Two years ago I dismantled my reloading bench for a move from southern California to middle Tennessee. My new location has limited space and I took my time rebuilding my reloading bench to be efficient and conserve space. It is now complete and I recently tested my setup with a marathon reloading session.
With a supply of cases ready to load and winter weather with a mix of rain, snow, and cold, I opted to stay in warm surroundings as opposed to working on my Jeep in the unheated shop.
Powder, bullets and cases ready, I pulled my reloading dies out and set to work. For this session, 9mm ammo was the intended end result. I have two different sets of dies for 9mm, Hornady and RCBS. Each is a 3-die set. The Hornady set was a new acquisition picked up at a swap meet for way less than a new die set would cost.
First step was to size the casing and flare the case mouth to allow seating of the bullet. That step involves using two different dies. I worked on batches of casing with each set of dies. During this session, I formed good and bad opinions of each die in the sets. I like the Hornady sizing die. While I felt it did a better full-length sizing of the 9mm casings, there was no discernible difference with the final result.
The short coming of the RCBS expander die became evident when powder was added and bullet seated. I felt the Hornady expander die was easier setup and appeared to be more consistent with the final case mouth flaring. The casings prepped with Hornady dies appeared more consistent allowing for easier placement the bullet.
I do prefer the RCBS seating/crimping die over the Hornady. The RCBS was basically set it and go. The Hornady did give erratic seating depths for Cartridge Overall Length and required frequent adjustment.
During this time I learned one completely useless tidbit of information. A 9mm casing holds 12.6 grains of HS-6 powder. With no room to seat a bullet. At least double charges are easy to spot.
With respect to casings cartridge casings, I encountered some issues with WCC head stamped cases. WCC is Winchester produced and good quality brass, but they are made for military use. As such, the primer pockets are “swagged” to better seal/retain the primer per stringent military specifications.
I found only 5 such cases and the swagging was easily removed with the RCBS Primer Pocket Swagging Tool. I bought that tool a few years ago for .223/5.56 cartridges and haven't used it. But, it did the job on the 9mm cases.
The RCBS Automatic Priming Tool made priming easy. My understanding of "cup side" vs "anvil side" appears to be different from the directions. Primers are inserted into tubes and need to go in a specific way to ensure proper seating. I did find that leaving the primers in the manufactures packaging tray made it easy to insert the primers in the tube with minimal handling of the primers. The multiple lever movements for the RCBS can be distracting. But, the primer drops in place and you can see it. My Forrester Co-Ax primer has fewer lever movements but more difficult to set-up. And, 50 primers per tube vs 100 for the RCBS with no set-up adjustments, just change the shell holder. Either method sure beats hand priming!!!!!
My 9mm stash is almost back the level of just over two years ago when I disassembled my reloading bench. It is now back in full operation with a few improvements over the last setup.
Overall, the past few days has been a lot of work but the new reloading bench and process has been worked out to make it easier for future reloading sessions.
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