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Reloading Brass Prep 101

Reloading Brass Tips And Tricks



We’ve all heard the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” For reloaders, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you aren’t constantly upgrading your techniques and process, chances are you could be missing out on some valuable information. That’s why we wanted to offer a few tips and tricks that could make your life a tad bit easier, even for the veteran reloader.


Working Light Loads


When working up light loads in semi-automatic handguns and rifles, begin with the reloading manuals’ starting load and load one round into a magazine that you know will lock back after the last round every time. If your firearm won’t lock back with the starting load, increase the load a couple tenths of a grain at a time until it will lock the action back after firing a single round from the magazine. Always watch for pressure signs.

Once you have your load worked up to that point, you can then load the magazine to make sure that it will function at 100 percent. If it doesn’t, you will need to increase your load 1-2 tenths of a grain.

Adjusting Seating Crimp

If your cases began to buckle or bulge when seating bullets, your seating die is most likely not adjusted properly; the die is crimping the case before the bullet is fully seated, causing too much tension and cas e buckling. To remedy this, back the seating die off several revolutions to where it isn’t crimping at all, then adjust the seating stem down until the bullet is seated to the proper depth. If you don’t mind the extra step, seat all of the bullets at this time, then remove the seating stem and adjust the die back down to crimp in a separate step.

Sizing Cases

When loading some handgun calibers that require a lot of neck tension, or calibers that use a wide range of bullet diameters, you may be required to size your new cases prior to the first loading to achieve proper bullet tension. When doing this, it is generally not necessary to full length size the brass; you can just adjust the sizing die up to the point where it is only sizing 3/8 to 1/2 inch of the case mouth. This will require much less force than full length sizing and will also save your brass from any unnecessary work hardening, resulting in the ability to reload the same brass more times.


Bottleneck Cases

When sizing rifle cases that feature a bottleneck, especially those with a short length and thin wall, it is extremely easy to crush the case if the expander is improperly adjusted. Most bottleneck sizing dies will have a case mouth expander on the decapping assembly which is used to set the ID of the mouth to achieve the proper bullet tension.

The sizing die will size the case neck down enough that the ID is smaller than the expander. If the expander is in the neck area of the die, there will not be enough clearance for the case walls and you will crush the case. The expander needs to be set below the neck area of the die. Be sure that it is not set too low that it hits the bottom of the case, as you could damage the primer pocket. This usually isn’t a problem with longer cases because when the expander/decapping assembly is set low enough to decap, the expander is set well below the neck in the die. This causes the case to be crushed.