H/T to The Smallest Minority
You can find tours of the ruins of the Packard plant on YouTube. Pictures of the empty production floors on Google images. That is what it is today, here’s a video of what it was. I know this is old propaganda. Look beyond the words, look at the people, the buildings, the engines on the assembly line, and remember who we were.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ decision sets the stage for a battle over pension reductions, the potential sale of assets and proposed cuts to creditors.
“The city needs help,” Rhodes said. “The city no longer has the resources to provide its residents with basic services.”
The previous post is the introduction to this one. Borepatch came to visit, with everything he had acquired for reloading in a box. After dinner we were joined by Dan, my shooting and reloading partner and we retired to the shop.
We clamped his press on my bench, opened up his dies, and step by step, went through the process for setting up and reloading a bottlenecked case. It went well. The only thing he lacked was a shellplate for the case. We talked of loads, load development, getting the length, paying attention to the details, and we made 30 rounds of .303 British for his Lee-Enfield.
I had never made .303 Brit before, but except for being a rimmed case, it didn’t seem much different from 30-06 or 8mm Mauser. It was a pleasant evening, good company, and hopefully he learned enough to gain some confidence to setup and reload on his own.
Saturday we took his rifle and the new reloads to the field. Since we didn’t have a bench, it was difficult to judge groups and settling in on a pet load is not done in a day anyway. We were out to see if we could put them on paper and see how they fed, look for problems, and enjoy shooting.
On the last round of the last series, we experienced a case head separation. Huh. I’d never had one before. It wasn’t anything exciting, just left the body of the case in the chamber and ended the shooting. But it turns out the question you don’t know to ask will give you the answer you wanted.
Referring to Cast Boolits to see what a search turned up, I found the answers. Old Lee-Enfields chambers were cut long, so if the rifle or the ammo was dirty, it would still chamber and fire. Since ammo was meant to be used once, it didn’t matter if the cases stretched. When reloading, once fired brass from the same rifle should be used and .303 British should be neck sized only. Additionally, some brass is more brittle than others and if you get some Privi brass, neck size only, and watch for signs of case separation, you can generally avoid this problem. Once again, I am blazing down a trail that others have already hiked. There are no new reloading problems, just problems that are new to you.
So the problem isn’t unusual, there are ways to mitigate it, and keeping the tools necessary to extract the broken case with your range gear is a good idea.
Having Borepatch come visit, do some reloading, and go shooting was a highlight of the Thanksgiving weekend. I hope to do it again soon. I am looking forward to his post and his impressions of his first reloading adventure.
About five years ago a couple of friends at the gun club convinced me that I needed to be reloading. “More ammo!”, they said, “Better accuracy! Save money! Did we mention more ammo?”
I bought a RCBS Rockchucker in a kit that included scales and a priming tool, a set of dies, bullets, primers, and a pound of powder. I bought a Lyman reloading manual. Rearranged a few things and set it all up in my shop. I read the book. Twice. Then I called someone that had been reloading for 30 years and still had all his fingers and eyes and asked him to give me a lesson. It was a great lesson, stretched out over several afternoons in his shop. By the time we were done, I could load straight wall and bottlenecked cases, do case prep, evaluate my results, and generally feel like I wasn’t making big blunders.
So I know what it is to get the things you need, to read the book, and then hesitate, thinking, “Okay, I’m going to load powder in primed cases and then put them in my gun and hold that gun up to my face and pull the trigger, what could possibly go wrong?” I needed the confidence of a hands-on teacher to get me rolling, after that I could make some mistakes with the knowledge that I had the basics right and I wasn’t going to get hurt or wreck my gun.
When Borepatch called me a few weeks ago, that is exactly the spot he was in. We made plans and the day after Thanksgiving he came to visit. With all his reloading kit in a box. We spent one evening reloading and took the results to the field. That is the subject of the next post. Before we get there, lets talk about learning to do this if all you have is the book and internet.
My reloading partner Dan says there are no new mistakes and no new discoveries, we are just relearning what others have learned before. Even with the internet, if you don’t know to go looking for an answer to a question you don’t know you should be asking, you get to do it the hard way. It’s okay, that’s why small quantities of test loads are a good thing. Because sometimes a .005 inch difference matters. Who knew?
Lots of people. On a number of good websites. I’m going to share just one. It is called Cast Boolits. A forum site for reloaders and bullet casters, it has the combined wisdom of hundreds of people and their lifetimes of experience. Sub-forums for every aspect of the craft. If you have questions about reloading, go and look around. But don’t just ask, read the stickies, because it’s a good bet your question has been asked and answered.
The years have rolled along and now I have the equipment and the experience to reload some of the common calibers. I’ve come a long way from that first set of dies. I do have one question I need to go back and ask the friends that got me started, “When does the saving money part happen?”.