Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's Wednesday Already!

Yep, Wednesday already and time for another Blog.  Lets see, about the most exciting thing that is happening around here is that good friends JRoger and Susan from Florida will be here soon to visit. We are very excited about that.

They just bought a beautiful, smaller motorhome and this will be their first long trip in it.. We haven’t even seen it yet. They will head West on interstate 10 and stay right on that same road almost all the way out. We have made that trip many, many times in the past and it’s nice enjoyable trip. We have a spot all arranged for them and can’t wait. Help me in wishing them safe passage. Friday is their departure day.....which by the way is JRoger's birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY!!!!

Yesterday was “New Student” orientation at the ladies pistol class at the Wickenburg Sportsmens Club. Jerry and Caryl volunteer their time to teach this great class. They both do a wonderful job, I admire their dedication and hard work. A lot of effort goes into teaching this class and they don’t get paid a dime for their time. One of the main reasons I continue to go out with Ms. Pat each Tuesday is to help them set up and tear down all the targets and shooting scenarios. That is a lot of work and if I can help them in any manner, I feel it is small token of appreciation for all their efforts. Plus, it's good exercise !!

New Ladies Pistol Class, Feb 2013
They had a great turn out. Plus the weather was beautiful.  It got up to 69* before the afternoon was over. There is a waiting list now to get into this class, it has been extremely popular. A few of the gals drive all the way from Surprise, AZ, about 40 miles to attend. In the front row, on the left siting in the chair, is our fellow North Ranch long time resident, neighbor and good friend Nancy…(i.e. Paul and Nancy) A special welcome to Nancy!!

Caryl took the “old timers” over to the other Pistol Bay and we sat up a real fun set of targets including a wall, so the ladies could get experience shooting from behind cover.  I’m sure they enjoyed it.   Jerry had all the new students in this Bay and after the 3 hour class was over it looked like he had everyone pretty well trained on the basic fundamentals of gun handling. I’m glad to see that both Jerry and Caryl are very safety oriented. You can’t be to careful when dealing with firearms! It was a great afternoon!

I have received a lot of questions regarding my bullet reloading process, so I will attempt to explain a little bit of it. Some of it is rather difficult to explain, so bear with me as I hit a couple highlights of the process. Above is a picture of the brass after we have shot it on the left and then on the right is after I have ran it through my ultrasonic vibrating brass cleaner.  They look new don’t they, although these casings have been shot at least 5-6 times before. There is no “set” amount of times they can be reloaded. Brass has an amazing tolerance for expanding and contracting. Some brass will deteriorate faster than others and it is a matter of closely watching it for weak and stress areas. If it looks questionable, I don’t reload it and put it in the “Scrap” can. But most of it does exceptionally well as it goes through the reloading process, where it is re sized back to original specs or within the tolerances. 

Here is another picture that shows how well the spent brass cleans up after it goes through the cleaning process. I leave it in the vibrating machine with a cleaning substance of ground up “corncobs” for about 3 hours. Yep, plain old ground up corncobs and this is the way it comes out. Pretty amazing huh? Some people use ground up walnut shells.

The next process is accomplished in stage one with the press. That is removing the “Spent Primers” and replacing them with “New Primers” The 3 cartridges on the left are the old primers and on the right are 3 cartridge's after I have installed the New Primers in them. In the top of the picture is a box of the New Primers. They come 100 to a package and I buy them by the thousands. I just got in an order of 30K of them. It is amazing how you go through so many. They just seem to “disappear”! Smile

The brass on the left is after I have removed the old spent primer and on the right is after I installed the new primer. This is all done on stage one of the four stages of my  Reloading Press.

This is how I load the primers into the Press. I place them in a tray and load them into a tube 100 at a time, then feed that tube full of primers into the press. slick as a whistle!

You can see the long black tube that the primers feed through………The next stage puts just the proper amount of Gunpowder into the cartridge. This is a very critical step…They are all very critical of course, but this one is especially important. You can see the glass powder holder that I keep full of powder and it funnels a measured amount down into the shell case. This is a very precise and accurate measurement. I have an electronic scale that I use to set it properly, then I recheck it every 200-300 bullets to make sure it is still set properly. Right now with these current moly coated lead bullets I am using 5.5 grains of powder.  To much powder and you may blow your gun up and not enough powder and your lead bullet could lodge in the barrel or your gun may not function properly. If you should then fire another round into the plugged barrel,,,well another explosion.  None of these are desirable to have happen, so they MUST NOT happen!! We have to check and double (sometimes triple) check….


These are the Moly Coated Lead bullets. The next step (3) is to place one of these into the cartridge and firmly press it into the shell casing to the proper depth.  If you don’t have the exact depth setting, you gun most likely will jam, as it won’t feed properly..    I buy these by the 1000’s also……

Then the next and last stage in the press is the “crimping” stage where the die puts a nice finishing roll on the edge of the bullet and kind of “seals” it into the cartridge. then out rolls the beautiful bullets.

I fill box after box and then we go shoot them up!!   What a sport, I love it. Quite technical but still relaxing with a  feeling of accomplishment. All the while saving us more than 50% over the cost of store bought ammo. I can reload 100 bullets in less than a half hour now and that’s without rushing myself in any manner. I’m in no hurry, but I can do it a whole lot faster than I could when I first started….  over 10,000 bullets ago!!

Sorry if I have bored most of you out of your mind, or if you're still even reading at this point. But this is the way I spend a great deal of my time anymore and several of you have shown an interest. So I thought I would explain it just a little. I had no intentions of it being this long. But If you have any further questions, just let me know..

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!

Thanks for stopping by………hope you come back. God Bless

Everyone travel safe....especially you JRoger and Susan,,,and of course Scratchy!!Smile


This Blog is Published every Wednesday and Sunday..


Jim said...

Great explaination of the process Mike; and great photos to go with it. If you could make 223 ammo you'd be a millionaire these days. I can't find 223 at any price from any source right now. seems Obama scared folks into buying up all the AR15's and 223 ammo available.

Rod Ivers said...

Do you check the brass case length and trim the long ones?

When I was loading .357 it seemed that the brass would thin and lengthen with every shot after it had been fired a couple of times..

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

I remember back when we shot .38's on the police department all of our practice rounds were reloaded wadcutters. We carried the latest and greatest and newest hot loads on duty. When we went to the Glocks, the quality of the 40cal reloads really went downhill and we stopped using reloaded ammo even in practice, A jam just stops the range period. It ended up being more expensive but easier to hold range session.By the way I am a graduate of The MO Highway Patrol Firearms Instructors School and never had reloaded ammo myself, When we get out your way I would enjoy just watching you. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

Thanks for the lesson, I never knew how reloading was done. Now I've been educated.

Where should I send my tuition check? ;c)

TravelBug-Susan said...

Your ammo-making instructions were very interesting. Glad to hear you're double and triple-checking the gunpowder amounts. You wouldn't want to have an accident while out shooting!

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

I was under the impression that the lead bullets were being phased out. The bullets that don't hit their target poison the big birds that happen to think they are food and accidentally eat them?
Happy Trails, Penny

Ron and Thelma said...

Years ago I shot trap and reloaded shotgun shells for myself and a couple of others. I had one reloader where you moved the shell from spot to spot and itwould do it all at the same time. Sure was fun

Molly and Bob said...

Great post Mike! I too, am learning to shoot! Thanks for sharing this!
Hugs to both of you!

John said...

Hey Mike * thanks for taking the time for the great explanation. It was interesting and educational.

John said...

Hey Mike * thanks for taking the time for the great explanation. It was interesting and educational.

John said...

Hey Mike * thanks for taking the time for the great explanation. It was interesting and educational.

Paul Weaver said...

What a great explanation and a well done post. The pictures, comparing the before and after were especially informative. I learned a lot from your illustrations...thanks!

Sounds like a good way to spend some time...I think I would enjoy it.

Duane and Louise said...

Great blog today. I have never reloaded ammo. We are still fulltiming and I think I will wait till we get off the road to take it up. Don't want to haul gun powder in the rv.

Janna and Mike said...

You will have to get my Mike to tell you about the time we had a big BANG in the gun reloading room. I was upstairs and it about scared me to death!!

Kevin and Tracy (a.k.a. kcgaz) said...

Thanks for running us through your process, always wondered how it worked.

Al Bossence said...

Your Wednesday post slipped through the cracks on me but I found it this morning. Think you did a great job of not only writing, but photographing the whole bullet re-loading process. That has turned out to be a greatly interesting hobby for you & nice that you took the time to share it with other like minded folks.

Denis and Sandy Letendre said...

Thanks for the technical advise - I even got my husband looking over my shoulder.