Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

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Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:22 am

This is a topic I have meant to post about on several occasions but then something else in the nature of a pistol upgrade pops into my head and I end up adding to the Upgrades and Modifications thread instead...so, today I am at least going to get this started so I do not put it off yet again...

Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Carry Optics division is fairly easy to figure out when it comes to ammo as the rules provide some limitations on you from the start. If you are shooting it Carry Optics, you are going to be scored at minor power factor no matter what your bullet weighs or how fast it is moving...the rules say so - minor PF and it doesn’t matter if you are shooting 9mm, .40, .38SC, etc.

As such, you just have to have ammo that is 125pf or more and that is easy to do with 9mm. Since you can easily hit minor power factor requirements with 9mm and 9mm offers the most mag capacity, almost everyone in CO shoots a 9mm.

For people who are really new to this, a brief intro to power factor. Power factor is determined by the weight of the bullet multiplied by its velocity and then divided by 1000.
Example: 147gr bullet x 885fps = 130,095/1,000= 130.095 power factor.

The actual minimum for minor power factor is 125 but almost everyone uses ammo that is ~130 PF. Why? There is a slight margin of error from one chronograph to the next and weather conditions can have a significant effect on bullet velocity. If you test your ammo on one of the hottest days of summer and it is 127pf, that same ammo might well only make 122-123pf on one of the cooler days in spring or fall (mostly due to the temperature sensitivity of powder and primers). You never know when they are going to pull out the chronograph to check ammo so it is always a better idea to play it safe.

Basic chart for typical 9mm bullet weights to make 130PF:
115gr = 1131 FPS
124gr = 1049 FPS
130gr = 1000 FPS
135gr = 963 FPS
147gr = 885 FPS
150gr = 867 FPS
Note: I rounded all of those up to the next whole number so there wouldn’t be any “866.666666666” fps silliness.

As is obvious from the above, minor power factor amounts to fairly light loads if you are sticking with 130pf as your goal. Winchester White Box 9mm 115gr FMJ is rated at 1190 which is ~137 power factor. For possibly the first time in recorded history, 115gr WWB is too warm...

As you do not want more recoil or muzzle flip than the guys you are shooting against (because dealing with more recoil takes more time), the best plan is to stick with ammo that is right at 130PF. The problem is finding factory ammo that is actually 130PF. Most commonly available factory target/plinking ammo is around 133-135pf out of the slightly longer barrel of the SFx. An extra 3-5pf will not sink a competitor to the bottom of the pack but it might make a difference against another shooter of the same level.

9mm Bullet Selection
According to the most recent equipment survey results, 147gr is the most often used bullet weight in carry optics with around half the field. 124gr and 125gr bullets are about one quarter of the field and the remainder is split up among 135gr, 115gr and 165gr.

Many shooters claim 147gr is the softest shooting but there are so many subjective factors involved in recoil and slide movement that the only way to really figure out which one is best for you is to try several. Some people like the feel of the recoil with 147gr but hate how slowly the pistol seems to cycle with it (again, all of that is somewhat subjective).

Since I mentioned percentages of the field for bullet weights, here are a few more worth noting:
Brass: most commonly used brass (over 80% of the field) is...mixed range brass. This isn’t long range precision rifle shooting or bullseye pistol so you can get by with mixed headstamps on brass. That also saves a lot of sorting time and some money as well.
Powder: Titegroup or N320. In my experience, Titegroup is the most used by far with N320 being second (but far less than TG) and then you run into someone using some other powder every blue moon or so.
Bullet type: if you believe the Nationals equipment survey, more than 75% of people in CO are using jacketed or plated bullets. That doesn’t match up with what I have seen as I see a lot more coated bullets in CO than anything else.

To sum that up: a large percentage of the people in CO are putting a 147gr bullet over Tite Group powder in mixed brass and most likely with a Winchester, Federal or CCI primer (in that order but they all have around 1/3 of the primer market). That works as a solid starting point but testing different bullet weights with your particular pistol is still the best plan as you (or your pistol) may like a different bullet weight. Just because more people are doing it doesn’t mean it is right...or we would all be shooting M&Ps in CO (27% of the field is S&W, 22% Glock, 15% CZ, 12% Sig, etc).

A few notes on loading for the SFx in particular:
1. While you will need to check your chamber to verify the length you can load with your particular bullet (weight and shape), my SFx has a fairly long chamber that allows longer than typical overall cartridge length and I load my match ammo longer than COALs listed in reloading manuals. There are a number of reasons for trying this but it can help tune in the right velocity, improve feeding and improve accuracy. More on this later.

2. The SFx tends to be fairly forgiving when it comes to velocity and accuracy. The barrel on the SFx is longer than the test barrels used in most reloading manuals. As a result, if you use the powder charge they suggest for any given velocity, you will usually find you are getting higher velocity than the manual’s estimate. When it comes to accuracy, I haven’t found any bullet that my SFx shoots poorly. Some are more accurate than others but every bullet weight I have tested has been accurate enough for Carry Optics.

More to follow.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by NWcityguy2 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:25 pm

What I have found, and it has been true for three of my pistols that have been chronographed at a major match, is that you are probably only getting 95-97% of the velocity that you think you are getting. At my last major match, The 2018 New Mexico USPSA Sectional, almost half of Limited was shooting minor because of the chronograph. I bet 5 of the 20+ Limited Minor shooters were actually shooting 9mm.

As it applies specifically to my Canik TP9SFL (which should have the same barrel as the SFX, or at the very least the same barrel length), the load manual predicted that my load would propel a 147gr bullet at 910 fps for a power factor of 133-134. The chronograph read three shots between 860-890, with a power factor of about 129.

Good article, solid advice.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:28 am

Having your own chronograph or at least access to a reliable chronograph is invaluable...but only as long as you set it up somewhat carefully and as closely as possible to the setup laid out in the USPSA rule book (Feb 2014 Rules, Appendix C2 starting on Page 69 if you have the rulebook).
Squeaking by on setup: if you do not want to setup a full chrono box with AC power, lighting and so on, you can put either a piece of parchement paper (sunny days) or wax paper (cloudy days) over the top and down the sides of the sky screens to help even out light differences. New batteries in the chronograph before testing match ammo also helps with consistent and accurate readings.

I forgot to mention this while typing the original post (I blame sinus headache medicine for the omission): if you are really serious about verifying power factor, do not rely on the bullet weight printed on the side of the box when your bullets are delivered. Weigh several and use the lighest bullet you find in the box or lowest average weight you get out of 10-20 bullets to calculate power factor. At larger matches, you may have to hand over random samples of your ammo for chrono testing - they will pull at least one or two of those apart and weigh the actual bullets to calculate power factor. The manufacturer sending you a box with 147 grain stamped on the side isn’t good enough - especially if you are cutting it close to power factor by running ammo you chrono’d and determined had enough safety margin at 127pf or the like.

Quick example: you load ammo with bullets without checking the weight and assume they are 147gr because the box says “147gr” on the fancy label. You want as much recoil control as possible so you load up some test rounds and run out to the range in the middle of a nice sunny day in late June and your 147gr bullets consistently read right around 863-864fps. You think “perfect” as that is right at 127pf and your pistol is eating them flawlessly. So, you load up a couple thousand rounds of that exact ammo. Two and a half month later you are at an Area level match in September and a slight cold front blows in. Your primers and powder are slightly temp sensitive, the match chrono reads about 1% slower than the one you used for testing (they are often not incredibly consistent from one brand to the next) and your ammo rings in three shots over the match chrono at 852fps. You breathe a big sigh of relief as 147gr at 852fps is 125.244PF!! Then the chrono officer points out your average bullet weight is actually 145.6gr...do the math...oops.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:18 am

Okay - so why did I babble out at least some of the basics? Knowing the “why” is much better than “load x bullet over x grains of powder with an OAL of x.xx” because all pistols and all shooters have their own preferences. Recoil and muzzle flip doesn’t feel the same to everyone and some pistols may not run well with a particular load so knowing what you are trying to achieve with your ammo is essential.

Cutting through some nonsense...
People tend to get attached to things and lean towards making statement like “a 147gr bullet over x grains of titegroup is the best load for carry optics” or “you have to have a load that is right at 129.8 power factor” and blah blah blah. Whatever it is they are recommending may work great for them but that doesn’t mean you have to use it or should use it as their load with their pistol may be only so-so for you and your pistol. By all means, try a few loads with different bullet weights but don’t waste too much time chasing unicorns.

Chasing unicorns? What am I going on about now? For about 90-95% of all shooters, you will not be able to tell any difference between the loads that range between 130-134 power factor or so - they will feel virtually identical so long as you are talking about bullets of the same weight (i.e. a 135gr bullet at 130pf is very hard to tell from the same 135gr bullet at 134PF). However, your SFx might like the bullet moving just a bit more quickly than the velocity needed to make 130pf or it might run a slightly warmer round much more reliability. As such, do not lock yourself into the idea that your load “has to be 129-130pf”. If your pistol really likes a 134 PF load (100% reliable, good accuracy, etc), that 134pf load with its very small amount of additional recoil will score much better than a 130PF load that causes a single stoppage in the middle of a stage or which has groups that open up enough to get you out of the a-zone or onto no-shoot targets on longer shots. Never give up consistent accuracy or reliability for slightly less recoil - that math will almost always bite you.

Summary: to a very high degree, the majority of shooters will be much better off finding a really good load and practicing with it instead of obsessing over finding the “perfect” (unicorn) load. Trust me - you can waste weeks or months of practice time and a good deal of money trying to find that magical perfect load. Almost everyone knows this...and almost everyone continues to chase the perfect load much like fisherman trying to find the perfect fishing lure (27 tackle boxes full of fishing lures..."but there still has to be that one out there that always works and only catches huge fish!"). I still try different powders, primers, brass, bullets, etc. in just about every caliber I shoot...but I have a great excuse, namely, I needed to know what mods (springs, etc.) would work with what ammo because that is content that needed to be included in the ever-expanding TP9 upgrades and modifications thread...and the next one which will be specific modifications for a CO SFx from start to finish. :D

And I finally got it added: The CO SFx tune up thread:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1888

Am I ever going to quit babbling and add some actual SFx load data to this thread?!?
Yes.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:22 am

These are based on results from the particular lots of powder, primers, bullets, etc. I had on hand and all were fired from my SFx. These were chrono'd when the weather was 75 degrees or more so if you are shooting in 30 degree weather, they will not be quite as fast. As always, your mileage may vary.

IMPORTANT NOTE #1: Manufacturers have been known to change barrel throat depth. Always do a plunk and spin test before using the listed OALs with your SFx.
Plunk and Spin test: Pull the barrel out of your pistol, take a round with the bullet you plan to use at the listed OAL, drop the bullet into the chamber (it should fall all the way into the chamber), then try to rotate the round while it is still in the chamber (it should spin with little to no resistance - if it will not spin or if you can feel some resistance with slightly varying amounts of drag, the bullet is contacting the lands and you need to reduce the OAL in small amounts until there is no drag). Next, tilt the barrel up and the round should fall right out. Check the bullet to make sure there are no scratches indicating contact with the rifling. You MUST do this test with the barrel of every pistol you plan to use your loads in. Some manufacturers tend to have barrels with really tight chambers and short throats (CZ comes to mind). The problem is simple: if the bullet is making contact with the rifling, the initial resistance the bullet has to overcome to begin moving down the barrel is much greater and the pressure will spike considerably. Large pressure spikes may lead to a KABOOM! instead of a Bang! KABOOM is bad...picking brass out of your hand/arm is not fun. Blowing your gun apart is not fun. Avoid KABOOMS.

Semi-Important Note #1: all Blue Bullet loads were with Winchester small pistol primers.
135gr Blue Bullet (.355" diameter) 3.2 grains Titegroup OAL: 1.150" 955fps avg 129 avg power factor
135gr Blue Bullet 3.3 grains Titegroup OAL" 1.150" 975fps avg 132 avg power factor
135gr Blue Bullet 3.4 grains Titegroup OAL" 1.150" 982fps avg 133 avg power factor

135gr Blue Bullet 3.7 grains W231 1.150" 981fps avg 132 avg power factor
135gr Blue Bullet 3.7 grains HP38 1.150" 982fps avg 132 avg power factor
(I just like proving to myself that Win 231 and HP38 are in fact the same powder)

Acme Lipstick Bullets (red hi-tek coated) - also with Winchester small pistol primers
135gr Acme RN (.356" diameter) 3.4 grains Titegroup 1.145" 992fps avg 134 avg power factor

135gr Acme RN 3.7 grains W231 1.145" 963fps avg 130 avg power factor

The Acme 135gr RN bullets work fine in my SFx when loaded to 1.150" OAL and chrono just very slightly slower. I was playing around with load lengths to see if the mags had any problems with different OALs and that was the only reason they were loaded to 1.145". Plunk test them at either length in your barrel anyway.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Gemoose23 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:52 pm

I run 125gr Blue Bullets with 5.0 gr True Blue, OAL 1.145, PF is 126-127

Canik: TP9SFx, Venom 6MOA

Yes on the bleeding edge, but this is my same load for PCC and i'll never shoot beyond a level 1 local match with Carry Optics with this load.

Out of my PCC this same load runs 132-134 PF, which is why I just use this gr charge.

Will be playing with the following stuff in reloads over the winter:
Sport Pistol Powder
Precision Delta JHP 125gr
Xtreme 135GR bullets
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by yaboyjosh » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:16 am

147gn flat nose damn good bullets with 3.0 gns of titegroup and fed primers made an avrage 131pf and shoot straight and smooth.. ive tryed multipal weights and loads and for me out of my sfx runs beautifuly i also use the spring co recoil system with the white spring..
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by GlennSFX » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:08 pm

yaboyjosh wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:16 am
147gn flat nose damn good bullets with 3.0 gns of titegroup and fed primers made an avrage 131pf and shoot straight and smooth.. ive tryed multipal weights and loads and for me out of my sfx runs beautifuly i also use the spring co recoil system with the white spring..
What bullets are you using?

I just ordered 100 ACME 147g Coated NLG flats to try with Titegroup and Federal 100 primers. I probably have in the order of 15-16K 9mm casings stored in containers, and figured it's time to do something with them! I ordered a Lee Deluxe 9mm Carbide die set. I reloaded 223 a few years back when it was hard to find, but haven't done any in a while. I'm just running a Lee Classic Turret Press and figured for short money I can play around with some test loads and see what works. I recently tried some Federal 150g Syntech and the SFX really likes them, but they're a little on the expensive side at $249 a case. I decided to also pick up a Comp Elec Pro Chrono Pal to see what kind of PF I'll be getting. I figured for $90 it was worth getting some real numbers to see what the loads are producing.

I'm also using the Sprinco White Spring RSA with a 28N FP spring. Never an issue running sub-sonic stuff.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:13 pm

I have some acme 145s or 147s loaded with TG and 231 but I haven’t had a chance to chrono them. I also have some 124gr Blue Bullets but I am still playing around with OAL for those. If the weather will calm down for a few days, I will get some chrono results for all of them.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by GlennSFX » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:43 am

Weapon wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:13 pm
I have some acme 145s or 147s loaded with TG and 231 but I haven’t had a chance to chrono them.
The 147 Hodgdon specs call for 3.2 as a starting load, but seeing the SFX has a 5" barrel, I was thinking of starting at 3.0 grs and see what I get.

Did you load then with different powder weights?
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:11 am

GlennSFX wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:43 am
Weapon wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:13 pm
I have some acme 145s or 147s loaded with TG and 231 but I haven’t had a chance to chrono them.
The 147 Hodgdon specs call for 3.2 as a starting load, but seeing the SFX has a 5" barrel, I was thinking of starting at 3.0 grs and see what I get.

Did you load then with different powder weights?
I did my usual spread for test loads - 10 round batches loaded at 3.0gr, 3.1gr, 3.2gr and 3.3gr of TG. I expect 3.0 and 3.1 to be closest to 129-130pf based on my 135gr load results. I also loaded a few with different OALs and same powder charges. My SFx lets me get away with loading fairly long even with 145gr and 147gr bullets.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by GlennSFX » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:06 am

Weapon wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:11 am
GlennSFX wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:43 am
Weapon wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:13 pm
I have some acme 145s or 147s loaded with TG and 231 but I haven’t had a chance to chrono them.
The 147 Hodgdon specs call for 3.2 as a starting load, but seeing the SFX has a 5" barrel, I was thinking of starting at 3.0 grs and see what I get.

Did you load then with different powder weights?
I did my usual spread for test loads - 10 round batches loaded at 3.0gr, 3.1gr, 3.2gr and 3.3gr of TG. I expect 3.0 and 3.1 to be closest to 129-130pf based on my 135gr load results. I also loaded a few with different OALs and same powder charges. My SFx lets me get away with loading fairly long even with 145gr and 147gr bullets.
Thanks!
That was the process when I used when reloading some 223. Rifle is just more work!
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:20 am

Precision rifle is certainly a lot more work. Don’t even get me started on the process for 6.5 or .308 VLDs...typing that out is like writing an appellate brief.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by GlennSFX » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:21 am

I was pretty ambitious last night after working on the front sight, and seeing my 9mm dies showed up, I decided to get the press setup.

I followed the recommended setting that are provided with the dies. That's how I set it up to do the 223 rounds a few years ago and I didn't have any issues. When doing the rifle rounds, I primed and powdered using separate stations. I used a hand primer and a crank powder dispenser.

This time I bought the Lee Auto Drum Powder Measure, and Safety Primer Feed to mount on the press. I wanted to try and do everything on the press this time. My only concern was making sure the powder drop was correct each time. Looking at the Dillon progressive presses, they have the powder check station which is a nice feature. For now I decided to buy an "Endoscope" to see the powder in the shell casings as I was working through the various stages. The system has built-in WIFI so all you have to do is connect your device to it's WIFI connection, and launch an app you can download, and watch the live video on your phone, or whatever device you want to use. You also can capture images from the app as well. For $36 I figured it was worth a try. I did make a simple bracket to hold the camera on the press.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MY ... UTF8&psc=1

Seems to work good!!! :-BD

Here's a picture of the shell casing after it was deprimed...
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Bullet in place...
Image

I adjusted everything except for the powder station as it was getting late. I processed a few bullets without seating a primer and dropping powder to get things set. I'll probably work on getting some actual rounds done this weekend. The 3 bullets I processed measured between 1.106"-1.109" and were check in the Lyman gauge.

The Chrono showed up Tuesday, and ACME bullets yesterday, so I should be all set to build and test a few different loads. I'm using the Hodgdon Titegroup specs to set the COL and powder loads, and will adjust based on what I'm getting on the Chrono.

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:53 am

Just a bit of the process for precision rifle - this will be a fairly vague version.

It starts with brass prep and making sure they are as similar as possible. Each piece is weighed and internal volume is measured so they can be sorted into groups of like cases. Bullets are also weighed one at a time and sorted into groups.
Initially, cases are full length resized and then only neck sized with a match bushing and expander die after first firing as they are dedicated to the particular rifle. I typically trim them with an L.E. Wilson trimmer so I can keep the case length virtually identical. They are then deburred with a VLD specific deburring tool.
Priming: primer pockets are uniformed and flash holes are deburred and uniformed. Cases are then primed with a hand priming tool - it allows much better feel for seating.
Powder charges are dropped to slightly under weight and then each is trickled up to the same weight (within .01gr which is the max accuracy of the scale I use for precision rifle).
Bullet seating is done with a micrometer bullet seater. They are individually measured using a bullet comparator from base to ogive. Then they are checked for runout. So long as all is well, they go into labeled slots in the bullet box in groups of five or ten.

I left out about a dozen things but those are the broad strokes. Fun stuff if you like getting carried away with the fine details. I am still no where close to as OCD about it as some...I don’t even have a bullet point sharpener/uniformer set. :)
https://www.whiddengunworks.com/product ... ystem-2-2/
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by GlennSFX » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:05 pm

Weapon wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:53 am
Just a bit of the process for precision rifle...
When doing my rifle rounds...the word "precision" was left out of the equation!!! :lol:
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:06 pm

That extra word is a pain. @-)
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by ncjw » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:16 pm

As we discussed before, you can also send your brass out to be prepped, as long as it isn't too obscure of a caliber.

But the best precision load development advice I found on the web was when I was researching 223 loads:

"Load 24.0grs of Varget under a 77gr SMK cannelure with a light crimp.

Repeat 5,000 times. Replace barrel."

Son of a gun if it didn't work.
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by GlennSFX » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:22 am

Decided to go ahead and get some rounds loaded up. Plan was to load 10 rounds groups at four different loads; 2.9g, 3.0g, 3.1g and 3.2g. Most people seem to be in the 3.0g powder drop range for 147g bullets and Titegroup powder. I want to try and get around a 128 PF load.

The brass was polished, washed and inspected last weekend. The press was setup the other day, less the powder stage. So I first started with thoroughly cleaning the entire powder drop system to make sure there was no oil residue present. Next got it mounted to the press and ready to go. I took a clean shell, deprimed, sized, and primed it as I would in a normal run. I then dropped a charge in the case, which measured 5.3g. So I made my first drop adjustment and got to 3.8g. Tweaked it a few more time to get to 2.9g. This was going to be my first drop value for 10 test rounds.

Image

I charged the case 5 times and measured each to ensure the powder drop was consistent. I used the tare function on the scale to zero out the empty case weight. Next I charged a case, measured the powder weight, seated the bullet and did a factory crimp. The specs I had listed a COL of 1.10. I was measuring 1.107 on the first round. The round was then inserted into a case gauge and checked to make sure it fell out freely, to verify it was indeed a good round to shoot. The COL for all the bullets was in the 1.107 to 1.112 range. I'm going to pull the barrel on the SFX and check a few rounds by dropping them in the chamber and check the fit.

Image

I decided to use my iPad to make it easier for viewing the powder charge in the case. Nice having the larger screen!

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Here's a shot of an empty case on the iPad...

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Closeup of a loaded case taken with my phone. I'll use this as my "Master Image" for a proper load. The difference between 2.9 and 3.2 is really undetectable looking at the powder in the case. The purpose of viewing the charged case is to make sure you don't have a squib, no powder, or a double charged load. Even the Dillon progressive presses with the powder check station is only doing a "coarse" check for basically the same thing.

Image

I checked and measured each round individually to make sure I had the correct charge for each group. I was amazed at how accurate the Lee Auto Drum Powder Measure was. Of all the bullets processed, only 2 were off by 1 grain and I decided to just add them to the appropriate group.

Image

I then labeled the outside of the container so there was no confusion as to what was what.

Image

Plan is to go to the outdoor range tomorrow with the chrono and get some velocity and POA/POI accuracy data on the rounds. Keeping my fingers crossed I get some good results!!! :YMPRAY:
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Re: Reloading for USPSA Carry Optics

Post by Weapon » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:47 am

For coated bullets (acme lipsticks, blue bullets, etc), I would pull one and check the crimp. In my experience with them, you have to use a light crimp or the coating beneath the crimp line will sheer off on firing (or pulling). Some coated bullets need a crimp that is about .01” beyond just removing the bell added to allow bullet seating. When I pull a coated bullet, I want to see just a really light line around the bullet in the coating. If it looks like a very defined, deeper ring into the coating, I back it off until it is a faint line. I will add a pic of this when I get back home.

If you see specks of color from the coating in your machine, it usually means you need to slightly increase the bell of the case mouth before seating the bullet.

Additional note on crimping: Berry’s plated bullets also require a light crimp or you will get some bullet deformation and end up with paper plate sized groups at 25 yards.

COAL. 1.10” sounds a little short to me. Obviously, you need to double check these by plunk testing them in your pistol’s barrel but I would try to get them out to around 1.135” to 1.140”. Longer loads tend to feed slightly better out of double stack mags. You may have to bump your powder charge up ever so slightly to account for the extra space inside the case but it is usually a very, very small amount. I expect my 145gr RN loads to end up between ~1.140 to 1.145”
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