JUST started loading, already a few questions...
Well, as the title says, I FINALLY got my reloading stuff together. I do have a couple questions though: I broke my decapping rod (please don't ask, I really dont want to talk about it). The sizing die body is fine, and I'm still able to seat bullets quite easily. Is there anything wrong with continuing to load without using a decapping/expanding rod? Other than making a bullet easier to seat, is there any other advantage of the expanding button?
Also, how clean does the casing interior need to be? I clean them well enough to remove any loose debris/crust on the walls, but it is still sooty inside. Is this something to be concerned about?
Lastly, IMR4895 vs Hodgdon 4895? I'm running about 46 grains behind a 150ish grain bullet. These loads are all getting fed to an M1. I've run a couple hundred rounds loaded with Hodgdon through my rifle, and it does fine, but I'm wanting to get several lbs of powder stocked up. Is one clearly superior to the other?
THANKS VERY MUCH for any advice.
My understanding, expanding the case mouth is a necessary part of reloading.
Cleaning - What I do... I make sure they are free of grit/grime/debris, and that I can inspect them for any defects. They are not sparkly clean.
IMR vs H... I'd suggest trying both & see what:
-- meters easiest thru your powder measure
-- gives you the best results
The purpose of the expander ball is to resize, straighten the neck, and round the case mouth. This reduces runout and provides consistent neck tension. There are other, usually more precise ways to do the same things. For most reloaders, the convenience of doing multiple tasks (decapping, sizing the body, straightening and rounding the neck) with one pull of the handle outweighs any advantages of doing them all separately. It depends on what you need your loads to do and how OCD you want to be in your procedures.
The inside doesn't need to be clean at all. Clean the outside to remove any crud that may scratch your dies; some people don't even do that.
H or IMR4895? Buy whichever is cheaper or works best with your measure.
H4895 is supposedly a little shorter grained and if true should meter better. H4895 is billed by Hodgdon as less temperature sensitive, IMR is supposedly more temperature sensitive (i.e. more velocity variation with change in temp). H4895 is faster burning, and therefore should use a little less powder than IMR-4895 to achieve same velocity. Both powders serve well for the M1 Garand. I use IMR 4895 with excellent results in winter and summer. You should be able to see the difference in performance between the two in .30-06 loads in your reloading manual, and here
How do you clean your cases? If you tumble or soak them the inside is clean enough for sure. Like Maury says, that is about the least of issues. If I had to clean by hand, I would brush or mop the inside of case necks with a dry brush or bore mop, but that's just me.
If you size brass without the expander ball, you will size the necks too far and have excessive neck tension. Also probably risk being out of round. Some reloaders size necks without the expander in 1st step, then use a special or separate expander to size necks more precisely to their needs. For an M1 Garand, you should just size the normal way with the intact decapper / expander in the die. If you have RCBS dies, they would likely send you a new decapping rod assy for free. Another die company may do same. Good luck!
PS: A person from England posted this interesting info below on powder mfg at another site. I do not have time to confirm it myself, but it is interesting:
The older IMR powders are made in a different factory (and on a different continent in fact) from the Hodgdon extruded powders using different technologies. IMR is made in Canada, Hodgdon extruded products by Thales (formerly ADI) in Australia. All Hodgdon brand 'spherical' (ball) powders are made by the former Olin Industries plant in St Marks, FLA now trading as the St. Marks Powder Co and making all Winchester brand ball powders as well as Hodgdon 'spherical' products. (That's why some Win and Hodgdon powders are in effect the same thing with the minor differences you get between production lots: H. BL-C(2) / W748 and H414 / W760 in rifle plus some pistol powders.) Pyrodex is also made in the USA I believe, but elsewhere. I don't know if IMR-8208 XBR is a Canadian IMR powder or an Australian number being even less temperature affected than Varget etc.
Note that no extruded powders are now made in the USA. It's far more dangerous manufacturing this type than ball / spherical whose production process uses a non-explosive slurry mix until the final stage of precipitating the little balls out in a still. I read somewhere that US health & safety regulations have made it impossible to manufacture extruded powders at an acceptable cost. The same applies here in the UK which is why we no longer make ANY powders at all, and most European plants have been closed too on health & safety grounds.
Last edited by Hefights; 01-26-2012 at 08:14.
Decapping pins break, you can get more where you buy reloading supplies. I've broken them on Berdan primed cases, these are usually foreign source and have two off center ignition holes instead of one hole at center. If you're buying foreign loaded ammo and plan to reload the cases, look for "boxer primed." I've also broken them decapping US military cases, these cases were loaded with the primer pockets crimped over the primers. Sometimes those suckers just don't want to come out and the pin either breaks or punches through the primer.
I think he broke the whole rod assy.
If I had a dollar for every decapping pin and $5.00 for every rod I have bent or broken over the years,...
I have a drawer of spares on my bench both pins and rods....not an "if" thing but a "when" thing..
As for case cleanliness just get out any debris that will change case volume, .22 brass, spider nests, tumbling media etc. debris will change case volume and pressure starts getting whacky
IMR 4895 and H 4895 are not interchangeable work up each powder on it's own... never assume it is "close enough" remember the .30-06 Ball M2 has a working pressure of 41K to 50K PSI (depending on the year you read (41K from a 1939 report to 50K from later lots) so any overpressure would put it at well over 50K PSI 4" from your nose..I don't like "assumptions" that close to me under that much pressure..
the M2 BALL ammo from the last data I have shows 50k PSI, 2740fps at 78ft from muzzle.
Uses 150gr bullet and 50grs of 4895.
H 4895 still has acceptable burn rate but 46 grs of IMR vs. 46 grs of H just isn't the same
The rod and the sizing ball aren't "unnecessary luxuries" added by the manufacturer for the hell of it....they are there for damn good reasons and you CANNOT make a consistently safe load without them. A cartridge is a balancing act played out in milliseconds between accelerating that bullet to Mach 4 in less than 24", and blowing up the rifle!. ANYTHING that alters that very precise accel-curve, like an improperly sized case neck, can have catastrophic consequences (not to mention producing a load that will define inconsistent). Decapping rods, as you have already discovered, are an item that fails, making them something you purchase ahead and keep "in stock", ditto LOTS of decapping pins!. They ARE NOT difficult to find (I have at least 3 places locally that stocks them for both rifle and pistol dies) or expensive to purchase. and stupid to load without!
Last edited by John Kepler; 01-28-2012 at 04:30.
Thanks for the input everyone. I haven't actually loaded many yet without the decapping rod, so I'll just go ahead and get a new one before I continue.
I've been soaking my cases in vinegar for a few days, rinse well, wipe well and dry for a few days. So far it seems to be working well.
When I get ready to load my serious duty, "put away" loads, I'll probably put 49 grains of H4895 behind some pulled AP blacktips. But I'm going to wait to get a new decapping rod. Once again, thanks for your posts.
despite JohnK's histrionics, the main purpose of the neck expander is to OVER-work (work harden) your case necks. You can turn/trim it down so that it only decaps (or just take it out and use a separate universal depriming die). No amount of neck tension, or LACK of tension, is going to "blow up" a rifle with ANY sane load.
Originally Posted by John Kepler
Last edited by musculus; 02-01-2012 at 12:34.