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I am a “ slow novice” to reloading meaning I have made some progress thanks to your training.I have evolved to a certain order of procedures and wonder if I am as efficient as I could be.See what you think:
1. Tumble brass(with primers still on)
2.measure brass( with calipers)
3.Deprime, clean primer pocket
4.measure, pour powder down funnel through die( noticed some sticks inside die)
5.Seat bullet, crimp
 

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Looks like a good routine. Really any routine that works and works safely is a fairly good one. As for myself, this is what I mostly do, however, I almost never measure cases simply because I am usually loading straight walled pistol cases which are not known to stretch too much and I have never had a powder through the die, so I either weigh each charge or use my powder measure to throw charges. One I developed a routine that worked well for me, I very rarely ever load in any different sequence................. All the best
 

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I agree, if it works safely then it's fine.

If you are wanting a "how you do it" to compare, here's mine.

1) neck size, which also de-primes
2) if more than five loads or don't remember; auto trim with Lee trimmer
3) dispense charge with Lee PPM
4) Seat bullet
5) go shooting.

I only very very rarely clean brass, if there is a serious amount of junk in the pockets a quick twist with the Lee cleaner is all. I don't weigh charges, quit that a long time ago;; only charge cases by volume. That significantly speeds up the process, and hasn't caused me a bit of trouble in the long range accuracy dept.
FWIW

Cheers
 
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1. Tumble brass(with primers still on)
2.measure brass( with calipers)
3.Deprime, clean primer pocket
4.measure, pour powder down funnel through die( noticed some sticks inside die)
5.Seat bullet, crimp

Looks like a rational process. Just about every step in any reloading process is subject to variations, and there are a full range of yes/no/maybe/never etc. Pick the steps you feel are adequate for your shooting demands.

1. Tumble brass(with primers still on): I do this myself, as I don't want to run dirt or grit through my dies. I also find that bottle neck cases tend to stretch less when the powder/primer residue(s) are removed or reduced. If I'm processing large volumes of brass, and plan to store the brass for longer periods of time, 9mm and 5.56 are good examples, I will do a detergent and vinegar soak, rinse, and tumble again.

2.measure brass( with calipers): I always sort and use brass that has been trimmed to spec. Even some handgun brass. I also track the number of cycles on the handloading label. By checking 2%-3% of the brass, I can pretty much tell if it needs to be trimmed as a lot, or not.

3.Deprime, clean primer pocket: I deprime/resize as separate steps, as I like to check depriming and sizing resistance separately . If primers have a lot of variation with respect to force, I check the pockets to see if they are loose. If something feels loose while resizing, I check for spilts or cracks. Annealing? Not on my time.

4.measure, pour powder down funnel through die( noticed some sticks inside die): I don't have a fancy press, I have a pair of single stage presses. I have wondered about a turret press lately, (after about 50 years). I charge cases as a single step, then check quickly to be sure the case fills look uniform. I also check charge weight every few rounds, especially with low charge weights and flake powders. Ball powders almost never, my old RCBS dispenses a uniform volume/weight as long as there's powder in the hopper.

5.Seat bullet, crimp: Some bullets need a crimp. Loads for tubular magazines, handgun loads have crimp processes that vary by the type of round and type of case, many of the rounds I load for do not need any crimp. It depends.

That's the way I do it, most of the time.
That doesn't mean anyone else should do it that way.
Each and every step is worth several pages of yes, no, maybe, always, never, at least once or twice a month. Like a cracked record :)
 

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I apply resizing lube first, let it dry, then resize and deprime. THEN the brass goes into the tumbler. I have found this method will usually get the primer pockets clean enough without any additional cleaning, but still should be inspected.
 

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Well, it must be true, I am anal retentive about my reloading.
I'm a hunter and most of my guns are for hunting and the rest are just for having fun with.
Reloading bottle-neck cases this is my process:
*For new cases the first time and range brass the first time
1. carefully examine the brass for defects wiping it down as you do
2. clean the brass (I use a tumbler because I can do all the brass (up to 150 3006 cases) at once
3. wipe down the brass and inspect it for defects
4. lubricate the body and inside of neck *
5. full length size the case and deprime (for cases that have been fired from my rifles I only size the neck on brass fired from my gun and only to about 80% of its length)*
6. trim the case to the desired length (I use the maximum case length but most use the "trim to" size)
7. chamfer the neck inside and out to remove any burrs
8. ream the primer pockets to uniform size and depth*
9. remove burrs on the inside of flash hole*
10. carefully inspect the brass, weigh the the powder cases will hold and select those that are +/- .5 grains from the median weight. (set the others aside for plinking or general shooting when accuracy is not important)*
11. prime the brass without touching the primers (I use the RCBS hand primer for this)
12. set all the cases in the reloading block neck up
13. Set the scale to the weight of powder for the load you will use
14. adjust your measure to throw exactly that amount
15. readjust your scale to ten times the weight of powder for the load you will use
16. throw ten charges into the pan from your measure and weigh it
17. adjust the powder measure so it throws ten charges to the exact weight of 10 times your desired weight
18. throw a single charge and weigh it - if it is right then continue - if not then check it with ten charges again and adjust the measure accordingly
19. throw your charges into the cases in the block
20. when all the cartridges have powder in them inspect the level between the cases to make sure that they are all at the same level. Any high or low ones have to be emptied and recharged.
21. seat the bullets in the cases by seating them half way down and then turning them 180 degrees and finish the seating process. All loads are seated to book specifications. (unless tuning changes that)
22. pack the cartridges into the box and label them with the date, load information and caliber
 

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Uh, most of you forget to seat a new primer prior to adding the powder.....

The problem with depring prior to tumbling is that the media can become stuck in the flash hole. Walnut media is particularly susceptible to this; when I try this every few years I have to unblock flash holes on up to 20% of the cases. Some media may not have this issue.



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Everyone has given good advice. During this stay-at-home period, I have refined my process a bit.

This is for pick-up brass.

Inspect and toss any that have dents in the body or are a crazy head stamp. I also don't keep any badly dirty or weathered brass.

Lube, de-prime and FL size.

Check length...separate any that need trimming. Trim, debur and chamfer those that do.

Tumble with either a treated walnut hull or stainless pins. This takes care of primer pockets and such.

Separate by headstamp and put away for future loading.

With brass from my fired rifles, inspect, lightly resize making sure the neck is fully resized, check length, trim/debur/ and chamfer in necessary. Anneal after first firing and every 3-5 after.

Prime, add powder....INSPECT every case that has powder added. I have a homemade 50 round block. Use a flashlight and look inside every case. Make sure the powder is close to the same level.

Seat first bullet and check for depth slowly. Set seating die to where you want and then rock and roll.
 

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I generally deprime first, if I'm going to clean the cases. This is because:


1) I do not want lead salts in the tumbling media (and therefore airborne in the dust) if I'm going to tumble with a vibratory tumbler, and


2) I want the primer pockets clean if I'm going to wet tumble with stainless steel pins.
 

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As you can see, reloading is a personal thing. My thoughts; Tumbling to a shine is cosmetic only and has very little advantage over just clean brass. (I reloaded 12 years before I got a tumbler. I just wiped each case with a solvent dampened rag as I inspected it). If I measure cases it is done after sizing depriming as the dimensions change after the case is swaged through the die. Depending on caliber, I rarely clean/form primer pockets as I have seen no "build up" of carbon. gunk, etc, that would effect primer seating in 40+ years of reloading . As for the powder flakes sticking, clean the die with a strong leaner like brake clean (non chlorinated), lacquer thinner, etc., that will leave no residue and if that doesn't work, I've read of using "Static Cling" spray fabric treatment on reloading equipment to reduce static.

Go slow. Double check everything. Most important, have fun...
 

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About trimming. If yur using dies that have an expander nipple in then, I measure every time I reload. reason being that expander nipple stretch's case's a lot more than firing. Collet dies don't stretch the case.
 

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Don,
My BS alarm just went crazy when I read your post.
What causes stretch in cases is their expansion to the size of the chamber. When we squeeze the brass case in the sizing die the brass flows in the direction of least resistance, which is toward the mouth of the case. If you size CLEAN brass the expanding plug pushes the brass out from the center-line of the case to expand the neck to hold the bullet in place. If you are stretching cases with that sizing plug then you have other problems.

The simplest way to prove this is to measure your case length after firing it. It will be shorter than before you fired it. That is because the brass had nowhere to go but OUT as the pressure is the same all over the inside of the brass. Under the 12 to 70K psi the brass is pressed to fill the chamber. After the pressure drops the case springs back a little.
If you measure the brass it has become fatter and a tiny bit shorter (unless you have headspace problems).
When you resize that brass you are squeezing it back toward the case center-line. It is easier to flow toward the unsupported neck because that is the only place it can go without resistance.
To prove it, size a case without the expander ball and compare the length with what you measured before you sized it.
Yep! it is longer. Now measure another case and then size it with the expander ball in place. There will be no noticeable difference between the two sized cases. There are always some exceptions to this. If your expander is rough or the neck of the case is dirty or the expander it too big or the neck of the die is too small it can be hard enough to "pull" the case longer. That will change the shoulder angle and cause the case not to fit in the chamber. If that is happening then you start by polishing the expander plug and using a brush to clean your case necks.

Even straight wall cases will expand. When I bought factory ammo to test the function of my 9mm 53% of the once fired brass expanded enough to trim at the first reloading. (yes, I did count the brass that did and did not trim to some extent) I trim the 9mm brass to .750" which is 0.004" shorter than SAAMI maximum length and not the recommended .744" which is listed. By the 5th reload all the cases trim with each firing but to a lesser degree. Note the pistol die has no expander plug to "pull" the case.
 

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Everybody has their own way of doing things but there are a lot of myths involved in the reloading process. A fair amount of lack of logic is showing through here as well.

Never put dirty brass into your sizer. Sooner or later you'll drag crap into them that will ruin the dies. Get a universal decapping die that only touches the primer being removed. Then, when you throw them into the tumbler, you get some cleaning of primer pockets. If media gets stuck in the flash hole, use smaller media. I use Zilla brand lizard litter desert blend walnut shells. It doesn't get stuck, cleans well. You don't have to polish brass until it shines like the sun. Just until it is clean.

On sizing: For bottleneck cases, adjust the sizer to bump size, only moving the shoulder back enough to ensure proper chambering. This prevents over sizing which in turn preventing case stretch. Reducing stretch largely eliminates trimming. To properly measure cases to set your sizer, you need the Hornady Head Space Gauge kit, or equivalent. If you use an oil/lanolin based sizing lube you will have to run the brass through the tumbler again because oil based lube can kill primers and powder. Wax based lube like Imperial will wipe off after sizing if you don't use too much. Spray wax like OneShot works fine as long as you allow it to dry completely before sizing. If you don't cases will get stuck. You don't have to wipe cases off after sizing with OneShot in most cases.

If you're using carbide sizers for straight wall cases, run a lightly lubed case through it every dozen or so. You'll be surprised at how much easier sizing is overall. Don't run the ram up tight on the sizer die unless you want to damage the carbide ring.

On priming: Most will use the priming set up on the press, but if you do, keep it clean and properly adjusted. Most presses have so much leverage that it is hard to tell when you have the primer seated correctly. It is very easy to crush the primer that way. I use a hand priming tool for that reason. Not only does it let me feel the primer as it seats, I can also feel a loose pocket. Eliminating loose pocket brass helps prevent primer blow by and gas cutting. I do my case prep and priming ahead of use. When I need to load cases, I just have to pull the required number of cases from the tub and charge the powder and seat the bullet. So, I prime cleaned and sized brass and then put it up in tubs until I need it. That lets me spread the whole loading process out over time, where I can fill small blocks of time doing the prep as needed, and then have plenty of time to do that actual loading when its needed.

So, here's my process:

1. Decap in universal decapping die. If set right, all calibers can be done without changing die settings.
2. Throw brass into lizard litter walnut tumbler, run until clean (not bright and shiny).
3. Hand prime cases, inspecting and culling as needed at the same time.
4. Lube with OneShot spray, let dry completely, size. Store sized and primed cases in plastic coffee tubs against future need.
5. On load day, feed the LnL AP, charging cases with powder, seating bullets, applying crimp as needed (pistol and straight wall rifle only, I don't crimp bottleneck).

Since I size and prime before hand, I have removed the decapping pins from my sizers. If I have presized the brass, I don't even have to mount the sizer die in the press. Just the powder stuff, the seater, and the crimper if needed. Makes things super fast and much less effort overall.

When doing case prep, most it is waiting on the tumbler to clean the brass. I can decap hundreds of cases in an hour. I can prime cases at leisure while watching TV. You can do several hundred cases easily while watching an evening's worth of shows or movies. Inspect them at the same time. Into the tubs when you're done. The point is to make more efficient use of your time, and have ready to load brass so that at load time, you can concentrate on just the process of loading, so your attention span is tighter and sharper. You don't get bored with things and make mistakes.

When you work up loads, find one or two loads that meet your needs. I have one load for each gun for general purpose use. If I need to do something different, I'll use a different gun that meets that need. That makes the logistics of finding components much easier, and you learn your loads better. One rifle for close to medium range, one for medium to long range. Three handguns, each with a standard load of the same approximate bullet weight and velocity. I can pick any of the three, and not have to think about what the load is going to do, since they all perform roughly the same in terms of aim, power, and range capability. All of this lets me simplify the loading process, build up on hand stocks that I can just grab and go as needed. Makes life a lot less complicated.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I appreciate your review. I have been tumbling brass with primers on and as you guys noted there are generally pieces of media inside the pocket.I notice there are always some dirt in the empty pocket.I am only loading handgun cases now and as pointed out I could probably cut out the case measurement stage as only rarely ever is there one that is in variance and even then it is .001. I have a Lee Powder measure that I have not used yet. Still using the scoop and scale. I am never disappointed by the expertise and assistance.I regularly recommend the Forum to friends
 

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For case cleaning I just use two 3" square shotgun cleaning patches wetted with Hoppe's #9 solvent, twisting the case from both ends so the entire case get cleaned, and I fully examine the case in the process. This gets all the carbon and dirt removed from the case, and the film of Hoppe's is adequate lube for sizing. For larger cartridges, I use clean patches after every 20-25 cases. After sizing, I use clean, dry patches to remove the Hoppe's. I have taken to expanding necks as a separate step using a neck expanding die. For this reason I have ground down the expanding button on all my sizing/decapping die mandrels. I never liked the feel of dragging an expander button through the case mouth since I always felt like it was stretching the brass and expanded more of the neck than needed. I use powdered mica for the neck expanding process and never have issues with fine grain powders sticking in the case neck during the charging stage. To help keep track of what I've done, I turn cases the other end down in the loading block after each step, and always start with the primers up so I can clearly see they are fired cases.

I anneal cases about every 5-6 loadings, and that's when I check case length and do detailed case inspection. This includes using a primer pocket gauge to check for lose primer pockets. The one step I'd add as critical to the original poster's questions is that I use a small, LED flashlight to inspect the cases after charging to make sure I didn't miss one and to assure they appear to all have about the same amount of powder in them. It's also critical to wait and do your reloading when you can do it without distraction. Further, one does not have to do the reloading all in one session, but I leave myself written notes so I know what steps have been completed and what yet has to be done to the cases, and I always leave the cases base up in the loading block. Powdering and seating bullets are the only steps that need to be completed in the same session. Everyone needs to develop a process with which they are comfortable, but making a written check list that can be modified from time to time is not a bad idea, particularly for someone new to reloading.
 

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I use the following checklist, which I update when I learn more...………

Reloading Checklist Date: ___________

Firearm______________________________________________ Cal_________

Load Data Source________________________________________ Cases ______ ______ _______
# Start Fired # Reload #
Case Mfr___________________________________________ Lot #___________________________

Max Mfr Case OL ___________ Case Trim-to-Length ___________ Mfr Cartridge OAL ___________

Powder Mfr________________________________ Lot #___________________ Powder Wt_______

Bullet________________________________ Lot #___________________ Seating Depth___________

Primer Mfr_____________________ Primer Size________________ Lot #_____________________

Reloading Sequence

1. Case: Fired New Swage Uniform Primer Pocket Debur Flash Hole

2. Case: DePrime Clean (Tumble) . Inspect Weigh Ave Wt:___________________

3. Case: Headspace Measurement_____________________ Headspace Setback: ____________

4. Neck Thickness __________ Turn Turn-to Thickness_____________ Expand case mouth

5. Clean Neck Lubricate Case

6. Resize: Full Length Neck Diameter _____ Bushing Size_____ Shoulder Bump Setback

7. Case length ____________ Trim Case Trim-to Length____________ Debur Chamfer

8. Clean (ultrasonic) Dry Clean Primer Pocket Anneal: Pistol Case: Flare case mouth

9. Prime

10. Powder Load ___________ gr

11. Bullet: Seat Depth ___________ Jump: ___________ COAL ____________ Crimp

12. Gauge Check Ammo Checker - Check

13. Check Run out: __________ Concentricity ____________ Adjust if needed

14. Final No. Rounds Loaded ________ Rejects/Culls _____________

Notes:
I check each relevant item as I proceed. It keeps me on track. NOTE: I deprime first, so I can clean as much of the primer pocket as I can before sizing, then the ultrasonic cleaning after to get lube off takes care of residual gunk.
 

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You should trim after sizing. The sizing process will make the case longer.
You can use the "trim to" length if you like but you can also measure the chamber and trim to match your chamber length. I use my chamber length minus 0.001" for my trim length.

Other than that your checklist looks great.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Are these cases that need trimming rifle cases? Reason I ask I have never had to trim a single handgun case yet. They don’t seem to change at all.
 

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Are these cases that need trimming rifle cases? Reason I ask I have never had to trim a single handgun case yet. They don’t seem to change at all.
I've got some .44 Magnums that I fired in silhouette matches (Maximum power loads) That have been reloaded at least 10 times. Still about the same length as when started. I was gifted 300 rounds of once fired .45 Colt WW brass. Lengths were all in SAAMI range, but were all through said range. I picked a number and ended up trimming them all to same length. Those are about the only straight wall cases I've ever trimmed. Some makers either don't have tight tolerances between lot numbers or maybe they are coming from different plants. I'm not sure if any one brand of brass is more consistent in length than any other. Lately, I've been using Starline almost exclusively. Find it to be a good between expense and quality.
 
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