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#5617187 - 02/24/15 08:37 AM Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2277
Loc: Houston
I finally set up my reloading press onto my bench. I've also been reading (both books and online) and watching a bunch of how to's. So I think I have enough info not to kill myself. Now I'd like to hear some tips and tricks from those who have been doing it a while. Some more along of the lines of, "if I had to do it again, then..." or "(blank) was alot more effective than I thought."

Basically I am looking for tips and tricks on what helped improve consistency and translated to accuracy. Things that for little cost and/or effort showed great improvement. I am a man who believes in diminishing return so somethings cost so much more in resource with less in return.
Ex: is a case trimmer worth both the cost and effort to acquire and use?

Some details (don't know if any matters):
I will be shooting this out of a shilen (26" 1-10) barreled savage in a hs stock.
I have the single, basic Hornady press kit with a RCBS precesion 308 die set
i want to shoot both the 168gr and 178gr hornady bthp (if courious, seems like a cheaper alternative to the famed SMK but doesn't seem like it compromises much if any in quality.)

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#5617272 - 02/24/15 08:57 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Have you read the sticky above?

If you dont have a case trimmer, you certainly need one, as well as chamfer/ deburring tool. Making your brass as consistent as possible is a significant part of the battle. Add to that a flash hole deburring tool.

Good calipers are a must. I use American Made Starrett, take your pick. Hornady Headspace gauge kit, and bullet comparators for each caliber you will be loading.

Make the brass match, pick a powder, pick a bullet, pick a primer. When searching for "the" load only change one factor at a time. Pick a seat depth, and try various powder weights using one bullet type.

If I had it to do over again I would have bought a Chargemaster as soon as I started
No telling how many hours I would have saved.
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#5617366 - 02/24/15 09:52 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9433
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Make sure you screw your sizing die down to touch the shell holder when sizing, and then lower it another 1/2 to 1 turn. The #1 mistake shooters make in sizing is raising the ram up, then lowering the die to touch, and locking it down (which is wrong). If you do this, when you size a case under pressure, the shell holder will no longer touch the die, and you will not get a FL size, and have chambering problems.

I'd recommend reading the reloading manual (instruction part of reloading), and then read it again. This will help avoid the chambering issues.
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www.DallasReloads.com
Type 01 and Type 06 FFL

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#5617399 - 02/24/15 10:12 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2277
Loc: Houston
did read most of the sticky. Truth be told, I've read too much and saw too many videos. I am going to re-read just some select materials, including some on the sticky you mentioned.

I think the case trimmer is the only equipment i think I "need" but don't have yet. I'm planning on get the lyman as it looks simple and effective.

Fireman, I haven't forgotten about you. I'm trying like heck to make arrangements for mid to late march to come and see you. Work is still a little busy but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel lately.

Chad, I don't understand your post. Are you saying that most people skip the turn/half turn step?

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#5617404 - 02/24/15 10:14 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2277
Loc: Houston
Dang, i just looked up the price of a Chargemaster, YOU CRAZY?!?!?
I'm just getting started and that costs about as much as my whole kit!!!! Next suggestion please.

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#5617411 - 02/24/15 10:16 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9433
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Originally Posted By: Korean Redneck
Chad, I don't understand your post. Are you saying that most people skip the turn/half turn step?


Correct. Most people raise the ram all the way up and screw the die down to touch the shell holder, then lock the die down to size. You MUST screw it in further by 1/2 to 1 full turn (or more) to FL size correctly. Once you start reloading, you will understand this. Just keep your rifle next to you when sizing brass and chamber check your brass to make sure it chambers.
_________________________

www.DallasReloads.com
Type 01 and Type 06 FFL

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#5617437 - 02/24/15 10:26 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: ChadTRG42]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Just keep your rifle next to you when sizing brass and chamber check your brass to make sure it chambers.


^^This^^

If I had two rifles, each chambered for the same cartridge, I would make notes for head-spacing for each rifle independently. And Rifle #1 would have its' own brass, and rifle #2 would have its' own brass.

Make sense KR?

The range will be there when you get ready.
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Long Range Shooting Instruction
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#5617442 - 02/24/15 10:27 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23463
Loc: Texas
Nothing wrong with the beam scales and powder thrower, they can be had a lot cheaper than a dispenser/measurer combo. Throw a little less than your desired charge and trickle up to it.
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#5617503 - 02/24/15 11:06 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
603Country Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 4878
Loc: Central Texas
I hate to disagree with knowledgable folks, but that advice to screw the die in to touch and then screw it in another half to full turn just isn't good for all rifles and all chambers. If your rifle has a tight chamber, then the advice is good. But, if you have a loose or large factory chamber, Chad's advice may well cause you to move the shoulder too far back for your chamber. That will lead to case head separation. You need to size it 'enough' to chamber easily, but not too much if you want max case life.

If you have a factory barrel, I'd suggest that the brass be neck or partial resized and fired until the case does not chamber easily. Then full length size (bump the shoulder back) enough that the case chambers easily, and then leave the sizing die lock ring set right there forever.

I have a 220 with a Douglas barrel with a real tight chamber. Full length sizing as Chad suggested still leaves a somewhat snug fit of the brass in the chamber. I have a 223 that had a factory barrel, and full length sizing as Chad suggested caused case head separations. So...the amount of sizing depends in large part on the size of your chamber.

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#5617507 - 02/24/15 11:09 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2277
Loc: Houston
In regards to above about component selection, I have all the ingredients now to make some ammo. The exact choices were because of cost and/or simply availability. Don't know the exact details on quantity or powder, seat depth, etc., but a going to start by loading:

- 308 spent brass from facotry "match" ammo, mostly Hornady and Federal Premium shells.
- 168gr and 178gr Hornady match bthp (because it seems like a better value than SMK)
- Winchester large rifle primer
- Reloader 15 (narrowed down to this, Varget and IMR 4064. this was the first one I found)

Fireman, i will definitely keep my rifle around as I start this process. And I only have one 308 so that won't be an issue either.

Is there any pit falls to try and match a factory ammo my rifle likes? This is just a starting point I ratinalized to myself.
I've had good luck with the factory Hornady match 168gr ammo. I was initially planning on essentially copying that, mostly in regards to seating depths.

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#5617521 - 02/24/15 11:19 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: 603Country]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9433
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Originally Posted By: 603Country
I hate to disagree with knowledgable folks, but that advice to screw the die in to touch and then screw it in another half to full turn just isn't good for all rifles and all chambers. If your rifle has a tight chamber, then the advice is good. But, if you have a loose or large factory chamber, Chad's advice may well cause you to move the shoulder too far back for your chamber. That will lead to case head separation. You need to size it 'enough' to chamber easily, but not too much if you want max case life.

If you have a factory barrel, I'd suggest that the brass be neck or partial resized and fired until the case does not chamber easily. Then full length size (bump the shoulder back) enough that the case chambers easily, and then leave the sizing die lock ring set right there forever.

I have a 220 with a Douglas barrel with a real tight chamber. Full length sizing as Chad suggested still leaves a somewhat snug fit of the brass in the chamber. I have a 223 that had a factory barrel, and full length sizing as Chad suggested caused case head separations. So...the amount of sizing depends in large part on the size of your chamber.


That is correct. But for a beginner to figure this out is fairly complicated. A FL sizing keeps it simple.
_________________________

www.DallasReloads.com
Type 01 and Type 06 FFL

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#5617547 - 02/24/15 11:32 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2277
Loc: Houston
Not sure if this is applicable or not but I think I have a tight chamber. My barrel was replaced by my gunsmith, if you must know I was too chicken to do it myself. He deliberately install my barrel for a tight chamber knowing what I was going to be shooting this rifle for.

I guess my current conclusion is to go ahead and half turn after bottom of the re-sizing die touches top of shell holder in the ram's highest position.
Does this half turn thing apply to the seating die?
My plan to set the seating die was to put in the factory ammo I like, raise the ram, lower die until it touches something, and then lower bullet seating depth knob to touch top of bullet. I assume doing that process gets me close to the same seating depth.
Also, is there a problem with me having to re-seat a bullet 2-4 initially to get my dies set?

Dang, btw it's moments like this I really love this forum.

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#5617550 - 02/24/15 11:33 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
Gone to Texas Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2361
Loc: Hurst
I just started reloading this year. Like a knuckle head, I didn't read a single book, just bought everything and took off running.

Thank the good Lord I bought once fired brass off a nice member on here. I met him at his house. He took 1-2 hours to walk me through the whole process, what to watch out for, proper precautions and everything. I went home and loaded up 50 rounds, all fired and performed great.

I think the best thing you can do is find a buddy who reloads or ask someone on here if you could watch them load some rounds, maybe even try to use their press if they allow it.

You will make mistakes, which is fine, just fix them before you fire the round.
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#5617581 - 02/24/15 11:44 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6227
Loc: Wise Co.
Do NOT bottom out your seating die. You will end up crushing case necks while seating bullets.
_________________________


Originally Posted By: Cleric
God I am hating caliber threads more and more

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#5617584 - 02/24/15 11:46 AM Re: Tips and Tricks for beginning reloader [Re: Korean Redneck]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6227
Loc: Wise Co.
KR, I think you really ought to slow down and do some reading. You're getting way ahead of yourself. Take your time, read a manual and absorb the information. It will save you lots of broken and ruined stuff.
_________________________


Originally Posted By: Cleric
God I am hating caliber threads more and more

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