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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, the setup's finally complete. Nasty year to be doing this, but I've been piecing together the various tools and gauges for doing my own reloading. It's been awhile since I last reloaded, but this configuration should allow for fairly accurate loads.


Press and Dies:
  • Redding T-7 turret press
  • Decapping die -- MightyArmory PUA, w/ 0.057" pin
  • Neck expander die -- Porter's Precision mandrel, with mandrels allowing up to 0.002" neck tension
  • Sizing die -- Redding Type-S neck bushing full-length sizer (with bushings for 0.001" to 0.003" neck tension)
  • Seating die -- Redding Competition seater, w/ long VLD stem

Other Tools:
  • Annealer -- DIY
  • Case cleaning -- tumbler with wet media
  • Primer pocket cleaner
  • Case length trimming -- RCBS
  • Case neck chamfering and deburring tools -- Hornady
  • Cartridge run-out alignment -- Hornady Lock-n-Load Concentricity tool
  • COAL gauge -- Hornady
  • Go / No-Go gauges
  • Powder throwing and weighing -- RCBS ChargeMaster electronic powder measure and scale
  • Calipers -- Mitutoyo 500-171-30 Absolute DigiMatic 6" digital, 0.0005" resolution
  • Micrometer -- none; don't think I need it yet
  • Imperial sizing wax
  • Imperial dry neck lube (for the mandrel neck expander die)

And reloading components:
  • Cases -- Lapua 6.5mm Creedmoor brass cases, small rifle primer pocket; all same-lot
  • Primers -- CCI #450 small rifle magnum
  • Powders -- various, including H4350, Alliant Reloder 16, H4831SC, and Hodgdon Superformance; all same-lot for a given powder
  • Bullets -- various, including Hornady ELD-Match 123gr, 130gr, 140gr, 147gr; all same-lot for a given bullet weight; will eventually consider other bullets, but these are the bullets for now
  • ^ which amounts to a handful of years' worth of shooting, at the rate I'm going

Measuring the unfired cases, fired cases, twice-fired cases. Measuring for length (trim). Haven't bothered with water volume measurement. Haven't yet bothered with bullet measuring and sorting. Haven't yet bothered with case weighing and sorting. Started annealing, though I haven't put many cases through it yet. Managing the primer depth, to just a tick below flush. Seating depth to within 0.001". Concentricity alignment, run-out under 0.001". Double-checking all measurements.

So far, most shooting has been with factory loads, while I've pieced together the reloading setup. Have only done 100rds of reloads, so far. Hope to have a couple of good loads built up before next season. In a couple of months it'll start getting a bit nippy for much rifle shooting (for me).

Considering a cut-rifled match barrel from Krieger or Bartlein. Which, of course, will entail another load development process. Can use all the shooting time I can get. Been awhile since I regularly shot rifles, so the marksmanship skills are rapidly improving. The rifle's capable of better, I think, but I'm getting under half-MOA most of the time now. That is, so long as the wind's behaving itself. Will worry about wind reading skills next season. As always, tightening the "nut behind the wheel." Never ending.

Could be worse, I suppose. Kite could've gotten stuck in the kite-eating tree ... :giggle:


If anyone's got good suggestions for how to really leverage the above tools and gauges for maximum accuracy, I'm all ears. I'm doing the basics, plus some validations. But would love to hear how others are doing their peak-accuracy improvements. (Don't intend to do any competition; I'm nowhere near accurate enough, so it'll be just for the pleasure of accurate target shooting.)
 

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you start working up the load with varying the powder a set percentage using bench rest.. When you find the two that are most accurate, then you increment the powder in 1/10 that increment. Best done with consistent cases and weighed bullets. This will get you to an accuracy that far far exceeds my ability to shoot without a rest.
 

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Didn't see a primer pocket swager in the list. Son gave me one last year - makes a lot of difference - especially with military stuff.
 

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One question?
Why do you want to use a neck expanding mandrel die along with a neck bushing die? You are over working the brass by doing that.
If you happen to have a case neck that is bent, just install the mandrel that comes with the Redding die to fix it, then remove it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
One question?
Why do you want to use a neck expanding mandrel die along with a neck bushing die? You are over working the brass by doing that.
If you happen to have a case neck that is bent, just install the mandrel that comes with the Redding die to fix it, then remove it.
Don't intend to over-work the brass.

Unless I'm missing something ... Only dented or out-of-round case necks would be sized up to spec with the neck mandrel. If using the mandrel aiming for -0.002" neck tension, a fired case's neck shouldn't be sized by the mandrel anyway. And upon full-length sizing, the neck bushing of 0.289" should ensure that -0.002" neck tension exists when seated.

I suppose it's overkill, given that Redding supplied a mandrel with the sizing die. But my own preference is for doing the tasks separately with a smoother polished mandrel without taking down (and re-calibrating) a die to do it. I'll try it both ways, then settle on the better method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Didn't see a primer pocket swager in the list. Son gave me one last year - makes a lot of difference - especially with military stuff.
Don't have a primer pocket swaging tool, yet. It's Lapua brass, though certainly even Lapuas can have deformities here and there. In 100 cases loaded, so far, there's no measurable difference in primer seating depth. Don't do reloading (so far) except for one rifle caliber using this brass. Don't intend to reload the several dozen rounds of factory LRP cases that I've fired so far (from factory ammo).

If I come across primer seating or performance issues on the Lapua brass, I'll certainly consider swaging the pockets.

If I were reloading brass from factory rounds, particularly if I were reloading military brass, I'd certainly want to verify the primer pockets were in-spec.
 

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Wow!! I never knew it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO complicated.

...and here's me reloading since 1968, and with all the same gear I bought in 1978. All of which would fit, with room to spare, inside a shoe box.

Results seem OK to me, though, for all my lack of the nice toys and stuff. A few sets of RCBS dies and a beam scale gets me shooting .308Win like this three-shot group @100m - all day long.

Handwriting Art Font Circle Pattern

Swedish Mauser m/96 from 1898 -
Brown Rectangle Creative arts Paint Font

Ten shots 7.5x55 Swiss - K11 -
World Astronomical object Font Circle Terrestrial plant

...and 20 shots from a K31 -
Plant Terrestrial plant Grass Flowering plant Flowerpot
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow!! I never knew it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO complicated.

...and here's me reloading since 1968, and with all the same gear I bought in 1978 ...
Which gear (dies, tools) got you that accuracy, specifically? Interested.
 

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A RCBS Rockchucker single-stage press. Regular RCBS dies. RCBS 10-10 scales. RCBS Powder dribbler. RCBS primer pocket cleaner and Lee trimmers. RCBS powder dispenser for approximate loads which are made up using the dribbler. The R&GC in Wiesbaden was doing a special offer on the green stuff when I was down there on TDY, and I took full advantage of it.

Lots of care and attention as well, of course. :)

I 'mass-produce' .38Spec in .357Mag cases using an old Lee turret press that does nothing else that that, having no need for my spiffy Dillon set up that I used to crank out between 500 and 800 rounds a week for our police pistol shooting - now nothing more than a distant memory.

I'd take a pic of my reloading set-up, but not to put too fine a point on it, I'd be laffed off the forum.
 

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and here's me reloading since 1968, and with all the same gear I bought in 1978. All of which would fit, with room to spare, inside a shoe box.
A RCBS Rockchucker single-stage press. Regular RCBS dies. RCBS 10-10 scales. RCBS Powder dribbler. RCBS primer pocket cleaner and Lee trimmers. RCBS powder dispenser for approximate loads which are made up using the dribbler. The R&GC in Wiesbaden was doing a special offer on the green stuff when I was down there on TDY, and I took full advantage of it.

Lots of care and attention as well, of course. :)

I 'mass-produce' .38Spec in .357Mag cases using an old Lee turret press that does nothing else that that, having no need for my spiffy Dillon set up that I used to crank out between 500 and 800 rounds a week for our police pistol shooting - now nothing more than a distant memory.

I'd take a pic of my reloading set-up, but not to put too fine a point on it, I'd be laffed off the forum.
You get all that in a shoe box???
Wow!
 

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Not the press, obviously. Like I said, now you're just taking the pi$$.
It is nice to get back to loading .
I never laugh at a guy doing what he likes ( ok may snicker a bit :p )
To me it is really relaxing to sit & load .
My projects lately take up to much time to load ..... but I do have inventory still ! :)
Picture frame Furniture Shelf Building Shelving
 

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Being single does have it's advantages ! :p
I even have a pin ball machine in the living room . :)
Can use the kitchen table for gun work & it can sit there for months ! :)
Have been working on a couple new shops to take down some of the clutter . Problem is the amount I have . :rolleyes: Would like to make a 20' bench for all stages of reloading in the same place . My shop 4 is 60' x 104' with 16' walls . So may get that bench yet . :)
 

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One thing keeping me from getting it back set up is a good but small stout reloading table. Prefer to set it up in the living room in front of the TV. The better half approved of that. One of these days.....
 

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One thing keeping me from getting it back set up is a good but small stout reloading table. Prefer to set it up in the living room in front of the TV. The better half approved of that. One of these days.....
I have a buddy that uses a SS butcher block top rolling table. Not sure where he got it, but its super heavy duty commercial kitchen type. Nice big 6" wheels.
It's counter height though, so he uses a barstool.
 

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One thing keeping me from getting it back set up is a good but small stout reloading table. Prefer to set it up in the living room in front of the TV. The better half approved of that. One of these days.....
Not a fan of distractions when loading .
Guess I don't multi task well . :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Not a fan of distractions when loading .
Guess I don't multi task well . :rolleyes:
Distractions don't mix well, with reloading. Sure seems the case with me. But then, I don't have 50+ years of reloading under my belt.

Still ramping-up my reloading steps and skills, but the last couple of times I didn't triple-check it turned out I skipped the priming step or didn't validate the seating depth achieved. Caught them soon enough. Didn't have to pull the bullets on but a couple of them. Still, even a moment's lack of focus, and ... poof!
 
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