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Thread: How has arthritis affected your casting and loading?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


    tomme boy's Avatar
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    How has arthritis affected your casting and loading?

    I have been having a rough few years of ailments and injuries. It seems that my latest with my hands after having multiple surgeries for trigger finger releases on both hands. I am down to having one more on my left hand index finger. It is locking up in the closed position.

    The other 3 fingers they did the release on are not locking up anymore, but arthritis seems to be setting in hard. They are hurting really bad and in the mornings they will barely bend at all.

    This has really affected the amount of casting and loading that I am able to do. Last night I tried to cast some bullets for my Mosin. I was using a 4 cavity NOE mold and was able to get a little less than 100 bullets before I had to stop. Now today I set out to neck size some brass for the Mosin. I was able to do about 300 pieces before I had to quit.

    I have tons of reloading to do before summer gets here. I have at least 5K 223 that needs loaded and that much or more of 9mm. I am thinking I need to teach the old lady how to load! Or I am just going to have to buy my ammo and shoot less.

    So I know there all kinds of old farts here. So what do you do?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    Ok, probably not as hurting as you, but my issue is my thumbs - grip is going. For reloading I have changed from some of the presses that were more factory - (cue ball on Lee, Dillon, pipe on RCBS) and put pipe insulation and L or Shovel handles that work with palms more. Also I'm using my Buchanan and Huntington hand press in the Den instead of marathon sessions at reloading bench.
    je suis charlie

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Not so much the hands as the back. Can shoot prone if I had to but after that I'm done.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Well the other thing is neuropathy in the fingers that makes it so you have no sense of touch. So you drop things CONSTANTLY!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomme boy View Post
    Well the other thing is neuropathy in the fingers that makes it so you have no sense of touch. So you drop things CONSTANTLY!
    Yeah, I quit working for my friend before it got too bad but working on a garage door/openner over someone's supercar was getting scary.
    je suis charlie

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    Thomas Jefferson Quotations:
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    I probably do not have it like you guys...but I definitely have to deal with it as a result of years of repetitive motion in my job. I have worn out a lot of cartilage causing osteoarthritis in my neck, hands and lower back. My job was not difficult, but I did the same motions over and over for more than 30yrs...that is the reason that I retired last year at 56. Had it not been for this, I would have continued working...but, I decided I was only doing myself more harm and I was past my eligibility to retire...so, I did it and soon realized that I should have done it a couple of years earlier, when I became eligible. I manage pretty well if I respect my thumbs, neck and lower back...I can still do pretty much what I want to...I just have to do it for shorter sessions than I used to. Also, I take a lot of fish oil, drink fruit smoothies, use ice and aspercreme...to keep the inflammation down...it doesn't swell badly, but a slight amount of inflammation goes a long way toward making it painful and limiting the range of motion. I have been retired for 10mos and it has gotten a lot better during that time, but it will never be back to what it was 15yrs ago...the damage is done...now, I just limit the aggravation to the areas.
    Last edited by shoot-n-lead; 02-26-2017 at 03:04 AM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Mostly back,so I alternate from standing to sitting.Of course when I sit on a stool,my left leg goes numb.But hands are still good other than a little stiffness.

    Old injuries and getting old ain't for sissies.
    Pro Patria-Ne Desit Virtus

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Still working one more year till 65 Having problems with my shoulders and casting and or any other activity that requires repetition. My right hand swells up and my middle finger will neither straighten up all the way or retract. Can't make a fist without the possibility of the finger sticking which makes it snap and hurts like heck. Adding my machine is a Ballisti-cast Mark IV which makes life easier than hand casting when one gets older.

    So, very few days when I really feel like casting or loading but when I do I make hay while the sun shines. Its a bear to get old.

    And I didn't even touch on my knees
    Last edited by 6bg6ga; 02-26-2017 at 08:00 AM. Reason: additional

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I can only do two cavity moulds, and only for 20-25 minutes at a time.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Me too, a lot of the above. On the bright side I guess what's pretty amazing is how we learn to adapt, to be content with what we CAN do, and be thankful for that. "To every thing there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." More and more I realize it's grandpa season for me, and all that entails....observing, teaching, encouraging. Time to be the best I can be.
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    I've been dealing with my injuries and miseries for a long time.Yes we learn to adapt,parts have been hurting for so long,I guess you get use to it and learn to work with it.
    Pro Patria-Ne Desit Virtus

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I'm beginning to have problems with my hands, particularly my right hand. Started experiencing a trigger finger on my ring finger. that seems to have gone away, but I have lost a lot of flexibility, as I cannot make a good tight fist. If I try, the ring finger sticks out slightly. Also grip strength is not what it used to be. Certain movements with the hand can be painful.

  13. #13
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    Yep, shorter casting sessions and I keep tweezers or needle nose pliers handy to pick stuff up.
    grit yer teeth an pull the trigger

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    It's my thumbs, The thumb joint that is up near the wrist is effected most and has me shooting smaller hand guns with smaller calibers. The .45 ACP is about the most powerful cartridge I can handle and it has to be loaded lite with 200 gr, bullets or I will suffer the consequences.

    Ken

  15. #15
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    I had Trigger finger on my right hand Thumb, dang thing would lock bent and hurt like hell to open. Same thing with my left ring finger.
    I started taking the the Fulvic minerals (trace minerals) and some Curcumin/Boswellia, Mangosteen (anti inflammatory) and the Thumb stuff went away after about 6 months same with my left hand fingers.. I get a little symptoms in my left hand but is getting better..
    It is not like taking a pill from the doctor, this stuff takes a long time to help you, but I am a believer now in that stuff now..By taking the Fulvic minerals and natural anti inflammatory stuff it is way more effective and cheaper than Doctor proscribed anti inflammation drugs or surgery..You have to work at your nutrition and trace mineral intake, everyone's body has different needs. Your body won't get what it needs from WalMart multi vitamins either

    I bet I was in pain for 6-12 months or more with my hands, I lost track who wants to remember suffering. I almost went to the doctor to ask for help, but decided to give the natural way a try first and it worked.

    I know about 6 guys who went into surgery for this.
    No wonder the doctors drive expensive cares and go to Europe for vacation every year.

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Lower back mostly, shoulder that had bone spurs removed is getting to be a problem again. Knees haven't had much cushion left for 20 years. I cast sitting on a stool. My sessions tend to be shorter, smelting and pouring ingots is what I really pay for. Hands are a bit less nimble but not too bad, for that I am lucky.

    That is the thing, I can do anything I ever did (up to a point) but the cost is higher and the duration I can do it is lower. Heck I could still hump a pack... long as the trip wasn't much longer than... to the mailbox. And ended with a hot tub after the "trip".

    I am sort of planning ahead. Getting back surgery to relieve a pinched nerve (recognize the left leg numb symptom, numb for me is relief from the pain). Intend to cast a large supply of bread and butter bullets. PC a good number, prep a lot of brass. The goal is to build up a reserve, I'll do what I can, for as long as I can but as ability falls I can dip into my reserve for a long time to maintain any shooting activities I struggle to keep up with at the loading bench.

    Steadily buying those $5 plastic ammo boxes, filling with loose ammo, steadily filling real 30 cal. ammo cans with cast output.

    I'll lose at least a month post surgery for recovery, after that I may well start making more of my lead stash into ready to use alloy instead of in bulk 10# ingots of raw materials. Not all of it mind you but enough to provide a supply of ready to cast ingots. Doing 100 pound batches of alloy "for the season" is becoming painful. Seems like it might be wise to do some extras while the cost in pain is not too high, doubt cost is going to go lower in the next 5 or 10 years.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Arthritis got into my right thumb so bad it would wake me up at night. Trying to use that thumb for anything was a challenge, especially if a strong (or any) grip was required. When I asked the osteo doctor about a correction to it, he said it can't be done. I explained further how I needed that thumb to work, so I could work, so I could eat. He grumbled a bit and scheduled me for out-patient surgery. Recovery from that surgery was slower than predicted, but now I am 9 years out and have zero pain and full use of the thumb. So, now the left thumb is feeling slighted and starting to act up. In time it will get some attention too.

    The thumbs are the easy part. Left shoulder has an angry rotator cuff, doing physical rehab at present, hope (big time) to avoid surgery there. Lower back has compressed discs that throw fits at my right leg. Left foot has either a broken (but set and healed) bone on the outside, could be a bone spur. This only troubles me when wearing boots and moving through the woods hunting. These last 2 will not get cut and patched, I will just wear them out before they wear me out. (That last comment sounds like the answer on how to deal with a cold.)

    Did someone out there say that getting old ain't for sissies?

  18. #18
    Vendor Sponsor Handloader109's Avatar
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    Mine is ok, my last job had me in a -40 degree freezer a lot. Even as the manager there wasnt a day I didnt spend a few minutes in that thin, and many days it was hours. My fingers slowly lost grip an would start freezing up motion in the joints. In the 6 months I have been gone, 90 % better. Rhumatoid arthritis runs in the family, mom has it bad. So its coming. I do things like some of you have suggested, eliminate grips when possible, get rid of knob on my Dillon, get bullet feeder, and a bunch of tubes. Maybe go back to buying bullets if casting is toi difficult. But I'd keep trying!

  19. #19
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    Well.......don't know how to put it. After reading some of the posts I'm kinda feeling relieved in a way and in others not so much. Both of my hands developed Peripheral Neuropathy which feels like a persons leg falling asleep. When my hands fall asleep and I try to continue I get those needle like jabs all throughout my hands and have to wait a bit before I can continue on. Oh I try and shake them and move my wrists which helps to a point, but not always.

    Casting in itself has gotten more and more difficult, my lower back just aches after 1/2hr and I try standing for a while, then sitting. But when I sit my left leg falls asleep a lot and scoot my rear just over the edge of the seat. Seems I'm restricting the flow of blood traveling through my legs if I don't which seems to be causing it. Running the lathe for more than a couple of hours has the same effect since I have a stool right there, sit for a bit then stand seems to help.

    I worked in earospace for 27yrs as a precision grinder, very repetitive and fast paced since it's all production work with small pieces. You had to be behind the machine and you weren't even allowed to move much since you were not producing when you weren't working the controls. Leaned against the table with your rear end and you could be fired for being to lazy, which is how it is in the production aspect of machining.

    Even doing case conversions takes its toll on me. I've had my shoulder get literally locked-up for weeks doing conversions. I go to the Dr. and he wants to give me a shot, which I wont do, I just wanted to know if it was something serious or not. That's the main reason I stopped doing the 300BO conversions, there's a lot of hand work involved and nothing I do is considered automatic in any way.

    So now when I do conversions I take my time and take lots of breaks. I've had to slow down a lot just so I wont be in pain all the time. And even though I take breaks all the time I still have this issue of pushing myself to get things done, which isn't easy.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Hot wax therapy helps my hands work and stop the pain. Nothing works for the Peripheral Neuropathy from the diabetes however.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check