100K rounds

Barb and I mostly stayed home this weekend because of the heat and extraordinarily smoky air from the forest fires. Otherwise we probably would have gone on a hike. So… I reloaded ammo and puttered around my “library” (includes computers, guns, ammo, reloading bench, reloading components, and gun cleaning bench). I reloaded 600 rounds of 40 S&W yesterday and 600 rounds today using up almost all of the Fiocchi primers.

Combined with the stuff I had reloaded in the previous few days this month I topped the lifetime total rounds reloaded mark of 100,000 rounds. My logs show I have reloaded 100,027 rounds. 73,514 of those are .40 S&W.

Rounds in the last month

In July I loaded 65 rounds of 30.06 for daughter Kim and 2048 rounds of .40 S&W. Nearly all of the .40 S&W was Montana Gold JHP for practice at the local indoor range. There were also a few other bullet types when I was testing the Fiocchi primers.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 2,424 rounds.
30.06: 608 rounds.
300 WIN: 1692 rounds.
40 S&W: 72,065 rounds.
9 mm.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 98,430 rounds.

Year to date I have loaded 12,712 rounds.

August is going to be a very busy month with things other than reloading keeping me occupied. I also plan to make a bunch more 30.06 rounds, which are much slower than pistol ammo, or I would make the prediction that I would break 100,000 lifetime total rounds loaded sometime in August. Instead, I expect to reach that milestone in September.

Fiocchi Small Pistol, No Lead, primers

I do a lot of indoor shooting and the possibility of lead poisoning is something that concerns me. I get a blood test for lead every year and it stays within the “normal” range but when I wasn’t doing much shooting for a couple years it went to almost undetectable levels. Hence, I know I have a lead source in my environment and it’s probably either the indoor range and/or the reloading.

When I saw Powder Valley had no lead, small pistol, primers available I ordered some to test. I didn’t know they were even available to the reloading community. These primers would probably reduce the lead exposure at both the range and when handling the reused brass during reloading.

They are a bit more expensive than the Winchester primers (WSP) I normally use. Before shipping the Winchester WSP primers are $28/1000 (2.8 cents each). The Fiocchi no lead primers are $57/1500 (3.8 cents each). A penny per round difference… hmm. Okay, I would pay that if it significantly reduced the lead I’m getting into my system.

Due to a mixup by Powder Valley I ended up (after a couple of weeks) getting 1500 Fiocchi standard primers as well as 1500 of the no lead primers. They came in a brick of 10 trays of 150 primers per tray:

IMG_8279

They are, ironically, a lead grey color:

IMG_8283

IMG_8285

I made up my indoor loads and ran them over my chronograph:

Bullet
weight
Powder
weight
Mean
velocity
PF SDev ES Min Max
Montana Gold JHP, CFE Pistol, WSP
primers*
180.22 5.4 921.50 165.87 11.5 38.0 905 943
Montana Gold JHP, CFE Pistol, Fiocchi No Lead
primers
180.22 5.4 916.67 165.00 16.6 56.0 897 953
Montana Gold JHP, CFE Pistol, Fiocchi standard
primers
180.22 5.4 879.00 158.22 44.3 139.0 803 942

Hmmm.. The standard deviation and especially the extreme spread are worse with the no lead primers. And the Fiocchi standard primers are terrible! The velocity is lower and the standard deviation and extreme spread is through the roof. I loaded up some more rounds and tested them and got essentially the same results.

With the polymer coated bullets I use outdoors and CFE Pistol powder the results were even worse. The standard deviation went from about 10 fps with WSP to about 18 fps with the Fiocchi no lead primers (I haven’t tested the Fiocchi standard primers with these bullets).

I really don’t want to keep two types of primers around. I want to minimize the number of components types rather than expand them. And if I increase the standard deviation on the match ammo I would need to increase the mean velocity to insure I continue reliably making major PF. Increasing the velocity also means increasing the reloading cost above that of the increased primer cost, and increasing the recoil to solve a “problem” I don’t really have.

I think I’m going to continue using the WSP primers.


** Yes, I know these aren’t reliably making Major Power Factor, I’m increasing the powder charge some based upon this data. This load is just for practice anyway. I have never used them at a match. For USPSA matches I have been using Black Bullets, WSP primers, and ETR7 which has been repeatedly tested to give me a PF of a little over 170 with a SDev of about 9 fps.

Rounds in the last month

In June I reloaded 1947 rounds of 180 grain Black Bullets and 1753 rounds of 180 grain JHP Montana Gold bullets in .40 S&W. This, 3700 rounds, is most I have reloaded in a single month with the exception of when I first started reloading and loaded 10,944 rounds of 9mm in the month of October 1996.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223: 2,424 rounds.
30.06: 543 rounds.
300 WIN: 1692 rounds.
40 S&W: 70,017 rounds.
9 mm.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 96,317 rounds.

So far this year I have reloaded 10,599 rounds. By this time last year I had reloaded 9,094 and ended up the year with a total of 18,265. I only need to reload another 3,683 rounds to reach my goal for this year of 100,000 rounds. I might even reach this goal this month.

Rounds in the last month

I reloaded 1899 rounds of .40 S&W this month. They were all 180 grain Black Bullets for USPSA style matches. And nearly half of them were loaded last Monday: 

WP_20170529_17_38_57_Pro

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223.log: 2,424 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1692 rounds.
40SW.log: 66044 rounds.
9MM.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 92,344 rounds.

I’m getting down to the last of the powder I use for these bullets and will soon be switching over to 180 grain Montana Gold JHPs I use for practice. I probably only have 500 or so left. So, on Monday I ordered three cases (7500 bullets). Looking at my order history on the Montana Gold web site I noticed something interesting:

MontanaGoldOrders

It was almost exactly a year ago that I ordered the same quantity. The pile of bullets in this picture (over 22,000 bullets) is now just one case and a few small boxes. I have enough loaded ammo with Blue Bullets and Black Bullets (match only) that I probably won’t need to purchase any more of those this year. But I can see the end of the Montana Gold ammo and bullets approaching since I use those up in practice fairly rapidly.

Rounds in the last month

March was a busy month for me. I had hard drives fail on two different computers. The laptop was particularly painful when the Windows Home Server recovery utility didn’t support that hardware. I ultimately recovered everything but it took over a week of my spare time. The other hard drive only took a few hours of my time and lead to a simpler backup method which was nice.

Boomershoot tasks picked up too. There is still some space left if you want to sign up here.

Anyway, I reloaded 525 rounds of .40 S&W and ran many of them over the chronograph. This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223.log: 2,424 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1692 rounds.
40SW.log: 63,945 rounds.
9MM.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 90,245 rounds.

Rounds in the last month

I was busy doing a lot of things for Boomershoot this month (I have to tell the story of what Barb calls “the box” someday) and haven’t done any reloading since February 5th, still, I did load 975 rounds of .40 S&W. They were all Blue Bullets with minimum powder charges for shooting steel.

This brings my lifetime reloaded ammunition totals to:

223.log: 2,424 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1692 rounds.
40SW.log: 63,420 rounds.
9MM.log: 21,641 rounds.
Total: 89,720 rounds.

Boomershoot is going to take some time this month and especially next month. But I think I’ll be able to load a few rounds each month. I’m hoping to make it to a lifetime total of over 100,000 rounds by the end of the year.

Reloading report

As I reported on the first of this month I enhanced my program which parses and reports on my reloading logs. Not too long after making those changes I made still more changes. In now outputs a section with the yearly and monthly totals for every caliber combined. Here is that section of the report including the 3300 rounds of .40 S&W (minor power factor Blue Bullets for steel matches) I reloaded this month:

Year Total Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1996: 11274 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10944 141 189
1997: 7585 300 0 40 1210 719 106 0 100 1088 804 1060 2158
1998: 11574 570 258 718 1657 1812 1710 542 20 0 1240 900 2147
1999: 4912 20 964 181 877 718 657 60 0 0 179 653 603
2000: 3690 845 120 142 0 57 1095 400 396 43 521 60 11
2001: 2724 25 300 497 532 15 20 1198 73 0 0 0 64
2002: 898 0 0 0 0 0 0 198 0 200 300 0 200
2003: 649 0 300 302 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 29 0
2004: 1345 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 300 600 445 0
2005: 1059 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 659 400 0 0
2006: 1000 0 0 0 0 400 0 0 0 0 200 400 0
2007: 1136 0 0 0 0 0 0 118 518 300 200 0 0
2008: 2398 0 300 0 0 0 0 900 399 0 200 0 599
2009: 1702 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 102 300 900 400
2010: 1400 0 0 0 0 100 200 700 0 200 0 200 0
2011: 2300 300 0 400 100 0 500 500 200 0 0 0 300
2012: 399 0 200 0 199 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2013: 600 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 100 500
2014: 530 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 530
2015: 10005 1699 2696 3064 0 0 0 547 200 400 100 200 1099
2016: 18265 2197 700 1462 837 1899 1999 1000 1500 1216 1957 1500 1998
2017: 3300 3300 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Grand Totals 88745 9256 5838 6806 5430 5720 6287 6163 3406 4508 17945 6588 10798

Powder storage warnings

Via email from Roger W. we have this from Hodgdon:

Powder Storage in Reloader Hoppers

Powder left in the reloader’s powder measure hoppers for extended periods, overnight or several days, should be avoided. Powder needs to be stored in original containers ONLY, when not in use. Numerous modern smokeless powders are double base in construction, containing both Nitrocellulose and Nitroglycerine.

Roger sent them an email questioned them on this (“Why not leave powder in powder measure hoppers for extended periods?”) and got the following reply:

There are a couple reasons.

Despite warning some people have multiple powders on their bench, they leave the powder in the hopper for long period of times and they forget or think they know which powder is in the hopper, they pour it back into the wrong canister and there will be a problem. this may seem like common sense but we see this happen every week from a phone call or an email.

Some powders that are made today have a very high Nitroglycerin content to them, when left in  powder measures for a period of time the Nitro will seem to eat the plastic. We have seen this with standard hand thrown powder measures and electronic ones that will get ruined.

Powder has a built in moisture content to it. the proper storage of powder is in the canister with the lid shut tight, this will help keep the moisture in the powder. Most likely there would not be a problem with moisture left in a hopper unless the lid is accidently not put back on.

Mike Van Dyke
Customer Service Representative
Hodgdon Powder Company
6430 Vista Drive
Shawnee, Ks. 66218
913-362-9455 Ext. 109

I have plastic powder measures that are yellowed and I attributed it to an interaction with the powder. But I have never seen any that appear to have been eaten. Still, I probably should be more careful about leaving the powder in the measure for extended periods of time.

Reloading report

I enhanced my program which parses my reloading log files. It now reports on a month by month and yearly basis instead of just by caliber.

Here is the result:

 

223 Rounds Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1998: 160 0 0 0 0 0 0 140 20 0 0 0 0
1999: 1777 0 0 181 578 25 0 0 0 0 140 653 200
2000: 43 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 43 0 0 0
2001: 47 0 0 0 47 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016: 397 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 140 257 0 0
Total: 2424
30.06 Rounds Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1997: 180 0 0 40 20 79 41 0 0 0 0 0 0
1998: 150 0 0 0 80 0 0 0 0 0 40 0 30
1999: 90 20 70 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2003: 47 0 0 0 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 29 0
2016: 76 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 76 0 0 0
Total: 543
300WIN Rounds Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1999: 250 0 0 0 0 0 151 60 0 0 39 0 0
2000: 460 50 120 142 0 57 0 0 0 0 20 60 11
2001: 382 25 0 0 185 15 20 0 73 0 0 0 64
2013: 600 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 100 500
Total: 1692
40S&W Rounds Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1997: 31 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 31
1998: 11264 570 258 718 1577 1812 1710 402 0 0 1200 900 2117
1999: 2795 0 894 0 299 693 506 0 0 0 0 0 403
2000: 3187 795 0 0 0 0 1095 400 396 0 501 0 0
2001: 2295 0 300 497 300 0 0 1198 0 0 0 0 0
2002: 898 0 0 0 0 0 0 198 0 200 300 0 200
2003: 602 0 300 302 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2004: 1345 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 300 600 445 0
2005: 1059 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 659 400 0 0
2006: 1000 0 0 0 0 400 0 0 0 0 200 400 0
2007: 1136 0 0 0 0 0 0 118 518 300 200 0 0
2008: 2398 0 300 0 0 0 0 900 399 0 200 0 599
2009: 1702 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 102 300 900 400
2010: 1400 0 0 0 0 100 200 700 0 200 0 200 0
2011: 2300 300 0 400 100 0 500 500 200 0 0 0 300
2012: 399 0 200 0 199 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2014: 530 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 530
2015: 7012 1699 1630 1137 0 0 0 547 200 400 100 200 1099
2016: 17792 2197 700 1462 837 1899 1999 1000 1500 1000 1700 1500 1998
Total: 59145
9MM Rounds Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1996: 11274 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10944 141 189
1997: 7374 300 0 0 1190 640 65 0 100 1088 804 1060 2127
2015: 2993 0 1066 1927 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total: 21641
Grand Total:
85445

I was surprised how many rounds I reloaded in the first month of reloading (9mm, October 1996). That was the most in any single month. I remembered I reloaded quite a few, but I thought it was just enough for the class I was taking. My memory was wrong. I got my STI Eagle, chambered in 40 S&W, in December of 1997. My 9mm reloading stopped until 2015 when I finally got around to using up the bullets I had left.

This year was the most I reloaded in any single year with 397 of .223, 76 of 30.06, and 17,792 of 40 S&W for a total of 18,265 rounds.

This last month I only reloaded 40 S&W. They were mostly 180 grain Montana Gold JHPs for practice at indoor ranges. 200 of the 1998 total were 180 grain Blue Bullets.

The 200 rounds with Blue Bullets were actually 100 bullets I reloaded, and pulled, twice. The first time I misremembered the powder charge and had a third more powder than I planned (4.0 versus 3.0 grains). I pulled the bullets, set the powder charge to the proper amount and reloaded them again. When I weighed the powder charge of the last round I discovered it was only about a third less than what it should be (1.9 versus 3.0 grains). I pulled them again and spent probably 30 minute trying to find out why the powder measure would sometimes put out the proper charge and the the very next charge would be way low. It turns out there was a bullet in the powder measure. Apparently when I pulled the bullets from the first set I accidently dumped a bullet into the powder measure along with the powder. I believe it was blocking the powder dispenser some of the time and giving me erratic charges.

I reloaded those twice pulled bullets this afternoon and everything checked out. I’ve got a good start on the new year.

Rounds in the last month

Lifetime reloaded ammunition totals:

223.log: 2,424 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1,351 rounds.
40SW.log: 55,647 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21,695 rounds.
Total: 81,660 rounds.

I reached my goal of 80,000 lifetime reloads in this calendar year.

In October I reloaded 257 rounds of .223, and 1700 rounds of .40 S&W for a total of 1957 rounds. I didn’t get around to the 30.06 ammo like I had planned as that project had a lower priority than generating more .40 S&W for USPSA matches. When I got caught up on USPSA match ammo I decided to continue cranking out .40 S&W for practice at indoor ranges. It doesn’t reduce the tonnage of powder on my shelf as quickly but it does rapidly reduce the tonnage of bullets in the corner. I turned nearly 44 pounds of .40 caliber bullets into completed ammunition this month.

Smokeless powder basics

Widener’s has a web page and video Guide to Smokeless Powder (via email from Anne Taylor at Widener’s where I buy some of my reloading supplies). The basics are explained at a superficial but useful level:

Smokeless powder may be the most important component for any shooter who is reloading ammo and it’s probably the most complicated as well. With different characteristics and a ton of variables, gunpowder needs to be fully understood before you attempt to reload ammunition.

This guide will take you through the basics of reloading powder, show how all smokeless powder is not the same and demonstrate how the different characteristics of powder can make your reloads more effective depending upon your intended purpose.

I liked the video in particular (but check out the web page as well) because I have had people insist smokeless powder in open air will go up in a flash from a spark. My experience attempting to use it for recreational purposes in such a fashion was quite disappointing. This video is consistent with my experience. It’s tough to even ignite smokeless powder and, in open air, it burns slowly.

Me? Obsessive?

300 rounds of .40 S&W after I ran them through the case gauge:

WP_20161015_16_17_06_Pro

I’m probably not quite as obsessive as you might think from the layout of the rounds on my desk.

I use a case gauge that holds 20 rounds:

WP_20161015_16_22_52_Pro

This speeds up the gauge testing and allows me to count the rounds easily by organizing them into groups of 20 before I put them loose into an ammo can.

Rounds in the last month

Lifetime totals:

223.log: 2167 rounds.
3006.log: 543 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1351 rounds.
40SW.log: 53947 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21695 rounds.
Total: 79703 rounds.

In September I reloaded 140 rounds of .223, 76 rounds of 30.06, and 1000 rounds of .40 S&W for a total of 1216 rounds. I caught up with my immediate ammo needs for .40 S&W. I decided to spend some time trying to develop loads I liked to use up my powder, primers, and bullets for rifles. Some of those primers and powders are over 15 years old.

I did the final chronograph testing at the Boomershoot site on Saturday. I’ll probably start cranking out 30.06 ammo this week and consume all the brass I have sometime this weekend. I’ll follow up with .223 the following weekend. I’ll probably have to switch back to .40 S&W for my practice needs before I consume all the .223 primers I have in stock.

Rounds in the last month

Lifetime totals:

223.log: 2027 rounds.
3006.log: 467 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1351 rounds.
40SW.log: 52947 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21695 rounds.
Total: 78487 rounds.

I reloaded 1500 rounds of .40 S&W in August. All were Montana Gold JHPs for practice at indoor ranges. With my .40 S&W gun at the factory for repairs (I got it back yesterday!) and out of action for a month I should soon be fairly well stocked on .40 S&W. I’m probably going to reload some .223 this month. I have a lot of powder, cases, and bullets for them that I would like to get off my shelves. I may have to buy a few more small rifle primers.

If I reload just a few more rounds this month than last I will break 80,000 rounds for my lifetime total.

Rounds in the last month

I was out of town a lot this month so the reloading and match participation suffered. Over the July 4th weekend Barb and I were in Colorado visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park. The 22nd –> 24th we were in La Push for a family reunion. And the 30th and 31st I was in Idaho working on Boomershoot stuff.

Still, by the end of the year I expect to have a lifetime total of over 80,000 rounds.

Lifetime totals:

223.log: 2027 rounds.
3006.log: 467 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1351 rounds.
40SW.log: 51447 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21695 rounds.
Total: 76987 rounds.

I reloaded 1000 rounds of .40 S&W this month. 666 of those were Blue Bullets for steel matches. The other 334 rounds were Montana Gold JHPs for practice at indoor ranges.

Dillon Precision

I’ve had Dillon Precision presses for ~20 years. No idea how many rounds I’ve loaded, but I remember buying primers by the case several times. Not quite this level, but enough to give the anti-gunnies conniptions. The Square Deal B is my go-to press for pistol cartridges. I’ve not used it in a while, though, between work, kids, writing, and everything else.

Anyway, when I went to assemble some 38 Special ammo today it wasn’t feeding primers reliably. Long story short, I call Dillon Precision’s tech support (they have a toll free number), get charged nothing, get my answer, and they are sending some replacement little plastic gizzies (technical term, that) which go on the end of the primer feed tube, mailed out tomorrow at no charge. He also told me how to clean the primer feed tube by pushing an alcohol-dipped Q-tip through it with the primer follower. That got quite a spectacular bit of corrosion / crud out of it, and it definitely feeds better, now. Not quite perfectly, but a great improvement.

Dillon presses are not the cheapest on the market, but I have never been disappointed by the presses or the technical support. As a former tech-support guy myself, I have high standards, and they meet them every time. If you plan on doing reloading, you can do much worse than Dillon.

Rounds in the last month

Lifetime totals:

223.log: 2027 rounds.
3006.log: 467 rounds.
300WIN.log: 1351 rounds.
40SW.log: 50447 rounds.
45.log: 0 rounds.
9MM.log: 21695 rounds.
Total: 75987 rounds.

I reloaded 1999 rounds of .40 S&W this month. I mangled another primer which is the reason it isn’t an even 2000 rounds. 800 of those were Blue Bullets for steel matches. The other 1199 rounds were Montana Gold JHPs for practice at indoor ranges.