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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, sorry if this question seems stupid, but I'm just starting out reloading and want to be safe. I'm using a Lee turrent press with an auto powder feeder. I want to reload 38 special with 125 grain semi jacketed hollow point. Im using (or want to use) SR 4756 powder. Most of the loading charts I've seen call for a charge of 4.8 grains of this powder. When I charged the casing it looked like a lot of empty space in the casing. Even if the bullet were seated it would be a lot of empty space at that charge. I emptied the casing onto my scale and got 4.8 grains. Is this normal? should there be empty space in the casing? Does not seem right to me, but then again I'm just starting with zero experience.
Thanks for any feed back.
 

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Yes, there should be empty space in the case. Do you have a reloading manual? What is the make/model of your scale?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! I have Lyman's Third Edition Pistol & Revolver Handbook, my scale is a Lee Safety Measure scale, and I'm using a Lee Auto-Disk powder measure on my press. Just wanted to make sure everything was working like it should. The powder measure appears to be charging the right amount, it just through me off when I saw so much room in the casing!.
Thanks again!
 

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just a suggestion , get a digital scale , much much easier and precise.I never use that lee powder scale anymore , i have a digital reloading scale. Once you go digital , calibrate it with included weights , never get a improper charge and all will be exact same. do not like those lee dippers , i like my loads to be every single round to be exact weight and charge as all the rest. Digital no mistakes. And most all loads will have some space left in case, if you fill it to top you are going to have a very possible bad day at range and the rifle or handgun will probably be destroyed. I dont know of many loads where the case if filled to top that i have ever loaded. if ever at all. i have used compressed charges , never a full case .
 

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One of the problems that exists for newbies is not knowing that the person answering his question is another newbie or worse.
 

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Well largest cal i load for is 8mm.06 or 30.06 never once filled case to capacity , have done a few compressed charges but nothing ever took that much powder that i load. And i been handloading many yrs. So again i say no , not always and most times always it will not be filled to top to reload with powder , follow the data books man , only takes 1 bad round to make for a very bad day. I prefer the digital scales , get my loads exactly same charge every time . Buy the data books , only real way to be safe and follow what it says. Personally i like the hornady data for me. my 45 acp rounds call for 7.2 grains of unique , not even close to full case. 45 colts 21.3 win 296 -hunting and for ruger or tc contender only data , not even half full and those are heavy loads in both.
 

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As no one else has mentioned it I'll jump in.

The possible issue with low density loads (under 50% capacity) is the possibility of a double charge. It sounds odd, but it has happened, a momentary distraction & the charge is dropped twice, producing a very dangerous overcharge.

In cases that have a lot of volume from being originally BP loads I try to only use powders that give me a more than 50% charge. That way if I ever get distracted & try a double charge it will spill over giving me a very obvious heads up.
 

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Agreed, i have done that by accident and the overspill is why i caught it when i was new to hand loading, another mistake i made a few times was not checking down the neck cases when i do 50 to 100 at a time to make sure all cases had powder in them and it all looked same level- result = squib loads where i had to pop bullet out of rear of barrel after primer sent it out the case just into the barrel. did it with my 45 colt , and a .308 bolt rifle .:( after that i always take a flashlight and go down the line to make sure every case is filled with powder in my loading block lol, never happened again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, you've all been very helpful. At least now I know my problem was not a problem. We all know how hard it is to get powder these days so I have to use what is available and works for me. I'm not trying to make up some fancy load, I'm just reusing my brass getting some know how. Making the most of the sport and hobby. Thanks again for all the advice and help.
 

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Musky,

I would suggest you get another scale. Lyman Pro 500s are great scales...
 

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I prefer the digital scales , get my loads exactly same charge every time .
Well, yes and no.

I have used a Lyman digital scale for quite some time now, and I have had to learn how to deal with its 'wandering zero'.

When I first turn the scale on, and after it is calibrated and zeroed, the zero on my scale will NOT SO SLOWLY drift around in either direction for at least a half hour after I plug it in. The drifting gradually slows down some, but never goes away.

The frustrating thing is that the scale display will consistently read 0.0 with an empty pan until the zero drifts off by at least a half grain (and it DOES drift this far).


I have learned to compensate for the drifting by frequently re-zeroing the scale while using it, and ALWAYS looking at what negative number shows up on the display when the pan is removed.

For my scale, if it doesn't read -120.9 grains (the weight of the pan) +/- 0.1 grain when I remove the pan with a weighed charge, I need to re-zero the scale and re-throw the charge.


In rifle ammunition, up to a half-grain error isn't usually going to be a major safety issue, but if you are throwing small pistol charges, you NEED to be aware of this.
 

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The name electronic scale confers nothing about accuracy.
A newbie might buy a cheap one designed for hand loading that is poor or he might buy some cheap junker never designed for handloading that would be absolutley dangerous if the newbie knows nothing about scales. If you have an electronic scale hang mechanically you have no
indication about what is going on except by eye balling the size of the pile of powder in the pan. That is not a good way to find a mistake.
 

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I understand your point about the lack of choice in supplies. Just take extra precautions against a double charge as it only has to happen once to be a mess.
 

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musky,
First, If you are just starting, congratulations on a very interesting and satisfying hobby.
Second, read a lot. When done, read some more.
I've been reloading for over fifty years and I'm always reading something new or informative.
Now, one more point for a beginner. Brass cases have different volumes-even in the same cartridge.
The 38's won't give you much heart burn, but some rifle cartridges you reload will be both commercial and military bases.
The heart burn they generate is in the fact that they have different powder capacities, which can in turn yield different pressures, depending on the cartridge design.
That's one of the reasons folks suggest using a starting load about 10% lower than published, just in case you don't recognize the fact your case(s) is/are military issue.
Again, read, read, and then read some more. This might suggest multiple reloading manuals as well as forums.
Good luck and happy reloading.
Oh,and the 38 Sp was my first reloading task('57) as well as first casting endeavor.
 

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just a suggestion , get a digital scale , much much easier and precise.I never use that lee powder scale anymore , i have a digital reloading scale. Once you go digital , calibrate it with included weights , never get a improper charge and all will be exact same. do not like those lee dippers , i like my loads to be every single round to be exact weight and charge as all the rest. Digital no mistakes. And most all loads will have some space left in case, if you fill it to top you are going to have a very possible bad day at range and the rifle or handgun will probably be destroyed. I dont know of many loads where the case if filled to top that i have ever loaded. if ever at all. i have used compressed charges , never a full case .
I would take issue with the statement that digital scales are more precise than beam scales. They can suffer from a wandering zero, giving rise to inaccurate charges.

I use a Lee scale and have carried out accuracy comparison tests against Redding, Lyman and RCBS beam scales and the Lee was just as accurate and consistent as all the others at a fraction of the purchase price.

I also use Lee Perfect powder and auto disk measures and find them consistent and accurate.

I will agree however, that small charges of powder can lead to double charges, much better to find a suitable powder that will overflow the case if double charged.
ukrifleman
 

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+1 on Milsurp's technique to go down the line with a flashlight. I have been reloading rifle and pistol cartidridges for 18+ years and when I started I adopted the flashlight drill/ technique before seating the projectile from the get go as 1 of my "holy Grail rules" of handloading. Has always worked and never failed me.
 

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i have never had my digital scale be wrong once calibrated i bought from brownells, never once has it been wrong and i always weigh every charge twice.then i set my lee powder hopper and just lift handle and put charge into a small shot glass, after i reweigh every charge on my scale before i load it into case. always dead on, if not maybe .5 grains over .5 i can live with , not enough of a varitation unless i am making match loads.
And yea lol after a few squib loads you learn to check every case before you move onto seating the bullets into the case , lesson learned without a disaster , fortunatly i knew not to try and cock my single action blackhawk and try another round , good thing , sure enough the primer was enough to just push it into end of barrel, another round on top of that oh man what a bad day that would have been , do not want to even think about what could have happened i was a newbie to reloading and did not know what squib loads were.:tisk: Always check every single case i learned after before starting to seat bullets.
 
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