So you’re new to reloading, you’ve read the “How to get started in reloading” sticky and decided on what kind of gear you want to spend money on. I thought we should start a thread covering what’s actually happening during the process and getting the software between your ears up to speed regardless of what hardware you bought, and maybe address some things that aren’t talked about in the manuals so you can save yourself some headache and enjoy your new hobby more. You should be reading several reloading manuals and any instructions from whomever made your new gear in addition to this. This isn't a comprehensive instruction manual. I just wanted to address some common questions and problems for guys starting out. Since it seems most people start with common auto cartridges like 9mm, .45 auto, .40 S&W et al, I’ll walk you through those first in order of operation.
Resizing / Decapping: Pretty simple – brings the dimensions of a fired piece of brass back down to the size it should be so it can feed well and grip a bullet again. Don’t overanalyze it. The dimensions on the drawings in your manual are maximum dimensions. This stage is where you get neck tension on the bullet (more on this later). Decapping is simply popping out the old / spent primer. Life is a lot simpler if you have a resizing die that has a carbide ring in it (you won’t have to lube cases). With carbide sizing dies, make sure you aren’t setting it too far down so that your press cams over. You’ll break the carbide. I just raise the ram, screw down the die until it barely touches and lock it down.
Trimming, Chamfering and Deburring: It’s doubtful you’ll ever do it on brass for auto loading handguns. In fact, they often shrink the more you shoot them. I thought I’d bring it up here because this is where you take your measurements – after sizing. If you’re doing a rimmed cartridge like .44 mag, .357 mag or .45 Colt, you might want to trim to get a more consistent roll crimp. If you’re loading for rifle, trimming will be a lot more important. If the case stretches too much it can stick into your leade / freebore and it will act like a roll crimp die and squeeze your bullet. Guess what – pressure increases. After you trim, your brass will be really rough on the case mouth. A chamfer / deburring tool will clean up the inside and the outside of the brass. You aren’t trying to create a knife edge with chamfering. For rifle, you are just trying to remove any burrs and relieve it a little on the inside so your bullet can get started into the case. With handgun cartridges, you use a different technique called flaring.
Last edited by Zombie Steve; 05-17-2011 at 15:51..