Reloading Room

The newest addition is that air conditioner in the upper-left corner. With daily temperatures already over 100 in late May, it’s what you may acknowledge as a necessity here in Phoenix Arizona.

Some other features you may notice will include the “L” brackets holding the brass feeder on the top of the Dillon 650 and clamping it to the wall, two walls to be precise. For whatever reason, when I would get cranking at a regular pace, the “tower” would start to wobble and eventually feed a piece of brass upside down. Depriming an upside down shell doesn’t work. Indeed, it jams up the works pretty good. But with the head now glued to the wall as you see it, that no longer happens.

Even so, the table is bolted to the rear and side walls. The table top consists of a sheet of 1" particle board with a sheet of 3/4" plywood glued and screwed to its top. Just exactly how that 650 gets to rockin’ with all that is beyond me but, well, there it is.

Looking at the 650, you’ll see all the bells and whistles from Dillon. I particularly like the powder checker but, in my paranoia, you can also see the side of the red battery tube that is hose clamped to the frame and the black “snake” coming from its end that carries the wires to the white LED that is aimed down so I can look inside each shell before setting the bullet on top. Yeah, I look at how much powder is in every shell, and Dillon “feels” for it too. And so far, no squibs. (Knock on wood.)

The mechanical balance on the table is the backup and double-check for the RCBS digital scale on the shelf. RCBS equipment is green, in case you didn’t know, so that should help you spot it. Two tiny boxes just to the right of the digital scale are the check weights. Paranoia again. I turn the scale on 30 minutes before loading to let it reach a stable temperature. I then press its “Zero” button and then drop in the two tiny 2.0 grain weights. The scale should read 4.0 grains. (My wad load is 3.8 grains of Hodgdon’s Clays; I check the scale as close to that as the check weights allow.) If the scale disagrees with the check weights, then I would have to stop and figure out what’s wrong. That’s where the mechanical balance would come into play. But so far, it hasn’t been needed.

But with the new air conditioner, the timing of all this will have to change.

The reloading room is part of the garage and it’s on the west side of the house where the concrete block construction soaks up the infrared all afternoon. When the sun goes down, all that infrared re-radiating into the garage and reloading room will push the interior temperature 10 degrees above the high at the airport.

The record high in Phoenix is 118. Add 10 and you’ll understand why I haven’t done much reloading over the past several summers.

And when I did reload, I’ve noticed that I had to adjust the powder drop with the season to get those same 3.8 grains of Clays. Without doing so, summer loads would have been about 0.2 grains lighter. I presume this is because the size of that cavity in the Dillon powder drop was changing size with the temperature. Whether it is the cavity adjustment screw (of’s Micrometer Powder Bar Kit) getting longer in the heat or the cavity itself getting smaller as the metal sides adjust to the temperature, I couldn’t say. I just know it changed about 0.2 grains with a temperature change of 50 degrees or so.

But now, my new plan is to start the air conditioner an hour ahead and go back inside, possibly for dinner with a recorded NCIS episode. Half way through the show, I’ll pause it to run back out and turn on the RCBS digital scale.

With the air conditioner, I’m looking for that to be less of an issue. If it’s not, I’ll have to do some more sleuthing.

The black box on the tabletop to the left of the mechanical scale is the digital caliper. I keep two spare batteries in the box so I’m never denied its truth-telling. I’ve thought of getting a purely mechanical caliper as a double-check but, well, I’ve had no reason to suspect the caliper of any funny business. Not yet, anyway.

The rest of the stuff is typical for home shops and reloading rooms.

Oh yeah, you can see the spare license plate for the car hanging on the wall to the upper left. It’s one of those geeky obscure codes and if you know what it means, then you’re a significant as well as an “old time” geek yourself.

Keep ’em in the black, ya’ll!

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