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Posted: 3/6/2015 3:14:39 PM EDT
I just finished handloading 800rds of 62grn Hornady FMJ with my precision load I use for 200yd shooting with in my scoped AR A4. I plan to also use them with my soon-to-arrive Ruger Ranch Rifle as I've heard that they like the 62grn bullets better than the 55grn and I've got over 6,000 of them left so what the heck. Anyway, I happened to check the time when I went downstairs in the basement so I decided to see how long it would take to do them from full caliber swap, setup, handloading, through complete cleanup. I started the process at 8:30am this morning.

As always, my reloading bench was clean and everything was stored properly. My press was set up for 7.62x51 for my M1A so I had to do a complete caliber change including everything for the Casefeeder, the Primer Assy, and the Primer Ram over to small primers. After I changed the press over to the new caliber, I got out my powder, primers, bullets, brass and assorted tools to load up 800rds, filled and adjusted the Powder Measure for the new load, and set the Bullet Seater die for the 62grn bullets. I loaded the primers into the Primer Pickup Tubes so I had them ready to load the Primer Assy.

Finally I was ready to start so I proceeded to I load up the 800rds as per normal, not hurrying, but rather enjoying the process because while it's finally sunny outside, the snow is only starting to melt and there's no way I'll be going to the range for at least a few more days. I like soft jazz playing in the background as it's soothing and keeps things mellow. During the run I didn't have any issues, just the normal filling the Primer Assy, Powder Measure, and loading. I really like the process as it's a relaxing time I get to 'be one with the ammo.' When I was done, I packed up the ammo in a 30cal ammo can plus 5ea 20rd Ruger Ranch Rifle mags, plus a small baggie with the overflow that I labeled and put with the mags, ready for the first outing with my Ruger.

I left the press set up for .223/5.56 but emptied all the powder and primers and restored them into their proper containers, put everything else back away and then cleaned up my bench and the press including blowing all the stray dust off with my air compressor. I turned out the light, closed the door and went upstairs. My watch said 10:53am. Granted, I started with processed brass that was ready to be handloaded and I was loading .223/5.56 and that is the fastest of my rifle calibers to load for some reason but still, 2 hours and 23 minutes start to finish including a caliber swap at the front end and cleaning up on the back end is pretty fast even though I wasn't hurrying at all. I didn't even work up a sweat or get hungry for lunch. Since then, I've been doing my housework (vacuuming the house and a bit of laundry while the wife is at the grocery store).

She just came home so I think I'll take her to lunch.




Oh, and the best part is that I'm still using stock I bought 7 years ago so it cost me a whopping 11.9¢ per round to make them, or $95.20 total for 800rds of fun.
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 4:37:38 PM EDT
Nice! I find that with prepped brass, the final cycle through my 650 is usually about 500 rounds/hour for 223. A caliber swap takes about 5-7 minutes if I don't have to swap primer assemblies (I have my standard loads already set up on dedicated powder charge bars for each caliber), otherwise it's more like 12-15 minutes. I try to do bulk in batches of 1000. For my bulk loaded rifle ammo, my process for 1000 rounds looks like this:

1.) Caliber swap (if necessary) - max 15 minutes

2.) Dry tumble brass to get crud off (assuming this is really dirty range brass) - 20 minutes x 5 loads, but I do this when I get back with the brass from the 'range', so it doesn't really figure in for a day of reloading

3.) Separate dry tumbled brass from media in RCBS separator - 3 minutes total

4.) Run through progressive with decapper only - 25 minutes - I run the press REALLY fast for this step, and I'm limited more by the casefeeder assembly than anything else

5.) Wet tumble brass - 60 minutes - 15 minutes each for 3 loads of 300+ rounds (for 300 blk, fewer per load for larger calibers), plus 5 minutes for rinsing and loading into dehydrator for drying

6.) Dry brass - I put each successive load of brass on a new dehydrator tray(s), such that by the time I load the last one in, the first one can come off for loading. Thus, this time isn't a cost, it just overlaps with the wet tumbling process The dehydrator is on a timer to automatically shut if off when the last batch should be dry.

7.) Swap toolhead from decapper to sizer - I do this while waiting on the first wet tumbler batch, so the time cost is already accounted for

8.) Load primer tubes - I do this while waiting on the first wet tumbler batch, so the time cost is already accounted for

9.) Lube brass - 5 minutes of loading into my cardboard lubing box, shaking to get most of the case mouths facing upward, then spraying in case lube for cheap bastards

10.) Resize brass - 35 minutes - again, I'm running the press pretty fast - I toss each sub-batch of 300 into the case hopper and run through the progressive just to resize. I get the first sub-batch while the last wet tumbling batch is drying, so that's 15ish minutes already accounted for that I'm doing tasks in parallel.

11.) Trim brass - 1 hour - I trim using a WFT chucked in a mini-lathe next to my presses in the shop.

12.) Wet tumble brass (no soap) - 20 minutes, with draining and media separation - I have taken to this step because it reduces my task dedication for chamfering and deburring, which used to take another hour each. Someday I'll finish the fixture I want to make that allows me to do all three (trim, chamfer and deburr) int he same case handling step, but I can't justify spending another $110 for an off-the-shelf unit for it

13.) Dry brass (yes, again) - 15 minutes for the first batch, then parallelizing tasks after that

14.) Prime, charge, check, seat and crimp - 2 hours, including primer refills, traveling back and forth to dehydrator/wet tumbler, etc. - rounds are loaded into ammo cans as I fill each akro bin

Total time - 5.25 hours for 1000 rounds of rifle, soup-to-nuts. If the brass is already prepped, it's just 2 hours. If I could trim on-press and not have to worry about chamfering/deburring, it would potentially save about 2.5 hours per 1000 rounds of rifle, as I'd do it in parallel with the resizing operation, which would then have to slow down slightly.

Dammit Steve, now I'm off to look at a rapid trimmer I can't afford.
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 5:45:52 PM EDT
If I add my case prep cycle to the mix it's much shorter than yours, likely because I tumble my dirty brass while I'm busy doing something else so the 1 hour tumble takes me 1 minute to dump in and 5 minutes to take out. If I'm talking 1,000rds, that's 5 loads so actual touch time is 1/2 hour. Then I can run my brass through my press to decap, resize, and trim at 1,000rds in 55 minutes. 1,000rds takes 1 hr to tumble the lube off at 15 minutes per load is another 1/2 touch time so I've got 2 hrs case prep time for my dirty brass to ready to handload. (I've got over 9,000rds of prep'd LC and Win brass ready to handload so I don't need to count primer swaging for years to come. Add in the 2 hrs and 23 minutes to reload 800rds and all up I've got about 4 hrs in total to handload 800rds of AR brass from pickup to ready to fire.
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 5:56:29 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By COSteve:
If I add my case prep cycle to the mix it's much shorter than yours, likely because I tumble my dirty brass while I'm busy doing something else so the 1 hour tumble takes me 1 minute to dump in and 5 minutes to take out. If I'm talking 1,000rds, that's 5 loads so actual touch time is 1/2 hour. Then I can run my brass through my press to decap, resize, and trim at 1,000rds in 55 minutes. 1,000rds takes 1 hr to tumble the lube off at 15 minutes per load is another 1/2 touch time so I've got 2 hrs case prep time for my dirty brass to ready to handload. (I've got over 9,000rds of prep'd LC and Win brass ready to handload so I don't need to count primer swaging for years to come. Add in the 2 hrs and 23 minutes to reload 800rds and all up I've got about 4 hrs in total to handload 800rds of AR brass from pickup to ready to fire.
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I assume you're using the RT1200?
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 6:53:24 PM EDT
I shoot my 223 in 500 round lots, so two rounds of the Lyman for an hour each = ten minutes actually loading and unloading brass.
Lube and FL resize the brass = 45 minutes
Dry tumble lube off = ten minutes
Trim if needed = one hour on the Giraud
Primer pocket swaged = one hour
Load = one hour

Full brass prep 4 hours and five minutes
Brass needs trimmed 3 hours and five minutes
No trim or swage needed 2 hours and five minutes...which a bulk of the reloads don't need this.
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 10:16:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/6/2015 10:31:54 PM EDT by COSteve]
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Originally Posted By RocketmanOU:

I assume you're using the RT1200?
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Originally Posted By RocketmanOU:
Originally Posted By COSteve:
If I add my case prep cycle to the mix it's much shorter than yours, likely because I tumble my dirty brass while I'm busy doing something else so the 1 hour tumble takes me 1 minute to dump in and 5 minutes to take out. If I'm talking 1,000rds, that's 5 loads so actual touch time is 1/2 hour. Then I can run my brass through my press to decap, resize, and trim at 1,000rds in 55 minutes. 1,000rds takes 1 hr to tumble the lube off at 15 minutes per load is another 1/2 touch time so I've got 2 hrs case prep time for my dirty brass to ready to handload. (I've got over 9,000rds of prep'd LC and Win brass ready to handload so I don't need to count primer swaging for years to come. Add in the 2 hrs and 23 minutes to reload 800rds and all up I've got about 4 hrs in total to handload 800rds of AR brass from pickup to ready to fire.

I assume you're using the RT1200?

Yep. That's the beauty of an 'on press' trimmer because with my casefeeder and trimmer, I lube up the tumbled clean brass, dump them in the hopper, crank the handle, and one hour later I have 1,000rds of decapped, resized, and trimmed brass without ever having to touch a single piece of brass. Easy on the fingers, fast (as in trimming takes 0 seconds more), and once it goes through the 10 minute lube removal tumble, it's ready for reloading.

I've found that there is no need to chamfer the inside of the cases even when loading flat based bullets. My tests show no difference in accuracy nor seating issues and I've loaded thousands of flat based bullets in .223/5.56, 30 Carbine (yep I trim them), 30-30, 300 Savage, .308/7.62, or 30-06. None of my dies flare the case mouth but the bullets load in straight and true without issue. Further, I've pulled bullets to see if there is any damage to the bullets from the cases and I've yet to find any, including any damage loading X-Treme's 150grn plated .308 bullets!

I'm not dissing a separate trimmer like the Giraud, it's a fine machine. What I'm saying is that my son can get 5/8" groups at 100yds with his scoped Savage Model 10 and my 68grn Hornady handloads and I use them in my A4 AR to shoot apples at 400+ yds, all without chamfering so why bother?
Link Posted: 3/6/2015 11:09:39 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By RocketmanOU:
Nice! I find that with prepped brass, the final cycle through my 650 is usually about 500 rounds/hour for 223. A caliber swap takes about 5-7 minutes if I don't have to swap primer assemblies (I have my standard loads already set up on dedicated powder charge bars for each caliber), otherwise it's more like 12-15 minutes. I try to do bulk in batches of 1000. For my bulk loaded rifle ammo, my process for 1000 rounds looks like this:

1.) Caliber swap (if necessary) - max 15 minutes

2.) Dry tumble brass to get crud off (assuming this is really dirty range brass) - 20 minutes x 5 loads, but I do this when I get back with the brass from the 'range', so it doesn't really figure in for a day of reloading

3.) Separate dry tumbled brass from media in RCBS separator - 3 minutes total

4.) Run through progressive with decapper only - 25 minutes - I run the press REALLY fast for this step, and I'm limited more by the casefeeder assembly than anything else

5.) Wet tumble brass - 60 minutes - 15 minutes each for 3 loads of 300+ rounds (for 300 blk, fewer per load for larger calibers), plus 5 minutes for rinsing and loading into dehydrator for drying

6.) Dry brass - I put each successive load of brass on a new dehydrator tray(s), such that by the time I load the last one in, the first one can come off for loading. Thus, this time isn't a cost, it just overlaps with the wet tumbling process The dehydrator is on a timer to automatically shut if off when the last batch should be dry.

7.) Swap toolhead from decapper to sizer - I do this while waiting on the first wet tumbler batch, so the time cost is already accounted for

8.) Load primer tubes - I do this while waiting on the first wet tumbler batch, so the time cost is already accounted for

9.) Lube brass - 5 minutes of loading into my cardboard lubing box, shaking to get most of the case mouths facing upward, then spraying in case lube for cheap bastards

10.) Resize brass - 35 minutes - again, I'm running the press pretty fast - I toss each sub-batch of 300 into the case hopper and run through the progressive just to resize. I get the first sub-batch while the last wet tumbling batch is drying, so that's 15ish minutes already accounted for that I'm doing tasks in parallel.

11.) Trim brass - 1 hour - I trim using a WFT chucked in a mini-lathe next to my presses in the shop.

12.) Wet tumble brass (no soap) - 20 minutes, with draining and media separation - I have taken to this step because it reduces my task dedication for chamfering and deburring, which used to take another hour each. Someday I'll finish the fixture I want to make that allows me to do all three (trim, chamfer and deburr) int he same case handling step, but I can't justify spending another $110 for an off-the-shelf unit for it

13.) Dry brass (yes, again) - 15 minutes for the first batch, then parallelizing tasks after that

14.) Prime, charge, check, seat and crimp - 2 hours, including primer refills, traveling back and forth to dehydrator/wet tumbler, etc. - rounds are loaded into ammo cans as I fill each akro bin

Total time - 5.25 hours for 1000 rounds of rifle, soup-to-nuts. If the brass is already prepped, it's just 2 hours. If I could trim on-press and not have to worry about chamfering/deburring, it would potentially save about 2.5 hours per 1000 rounds of rifle, as I'd do it in parallel with the resizing operation, which would then have to slow down slightly.

Dammit Steve, now I'm off to look at a rapid trimmer I can't afford.
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Why not size in step 4 , skip step 10 and run the decapper in step 14 ? I'm with Steve on triming on press , I pretty much never touch my carbide resizing die as everything is ran through the trimmer everytime it's shot
Link Posted: 3/7/2015 12:33:59 AM EDT
What is the part # of the Hornady bullet you are using?
Link Posted: 3/7/2015 12:59:00 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By rn22723:
What is the part # of the Hornady bullet you are using?
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I don't have the original boxes so I looked on their website and it doesn't look like they offer them at the moment. I remember they were Hornady's bulk 62grn FMJ bullets offered both with and without canalure; much like the bulk 55grn they offer now. Many bullet mfg'rs have cut back on the bullets they offer now to try to catch up with the demand so I don't know if you can get them at the moment. You might try calling them.
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