I like Winchester brass, but no matter how consistant you make it through methodical preperation, the case head will still be softer than Lapua brass. I shoot lapua brass because it is tough not because it is consistant.
I admit that I know just enough to be dangerous.....but dangerous at ever extending distances.
Wow 50 hours spent on 50 shells? Shoot me now. I spend a lot of time on brass, and I would quit reloading before spending that amount of time. My time is worth a lot of money. With those numbers I could justify spending thousands more on a custom rifle that shoots factory ammunition. Unless you are a competitive shooter, that amount of time has very diminishing returns especially for hunting. Even long range BR shooters will tell you to spend less time reloading and more time shooting. I do all the preparation you list and more and can't even imagine how in the heck I could spend 50 hours on a single box of shells, even with new brass.
Things I would rather do than spend 50 hours reloading 50 shells:
1) spend 25 hours reloading and 2 days scouting
2) Spend 25 hours reloading and 2 days going to the gym to get in shape
3) Spend 25 hours reloading and 2 days doping the wind
4) Spend 25 hours reloading and 2 days reading how to shorten my procedure
You get the idea...
I hope your loads are "perfect" and that you have a rifle capable of justifying this much time.
The questions and comments about spending time prepping brass, and weather or not it helps or not, is a long difficult question to answer. The simple answer to the question is: I'm an artist and university professor who loves doing this. My background in the arts has made me an extreme perfectionist, or my meticulous nature led me into the arts. Secondly, I know what it takes to win (or more simply be very good at what you do). I won the Canadian Nationals in 3D Archery, and spent huge amounts of time (totally uncountable) testing equipment, making arrows, weighing arrows, weighting field tips, tuning bows, etc.. So, perfection takes time, trust me I know. It took years and years of flinging pointy sticks and fussing over the details to win the Nationals.
I might get a little theoretical answering the question as to whether or not "spending hours prepping brass" helps. The answer is this: 1 + 1 = 3. Anything you do, whether it be shooting a bow or a rifle, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is called gestalt. All of the little things you do add up to being more in the end. And don't give this stuff about not prepping brass and just shooting. Look over on other sites (primarily competition sites) and you can find records consisting of insane data, prep details, and research. People who win fuss. To me the shooting part is easy, it's getting my equipment to perform to my standard.
There was a comment about spending all this time making good brass then shooting it out of a bad rifle. The rifle that this brass is intended for has over $5500 CND invested in it so far, and it's not together yet. I can't see building a nice rifle, or bow for that matter, and shooting something out of it that is not to the level of what it is paired to. Anyway... I think what I'm saying is: to each his own. I just thought some people might be interested in the things I do to make my equipment accurate. From now on I'll leave it to myself, or at least other sites. And good luck reading for 2hours learning how to shorten your procedure, short cuts never pay (or win).
There is a great quote in Warren Page's book "The Accurate Rifle" that talks about perfection. Trust me, perfection is a relative term and I myself have written extensively about perfection in my Masters thesis. Anyway, here is his quote:
"The idea of an accurate rifle is readily comprehensible to anybody; and all agree that within reason accuracy is desirable. It is only when this idea is carried to its ultimate conclusion, that no level of accuracy larger than a pinhead is acceptable, that the nut stays with it. And please believe me, while you do not have to be mildly mad to become an accuracy fan, it helps. It helps."
Last edited by heikki02003; 05-05-2009 at 12:15 PM.