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Old 12-21-2010, 07:09 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Thumbs up Tips and Tricks!

Since the management has been so kind as to provide a place for us to put "notable" threads, what say we have one about the tips and tricks you and I have learned over the years!

Here is one of mine.

I know I have posted this many times in other threads but, it will live in infamy here!

All kidding aside, setting up a Square Deal B can be a pain in the fanny if all you have is one tool head and powder measure combo. Here is what I do:



After I set the dies up the first time, I wrote the measurements down on the inside of the caliber conversion kit box lid so the next "go round" wouldn't take so long. The place it really comes in handy is for that pesky powder measure setting. It controls the bevel and when the powder measure is full, it is a trip to try to adjust.

This "trick" can be used on any die set though. Keeping records is the key to quicker setups.

What about you? Make a special tool? Figure out something that has really helped you?

Post it here and let's see where we get!

(I have a few more should you good folks get stuck! )

Last edited by Skip Sackett; 12-22-2010 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:47 PM
gregintenn gregintenn is offline
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I have one. To extend the life of the media in your brass tumbler, toss in a dryer sheet when tumbling. It collects a lot of dirt and debris, therefore keeping it from cloging your media. You can also use NU-Finish car polish in place of the expensive brass polish. One more while I'm on a roll...You can buy a 5 pound bag of corn cob bedding at Petsmart for about $6.99. This is a fraction of the cost of media at your local reloading supply store.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:21 PM
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Since we're piling on, here's my contribution.

Not everyone has a dedicated reloading area. Many do not want their reloading set-up visable to outsiders, hoplophobes.

Here's my solution.

Mount your gear on a "T" block of wood and put it in the vise when you use it.



Please forgive the untidy bench. Here's my Lyman 450 in the vise, cranking out sized and lubed bullets.

Do the same thing for your reloading press, etc.

Solid as a rock, stows away when you want the bench for other uses.
Protects your privacy.

Last edited by Snapping Twig; 12-21-2010 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:30 AM
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One I have posted many times is the way to use Lee dippers instead of a trickler or powder measure.



The big dipper gets it close and the small dipper can be gently tapped with the index finger to add small amounts of powder. I don't normally burn my hand on the wood heater, but did a day or so before the picture was taken.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:02 AM
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I love this forum.......... keep the tips and secrets coming!
This new guy needs all the help he can get........
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:09 AM
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Here is one that is probably a no-brainer for most. Have you ever been reloading and dropped a piece of brass on the hard floor and bent the mouth of the case. I have sereral times and have to fix the case before I can use it. The floor in my shop is cement and not very forgiving about that. I don't like to have things on the floor to trip on so I have an old rug (2'x3') that I lay under my work area when reloading in case I drop a case on the floor. It has already save me several times. When done I roll the rug up and store it under the bench. Works for me.
Cary

Last edited by Cary; 12-25-2010 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Correct wording
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:32 AM
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One of the handiest tools I have used on my reloading bench is a crochet hoop, the ones with two wooden rings, one inside of the other. Yesterday I dumped 100 new 357 cases in one. Since they are so low(about 3/8") it is easy to access the brass to run thru the sizer, or any other stage of processing. Also good for small parts, screws, etc.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:45 PM
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To minimize airborne lead dust hazards, I pre-wash fired brass before tumbling, depriming, sizing, etc.

I fill a gallon sized jug about half full of brass, cover brass with the washing solution, screw on lid and shake for several seconds, let rest for several minutes, shake again, dump washing solution, rinse brass and dry thoroughly before tumbling. As a side benefit, my tumbling media stays clean much longer.

Here's the old NRA recipe for washing .45acp Brass from a 1957 American Rifleman article:
1 Pint water (I use filtered or distilled water)
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dish detergent (I use D-Lead made by Esca-Tech)

Personally, I mix it up in 3 Gallon batches (Above recipe X16)
2 Gallon Water
1 Gallon White Vinegar
1 Cup Salt
1/3 Cup Detergent

I pour the used solution back into the bulk container through a paper coffee filter (Fine mesh latex paint filter might work) and dump the whole batch when it gets dark.
Remember to wear gloves while handling the lead contaminated solution and wash-up before eating, drinking or smoking.

I dry the washed brass in a clothes dryer. I put the brass in mesh bags the better half uses for "Delicates" that were re-purposed after being replaced with new items.
Note, a few old towels or rags will cut the noise to more acceptable levels for delicate ears.

SWMBO is a shooter also, so she is very understanding about such things, but YMMV.

I only reload straight walled handgun rounds, so I don't know if this will work for necked brass, but after washing and tumbling with a little of Nu-Finish in the media, my .38spl, .357Mag and .45acp brass goes through the sizing/depriming die like fat through a goose.

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Old 12-22-2010, 04:05 PM
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This should be a STICKY to keep adding to.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapping Twig View Post
Since we're piling on, here's my contribution.

Not everyone has a dedicated reloading area. Many do not want their reloading set-up visable to outsiders, hoplophobes.

Here's my solution.

Mount your gear on a "T" block of wood and put it in the vise when you use it.

[IMG]http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a51/SnappingTwig1/IMG00123-20090628-1730.jpg[/IMG]

Please forgive the untidy bench. Here's my Lyman 450 in the vise, cranking out sized and lubed bullets.

Do the same thing for your reloading press, etc.

Solid as a rock, stows away when you want the bench for other uses.
Protects your privacy.
That's ingenious!
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul5388 View Post
One I have posted many times is the way to use Lee dippers instead of a trickler or powder measure.



The big dipper gets it close and the small dipper can be gently tapped with the index finger to add small amounts of powder. I don't normally burn my hand on the wood heater, but did a day or so before the picture was taken.
I've been doing this ever since I started loading with my used, inherited equipment. It works great and you can get very accurate weights by doing so.

Another "tip"...for a media separator.
I picked up a $2 dish washing pan at the dollar store (huh?) and marked 1" square lines all across the bottom. I drilled a 1/4" hole at every intersection to "drain" the media. I put it into an 18 gal tub ($4 at hardware store) and dump the media and brass into the dish pan. After 35-40 seconds of shaking, all you have left is clean, shiny brass. Then I pour the media from the 18 gal tub back into the tumbler.
Works great! To speed thing up even more, I recently drilled 1/4" holes in the middle of each square and now it takes about 1/2 as long (20-25 seconds maybe) to separate everything.

Here are some pictures...


Last edited by Ceapea; 12-22-2010 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:38 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Originally Posted by valkyriekl View Post
That's ingenious!
That's our TWIGGY! GEENY OUS!
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:14 AM
socal s&w socal s&w is offline
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I have three Dillon Square Deal presses and got tired of using the allen wrenches of differing sizes so I replaced most with phillips-head screws. On size (screwdriver) now fits all.

I also put an extended thumb-screw with a lock nut on the powder bottle to rid myself of that allen screw as well.



Went to the Office Depot and bought some sticky dots to paste on the side of the powder bottles for caliber, load data and weight verification. I use a different sticky dot for each part...bullet weight is one dot, powder and charge another, weight verification another, etc.



Since the WW primers come in a container that doesn't need a primer tray to be shaken, I filled the convoluted side of the primer tray with a foam filler....it's actually drawer liner. I turn that half over, put the factory package up to it an turn it right-side-up. Then put the smooth side in place and turn it over once again and start using the primer tube. Without the foam piece, the primers need to be shaken to turn them all right-side-up. It simply takes up the slack so that I bypass that step.

I took the vise concept a lot further. I made a metal plate with an 'I' beam welded to the underside to chuck it in my vise. However, the plate has provisions (drilled & tapped) for four Square Deals on it. (Three are mounted right now.) Since the vise can spin about 230 I can access each loader without removing the plate. Works REALLY well. (I will post a picture over the weekend.) Plus, I can use the loader to the lefts loaded round box as my bullet feed box.





Since the plate in the vise hangs the loaders beyond the edge of the bench, I got rid of the primer catcher cup and simply use a small trash can on the floor under the loader, spent primers rarely miss the can.

I bought an elongated loaded round drop box to hang on these loaders. I trimmed about 1/8" off of the blue stock box rail at the open end and it fits perfectly side-ways (perpendicular) on the elongated box, leaving enough space for the loaded rounds to still drop into the elongated box by sliding it to the right. I then use the side-ways box as the empty brass feed box.



At the bullet seating station the SDB has a small hole drilled through the die. I opened this hole large enough, but didn't drill completely though it, to be able to put one of those bendable, extended lights into that hole. It shines directly into the case for verifying powder content. I sometimes forget to turn it off after loading though, gotta figure something out there.


Last edited by socal s&w; 12-24-2010 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:09 AM
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What does anyone use to store your Lee turrets with dies in?
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:50 AM
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I just use the older round die containers ( shaped like the push through bullet sizer containers) turned upside down. With the change to rectangular Lee die boxes, I don't know what would work.
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Old 12-24-2010, 01:52 PM
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For die storage, I use a plastic tool box with a plywood insert. Drill rows of 7/8" diameter holes space 1-1/2" apart. The 22 Hornet and 222 Rem die sets are on the left and the 45-70 set is on the right. Rifle dies are in this box, another box has the pistol dies. At this time of the year, Sears has a nice big 23" wide tool box on Christmas special for ~$25.
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:17 PM
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Default Cheap tricks, part 2

For a brass reloading tub, I found that Walmart plastic meat trays work great. The hamburger or roast tubs will hold a couple hundred pistol cases, don't tip over, and are free.

Someone please send me a PM on how to post multiple attachments. I couldn't get 2 thumbnails to post together, and the 'post picture search' function didn't help.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul5388 View Post
I just use the older round die containers ( shaped like the push through bullet sizer containers) turned upside down. With the change to rectangular Lee die boxes, I don't know what would work.
As Paul mentioned the three-hole turrets with dies will fit in the round Lee Die containers and that makes it real convenient. I have the original Lee Turret Press with the three hole turret. I understand that the four-hole turrets will not fit in the round boxes. I like to keep my dies in a covered container to keep them clean.
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:59 PM
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I have the LEE 4-hole turret press and the turrets fit fine in the round red boxes. I label them with caliber to keep things organized.
As I like the turrets to avoid messing with die setting and Lee dies are relatively inexpensive, I got a second set of .357 and .44 dies so I can leave one set for magnum calibers and the other set for their shorter cousins.
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:34 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Folks from San Diego as some smart folks! (That's where I was born!)

I did something similar to remove the problem with Allen bolts everywhere on the Square Deal press.

Here is what I did though:



MSC had a small set with a bunch of different knobs in it. Simply press them on to the existing Allen bolts and you are good to go!

This is great, keep them coming!
(Don't forget to spend some time with the family tonight though! )
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickttx View Post
What does anyone use to store your Lee turrets with dies in?
Heavy Duty zip lock freezer bags. I label the bags with a marker and also include the shell holder, a sample specs/build list and a sample dummy round (minus powder and primer) from it's last use. That way, when I revisit the die set, I know exactly what it was set -up for. The bags then just get stowed in a plastic storage container (in no particular order but well positioned to prevent excessive movement.)
FWIW, all the hard food storage containers I tried were either cumbersome or took up too much room.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:28 PM
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Default Tic Marks on Reloader Press

On my Rock Chucker I placed tic marks at 0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270 and 315 degrees. This has help me logically step case expanding, and crimp. I place a tick mark on dies when they flush sit on shellholder at 180 degrees for a start point.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:48 PM
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For apartment dwellers, use a Black & Decker Workmate 225 as a reloading stand.It is sturdy and can be folded up and stored in a closet if necessary. A couple of C-Clamps to "attach" your press and you are good to go.

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Old 12-25-2010, 07:43 AM
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Question Can you post a picture of your setup?

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Originally Posted by wyo-man View Post
For apartment dwellers, use a Black & Decker Workmate 225 as a reloading stand.It is sturdy and can be folded up and stored in a closet if necessary. A couple of C-Clamps to "attach" your press and you are good to go.

wyo-man
Recently I gave a Square Deal to my son in law. They live in an apartment and I looked for one of these. There were none in stock so I went to Harbor Freight and looked around.
Here is what I ended up buying him:


The only problem comes when you try to seat primers. The "up" action of the handle causes the base to tip up a mite.

Then, when I get back from that visit, I go to Lee's website and see this:

So maybe all I need is a heavy cement block of some kind!

At any rate, I have a friend that has the Workmate setup. Never been to his house though. Would like to see one and how do they work with the "up" stroke thing?

p.s. The Harbor Freight thing was only $29 while the Lee one is listed @ $130.
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:31 AM
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Homemade Firearm Related Products
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:54 AM
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How many of those small plastic or mini-bags filled with desiccant crystals have You thrown away over the years?

Back in the early seventies, when I began to reload metallic cartridges, I noticed that My dies & shellholders were rusting due to the humidity in My reloading area.

Since that time, I've been placing one or two inside of every die container, or collective shell holder storage box.
Also, I keep a larger capsule inside of My powder measure (when not in use), and under the scale cover as well.

Keeps everything looking like new!
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Old 12-25-2010, 12:09 PM
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I have a couple of tips.

1 - I cast my own bullets and find a small manicurists fan (6"-7" size from Walmart or Target in the fan department) running next to my RCBS bottom pour furnace freezes the sprue in 2-3 seconds and maintains mould temperature (keeps it from getting too hot).



2 - A hotplate near my casting furnace to pre-heat ALL moulds before casting (whether aluminum, brass, or iron).

3 - Tool head rack for my Dillon 550B's made from a piece of scrap lumber, a dowel, and pvc pipe:



Here's how the rack is put together:


The PVC pipe (cut into proper length with my "chop saw") holds the dies off the board to avoid bending or breaking the decapping pins.

Dale53
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:49 PM
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Dale's idea on the hot plate works good! Here's how mine is set up, along with the movable lube sizer that's clamped to the bench with Harbor Freight clamps (I like the screw type better than the ratchet type).



I "trimmed" a 4X4 to get the proper height for the moulds to lay flat on the hot plate. The glucose test strip bottle is what I have labeled and that's where I store sizing dies. I leave the bottle out with the sizer, so I know what's in the sizer at the time.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyo-man View Post
For apartment dwellers, use a Black & Decker Workmate 225 as a reloading stand.It is sturdy and can be folded up and stored in a closet if necessary. A couple of C-Clamps to "attach" your press and you are good to go.

wyo-man
Regular Workmate with 3/4" ply on top. Press bolted to ply and ply bolted to workmate. I move it indoors in the summer as it is to hot in the garage on my main bench.
1- quart food grade Chinese soup containers to hold turrets and dies. Tight seal no rust.
Made some shelves that just lay in the frame. Whole thing comes apart in a minute or so, or put in the bed of pickup and take to the range.
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Old 12-25-2010, 09:39 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCD1 View Post
Regular Workmate with 3/4" ply on top. Press bolted to ply and ply bolted to workmate. I move it indoors in the summer as it is to hot in the garage on my main bench.
1- quart food grade Chinese soup containers to hold turrets and dies. Tight seal no rust.
Made some shelves that just lay in the frame. Whole thing comes apart in a minute or so, or put in the bed of pickup and take to the range.
COOL! If I had a small place to work, that is just what I would do!

Nice, Roy!
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:39 AM
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My cheezy press light gave up so I made up a new one. Rather than a using somthing that had batteries I went for something a bit more. Starting with a Nite ize LED Maglite bulb and a 6v power supply and about a half inch of rubber hose. I soldered up the positive lead to the nipple on the bulb, the negative lead is just held in place with friction between the hose and the bulb.





The module then was pressed into the recess of the underside of the tool head. I ran the wire tight around the dies and taped it in place down the back side of the press and underneath the mount. Now I have a reliable bright light at little to no cost. I may add a switch later, if I feel the need.



I believe the bulbs were about 3 bucks at wally world and I bought 5 of them last year when they were clearing them out. Any small bulb should work as long as you match the voltage of the light and the power supply. The power supply was an old leftover savaged from work. The light will just pull out of the recess and slide into any tool head I put in the 550.



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Old 10-17-2011, 09:12 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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I was asked recently how I get my primers into a coffee can.

On my Square Deal B presses, here is what I did:



The hose barb is a 1/8" NPT to 3/8" tubing male. I threaded the press hole at the bottom to 1/8"NPT, yes, I had a tap, and then threaded the barb in there. Soft tubing from Ace Hardware, the other end stuck in the top of a plastic coffee can and VIOLA, big time primer catcher for cheap.

I also have a system for the XL650 but don't have any pictures to share. I will work on it and get some up soon.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:31 PM
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I dont have pictures handy but I should be able to describe this in text.
since moving I lost the space for a permanent loading room / bench. instead I have a B&D workmate folding workbench to do all my damage with.
what I have done is built a few interchangeable bench tops that slip into the B&D bench and clamp into place. This arrangement allows me to switch between various reloading operations such as lube sizing, pistol loading, rifle loading and shotshells by changing out the benchtops with all required hardware installed
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:26 PM
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I built a small room in my basement to load in. I rapidly ran out of bench space so I got some bolts long enough to go through the bench, flat washers and wing nuts. Voila! I can change out equipment in a couple of minutes. Very sturdy and universal. Strong enough that my 550b doesn't wiggle a bit.
I do have a great deal of good lighting also which helps all around. I like that lamp for the toolhead. I may just do that. Never enough light.

I'll tidy up my bench and take some pics.

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Old 10-18-2011, 07:09 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Lightbulb 'Couple of pictures

Here are the pictures of the XL650 modifications that I made.
The first one is the one that I used the silicone on. Inside the regular plastic cup, the pipe thread was sticking up and primers could fall down between the barb and the sides of the cup. I filled it up level + 1/8" and "funneled" down to the opening of the barb. This works 100% of the time. Use some water on you finger as you smooth out the silicone. That way it doesn't stick to it as you smooth it out.







Here is the one that I just made today. I used a mental image of what I found on the web for $25 and the suggestion that Bob (Vonfatman) showed.

This took a bit of time but, after about 20 rounds, it too seems to be 100%. Gonna have to empty some 45Colt cases before I can get a bigger/better test!




The "bottle" on this one is a Hodgdon BLC-(2) empty. The bottom is pretty thick and made tapping the hole pretty good. May not last. This was free though!

At any rate, when the primer falls into this can, you hear a real "CLINK" as they hit the metal lid! Also, this one will be easy to empty, as long as you remember to tip it up a bit before you unscrew the lid! hahahaha

Maybe I'll change this one over to 45ACP and crank out a bunch of rounds. 500 or so in say, a half hour!
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:57 PM
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Although my rule is to have only 1 powder on the bench at a time, I have gotten in the habit or putting a swatch of masking tape with the powder I am using on the measure cap. Then if I take a 3 day break or get interrupted or forgetful, I know what that powder is in the measure.
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:25 PM
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I tried commercial reloading labels. They were usually to small and hard to remove. I bought a 60 yard roll of 1" masking tape (the kind used for painting) and using a magic marker drew four lines radiating from the center to the edge, equal distances apart. I can then pull off a piece of tape, stopping at the small black mark, cut and get an even 3 3/4" piece. This will give you over 500 labels, very secure, easy to write on, yet comes off w/o any damage to the box. 3M has blue tape but I like the green stuff made by another company.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:15 AM
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thanks to all ..... love it!
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:56 AM
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The Lee Dippers will measure powder as well as the standard powder measures such as the RCBS Uniflow.

I fill a brass canister with my intended powder. I drag the desired Lee Dipper through the powder and deeply. This to make sure I have a measure packed "full" with powder.

Then I skim off the excess with a sharp-bladed Exacto knife or some such instrument.

This method will consistently throw accurate charges. I buy "used" sets of Lee Dippers for as cheap as $5.00. Then I trim the dippers to get the powder weights I need for reloads.

For instance I load a lot of Bullseye in a lot of handguns. I have Lee Dippers for the following weights of Bullseye: 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5 grains.

This method is a lot faster to setup than using the above RCBS "type" powder measures.

If you think about it this is exactly how the RCBS Uniflow works, it "shaves" off the excess powder in the measure, then it dumps it in the case.
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:11 PM
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Just wanted to say "Thanks" to Skip for starting this thread and all those who contributed. Learned some things that made reloading even easier.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:56 PM
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What does anyone use to store your Lee turrets with dies in?

There is a company that makes some very nice metal trays just to hold Lee turrets...

LEED Engineering, LLC. - ATV Hitch Page
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:23 PM
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Lee dies used to come in a round container that the bottom could be turned upside down to hold a turret and dies. The top would still fit over the whole thing to keep the dust and dirt out.
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Old 10-23-2011, 02:49 AM
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Zip lock bags , postits , and canned air !
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
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What does anyone use to store your Lee turrets with dies in?
Can you answer your own question?
Folgers coffee cans, of course.
Less than a year later and I am SO much smarter!
Small cans--turret with dies, shellholder, etc.
Large cans--Pro Auto Disk powder measures.
Crochet hoops to corral brass and bullets while loading.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:33 AM
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An excellent, and cheap reloading bench is a solid core wood door. They can be found cheap at construction material surplus outlets. I might have paid $30.00 for mine. It's oak.

You must pre-drill any holes in it to mount anything. It's usually already "finished" in a hard lacquer/oil finish. And you can cut it to size easily enough with a mechanical saw. Or a handsaw if you want to build up your arm muscles!

I have two of them. One is my reloading bench and another is my standard tool bench in my "Doghouse" (workshop).
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:15 PM
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What does anyone use to store your Lee turrets with dies in?

I use recycled 1 qt Chinese Soup containers. If you do not want to eat that much soup they will sell them for $.50-1.00

One file cabinet of many.

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Old 10-23-2011, 01:04 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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I use recycled 1 qt Chinese Soup containers. If you do not want to eat that much soup they will sell them for $.50-1.00

One file cabinet of many.

You are so OCD!

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Old 10-23-2011, 02:24 PM
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Na, that's only when I attach the Seal A Meal Vacuum to the containers and suck all the air out.

They are out in the humid garage. Keeps them rust free.

I don't drink Folgers but those empty containers are even better. Color Coordinated.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:00 AM
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Hornady "One Shot" lube is great for lubing presses, shell plates, primer feeds AND cases. It dries fast, leaves no residue, and won't attract spilled powder or dirt.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
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Hornady "One Shot" lube is great for lubing presses, shell plates, primer feeds AND cases. It dries fast, leaves no residue, and won't attract spilled powder or dirt.
The One Shot cleaner with dry film lube is pretty awesome too. It knocked the packing oil right off everything in my new LNL AP and I bet it would be pretty darn good on the insides of a revolver since it won't gather dust or grit. I might try it next time I open one up. They are both sold in way too small of a can. I need one in a quart sized can!!!
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38spl, 45acp, 650, bullseye, commercial, crimp, hornady, lock, nra, primer, rcbs, rifleman, screwdriver, universal

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