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Any rifle reloaders out there

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by BrowningPotato, Jan 21, 2010.

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  1. BrowningPotato

    BrowningPotato TS Member

    Joined:
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    Well just bought a used Dillon precision reloading setup. I have never reloaded rifle before and seems much more complicated than shotshell reloading.

    First, I was looking for some advice on some accessories that I will still need. Anyone have any recommendations (or have some they want to sell) on a quality set of vernier calipers, case trimming tool, powder scale?

    Also, just from the brief explaination the previous owner gave me, I may be in a little over my head here. Any advice on "must do" or "don't ever do" before I get started. I have alot of research I need to do before I get started so any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Harbor Freight has digital calipers for ten bucks right now and they are very good. You need to ask the clerk for a coupon.

    You can get by with a case length guage, which has all the calibers. this is just a flat piece of aluminum, you put the case in the appropriate spot to see if it needs trimming.

    If you fire the shells in the same gun all the time, you should neck size and they will not stretch very much at all.

    Use of the full length die will make the brass longer, depending on how much it has to squeeze. (Sometimes not much at all.)

    Lee has a very inexpensive scale that will serve till you want something better. (Why don't you have one now, if you load shotgun?)

    Ebay has lots of reloading stuff most of the time.

    Using Hornady One shot (spray lube) is way better than rolling the cases on a foam pad.

    A loading block is a simple cheap accessory that makes handling easy. You reload shells by doing each operation separately on the whole batch.

    Look in the currently available reloading manuals for a step by step on the whole process.

    Another tool that is easy to use and time saving is a Lee hand priming tool.

    The whole loading process is just as easy as shotgun once you understand it.

    1. Size and deprime.

    2. Clean primer pocket.(little wire brush thingy)

    3. Prime.

    4. put powder in.

    5. Seat bullet.

    Information is everywhere, Google is your friend.

    HM
     
  3. BrowningPotato

    BrowningPotato TS Member

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    Thanks for you thorough response, there is a lot good information there. Just to save some face regarding a powder scale. I have been borrowing one for shotshell reloading. Now I guess it is time to bit the bullet (no pun intended) and just buy my own, but I would like a good one. Digital or scale? any recommendations
     
  4. bigmike

    bigmike TS Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
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    43
    Make sure you get a good scale and use it.Also dont substitute any conponants if manual calls for a certin primer,case,bullet use them only reloading isnt hard as long as you watch what your doing.shoot well,bigmike
     
  5. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    9,427
    After you resize the brass, before you reload it, check to see if each case fits in your rifles chamber. HMB
     
  6. FAT-BOY

    FAT-BOY TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    46
    I started reloading rifle,220swift and ruger 204 a few years ago. I also load nearly all cal. pistol. Seems complicated but as stated earlier it is easy once confident.

    1.a good press 2. good dies 3. current reloading manual and follow to the letter. 4. primer pocket cleaner. 5. case lube. 6.case trimmer. 7. neck trimmer. 8. primer installation tool. 9.Case tumbler. Dial calipers. 10. digital scales.

    Info: if you fire form your brass and use in same weapon you only need to size the neck. I use a runout dial indicater. not necessary if not shooting for same hole. bench rest shooting is a blast and adictive. When you finish you will have more reloadind goodies that Sinclair.

    Have fun. hell, thats the fun of shooting.
     
  7. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
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    4,003
    The Dillons are usually a progressive loader, so you cases need to be processed and cleaned before the loading begins. Cleaning primer pockets and the actual priming can be done separately. I like one of the hand held priming tools so I can feel the primer seat. Dillon dies sets are made for their loaders. You can use whatever brand you want to, but they don't always do as well. You need to have a case trimmer, a tumbler or case cleaning set up, a deburring tool, primer pocket cleaner, a GOOD scale, a dial caliper, and several books to read on the subject. Unlike Shotshells where loads are uswed AS WRITTEN, you would start at a low charge and work up until you see signs of pressure and then back down, or until you reach the most accurate load (My Preference). Don't over lube your cases, but DO NOT FORGET to lube them either. A stuck case is not fun. A stuck case removal tool is mandatory in order not to ruin your dies trying to get the remains out.

    You are also dealing with much higher pressures in rifle ammunition, than you are for shotshells. A mistake can cause some spectacular failures. Use common sense and if you need more power, don't overload what you have, just get a bigger gun. NEVER START WITH MAXIMUM LOADS!!!!!! Use several data sources if you can, and compare them for a reality check. If they disagree, use the more conservative one.

    Go slow and pay attention! Once you get the feel for it, it will become a faster process.
     
  8. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    3,002
    Examine your cases, necks, bases, primer pockets. Like Quack Shot said, work up to the max load, start at least 10% low of a max load. A lot of times its only 1/10 of a grain for the best load.

    Watch for signs of high pressure, extraction difficulties, flattened primers, cratered primers, ironed-out head stamps, case head expansion, etc.

    Keep good records, it is a must. Wayne
     
  9. TommyTEREX

    TommyTEREX Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    495
    Best advice I know, Buy several reloading manuals, and read them from cover to cover.

    After you feel you`re knowledgeable enough to start loading, read em again!

    Before anyone thinks I`m being a wise guy, this advice was given to me when I first started rifle reloading 40 years ago, and it still rings true today.

    Tom R.
     
  10. Allen-MX8

    Allen-MX8 Member

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    Messages:
    618
    I agree with "Tommy TEREX"--buy several Reloading Manuals--Like, Lyman, Speer, Hornady, etc.

    I have been reloading metallic cartridges for over 40 years and the manuals are really valuable.

    Good Luck and have fun!

    Allen
     
  11. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,052
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    BrowningPotato:

    I am with Sarge on selling the Dillon and/or setting it aside and buying a single stage press like a RCBS Partner or Rock Chucker.

    I started metallic reloading after many years reloading shotshell and it is a whole new ballgame.

    In addition to the very good advice provided above, I suggest that you purchase some plastic cartridge boxes (Midway or Sinclair) and put your cases into batches of 20 or 50. This will make it easier to track how many times a case has been reloaded.

    My experience is that the case preparation process significantly exceeds the actual reloading process.

    As you start reloading, always follow a reloading manual and start at the lower end of the information provided. Don't go below the lowest referenced load as you may have improper ignition and lots of unburned powder. If you want to shoot reduced loads, there are special powders made for this.

    As you get going and experience problems or have questions, come back here for support.

    The top bench rest shooters only need a few cases that are as identical as possible. Great care and case preparation go into preparing cases for bench rest competition. For most other shooting, you only need cases that are nearly identical.

    I like shiny cases so I use a case tumbler.

    Good Luck

    Ed Ward
     
  12. Nitro express

    Nitro express TS Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
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    21
    BrowningPotato ,One of the best reloading books I have ever seen is named The Complete Book Of Practical Handloading by John Wootters printed by Winchester press 1976.The book is out of print but can be found in hardcover or paperback on the Web or from good used book stores.If you have any questions PM me Best Regards Tony
     
  13. FAT-BOY

    FAT-BOY TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    46
    Way to go school-teacher. cleaned cased allow easier detection of any defect anywhere on the case. after tumbling i polish with brasso. Really cleans the neck area for inspection.
     
  14. TinMan88

    TinMan88 TS Member

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    May I point out that a dillon loader can be operated one at a time. Dillon has excellent instructions of how to operate the press AND will answer any question you have on the phone. (about the press). A single stage press is every bit as good and simple to master. I prefer a balance scale as it never needs batteries and should not ever go out of calibration as long as it is clean and level. I taught myself to reload rifle at age 14, following the manuals I got with the equipment. When you use them as a reference, you will have the confidence to enjoy your new skills. Keep it simple as you begin. Learn what works with one caliber before you branch out. One thing I think is very important. Do not allow distractions while you are working. presumptious perhaps- but I rarely hear it mentioned. Have fun! The TinMan
     
  15. ks5shooter

    ks5shooter Member

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    Messages:
    516
    Not ez to start with progressive press.Read you owners manual and reloading manuals.Also check with Dillon they can send you a DVD .Pictures worth a 1000 words.......Don
     
  16. Sigraph

    Sigraph TS Member

    Joined:
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    232
    Also look at the Hodgdon website. You can filter by powder, bullet, primer, etc. Get ready to buy some online stuff though. Just when you decide on a load, you either can't find the powder - or can't find the bullets (I shouldn't leave out primers either). Most well stocked places that sell bullets usually have Sierra pointed soft points or hollow points. It's not hard to get hooked on it either when you first start out. I've never bought any powder or primers online, but I'm sure there's a hazmat charge for shipping it. I'm sure there's guys on here that know more about that than I do.

    And one of the best parts is seen below.
    My 16 year old son with new drivers permit shooting some of our reloads.
    Knowing that these days won't last much longer.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. bt 99

    bt 99 TS Member

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    BP---I agree with Flincher100. Do not start reloading with a Dillon Progressive set up, especially if you are teaching yourself. Speaking as a 40 plus year reloader the best way to proceed is to buy a RCBS Rock Chucker reloading set up. It is all there for around $250.00 and it is some of the best equiptment avaliable. Dillon is excellent but not for a first time reloader.
    The RCBS kit has most everything in it except the dies you will have to buy sepertatly. For bench rest loading it is all you will ever need, and you can not buy better equiptment. There is a reloading manual included.
    A Dillon system is for volume, not bench rest precision.
    Just my experince. Happy loading. Steve
     
  18. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    I thought I'd give my 2 cents: When I started reloading metallic, I bought a rock chucker. This against the advice of my friends who had Dillon 550's. They were right; the Dillon made it that easy. Rock chucker, although fine quality, only used for maybe a week until I went to the Dillon.

    Buy a new Dillon, why not? It will, of course, have interchangeable toolheads.

    Debur the inside of the flash holes, use match grade primers as available, and set bullets with a Stoney Point tool for best accuracy.

    Sounds like you are off to varmint hunt or punch paper...

    Be sure to have fun!! Oh, I had great accuracy using V-Max bullets by Hornady and for safety, used Varget powder. Varget gives a great and stable pressure curve; important for hot days.

    Buy literature published by Precision Shooting re. reloading. You can't go wrong there.

    "If I did, you can do it!!"

    (Although wife says it helps to be mildly autistic and compulsive doing repetive and precise tasks..ah...like trapshooting???)

    HAVE FUN, BE SAFE
     
  19. kolarshooter

    kolarshooter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Oakland County, Michigan
    Howdy,
    I starting reloading at age 8 with a lyman 310 tong tool and Adult supervision
    and have loaded ever since and still have all my fingers and eye's. My suggestion is ASK A FRIEND to help you. Someone who has been reloading for a while. (count their fingers). Many clubs have lots of members who will help you get started.
    Get and use a case lenght gauge. (JESUS Gauge) Dillon Makes them so does Wilson and others.
    Call Sinclair International for a catalog, 1-800-717-8211.
    Call Dillon with any prolblems or conserns. Dillons Have a Lifetime warrenty. no matter who owns it.
    I use a RCBS for prep work, resizing-depriming, trimming, and de burring.
    Then into my 650 they go and The dillon does the rest.
    For pistol cases The dillon can't be beat. Just dump your clean emptys in the case feeder, (after you set-up for your load). and pull the handle. You will learn the feel of what is going on, and will be able to tell if something isn't working right. Check your powder charge when you refill the primer tubes.
    And keep records of what you do.
    Attached is a view from my dungeon. Just many years of reloading.
    I am trying to clean it up, Really.
    Best Regards,
    Tom
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Rum River

    Rum River TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    80
    Browning Potato,

    As others have already posted, read a good manual before buying any additional equipment, it may save you some money. One of the best "how to" manuals are the Lymans. Buy the latest one available and read the chapters on the reloading process.

    I didn't see where you said which model Dillon you have. I'm guessing it's the 550. If so, it's manually indexed to the next station. What this means is that you can use it either single stage OR progressive. Use it as a single stage until comfortable with the process, then try it progressive if you like.

    Dillon support is very good, and will answer whatever questions you may have.

    The Dillon dies are very good, but I've used all brands in my Dillon press without any problems.

    If you have questions, feel free to PM me.

    Dan
     
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