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RCBS Pro Chucker 5: Loading 45 ACP

August 22nd, 2015

One of the most popular handgun cartridges in the world is 45 ACP. It has a controversial place in the concealed carry debate, and is a lot of fun to shoot at targets as well. In this post I’ll cover setting the RCBS Pro Chucker 5 up to load 45 ACP as well as full-progressive reloading of 45 ACP using this press. If you haven’t already done so, you may want to check out the posts leading up to this article:

With five stations at your disposal, the RCBS Pro Chucker 5 is a great option to load pistol cartridges with. Below you can see the setup that I show in this article (be sure to check out the video below) while in full-progressive operation.

Pro-Chucker-5-Loading-45-ACP-600

And here you can see the “heart” of the reloading operation here, the dies, the press frame, the shellplate, and the cartridges in the 5-step process of progressive reloading.

Pro-Chucker-5-Loading-45-ACP-Close-1200

The RCBS Pro Chucker 5 utilizes a “standard” clockwise rotation of the shellplate. This is opposite the counterclockwise shellplate rotation that is utilized by the RCBS Pro 2000: the press that has been essentially “replaced” by the RCBS Pro Chucker 5. Here is a diagram showing the die stations that are used by the RCBS Pro Chucker 5:

Pro-Chucker-5-Loading-45-ACP-Die-Stations-Diagram-1200

There are many ways to use these stations, but here I’m showing the classic “everything separate, separate seat and crimp” setup. In this case, I’m using the following die station layout:

  1. Size/De-Prime (RCBS carbide sizer die)
  2. Prime (bottom of stroke), Case mouth expansion (top of stroke, RCBS expander die)
  3. Powder Charge (new RCBS Uniflow powder measure improved for the Pro Chucker 5)
  4. Bullet seating (RCBS seater die, backed off to seat only, no crimp)
  5. Lee Factory Crimp Die

In the following video I show the entire process of assembling the dies (following the cleaning I did in this post), installing and adjusting the dies, running up to progressive reloading, full-progressive reloading, and rundown (emptying the press).

As outlined in the video, I used the following components and load recipe for this loading session:

  • Previously fired and cleaned 45 ACP brass (no lube)
  • 45 caliber 230 grain round nose Speer TMJ bullets
  • 6.0 grains Hodgdon CFE Pistol
  • Winchester Large Pistol primers
  • COL: 1.200″

Note: This load data is for reference only. Always cross-reference with manufacturer’s load data. Ultimate Reloader is not responsible for errors or possible issues you may have when using this load data. Use at your own risk.

Pro-Chucker-5-Loading-45-ACP-Components

I think it’s time to take the 1911 out for a shoot. The only question is: paper targets or water-filled cans?

Plenty more RCBS Pro Chucker posts and videos coming, so please subscribe (see left bar) to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
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Cleaning Brass with the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner

August 12th, 2015

Brass prep is a critical part of the reloading process, but it can be a huge pain to deal with. I’ve traditionally been a dry tumbler, but I’ve been curious to try some new processes including ultrasonic case cleaning, and stainless media wet tumbling. In this article I’ll give you the low-down on my experience cleaning 7.62x51mm (military 308 Winchester) brass with the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner.

A while back, I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but was gunked up with lube and looking dingy. Time to try out the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner!

Here’s the brass before ultrasonic cleaning:

dirty-cases

In my ultrasonic die cleaning video, I showed the RCBS Weapons Cleaning Solution in action. This time I’ll use a totally different solution, the RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). It’s *very* important that you use the proper cleaning solution for your application- if you use case cleaning solution on guns or other parts, you’ll likely compromise or ruin certain finishes (like blueing). With that in mind, I mixed up a batch of ~2 liters of case cleaning solution at a 30 parts water to 1 part solution ratio.

RCBS-Case-Cleaning-Solution

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Drain and clean ultrasonic cleaner (I saved the solution I cleaned dies in because it was still rather clean)
  • Fill the ultrasonic cleaner with solution (I just pour in water and solution and mix in the stainless tub)
  • Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner, activate the heater, wait for it to come up to temperature
  • Set the appropriate time interval for your cleaning (I used 30 minutes)
  • Activate the cleaning cycle
  • Wait until cleaning cycle is done
  • Lift out basket, lightly shake/tip to remove excess solution
  • Dry cases (I put them in a tub in the sun, you can also use your oven at low temp)

And here’s a video that walks you through the process from start to finish:

After cleaning, the solution looked pretty dirty, so I threw it out. This solution is biodegradable, which makes disposal much more convenient!

dirty-solution

And here’s what the cleaned cases looked like all steamy after being lifted out of the murky solution:

clean-cases

But perhaps this picture tells the story best, before (left) and after (right). What you don’t see here is that the insides are cleaned better than when you dry tumble.

brass-side-by-side

It’s great to have another way to clean cases. Each method has its pros and cons, so having multiple methods gives you great flexibility. Do you have a favorite way to clean cases? Have you home-brewed your own ultrasonic case cleaning solution? Please leave a comment!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?

Meet the 6.5 Guys

August 8th, 2015

One of the things I enjoy most about what I do with Ultimate Reloader is meeting like minded people who share a passion for any number of my hobbies. Some of these interests include reloading, shooting, motorcycles, diesel and heavy equipment, fabrication and machining, technology, videography/sound, photography, retro iron, and the list goes on! Recently, I was introduced to “The 6.5 Guys” – Ed and Steve, who run a popular YouTube channel and website that’s all about precision shooting. If you think about it hard, you may be able to guess their caliber of choice :).

Here’s the 6.5 guys talking about their match rifles:

6.5 Guys Match Rifles

Ed and Steve love precision shooting, but they also like to have fun with whatever they are doing which you will pick up on if you watch their videos. Ed and Steve are somewhat of opposites- you’ll may pick up this “odd couple” dynamic when you year them talk with each other (I think this makes them more interesting). Ed has a touch of OCD (I knew I liked him for some reason…) where Steve is a bit more “efficiency minded” and relaxed. Perhaps this is why they are such good friends- they are actually good for each other.

I have some exciting content coming up that will push my long-distance shooting skills to the limit, and I’m going to work with the 6.5 guys to enter this new (beyond 1000 yards) territory. More on that project shortly! In addition to precision shooting, you’ll also find reloading content on the 6.5 guys’ YouTube channel and website. Here’s an example of the kind of practical information you’ll find related to reloading:

Oh, and speaking of like-minded- Ed happens to own and drive my “favorite big-finned detroit iron” – the super-clean and super-sleek 1960 Cadillac! Un-molested and original the way it should be: in fact- it still wears the original interior!

1960 Cadillac

Look for the 6.5 guys in upcoming content- we’re going to have a lot of fun shooting and reloading together, and I’ll share those experiences with you all.

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
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Cleaning Reloading Dies with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

August 3rd, 2015

Disgusting. That’s the word I use to describe my crusty jar of mineral spirits that I use to clean dies. It’s a mess to use, and when I blow dry the dies there’s a fine mist of mineral spirits that you can smell in the shop air. You may know the feeling: the excitement of unboxing dies, and the realization that you’ll need to spend 15-20 minutes cleaning them until they are “de-gunked” of the factory oil and ready to use in your press. I’ll admit, I’ve used dies without cleaning them, and while it may not cause many problems, at minimum they can coat your fingers with oil each time you touch them. It’s not satisfying to use dies that have gummed up factory oil on them: I don’t even like the look of oiled-up dies on my presses. For me, it’s time to turn the page- I’m hoping I’ve found a better way to keep my dies clean. We’ll see!

RCBS-Dies-45ACP

After getting a new RCBS ultrasonic cleaner, I thought I should give that a try instead of my old crusty jar. RCBS has both “Weapons Cleaning Solution” (intended for guns and gun parts) and “Case Cleaning Solution” (intended for brass). Since reloading dies are pretty much like gun parts, I thought I would give the Weapons Cleaning Solution a try. The RCBS Weapons Cleaning Solution comes in a 32 fluid oz. container that has a handy built-in measuring/dispensing chamber. The instructions state that you should use a minimum of 40 parts water to 1 part cleaning solution, up to a maximum of 14 parts water to 1 part cleaning solution. I chose a middle value of 30 parts water to 1 part solution when I mixed the batch used for this article and video.

RCBS Weapons Cleaner

Here’s the video, which shows the setup, cleaning cycle, and drying procedure that I used to clean some brand new RCBS 45 ACP dies:

Here’s how the parts came out of the cleaner (after some drying time):

RCBS Dies Drying

After the parts were completely dry, they felt clean, and according to RCBS they now have a protective film of corrosion protection. Thankfully, this film of protection is not something that’s apparent when you handle the parts. That would defeat the purpose of cleaning new dies wouldn’t it?

I think I’ll go and clean my first batch of brass with this Ultrasonic Cleaner!

Talk to you all soon,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?

Unboxing the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner

July 30th, 2015

In preparation for loading 45 ACP on the RCBS Pro Chucker 5, I thought it would be a great idea to “get serious” about my die cleaning setup. Well, I’m about to show you a huge upgrade from my “shake the dies in a can of paint thinner method” that I’ve used for years. I’m pretty excited to “step into the modern era” on this one.

RCBS-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-Box-1200

Enter the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner. This unit is packed with features, and will be great for cleaning dies, cleaning handguns and gun parts, and cleaning brass. In this post/video, I’ll do a live un-boxing (no, I didn’t peek inside prior to shooting the video :)).

Here’s the overview of what’s included:

RCBS-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-Contents-1200

Specifically:

  • Main unit
  • Parts basket
  • Power cord
  • Drain hose
  • Owner’s manual

I’m looking forward to cleaning some dies with this unit- that’s up next. I’ll pick up where we left off here with setup, and we’ll get those 45 ACP dies ready to rock on the RCBS Pro Chucker 5!

Thanks,
Gavin

 

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?