Reloading Advice / Help

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by grandedirt, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. grandedirt

    grandedirt Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    I recently purchased a reloading "kit". It is the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit. I have set it up following the information supplied. I have not loaded a round as of yet. I want to do this as right as I can but I am totally overwhelmed with all of the information/opionions concerning the necessary steps. I understand that these vary depending on what you plan to do with the bullets; ie plink , hunt, compete.

    I want to hunt with my handloads and I want the bullet to perform as accurately as possible. I have no intention on competing but I am very willing to perform the same production steps as if I were going to compete. I am handloading for a .308.

    I really need some good direction/counsel on what to do. The "kit" that I purchased did not come with all of the tools and gadgets that are required to get the job done. What is really needed and what can be done without? Is there anyplace to go to watch the steps take place?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    I don't have the kit but I was looking at it on Midway to see what it included.

    additional materials would include:

    Stainless steel dial caliper (a must for accurately measuring seating depth).

    Shell holder for the press.

    Die set (NEED a seating and a FL resizing die) Some like to neck size only. lots of opinions on this but I prefer Redding over RCBS. I also would consider Forster. You don't need to get a compatition set if you are just loading for hunting. I tried a comp set and like it, but man they are spendy! You should be able to pick up a standard set for between $25 and $50.

    Hornady/stoney point COAL kit that fits on the caliper. Not a must but it will allow you to measure the bullets from the ogive rather than the tip. Bullets tips are not all the same- even in the same box of bullets. If you measure them from the base to the tip, they will differ several thou. If you measure them off of the ogive, they will only vary a couple thou.

    Case trimmer: Lee sells a cheap one that works fine, but isn't real user friendly (@ $25 or so). Others like the wilson or the RCBS will run more like $50 - 100 bucks).

    Case tumbler with corncob media ( lyman 1200 works well ) around $60.

    One shot case lube spray ($9) works much easier.

    Lots of info on reloading processes here, you may want to try doing some searches. I'll give ya a little of my opinion for a start:

    Read your reloading book until you can almost recite it. I started by using a speer manual too, they are fine. Most, if not all of what I am going to write will be in your loading manual, so feel free to skip the rest lol. Sometimes it just helps to see how others are doing it.

    Powder varies by brand (Hodgdon, Reliant, IMR...), and by the specific name which kinda tells you how fast it burns. An example would be Hodgdon makes a H4350, IMR makes IMR4350, and I think Accurate Arms makes AA4350. They all are SIMILAR in burn rate, but not the same and should NEVER be interchanged. You only use the loading data for that SPECIFIC powder and bullet weight.

    On the other hand, you can use loading data from the Speer manual that used a 165 grain speer bullet to load a 165 grain Nosler,(or barns, Hornady...) bullet --- as long as they are jacketed bullets. Bullet brand matters very little as far as safety goes. You may find that one brand shoots more accurately out of your rifle than another.

    Primers will affect accuracy too. so if you have a load developed with CCIBR2's, and decide to use some WLR's for some rounds, they may not have the same point of impact.

    Consistancy is the name of the game.

    You can usually find one that shoots reasonably well just by picking a decent brand bullet and a good powder. If you wanted to just pick one bullet and powder, my vote would be for Nosler and Varget but opinions will vary widely. Always start with the low powder charge and work your way up by 0.5grain incriments until you see pressure signs or hit the max load.

    If you are going to to some more extensive experimentation to find a good combo here is a little of what I do. I don't want to sound like a Know-it-all, but I'll just list some of the things that I do for picking components ---> that doesn't mean it is the only way to go, just that this is what "I" do :)
    When you decide on what products to use for powder, bullet primer... the options are almost limitless. If you experiment with every possible one, you will likely burn your barrel out before you are half way done, not to mention break the bank. I use one brand of primers, and generally stick with it. I don't do much experimenting with primers anymore because I just don't experiment much with various brands of primers anymore, I just got stuck on CCI's a few years ago and away I went. I pick a bullet weight I want to try depending on what I want to do with it. I shoot boat tails only just because I want the highest BC I can get. Just for example, I may try Nosler BT's, Hornady A-Max in the 150-155 grain range. I will pick a couple powders from looking at the loading information and seeing what's giving the best velocity and noted to be a good powder for the cartidge bullet combo from reading other books or internet resources. (lets say Hodgdon Varget, and IMR 4064) Both known to be good powders in the 308. Then I will use data for those powders and bullet weights to start developing a load. I start out with the minimum powder load and shoot 3 to 5 round groups and increase the powder charge by 0.5grains until I hit the max or see the pressure signs (your book will show you examples of flattened primers and ejector marks and a sticky bolt lift is a sure sign that you should back off).

    Continue experimenting until you find a combination that shoots good.

    Case prep: to keep it simple:
    1) Inspect for major flaws like cracks or dibris that will scratch your die. and I'd tumble them to clean them.
    2) lube
    3) Resize
    4) Trim or check with a caliper to make sure they aren't stretching too long, clean primer pocket, debur the case neck
    5) Prime
    6) Add powder and bullet ;)

    well, there are lots of other little things that can help for accuaracy, but it sucks to get overwhelmed right away. Just start loading SAFE, and work to improve accuracy as you get used to it. Sorry for the long and boreing post.
    Good luck, Mark

  3. KQguy

    KQguy Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2007
    I would highly recomend buying a DVD on reloading.I bought one when I first started reloading,and it was probably one of the best things I bought for reloading.I watched it probably 1/'2 dozen times,and seemed to pick up something new every time I watched it.I bought mine from Sierra,it is called "High Power Rifle Reloading"with David Tubb.I am sure there are lots of good video's out there,but that is the one I bought.If you are like me,you will learn more from watching it done,rather than reading about it.
    Good luck.
  4. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2003
    Another good one, again from Tubb, is 'Handloading for Competition'.

    It's a solid outline with discussion on the best tools for each step.
  5. Wisker45-70

    Wisker45-70 Active Member

    Mar 7, 2009
    One thing I learned early on was to not have any distractions while reloading. No tv, no kids in and out and definately no answering the phone. I and my gun survived a "double charge" because I had stopped to answer the phone prior to finishing the round I was loading. I was loading some light 45-70 rounds for the weekend and was really surprised when I touched that round off. I normally do all the case prep work first, keeping everthying well organized will really help. Different colored bins work really well in keeping your brass sorted to what steps have been performed on them. This works even if you are reloading more than one caliber, however it does not if you are reloading a straight 338 and a wildcat based off the same case.
  6. grandedirt

    grandedirt Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    Thanks for all of the info. None of it was boring and all of it was useful. I will find the mentioned DVD's and watch again and again!

    Any other thoughts are welcome.

    If anyone lives nearby and is able to show me "hands on" that would be great. I understand if it's a one man game though. I'm in the Allen TX. area.

    Thanks again for all of the great input.