Quality reloaded pistol ammunition requires concentration and attention to detail. You will get a better product if you have a sturdy, well-organized table on which to mount your equipment. To reference correct powder charge, bullet weight, or bullet seating depth, a current reloading manual will be required. This how-to will use a single-stage press. Later articles will show how to use a progressive press.
Now you can start by properly mounting your press, and organizing your table. The 45 ACP will be my first choice. This is an easy round to reload. You will need to process your brass if you have shot it and saved it. This brass is often called range brass or once-fired brass. Most reloaders can reload using previously fired brass. This is an economical way to reload. Because you can verify the condition of your fired brass, I recommend it highly. You should thoroughly inspect the condition of brass that you have purchased from other people. The process of processing brass will be discussed later. This involves cleaning, deburring, and sizing as well as de-priming. Sometimes, it may even involve trimming to length. Brass purchased new, which can be very expensive, is ready to use powder, primer, and a bullet.
It is essential to keep brass clean. They can be cleaned with a vibratory tumbler that is filled with crushed walnut shells and corncob. These are available at local gun shops or feed stores. Each casing should be inspected for damage and the neck should also be deburred. Rotate the deburring tool in and out of each casing’s neck. You can recycle damaged, inconsistent, imperfect, or questionable cases at your local recycling center. These cases should not be used. These cases can cause injury and damage to your firearm. It is not worth the money you save.
Many die sets combine de-priming and sizing in one step. Make sure you have the correct shell holder and sizing tool. If you are using a carbide sizing die no lubrication is needed. If you do not have a carbide sizing die, you can roll the casings on a lubricant pad and then insert them into the shell holder. After one cycle, you will be able to resize and de-primed the press. Next, measure the overall length of the casing using a caliper. Compare it with the specifications in the reloading manual. If necessary, trim the casing with the case trimmer.
Primers pockets of range brass often need to be cleaned. You will need a primer pocket tool and a few rotations within the pocket to do this. You should inspect the flash hole for obstructions. Sometimes, cleaning media can get stuck in the flash hole. To remove any obstructions, use a toothpick or a small wire. Large Pistol Primers are required (LPP) since we are loading for the 45 ACP. Smaller calibers will need Small Pistol Primers. Place your brass in the shell holder and press down to place the primer into the pocket. Your finger should be running along the casing’s bottom. Properly seated primers should be flush with the bottom rim or deeper.
The reloading manual for 45 ACP is available. The bullet’s weight in the lead or jacket that you are using is what you need to find. Then, look under the powder type you are using to cross-reference the two. The powder charge is listed in grains. You will see the amount of powder charge listed in grains. This will determine the speed at which the bullet travels and the pressure your firearm will experience. Jacketed bullets produce lighter lead in the barrel, while lead bullets can cause your barrel to burst if you push them too fast. To get the right charge, use a powder measuring device. Weigh each charge or check it with a scale before pouring the powder into each primed case.
Look at the tray of loaded casings before seating each bullet. All powder levels should be equal. You should also be looking out for double- or missed casings. This can be corrected by simply re-charging the charge. Now, you can seat the bullet. Install the bullet seating device. Place the bullet in the bell of your casing. Slowly seat the bullet. For maximum bullet length, measure the length of the bullet and refer to the load manual. Slowly adjust until you achieve the desired length.
Once your tray is complete, examine each round to ensure it has the correct length. The recommended reloading guide does not recommend a different measurement. The more you practice, the faster you will become. Also, learn the shortcuts. You will have fun shooting your rounds if you pay attention to the details.