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Here's a story for you. Posted as a reply on PJ's inspect casings thread. Thought it might make a good subject of it's own.
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Was at a friends house. He was showing me his Dillon 550 reloading press setup he'd gotten and was reloading 223 Even though I hadn't reloaded, I stopped him and asked him if he was checking his rounds every so often, he asked "why, everything is setup correctly." So I had him throw a bullet, a primer and a case on the scale to get a ballpark weight, then had him pick some rounds at random. He got a shock when one of the rounds had a half charge of powder. So he went back through and found 80 rounds with the same issue. He did some investigation and found a piece on the powder charger that wasn't moving all the way.

Then he said, "well this could be shot as an underpowered load." That led into a long discussion about squib loads as the charge was well below the minimum load listed, possible cycling issues from reduced pressure, etc. So he went through all of his rounds and made sure he caught all of the rounds with problems.

Because I would like to do some reloading and he's willing to let me come over and use the single stage press he has on his bench, as being a newbie, I wanted to take my time and double check EVERYTHING. Much easier on a single stage.

I'd been spending some time here, on youtube, and reading. Thank God for all the good information, as it helped avoid a potential disaster.

This incident has made him slow down and be more conservative. My take with him was, "So what if people say you can hit 500 rounds an hour with this press, you aren't in this for a race. Are you really going to care if you only hit 300 rnds an hour since this is a past time, not a business?" He now throws every 10th round on a scale and visually checks everything on that round. This helped him catch an issue with the primer seating that occurred and only affected about 4 rounds before he caught it.

The one thing I've really had pounded into to me from reading on this site is that when it comes to reloading, patience is not a virtue, its an absolute necessity.

Hmm think I'll also post this as it's own topic.
 

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Someone has learned a valuable lesson. The least that could happen is a damaged firearm, the sky is the limit from there as to how bad it could get. Very good post as we all need reminding and we never stop learning when it comes to reloading.
 

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I do it the old fashion way with my single stage rockchunker! I measure out twenty rounds with powder then I insert projectile and measure almost every round with my digital caliper. Slow as dirt! but it works for me!

ca'jun56
 

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I know I'll likely catch flak but this is why I don't own a progressive like a Dillon.
I have a Lee Turret press but for all practical purposes I use it one station at a time and load primers and powder by hand.
Occasionally I'll use the hand volumetric powder thrower but only after I make sure it's behaving with the powder in it.
If I shot SASS or IDPA I might think differently...
 

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I do it the old fashion way with my single stage rockchunker! I measure out twenty rounds with powder then I insert projectile and measure almost every round with my digital caliper. Slow as dirt! but it works for me!

ca'jun56
I do it this way too... Except I do 50 rounds at a time... Weigh each charge... I check to make sure that all rounds look to have the same level of powder before I insert the projectile too...
 

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Years ago when I used to shoot mass quantities of pistol ammunition I used a progressive loader for a while. Machine failed to throw powder one time, probably due to my own mistake, I don't know, but it got past me. Stuck a bullet in the barrel, and but for the grace of God, I caught it before I pulled the trigger again. Never felt comfortable with it after that, and wasted so much time checking so often that I eventually just went back to using single stage presses. That was the end of my days with progressive loading machines.
I know there are many people who use them without any problems at all, maybe they are just too complicated for me to get used to, but I just can't stand it if I can't inspect everything in loading blocks, especially after loading the powder charges! Probably just too old, anal, and paranoid to learn how to use them with total confidence.
I use two, sometimes three single stage presses at once now, and work just in larger batches. It's slower than a Dillon, but I enjoy reloading time, don't shoot competitively anymore, and it's just more comfortable for me personally.
 

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I own a Dillon and the issue with the powder charge stems from using mixed cases with different neck wall thickness and or cases not trimmed to the same length. On the Dillon the powder charge die is a combo neck bell and powder charge operation. When the bell die is adjusted on a particular case the case pushes up on the neck expander to move the powder charge bar on the powder measure. If a case has a different wall thickness or length it may allow the neck expander to go deeper into the case and will not push up far enough to full cycle the powder charge bar. An under charge on a 223 could lodge a bullet in the barrel---the next shot would blow up the rifle as 223 is 55,000 to 60,000 PSI pressures. Also, you should be checking each round in a cartridge gauge and checking that the primers are fully seated slightly below case head level because in a semi-auto rifle a primer that is not seated all the way and slightly protruding can cause a slam fire (out of battery ignition) which can also blow up your rifle.
Be safe and patient when reloading.
 

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Ditto Bubba Jon. I may deprime and resize a coffee can full of cases and then reprime them en-masse but I never load more than 50 handgun rounds at a time, checking the powder throw and LOA every 10. Every 25-06 is weighed, but I'm 1/2 grain under max. As Quietman said, it's a pastime. And the second I feel my attention wandering, the powder goes back in the bottle and I close up shop. There is always tomorrow.
 

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I use a Dillon 550 for all of my 'high volume' reloading. Admittedly this is all pistol ammo so it's easy to inspect the powder charge in each case before it goes off to the bullet seating station.

With .223, provided the powder charge almost fills the case, I don't see why the procedure should be any difference.

Even though the Dillon 550 is 'progressive' you still have control of the cartridges moving between the stations. In that respective the 550 is more of an 'indexing' press than a truly 'progressive' press.

It may be a different story with the 650 and upwards.
 

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there is a big misunderstanding about the use of progressive presses, mainly due to advertising. this regardless of the strengths and weaknesses (and prices) of the various brands.
in advertising, in practice, the selection and preventive preparation and step by step control of each single brass is systematically omitted, because it is evident that this would nullify the dreamed, holy speed of progressive presses, if we calculate the time between starting from the new, or used/dirty brass, and obtaining quality ammo ready for a safe and effective use.
(in these terms, in the hands of a beginner, more if he is convinced that he has the hi-speed magic wand in his hands, aka my time=money, progressive is an invitation to disaster).
anyway I do not think it is a case, and this not only for reasons of statistical calculation of probabilities vs. number of shots, that it is more frequent to see troubles due to reloading in club-level competitions where a large number of ammunition is used, where therefore progressive presses are privileged, compared to competitions where one is forced to use a smaller amount of ammo, as in long-distance shooting, where a progressive would not be a winning option.
...and this said by a rocket scientist who managed to combine disasters even with single-stage right away:)_
 

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I intentionally bought a Redding single stage, but have all the dies in Hornady Lock 'n Load quick change.
I'm quite comfortable with batch processing.
 

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As soon as I get home from the range, I size , de-prime and expand my brass. Then it gets cleaned and put away until I am ready to load. When the loading starts, I prime enough for one box, either 20 rifle or 50 handgun. To load I put the measured powder in one round, visually inspect and then seat the bullet. That way there is not a loading block full of charged cases. This has worked since 1969 and so far no trouble.
 

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"why, everything is set up correctly". From the get-go, you know this guy isn't careful enough. How about the safety of bystanders? And "well, this could be shot as an underpowered load". His lack of basic ballistic knowledge and safety procedures is scary. Just because he can reload, doesn't mean he should. He's a train wreck waiting to happen. Somebody's going to get hurt.

I'm in my 48th year on a single stage press. No mistakes so far. Had a couple upside down primer installations, that's all. No serious issues making hundreds of thousands of rounds, each one carefully made and hand inspected through every step. Disassembled a few, just to find out they were OK.

If you have any question or second thoughts about a batch of loads, break them down and inspect. Better to be safe.
 

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I use a Hornady AP press and a RCBS powder check die that stops the press if there is a over or under charge. I also look into each case before the bullet goes into it. The 223 is the easiest of all to check as stated above it pretty much fills the case. I don't get into a race and prime the cases in a first and separate step.
 

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I know I'll likely catch flak but this is why I don't own a progressive like a Dillon.
I have a Lee Turret press but for all practical purposes I use it one station at a time and load primers and powder by hand.
Occasionally I'll use the hand volumetric powder thrower but only after I make sure it's behaving with the powder in it.
If I shot SASS or IDPA I might think differently...
Got the same press and process. I'll knock out 50 at a time, placed in a loading block, powder level checked, then OAL checked on each one when completed. I like my fingers and eyes right where they are!
 

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I do it the old fashion way with my single stage rockchunker! I measure out twenty rounds with powder then I insert projectile and measure almost every round with my digital caliper. Slow as dirt! but it works for me!

ca'jun56
I do the same. It's tedious, but when I pull the trigger I know I'm safe. Also, more accuracy when I load this way.
 

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I've seen several blow ups at the range and fortunately the shooter was not injured other than being shook up. I seen a FN Fal rifle blow up we surmise from an over charge. I saw an AR10 blow up from we suspect a slam fire. An AR15 have it's bolt get frozen stuck where beating on it with a hammer could not open it. Seen a S&W 29 get the top Strap and top of cylinder blow open skyward. Seen a very bulged barrel on a Ruger Vaquero 45 LC caused from firing another round over a squib rd stuck in the barrel. The blow ups all had that very characteristic loud boom that you know does not sound right. After you see a blow up it really makes you a whole lot more careful when you reload.
 
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