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Questions about rifle reloading

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by BG, May 30, 2007.

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  1. BG

    BG TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    First I would like to thank all of you for the past advice. I enjoy reading the diverse and opinionated answers. They are very much appreciated.

    I am about to move into reloading Win 270 and need some tips and advice. I purchased a Rockchucker press, two die set, powder trickler, funnel, case trimmer,tumbler, media, chamfer tool, powder and primers. I also have several books, balance scale and small electronic scale.

    Don't have a powder measure and want to know if the Lee Perfect Powder Measure is a winner or a loser. It is cheap ~ about half what the others go for used. I'll buy a Lyman or RCBS if they are really worth the money.

    Do I want to buy a gee whizzie primer tool or can I make do with the setup that comes with the press? Hand held or bench top? Looks like you can spend whatever you care to on these.

    I read that I should use all the same brand of casings. Is that critical? What is the downside of going on Ebay and buying a hundred mixed casings?

    I will buy an electronic caliper. Is 100ths of an inch accurate enough or do I need to bear down and pop for the latest and greatest at 1,000ths? Not looking to save the money - just want to understand what is critical.

    And what about bullet pullers? Do I need that or will pliers do the trick and I toss the bullet after?

    Do I need a neck turner?

    Do I need a flash hole deburring tool?

    And most importantly, what question did I not ask that will result in my stumbling into a disaster?

    Thanks Guys,

    - Bill
  2. jr7100

    jr7100 TS Member

    May 8, 2006
    Bill, you are off to a good start. I don't know that powder measure, but it only gets you close and I weigh every rifle charge. I personally don't like picking up brass that has been through other rifles. It would be ok if you were just making some practice loads for the first time firing. Flash hole I do, but just because I have the tool, and they only need it once. Really wouldn't mess with it and the more expensive caliper if you are buying used brass. I trim to max lenght each time I shoot. Bullet puller not needed for now. Neck turning may be important if you are buying unknown brass, again I do it only because I have the tool and it again is only needed once. I use the cheap hand tool for priming, but it isn't needed for starting. Use plenty of lube, nothing spoils a session like getting a case stuck. Over time you will get to know how much is needed. Watch overall length, and make sure rounds used for hunting will go through your magazine. Good Luck. Jim
  3. TommyTEREX

    TommyTEREX Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Belfortbg, you`ve` asked good questions,hope I can help.

    As for the LEE measure, NO go with an RCBS, LEE stuff dosen`t hold up very well.

    start with new brass, buying used isn`t a good idea as you don`t know how many times it`s been loaded.

    don`t mix cases, different mfg. very in inside dementions, and therefore cause different pressures.

    go with .001 calipers, good ones,

    get a kenetic (spelling?) puller that way you can reuse the bullets you pull. again RCBS makes a good one.

    a neck trimmer isn`t necessary, but a case trimmer is.

    flash hole tools can help accuracy, but aren`t a must have for the average hunting rounds.

    buy the best equipment you can, and follow your manuals, ask other reloaders for help, and always remember the only stupit question is the one you didn`t ask.

    Tom R.
  4. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Louisville, KY
    I am sure that you will get many helpful suggestions from the members of this forum.

    A few comments based on my experiences on becoming a new metallic cartridge hand loader after 25 plus years reloading shot shell. I have been reloading metallic for about 5 years and load for the .22 Hornet, .223 Remington, .30-06 Springfield and .35 Remington.

    1. Metallic rifle cartridges like the .270 Winchester operate at pressures over 50,000 CUP as compared to in the 7000-11000 CUP ranges of most shot shells. You have to be much more careful with metallic cartridge reloading.

    2. Good case preparation is essential with metallic cartridge reloading. Before reloading a metallic cartridge you have to measure and trim (if necessary) the unloaded case to a specified length.

    3. You will want to sort your cases by manufacturer and create batches of 20 or 50 cases. I keep my batches in special plastic boxed (source Midway) so I can keep track of the number of times a case has been reloaded. Different manufacturers have different thickness of brass and different internal volumes. Military brass is usually thicker than civilian brass.

    4. For ease of operation and proper functioning, you will need to measure each completed cartridge for the correct overall length. You do not want the bullet to be forced up against the rifling lands or high pressures will result.

    5. Obtain and read a good reloading manual like the Speer # 13. It has many pictures of the reloading process and detailed instructions for each operation.

    6. Be very patient and start each load out well below the maximum pressure. When working up a load, I sometimes take a loading setup to the range and only load up a few cartridges of each charge weight for each test.

    7. Accuracy demands many things. Uniformity of components between cartridges is essential. Get a good scale and learn how to calibrate and use it.

    8. Use a loading block and look into the mouth of every case before you seat the bullet. The powder levels must be consistent between cases. Watch out for under charges as well as over charges.

    9. Watch an experienced reloader first if possible.

    10. Uniforming primer pockets and flash holes improves accuracy. So does uniformly seating primers. I like the RCBS hand priming tool that uses primers loaded into strips. I like to feel the primer seat.

    11. As you progress in your knowledge of hand loading, you will learn to modify the cartridge over all length so that the bullet is seated only a uniform .0001” or .0002” off of the lands. Sinclair International (www.sinclairintl.com) is an excellent source of tools and information for the accuracy shooter.

    12. Did I mention never reloading when you are tired or not at your sharpest level of attention. Be very careful. Follow the reloading guide and never exceed the published limits.
  5. 8 1/2 shot

    8 1/2 shot TS Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Pick a bullet, stick with it. Pick a powder, stick with it. Ditto primers. Try to load up to about 90 to 95 percent of max, will keep case lengthening down and usually insures good extraction. **find a friend with a chrono, once you find the load you like check it for true velocity, you should be surprised if its within 100 fps of published data, then go to National Firearms Ballistics Computer, will get you drift and drop info for your new pet load. Good luck.
  6. bayrat

    bayrat TS Member

    May 7, 2007
    Bill...I agree with Jim that you are off to a good start. Yes, it is not wise to mix different brands of brass. It's best to work up your loads using the same brand as there can be quite a difference in the interior volume of cases from different companies. There can even be a difference between different lots of the same brand. And, Jim's right about using brass that you don't know anything about.

    As for the tools, once again you sound as though you have a good start. Unless you are loading for rifle matches, you don't need the expensive caliper. The first case length gauge I had was a C-shaped piece of metal that had graduated steps that corresponded to the different cases.

    You can use your press to seat primers, but you need to develop a feel for the primer seating in the case. With a press it is easy to crush a primer as you have a lot of leveredge available.

    The advise on case lube that Jim gave is good but don't go overboard. If too much lube builds up in the die you can start to get dents in the shoulder area of the case. And be sure to clean the lube off the cases when you are finished.

    Another thing you might want to look into is a primer flipper tray. Makes getting all those primers oriented in the same direction much easier and they are usually inexpensive plastic. Be careful not to handle live primers with your fingers if you have lube on them. Getting lube into the primer cup can kill the primer and you round.

    Good advise about the overall length too. And about being sure the rounds will cycle through you rifle. You should probably restrict your hunting rounds to once-fired brass. Nothing like going hunting two states away and having an "old" case separate on you and disable your rifle. Stick to the newer stuff for those loads.

    The flash hole, primer pocket and neck turning are one-time things. If you have the tools, use them, but they aren't necessary when you're just getting started.

    Powder measures are handy if you're loading a lot of rounds. I weigh all my loads and for years I poured the powder in a bowl and used a spoon to transfer the bulk of the powder to the scale pan. Then I used the trickler to sweeten it right to the mark. Make that a glass bowl and metal spoon as plastic can build up static electricity.

    I realize this is long but I hope it helps............ECT
  7. ricks1

    ricks1 TS Member

    May 7, 2007
    every body has covered most of the things get you a lyman NO 55 powder measure it will work on a press or stand or edge of bench you can save a little on ebay but if i were starting out get a new one last the bench needs to be heavy and strong a used exterior door is what i used any questions you can em me rick
  8. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

    Mar 14, 2006
    For a powder measure, buy a quality measure like the RCBS, Lyman, or Redding. Some, like the RCBS, require a different rotor for pistol or smaller amounts of powder in medium to small cases. I have both rotors for my RCBS.

    I don't like buying used brass, unless I know who it came from and was assured it was once fired. Buying new brass or firing factory loads to get a supply for a hunting rifle should not be a problem. Buy quality!

    Outside neck turning and neck reaming should not be needed for normal hunting accuracy. You probably don't need to ream or uniform the flash holes or primer pockets. I would recommend CLEANING the primer pockets and trimming the cases to proper length.

    A hand held priming tool like the RCBS is a nice accessory to have, although you can use the priming setup on the press if you are careful enough and use light pressure. I use the hand held tool myself for most rifle loads on a non-progressive press.

    A GOOD dial or electronic caliper that reads to .001" is a good idea. Stay away from the plastic cheapies. A decent micrometer might also be a nice thing to have, but the caliper will do as well for most tasks.

    The best advice I can give you is to read everything you can get your hands on. Try to separate the fly poop from the pepper. Learn what the signs of excess pressure are and don't ignore them. The best accuracy is usually found with less than maximum loads and it is advisable to stay below the maximum. If you feel the need for higher velocities, buy factory ammo or get a bigger gun. The .270 is a great cartridge and there is a TON of loading data out there for it. Not all of it is reliable or current. Anything that is listed in PSI, rather than CUPs, is probably more recent as far as the data goes. I try to use data from several sources when choosing a load. Start low and work up carefully while checking accuracy and looking for signs of pressure. If you have a chronograph, consistency is a bit easier to assess. ANY sign of excess pressure should be enough for you to decrease the powder charge.

    Using moderate, rather than maximum loads, will increase the life of the brass, the gun, and probably result in acceptable accuracy and performance. A difference of a couple hundred or so fps less shouldn't make much difference in terminal performance or even the trajectory.
  9. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Leave the measure in the store. Weigh each charge (it probably won't be that many in that caliber unless you plan to shoot prairie dogs).

    Get yourself a bottle of Dillon Spray Lube for the case exterior and a neck brush and some conventional lube for the inside of the necks.

    If you get a bullet puller, start with the kinetic (hammer) type. You won't need it much, but it can come in handy.

    I'd buy new brass to start and keep it separate for that rifle only.

    Have fun.
  10. jim brown

    jim brown Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Good grief!!

    All of these guys must be bench rest shooters.

    I am a prairie dog shooter who shoots over 2000 rounds of centerfire most years. My loads are accurate enough to kill dogs at 400 yards but they won't win bench rest matches. The answers to your questions from a shooter not a bench rest guy are as follows:

    A good powder measure is worth the money but if you are going to load and shoot less than 100 a year just weigh powder. It takes longer to set the powder measure than it does to weigh the powder for a few shells.

    The press will seat the primers just fine.

    It's a good idea to stick with the same brand cases. New Winchester cases are reasonably priced and work just fine.

    You don't need an electronic caliper in fact you don't need a caliper at all. Buy a simple case length guide for $5 and it will do all you need.

    You don't need a bullet puller. You can pull them just fine with your press and a pair of vice grips. Just throw the pulled bullets away.

    You don't need a neck turner!!!!!

    A flash hold deburrer isn't as bed idea and they don't cost much.

    Stay away from disaster by reading the books and listening to what they say!!!!

    And finally, if you are going to shoot more than 100 shells a year or you want bench rest accuracy buy a different gun.

    jim brown
  11. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Bullet puller - The "hammer" type will suffice till you get into more volume reloading such as match or varmint shooting.

    Loading block: use the big gray one that holds 50, since bullets come in boxes of 100. the green 40 case block is a PITA.

    Squeeze primer - a must. press priming, another PITA.

    Caliper: I used a Vernier for years till my eyes went cowshit. Now I am very satisfied with a dial caliper. I trust it more than a battery gizmo.

    Measure: I used an RCBS for years, what a joy to stumble into a Redding at a rummage sale.

    Potential disasters: This is a good one, and not touched on by many guys.
    try and use loads that fill the case 3/4 or more. Preferably more. Compressed charges are fine. There have been some catastrophic gun blow ups with slow burning reduced loads that only half filled the case. The flame travel over a half full horizontal case is much faster, and exceedingly high pressures can happen.

    Finally, don't get too anal about it till you decide to try match shooting. that will open up a whole new world of tools and techniques. It's not for me, I like varminting. I don't shoot match for the same reason I don't bow hunt. To do justice, you need a large block of time, and I don't have it.

  12. Mike Michalski

    Mike Michalski TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Try this site: http://www.accuratereloading.com/
  13. AdamsRibs

    AdamsRibs TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Most all good advice, but for the one comment about Lee reloading
    stuff. I use EXCLUSIVELY Lee stuff, Dies, Powder measure, progressive
    press, case trimmers, etc. My only detour on the progressive press
    is the primer feed, I don't like the one on the press itself. I use
    the hand-held Lee Auto-Prime for all cartridges, Pistol and Rifle.
    The Lee Perfect Powder Measure is as accurate as most scales you will
    use to check it. Digital calipers are cheap, you can find them new
    for 16 or 17 bucks and they work very well. Scales, like the RCBS 505,
    are reasonably priced and a neccessity. I don't check EVERY load, but
    do check one every 10 bullets or so. Like Jim Brown, I'm not a bench
    rest Match shooter. My Perfect Powder Measure is easily as accurate
    as anything I need or want, as long as I don't let the powder run out.

    My once piece of advice is that you get together with someone who is
    an accomplished reloader and watch him/her go through the regimin of
    reloading. Reloading metallic cartridges can be fun, or it can be
    a chore. Someone who knows what they are doing can make the job much
    less distasteful....

    Have fun with your new hobby, it's a chore to start with but it becomes
    more fun with time.

  14. 100straight

    100straight Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    I've used Lee stuff for years with good results. There are quite a few good websites on rifle reloading. Lee offers how-to videos, and I think RCBS has info on their site.

    Shoot well and often,

  15. Jim101

    Jim101 Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Knob Noster, Mo
    Having loaded the 270 win for the last 35 years for bolts, pumps and autoloaders, I'll have to agree with Jim Brown. Keep it simple and only add the fancy stuff as the need or wants arise.

  16. Phil E

    Phil E TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Looks like you asked the right group, and all the above is good. An under-$20 steel (not plastic) .001" dial caliper will work fine for measuring case OAL's, skip the electronic. Use your balance scale to measure powder, though a measure (mine's Redding) is faster (esp. good for pistol) & I predict someday you'll get one. I trickle my powder into the pan from a glass cereal bowl of powder, with a teaspoon. New or once-fired same-headstamp brass. You may get lucky and find loads right away that this gun likes, or you may not. Some load books suggest best-accuracy loads and powders. If you can't find decent loads, look at the gun's bedding, action bolt torque, & other accurizing stuff. Vary powder type & charge and bullet at first, load-up 3 rounds each of all trial loads (there may be dozens,) keep records, then with the best of these vary OAL & primer & load 5 rds each, to hone-in on the best. I prime with the tube-type attachment on the RCBS press. Don't even think about turning necks, it can be a headache and can adversely affect the force of the bullet's grip, which you want for a hunting round. And yes, pulling bullets with pliars & your press with die removed works fine, but a cheap plastic hammer-type puller is better. Enjoy! Been doing this for 50 years, with dozens of cartridges. Phil E
  17. plott hound

    plott hound TS Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Very good info . Would like to add that I like the file die. No flex like with most case trimmers that Ive been around . Stick shell in shell holder and run it to the top . Use a bastard file and get all mat. that sticks up. Campher tool it and job done . Never need to measure it. I also use a old sock with cleaner on it after I deprime-size. Gets oil off and gives me good time to inspect EACH and every case. Good luck . Kinda makes me want to get my stuff set back up and reloading again. Plott Hound
  18. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    You need a caliper of some kind or a case length guage, doesn't have to be super precise. The cases "grow" in length with each firing and resizing and must be trimmed occasionally, so you also need a case length trimmer. You'r loading manual should tell you what the "max case length" and "trim-to length" is for each cartridge. Just make sure to keep it not over "max length". If the cases are allowed to grow too long without trimming the case mouth will jam up into the front of the chamber and create dangerous chamber pressure upon firing.

    John C. Saubak
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