that that convinces me I don't really want to do benchrest shooting). I do think you are smart to make sure of your habits before they get too ingrained. Consistency in your habits will be the biggest factor in consistency of your loads. And assuming you mean weigh the powder charge - not the completed cartridge? Brass can vary a bit - enough that could make for problems in a powder charge.

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I weigh each & every charge... even if I was still handloading for pistols today (which I no longer do btw). BUT I am old, a skeptic, & trust no one or no thing. I can't help it, it's some sort of defect I guess. :roflmao3[1]:

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As said...consistentcy is everything. How you pull the handle, do it the same everytime.Also, confidence. You have to be confident in what you are doing. If it makes you happy to weigh every charge...go for it. Wont hurt a thing. Probably won't improve anything either.I usually throw all my loads. I'll check every twenty or so. I stand them up in a reloading block and throw all fifty, hold them under a light and check for consistent level, maybe weigh a few. A good throw is amazingly accurate. My Redding will throw +/- a 1/10 like nothing. I find I throw a lot more consistent charges if I keep going as opposed to start/stop. Most benchrest guys do not weigh their charges...they throw them. A lot of them don't even know the weight...only the clicks off their Harrell.I also load a lot off my automatics. I have one in 45 Colt and one in ACP...I'll check the first few to make sure nothing changed (always setup)...then I'll run off a hundred rounds or so...in fifteen minutes.

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My practice loads are at min. My procedure is to chech the first 5 before I start, and then run through 105. I use Titegroup powder so the charges are very small, then I look down into the cases for any that look differant. Its amaising how your eye will be drawn to any odd ones. then I weigh the extra 5 from throuout the run. If everything is the same start to finish, I load them! Im with Tawnoper, My measure throws more uniformly than I could weigh each charge. My trick to uniform charges is pull the handle with the same Gusto each time, and after each hundred refill the powder hopper to the same point. good luck DR

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I have relaoding books that go back into the 1960's, max loads for powders were much higher then, I believe that most max loads nowdays are fairly safe too approach, with that being said you should always approach any published max loads with caution. I approach pistol loading a little different than rifle, with shorter barrels and such powder measure is a little less critical. Find an accurate load for your weapon and stick with it. I have used the same load in my 1911 for 30 years and it has always proved to be accurate and functioned well in the gun. I use a powder measure (RCBS) and only check my drops about every 200 rds or so. What was said about consistancy is very important. For the guys that do it my hand without a powder measure, my advice is spend the money and get the best you can afford, it will save you a ton of time. If you load alot of pistol and especially auto-loaders invest in a taper crimp die you will find that your gun will function flawless when you use it.

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thanks for all the info. I was reading an interesting bit in the hornady manual about how seating depth (rifles) dramaticly changes pressures. So for the folks building accurate loads for the rifle, where do you start with your seating depth as a rule of thumb? go off the c.o.a.l. ?

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Most manuals will give you a COAL for each bullet they used, use that rather than the overall cartridge spec. You can also then play with it a bit if you want just off the lands, etc. and start using that. Just remember that the bullet seating depth will determine inital case volume, so at a max oad and seat a little to deep you can go over max. Similar to why when you get to max or near max pressures, a tiny bit of powder makes a big difference, as then a tiny bit more powder is not only adding charge, but taking up more of what little space is left (unless you are doinng compressed loads, obviously).

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Trim lengths, which also directly equates to crimp pressure, make much, much more of a difference than 1/10 of a gran or 2 of powder. Obviously every step you take makes it better, but some have way more impact than others. Clean primer pockets may make it ignite more consistent, but means almost nothing in accuracy. Look at guys who have 1/2 MOA groups with almost 100fps in deviation (sorry, but chronos are W A Y overrated). A consistent crimp, and put on the correct spot of the bullet is much more important than speed or 1/10 of a grain of powder. Besides, if your powder thrower is constantly off more than 1/10 or 2, you have either a user malfunction or bad thrower.

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I weigh each & every charge... even if I was still handloading for pistols today (which I no longer do btw). BUT I am old, a skeptic, & trust no one or no thing. I can't help it, it's some sort of defect I guess. :signs1180lq:
Frank,I don't think that is a defect,But I do think it is smart. I also weigh every load, I have all the time in the world. And I would rather error on the safe side.Tom

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