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Greenday

The Need to Get into Reloading

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Finally got to try some reloads my friend gave me to try out. He gave me rounds he loads for his Ruger American Predator to see how the loads would do for my Ruger American Ranch. His Predator has a 22" barrel, 1:8 twist, chambered in .223 rem. My Ranch has a 16.12" barrel, 1:8 twist, chambered in 5.56 NATO. Basically, he wanted to see the effect of the shorter barrel on his round.

Went to the range last night, brought 20 rounds of my Wolf Gold, 40 rounds of my American Eagle 62gr BT, and the 6 rounds he gave me. Some nice Sierra Matchking bullets in the reloads. Used my Wolf to warm up at 50 yards. Was shooting off a rest instead of prone, but unfortunately, couldn't find the rear rest in my car so I needed to adjust. Used the AE at 50 and 100 yards. Let my rifle cool down, then finished with the reloads. It's amazing how much of a difference it all is. I already notice a fair difference between the Wolf and AE rounds even shooting inside. But these rounds were a serious step up. The precision with these rounds was just damn good. Even my flier wasn't far off by any means. Definitely felt some more heat come off from those rounds but I'm focusing more on quality of quantity of shots.

I really, really need to get into this. I'm not looking to save money (Though I was eyeing all that brass they were sweeping up at the end of the night. Might try to ask about grabbing some next time I go though I doubt I'll get a positive response.). But it's definitely the kind of thing I could learn to super enjoy. Being a chemist, that kind of precision preparing of getting the right amount of grains, perfect seating of the bullet, testing them. It sounds so fun and rewarding. 

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You can get a basic reloading kit with a single stage press, the book "ABCs of Reloading", and a reloading manual (I like the the Lyman) for under $200.  Start with the ABCs book which is about $20.  Add about $100 for powder, primers, and bullets.  Don't go out and buy a bunch of stuff for a couple of reasons:

1.  You may find out reloading is not for you.  Then you'd be stuck with a bunch of stuff you'd have to sell at a loss.

2.  You can roll your own ammo that is as good or better than factory ammo with what I listed above.  Get yourself to that stage and then decide what else you need.

Many will advise starting with a Dillon or some other progressive press.  I think that's poor advice.  A Dillon is good if you need to crank out a quantity of ammo.  You will learn more about reloading using a single stage.  Everyone I know who loads precision rifle ammo for competition uses a single stage.

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Nice shooting. Ruger American is a solid sub moa gun. 

With 223 there really is a difference between bulk and match ammo.  Especially as you can go heavier projectile. 

Before going intonreloading try factory match ammo like Hornady match. 

Then see if you need even more. You do not save money reloading... especially 223. 

6.5 CM, and larger calibers.... yes, once you have the brass. 

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51 minutes ago, Maksim said:

You do not save money reloading... especially 223. 

Agree with this UNTIL you start getting into match level ammo.  

Bulk .223 is currently dirt cheap.  Match ammo is close to $1 a round.  I can load match ammo for considerably less.  I can also load ammo that is specifically tailored to my specific rifle.  I shoot .223 competitively and have a load that usually shoots sub half inch at 100.  I wouldn't let anyone else shoot it in their rifle.  Ever.  

If you have a buddy that reloads, and he's amenable, buy a set of dies and use his press.  Make some ammo.  See how it goes.  If you don't like it dies usually go for about 70% of retail.  Not a horrible loss.  If you do, you're a step closer.  RCBS and Hornady have solid packages for reasonable money.  PERSONALLY I would steer a precision guy away from LEE.  It's great stuff but not the best for that application.  But a RockChucker, good bullets and time and you will be shooting bugholes.  

Good luck.

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57 minutes ago, Greenday said:

Target Sports has Hornady Superformance Match 223 Remington Ammo 73 Grain ELD Match for $0.87/rd.

That's pretty close to $1 a round.  Thank you for making my point.

 

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4 hours ago, Maksim said:

 

Then see if you need even more. You do not save money reloading... especially 223. 

 

 

Match ammo .223 is about 1$ a round.... vs ~30c

You can make back your investment very quickly if you load good components and focus on consistency. 

Relaoding match anything is cheaper, its the plinker rounds that are hard to justify when prices are cheap on bulk loaded ammo. 

 

It's a great hobby, too. 

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If you're even considering reloading then I recommend that you start saving brass right now.

I started collecting brass about 9 months before I bought my press and it was a great decision.  I had learned all about case cleaning and prep before I had any bullets, powder, or primers.

I agree that starting with a single stage press makes sense for .223/5.56

If you want to load a lot of pistol ammo a progressive press is the way to go, but for bottleneck a single stage press does just fine.

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40 minutes ago, 124gr9mm said:

If you're even considering reloading then I recommend that you start saving brass right now.

I started collecting brass about 9 months before I bought my press and it was a great decision.  I had learned all about case cleaning and prep before I had any bullets, powder, or primers.

I agree that starting with a single stage press makes sense for .223/5.56

If you want to load a lot of pistol ammo a progressive press is the way to go, but for bottleneck a single stage press does just fine.

I have 400-500 empty rounds in my locker so far.

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5 hours ago, Bully said:

Agree with this UNTIL you start getting into match level ammo.  

Bulk .223 is currently dirt cheap.  Match ammo is close to $1 a round.  I can load match ammo for considerably less.  I can also load ammo that is specifically tailored to my specific rifle.  I shoot .223 competitively and have a load that usually shoots sub half inch at 100.  I wouldn't let anyone else shoot it in their rifle.  Ever.  

If you have a buddy that reloads, and he's amenable, buy a set of dies and use his press.  Make some ammo.  See how it goes.  If you don't like it dies usually go for about 70% of retail.  Not a horrible loss.  If you do, you're a step closer.  RCBS and Hornady have solid packages for reasonable money.  PERSONALLY I would steer a precision guy away from LEE.  It's great stuff but not the best for that application.  But a RockChucker, good bullets and time and you will be shooting bugholes.  

Good luck.

By that I mean you don’t save money because you end up shooting A Lot more and end up chasing the very ragged edge. Before you know it you are spending $1 per Bullet for solid copper projectiles. 

All of the accessories and gear is never ending.  $250 to $300 for electronic powder measure and dispenser,  etc

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I wouldn’t suggest starting reloading rifle rounds at first. There is so much more to it compared to reloading say 9mm.

Right now it’s hard to justify laying out the money for all the equipment and supplies while ammo is so cheap. 

You might be better off taking advantage of the low prices now and “stack it deep.”  How much is your time worth to you? You need to also add that into the equation. 

I have both a progressive and a single stage press and would echo other posters above with starting off with a single stage.

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13 hours ago, carl_g said:

I wouldn’t suggest starting reloading rifle rounds at first. There is so much more to it compared to reloading say 9mm.

Right now it’s hard to justify laying out the money for all the equipment and supplies while ammo is so cheap. 

You might be better off taking advantage of the low prices now and “stack it deep.”  How much is your time worth to you? You need to also add that into the equation. 

I have both a progressive and a single stage press and would echo other posters above with starting off with a single stage.

I have no issues with killing a few hours processing rounds. Picking some lazy weekends is fine with me.

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32 minutes ago, Greenday said:

I have no issues with killing a few hours processing rounds. Picking some lazy weekends is fine with me.

If you want to learn, as @carl_g suggested, start with pistol... you are likely going to get into less trouble and generally far more straight forward.  You are generally not trimming brass, cleaning primer pockets and very seldom if ever dealing with stuck cases in dies.  At the same time, you are also not forced to lube every one of them.

The problem is, reloading common ammo like 9mm today, really is not going to save you much when you factor in time, unless it is for oddball calibers that you are going to have issues finding in store, say 9mm Makarov, 38 Super Comp, 8mm Nambu, 45 GAP.

With Rifle you will absolutely save for match grade ammo.

For instance, two calibers I am working with now, 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC...

Factory Ammo - $40 per box (IF you can find in stock).

Brass - From previously fired ammo.

Bullets - 147 Grain Hornady ELD - $.30

Powder - 60 grains of powder, H1000 $.23

Primers $30/1,000, so $.03

All in materials you are $.56 vs $2 per round.

You do have to factor in your time, hazmat fees if getting stuff delivered, etc.

You also have to factor in whether you are going to be shooting more or the same.  For instance,  went out to the range to merely do some load development for the guns, 308... that was 100 rounds, 5 boxes of ammo... versus would ordinarily shoot  half of that?

Hopefully that answers the why it's cheaper per round but more expensive in general.

Then you have the issue of chasing performance.

When you start going into the brand new brass, $1 per piece, solid copper bullets with a high bc $1 per round, then powder and primers... you are paying more than regular match grade ammo.  This does not include more expensive goodies such as electronic powder dispenser $300, case prep stations, match grade dies, precision scales, etc.... and oh yes, lots and lots of lube... (For the brass, not the other place).

So when you get to shooting and you feel like your ammo is holding you back, then reload. It is well worth it and educational and will make you a much more knowledgeable gun owner... BUT don't kid yourself, you will be spending more money net net as you will be shooting more and most stuff just won't be good enough for you anymore.

Cause after the precision ammo, you will want precision guns, $3,000 optics, $300 bipods, etc.

And oh yeah, you need a chrono... for real.   I use the Competition Electronics Pro Chrono Pal, just dropped to $86 on Amazon and well worth it. https://amzn.to/2JTkd9p

 

 

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I don't factor my time -- It's part of the hobby -- It's supposed to be fun - if it's not fun try something else

Don't be afraid to start with bottleneck cased rifle rounds -- All reloading takes your full attention, bottleneck cases just have a few more steps

 

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Oh duh, totally forgot.  If you want a good solid single stage press with a fairly nice priming system already on it, I have been testing the Lyman Brass Smith Victory press.  Has been reliable and works well with all calibers I have tried so far up to 308.   On Amazon for $155.99 or as a kit complete with scale, powder measure and all the little crap you need for $283

The other press I am testing is the new Franklin Armory coax, and there are a lot of nice features there... but a stuck case did some damage....  This Lyman has been great with no issues.  Solid O frame that will easily handle large magnums.  Resized some 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC with no issues. 

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18 hours ago, Maksim said:

Cause after the precision ammo, you will want precision guns, $3,000 optics, $300 bipods, etc.

Wait a second. So you're telling me I'll have even better reasons to justify getting better equipment?

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Yep, it’s a never ending illness. 

And while I agree that saving money on common calibers like 9mm and 45ACP in today’s market is rough, there was a time where reloading those calibers was a big savings over the price certain retailers were charging.    

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28 minutes ago, NJSigfan said:

Yep, it’s a never ending illness. 

And while I agree that saving money on common calibers like 9mm and 45ACP in today’s market is rough, there was a time where reloading those calibers was a big savings over the price certain retailers were charging.    

I can load 100 rds of 45ACP 230g XTP ammo for a little more than the cost of one 20rd box of similar ammo.  I also cast a lot of bullets, that is another aspect I enjoyed getting into.  I also don't factor in time.  It is part of the hobby.

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If your reloading for a bolt action rifle single stage press is hard to beat a few points of interest buy quality dies Hornady  RCBS , also look into a decent trimmer (worst part of reloading rifle) a pretty decent caliper , and a good scale ,  And if your going for decent consistent accuracy separate your brass , there is always a difference between brands.

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3 minutes ago, TOMMY R said:

If your reloading for a bolt action rifle single stage press is hard to beat a few points of interest buy quality dies Hornady  RCBS , also look into a decent trimmer (worst part of reloading rifle) a pretty decent caliper , and a good scale ,  And if your going for decent consistent accuracy separate your brass , there is always a difference between brands.

:facepalm:

I recently separated all of my 308 brass by headstamp and sorted by weight.  Illness.

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Got the ABC's of Reloading by the way. Came today in the mail. Already read a good portion of it. Quite interesting stuff. I actually enjoyed the first chapter on safety. Those kinds of things that he talked about are things that can easily happen to anyone regardless of experience level. Shit happens.

1 hour ago, TOMMY R said:

If your reloading for a bolt action rifle single stage press is hard to beat a few points of interest buy quality dies Hornady  RCBS , also look into a decent trimmer (worst part of reloading rifle) a pretty decent caliper , and a good scale ,  And if your going for decent consistent accuracy separate your brass , there is always a difference between brands.

I've learned from other hobbies that quality makes a long-term difference. And I think a lot of what I do in my lab gives me good experience on the safety aspect, QC aspect, and precision work. It's totally the kind of thing I could nerd out doing.

And I already separate my brass. My Wolf brass stays in Wolf boxed and AE rounds in AE boxes.

Anyone have the Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic? Currently, Hornady is offering 500 free bullets with purchase of one of their presses or kits. $294 for the kit (Doesn't include dies, calipers, tumbler). 

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11 hours ago, Greenday said:

Got the ABC's of Reloading by the way. Came today in the mail. Already read a good portion of it. Quite interesting stuff. I actually enjoyed the first chapter on safety. Those kinds of things that he talked about are things that can easily happen to anyone regardless of experience level. Shit happens.

I've learned from other hobbies that quality makes a long-term difference. And I think a lot of what I do in my lab gives me good experience on the safety aspect, QC aspect, and precision work. It's totally the kind of thing I could nerd out doing.

And I already separate my brass. My Wolf brass stays in Wolf boxed and AE rounds in AE boxes.

Anyone have the Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic? Currently, Hornady is offering 500 free bullets with purchase of one of their presses or kits. $294 for the kit (Doesn't include dies, calipers, tumbler). 

Hornady makes good stuff... Save some money... don't need that much for a single stage?  Although Hornady makes good stuff. I have the progressive.  

Generally with progressive presses things will break... with single stage, not so much. 

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If your not reloading for volume as mentioned before RCBS is a good for long term but if don't want to break the bank to start and learn LEE Breech Lock around $35 or the Classic around $60. The one thing is stay away from a Turret Style  Press for rifle they all have some extra movement , top wobble so to speak good for volume not so much for accuracy. Slow and steady for sub MOA . 

 

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17 hours ago, NJSigfan said:

Yep, it’s a never ending illness. 

And while I agree that saving money on common calibers like 9mm and 45ACP in today’s market is rough, there was a time where reloading those calibers was a big savings over the price certain retailers were charging.    

9mm, unless there is a severe panic, is always slim savings, although it will be hard ot not beat the quality of the cheap bulk stuff. 

.45acp should ALWAYS be a savings unless you don't recover brass. 

The brass lasts FOREVER since it's hefty brass and a low pressure round. Additionally, go to matches and stuff. You will find a good chunk of .45 shooters are too good to pick up their own brass. When I ventured into reloading .45, I purchased a half case of ammo to generate brass. By the time I was done shooting that case I ahd about 1500 pieces of brass. I stopped reloading .45 after  a couple years and easily have a 5k+ stash of brass still sitting around. 

Hitting up ammoseek, the cheapest new manufacture in brass is magtech. Perfectly good plinking ammo, $0.233 a round. 

Plated .230gr bullets are $0.117

LPP are $0.03.

brass is effectively free

powder is about $0.012 (based on my load of 4.5gr Titegroup under a 230gr bullet for major power factor). 

Total about $0.16 per round. 

$160 a case vs $233 per case is a decent savings. 

This is typical. Soft ammo market you will save about 1/3 on .45acp. HArsh market it will usally be half unless the panic hits reloading components too. 

Granted, relaoding savings can be eroded rapidly if you don't manage your hazmat fees by splitting a big order or ordering in bulk. Shipping for a case of that magtech is $71 though. Shipping is included in the bullets price for me. Order the hazmat right, and shipping with hazmat will be about $36. 

shipped and hazmatted, the cost would be about $196 for the relaoded ammo, 

The chepaest new manufacture brass cased ammo, shipped I cna find on ammoseek are

$304 (magtech)

$275 (speer lawman)

$289 (geco)

$269 (magtech, and won't ship to NJ)

 

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17 hours ago, Maksim said:

:facepalm:

I recently separated all of my 308 brass by headstamp and sorted by weight.  Illness.

I've separated brass by headstamp for years.  I've read tests by reliable sources that indicate it doesn't make a difference for most uses.  I still do it anyway for appearance sake if nothing else.

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@Greenday

 

I have the hornady progressive press, and this past winter picked up their iron single stage press. 

If you get a kit from hornady, get the iron press, it is a beast... and i loaded .223 on it all winter with excellent results.. I hand prime, but i hear the priming system on it is just like their progressive, which is pretty good. 

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If you’re going to single stage jut get a cheap rock chucker setup. I’ve been using the same one for 30 years for my single stage needs. It’s  as good as the day it was new.  

 

If you want to go progressive then I’m going to say join the blue master race and get a Dillon.  

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