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Winchester 69

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Mar 29, 2007
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430
Could you give me a list of the case prep items you would recommend?
I'll refer you to my original post. You may want to go ahead and invest in the Wilson case trimmer. If you get it from Sinclair, it's available in three configurations. The one with the micrometer, besides being very expensive, is really not necessary. Case length can be achieved without that much attention to detail. Sinclair's base is very popular, but the basic tool can also be bolted to a block of wood and mounted in a vise, should that not be inconvenient. You'll need the case holder for your cartridge. A note: some cartridges, not 300 WM, have a holder listed for unfired cases. Should you ever adopt one of those cartridges, you probably won't be trimming your cases until they are fired. As long as the resulting case length is even, any tool will work. However, being able to maximize the length protects custom barrels from erosion. For the relative cost of a Lee setup to the Wilson, you may want to make the investment early.

If you wish to uniform your primer pockets, get a tool that has a fixed cutting depth. Some, like the RCBS, have adjustments that can move, and some others are totally indiscriminate. Redding and Sinclair are both good tools. Uniformed primer pockets give the ultimate in reliability, but I doubt that you'll see any benefit to accuracy.

Many do claim an improvement in accuracy from de-burring the flash hole, but it may be undetectable with a factory chamber/barrel. Sinclair's Gen II tool is very popular as it doesn't index on the case neck.

An inexpensive ball micrometer allows you to determine the variation in neck thickness of your cases. You can sort out the worst cases and use them for plinking/etc. rounds.

Sinclair makes an excellent run-out gauge that will let you assess the straightness of your prepped cases and loaded rounds.

I'll go ahead and answer your question regarding neck turning. It is for fitting the case to the dimension of the rifle's chamber, which requires a custom barrel. It won't salvage bad brass.

The only immediate decision you will need to make is the choice between case trimmers. The Wilson is more precise, and a smoother tool, than any of the other options. None of the other tools discussed represents a replacement decision and can be acquired at any time in the future. The ball mic is something that you can acquire early on and see benefit.

I'll suggest one more thing, and it may draw criticism. Get a copy of Glen Zediker's Handloading for Competition, available from Sinclair. It contains very advanced material, but is a complete education in loading. The author's writing style is unfortunate, making comprehension more difficult. However, there's no better source for the material, and nothing nearly as complete. Don't believe everything he has to say about Harrell's equipment. You will have what you need unless you decide to load at the range.

I'll again suggest that you're in a planning stage rather than acquisition. Don't be in a hurry to buy any more than the basics except where future replacement is a contingency. Decisions are no better than the information on which they are based, and the longer you wait to make a decision, the more information you will have acquired.
 

3fingervic

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Mar 25, 2009
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449
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Michigan
Thanks for the reply. I requested a Sinclair catalog. I'll look into the Wilson case trimmer. I would like to learn as much as possible on this gun. My long term goal is to get / build fully custom system. So the Handloading for Competition book should be a nice resource. I'm sure eventually I'll want some better dies, but I'll stick with these for a while. Did you notice something that I purchased the was not a smart buy?
 

Winchester 69

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Mar 29, 2007
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430
Your original post presented a cap on your immediate funds. I'm suggesting that you keep your options open by not spending on things not immediately necessary. That leaves you with the ability to obtain what you need when the requirement presents itself. I'm anticipating the possibility of a cart before the horse situation. When you get the Sinclair catalog, you'll discover that some of the tools we're discussing can cumulatively put a dent in your budget.
EDIT: For instance, the Wilson trimmer with case holder, the Sinclair flash-hole tool , a low-end ball mic and the Zediker book will together cost as much as your press. You can get the book and the trimmer, hold the flash-hole tool for a future Sinclair order, and save the ball mic for a future order with another vendor (the only ball mic that Sinclair sells is in the $160 range, although they do offer an electronic tube mic for a little over $480); Graf has one for under $30. Plan your orders to minimize shipping costs.

I don't know what level of shooting you will find comfortable, and you may not either. There's no point in investing in things that won't support your immediate needs unless it avoids an anticipated replacement situation later.
 
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Mike6158

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Jan 19, 2003
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328
Location
Texas
The one with the micrometer, besides being very expensive, is really not necessary
JMHO... having done it a few different ways, when you are trimming 50 - 100+ pieces of brass the Sinclair trimmer makes life pretty grand becaus it's accurate and quick. It's not a Giraud or Gracey quick but it's pretty nice. Concerning the micrometer, no, it's not "really" necessary but its it "really" necessary to hand load for most people? Nope. The micrometer makes setup and caliber changes easy. But it's absolutely not necessary. I trimmed with my trusty Lyman Universal for a long time and still would if I needed to. I bought the Sinclair tool to speed things up.

Another Sinclair tool that I like is their primer seating tool. I have two. One for small primers and one for large primers. I also bought a few of the "rings" that the shell holders fit in so that caliber changes are quick and easy.

I really like the Sinclair primer pocket tool and the holder for the chamfering tool. I use Sinclair's (pricey) motor drive apparatus for all three tools and it saves a ton of time. I trim all of my brass first. Then I chamfer the inside of all of my brass. Then I chamfer the outside of all of my brass. If it's new brass I run it through the neck thickness tool to make sure things are within .004. Then I uniform the primer pockets of all of my brass. If it's new brass I debur the flash hole. Sometimes I neck turn. Depends on how the brass measures up. Once I started loading ammo by the 50 - 100 lots the switch to a mechanized way to prep my brass seemed logical. I wouldn't have done it otherwise. Brass prep- btw- is very important.

None of what I typed above is what I would consider entry level suggestions and it's certainly not the gospel. One thing you'll learn is that reloading has fundamentals and it has things you'll settle on as individual preference.

The press you bought was an excellent choice. I use a Forster Co-Ax and I wouldn't trade it for anything but no flies on your choice.

Dies- again, just my opinion, but the best die you can afford is going to make life pretty good if you start loading to the nth degree of accuracy. I use Forster Benchrest and Micrometer seater dies. I was helping my nephew reload .25-06 with his Lee dies in my Co-Ax press the other day and the seater die didn't repeat very well and it was a pita to set. Adjusting .001 with it was difficult to do and it didn't repeat. The expander ball in the full length and neck sizing die he had was way too big imho. You don't need to move the brass as much as the Lee dies do.

Progressive press- To me, loading precision rifle ammo on a progressive press like a Dillon XL-650 (I have one) is a bad idea. I would probably load AR-15 "bulk" ammo on my XL-650 if I had time for it, but that's about it. Right now 7mm Rem Mag and .308 are getting my attention so the AR-15 stuff is going to have to wait. I don't think that powder drops and seating depth control are consistent enough for my reloading tolerances. Again, that's my thoughts on how I reload not the gospel.

Info- If you are going to get into precision reloading then I would recommend this DVD- [FONT=Arial, Helvetica][SIZE=-1]Sierra's "High Power Rifle Reloading" [/SIZE][/FONT]It's a little dated but the basic premises for high power rifle reloading for long range are all there.
 

3fingervic

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Mar 25, 2009
Messages
449
Location
Michigan
Great info guys. I have a lot of wants. And a few needs. I'm going to have to decide on a trimmer. The Wilson model with the micrometer is enticing, I'll take a few days to regroup and see where I'm at. I would error on the side of a higher end item, as they seem to be cheaper in the long run. Great advise, again. Thanks.
 

Winchester 69

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Mar 29, 2007
Messages
430
I'll suggest that at $145, the micrometer version is a luxury, especially since you are loading for a single rifle. A previously trimmed case can be used for setup when needed. The mic is available as an add-on for later upgrade if you ever find a need for it. The $40 Wilson version does the same job. Study the Sinclair catalog when it arrives to see what the differences are.

Similarly, a mic seating die doesn't serve much purpose when your load-length is magazine constrained. That doesn't mean that a Forster seater w/o the mic isn't worthwhile.

Mike's post introduces a lot of things for your consideration. Down the road you'll be mechanizing some things. You'll have options like using a drill press, power drill, or power screwdriver. Or an RCBS Trim Mate. You'll have a lot of things to think about. Don't lock yourself into one method before you have had an opportunity to consider others. If you have a drill press, you could use a Possum Hollow trimmer for a single caliber. It's better to plan your operation and then coordinate your acquired setup. Now's the time to discover possibilities.
 

Mike6158

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Joined
Jan 19, 2003
Messages
328
Location
Texas
I'll suggest that at $145, the micrometer version is a luxury, especially since you are loading for a single rifle.
I'm in 100% agreement with this. I reloaded for a long time without a single luxury so I'm good with someone starting with the basics (hence my Lyman trimmer comment) However, now I don't mic my cases. I set it and forget it... uh... except for when it starts grinding off metal like some kind of case trimmer from hell and I realize that I set it at 2.05 not 2.5 :D
 

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