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Reloading Berger Bullets


Learning the basics/becoming competent

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Unread 04-12-2006, 12:07 PM
ATH ATH is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Lizton, IN
Posts: 828
Re: Learning the basics/becoming competent

The most important thing I'm looking for is comprehensive info on non-equipment issues, for example, I've read lots about case life but how do you know when to stop reloading one? Or which type of sizing dies accomplish what (ie neck vs modified fl vs fl length sizing?).

I bought a Nosler manual and it had tons of loading data, but very little of this type of information.

Thanks for the other info though...I'll probably end up going with the RC when I get a press.
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Unread 04-12-2006, 03:09 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: North Bend, Oregon
Posts: 1,537
Re: Learning the basics/becoming competent

The Nosler book has the very best procedure for determining seating depth. No need for all the fancy gauges. I use that method for all my non Weatherby rifles that have long enugh bullets to reach out for a reading.

When to stop using the brass? That is easy. Either when a primer will no longer stay in place or the necks split. If you are full length sizing then lots of trimming and eventual head separations will further shorten case life. Full length sizing done properly will prevent head separations. More on that later and it is covered in the manuals. I just don't get caught up in everything I read. I never trim necks for thickness, weigh brass, or uniform primer pockets. I don't even clean primer pockets. What I do, is tumble all my brass before sizing for 24 hours in walnut media. Then when I size it the decapping pin pushes the media out of the flash holes. I also debur the inside only on the necks so the bullets go in easy. I use Lee Collet dies so I only neck size. Eventually the brass loses it elasticity and then I have to anneal the necks. Some brass will last 20 firings. Some will last 2. Depends on how you treat them and the pressures you run.

If you stick to book loads, stay off the rifling and neck size with collet dies I would expect at least 10 times with out doing anything. This is why a good hand tool for priming and a single stage press is so important. It will give you a good feel for when things are right (like new) or all used up. Your gut will tell you and it you get something weird you can always post it here.

I like loading mainly for the cost savings and the ability to custom make ammo for my specific applications and custom fit to each rifle. Even my exact duplicate guns like my matched pair of 22-250's Ruger varminters and 257 Wby Accumarks do not share brass. Each gun has it's own box of 100 cases.
NRA Life Member and I vote.

Only accurate rifles are interesting.

Gordy and Brady.
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Unread 04-12-2006, 11:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 397
Re: Learning the basics/becoming competent

ATH, good advice above. Don't try to get too fancy all at once. The belted case on your 300WM adds a little degree of difficulty for a beginning loader, but nothing earth shaking. Sierra has a good manual too. Once you get into it a bit, the "Precision Shooting Reloading Guide" is a good source for many beginning techniques up to a fairly advanced level. You do NOT need to be concerned about benchrest techniques until you've MASTERED the basics and have real need for them in a custom rig, IMHO. Many of the reloading websites are super sources of info. My favorite is www.reloadbench.com. Lots of friendly, helpful, knowledgable folks there.

Probably the #1 best way to get a good start into reloading is to team up with an experienced handloader near your home & 'apprentice' for a while. You get a good exposure to techniques & tricks you read about, plus an exposure to a variety of calibers, tools, powders, & other components.
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