Journey Of Reloading The 5.7x28mm — Plenty Of Pictures To Document the Journey

| January 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

I am really excited to bring this article to readers of dayattherange.com with permission from the author Trent — over on The Highroad Forum. This journey of Trent’s peaked my interest from his first post because it directly related to an experience of mine. One of having researched and read as much as I could about reloading the 5.7×28 cartridge, that research discouraged me from reloading for this cartridge at all. This was after I already had a set of dies and once fired factory brass of known origin fired by myself or Darrell my long time friend and shooting partner.

Now there are many which have reloaded this cartridge successfully, I just made the decision with so many additional requirements of this cartridge (special lacquer on the case etc) that it was not worth Darrell’s or my safety. So it will be awesome to track this journey Trent is taking us on to see how it ends up, and I want to be the first to say be very careful and hope all ends well.

Preface Edit 1/2/2014:

WARNING ABOUT MAXIMUM LOADS AND USE OF UNDOCUMENTED LOADS.

This thread documents use of powders in the 5.7x28mm cartridge that is not found in any current printed reloading book. (And later, some that ARE). I will make note when I am using PUBLISHED data.?Unless I indicate I’m using published data, assume that I’m a nut job and don’t do what I do.

All testing to date was done ONLY with the PS90 rifle, not with the FiveSeven handgun.

I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR USE OR MISUSE OF DATA CONTAINED IN THIS THREAD. PERIOD. THERE IS AN INHERENT DANGER WITH GOING OFF THE BEATEN PATH. IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT AS TO WHETHER YOU SHOULD USE THIS DATA AS-IS, PLEASE TAKE NOTE THAT I AM USING BODY ARMOR TO SHIELD MY FACE FROM MY RIFLE WHEN TESTING LOADS. THAT SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING! JUST BECAUSE I DIDN’T BLOW MY FACE OFF (YET) DOESN’T MEAN YOUR RIFLE WILL BEHAVE AS KINDLY AS MINE. POWDER VARIES LOT TO LOT AND YOU MIGHT USE DIFFERENT PRIMERS, TECHNIQUES, ETC, AND GET *DRAMATICALLY* DIFFERENT RESULTS.

(By “dramatic”, I mean your rifle may explode, where mine didn’t. Or vice versa. We’ll see where this all leads this year…)

This thread is intended to be a journal of sorts, as I begin the journey of loading for this cartridge. Normally I wouldn’t bother doing any sort of write-up, because most ammo we reload is pretty much like all other ammo we reload.

Except?for these persnickity buggers.

NOTE: This cartridge is a real pain to reload, and takes every ounce of attention and every bit of skill you can deliver to the bench. I *absolutely do not recommend* reloading this cartridge if you are a novice reloader. Get some bench time under your belt and revisit it in the future, if you are new(ish) to reloading. A mistake as small as a bad powder measurement of .1 grain off, could ruin your gun, your day, and perhaps your body.?You’ll see later that even respected, published reloading manuals contain errors for reloading this cartridge.?Dimensions, equipment, and measurements must be *absolutely precise* to reload this round with any semblance of safety.

The first thing to pay attention to is that the 5.7x28mm platforms are are blow-back operation. To facilitate this mechanism the cases are coated in a super-ultra-mega-secret-concoction of dry film lubricant. (Many attempts have been made to duplicate this coating and no one has been able to successfully do so, to the best of my knowledge.)

This presents some significant challenges as tumbling in any sort of media is right out – it’ll strip the cases of this dry film lubricant, which will effectively ruin them. Cases without the dry film lubricant won’t be able to extract properly; the result of which is sheared off rims, and stuck cases in the chamber of the firearm.

My adventure started last night, when I mixed a 4:1 ratio of Water to Simple Green in a plastic tub. I used the basket from my ultrasonic cleaner to put the brass in.?(NOTE: I didn’t actually USE the ultrasonic cleaner, just the basket, in a tupperware tub.)?I Set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes and dunked the cases in to the solution in the tupperware tub. Then, at the 1:00 minute warning, I began agitating them by hand.

If you leave them in too long, you’ll ruin the coating.

If the mixture of solvent is too strong, you’ll ruin the coating.

The 5.7x28mm casing is so tiny that a few of them slipped through the slots of my ultrasonic basket and I had to pick them out with pliers.

Once out, I shook the simple green solution out of the cases, and dunked them in a tub of plain tap water. I agitated them, then plucked them out, shook the water out of the cases, and laid them on a sheet of cardboard to dry for 24 hours.

Tonight, after 24 hours had elapsed, all of the cases were dry as a bone. I began the process of sizing… and found that my Redding die couldn’t push the shoulders back far enough.

With the Redding full length sizing die adjusted down to make contact with the Redding #34 shellholder:

Journey

The shoulder wasn’t pushed back to factory spec (.910 to the start of the shoulder curve).

Factory index round (SS197)
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Resized casing from the Redding die.
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It’s difficult to see that the shoulder is pushed forward above, but much easier to see that the round doesn’t index right in the chamber of the barrel, using a depth reading:

Factory round; .122 protrusion to rear of case
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Resized round: .131 protrusion to rear of case (Best I could do… can’t get it back further without removing metal from the bottom of the die or the face of the shell holder)
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Tiny little buggers:
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Some of the factory cases are crimped. Some aren’t. No idea why. But I had to take care of the crimps. While this uniformer isn’t the BEST tool for the job, it worked acceptably.
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I elected to use CCI #400 primers as they are thinner cups than some of my other primer types (.020″ cup thickness). This will help me read pressure signs easier, than if I used a thicker cup primer.
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Next task. I dialed “5.1” in to the auto dispenser and it kicked out 9 grains. Yeah. That’s not gonna work.
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I changed the leveling knobs so it’s pushing out powder slower, re-calibrated, and it started dumping close to the mark.

Better.
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Verified it was “on” with my 10-10 scale. (This is from a later session when I’d increased my initial load a couple steps.)
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It was about 1/2 of a 10th of a grain off, but close enough.
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Since I’m using Longshot (a shotgun powder), for which there is no published data for, I turned to the internet for help. On the FN Forums I came across a post where a member had done some load development with Longshot (he’s also on the fiveseven forum, and a respected source). I’ll trust his start load, but working up from there on my own …

My initial loads for Longshot w/ 40gr Hornaday V-Max:

5.1gr Starting load
6.2gr Max load (this showed overpressure signs on the original data remarks, so it’s probably actually over max… we’ll see).

These are comically small in my powder funnel. (Also somewhat painful to hold on to after a long session, hands started cramping.)
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The projectile;
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The starting powder charge; Less than 50% case capacity is used so one has to be very careful not to doublecharge a case. Fortunately, you can “shake” a case which is loaded to up to 5.5gr and audibly hear and tactile feel the powder moving in the case. So it’s easy to tell if you have a doubt about a cartridge.
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