Handloading Fundamentals - Page 2

Handloading Fundamentals

This is a discussion on Handloading Fundamentals within the Reloading forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Your press is set up and ready with the seating die. Put a charged case into the shellholder and carefully place a bullet base first ...

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  1. #11
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Your press is set up and ready with the seating die.

    Put a charged case into the shellholder and carefully place a bullet base first into the case. Slowly raise the ram and the bullet and case will rise into the die. The die will shove the bullet into the case and presto, you will have a loaded round.

    After the round is loaded, hold it up to your ear and give the cartridge a shake. You want to hear the powder shake. Look at the round and check it thoroughly.

    Proceed in this way until all of your primed, charged cases become loaded rounds.

    After all your rounds are loaded, box and label them. Make sure your label contains the following information: date, powder, charge, bullet, primer, etc.

    You should also maintain a hard cover notebook with all of your loading information. You should record lot numbers, etc.

    Notice that we did not crimp the finished cartridge. I generally do not crimp rifle ammo unless it will be used in a semi auto or in a tubular magazine. If a crimp is desired, one should use the Lee Factory Crimp Die as part of a seperate operation.

    So there we have it. My cat's guide to reloading. It is really simple. Please feel free to comment and add your remarks. I will have a few additional thoughts later.


  2. #12
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Additional thoughts:

    1. Do NOT be tempted to chamber any of your ammo in the house. If you want to check the feeding of your loads, create a dummy round. A dummy round is an unprimed, uncharged case with a seated bullet.

    And if you chamber a dummy round, MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE that it is a dummy round!! You might want to identify your dummy rounds by dabbing some nail polish on the casehead.

    2. You should buy a copy of the Speer Manual as well as a copy of the Sierra Manual. Have fun and read the information contained therein. Use my instructions as a simple guide. But read as much about handloading as you can. You should look for books in the library.

    3. Do a google search for Sinclair International and order Sinclair's Catalogue. Sinclair has lots of reloading books for sale. Sinclair also has lots of cool tools and Sinclair can fix you up with a subscription to Precision Handloading.

    4. If you need to disassemble a round use a inertia bullet puller. Cabelas has one for $12.99--part no. JG-214931

    5. Look for Handloader magazine. I love this magazine and you should buy every issue you can find. Read it from cover to cover and soon you will be just as demented as yours truly. You may find yourself going


  3. #13
    Super Moderator 12twist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    What do you think of the Rockchucker kit? It comes with a lot of what you have mentioned.
    "Oh bother!", said Pooh. (As he chambered another round)
    "Learn to use your hands like weapons and weapons like they were your hands."
    "Beware the fury of a patient man"

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  5. #14
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    The RCBS Rockchucker is an excellent kit. But as nice as it is, you can do it cheaper. The Rockchucker is also a benchmounted press and I used the Lee Hand Press for my example because too many folks feel they need a loading bench in order to produce quality ammo. I've loaded ammo in a college dorm, on a kitchen table, in a motel room and in my office. With a Lee Hand Press you can load ammo just about anywhere.

    The Rockchucker kit includes the 505 scale, Uniflow powder measure, Speer Manual, RCBS handpriming tool, case lube kit, loading tray, hex key set, powder funnel and deburring tool. Dies and shellholder are not included. The Rockchucker kit sells for $244.99 at Midway. And note that a case trimmer and dial calipers are not included.

    If you buy a Rockchucker kit, you would still need to spend an additional $75 to $100 to get the rest of the things you need. And believe me, you do not need a powder measure. If you have the Lee powder scoops and a powder trickler, you can do without a powder measure. I used to own an RCBS powder dispenser and I gave it away two years ago. I found that I wasn't using it.

    Certain RCBS tools are pricier than they need to be. Now I like RCBS equipment; however the Lee case preparation tools are cheaper and maybe better.

    For example, I have an RCBS deburring tool. I bought it on a whim, but it is much more expensive than the Lee deburring tool and the Lee tool is actually a better tool. I've had several Lee deburring tools over the years and now is the time to get another. ( I lost one or two Lee deburring tools and my last one was stolen)

    I really like RCBS dies and some of their other tools. But if you buy the best tools from the various different manufacturers, you can assemble a quality basic set up for about $230. You can even do it for less if you find used equipment at gunshows or gunshops.

    I gave a great deal of thought to what I would buy were I starting out again. Actually after my reloading tools were stolen, I was starting out again. I intend to take some pictures of my new reloading set up.

    With the tools mentioned above, anyone can load MOA ammo at home.


  6. #15
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    I just took a look at Midway Arms' website and they have the RCBS Partner press for sale for $57.99. This is a bench mounted press.

    Midway also has the Partner Press Kit for $144.99. This kit is the same as the Rockchucker Kit, except that the Partner press is substituted for the Rockchucker.

    I've checked out the Partner press and I like it. But my local store had it for sale at $79. I guess I'll have to order mine from Midway.

    If you want a bench mounted press, you can head off to your local thrift shop and buy a cheap piece of old furniture. Then you can mount your new Partner press to said cheap piece of furniture. You can then start resizing.

    Another thing to consider is the Black and Decker Work Mate. You could easily mount a reloading press to one of these folding work benches. Use your imagination and go


  7. #16
    Senior Member Recoil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    If I may suggest, this thread could probably be better served stickied to the top of the "Cartridges & Calibers" section.

    The section's description says:

    If you have a question about ballistics, wish to argue in support of your favorite caliber, or just want to learn more about factory ammo... just come on in here. This is also the place to put any handload recipes or post your handloading questions.
    Emphasis added by me, of course.

    At any rate, since this is a reloading thread, it makes more sense to have it in the ammo section of the forum. I bring this up because I was looking for it there (because one looks in the ammo section when looking up handloading stuff, right?) and ended up having to do a search to find it.

    Just a suggestion.

    ETA: To whichever mod moved the thread here, thanks.

  8. #17

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Wow, smart cat. Nice guide, I may have to try it out some time. About what is the cost to produce the bullets per, for simplicity, lets say 20(for a 308)? I can't imagine going out and paying 16$ for 20 at wallyworld. I don't have a 308 yet, but I'm seriously thinking about purchasing one for my birthday on the 28th. I'll have to look for presses at the next gun show. Anyways, thanks, was a nice read :P


  9. #18

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by iamme2002
    About what is the cost to produce the bullets per, for simplicity, lets say 20(for a 308)?
    I duplicate the I duplicate M852 match cartridge: 42.0 gr. of IMR 4895, 168 gr. SMK (right out of the Technical Manual for Army Ammunition TM43-0001-27) and the CCI No. 34 Arsenal Primer @ $0.34 per round.


  10. #19
    Senior Member JCinPA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Thank you so much! I've never reloaded before, but I want to try it, and I'm going to use your instructions and the Lee Hand Press.

    Two quick questions:

    1) Is there any reason the Hand Press cannot make as accurate a load as larger presses? I'm thinking the larger ones are easier and/or faster, but not more accurate, but I don't know.

    2) I'd like to start with a simple system for learning, not necessarily with the cheapest gear possible. I can afford to upgrade some components. Should I consider RCBS "Competition" dies? They run about $80 at Midway, and I don't mind buying them if they are worthwhile. The side loading bullet window looks like a neat feature.

    Thanks again.


  11. #20
    Senior Member madgunsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    1. With a Lee Handpress, you can load ammo that is just as accurate as any other press.

    2. You don't need to start with competition seating dies. They are certainly a wondrous thing. But you should start with just a regular die set. Get the competition seating die later. Walk then run.


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