Read this disclaimer before proceeding: The information provided herein is intended only for entertainment. I can’t be looking over your shoulder when you shoot or make ammunition. So get this straight: I, my agents, assigns, or anyone else that I might even remotely know ASSUME NO LIABILITY or responsibility whatsoever. You’re completely on your own. It is incumbent upon you to be or become knowledgeable about the necessary safety requirements for this pastime.
I’ve had this romantic vision of the past, where a shooter’s skill was measured by their ability to manage different pistols during each phase.
For those of you who require load development, best look elsewhere. What I’ll be presenting is several basic tips on how to make consistent match rounds and identifying a few unique pitfalls.
As a warning (and I’m certain I’ll be proven wrong by someone) I’ve never have had much luck with cast bullets this small.
There after, I’d take the time to randomly check the weights of 50 to 60 bullets within a lot of a 1000. An electronic scale is a godsend at this point. And should you determine there’s any more than a .10 grain differential, be prepared to weigh out the entire lot.
Earlier, I mentioned a potential problem with progressive presses. For the most part I’ve noticed that Hornady’s Lock-N-Load, RBCS’s Pro2000 and Dillon’s three primary presses, their shell plates will work fine on the down-stroke with any well made set of dies.
Ah, but during the up-stoke—almost all of them will routinely fail to some degree.
By ‘nursing’ along I mean: manually touching each shell within the plate to verify they move freely without binding prior to pulling the handle for the next down-stroke.
To complete the remaining steps, one would simply return the cases at the powder drop station (with freshly installed powder) and proceed with finishing the remaining rounds.
Charging and metering these things can be quite a chore too.
The majority of progressive press powder measures and even traditional stand alone measures with micrometer tuning may simply have an excessively large charge cavity. What’s really the problem is charge size. A lot of reference books will note charges having extremely fast powders with loads as low as 1.1 grains, to as high as 2.0 grains. Most small or extra small charge bars will be far too large to meter a consistent reproducible level of powder throws. The inherent deviations are generally too broad to be tolerated.
It’ll come down to three things.
The first being powder selection. Whatever powder you decide to use it must meter extremely well. Obviously something like Clays is out of the question but VV N310, Tightgroup, Bullseye, Solo 1000, and R-1 meters extremely well and has the necessary burn rates (snap) this round requires.
The second is concern about consistently replicating a throw. As mentioned above most powder measures are not up to the task and an upgrade may be in order. Consider acquiring an Arrendondo charge bar from Unique Tek. This product was especially designed for extremely light charges, and as well, powders which are extremely fine in their structure.
At the very least use the smallest charge bar available from you current manufacturer.
The final item is to consider trickling charges up for the long line. Don’t pooh-pooh this idea. We all might get away with not doing this for larger rounds but .32's are very unforgiving.
As an example, consider having the classic 4.0 grains powder charge with a 200 grain bullet for a .45 ACP round, and in the process, allow or expect a .10 grain maximum deviation in powder throw. Most of us would consider this acceptable. It’s about a 2.5% deviation in powder weight.
Take a traditional target load for the .32 and it may call for a charge of 1.5 (some as low as 1.1) grains of N310. Then if we were to allow the same weight deviation of .10 grain (due to the powder measure’s mechanical limitations) it becomes an allowed 7% swing in weight. Having that much latitude in weight and it’s reasonable to assume there’ll be lots of vertical stringing.
Now that we’ve deftly avoided detonating primers in our face, crunching shell cases during belling, and have maintained reasonably accurate powder throws—bullet seating can be an art in of itself.
If you’ve ever taken the time to inspect the stem of a .32 bell die, the first thing which comes to light is the ogive of the stem. Generally its outline flares very quickly. And if you’re not careful it’s extremely easy to over bell a case. Due to its very limited size, don’t depend on the crimp die to overcome this flaw, it doesn’t work. Careful and deliberate bell adjustments are incredibly necessary or you’ll end up with a lot of cases slightly bulged just behind the case’s crimp.
Even placing bullets onto a belled case must be done with care. Maintaining vertical alignment is incredibly important. Don’t be surprised when you’re in a hurry after seating you detect small amounts of lead shavings. Care should also be exercised when applying pressure to the press’ arm by doing it in a manner that is slow and consistent; only then will you be able to avoid shaving portions off the projectile, provided the bullet maintains its vertical posture during seating.
There are a few who insist on crimping cases using a roll crimp. It’s their point of view that ignition will be erratic without it.
I’ve experimented with roll crimps and have never noticed any benefit to ignition or the round’s consistency towards accuracy. Although it does shorten the life of the brass.
A uniform taper crimp works well. About the only thing that’s truly required is there be some kind of a light crimp. Crimps with flush WCs are designed to aid in loading the round into the chamber, that’s its only task. The adhesion that grips the bullet in place is from the walls of the resized case.
Excessive crimps do nothing more than distort the bullet’s profile and resize the bullet.