20 February 2014


I got some new toys in today.

In anticipation of the new toys I went out to get powder. I usually use H380 for the Arisaka 6.5x50, but since I was going to reload .223 for the Saiga with my new toys (one set of them anyway) I decided to use H335 since it can be used for both calibers.

Off to the Merchant of Death I went...only to find that they did not have H380 or H335.

One of the boons to living in this modern age is having the internet at my fingertips, so a little online researching and I found that H322, which according to their display they did have, was also suitable for both calibers.

Except they were sold out of that, too.

I ended up with IMR 4064 for the Arisaka (I had to find load data for that online since the insert that came with my dies didn't have it listed...and the online reference doesn't have 123 grain projectiles, either, so I had to calculate the load using the data for 120 grain and 129 grain...but I digress) and IMR 4198 for the Saiga. I don't really like the idea of having two different powders, but who knows, I might like the results.

I also did some drooling over a Saiga in 7.62, but couldn't talk myself into the asking price, although the asking price was pretty darn reasonable. They also had a Ruger American in 7mm Magnum that looked pretty good to me as well.  Choices, choices...oh well, I have to head back there tomorrow. Seems as if I have no cartridge cases for .223...

I left with just the powder (although there is always tomorrow...), and no powder for the handguns (I use Alliant Power Pistol in the .45 and plan to use it for the 9mm as well) since they were out. Good thing I still have most of a pound left.

When I got home I took all my new toys out to the reloading shed...with the exception of the .223 dies that I could not for the life of me find anywhere. I searched the gun safe, I searched the computer desk, I searched the counters, I searched the reloading bench and surrounding areas, no dies. I scratched holes in my head for a while and then went to do something else, and then of course I found them. (Note to self: order the factory crimp die.)

So now I have projectiles in .224, .264 (6.5mm), 9mm and .45 and brass for all of the above, I have primers and I have powder, and I have the dies for everything. I anticipate a fun-filled reloading session or a dozen in my very near future.

To that end I am tumbling 9mm brass. My last range session netted me more brass than I had come with, so I have almost 300 rounds to clean, which I do in 100 round lots. Out of curiosity I went online to see how long everyone tumbles their brass. Seems that "until clean" is the preferred answer, with times ranging from a half hour to overnight. Most were variations on the "until I remember to turn off the tumbler" theme.

The way I usually do it is, when I get home from the range I sort everything into Ziploc bags, 100 rounds at a time for pistol and 40 rounds (two boxes) for rifle, and store them in an ammo can. When I reload I dump that dirty brass into the cleaner as I reload the brass that I already have clean from the last session. When I'm done for the session I take whatever brass that just went through the cleaner, dump it into my strainer, shake it a few times and bag the medium back up for the next time. The cleaned brass goes into another ziploc bag which stays in the strainer (which stays on top of the bucket) until next time.

When I start I take that clean hundred rounds of whatever caliber it happens to be, resize and deprime, clean the primer holes, prime, and put the cleaned and primed brass into my reloading tray if I want to load that particular caliber, into boxes for later reloading if I don't. That takes about an hour, all of this time another 100 rounds of pistol or 40 rounds of rifle has been running in the tumbler. That goes into my strainer and another batch goes in the cleaner.

Either I reload what I've already deprimed and cleaned or I deprime and clean the primer holes on the new rounds and put that into my reloading tray. That takes about an hour...more if I'm reloading as I go...and the cycle repeats until either I'm out of materials or I'm tired of reloading. At the end, the tumbled rounds go into the bag, the bag into the strainer, the strainer into the bucket, the media goes into the container, and everything goes on the shelf ready for the next reloading session.

So what's your preferred method?

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