Sad News for “Women of Distinction” Magazine

I just received an email notice telling me I have been “… chosen as a potential candidate to represent your state and profession in the upcoming edition of “Women of Distinction” for 2015.”

Prior to writing an acceptance speech, I feel the need to tell them I am male.

For those of you who do not know me, I was born male. I am still male. If it makes any difference, I am sexually attracted (considering my age) to females. I have no intention of changing anything mentioned.

I wonder how I got on their list?

Life is like that at times.

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Why Only ‘This’ Powder for ‘That’ Cartridge?

Back in the old days, there was original gunpowder – black powder. The combination of sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is quite old and fairly simple – although dangerous at times – to use. Black powder is termed a ‘explosive’. That is, it always burns at the same rate, whether confined or open to the air. It is a ‘low’ explosive in that the burning rate is subsonic and it is not as brusque, so to speak, as ‘high’ explosives.

But black powder was used in all sorts of guns. Everything from rather small caliber handguns to cannons. Due to the constant burning rate, it cannot be over-loaded. When it goes off, it simply burns and the excess is expelled from the gun. The exception being if the gun will not hold the basic pressure of the initial burn. But then, even a minor load of black powder will damage the gun.

By the 1800s, gunmakers and shooters found by sizing the kernels or granules of the powder, the burning rate is somewhat effected. Essentially, the smaller bits tend to burn ‘faster’. This is still limited to the overall limitations of the chemical compound, but is somewhat useful for different applications. This is recognized by the designations of “Fg” which means ‘fine granule’ and “FFg” (fine, fine granules) and so on. One uses the smaller sizes in shotguns and handguns.

Then ‘smokeless’ powder happened. Actually, modern smokeless powder was developed in stages. There are a couple of places on line which explain the development of smokeless powder and I’m not going to copy it here.

The benefit – and complication – of smokeless powder is smokeless can be better suited by design for certain firearms. The benefit of course is that a specific application makes the application more effective. The complication is selecting which specific powder for a specific application.

Just for the record, smokeless powder is a propellent, NOT an explosive. Properly used, smokeless powder of any ilk does not explode. It burns very quickly when confined, but this is NOT an explosion. The term ‘explosion’ gets used often by the press (in ignorance), fiction writers (also in ignorance), and various other official people of one level or other out of simple neglect (they ought to know better and don’t bother.)

When smokeless gunpowder ‘explodes’ the burning rate is much higher than the formulation is designed to function. This normally is destructive to some level to the firearm or cartridge and is rather dangerous. It is equivalent to what used to be referred to as ‘knock’ in a gasoline engine.

In general, the ‘specificity’ of any smokeless powder (‘any’ referring to the common use name of the powder) is the burning rate. Burning rate of smokeless powder is roughly similar to the ‘octane rating’ of gasoline. Just as higher octane gasoline burns slower and is more suited to high compression engines, ‘slower’ burning rate powders are more suited to higher pressure and velocity arms. Again, similar to gasoline, although the burn rate varies with specific formulations, all gasoline when confined burns far too quickly to differentiate with the naked eye; the same with smokeless powder. Virtually all the powder in a cartridge burns prior to the projectile leaving the barrel; mostly within the first few inches of the chamber and barrel. “Virtually” is used here as some small percentage of powder never burns. This is true of small handguns and large cannons. (It’s easier to see the unburnt kernels from cannon.)

Just for the record, the ‘muzzle flash’ of most arms is NOT the final burn of gunpowder not consumed in the barrel. See for a full explanation.

Smokeless powder burns best when pressures developed are within certain (powder specific) ranges. By ‘best’ one means more uniformly. Generally, ‘faster’ powders burn at a lower pressure level than ‘slower’ powders. Therefore, ‘faster’ powders are typically used in lower pressure arms. However, this can be over done; I’ve found some cartridges and applications stretch the meaning of ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ at times.

There are several conditions which determine the proper burning rate for a specific application. No single condition is the sole controlling factor, it is a combination of all factors.

1. Ratio of bullet weight to powder charge. In short, the larger the powder charge relative to the projectile, the slower the burn rate of the powder. Consider the amount of Bullseye powder safely used in a .44 Magnum revolver compared to the amount of 2400 powder in the same revolver using the same bullet. Also consider the amount of any sort of powder used in a .357 Magnum to propel a 150 grain bullet versus the amount of any powder used to propel a 150 grain bullet from a .30-06 rifle.

2. Resistance to movement of the projectile. The more pressure needed to move the bullet requires a slower burning powder. Consider the demands of shooting a 200 grain .38 Special bullet against the demands of shooting a 200 grain .45 ACP bullet. The 200 grain bullet in .357 caliber is ‘heavy’, yet a 200 grain .452 caliber bullet is ‘moderate’.

3. Expansion ratio of the arm. Expansion ratio is the ratio of the initial burning chamber volume (cartridge in chamber with bullet in place) to the total volume of the chamber and barrel out to the muzzle (where the bullet no longer confines the expanding gasses. The larger the expansion ratio, the faster the powder need be. Check any loading manual. A rifle with a bottle neck cartridge (.30-30, .22 Hornet, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 7mm Remington Magnum) requires a slower burning powder than a .458 Winchester, .45-70 Government [strong action] or .450 Marlin).

4. Pressure limitation of the firearm. Combined with the above relationships, some firearms are limited more than others in absolute pressure levels. For instance, a .380 ACP pistol operates at 21,500 psi while a .30-06 Springfield operates at 50,000 (CUP). Obviously, one must load different pressures in each.

This explains why so many ‘handgun’, ‘light rifle’ and ‘shotgun’ powders overlap. Both shotguns and handguns have large expansion ratios. Both shotguns and handguns have relatively smaller powder capacities. (Visualize a bullet or shot load moving down a barrel from chamber to muzzle. With each inch of travel of the projectile, a relative large bore will produce more volume than a relatively smaller bore. If the projectile outpaces the burn rate of the powder generating pressure, the pressure level of the firearm drops and velocity is limited.)

Unique is widely used as both a shotgun and a near universal handgun powder. Additionally, Unique may be used in many reduced (low) velocity (not to be confused with low pressure) loads in centerfire rifles. H-110 can be used in the M1 carbine and also for heavy loads in the larger Magnum revolver rounds.

Please note: Barrel length has nothing to do (directly at least) with prospective choice of powder burning rate. I keep seeing people on internet forums going on about how ‘short barrels’ waste powder as the powder doesn’t burn. Since the shorter barrel tends to lose velocity compared to a longer barrel, some feel a faster powder will either counter act the loss in velocity or at least substitute in a shorter barrel. Try it if you must, and chronograph the results.

Lacking a chronograph, study the findings in a loading manual. Note the absence of any comments regarding substituting a faster powder in any load due to a shorter barrel.

The fastest load in a given length barrel will be the fastest in any other length barrel. This ‘short barreled’ rifle may in some circumstances may shoot faster than a different ‘long barreled’ rifle, but the fastest load combination in either of the rifles will be the fastest in the other as well. This ‘short’ versus ‘long’ effect may be more noted in handguns; but the relative velocities remain intact. (One rifle may prefer a different load for accuracy, but rifles are like that. Accuracy and velocity have NO absolute correspondence. In my experience, I’ve had very accurate ‘fast’ loads and very accurate ‘slow’ loads. There is no cosmic rule linking velocity to accuracy. That’s been discovered and announced yet, anyway.)

Good news. The typical reloader does not have to figure this all out by one’s self. The loading manuals have done all this in their research, even if they don’t specifically mention it.

When one buys a loading manual, read all the expository and explanative parts BEFORE jumping into the loading data.

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Recent Events in Pro-Criminal Gun Control Efforts

Charleston, South Carolina: A single, young white man is presumed to kill nine people in local church prayer meeting. According to reports, the shooter is a white supremacist and wanted to start a ‘race war’. That’s the official narrative, but omits mention of the South Carolina law which prohibits a lawful concealed weapons citizen from carrying in a church or religious facility without express permission of the authority body of the organization.

In other words, the victims were forbidden by law having the means to defend themselves. This is another great win for the pro-criminal faction, pretending to be proponents of ‘common sense’. Forbid victims to be armed and violence ceases. Brilliant.

Of course this is a ‘hate crime’. A white man killed some black people. This ignores two factors at least: One is the murder victims were all (presumably) Christians; my Christian brothers and sisters. No mention has been made of that aspect, only that the victims were black. Two is the rioting, looting and vandalism in Ferguson, Baltimore and so on are ignored as ‘hate crimes’. The rather blatant hatred of white people is not important.

I heard an interview on National Public (Leftist) Radio, interviewing a gentleman introduced as a ranking member of the NAACP and a pastor – sorry, I don’t remember the details. In the interview, the individual spoke – ranted, perhaps – how the Federal Government (didn’t mention South Carolina) HAD TO take the responsibility for protecting the congregants in churches from violence. He made clear it is not the church’s (congregation or denomination) responsibility to defend themselves, but the Government’s responsibility. He was asked about the church accepting some responsibility and providing local defense – which is legal. He became incensed, raised his voice and declared words to the effect of ‘There will be no guns in our churches!’

Obviously, this gentleman is completely unaware of U. S. Supreme Court decisions finding that police departments (which includes Federal Law Enforcement agencies) are NOT liable for criminal action on the part of an individual against other individuals. In other words, there is NO Constitution ‘right’ to be safe against criminal danger, or any danger.

This gentleman also refuses the concept citizens need to look after themselves. He refuses the idea of personal responsibility for individuals. I find this most puzzling for a man who self-identifies as a Christian pastor. One of the elemental Christian tenets is all people are responsible for their own actions. Just as the murderer is responsible for his vile actions, the victims are responsible for their own protection and defense.

Further, this gentleman seems to be also unaware of the distinction between Christianity and Pacifism. Nothing in the Bible, either Old or New Testament encourages a passive attitude in life.

There are times when a Christian must submit to lawful authority. There are times when a Christian is physically helpless and cannot forcibly resist. However, Christians are not ordered, directed or expected to willingly be killed at the pleasure of someone else.

Don’t take my word for this. Look for yourself.

Luke 22:35vv records Jesus’ instructions and warnings to the disciples regarding their future, after He was ascended to Heaven. Jesus contrasts this with the prior occasion He dispatched the Twelve in Matthew 10: 1 – 15. Jesus advises His followers to take money, extra clothing as practical, a sword (weapon). His intent is they should be ready for any occasion. While on the earlier episode, He watched over them directly, in the future they would be physically exposed to violent opposition.

Also, look at the passages in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-46. Jesus physically expelled – the wording varies from ‘cast out’ to ‘drive out’ in various translations – the money changers and ‘sellers’ who were operating within the sacred boundaries of the Temple. Anyone who confuses this with Pacifism is deeply inept.

Revelation 19, starting with verse 11 describes the return of Jesus. It begins with a battle in which Jesus leads the Armies of Heaven. There are those who dismiss this passage as metaphorical, but it’s a pretty gruesome metaphor.

Teaching Pacifism as a tenet of Christianity is contrary to Bible teaching and therefore heretical.

The NAACP speaker is obviously more concerned with making political gains from this tragedy than with preventing more murders. In fact, he is working for more murders so he can use the resulting propaganda. Which is standard practice for the Left.

Then our current President weighs in on the matter. He opines this is a terrible thing – with which I agree, which is odd – and then launches off on a renewed ‘gun control’ plea. He ignores the fact the ‘gun control’ preventing firearms in churches ASSISTED the hideous event rather than prevented or even hindered what transpired.

This is leftist logic: If the millions of American citizens who now own firearms and cause no problems are stripped of their weapons and Constitutional rights, criminals will be powerless. If that is even remotely true, then the mass murder in the African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina NEVER HAPPENED. It couldn’t, as no firearms were allowed into the church.

Interesting is the President’s response to the riots, looting and vandalism in Baltimore in the recent past. The President didn’t push for more gun control then. In fact, the whole problem was and is being addressed by the Department of Justice (Attorney General’s Office) by investigating the Baltimore Police Department rather than the rioters.

It’s been a fine week for the totalitarian left. Lots of propaganda and horror and fear and sadness; just what the Leftists desire most in life. Fear allows control.

And this has been said before, but bears repeating. Anti-Gun is Pro-Criminal.

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Filed under Idiot Politicians

More Regarding the New (old) Government Model

Follow up as of 13 June A. D. 2015.

Series 70 with checkered plain grips and field expedient grip safety adaptor.

Series 70 with checkered plain grips and field expedient grip safety adaptor.

After disassembly, inspection and so forth, I discovered the ejector was a Super .38/9mm ejector. Which is longer then the standard .45 ACP ejector for this arm. Needless to say, I procured a standard .45 ACP ejector, then test fired the pistol again. I used a different magazine, by the way. The pistol worked better than before, but did malfunction at least every other shot. Arg…

Back home and another inspection. This time I noted the aftermarket recoil buffer, a shock absorbing ring sort of arrangement installed on the recoil spring guide was frayed and disintegrating. So I removed it. (They are not part of the original design and are not popular in some circles.) The arm now works.

Series 70 sight alignment after sights painted matte black.

Series 70 sight alignment after sights painted matte black.

If I didn’t mention it, the sights as purchased were two white dots on the rear sight, either side of the notch. The front sight had a vertical channel cut and filled with white. As popular as such fillers might be in the community, I find them abhorrent and painted them all with matte black model paint.

Series 70 with sights painted matte black

Series 70 with sights painted matte black

I am happy to report my Hardball (with lead bullet) reloads chronograph at an average of just less than 861 feet per second. The U. S. Army Field Manual with specifications for small arms ammunition shows .45 (ACP) caliber standard load ammunition shows the required velocity is 875 feet per second, plus or minus 25 feet per second.

However, now I can fire an actual string at twenty-five yards, I find the pistol groups to the right a bit high. So at the very least, I shall have to move the rear sight to the left about one whack. Since the rear sight is fixed, but ‘drifts’ laterally in a slot cut in the slide, one usually uses a brass drift and hammer of small to moderate size to move the rear sight. Or one can purchase a ‘sight adjustment tool’, consisting of a holder straddling the slide and a tightly threaded screw arrangement to push the rear (or front if of the dovetail variety) laterally. Being the frugal sort I am, the brass drift and hammer work quite well.

Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition at twenty-five yards, two handed rapid fire.

Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition at twenty-five yards, two handed rapid fire.

Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition showing detail of twenty-five yard group. Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition showing detail of twenty-five yard group.[/caption]

I also took the liberty of removing the badly checkered and somewhat cheap Colt grips that had been on the arm. The right side escutcheon kept falling out. It is plastic and flash plated with something alleged to resemble gold. (It isn’t solid metal of any sort, let alone gold.) The grips now in place resemble the style of the U. S. brown plastic grips which graced the pistol in the service from 1924 or so on. Except they are proper wood and checkered by someone or a machine conversant with the process.

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Early Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver

Early Smith & Wesson Model 10 with correct era stocks and grip adapter.

Early Smith & Wesson Model 10 with correct era stocks and grip adapter.

Smith & Wesson, .38 Special, “K” frame, Military & Police, Model 10 revolver. This is the basic blue, four inch (pinned) barrel, six shot, fixed sight offering. Once so common they were reminiscent of Passenger Pigeons or the American Bison. Also akin to the Passenger Pigeons and the American Bison, they are quite rare these days.

This is a “C” (serial number) prefix revolver. The “C” prefix ran from March of 1948 to 1967, from 1 to 999,999.

This revolver is a ‘four screw’ configuration (three screws holding on the side plate and one in the forward position of the trigger guard, holding the spring for the cylinder stop. From the same source, this configuration was used by S&W from “about 1955” to “about 1961”.

This revolver is marked “MOD-10” on the interior of the cylinder yoke. S&W started using model numbers instead of names in 1957. It is a Model 10. Not a Model 10 (dash) anything.

The stocks (Smith & Wesson handguns do NOT have ‘grips’) are of the ‘magna’ style, offering a bit wider recoil profile in the web of the hand, but no filler in the gap behind the trigger guard. This era of revolver (until 1967) should have ‘diamonds’ – unchecked section immediately surrounding the stock screw – stocks. Additionally, some commie egg-sucking dog lost the original diamond centered stocks and installed a set of later, non-diamond stocks. The stocks on this revolver are not only incorrect for the period, they don’t quite fit exactly AND they have a different serial number stamped on the interior of the right grip. Cretin.

The Lord is good! In my vast collection of odds and ends, I found a set of diamond center stocks that fit! AND they are in rather decent shape! The serial number stamped within is again the wrong serial number, but at least they look correct and they are no more inauthentic than the ones replaced. Not only that, but I found a Tyler T-grip (type at least) that fit as well. The grip adapter is the worst looking feature on the revolver.

This revolver has a ‘ramped’ front sight vice the ‘half moon’ or ‘round’ front sight of prior times. That change was effected in 1952 (same source as above).

With all that information, this revolver was made in or after 1957 and before the change to ‘three screw’ in 1961. The serial number is less than halfway through the series (1948 to 1967) so I would guess closer to 1957 than 1961.

The revolver is in pretty good shape. There is gentle holster wear on the sides of the muzzle and leading edges of the cylinder. No noted dings, gouges or scrapes from being dropped or dragged. Barrel and chambers appear to be free of bulges or scrapes.

Single action trigger pull is a reasonable three and one-half pounds and clean. No movement prior to release. Double action pull far exceeds my (somewhat cheap) gauge, but seems smooth all the way through. No stops, sudden drops or feeling of ‘what is going on here?’ Two handed dry fire indicates double action hammer fall does not disturb sight alignment. Rather typical for this era S&W revolver. One handed single action dry fire makes one quite sentimental. This is how a ‘good’ sidearm should feel.

Of course, I had to shoot this old darling. My protocol calls for accuracy and velocity testing, plus any observations on shoot-ability, reliability, or surprises.

For testing, I selected my own handloads of two variations. The 148 grain hollow base wadcutter bullet loaded to fairly minimal velocities and the 158 grain RNL loaded to the standard 750 feet per second (or thereabouts) velocity.

The 148 grain hollow base wadcutter load is my own reload. It duplicates, more or less, the standard factory target round. Fired from the revolver under discussion, it produces an average velocity of 687.3 feet per second on the basis of eighteen rounds fired. (See notes for more information regarding chronograph testing and observations.)

The resulting group – fired at twenty – five yards – has a maximum spread (between most distant shot holes) of 7 3/4 inches. The center of the densest grouping of shot holes is approximately 3 inches in the one o’clock direction. Somewhat embarrassingly, the entire group shows the ‘upper right to lower left’ oval stringing which is indicative of squeezing the entire shooting hand. My age old problem. Sigh.

Early Model 10 target results; slow fire with target ammunition at twenty-five yards.

Early Model 10 target results; slow fire with target ammunition at twenty-five yards.

Changing to the ‘service load’ the chronograph reports an average of 668.0 feet per second. This testing also based on eighteen rounds fired.

The group on a Colt silhouette target was fired double action, two handed and rapid fire; in the sense of as fast as I could line up the sights. Distance was twenty-fire yards. The group measures 5 1/4 inches between the furthest shot holes – with one flyer (that I called when I fired it). Including the flyer, the widest spread increases to 6 1/2 inches. The group center registers about 3 inches high and to the left of the aiming point. Admittedly, the ‘aiming point’ is a bit nebulous, as I aligned the sights centered in what I – subjectively – took as the high chest.

Early Model 10 results on Colt target.  Service ammunition fired double action at twenty-five yards.

Early Model 10 results on Colt target. Service ammunition fired double action at twenty-five yards.

Early Model 10 on Colt target, close up view.

Early Model 10 on Colt target, close up view.

Despite the views of some modern schools of pistol craft, this revolver does very well in putting rounds on an intended target.

As it happens this is a somewhat unique revolver – being made in a specific four year period; as it shoots with acceptable velocity and accuracy; as it cost rather less than one would expect for such a example, I am altogether pleased with this acquisition. Rather pleased indeed.

Notes for technical geeks. Or the intellectually curious.

The wadcutter loads used for this report consist of nickel plated cases, Winchester small pistol primers, a powder charge of 2.2 grains of Clays and Hornady’s 148 grain hollow base wadcutter. These loads are seated with the bullet flush with the case mouth. I also use the same ammunition in other handguns, including two target pistols – not revolvers.

The ‘service loads’ used are assembled in R-P unplated cases, Winchester small pistol primers, a powder charge of 5.0 grains of AL – 5 powder (I received this ‘obsolete’ powder by chance) and 158 grain RNL bullets of local manufacture. As the ‘advertised’ velocity of ‘standard’ loading is 755 feet per second, I think the 668.0 feet per second derived in this testing is a bit disappointing. However, the load used is a fairly mild load and not at all close to full pressure.

I always test revolvers with three rounds from each chamber of the cylinder. This allows me to determine if one chamber is significantly ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ than the other chambers. I keep track of which chamber provides which velocity by marking – or taking advantage of prior marks – and firing the cylinder in order.

An odd thing. After analyzing the velocity data I found chamber number 6 fires wadcutters an average of fifty feet per second slower than the other five chambers. However, shooting the ‘service’ load chamber number 1 is the slowest by about the same amount. The wadcutter load is one I find accurate in the semi-automatic pistols and the ‘service’ round is at the lower end of the powder charge and pressure levels. I suppose I should test a near maximum pressure load – at least according to the loading manuals.


Filed under Firearms and their use, Uncategorized

First Amendment Works Both Ways

The Appointed One has spoken. The current President has said the Supreme Court should never have taken up the case in review.

Some will defend the President by saying, “He can speak his mind if he chooses. The First Amendment gives all citizens that right.”

Yes, that is correct. One could also say, “I am God, there is no other.” Several have, and the President seems to be getting closer all the time. However, I and other American citizens can believe differently. Further, we – those who can think rationally – can decide a person saying such a thing (seriously) is no one with whom we want to have contact in any way.

Presidents have before been accused of ‘megalomania’. However, never before with such public evidence.


Filed under Civilization, General Idiocy, Idiot Politicians, Politics

Attention all Dillon Reloading Machine Users

I have two Dillon XL 650 reloading machines. One is permanently set up for ‘Large’ primers (either rifle or pistol), the second permanently set up for ‘Small’ primers. That isn’t my real news, but it is certainly nice and handy. Changing the primer system from one size to the other is the single worst thing to do with a Dillon 650. (I have no idea how it is to do on other Dillon machines.)

I load for about fifteen calibers right now. To make the Dillon system work, one requires a ‘tool head’ for each caliber. One can simply switch the tool heads to change dies sets. The convenient part is that a die, once adjusted in a tool head, never needs re-setting. That is a bit misleading, as dies can move out of adjustment due to machine vibration, use over time and so forth. However. This system beats the heck out of removing dies from the machine when done and storing them until the next reloading session of that particular caliber. It seriously beats out a turret press for ease of use and speed of change over.

Naked XL 650 tool head, top view.

Naked XL 650 tool head, top view.

Naked XL 650 tool head, three-quarter view.

Naked XL 650 tool head, three-quarter view.

Naked XL 650 tool head, exposed end.

Naked XL 650 tool head, exposed end. Label Caliber on this end – either metal stamps or marker pen.

One tool head, with dies, setting in cut out on shelf.

One tool head, with dies, setting in cut out on shelf.

Oh, yes. My first act of ‘organizing’ the tool heads was to mark the exposed end of the tool head with the caliber. One can use a marking pen. An alpha-numeric stamp set makes a rather permanent label.

Once the tool head is switched, one must also change various parts to fit the cartridge case as well. Obviously, a .22 Hornet needs a different shell head holder AND ‘guide system’ from the feeder to the loading process; they are significantly different sizes. To this end, Dillon makes a plethora of specific parts, each designed to do a particular bit of the semi-automated process.

Dillon makes change over kits containing all the other bits and pieces one needs to change from this caliber to that caliber. (Other than the reloading dies, that is.)

The most obvious ‘other bit’ than the tool head that must be changed is the ‘shell plate’. This takes the place of the ‘shell head holder’ on conventional reloading machines/devices. How many different shell plates does Dillon manufacture? About as many as other companies make ‘shell head holders’.

Some of the shell plates will serve for more than one caliber. As most of you who reload know, the rifle calibers .30-06, .308 Winchester, all the wildcats and now factory calibers who were parented by those cartridges, 8mm Mauser, the pistol caliber .45 ACP (and a couple others, I think) are all the same size (within manufacturing tolerances) dimensionally for the ‘head’. (The ‘head’ being the end of the case with the primer and rim or extractor groove; opposite the ‘mouth’ where the bullet fits.) As most shooters know, the .38 Special and .357 Magnum have the same size ‘heads’ (rim and body dimensions.) One that surprised me is the close similarity between .32 ACP and .30 Carbine. There are others, I use these examples to explain my first discovery.

First, changing from this caliber to that caliber requires about ten (10) different components in addition to the tool head with dies. The good news is, many of those other components are not all distinct.

I am currently equipped to load about eighteen (18) different calibers on my Dillon machines. The smallest is .32 ACP, the largest is .35 Whelen. So I made up a chart, showing what components are required for each caliber. (The chart is currently still based on the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. I’m now using a Mac Airbook, so I have to convert the chart in order to make changes.) The overlap in use of machine parts is amazing.

First Discovery: One does not require a separate change over kit for every caliber one possesses. Many of you probably already figured this out. A chart based on a spreadsheet is kept in a page protector and lives on the wall in my reloading room. If I decide to branch out into another cartridge, I’ll have to buy dies for that caliber, and a tool head and such. However, I can quickly determine if I have all or most of the small parts for the machine, and what parts I have to acquire.

One other quick bit about the tool head. Since the decapping pin is exposed on the bottom of the tool head, placing a ‘loaded’ (with dies) tool head on the bench can damage the decapping pin. And it takes up a bit of space. And they can be bumped or jostled and it takes forever to find the specific unit sought.

As I said, I load for about eighteen calibers. So I have eighteen tool heads and small components for the Dillon machines. Dillon sells a ‘stand’ which sets on the work bench and holds both the tool head in question AND all the little pieces (I mean little, the ‘Retaining Pins’ – three required – are the size of the collar button on a man’s shirt) in a convenient place for changing calibers.

The drawback with the tool head stand is the amount of space required on the loading or storage bench. The tool head stand’s foot print is roughly twenty-four square inches (the photo makes it look about four by six inches). And they’re $20.95 each (in orders of three or more they’re $18.95 each). Being a cheap – I mean frugal (yeah, that’s it, ‘frugal‘) I really hate spending that sort of money. Actually, the device itself looks like the price is justified in terms of manufacturing costs. It just doesn’t suit my way of thinking. For one or two calibers, I’d probably just stick with the stands. With eighteen, too much space used.

My initial storage solution was to leave the loaded tool heads on one end of my bench. I was careful, but as I mentioned, some of the decapping pins were injured in the process. By the way, always buy replacement decapping pins in quantity. I promise, no decapping pin will break at a convenient time. The ‘other small parts’ were kept in a plastic storage device; the kind with movable partitions found at most hardware stores. (Probably the proper size tackle box would serve. I’m not a fisherman and don’t know enough about the availability.)

Parts sorting box, available at hardware store.

Parts sorting box, available at hardware store.

I had a brilliant and cunning plan for a wall mounted ‘cupboard’. The interior was built with pigeon holes that would allow storage of the tool heads with little ridges or slots to suspend the tool heads without the decapping pins being molested. All the other small pieces (including primer tubes) would go in small plastic boxes in the door, featuring handy shelves for such. Alas, my cabinet making skills are not quite cunning enough.

This leads to the second ‘discovery’. Shelving. I really like whoever invented instant shelves. One simply hangs the vertical support units to wall studs (use a level and screws), then hangs the appropriate number of shelf supports on the vertical support units. The shelves need only be about six inches deep. One determines how many units are to be stored and cuts out the shelves to simply insert the tool heads. Use hardwood; soft wood tends to break more.DSC00908 The shelves are not mounted at a slant. My head is slightly off true. Just pretend the photo is ‘square’, okay?

Note. I got fancy and tried to cut out the ‘slots’ to match the tool head shapes. After some difficulty and thought (not to mention some words I’d rather my Mother not hear from my lips) I realized a square shape with rounded corners would have done as well and been less problem.

The other small parts are mostly kept on a section of hardwood plank with doweling of appropriate size. I set the bits on the dowels and they don’t fall off, but are easily visible when changing calibers.

Other small parts mass storage.  Hardwood with dowelling.

Other small parts mass storage. Hardwood with dowelling.

Some small parts are best stored in boxes. Following are some random photos of bits and pieces.

Plastic box with dividers storing "Retaining Pins"

Plastic box with dividers storing “Retaining Pins”

Linear storage for shell plates.  Not happy, but working on concept.

Linear storage for shell plates. Not happy, but working on concept.

So those are the discoveries or ideas I have developed. It is my wish the reader should benefit by my thought processes – or even come up with refinements exceeding my ideas. If any one has patents pending on these ideas – or ideas disturbingly similar – please let me know. I’ve been working these ideas for several years now. Please feel free to produce your own systems – at least as far as I’m concerned.

Who knows, perhaps Dillon will want to adopt some variation of these ideas. They seem to be interested in making life easier for their customers and the reloading community. (Gee, that sounded horribly stuffed shirt!)

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