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One frustration I have on reloading... As a rookie reloader (only been doing it a year or two), I find a lot of contradictory information out there on it. I bought the Hornady reloading set and it came with a great big book that included reloading data for pretty much every cartridge ever made. But I noticed some discrepancies between the Hornady book and the powder weight data published by the powder manufacturer (Hodgdon). So I have been following the powder weights published by Hodgdon.

I also noticed that the specs for total length of the cartridge with the bullet seated, published by Hornady, are different than commercial ammo comes with. In the case of my 9mm, if I follow the Hornady specs, the cartridges will not even feed. So I have been going with measuring a commercially made cartridge and seating mine to the same length. But that adds the variable of what type of bullet I am using. For example, reloading 9mm, I am loading JHPs (I.E. the bullet is shorter than a FMJ). But the only commercial cartridges I have to measure against are FMJ.

Going on a system of trial-and-error like I have been, has worked out okay so far. But it does seem like it might not be the safest way to go. This whole exercise seems like it might be more of an art than a science though. Any advice?
 
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I've only been reloading on and off since about 1976, . . . and I have not found one "source" yet that is THE last word in reloading.

Reloading commercially requires one set of parameters. Reloading plinkers requires a different set. Get into long range precision reloading, . . . and you could drive yourself up the proverbial tree with looking at all the factors that "can" have an effect on the final product.

The best bet: stay middle of the road on all powder suggestions. Too little will blow up a gun as easy if not quicker than too much. Look for the "factory duplication load" settings, I have found that they are a really good starting place.

There are so many factors, . . . the primer, the case, the powder, the projectile, the crimp. Just make sure whatever you do, it is within the perimeters and parameters of one of the better sources. They have figured out how to give you information that will not get them sued if it is followed and you blow up.

And you need to "think" about what you are doing. In the above example, the reloader tried to use the OAL of an FMJ to set the OAL of a JHP. That simply should not be done. The fact that he got away with it rolls into the good luck cagegory, . . . Take your micrometer to a gun shop, . . . ask to see a box of JHP's and measure one. Don't try using the measurement of one thing to determine the setting of another. It's kinda like comparing apples to oranges, . . . doesn't float or fly.

But reloading is to a certain extent "art" as many times two very similar rifles or pistols will shoot very differently with the very same ammo, . . . you just need to work up what it likes and avoid what it doesnt.

Above all, . . . be safe, . . . and again, . . . "think" about what you are doing. Walk through the process through your mind, . . . ask yourself hard questions. Usually, I have found, that will get me through.

May God bless,
Dwight
 

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One frustration I have on reloading... As a rookie reloader (only been doing it a year or two), I find a lot of contradictory information out there on it. I bought the Hornady reloading set and it came with a great big book that included reloading data for pretty much every cartridge ever made. But I noticed some discrepancies between the Hornady book and the powder weight data published by the powder manufacturer (Hodgdon). So I have been following the powder weights published by Hodgdon.

I also noticed that the specs for total length of the cartridge with the bullet seated, published by Hornady, are different than commercial ammo comes with. In the case of my 9mm, if I follow the Hornady specs, the cartridges will not even feed. So I have been going with measuring a commercially made cartridge and seating mine to the same length. But that adds the variable of what type of bullet I am using. For example, reloading 9mm, I am loading JHPs (I.E. the bullet is shorter than a FMJ). But the only commercial cartridges I have to measure against are FMJ.

Going on a system of trial-and-error like I have been, has worked out okay so far. But it does seem like it might not be the safest way to go. This whole exercise seems like it might be more of an art than a science though. Any advice?
I remember there was something specific about loading 9mm
Doing a search I found what it was

Bullet seating depth is VERY CRITICAL in 9mm cartridges. The cartridge typically runs chamber pressures in the 35-37,000 psi range. A bullet seated just .020 too deep can raise the chamber pressure to 50,000 psi or more. You want to shoot the gun not wear it so be very careful.
 

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Well, I am no "expert" but I have been reloading for well over 40 years and I can tell you that the mistakes you make - if they don't kill you they will make you understand one thing:

You can't go wrong if you follow any reloading manual to the letter. Use the same bullet at the listed length with the same powder and the same charge (pick a middle between start and maximum) along with the same case and the same primer.

If you change any one component then reduce it to a starting load and work up from that UNLESS you are seating to a longer overall length - never use the listed starting loads with more powder capacity that the book calls for. By the same token NEVER use a maximum load asa starting point - espacially if you are using military brass or seating the bullet deeper (less overall length) than the book recommends.

If you load for a while you will find that some cases (even in the same make and lot#) will vary in weight - If they are all sized and trimmed to the same length and one weighs more than another the the heavy case holds less powder. Typically 1 grain of powder for every 7 grains of brass. So if you hav a case that weighs 1.5 grains more than another then the max load in the heavier case will be .2 grains lighter.
 

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PaulS
Yes loading manuals do a lot of checking before they put something in writing. Such as the following

On the 9mm the old Speer #11 Manual that states: "Loads that produced 28,000 cup went to 62,000 cup when bullets were seated .030 deeper". The new Speer #13 manual has a caution about seating deeper but doesn't list actual pressures.
 

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I have found a correlation between the age of the book and the maximum grains they recommend. My father has a Herters book from the early 60's and the max loads are significantly higher than newer Speer or hornady books.

I blame the lawyers, they limit liability by recommending safer slower loads. I used to chase velocity and would often exceed book max loads, as I have mellowed with age I usually run right down the middle.
 

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I have found a correlation between the age of the book and the maximum grains they recommend. My father has a Herters book from the early 60's and the max loads are significantly higher than newer Speer or hornady books.

I blame the lawyers, they limit liability by recommending safer slower loads. I used to chase velocity and would often exceed book max loads, as I have mellowed with age I usually run right down the middle.
You are correct the older manuals usually have higher max loads. But now days if someone fills their barrel up with mud and the gun blows up in their face, a lawyer will claim that wouldn't happen if the powder charge wasn't so high and in this day and age it isn't hard to find a jury that would agree.
 

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Well, I am no "expert" but I have been reloading for well over 40 years and I can tell you that the mistakes you make - if they don't kill you they will make you understand one thing:

You can't go wrong if you follow any reloading manual to the letter. Use the same bullet at the listed length with the same powder and the same charge (pick a middle between start and maximum) along with the same case and the same primer.
The problem is, if you read two different manuals, you get two different sets of specs for exactly the same components. So who is right? Splitting the difference does not seem a wise strategy when dealing with explosives.
 

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The problem is, if you read two different manuals, you get two different sets of specs for exactly the same components. So who is right? Splitting the difference does not seem a wise strategy when dealing with explosives.
If I want max power I will use the manual that states the highest max load (probably an older manual). As has been stated it is well known that many hand loading manuals have reduced their loads because they have to protect themselves from anyone who may mishandle a firearm.

I wouldn't be suprised in the future that they will only recommend powders that the maximum load is a compressed load so that it would be very hard to over charge a round.
 

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If I want max power I will use the manual that states the highest max load (probably an older manual). As has been stated it is well known that many hand loading manuals have reduced their loads because they have to protect themselves from anyone who may mishandle a firearm.

I wouldn't be suprised in the future that they will only recommend powders that the maximum load is a compressed load so that it would be very hard to over charge a round.
That is exactly my point. I am perfectly happy working to spec if I have a specs that are consistent or one that I trust. The problem with reloading specs is they are not consistent. That leaves a rookie like me guessing which one to follow. Every round I have loaded is within spec as stated by somebody. But many are outside specs for others. That is my frustration.

Your point earlier about a 9mm being seated too deep by .020 is the perfect example. I absolutely believe you in your example. But being off by .02 is the same as 1/50th of an inch. That is huge. If I am off by 1/64th of an inch in my woodworking (when making furniture) which is absolutely an art rather than a science, I remake the part. I absolutely want my reloads more accurate than my wife's kitchen cabinets.
 

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I have several books some include Lee's Modern Reloading 2nd ED., Lyman's 49th Ed, Lyman Cast bullets guide, Lyman's Black Powder, Hornady 9th Ed. as well as several by various bullet makers. I also get the update guides by several powder makers. Part of the problem is take a powder like Unique which was changed a few years back to make it cleaner which also changed all the loading guides that followed. I also use several online sources such as Ammo Guide, Load Data and powder company sights. When I find a difference between sources I tend to go with Lee as they tend to use the powder makers data rather than do their own testing.
 

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I have not started reloading yet. I have been saving my once-fired brass for when I have more time.

My biggest concern is the investment you have to make to get the equipment you need. Presses, case trimmer, primers, reamers, scales, bullet pullers, boxes/cartons, bench, and on and on. Then there is your time. Seems like it is hard to break even unless you shoot a lot....
 

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Having the equipment today, is the easy part. Finding components, is the hard part.
 

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I have not started reloading yet. I have been saving my once-fired brass for when I have more time.

My biggest concern is the investment you have to make to get the equipment you need. Presses, case trimmer, primers, reamers, scales, bullet pullers, boxes/cartons, bench, and on and on. Then there is your time. Seems like it is hard to break even unless you shoot a lot....
You can get started with something as cheap and simple as a Lee Loader. I don't load handgun stuff anymore. I load rifle stuff because it is far superior to factory stuff.
 

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One frustration I have on reloading... As a rookie reloader (only been doing it a year or two), I find a lot of contradictory information out there on it. I bought the Hornady reloading set and it came with a great big book that included reloading data for pretty much every cartridge ever made. But I noticed some discrepancies between the Hornady book and the powder weight data published by the powder manufacturer (Hodgdon). So I have been following the powder weights published by Hodgdon.

I also noticed that the specs for total length of the cartridge with the bullet seated, published by Hornady, are different than commercial ammo comes with. In the case of my 9mm, if I follow the Hornady specs, the cartridges will not even feed. So I have been going with measuring a commercially made cartridge and seating mine to the same length. But that adds the variable of what type of bullet I am using. For example, reloading 9mm, I am loading JHPs (I.E. the bullet is shorter than a FMJ). But the only commercial cartridges I have to measure against are FMJ.

Going on a system of trial-and-error like I have been, has worked out okay so far. But it does seem like it might not be the safest way to go. This whole exercise seems like it might be more of an art than a science though. Any advice?
You are absolutely right, data will vary by who produced the data and when. A lot of it is due to the differences in test bed, each publishers' test bed will be different. Some of it is due to atmospheric conditions at the time the data was produced ( a lot of this has been eliminated by climate controlled indoor ranges). My method for working up a safe load is to start by looking over all my manuals to see which one uses the components I want to use, if the bullet/powder combo is the same I start with the starting load and work my way up until I get the accuracy I'm looking for. I've never really concerned myself too much with the velocity of my chosen loads, I shoot them over a chronograph more to see how consistent they are than to confirm velocity.

While you're working up your loads pay close attention to pressure signs, inspect every piece of brass fired. I have no problem going over the listed max load to obtain the accuracy I'm looking for provided that I'm not showing any signs of excessive pressure (sticky bolt, cases getting stuck in revolver chambers, flattened primers, etc.). I usually try to start with the powder manufacturers data and that's my first stop in looking for data for a new load, however if they don't list my particular bullet I start digging into my manuals.

Reloading can definitely be overwhelming and a bit frustrating when you first start getting into it, but the pay off is well worth the time invested. I don't load 9mm but I have heard from several sources that it's not a particularly good cartridge to start out on, I imagine the pressure spikes talked about here are probably the reason. In all welcome to the wonderful world of reloading and feel free to post any questions you might have, seems to be plenty of experience here so someone should be able to help. I will also recommend thefiringline and handloadersbench forums, both have a ton of knowledge in the posts.

-Infidel
 

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The reason that powder charges have dropped with newer manuals is due in large part to the inaccuracy of the older copper crusher method compared to the piezo-electric data collected. I say "in large part" because in some cases SAAMI has actually droppedthe max pressures of some loadings due to the poorly made guns by a few manufacturers.

The difference between the copper crusher method and the piezo-electric devices is that the crusher method has a flat spot before the crusher starts to compress and then a "time at pressure" limitation that causes errors. The Piezo-electric system shows exactly how much pressure exists for how long a period of time. Some of the older loads made very high pressures for very short periods that actually exceeded "proof" pressures as "normal" loads. The new information was researched and micro-fractures were found in the chambers of firearms using the prior load data. Since steel rsponds to these short duration peaks and brass does not it appeared to be a good load until the new data arrived.
On the other side is the S&W saga of guns that would not last with maximum loads. They petitioned SAAMI to lower the pressures rather than build firearms that could actually stand up to the pressures that were industry standard. The pressures for the 357 magnum were dropped in two or three stages from 45000 psi to the current 30000 psi. I have always used the older loads in my Rugers with no ill effects. The gun is as tight after over 40000 rounds as it was new and still shoots 1 inch groups for me at 25 yards. (off-hand) The older spec called for up to 19.4 grains of H-110 with a 140 grain bullet and my best load is 19.1 grain. Keep in mind that this is with a Ruger and not a Colt or Smith (or their clones). I doubt that even the largest framed Smiths could stand up to a lifetime of those rounds. The same story applies to the 357 Maximum where the original SAAMI specs called out 50000 psi and the new specs are at 40000 psi.

Since there have never been any lawsuits filed and won over poor reloading data it is unlikely that lawyers have anything to do with the reduced charges. If you are shooting a revolver, other than the heavy Rugers then I suggest that you use the reduced load info. If you are using the data for a rifle and find the data has been reduced then use the newest data to protect your rifle long term and yourself.
 
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You are absolutely right, data will vary by who produced the data and when. A lot of it is due to the differences in test bed, each publishers' test bed will be different. Some of it is due to atmospheric conditions at the time the data was produced ( a lot of this has been eliminated by climate controlled indoor ranges). My method for working up a safe load is to start by looking over all my manuals to see which one uses the components I want to use, if the bullet/powder combo is the same I start with the starting load and work my way up until I get the accuracy I'm looking for. I've never really concerned myself too much with the velocity of my chosen loads, I shoot them over a chronograph more to see how consistent they are than to confirm velocity.

While you're working up your loads pay close attention to pressure signs, inspect every piece of brass fired. I have no problem going over the listed max load to obtain the accuracy I'm looking for provided that I'm not showing any signs of excessive pressure (sticky bolt, cases getting stuck in revolver chambers, flattened primers, etc.). I usually try to start with the powder manufacturers data and that's my first stop in looking for data for a new load, however if they don't list my particular bullet I start digging into my manuals.

Reloading can definitely be overwhelming and a bit frustrating when you first start getting into it, but the pay off is well worth the time invested. I don't load 9mm but I have heard from several sources that it's not a particularly good cartridge to start out on, I imagine the pressure spikes talked about here are probably the reason. In all welcome to the wonderful world of reloading and feel free to post any questions you might have, seems to be plenty of experience here so someone should be able to help. I will also recommend thefiringline and handloadersbench forums, both have a ton of knowledge in the posts.

-Infidel
GREAT INFO! Thanks a bunch!

I have been inspecting the brass after every shot and it does not show any signs that I can see of excessive pressure.
 
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