When shells are reloaded for immediate use they may be fired after the foregoing operation. But if loaded for storage for any length of time, the crimping die should be used to secure the bullet in position. To perform this operation, insert the loaded cartridge into the die, then set the head in the recess of the safety-socket, the latter resting on a bench or table, and drive the cartridge in with the blows of the mallet on top of the die. The safety-socket has a central hole concentric with the counter-bore. In extracting the primers it supports the head of the case and forms a receptacle for exploded primers. It also supports the head of the shell on opposite ends in the operation of loading and crimping, and the central hole protects the primer from severe shocks in driving home the bullet, and it also guides the punch in setting the primers. Particular care should be taken to free the exterior of the shell from grit or dirt before resizing, to protect the die and shell from scratches; also that neither water nor oil gets into the case or primer, as either will injure or destroy the powder or fulminate. No excess of oil should be left in the chamber of the gun or on the cartridge, as it would tend to rupture the case in firing and also temporarily disable the gun. A slight amount of lubricant on the cartridge or chamber throughout their length seems to prolong the life of reloaded shells.
The tendency of the shells to tear apart appears to be due to their unequal expansion in the chamber; the front end being thin is more quickly expanded, and in the absence of the lubricant is held by pressure and friction against the walls of the chamber, while the thick rear end of the shell is forced backward by the pressure of the gases. As a rule, sufficient lubricant from the bullet finds its way into the chamber to answer all purposes. These tools are made as simple and strong as possible. Some of them, particularly the dies and punches, require to be used with great care, so as not to injure their surfaces or alter their dimensions, where such would affect the cartridge. They are cheap, durable, and quite rapid in operation if the work be divided among several operators or be done by one person performing each operation separately on a number of shells.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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