Green horn here, what are the biggest things youve learned from reloading good and bad?

MAYDAY15

Active Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
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28
Location
Kennewick, Washington
Hey guys, i am new to LRH and pretty new to reloading as well, i have a 6.5CM ive been loading for a couple if years and going to be putting together an elk rifle which will be a 28 Nosler, i wanted to pick your brains on what you have learned over your years in this world the good the bad and the ugly. I really enjoy it but am still very new to it so any feed back would be great. Thank you all and dont forget to shoot straight!
 
  1. Load for accuracy, not speed -- the fastest load is rarely the most accurate.
  2. Shortcuts at the bench are paid for with frustration and lousy groups
  3. Consistency in your technique is the single greatest tool in your tool box.
  4. Slow and steady -- it's not a race, except for the bullet, once it leaves the barrel.
  5. Plenty of reloaders will extol this tool and that tool and say, "buy once, cry once." Reloading and shooting each is a rabbit hole and as deep as you want to go, there's cost and learning to be had. When I think about that next thing I really want, I think about a mentor's best friend who used a Lee Loader to hand load for an old Winchester 270 with iron sights. He tried to teach me how to use iron sights once, and I watched him as he put round after round in the bull at 100.
    My point being - you can spend oodles of money, be a great reloader, but your skill with your rifle is the most critical one to develop to a sharp point.
Edit to add - if you haven't yet discovered it, check out Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility - I hear great things about it.
 
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I’m going to try to keep this short, but there’s a lot I’ve learned over the last 14 or so years of reloading. The biggest thing first and foremost is safety and paying attention overall. I know this gets preached and is said a lot, but it can’t be said enough. You can get as fancy and elaborate as you want with your equipment and components, but one slip up can ruin your day or injure your rifle or worse of all yourself. I don’t want to turn this into a boring safety first post, but just double check what powder is on the bench, double check your loads, and if your brass has loose pockets, cracked necks, signs of case head separation, etc. just throw it away.

Now with that that’s out way, let’s get into the other lessons I’ve learned. These are in no particular order, just whatever comes to mind first.

-This goes with safety kind of, don’t start out at book max or with your buddy’s load or an internet load. Always drop down and work up. I like to start 3gr under book max and work up.

-Virgin brass produces different
velocities/pressures than once fired

-Mixed headstamps produce different velocities/pressures

-Get yourself a CBTO bullet comparator and headspace comparator. This makes loading consistent ammo and setting up your dies much easier.

-Don’t bump your shoulders back on your brass until fired cases start to close with some resistance. This ensures your case fully forms to the chamber and could take multiple firings before a fired case won’t chamber easily.

-Always weigh your charges on a scale, don’t throw charges unless it’s for plinking and you’re using a ball/flake powder.

-Don’t settle on a load until you have 100+ rounds down the barrel. A load that’s safe in the first 50 rounds can start showing pressure signs as the barrel breaks in.

-We are all guilty of this, but don’t go down the rabbit hole of buying better equipment. Your scale only being accurate to 0.1gr isn’t the reason your groups are over MOA. Better equipment never hurts, but wait until you outgrow what you have before spending money on new toys and not more components and trigger time. You can just buy the “best” right off the bat, but it’s not necessary in most cases.

-When developing loads, don’t go about it randomly. Start out with a bullet, powder, brass, primer combo you want to use and test different powder charges and seating depths. If you’re not getting the results you want, then change either the bullet or powder but not both at once.

-Don’t be afraid to change. Again, I’m guilty of this. If the combination isn’t performing consistently or not meeting your expectations, then change the powder or bullet.

-When you find a process and technique that works for you, stick with it until you outgrow it or you’re not getting consistent results. I’m guilty of trying new things all the time, but going back to proven methods usually irons things out.

-The “most accurate loads tested” in the manual are with their lot of bullets, powder, brass, barrels etc. It’s not always going to work for you.

-Buy premium bullets, powder, and brass when you can get it. Look around at what successful shooters are using and copy them. Experiment after your reach your goals and want to have more fun with it.
 
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Some of the best advice I can give, is to not fall in to all the hype on fast loads, focus on accuracy within the realm of what the cartridge was designed for. Pretty much all of my rifles I load for, the most day to day consistent loads are generally 75-100+ fps below pressure signs. Also, with tough brass like lapua, adg, Peterson, alpha etc., you often won't see obvious pressure signs like noticeable ejector marks, flattened primers, craters, stiff bolt lift etc. until you are nearly 70,000 psi or even more, especially if your using a solid, true action. They show up very subtle often times. Speed is cool, a rifle that is a legitimate half MOA or even less is better. And I don't mean the random 3 shot group, but a rifle that will stack 10 in sub half MOA.

Plus, it's easier on your brass. In your 28 nosler, standard pressures from 55-60k will send whatever bullet you want plenty fast, and with proper loading procedures and good brass like ADG or Peterson, 100 should easily last the life of the barrel. Done right, 50 should last the life of your barrel. It will be easier on your barrel at those pressures too. But if your rifle is "shooting 100 fps faster than what they usually do" then it's more than likely because your over pressure, and hindering accuracy potential and being harder on your brass, barrel, and action than you need to be.

Other than that, take everything you read with a grain of salt. Lot's of people will give you lots of opinions, and we all know what opinions are like. But at the same time, do a lot of reading. There are a lot of smart individuals on these different forums with tons of valueable information. You will get good at sorting out the solid information from the not so much. And most of all, take a kid shooting!

Good luck.
 
Listen to what's above.
If you have the budget to buy "Quality gear" then buy once cry once. Now saying that does not mean going down that proverbial rabbit hole. Buy one good press, good scales and good brass.
Some people swear by Lee dies and equipment. Now if that's all your budget allows for many years to come then yes, it can be used with some success. But if you can spring for a heavier stronger press then it's gonna last a lifetime and you might feel better for it.

A good O frame press is all you need , if you feel the others are warranted then choose one and start a thread on presses to narrow down the choices or the pros and cons.

A good press, scales and dies will be the bare minimum. Kits might bundle in some inexpensive tools to add value.

I think Hornady dies are good. Maybe Redding are better then there are more expensive brands.
I have achieved sub moa in hunting rifles that were rebarrelled by a gunsmith So it's a bit to do with the rifle and a bit to do with the nut behind the butt, then you tune the load to the rifle.

I'm no expert but read heaps loaded heaps and enjoy the practice of reloading without taking it to the level match competitors do.

Start safe stay safe.
 
Hey guys, i am new to LRH and pretty new to reloading as well, i have a 6.5CM ive been loading for a couple if years and going to be putting together an elk rifle which will be a 28 Nosler, i wanted to pick your brains on what you have learned over your years in this world the good the bad and the ugly. I really enjoy it but am still very new to it so any feed back would be great. Thank you all and dont forget to shoot straight!
Most of the reloading manuals cover what you are asking. My best advice is safety, safety, safety (there is NO shortcut or substitute); take your time (it is NOT a race) and enjoy the learning process.
 
Listen to what's above.
If you have the budget to buy "Quality gear" then buy once cry once. Now saying that does not mean going down that proverbial rabbit hole. Buy one good press, good scales and good brass.
Some people swear by Lee dies and equipment. Now if that's all your budget allows for many years to come then yes, it can be used with some success. But if you can spring for a heavier stronger press then it's gonna last a lifetime and you might feel better for it.

A good O frame press is all you need , if you feel the others are warranted then choose one and start a thread on presses to narrow down the choices or the pros and cons.

A good press, scales and dies will be the bare minimum. Kits might bundle in some inexpensive tools to add value.

I think Hornady dies are good. Maybe Redding are better then there are more expensive brands.
I have achieved sub moa in hunting rifles that were rebarrelled by a gunsmith So it's a bit to do with the rifle and a bit to do with the nut behind the butt, then you tune the load to the rifle.

I'm no expert but read heaps loaded heaps and enjoy the practice of reloading without taking it to the level match competitors do.

Start safe stay safe.
Lee dies have never given me a problem. They are basic and easy to use and I've never had to blame them on anything downrange. I'm also an old redneck so keep that in mind :). The only other dies I would recommend are RCBS. I still use my one and only press and it is a Lee. 22-250, .244 Rem, 257 Roberts, 25-06, 6.5x284, .308, 300 H&H. Every one has seen their fair share of new barrels just from use
 
1 Use Quality components. Buy the best dies you can afford. (I Use RCBS Dies and Forester Micrometer Seating dies.
2 Separate your cases by weight. Ex. 270 Win. ?\/186.0 to 186.4 the next batch is 186.5 to 186.9 . ect.
3 Know the exact dimension of your Chamber ( Sinclair Chamber gauge) so you're not cutting your cases needlessly
4 NEVER RUSH or HURRY in the reloading process!!!! If all you have time for tonight is to De Prime and resize 25 or 30 cases . then just do that . Do all the Cases and Neck prepping tomorrow night.

5 Listen to these guys on this blog. They all have a wealth of knowledge. Somebody here is surely loading for the same caliber you are!!!
 
#1 objective
#2 bullet (hunt,target,twist,weight)
#3 powder (barrel length, bullet weight)
#4 primers ( the right primers)
#5 brass (consistency as far as stamp,length,form….crimp our not)
Consistency is key!
Use bags at the range!
Start low work up!

These are just a few things I think about while starting a new load development
 
Hey guys, i am new to LRH and pretty new to reloading as well, i have a 6.5CM ive been loading for a couple if years and going to be putting together an elk rifle which will be a 28 Nosler, i wanted to pick your brains on what you have learned over your years in this world the good the bad and the ugly. I really enjoy it but am still very new to it so any feed back would be great. Thank you all and dont forget to shoot straight!
When I was an apprentice earning very little, my mentor told me “buy once, cry once”. No truer words have ever been spoken. I scrimped and saved to buy the very best tools I could…I still have those tools 35 years later.
I still use the same adage with my handloading gear. Buy the very best dies, presses and other gadgets.
Avoid any die with a collet style arrangement holding in the sizing button stem…simply not worth the hassle. Avoid Hornady stuff. (Dies in particular).
Good equipment starts with Redding, but RCBS is not to be sneezed at. For comp stuff I like Forster, K&M, Primal Rights and Redding gear. I also use Sinclair stuff but it seems it’s getting harder to get. Maybe that’s just in Australia.
Anyway, avoid cheap and nasty, it often only ever needs replacing after a short time anyway.
Enjoy handloading, it is rewarding and a great way to learn what each rifle/pistol/shotgun likes.

Cheers.
 
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