Weekend Range Report
Well, the crappy gun show, Redskins loss and lack of snow notwithstanding, I had a pretty good Martin Luther King weekend and was able to get everything done i set out to do (and then some) including finishing the latest round of renovations to our master bath (happy wife, very happy wife). After the project essentially being stalled for 6 months, I finished the wallpapering and wainscoting and put up new fixtures. The only thing left now is to instal a new faucet on the sink (we ordered it Saturday afternoon and it should go on next weekend if not sooner).
After the son fell asleep, I put some wood in the fireplace and the wife and I sat down to watch a movie - Mr & Mrs Smith. It was ok. The gun fighting was decent, Angelina Jolie is hot, and it had a few funny lines (Vince Vaughn always cracks me up). However, it did require us to be pretty wiling to suspend disbelief throughout the whole movie - like, when they are running away to escape the attack in their house in just their nightshirts how did they al of a sudden come into possession of a complete wardrobe of advanced bullet (rifle round) proof rubberized tactical clothing that would make Batman proud as well as the dozens of guns???
Afterwards, the wife went to sleep and I went reloading!!!!
I didn't get a chance to load the couple of hundred rounds I hoped for. Being the "first" time I reloaded on my own it took some time to get set up and make sure everything was working. In fact, the first few rounds out of the press were pretty bad.
After reviewing my manual, hoping on the internet, and pulling out the Lee instructions I made a slight (3/4 of a turn) adjustment to the die that flares the case and drops the powder and fixed the problem. I ended up loading 3 separate small batches. It was my first time and thought I would try things out. One thing of note though, there was a lot of static electricity and it caused problems. I didn't see any sparks or feel I was risking my life, but it was annoying trying to pour the powder and get accurate readings as it would jump around mysteriously. Anyone have any clues to methods to cut down on ambient static energy while reloading?
For each batch I used CCI 300 Primers, an assortment of Winchester and CCI Blazer brass, and Unique Powder.
The first two batches were with Georgia Arms FMJ .230 Grain .451 bullets.
The first batch was 10 rounds of ammo using the Lee Auto Index set at .66. According to the Lee Chart, it showed provide me with 6.0 grains of Unique Powder. In fact, it was pretty consistent (I test 3 of the 10 rounds) at 5.7 grains.
The second batch was 15 rounds of ammo using the Lee Auto Index at .71. It provided consistent loads that weighed in at 6.0 grains of Unique Powder.
The third batch was identical to the second, except I used Georgia Arms JHP .230 Grain .451 bullets.
Here are the first 25 rounds, in a case.
After completing some errands today, I hit the NRA Range for a quick range session. Made it there just in time as the were a dozen people taking the range test. Once on the range, I noticed something great - lots of people (including the folks on both sides of me) were giving people introductions to firearms and there were at least 8 women (including one 8 year old girl shooting with her father and older brother and sister).
Since I put a new trigger in the other day, I decided to start out testing that. Loaded 1 round in the magazine, followed by 2, then 3 then 4, etc. Made some slight adjustments to the take up screw and got the Colt working fine. Then I loaded up the reloads.
Honestly, couldn't tell much of a difference between the different loads. Accuracy was slightly improved over the Winchester White Box that I used testing the trigger, but shooting off hand at 15 yards today, my accuracy wasn't really what it should have been. The gun seemed to be shooting a bit low (3-4 inches or so) the whole day, but did keep smaller groups with the reloads than the White Box. Noticed a couple of strange things though. First, the reloads were a bit smokey. Not as bad as blackpowder, but certainly worse than with the WWB. Is this normal for Unique? Also, when i was done firing the 25 rounds my gun was far more dirty than normal and there was lots of unburned flakes of gunpowder on the table under the gun I was firing. It sure seems to my untrained eye like the Unique wasn't burning completely - and perhaps this has some impact on the amount of smoke. Is this a problem? How do I get the powder to burn more completely? Should I try different primers (recommendations???)? Is this just a normal characteristic of Unique? Is it possible Green Top sold me bad powder? Should I try a different powder?
I intend to load a bunch more tomorrow night (100 rounds????) and will post another follow up afterward. Appreciate any thoughts you might have. Thanks!