Reloading

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?”.

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2 thoughts on “Reloading

  1. Yeah, that saving money bit is a grand teaser, the guy that came up with that one probably hangs out with Pinocchio, and Jay Carney. Well, he’s probably not low enough to hang out with Carney……

  2. You’re saving money like I saved money on a PSL by building one from a kit rather than just buying one on an auction site. The kit was only $320, the scope another $100, the receiver $90 plus a $50 transfer fee, the two rivet kits were $20, the rear tang to replace the one I got carried away drilling on was another $20, the drill press was $130, the shop press was $130, and the barrel pressing jig was $100. All for a $700 rifle. Although in truth, I used the tools to build an AK after that, so their cost gets spread around a bit.

    But by dang, that’s MY rifle.

    I’ve heard it said elsewhere (maybe even on Cast Boolits) that you don’t really save money, by reloading, you just get to shoot more for the same money.

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