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Posted: 3/22/2006 11:12:11 AM EDT
This is the first cartridge I reloaded completely on my own. I setup the press, made the adjustments, added the primer, powder, bullet, and pulled the press lever four times. Last night the first cartridge was finally ready.

It is, naturally, a .45 Colt. It’s 255 grains of lead backed by 5 grains of Trail Boss powder. Watch out!







Thanks to Spambo who has mentored me on reloading the last 2 ½ months, and kept me from going down the wrong reloading press and equipment road, etc.

I now have around 80 rounds ready to go and WS4lif has graciously accepted my invitation to go shooting these up on Saturday.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 11:55:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 11:56:51 AM EDT by M-60]
That is cool! I still have my first 12 gauge shell I reloaded. Not the same thing but I was happy about it.


I need to start reloading... When I can afford it I will. Then I'll call Spambo for teh learnin'.

Mark.

Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:14:34 PM EDT
Spambo needs to do the same for me. I'll need to start reloading 6.8SPC.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:53:07 PM EDT
The joy of reloading my first round was nothing compared to the trepidation when I actually put it in a gun and pulled the trigger

Fortunately, I still have most of my eyes, ears and hands
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 4:23:21 PM EDT
someone was offering the reloading basic class...

nwsafe.org I think.

Something that I have always wanted to do... ammo keeps getting expensive I might just take the plunge.


What kind of re-loader did you get?
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:03:27 PM EDT
I got the Dillon 550B.

They are $369 if you order direct or $330 if you pick one up at Sportsman's Warehouse. They are actually a fun machine to play with. They are worth it if you plan on doing more than 50 cartridges at a time. To switch to an entirely new caliber with all the neat quick change toys runs $175, so it's best to get the setups for only your high volume calibers and get an old type non-progressive press for low volume work.

I need to go dig out my Dad's old 1970's RCBS and figure out how it works. It should be fine for making just 50 or less at a time and I already found a few dies for it so it would be free to start. It would just take a lot longer to setup, but for shooting a few rounds through my old .30-30 again it should be fine.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:30:19 PM EDT
I need to get into reloading....

this precision .308 rifle I just bought is gonna break the bank if I don't...

Looks like I have a project for the summer while I'm right next to sportsman's warehouse
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 8:56:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
I got the Dillon 550B.

They are $369 if you order direct or $330 if you pick one up at Sportsman's Warehouse. They are actually a fun machine to play with. They are worth it if you plan on doing more than 50 cartridges at a time. To switch to an entirely new caliber with all the neat quick change toys runs $175, so it's best to get the setups for only your high volume calibers and get an old type non-progressive press for low volume work.

I need to go dig out my Dad's old 1970's RCBS and figure out how it works. It should be fine for making just 50 or less at a time and I already found a few dies for it so it would be free to start. It would just take a lot longer to setup, but for shooting a few rounds through my old .30-30 again it should be fine.



Even the high end .308 that I buy by case is the cost of the press... Plus needing to load for things like lead free ammo.

Naturally, I'd want a big ass re-loader for high volume and plenty of calibers for sure.

I need a place to put it, and a bunch of powder, and a million types of dies, and... I just haven't gotten around to doing it. LOL It will be expensive once I start.



Link Posted: 3/22/2006 9:20:25 PM EDT
This is what my research indicates:
As far as medium/high volume, the 550B is fine if are willing to add the brass case by hand. They have a new auto brass feeder for pistol calibers out now and they say .223 capability will be added by the end of the year, but .223 is the only rifle caliber they will be adding.

If you want a .308 brass case to be fed into the machine automatically the Dillon 650 will do it today, but it is a more complicated and expensive machine. If you want maximum volume it is the machine to get. It is twice as fast as a 550B.

I got the 550B because I figure once I get up to speed I will be able to load 300-500 in 1-2 hours, which is all I need, and the max time I would want to spend reloading at a time. The 650 can do double that in the same time, but is not as friendly in changing over calibers. If you only reload 500 rds before changing calibers you lose any time savings in setting up the 650 for the new caliber. It's a race machine, so if you want to churn out 2000 rds at a moments notice (and not be changing calibers all the time), it's the machine to get.

Of course in true arfcom style you can get both machines and have the best of both worlds.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 10:06:03 PM EDT
*patiently waits for pictures of the resulting "First Kaboom"*
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:44:27 AM EDT
Congrats! You might want to watch your fingers though.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:19:51 AM EDT
TFT - congratulations the downside - you just became a slave to that machine.

JE - that precision rifle will also be more precise if you tune a load specifically to it

General comment on danger - just be aware of fire danger - where you store your powder and wear eye protection when working with primers (it will be a suprise to you when detonate one while forcing a seating) - beyond that, if you can read and follow directions, don't drink or get high while reloading - there is no danger.

I have loaded and fired around 90,000 HG and rifle now - I taught myself to do it by reading books - some how I am still here, no KBs, no issues.

As the saying goes - it isn't any cheaper but you'll sure shot alot more for the same money.

Good luck and enjoy.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:06:11 PM EDT
Speaking of reloading costs, here are some ballpark figure on the
equipment I believe you need:

Here is a breakdown on reloading equipment:

Dillon Precision:
-----------------

Dillon RL550B & .45 Colt Conversion Kit 369.95
Dillon 3-Die Set 14405 55.95
Dillon Case Gage for 10.49
4 Large Primer Pickup tubes 16.95 **Lets you load up 500 primers
1" Dillon Bench Wrench/5 Pack of Die Lock rings 7.95
D-Terminator Electronic Scale 139.95
------
$601.24
Midway USA
----------
Frankford Arsenal Case Tumbler with Rotary-7 Media 89.99
Separator Kit 220 Volt International
Frankford Arsenal Stainless Steel Electronic Caliper 27.99
MTM Primer Flipper Tray Clear-Smoke 2.99
Hornady Powder Funnel 22 to 45 Caliber 3.19
-----
$124.16

Total: $725.40

Dillon equipment is not the cheapest but they give excellent support have something
called a "No BS Guarantee" on most of their stuff. MidwayUSA and RCBS are good
companies also.

Jeez, I thought reloading was supposed to be cheaper than factory ammo. Ten years ago,
it was I believe, but that was before Wolf entered the picture. Damn, with $725 I could pay for
almost all the ammo I shoot in a year.

If anybodys wants to check out my reloading setup, let me know.

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:22:03 PM EDT

I found it this afternoon! I finally found my Dads reloading press. It's a RCBS JR3. I found it along with one of his reloading manuals from 1953, which even has a section on shooting muzzle loaders and a reprint of an earlier manual that looks like it was from the 1800s. The most curious things just seem to turn up. It is like opening a time capsule.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:14:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:21:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By petagunner:

Originally Posted By Face_N_The_Crowd:
JE - that precision rifle will also be more precise if you tune a load specifically to it



Best advice yet!

IF you really want to tune a load to a rifle, take your components and look for one of those little lee hand loaders, or a cheap RCBS press that you can mount on a piece of plywood and attatch to a bench with some C clamps. Take it to the range with you. Work up 3 rounds at a certain charge, go shoot them and adjust your charge,seating depth and try some more. There are so many different factors in rolling your own and wringing the most accuracy out of the load it's not funny. .10gr less/more....1/4 turn in or out on the die....it all makes a huge difference. Those dillons are great for volume, but they will not feed or trickle the powder fine enough if your looking for a 1/2 moa load. I load for my hunting rifles and the whole fine tuning part can be very finicky at times. My current do all rifle with 86gr of reloader 25 shot about 1 1/2moa. Now, with 85.8 gr of the same powder it will shoot 1/2 moa if I do my part.



Be a man and hunt with just your knife.

Damn pansies.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 7:30:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 10:35:19 AM EDT
Know a couple Samonans that consider pig hunting with a knife a badge of honor - they have some NASTY scars.

Link Posted: 3/24/2006 6:31:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By petagunner:

Originally Posted By Face_N_The_Crowd:
JE - that precision rifle will also be more precise if you tune a load specifically to it



Best advice yet!

IF you really want to tune a load to a rifle, take your components and look for one of those little lee hand loaders, or a cheap RCBS press that you can mount on a piece of plywood and attatch to a bench with some C clamps. Take it to the range with you. Work up 3 rounds at a certain charge, go shoot them and adjust your charge,seating depth and try some more. There are so many different factors in rolling your own and wringing the most accuracy out of the load it's not funny. .10gr less/more....1/4 turn in or out on the die....it all makes a huge difference. Those dillons are great for volume, but they will not feed or trickle the powder fine enough if your looking for a 1/2 moa load. I load for my hunting rifles and the whole fine tuning part can be very finicky at times. My current do all rifle with 86gr of reloader 25 shot about 1 1/2moa. Now, with 85.8 gr of the same powder it will shoot 1/2 moa if I do my part.



Peta hit the nail on the head. By handloading you can tune the load to the rifle. Open up a few
manuals, determine what you minimum and maximum loads are, start at the bottom and work your
way up thru the powder range evenly. I do this in 5 shot groups, keep the targets separate, and
measure each string with a chronograph. If you find a sweet spot, try and fine tune it. A
chronograph and pressure signs will let you know if you are over pressure or not. With all the
choices of bullets, powder, brass and primers you can develop better ammo than you can buy.

For instance, my stock Bushmaster 20" will shoot 5 shot, 1" groups at 100 yards with 52gr Sierras using 25.6 grains of H335.

YMMV!

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:46:09 PM EDT
After loading several thousand rounds via my olf faithful rockchucker I feel I should reply. But you all are doing such I good job... I think I will just sit back and read.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 9:29:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cape_hunter:
After loading several thousand rounds via my olf faithful rockchucker I feel I should reply. But you all are doing such I good job... I think I will just sit back and read.



You too, huh? That's all I have, and it has loaded lots of '06, .32-20, .45 ACP and Colt, .357, .38, .308, and .223.

Nick (we don't need no stinkin progressives)
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 6:26:29 PM EDT
Progressives are nice. Today Westy and I shot 300 reloads and then I re-reloaded 150 of them in an hour and a half. I’m still very slow and double check a lot, but only a progressive can keep the time factor so low. Now I’m down to 50 bullets left in my original box of 500 Must buy more bullets.

I see a lot of special uses where a RockChucker would come in handy and they have them at Bimart for $109, so might get one of those too. It looks like you have to be an equipment collector just to prepare LC .223 brass for the reloader, progressive or not.

My .45 price breakdown is (not including brass):
Bullets $ .076
Primer $ .032
Powder (est) $ .022
Misc Supplies (est) $ .01
= 14 cents per round

New ammo is 36 cents per round. Miwall reloads are 27 cents (They were 22 cents not long ago.)
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 6:43:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
Progressives are nice. Today Westy and I shot 300 reloads and then I re-reloaded 150 of them in an hour and a half. I’m still very slow and double check a lot, but only a progressive can keep the time factor so low. Now I’m down to 50 bullets left in my original box of 500 Must buy more bullets.

I see a lot of special uses where a RockChucker would come in handy and they have them at Bimart for $109, so might get one of those too. It looks like you have to be an equipment collector just to prepare LC .223 brass for the reloader, progressive or not.

My .45 price breakdown is (not including brass):
Bullets $ .076
Primer $ .032
Powder (est) $ .022
Misc Supplies (est) $ .01
= 14 cents per round

New ammo is 36 cents per round. Miwall reloads are 27 cents (They were 22 cents not long ago.)



Progressives are great thats for sure. I reload for accuracy in my hunting sticks and havent considered reloading to save money until the recent ammo price hikes of the last couple years.


Good stug TF! Its always nice ot see another person mfg their own ammo! The best part, its a relaxing hobby.
!
CH
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:05:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 8:10:49 AM EDT by spambo]

Originally Posted By Commando_Guy:

Originally Posted By Cape_hunter:
After loading several thousand rounds via my olf faithful rockchucker I feel I should reply. But you all are doing such I good job... I think I will just sit back and read.



You too, huh? That's all I have, and it has loaded lots of '06, .32-20, .45 ACP and Colt, .357, .38, .308, and .223.

Nick (we don't need no stinkin progressives)



Ah, nothing like reloading pissing match!

Reloading techincally saves money but it's a separate hobby. It costs me around $85-$90 to
load 1K .223. On the negative side, I also spend about 10 hours, tumbling, resizing brass,
tumbling, and loading. Is it worth it money wise, No. And that time does not include
trimming, working up and shooting test loads. Reloading good ammo takes time.
For 9mm, .223 and .308, at today's ammo prices, I don't think it saves enough $$

Reloading IS worthwhile when loading premium rifle rounds, especially when factory
ammo, using premium bullets, costs more than $1/cartridge.

Look for me at the Practical Rifle matches, I am the brass-bitch picking up the
brass for my stockpile.

My $0.02 worth,

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:25:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:51:26 AM EDT

Picking up good brass is not a bad idea.

I have all this Berdan primed South African and no way to reload it. If I could only find Berdan primers locally I'd be set.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 9:45:02 AM EDT
I will say that I have let my wife know that a 550 would definately be appreciated...

Nick
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 2:56:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 2:57:37 PM EDT by Mr45auto]
I've had an RL550b for the last 12 years or so. You can crank out tons of good stuff with it. I originally loaded several calibers with it but in the last few years only 45acp. For those considering loading auto pistol calibers buy a lee factory crimp die and put it on the last station. It has a sizing ring that goes over the loaded round to ensure it'll be within spec. I have not had any function issues with my reloads since I started using this die about 10 years ago. I know more than one guy who's gun chokes on 9mm, 40, and 45 due to the rounds hanging up in the chamber.

I havent tried to load for my rifles on the progressive. With the pressures involved I'd prefer not to have bullet setback and a KB. Pistol rounds are far more forgiving. Rifle ammo I prefer to load on my single stage press where I can inspect a bit more thoroughly. I've got a sweet .270 load that has freaking unbelieveable accuracy from a plain jane winny m70.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 6:09:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mr45auto:
I've had an RL550b for the last 12 years or so. You can crank out tons of good stuff with it. I originally loaded several calibers with it but in the last few years only 45acp. For those considering loading auto pistol calibers buy a lee factory crimp die and put it on the last station. It has a sizing ring that goes over the loaded round to ensure it'll be within spec. I have not had any function issues with my reloads since I started using this die about 10 years ago. I know more than one guy who's gun chokes on 9mm, 40, and 45 due to the rounds hanging up in the chamber.

I havent tried to load for my rifles on the progressive. With the pressures involved I'd prefer not to have bullet setback and a KB. Pistol rounds are far more forgiving. Rifle ammo I prefer to load on my single stage press where I can inspect a bit more thoroughly. I've got a sweet .270 load that has freaking unbelieveable accuracy from a plain jane winny m70.



+1 for the lee factory crimp die
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 7:28:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By petagunner:

Originally Posted By spambo:
I am the brass-bitch Spambo





Anyone need a new sig line?



Call me a brass-bitch or brass-whore all you want, just be kind and leave your brass for me!

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 7:31:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
Picking up good brass is not a bad idea.

I have all this Berdan primed South African and no way to reload it. If I could only find Berdan primers locally I'd be set.



Damn you, my depriming pin has been broken twice because guys like you!
Now I know what SA brass looks like and sort it out!

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:50:15 PM EDT

Australian .308 is Berdan too

I've read that the new surplus 5.56 Guatemala is both Berdan and Boxer primed, depending on who is doing the talking. We must be careful, sort brass, and have many spare pins handy. You never know what strange brass will show up at the range. I found some 68's LC brass in a mixed bag of floor sweepings. I wonder who was shooting original ammo. And did it gunk up their gun?
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 9:15:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 9:25:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
Australian .308 is Berdan too

I've read that the new surplus 5.56 Guatemala is both Berdan and Boxer primed, depending on who is doing the talking. We must be careful, sort brass, and have many spare pins handy. You never know what strange brass will show up at the range. I found some 68's LC brass in a mixed bag of floor sweepings. I wonder who was shooting original ammo. And did it gunk up their gun?




My first concern with picking up brass at the range is you may end up with brass that has been reloaded many times. Though I dont have any bad examples of brass that has been loaded to many times, I tend to keep track of how many times brass has been loaded and toss it out at some point. That said I have some 06 and 300 H&H brass that has been around since the mid 70s and loaded a dozen plus times.
CH
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 10:21:27 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 11:12:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 11:14:46 PM EDT by Mr45auto]
Btw, dont worry about trimming pistol brass it's just not necessary. Rifle brass on the other hand does require proper trimming.


And for those of you who shoot .40s out of guns with unsupported chambers make damned sure you've got a serious crimp on those cartridges. The .40 has huge pressure issues with just a little bullet setback. I usually toss all my wife's .40 brass, I have no interest in loading such a touchy pistol round
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 4:18:14 PM EDT

What are your opinions on never fired military brass that has had the bullets pulled, primer pulled, and the primer crimp removed? In bulk it's online price is about 7 cents each. I think they might be reloadable as homemade M193 for around 15 cents per round. That's a $100 savings.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:02:44 PM EDT
TF, that kind of brass is a good deal. As long as it has been processed well and you double check it when you get it, drive on!
CH
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:25:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Cape_hunter:

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
Australian .308 is Berdan too

I've read that the new surplus 5.56 Guatemala is both Berdan and Boxer primed, depending on who is doing the talking. We must be careful, sort brass, and have many spare pins handy. You never know what strange brass will show up at the range. I found some 68's LC brass in a mixed bag of floor sweepings. I wonder who was shooting original ammo. And did it gunk up their gun?




My first concern with picking up brass at the range is you may end up with brass that has been reloaded many times. Though I dont have any bad examples of brass that has been loaded to many times, I tend to keep track of how many times brass has been loaded and toss it out at some point. That said I have some 06 and 300 H&H brass that has been around since the mid 70s and loaded a dozen plus times.
CH



Yes, multiple reloaded brass can be a problem. At PR, I don't believe there are that many
shooters that reload(i.e. ammo snobs like me). When I get around to processing a load of
brass, here is my process:

1. Clean off dirt & powder in a tumbler.
2. Sort out brass by headstamp.
3. Toss SA, Federal and Wolf.
4. Sort LC, TZZ, PMC, WCC brass by crimp(once fired) and crimp removed(questionable)
Remington & Winchester don't have a crimp. I keep ammo separated by headstamp and
number of times fired.
4. Deprime, size and Trim brass to 1.740" using the Dillon Trimmer
5. Size in RCBS X Die.
6. Load, fire and keep segregated until each batch starts exhibiting split necks(5 or 6 firings?)

Any brass that has been decrimped/reloaded before, I shoot once more then pitch.

In 10 years of reloading, I havn't had any *accidents*, but this is the process I have been using
for about 3 years. Speaking of Guatemalan .223, I believe Guatemalan ammo uses IMG brass
which is boxer primed but some of the flash holes can be off center which damages the depriming
pin.

All in all, the brass prep for large amount of rifle brass is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Buy your
5.56x45 in bulk and use the time saved to shoot IMHO.

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 9:42:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2006 9:44:01 PM EDT by TangoFoxtrot]

I was looking at reloading equipment tonight and found you can still buy the same kind of hand loaders the buffalo hunters used over 100 years ago.

Cool stuff is still being made!

­
Tool Handles:




.45-70 dies:


www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=853401

www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=485896
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:21:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
What are your opinions on never fired military brass that has had the bullets pulled, primer pulled, and the primer crimp removed? In bulk it's online price is about 7 cents each. I think they might be reloadable as homemade M193 for around 15 cents per round. That's a $100 savings.



TFT: That's a good deal. When you reuse this brass, the M193 cost goes down to
Powder(AA2230C): $40
Bullets: WinFMJ: $35
Primers: WSR: $18

Total: $93

Unfortunately, the brass will probably need to be trimmed after the initial firing which takes
more time. Also the above prices can be beat if you stock up when sales occur. To bad we
can't find a local deal that supplies surplus powder.

You can also get once fired brass that is somewhat processed at GI Brass

Spambo
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:26:25 PM EDT
TF, I have a bunch of LC 308 once fired if you need some. I could part with a handful for your boltgun.

Once you get it back and work up a good load you can just neck size them. Makes for a nice tight fit and a bit more accuracy. Load to Max OAL just off the lands and you will see your groups get smaller!

CH
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 9:14:07 PM EDT

Tonight I found out having a bolt gun in .223 is a great way to calibrate a .223 die. I would have been way off without it, yet the cartridge would still fit in a case gauge fine.

I also set up a non-short base RCBS .223 die and found it to way off for the bolt gun as well. Maybe it has a tight chamber compared to an AR. I had the base flush with the die and it still didn't size the brass down enough. Then I ran it through the Dillon (after adjusting the Dillon to the rifle) and it fit the rifle fine.

I still think the resized brass is ever so slightly harder to close the bolt on compared to factory ammo, but it is close enough. I never would have known this if all I had was an AR.

Based on how the brass looked before and after in the case gauge I think the shoulder was moved back a hair by the die. This after look matches factory ammo too.

Thought for the day: There is nothing like have a bolt gun to double check your ammo.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 9:22:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TangoFoxtrot:
Tonight I found out having a bolt gun in .223 is a great way to calibrate a .223 die. I would have been way off without it, yet the cartridge would still fit in a case gauge fine.

I also set up a non-short base RCBS .223 die and found it to way off for the bolt gun as well. Maybe it has a tight chamber compared to an AR. I had the base flush with the die and it still didn't size the brass down enough. Then I ran it through the Dillon (after adjusting the Dillon to the rifle) and it fit the rifle fine.

I still think the resized brass is ever so slightly harder to close the bolt on compared to factory ammo, but it is close enough. I never would have known this if all I had was an AR.

Based on how the brass looked before and after in the case gauge I think the shoulder was moved back a hair by the die. This after look matches factory ammo too.

Thought for the day: There is nothing like have a bolt gun to double check your ammo.



..FOr other bolt guns, but not your AR unless the chamber is a .223. Like you have found the the shoulder will not be set back far enough. That is one reason I menitoned neck sizing for your bolt gun. All you resize will be the beck leaving the shoulder where it is. As long as you keep the ammo seperate its a great why to tighten things up.

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