Concentration and attention to detail are very important factors in producing quality reloaded pistol ammunition. A sturdy and organized table to mount your equipment will also make for a better end product. An updated reloading manual is needed to reference proper powder charge, bullet weight, and bullet seating depth. I will be using a single stage press on this how to. In later articles, I will go through using a progressive press.
After properly mounting your press and organizing work your table, you are ready to begin. I will start with the 45 ACP. It is a common and easy round to reload. If you had shot and saved your brass, often referred to as range brass or once fired brass, they will have to be processed. Reusing your once fired brass is a cost effective way of reloading that most reloaders will do. I highly recommend using your own fired brass because you can attest to the condition that they are in. If you picked up other people’s brass, thoroughly check the condition that they are in. Processing brass is discussed later, which involves cleaning, deburing, sizing, de-priming and on occasion, trimming to length. Newly purchased brass, which can be quite expensive, is ready for powder, primer and a bullet.
Clean brass is important. You can clean them with a vibratory tumbler filled with crushed walnut shells or corncob. These can be found at your local gun stores or feed stores. Inspect each casing for damage, at the same time debur the neck. Lightly rotate the deburing tool inside and out of the neck of the casing. Damaged, questionable, inconsistent, or imperfect cases should be recycled at your local recycling center. These cases should NOT be used. It will cause injury, damage to your firearm, and is not worth the pennies that you will save.
Most die sets will combine sizing and de-priming in one step. Insert the proper shell holder and sizing die. If you are using a carbide sizing die no lubrication is needed. If not, roll the casings lightly across a lube pad and insert into the shell holder. Actuate the press one full cycle and you have now resized and de-primed. Next, measure the over all length of the casing with a caliper and compare it to the specifications in your reloading book. Trim the casing to the proper length with the case trimmer if needed.
Range brass will often times need their primer pockets cleaned. To do this, you need a primer pocket tool, a couple of rotations inside the pocket and its done. Inspect the flash hole for any obstructions. Sometimes cleaning media will lodge in the flash hole. Poke a small wire or tooth-pick to remove any obstruction. Since we are loading for the 45 ACP, you will need to use Large Pistol Primers (LPP). Smaller calibers will require Small Pistol Primers (SPP). Insert your brass into the shell holder, press firmly to seat the primer in the pocket. Run your finger across the bottom of the casing. A properly seated primer should be flush or deeper that the bottom rim.
Look in the reloading book for 45 ACP. Find the weight of the bullet, in lead or jacketed, that you will be using. Next look under the type of powder you are using and cross reference the two. You will notice powder charge listed in grains. The amount in grains will dictate the speed the bullet will travel and the pressure that your firearm will incur. Lead bullets will lead up your barrel if you push it too fast, where as jacketed bullets will produce lighter leading in the barrel. Use a powder measure to obtain the charge you want, check it with a scale or weigh each charge and pour the powder into each primed casing. .450 bushmaster ammo
Before seating each bullet, look at the tray of charged casings. The powder level should all be the same. At the same time you are looking for missed or double charged casings. If this is done, just redo that charge. Now you are ready to seat the bullet. Install the bullet seating die. Set the bullet into the bell of the casing and slowly seat the bullet a little. Measure the total length and refer to the load manual for maximum bullet length. Make slow adjustment until the desired length is obtained.
After your tray of bullets are complete, inspect each round for over all length. This measurement should not exceed what is recommended in your reloading book. You will get faster the more you do and learn the short cuts. The main thing is to pay attention to what you are doing and you will enjoy shooting your own round