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So you want to start reloading? Part 4

Posted by Duane Wessels on

Load not something that can be ignored.

You have you press and all the goodies, now you want to start loading. But you cannot just guess a load or worse off all use a load you found on the your own load development.

First step is to get hold of the Somchem book (Or their website). This will give you a suggested start point and a maximum charge point. It won't always be 100% but is a good place to start.

Let's take my competition load as an example. I load 9mmp with a 147gr CMJ round nose bullet with MS200 and S&B small pistol primers.

The Somchem data for this load suggest I start at hmmm wait a minute, there is no load for a CMJ bullet only a Josyd Cast bullet...what now? You could contact Somchem and they will give you the min/max which I did. They suggested I use the Josyd load.

So my minimum is 3.3gr and my max is 3.7gr with a suggested COL (Cartridge overall length) of 28mm.

So I always start at the max COL which feeds in my gun, in my Sig Sp2022 this is 29mm. More than 29mm and the rounds nose dive in the mag.

So now I will load 10 rounds each from 3.3gr to 3.7gr but wait a minute my Lee Pro Autodisk only throws a 3.3 on 1 disk, then a 3.6, then 3.8, then 4.00. Because of the disk cavity these are the only charges I can load with MS200, so now I load 10 rounds of 3.3gr, 10 of 3.6gr and 10 of 3.8gr.

You might think why more than the suggested load? Simple fact is that Somchem are being safe with their suggested loads.

Now we are off to the range, outdoor if you can. I have a chrony which will measure the velocity and with this I can watch for pressure spikes. If you do not have a chrony check function and pressure. (more about that later) but try to chrony your loads. Us reloaders are a friendly bunch and will help where we can.

Ok so now I fire the rounds and record the velocities. On 3.3 the velocity is not enough and I am sure the gun will have function problems, 3.6 is ok but 3.8 works like a charm and I make power factor. So now I have my load. Let the reloading begin!

And then I show up for a club match and my rounds that factor at 128PF do not knock steel down...what now? Add more MS200? No now you start playing with the COL. Drop the COL by .5mm and test again. I ended up dropping the COL to 28mm and now factor at 136PF. With just adjusting the COL.

So it's not just about how much powder you use but it is also about the COL. The COL should be what works best in the gun. Always start with the longest COL that feeds in the gun, be carefull of going to short with the COL, you can compress the powder and create a dangerous pressure spike!

Also, not all primers are the same. For me S&B spp works but if I have to load another type of primer I would chrony the load again to make sure. Same goes for the powder, 1 tin of MS200 can be hotter than the next tin of MS200.

Most important off all, do your own load development with your gun. Not all guns are the same. A load that works in my SP2022 will not necessarily work in another SP2022. Barrels are not all the same. 

Be safe!


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