Rifle Cartridge Reloading

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shadow
 
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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby shadow » Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:28 pm

MSHunter,
I don't know what your budget is, but let me suggest the reloading/shooting supplies catalog put out by Cabela's. (By going to their website they can get you a free copy within about a week or so, or go to the store if your close to one) In the catalog they will have all the items you need along with a great selection of name brand bullet heads and brass cases you can use. There are also many other good companies providing all kinds of reloading supplies, Midway USA, Dillon, etc..

Let me also say its obviously dangerous working with smokless powder. Smoking, reloading by the fireplace, not having everything organized and labeled, seating a primer into a brass case near an open container of powder,(seating a primer into a case can touch one off, it never happened to me in all the years I've been doing it but they say it happens). Any of this can be hazardous to your health while reloading.

For reloading rifle cases you will need a few things you did not list.. a set of dial calipers to check the correct seated length of the finished bullet and also to determine the case length after firing. (The cases will stretch some and will need to be cut)
An inexpensive hammer style bullet puller is also a good idea if you should happen to press in a bullet to deep.
And a scale to weigh the powder charge.

Lee offers a great die kit, the "Pace Setter" it also comes with a manual for the particular caliber, a powder measure and a shellholder. All for about 35-40 dollars. The only drawback I see with this kit is using the powder dipper that comes with it, and unless its adjustable which I am 99% sure its not, you are limited to whatever powder and charge and bullet weight they determined you should use. But still for the money its a good buy, you just need to either get a scale or a whole set of those powder dippers. Lee offers them in a big kit. I use them along with my scale instead of a powder dropper. its a little slower but I get good, safe, consistent powder charges in each case which makes accuracy very good.
http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1235871122.4250=/html/catalog/dies-rifle.html

You will still need a press, but they are offered by Lee as well. Here is the link....
http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1235871122.4250=/html/catalog/rlpress2.html#breech

I personally use mostly all Lyman equipment but Lee is a great company, very good equipment and the stuff I have gotten from them and use always works perfect. I would recomened any of the presses from the 150.00 breech lock challenger set to the 134.00 50th anniversary set. Both of these sets come with most everything you need...
A powder scale
The reloading press
A powder measure/dropper
A powder funnel
Primer setter
And the 150.00 set also has a case trimmer and shell holders.

Even the 40.00 '"free" press which comes with an excellent reloading manual is a good choice.
Personally, I would stay away from the hand press kit, I have used one before that a buddy of mine had and just didn't like it. I believe it wasn't consistently seating the bullet correctly. I feel you may be able to get a better bullet thats more accurate using a press mounted to a bench.

As far as the bullet lube, I stay away from actually lubing the cases, its to messy. I use a spray lube called minute lube put out by Midway. You spray it on, let it dry.. 

You'll also need to think about cleaning the fired cases of any powder residue. An electric tumbler using small pieces of corn cob which will cost you anywhere from 50 dollars up to 100 or more depending on size. Or.. you can use the liquid cleaner purchased for about 20 or so dollars. Either will work. 
So, getting into this will initally run you some cash depending on what kit you buy, or if you find the items seperately. Either way, its gonna be about 250 dollars going with the Challenger press kit, Pace setter dies, dial calipers, bullet puller, and liquid case cleaner. Thats without the cost of brass, bullets, powder,and primers.
You can obviously get by with less, a total of about 150 dollars or so using just the Pace setter die set, the "free" press, and buying the Lee powder dipper set,and getting the other things needed like the case trimmer, calipers, and liquid case cleaner. Either way its a start.
Oh, I almost forgot..safety glasses in case one of the primers decides to ignite.

Although I've mentioned only Lee equipment, RCBS and Lyman also offer complete kits to get you started and have quality stuff.

To save some money when buying primers and powder, if you can buy locally without getting it through the mail or by UPS it will be much cheaper. The shipping companies will add a 20-25 dollar hazzardous material fee to your order.

In the past I have seen used reloading equipment on Craigslist and Ebay and may find a great deal there on good stuff as well.
Hope some of this will help you.  Let me know if you need more info on any of this.

Also, concerning black powder charges....Do Not measure and drop a charge of black powder into or through a plastic funnel or powder measure/dropper. Something to do with the black powder and the plastic will cause a charge of static electricty to build and ignite the blackpowder. They make blackpowder flasks and funnels and drop tubes for this purpose and its all made of brass. The brass is not just for the old time feel or looks, its so it doesn't blow-up.

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shadow
 
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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby shadow » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:01 pm

reeper 0697 to answer your question its ok to load either pistol or rifle cases not using a scale. He has to measure the powder charge some way and i would believe he probably uses "powder dippers" they are plastic measuring scoops made for this. He must know the correct amount of powder for the bullet he's making and just scoops it from the powder container and loads it into the case. No other way would be safe. And as far as being off a litlte while measuring, it can make a difference in accuracy and also in safety if that little ends up being a "little less" or a "little more".
I always double check my cases before i seat on the bullet to be sure it has the correct amount of powder in it, I do not want a double charge of powder,(or not enough) thats how good guns get ruined and you end up having a bad day as well.
 

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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby reeper0697 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:32 pm

shadow and mshunter,
 
Thanks for the feedback I appreciate it
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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby MSHunter » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:10 am

Shadow.
Thanks for the input. I'll add your suggested items to my list and continue to shop/price equipment. It'll be later this year if/before I take the leap.

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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby Everyday Hunter » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:10 am

Here's a thought. There are always people getting into and out of reloading. Why not post a list of things you're looking for on a couple of the Internet hunting forums. There are also a couple of reloading forums that probably have a classified section. Or at a local gun club. You might just rustle up some great deals, and possibly a teacher/mentor, too.

One thing you want to be sure to get (and I don't think this has been mentioned) is a good manual. It's a MUST. All the powder companies and bullet companies have them, and some of the powder companies give them away free (although they usually include only their own powders.) The Lee book is a good one to start with. It's pretty comprehensive. Some online sites have loading data, too, but those should be verified by a manual. You don't want to use someone else's compressed charge and blow up your gun (or worse.) 

Reloading is a safe hobby when proper care is used. Make sure you keep it safe.

Steve
When the Everyday Hunter isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.
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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby shaman » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:23 am

I got into reloading in 2000 after about 18 years of shooting.  I managed to save all my empties, and figured it was about time to do something with them.

Is it economical to reload?  It depends.  The initial outlay is expensive.  If you shoot a lot, it will pay for itself.  What you find is that you don't save a whole lot, but you shoot more. 

Why reload?  For me, I wanted to load lighter than normal loads.  There are a lot of us out there, but you don't see much of in the mags or on the forums.   My favorite deer combination is a Savage 99 in 308 WIN loaded down to 300 Savage levels.  It gives me enough bang for my bucks, but it is easy on the wallet and easy on the shoulder.  I also load a 35 Whelen down to 358 WIN levels.  That's another one where less equals more.  In handguns, I load lots of inexpensive target rounds.   The last time I looked, I was reloading for about a dozen cartridges. 

Reloading is a hobby I find satisfying in and of itself. I stay away from pushing the envelope, and I have no qualms about its safety.  I'm very much a by-the-book kind of reloader.

You just can't beat reloading for accuracy.  With the normal deer rifle,  you can go through lots of ammo trying to find the right store-bought load. Usually with reloading, all you need to do is start with the mininum load and work up.  At some point, long before the max, the accuracy starts to go and you back off to that sweet spot load. You're done. That recipe may last you for 20 years.  Sometimes this is all you need to turn a mediocre rifle into a tack driver.  If you really have to pin me down on what kind of reloading I like, this is it.  I love taking a cheap used rifle and bringing out the best in it.

My advice to anyone who want to give it a try is to invest in an RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit and have at it.  Usually Natchez Shooting Supply has the best price on it-- they historically lowball this item so they can make it up on other stuff.  I use Grafs and Midway for most of my dies and such.  I try to buy my powder and primers locally, but I occasionally shop around for a deal and pay the $20 hazmat fee for shipping. 

As to rifles blowing up, I've seen it happen. Usually it is someone not following a recipe, or thinking that a grain or two past MAX is not going to matter.  It can also be the rifle. In the case of the Rem 760 blowing up; it smells like maybe a headspacing issue. 243 WIN headspaces on the shoulder. If the dies were improperly adjusted, the shoulder could have been set back. One primer didn't go-- perhaps too far away from the pin. The next one turned the rifle into a pipe bomb.  My admonition is this:  if you're not comfortable risking your life reading a set of precision calipers to the nearest .001", and reading a scale to  .0.1 Grain of weight, don't go there. At the time I got into reloading, I was working in a wire foundry and my abilities with precision instruments were being tested every day. My life and livelihood and those of others were on the line.  I have a 10 yr old who's been pulling a press handle since he was 4, and has never shot a factory load.

The bottom line:  If all you're going to do is reload for one caliber for one rifle and that rifle is going to be used on whitetail deer, you're probably going waaaay to deep, especially if all you're doing this for is to save money.  On the other hand, if you have several calibers, several rifles, and really want to see what you can do, reloading can be a fun hobby.


One other warning:  Right now, with Obama coming into office, the whole reloading community has its panties in a wad.  The big issue is primers.  Everyone is hoarding primers.  The last time I looked nobody had primers.  Brass is also a problem-- the used stuff is almost nonexistant, because scrap brass is so high, the ranges are sweeping up everything and it all goes to the melter.

 One of two things is going to happen:

1)  The looney tune left wingnuts are going to really do what the right wingers have all been saying they are going to do and they're going to tax reloading components into oblivion, surcharge ammo, and make it very hard for the country to exercise its 2nd Amendment freedoms.

2)  The whole thing is going to blow over, because the last thing the Obama administration wants to do is touch a 3rd rail issue like gun control. Eventually the hoarders will have enough of hoarding and prices and availabilities will return to normal, much like they were through most of the Clinton admin.

We'll see.  Either way, I'd be thinking twice about shelling out for new components right now.
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MSHunter
 
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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby MSHunter » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:09 pm

Shaman,
Thanks for your input. Based upon your potential outcomes with the current administration, I should consider stocking up on my ammo and black powder needs.

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RE: Rifle Cartridge Reloading

Postby shaman » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:49 am

My advice is find the best cheapest ammo that fires accurately out of your .243.  Go back to the store and buy as much of it as you feel comfortable having on hand. Try to buy from the same lot.  Then save every empty.  Then think about reloading after your supply starts to wane, using your once-shot brass.  That stuff will have been fire-formed to your chamber and you'll get many reloadings out of that brass.

I did just that waaaay back in the dawn of my deer hunting.  I had a Rem 742 in 30-06.  There was some cheap Musgrave ammo on sale and it shot well in my rifle.  I went back and bought all I could.  The stash of ammo outlasted the rifle.   I still have a box or two left.  
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