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How hard is it to learn to reload ?

 
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  #57  
Old 05-07-2013, 11:42 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Near Mt Rainier
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Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

I have spent a ton of money buying reloading stuff that I abandoned. Learn from the benchrest boys at your local shooting range. Go to a match and ask questions. These are the guys that know the answers. Most of them hunt too.

The top tip I would tell you is that the venerable Wilson seating dies are designed for long range sharply pointed VLD bullets and are way ahead of the "benchrest" or "match" seaters that thread into reloading presses. The Wilson dies are half the cost of the threaded dies and will produce zeros in the runout. The seating stems on the threaded dies touch on the metplat with VLD bullets and have to be modified by a trained machinist. The machinist may throw away several stems before he modifies one that can rest on the ogive of the bullet and produce zero runout.


I own micrometer Redding and Forster seaters in several calibers but they do not produce the concentricity of the Wilson dies which cost much less.


The Forster "Bonanza" Coax press is more concentric for sizing because it does not use the customary shell holders. It centers each case with self centering spring loaded jaws. If anyone tells you that this press is better than another press than ask the why? Ask them if they have tried the Forester. I was privilaged to see the reloading room at an unnamed elite forces sniper training facility. There were thirty Forster presses there.

My best grouping rifle at 500 yards is using Nosler brass sized with Forster bushing dies. All of my other rifles are using Redding full length bushing dies.

Buy the best scale you can find. I use two different "scientific" scales. A used scientific scale will get you to the hundredth of a grain. I have one that will read a thousandth of a grain. That is more accurate than the normal tenth of a grain "reloading" scale.
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  #58  
Old 05-07-2013, 01:33 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
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Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

I spent time with Bench Rest shooters as well, and there is much to learn. However, depending on how you use your rifle, some of it may be applicable, some may not. Super tight fitting cases in the chamber is not advised in a tactical or hunting situation. Still, these guys can teach you a LOT.

Regarding how well the Wilson die performs against thread-in dies, this article was informative. The writer is a very experienced shooter.

The Rifleman's Journal: Reloading: Seating Die Runout

Also, the fact that dies can float in the Forster press vs being locked down, may also enhance the performance of threaded dies. In the test above, a Forster was not used.

I went out to the garage, took apart my Redding micrometer seater die to make some measurements. Just where was the seating stem touching the bullet?

I measured the length of my bullet, a 223 Remington Sierra 53 grain flat based bullet. I shoot short range and do not have the VLDs mentioned here, so not contesting what was said about the metplat touching the stem. It very well may.

Anyway, my bullet is .6955" long. The stem is 1.1915" long. The bullet and the stem together are 1.6915" long. This means that .1955" of the bullet is inside the stem, or the stem contacts the bullet .1955" back from the tip. On this bullet, the diameter is small, and would not expect this portion of the bullet to ever touch the rifling. Most certainly, the die seating stem could afford to contact the bullet further down.

I don't know who the Wilson and Redding (or Forster) would compare with the bullet I use.

Another thing about the Wilson. You do need to buy the arbor press, another $100 or so. But, a one time purchase.

Never used any other press other than Forster, but got it because that it is widely regarded as an excellent design with a very good performance reputation.

I agree a good scale is needed, and I use the RCBS 1500 scale and dispenser. I like it. Increased accuracy is welcome, but know that with increased accuracy comes increased sensitivity to everything, including lights, drafts, etc. I may still yet end up with one of those very accurate scales.

Phil
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  #59  
Old 05-07-2013, 04:10 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: greenwood, IN
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Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 65WSM View Post
I have spent a ton of money buying reloading stuff that I abandoned. Learn from the benchrest boys at your local shooting range. Go to a match and ask questions. These are the guys that know the answers. Most of them hunt too.

The top tip I would tell you is that the venerable Wilson seating dies are designed for long range sharply pointed VLD bullets and are way ahead of the "benchrest" or "match" seaters that thread into reloading presses. The Wilson dies are half the cost of the threaded dies and will produce zeros in the runout. The seating stems on the threaded dies touch on the metplat with VLD bullets and have to be modified by a trained machinist. The machinist may throw away several stems before he modifies one that can rest on the ogive of the bullet and produce zero runout.


I own micrometer Redding and Forster seaters in several calibers but they do not produce the concentricity of the Wilson dies which cost much less.


The Forster "Bonanza" Coax press is more concentric for sizing because it does not use the customary shell holders. It centers each case with self centering spring loaded jaws. If anyone tells you that this press is better than another press than ask the why? Ask them if they have tried the Forester. I was privilaged to see the reloading room at an unnamed elite forces sniper training facility. There were thirty Forster presses there.

My best grouping rifle at 500 yards is using Nosler brass sized with Forster bushing dies. All of my other rifles are using Redding full length bushing dies.

Buy the best scale you can find. I use two different "scientific" scales. A used scientific scale will get you to the hundredth of a grain. I have one that will read a thousandth of a grain. That is more accurate than the normal tenth of a grain "reloading" scale.
you can have some whizz bang NASA designed bullet seater in whatever press your heart decides on, but if the sized case has runout in it, you end up with even more run out. Nature of the beast! Start out with good strait cases and three quarters of fight is over with.

Now I'm not the greatest reloader, but get by quite well. I use several sets of Wilson dies, and lots of threaded dies. I usually get about 12 to 14 tenths TIR with the Forster setup. If the runout approaches 17 tenths I shut and start looking around to see what I've done wrong. With the Wilson dies and my little K&M press I see about one thousandth most of the time, but have ran batches thru it that were in the seven to eight tenth range. Worst I see is twelve tenths. I see little difference in group sizes. But the Wilson dies and press are what works well at the range for me.

Powder load accuracey always amazes me! I just a check on a .223 load I often use. My two measurers with hold the drop in a two tenth grain window or +/- .1 grain. That computes out to .036%. ( both are usually in a .12 grain window). My cases are not that good.
gary
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  #60  
Old 05-07-2013, 05:07 PM
Zep Zep is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 382
Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

Great thread! - I would sure like to hear some more scale recommendations. I am very happy with my RCBS 1010 for each powder load but for obvious reasons I would like to be able to arbitrarily and quickly weigh individual pieces.

By the way, I was at a local highpower match Saturday and I kept hearing Wilson dies.
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  #61  
Old 05-07-2013, 06:56 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 32
Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

I've not been a long time reloader at all, and in fact, am fairly new at it, but know enough through reading a lot, and with some experience, a few things.

One, you can fiddle around with so many things when making ammo, it could drive you bat nuts. For some, this is fun, and others an annoyance and unnecessary for what they do. Consider the many options available for the case, primer, bullet, and powder. Just selecting the four components can be daunting and bewildering. And once you have the components, much more can be done.

The case alone can be measured for case length, neck diameter, neck tension, neck runout, neck and case wall thickness, shoulder setback, doughnut formation, headspace, volume, weight, and probably more I have forgotten.

The bullet, depending on how fanatical you are can be measured and sorted for distance from base to ogive, weight, diameter, and runout.

Once assembly begins, new considerations spring up. Primer depth needs to be sufficient, and bullet seating depth is in play, as well as is the powder charge. Then, consideration of OAL or how far off the lands, and loaded bullet runout.

And then of course you can buy tools to exactly measure your chamber length, or exactly when the bullet is touching the lands, to neck turn, ream out doughnuts, and more.

And then of course, the recording of all that you have done, changes made, the results on the range as shown by the target, are all part of ammo development and reloading, if you need or want it to be.

I like working with and making things of high precision, including ammo, even if my rifles are not Bench Rest guns. But, I do want small groups. In response to OP's question, it is not hard to reload, but it can be fairly simple to quite involved, depending on what you want to do and what you need out of your ammo.

Phil
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  #62  
Old 05-07-2013, 09:49 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Near Mt Rainier
Posts: 230
Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

I keep hearing from people that you need an (expensive) arbor press to use Wilson dies. Nonsense. I loaded for years with the barrel of a broken baseball bat to tap the seating stem. Also "handloading" Arbor presses are not necessary. I have a K & M and gave a Sinclair to a young guy starting out. I use a gift press from a friend who delivered for a bearing shop. You can find used presses or go to Harbor Freight for one that will be as good or better than the handloading designs. The K&M is a good portable take to the range and fits in a toolbox that I can lift.
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  #63  
Old 05-07-2013, 10:11 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Near Mt Rainier
Posts: 230
Re: How hard is it to learn to reload ?

A powder measure is not necessary for big game hunting related load development. Even if you decide you want a powder measure you need a scale that you believe in. I current use a scientific electronic scale that was purchased used from a local dealer in lab equipment. I live a couple of hours from some biotech activity and the #2 university in research. I have two such scales. I also have the scientific equivalent of the RCBS 10-10 which is a portable scale. The blades need work and is sluggish to respond to that last few grains. It drives me nuts. I had a made in Philadelphia turn of the century pan scale with an agate knife. It had a glass case and I used it to sort primers. It was very accurate but not magnetically dampened and slow.

The best trickler is the Lyman but I don't use a trickler anymore. I am faster with a spoon.

I have both Forster and Lyman case trimmers. My usual loading partner has a Redding trimmer. All of these seem adequate. The Forster has additional the ability to inside ream the cases to remove the "donut" at the shoulder. That is important for some cartridges and some brass. If you are a wildcatter then the Forster is necessary. I shoot 6.5 X 47 Lapua necked down to .224 and blown out to 40 degrees but it is the 6mm Remington shooting Nosler .257 Roberts brass that has to be reamed.

If you buy once then you will be money ahead. It is the junk that an inexperienced handloader buys that cuts into your bullets powder and primer funds.
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