Sep 9, 2014

Adventures in reloading

This happened the other night and I forgot to post it up at the time.

I bought a case-lot of brass for the 300BLK - converted Lake City 5.56 brass. It was advertised as "trimmed, swaged, chamfered, ready to load". Well ... it was trimmed, at least.

It was decidedly not swaged, and this was clearly evident the first time I tried to prime one. It didn't. The crimp was very present. Fortunately, I already had a Dillon SuperSwage on the way for a pile of milsurp 5.56 I have, so I set aside the 300BLK for a while and fiddled with other gun stuff.

The swage arrived and I started swaging in batches of a hundred or so. If you haven't used a SuperSwage, there's a caliber-specific spindle that goes in the case mouth and supports the case head as the swager is cammed into the primer hole. Flip the lever back down, flip the brass out ... it takes a few seconds per piece and is super-consistent. I was chugging along at the bench, music playing and a beer nearby*, when I hit a case that wouldn't slip on to the spindle.

I pulled it off and shook it, assuming it had a few pieces of tumbling media stuck inside or something. Nothing came out, I tried the spindle again ... no luck. I got out a penlight and looked closer, and found that a .22 case was lodged inside the brass.

Now, this is deprimed brass, so I figured the case had slipped in during the final polishing tumble before this was shipped to me... and then I looked closer.

The machine-decapping process had punched right through the .22 and removed the primer. If this actually had been "ready to prime" I would have primed it and stuck it in the tray to load, never realizing there was a problem until I tried to dump *mumble*-teen grains of IMR powder in and overflowed the case. (The oval-ish shape is because I had started to crush this with pliers before thinking to snap a picture.) If I was mass-reloading on a progressive press, I might never have caught that little oops.

Lesson: Inspect your brass!

* - Yes, I know there are lots of people screaming about music and beer at the bench. Music is background noise to me, not a distraction. And beer? NEVER when I'm dealing with powder, or primers, or other sensitive stuff. Swaging (and de-priming, and resizing) are just mindless repetition. For me, a (ONE) beer is an acceptable risk during this process.

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