New To Reloading Questions

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by jeepcreep927, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    Finally at 32 years old, I am going to start reloading. My dad gave me an RCBS Rock Chucker press (their kit from Cabela's w/ scale, powder measure etc, etc.) The only additional thing I purchased at his direction was a powder trickle. I will be using once fired brass, loading for .308 and .222. Since I will not be using the ammo in more than one gun, should I neck size only or full length just to make sure? Not sure if that came out right. .308 will be used only in a 700 LTR and .222 only in a Contender. I have only one gun in each caliber. Also, what additional equipment, at a reasonable cost, would you all reccomend? I am not interested in high volume obviously, more in accuracy. I was considering a case trimmer as my next purchase, but looking for suggestions. Thanks.
     
  2. G21.45

    G21.45 New Member

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    :confused: Wait I'm feeling psychic. Yes, it's becoming clearer! :p

    How ya going to get along without a case trimmer? Do you have a dial caliper? Do you have a pedestal-mounted powder measure? Do you have a Dillon case gauge for each of the calibers you're reloading? How about a brass tumbler, or (maybe) a nice stuck case removal tool? Got a bullet puller? Sooner or later you'll need one of those things, ya know!

    Yes, you can use a neck sizer for your own rifles. Your accuracy will, probably, improve and the brass will last longer. This said, I have never used anything but a full length sizing die in the more than 35 years that I've been reloading.

    (Because accuracy has never really been a problem; and, someday, I might have to use some of my stuff in somebody else's rifle.) ;)
     

  3. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    There are many things that you will collect over the years to make reloading more pleasurable and a bit more efficient. Like G21.45 said, a bench mounted powder measure is tops - preferrably a real good one since this is the most important part of the reloading process - an accurate and consistent powder throw. Redding makes one of the best - the Model 3BR (bench rest quality). A loading block is a big help, and you can make one from a piece of 2 x 3 in about 5 minutes. Just drill two rows of evenly spaced holes in an 18" piece of 2 x 3. You can use this to lube your cases if you use spray lube - just line them up in your loading block and spray them LIGHTLY. The kinetic bullet puller is something that doesn't get much use, but when you need one it's a great tool to have and will not destroy the bullet, so you can re-use it. a Case trimmer/length guage is a necessity unless you don't plan to reload your cases more than once! Lee makes a very cheap one and it works great - you can even chuck the mandrell in a drill press or drill/driver. Once you buy the mandrel and cutter all you need for each different caliber is a new pilot and shell holder. A primer pocket cleaner is a necessity as is a chamfer tool to chamfer the inside/outside of the necks. The Lee Auto Prime is one of the best tools made - it allows you to prime your brass with speed and accuracy not found in a press-mounted primer. It too is cheap - I think less than $15. You will need different shell holders for each caliber, and they are different than the shell holders used in your press. The tumbler is a must. You don't want to run dirty brass through your dies. It sounds daunting and expensive, but once you have this stuff you will have it for life and only need to buy powder, bullets, primers, brass, and case lube. Incidentally, if you are reloading for pistol ammo, you don't need case lube - most pistol dies are carbide and do not require case lube. Neck sizing only is adviseable for maximum accuracy if you are loading for only one bolt-action firearm. Your cases will be fire-formed to your chamber dimensions after your first shot and therefore will only require a neck sizing. I have done this with a full-length sizer re-adjusted to only size the neck, but their are neck sizing dies available that are much better for this - but they are more expensive than full-length sizing dies. I have used Lee 3-die sets for many years with no problems and good results - they are the cheapest available at under $25 for a set - they also include a "factory crimp" die which no one else supplies with their standard die sets.
     
  4. CARNUT1100

    CARNUT1100 New Member

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    I agree about the Lee Auto Prime and their case trim tool.
    Fantastic stuff.
    I also find Lee dies to be easy to adjust with their o-rings instead of needing an allen key, but once the others are adjusted tehy do stay that way with less care and attention.
    The Lee casetrimmer is foolproof and extremely cheap.
    I don't have a tumbler yet, so I use the shellholder of the Lee casetrimmer and chuck it in a cordless drill and use a piece of steel wool to clean the outside of the case.
    Not perfect, but it works and is cheap.
    The factory crimp die is fantastic. It gives a very tough round that can take a bit of hammering in a magazine.
    Neck sizing is fantastic if you only have one firearm in that calibre. That is what I do for my .22Hornet, likewise the .357 Magnum.
    However, we have a couple of 6.5x55s so I full length size these, and neck sized rounds don't work so well in Dad's .243 BLR so they get full length sized too.
    Also you will probably need to fully resize your once-fired brass the first time you use it.
    I tend to weigh every charge if I am loading really hot stuff or extreme accuracy stuff, but that is a pain if you are loading many, however I still weigh every tenth charge out of the thrower to confirm that something is not wrong with it, for instange something stuck in there and throwing out the charge weight.

    Also, when you are loading, charge 10 cases, then seat them, don't build up a big backlog or you are more likely to miss one or double charge it. Fill the loading block, then seat them, then start again.
     
  5. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    No matter what you do you will have to full length resize every so often with the 308. I prefer full length all the time..
     
  6. Gallo Pazzesco

    Gallo Pazzesco New Member

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    I am a big fan of the RCBS Trim Station. It was one of the first so-called accessories I decided I had to have when it first came out.

    A good dial or digital caliper is a must.

    I'd add to my books as well. You probably got the master kit with Speer #14 included. I'd also add a copy of R. Lee's Modern Reloading and a Lyman and/or Hodgdon magazine/book as well. "The ABC's of Modern Reloading" is indespensable for a newbie to reloading imho. And I personally and a big fan of the Sierra binder.

    Eventually you are going to want to get into all kinds of other things - many of those already listed above by others ... my last large investment was another Chrono and I cannot imagine living without one these days.

    If you have the Master Supreme kit, and once you get familiar and comfortable with reloading, their auto priming accessory is a good, inexpensive add on. I still hand prime my accuracy loads for my long range sticks in 308, but the auto prime accessory sure speeds up my pistol reloading on my Rock Chucker. Once you get it dialed in, you can rock to the tune of between 150-250 rounds per hour comfortably and safely ... for around $20.00 bucks I think it was when I bought it last year.

    I prefer Redding Carbide dies, but I also use Dillion and RCBS dies, and even a Lee or two. I recently got a couple of Hornady die sets and a bunch of free bullets to boot ... which basically made the die sets free. Dies are a personal preference but Redding is hard to beat.

    You'll need a tumbler and case seperator eventually.
     
  7. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    I have the "mandatory" items to start, press, dies, caliper, powder measure, trickler, case mouth reamer, primer pocket reamer, et al. I am trying to pick up the more expensive additional items over time since I cannot just drop a few hundred at once. I figured the next most costly purchase would be the trimmer, which I know I will need anyway. I have read the Speer and Lyman manuals cover to cover and fully understand the process, I was just looking for thoughts on what people have personally found to work (equipment and tecniques) well and what purchases they may have made that they feel were or were not mandatory. Thanks for the replies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  8. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    I have the lyman which is ok. It is on the cheaper side of the trimmers. the price for trimmers range from $10 on up to $500+.

    I would go with the best you can afford for now. Get the Lyman or the RCBS. The lee that you sit there and pull a rip cord is JUNK and will not last for nothing. You hwant to get something that is goign to last.
     
  9. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

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    I think I am going to go with the RCBS but just not sure which model. I also looked at the Forster models because I noticed the "hollowpointing" attatchment that I thought was interesting. I just wasn't sure if it was possible to push a cast bullet fast enough for any type of useful expansion to occur. Thanks again.
     
  10. seedy

    seedy Member

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    start reloading as soon as you can. Nothing beats experience to determine the level that you want to approach reloading your own ammo. You can buy lots of expensive gizmos or try to keep it on the cheap..your choice. I have been adding equipment gradually for the last twenty years, Tumblers, chronies, progressive presses, the list goes on and on. Set your own pace and remember to have fun. CD
     
  11. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    The Lee Trimmer is great - not the spring loaded one with the pull-cord - that is crap. They sell a cutter & lockstud assembly for under $10 and then you buy the individual shell holders and pilots for each caliber - that costs an additional $3 or 4. It's a manual trimmer like working a screw-driver, the nice thing about it is you can chuck it in a drill press or power driver to really speed things up - and it does the same thing as trimmers costing 10 times as much. I've been trimming cases with it for 15 years and the cutter/lockstud have never worn.
     
  12. wrench

    wrench New Member

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    soon to be reloader numbers cruncher

    Am poor and have been planning to get into reloading for some time, and have been to various stores keeping track of componets and prices. One thing to do is sit down and study a whole bunch of powder and projectile and barrel length CUP reloading charts. Find your same barrel length and case brand charts to start from.

    Another thing is count the trips to the store as part of the cost. Gas money is now a serious factor in any thing nowadays. Catching a ride to the store and checking prices, taking notes, comparing to other stores and making purchase plans for maximum savings.

    Another thing is save up as much as you can before every purchase, and make one trip and buy what ever you need as much as possible. Just basic economics that you probably already know , but this will drop per round cost as much as possible, this makes it all the more fun and rewarding. I love ebay, but this is stuff i would not want to buy from some stranger, unless NIB.

    Another thing to try is sit down and take a calculator and determine how many loads you can get out of a pound of powder. I made a chart of the different powders that are near what my Lyman Reloaders Manual has listed on the Powder Burn Comparison Rate chart in the back and figured out what powders to try that will yield the most rounds per pound of powder, i have found as much as 20 rounds difference between different powders as a starting point. Also some loads call for a magnum primer with certain powders something i noticed especially with Hodgon powders. This is something to keep in mind as far as primer availability, WLR primers are almost impossible to get where i have been looking,and WLRM are all over. Saftey to be acknowledged here.

    7000 grains per pound of powder divided by grains per round makes a big difference in price per round. Studied 243 charts, and determined what powders to use that would cover several cartridges of similar characteristics and be very universal, in the event i get a different gun. When i start to reload i figure at least 25 attempts at a good load for my gun until finding something satisfactory for just "one" particular application say prairie dogs.

    Shooting and hotrodding is very similar in the fact they are both expelling hi rates of energy per measured amount of fuel, and improvement is the quest.
    A "dynamometer" is how a hotrodder measures scientific real world progress.
    A Chronometer is how the reloader measures progress. I wasn't even sure i wanted one of these before i started to talk to real people using them and now i consider it to be part of the package for anyone to make the most efficient use of time.

    A chronometer should be acquired or borrowed for abseloute results and improvements to be made.

    PS Have seen that Remington and Winchester both sell bulk soft point bullets for cheap!, i plan on getting some of these to start loading with just to get the "feel" of the reloader handle pull and bullet seating pressures (hand pressure) with the reloading equipment before i would load a premium bullet like Barnes "Varmint Grenades".

    From someone who has very little money because i spent it all on hotrodding. LOL! I hope this helps.

    Sincerely wrench

    <striving to enter at the narrow gate>
     
  13. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    PS - Remington bulk bullets are actually quite accurate, and for hunting ammo their soft point bullets cannot be beat for the price.