Go Ahead, Kid, The First One’s Free

Dinner with Borepatch and son. Followed by a reloading lesson. Throwing powder charges, seating bullets. Trying to make it seem easy and fun.

I want it to be easy and fun so he buys a press and a set of .303 British dies, and bullets, and powder, and primers, and lube, and calipers, and a scale, and a table to mount it on, and sets up a reloading bench. That way when he sticks a case in the sizing die or the bolt won’t close on the ammo he made, or the results over the chronograph are all over the map, he can remember how much fun he’s having.

Whether my evil plan works out or not, we made 30.06 with some very nice 168 gr. Sierra boat tails for use at tomorrow’s shoot.


6 thoughts on “Go Ahead, Kid, The First One’s Free

  1. I really enjoy reloading for my .243 Win rifle. Once I got the proper procedure explained to me by a benchrest shooter. I was surprised how much time was spent on case prep, and how little on putting in the powder and seating the bullet.

    I guarantee that if I shot some wierd round like a .303 British, I'd reload for it as well.

    Reloading for .45ACP on dad's Dillon 650 is a necessary evil, and not really fun at all. It's just a whole lot more fun than paying full price for ammo.

  2. I used to reload until I got a job where I got free ammo….actually, 2 jobs where I got free ammo.

    But, since I retired, I can get it at a little over cost at my part time job… I only get to shoot 1 to 3 times a week though….free range time when I'm not teaching.
    Life is good.

  3. OK, here's the deal-closing angle. You “shoot” a 303. How much do you really get to “shoot” it? The answer for every red-blooded American is, “not as much as I'd like to”.

    And consider the time that you *do* actually get to shoot it. With “fancy-lad” store bought ammo it goes the same place, every time, which with an old British battle rifle with notoriously variable bore and groove dimensions means “everywhere”.

    Now, suppose you have a friend that sends you a nice, soft, lead projectile about 35 cal that you can use a short piece of brass rod to pound it through the chamber and slug the throat and first few fractions of an inch of your SMLE barrel, and beat it back through the chamber with a cleaning rod so that you can use the calipers that are absolutely required equipment (but can be had with acceptable quality for less than a Jackson at Harbor Freight)? Now you KNOW the size of bullets that will be required to make your SMLE shoot accurately (the size of these bullets are likely bigger than you may imagine).

    I've had some of these work well in a 1917 Enfield 30-06, but not in an SMLE 303 with 0.314 bore: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/423174/hornady-interlock-bullets-303-caliber-and-77mm-japanese-312-diameter-150-grain-spire-point-box-of-100.

    Most ammo manufacturers optimize loads to minimize pressure given variable tolerance. This means that with old battle rifles, unless you're lucky and get one that is on the lower limit of bore dimension, that you're likely to get less than optimal accuracy.

    Reloading gives you the ability to control the relationship of bullet:barrel dimension and create more consistent and accurate loads.

    The good news is that you can get started without too much cash. There is nothing wrong with starting with something as simple as this: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/117962/lee-classic-loader-303-british

    It will load ammo as well as anything, but not very fast. It will provide invaluable education about the steps involved in reloading – that do not change regardless of the method used to accomplish it.

    And clearly the excitement of an excellent day shooting has caught up with me, and so I should let it absorb (and shut up).

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