Wearing Out Your Reloading Equipment

This fall a friend and I went out to test some loads for a new rifle of his. A Weatherby in 257WBY.

257wby rifle made by Weatherby.

257wby rifle made by Weatherby.

What does this mean to the layman? Simple. You look up some load data for the round and figure out a range of powder grains you want to shoot. Take the most desirable of the results and cross that with your pre-determined goals: accuracy, speed, etc.

I watched the first shot and it was loud. Not unexpected for any caliber with WBY after it. But I noticed it jumped quite a bit as well from the rest. After a few more shots and some data, we realized something with wrong as the grains he choose should not have been that high up in the spectrum of results.

Chronograph numbers

Chronograph numbers

Also while looking at the spent brass case, the primer fell out of the pocket!

So…wisely…he stopped. We figured his powder measure back home was on the fritz. After some checking and cross checking, my friend discovered that he has worn out the reloading dies! Not an unheard-of event, but not common at all.

We made it to 3 shots and stopped.

We made it to 3 shots and stopped.

Incidentally, last year this same shooter had loaded 2000 rounds of 77g match 223 only to discover to his horror that the OAL was out of spec and wouldn’t chamber in a particular AR. Further testing revealed the same issue.

What can I say? We shoot a lot.

 

 

 

Marky
www.john1911.com
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at John1911.com
Writer for john1911.com. Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

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  • Hoze928

    I feel for him had the same thing happen. Nothing more tedious then breaking down over a 1000 rifle rounds just to reload them again with new gear. Made me wonder why I was reloading at all then I remembered I shoot a lot:)

    • Thomas Adams

      I reload a lot so I can shoot a lot. Still no real wear wear on the dies that I can tell. Just starting to develop loads for .308. This is something to keep in mind. Thankfully, most of my test loads and ANY high power are weighed on a beam scale. I have a few that really stress the brass on one of my pistols. My wife claims that I am a little anal about my reloading. She also claims that it is a good thing. Christmas Eve and I am decapping and cleaning brass. Merry Christmas everyone.

      • Hoze928

        Being anal on reloading is a good thing I’m the same way check stuff 3-4 times. But weird stuff can sneak by one of my issues was a chamber checker made by a brand name I won’t mention on here. Damn thing was off by just enough to cause issues with my AR10 had to break the rounds back down. Sent the chamber checker back to said vendor. They didn’t admit it was off but they did give me a brand new one in return. Now I check every single rifle round I don’t rely 100% on my equipment I look and check each and everyone. Takes longer but I have not had any issues since.

      • Merry Christmas, Thomas.

        —Marky

    • By buddy to had to break apart the 77g 223 rounds actually broke his bullet puller in the process! Ha! Sometimes you just have to BOHICA and move on to the next thing.

      Marky

  • Scott Mayer

    What bullet weight? 74 GRS of RL22 is an absolute max load with the lightest bullet I can find. That’s not worn out dies, it’s just an overload. Next time, perhaps it would be best to start with the starting load and work up looking for signs of excessive pressure such as flattened primers.

    • OK. Looks like I “misremembered” what happened. I just reached out to him and here is what he told me. It seems I got a couple things transposed.

      I likely will have to change this post.

      “On the 257 it was all on me. The week or so before this happened, I tested a different powder, H1000. I then loaded The same cartridges with my preferred powder, Reloader 22. The latter requires less powder than for the H1000. Sadly, I used H1000 powder weights with the Rel 22. Way too much pressure resulted. ”

      Marky