Reloading and Load Development Resources & Tips

With care, reloading is safe and very rewarding for improved accuracy and possibly for saving money. The key phrase here is WITH CARE.

Always be very wary of random load data off the interwebs and cross reference any load you see with well known, professionally compiled data sources.

To help you do this, there is a bunch of manufacturer’s resources below. Most are free online manuals (a couple are pay to download files).

If anyone else finds manufacturer data online, please add to the list, so we all have a go-to spot for researching loads.

If you want to contribute to the knowledge base by detailing your processes for load development, then please go ahead.



WARNING
Vague and poorly explained info will be deleted, as will posts such as ‘I ask for specific data on Facebook and I’m good to go’.



This is not a thread for posting your data, it is a resource for reloaders to glean useful information before asking the same old questions over and over. If you can’t find the info you are after here, do ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question, just stupid people and stupid people don’t ask questions. If they do it’s, ‘what’s your load for…’.



POWDER MANUFACTURER LOAD DATA



BULLET MANUFACTURER DATA



CARTRIDGE SPECIFICATIONS
Very useful references, to understand case and cartridge dimensions, when doing brass prep or assembling your cartridges. Useful to have these available on your computer, for offline browsing/printing.



2 Likes

Got some more tips on safety or how to develop that perfect load?
Have at it and post away below! :smile::+1:

Here’s some tips for new reloaders or people who think reading a few reloading manuals and undertaking old fashioned load development is out of date in the digital age:

Do not mix head stamps (cartridge case brands). Especially if you plan to run hot loads up at maximum pressures. Yes, as above, you may get ‘good enough accuracy for hunting’ and 99.9% of the time it may well seem (yes, SEEM) safe, but a load developed for one chamber, brand of brass or any other component in the chain of events that results in a bullet exiting the barrel is not necessarily safe once any one element is changed.

Although brass is ostensibly made to ‘SAAMI’ (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Institute: https://saami.org) specs, each brand will have it’s own tolerances and quirks. Generally, this is varying brass quality, thickness, etc., which results in varying case capacity. The thicker the brass, the lower the case capacity: the lower the case capacity the higher the pressure that will be developed with the same amount of powder.

So, to keep yourself safe and avoid your family and friends being traumatised by your horrific injury or worse, just follow some simple rules and develop your own safety protocol when hand loading your ammo. OK; I get that if you develop a load with the mixed brass you will likely see any differences in pressure (if you are looking for it, that is), but to instil safe habits from the outset, just don’t mix up your brass and especially don’t just take your mates’ old brass and load it up because, you know… she’ll be right, mate… no worries…

Always back off a load when you change any aspect of the load recipe. If you change any component of your load, drop your load back a bit and work it back up with test loads to check for pressure signs to be sure your load is still safe. Yes, it is a pain in the arse and time consuming and maybe even a little bit pedantic, but I think it’s safe to say that most of us like all our body parts to stay in the one place.

One other thing that is often not mentioned when talking about safe reloading/handloading is the potential and continuous damage that high pressures can do to your firearm. If you have been skating by with a strong action, but running dangerously high pressures, you could be and probably are putting your firearms through a death of a thousand cuts. It may well just exact some revenge before it finally expires!!!

Here is some reading on reloading and chamber/cartridge pressure that may be useful:

Have fun and stay safe! :wink::sunglasses:

Finally… :+1:

1 Like

Little bit of data driven warning, to what @Gwion is talking about. Specifically, not mixing cases and replicating old loads when something changes (different case, bullet seated deeper, etc.).

This is me developing a 308 hunting load, using Remington cases. After I was done, I decided to load Federal cases I had in surplus. Before I replicated the recipe, I decided to back off 1 grain from where I was. I know this calibre well and I knew that backing off 1 grain will put me into safe territory and wouldn’t require me to do a lot of shooting to work my way back up to desired powder volume.

Note that both cases were shot once, full length sized and trimmed to the same length. Seems identical, but only seems. In reality, there are few other factors to consider, quality of brass, thickness of brass, etc.

First group that I’ve shot - good. Inspect the case, also good. Moved up a fraction of a grain of powder, shot again. Inspect the cases again - aaaaaand this is where we stop due to critical pressure signs and below the original charge I had in Remington cases. Remember, cases were prepared to what seems to be an identical spec.


Extreme pressure sign: very flattened primer (sort of okay, if it was just a flattened primer); and circular bolt imprint - not okay, this is where we stop immediately.


Extreme pressure sign: (same case) crack running along the bottom of the case, any more and the case would be ripped in two.

Thankfully I have never had a case head separation (AKA ripped in two), but here’s what critical failure would have looked like:
4
source: understanding pressure

This is where you stop and realise that the next cartridge in your ‘working up’ sequence would have been a face full of gas or shrapnel. Not to mention that extracting the case, at that stage, likely fused to your chamber, will most likely damage your firearm somewhat.

Don’t mix your cases and don’t replicate loads if you’ve changed a variable, like a case or seating depth (all result in pressure variances that you need to be acutely aware off).

3 Likes

Good show, “Mate…” And good posting. :+1::+1::+1: