An update to my hand loading method

M27David

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Jun 11, 2002
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I've been loading sub-moa ammo on a Dillon 550 for a long time and I continue to fine tune the method. This update enhances the UC operation with a larger batch size and a change with the cleaner. See previous method here.

Please note, I concede I do a lot more than what is necessary for the tactical shooter. I really consider my hand loading and load development a separate endeavor that is apart from my tactical shooting interests, kinda like an R&D shop that feeds ideas to product and manufacturing development.

My sequence of operations;

1. Tumble clean, walnut media (from PetCo) and Flitz.
See image here.

2. Anneal cases
This is a BC1000 by Ken Light Mfg.

BC1000_working_sm.jpg


3. Lube cases, using plastic bag and Dillon case spray.
See image #1 here.
See image #2 here.

4. Size the case on the first Dillon 550 tool head.
a. Station #1 Redding S-Die with a .339" bushing and decapping rod installed to eliminate the separate decapping step
b. Station #2 Redding Body Die
c. Station #3 Redding Competition Die with a .336" bushing.
d. Station #4 Sinclair Mandrel Die (swapping the Mandrel Die and Type M Die)

New_ToolHd_sm.jpg


5. Ultrasonic clean the lube off the cases and clean the case interior.

a. I have a new setup for performing this operation. It provides for larger quantities to be processed and a less expensive cleaner, Citranox.
Setup_sm.jpg


b. I fabricated a stainless steel basket to hold the brass. It is much larger than the Marvey and it holds the brass above the bottom of the UC tub which avoids the brass from sitting in the crude that collects there.
ChargingBasket_sm.jpg


c. Unlike the Marvey setup the cases are oriented with the heads up, so the cases drain a lot easier.
Rinsing_sm.jpg


6. Uniform the primer pocket, with a Sinclair tool chucked in the drillpress.
PrimerPocket_sm.jpg


7. Trim case length and chamfer ID, OD with Giraud
Giraud_sm.jpg


8. Prime, charge, and seat with the second Dillon 550 tool head
a. Station #1 Lyman Type M Die
b. Station #2 Charge using the Quick Measure.
c. Station #3 Seat Redding Competition Die
d. Station #4 Redding Taper Die, to close the slight flare from the M-Die

9. Weigh loaded round as a quality/safety check.
weigh_cart_sm.jpg


10. Place round in box

Note, the the .339 and .336 n/s bushings are for Lapua and FGMM brass. For Win brass I use a .338 and .331 bushings.

Questions and comments welcomed.
 

myerfire

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Apr 27, 2006
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Re: An update to my hand loading method

LTR, it's great to read one of your posts again. You always have good ideas. I like the new basket for the ultrasonic cleaner. I guess I need to go down to the shop and look for some material to make a basket. Thanks for the idea.
myerfire
 

jn123

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Dec 9, 2005
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Ohio
Re: An update to my hand loading method

LTR
Interesting post. Noted that your final bushing size varies considerably between the Lapua/FGGM vs. the Winchester. Is this due to neck wall thickness or needed to achieve adequate neck tension? Are these shot in a custom chamber?
 

Sean the Nailer

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  • May 20, 2006
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    Re: An update to my hand loading method

    LTRDavid,

    Good to see you back. Stick around.

    I too am now doing the UC routine, and prefer it greatly to vib. cleaning. You are now using a 'submerged basket' as opposed to a 'secondary container with tray'. What about the 'tuning' of it all? I've learned from JB1000's teachings about the tuning, and after experimenting found that it REALLY makes a difference.

    So, as such, did you tune your basket process, and if so, how please?

    Sean.
     

    memilanuk

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  • Mar 23, 2002
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    Re: An update to my hand loading method

    David,

    Thanks for the update. Looks like you took some steps to fix the one thing that I've been fighting with the ultrasonic tank as well - holding the cases.

    Sticking them in beakers works, but the cases sit down in the crud and the glass attenuates (slows) the US cleaning process. The Marvy keeps the cases up out of the crud, but the glass is even thicker and slows things down even more. Putting them straight into the tank in the parts basket that comes with the cleaner works, but it's not flat across the bottom so they tip over all the time (but get clean fastest this way), plus it's a minor pain to have to dump the whole tank periodically. I've been trying to find one of the perforated stainless steel trays that should fit mine... they are listed, but nobody carries them (that I can find). Citranox is some good stuff, ain't it
    laugh.gif


    Care to share any details of the steps in fabricating your stainless basket?

    Are you going to update your website with the current process? It appears to be a few iterations behind
    wink.gif


    Thanks for the info,

    Monte
     

    M27David

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    Jun 11, 2002
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    Re: An update to my hand loading method

    Thanks for the kind words guys. I think this answers the questions that have come up so far.

    re: Basket fabrication
    I bought the material on Amazon from Small Parts Inc. It's a short list;

    1. Stainless Steel 304 Mesh #6; 0.0350" Wire Diameter 62% Open Area Plain Weave 12" x 24"
    2. Stainless T-316 Round 0.125" Cut to 48"

    My fabrication was a crude affair. I used a pair of tin snipes and the edge of the workbench to bend the mesh and a bench vise to hold the rod while I bent it with a hammer blow. Then I weaved a strand of the SS wire to hold the folded edges in place. One of those small bench press brakes would have been a better tool to get a sharper-squared bend versus the small radius my method produced.

    re: tuning
    I don't know about tuning per se. Since I am also a UC student of JB's I'll have to go check that out. I do know from my personal experience the brass needs to be loose enough in the basket to vibrate freely. Also, without the use of a secondary container I imagine tuning becomes less an issue. To be clear, the Citranox solution is in the tub of the UC cleaner and the wire basket sits on the bottom wire shelf that came with the UC cleaner. Keep in mind my objective for UC is to clean the case inside and remove the sizing lube. I do not worry about cleaning the primer pockets since I use the Sinclair uniforming tool on the primer pockets. Oh, I should mention, the cases clean up in about 5 minutes with a warm solution, i.e. 50cc per 1 gal of distilled water.

    re: bushing sizes
    Yes those need to vary based on the wall thickness of your brass. Lapua and FGMM brass seems to run more thick than Win. And brass thickness can vary within the brand by lot and then again within the lot. I have a set of pin gauges I used to check neck ID's. When I can get a .305" gauge to GO in and .306" gauge to NOT GO in then I have the bushing setup I need to achieve .002" - .003" interference fit between the bullet OD and the case neck ID. My FGMM brass, which I use to make practice rounds with M118 SB bullets, has been collected from various sources since 2002, some from custom chambers, but most are from my OEM LTR. Note, a way to reduce runout with case necks is to neck size in two steps of no more than .005"-.007" at a time.

    re: Updating my website
    I have a new one under construction. The template can be viewed here, where I published Mounting a Custom Action to the Remington LTR stock. The new site has been a while in the making, as it seems life issues seem to keep getting in the way...


    Hope this helps,
    LTR out
     

    Sean the Nailer

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  • May 20, 2006
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    Re: An update to my hand loading method

    LTR and Monte,

    I followed JB's tuning lessons and was impressed. By adjusting the water level in the tank, the water level in the beaker, and the level the beaker is suspended into the tank. It is a finicky process, to do for your machine. Each machine is different, specifically, but most alike are similar.

    The point is, now the water in the tank just sits there, whereas the water (chemicals) in the beaker 'boil'. I'd venture even to say that this "focus's and amplifies" the process.

    There's fancier words to use like "attenuation" and all that, but you get the point. The difference that is made is huge, for effect.

    Interesting quest.