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Author Topic: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?  (Read 6013 times)

xsquidgator

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How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
« on: January 24, 2010, 03:38:42 pm »
I'm just curious as to what other reloader's habits are.  I enjoy reloading and all of the activities that go with it, I do.  But boy, after reloading rifle rounds for a few years with my setup, it's not for the impatient!

This weekend I got around to loading up a bunch of 308 brass I've been meaning to do for some time.  I had the weekend off, and spent 1/2 a day yesterday and half a day today doing it.  After all that, I have about 90 rounds loaded up and another 100 or so pieces of 308 brass totally prepared for priming and loading.  I have a Lee Classic Cast Turret press and all of the Lee case prep tools that they make.  Perhaps that's why it's sooo labor intensive to prepare the brass?  I will say the Lee case trimmer with the wooden ball handle is a lifesaver, makes trimming the sized brass a lot easier.

I'm not complaining, I really like doing this and being able to do it.  But about a full day's work to make 100-200 rounds (call it 10 hours total if I were to load up all 200 rounds, including all of the brass case prep) seems like a bit much!  How much rifle brass do you prepare and load up in one session?  I wasn't in a hurry and took a couple of breaks here and there doing this.  I'm wondering though if I'd be better off preparing loads of brass over a period of weeks, and then spend the little bit of time it takes to prime and load the prepped brass?  Normally, I get in a mood to do some rifle and then I'll spend a couple of days doing it until I peter out.  What are your rifle reloading habits?

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    xsquidgator

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 10:38:45 am »
    One other little thing, here's the order I do things in, which may have some bearing on why it's so time-consuming m :hmm

    starting with tumbled & cleaned brass, sorted by headstamp.

    1) lay out brass, spray one-shot lube on cases and in case-mouths.  then wipe on Imperial sizing wax lube on the cases once the one-shot dries.  Don't really need the one-shot but maybe it helps in the case mouths, and I bought several cans of it just before switching to the wax so I use some.

    2) deprime and then resize 308 brass.  wipe off sizing wax lube with paper towel.
    3) check cases with case gauge.  In retrospect I think this is what really slows it down.  Use steel ruler & the gauge to check if cases are sized too much or not enough.  waste time potting around with sizing die moving it up & down trying to find sweet spot where brass is sized just right.  (about a 0.005" window apparently, and changing headstamp of brass usually means adjusting the die)
    Re-lube and re-size the occasional one that didn't get sized enough and repeat step 3.

    4) trim cases with lee case trimmer and power drill.  chamfer inside and outside of case necks.  Use greenie scrub thing to remove light tarnish from cases that have some tarnish going.
    5) use calipers to verify all cases actually got trimmed below the "trim to" length
    6) use power drill and primer pocket cleaning tool to clean the primer pockets
    7) now, ready to prime & load the cases.

    Would you or do you do all of these steps?  I only have case gauges for my "U.S." calibers like 308, 30-06, and 223 so those are the only ones I gauge.  I thought it was interesting though that simply following the sizing die's instructions does not necessarily produce sized cases that pass the case gauge.  If I screw the sizing die down enough so that it's getting stopped by the shellholder, then that seems to be about 0.005" too much sizing and looks like it pushes the shoulder in too far.

    Do you think it's necessary to trim 223 brass if you shoot it in a 556-chambered gun?  I always have and always do trim my 223/556 brass using the 223 case trimmer thing.  One of my friends says that a 556 chamber has that extra leade and that it's not necessary to trim these cases, and he doesn't.  I can see how he might be right but i'm a little too concerned about being wrong, to follow suit.  it would save a butt-ton of time if I didn't have to trim cases!

    g.willikers

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 05:50:04 pm »
    xsquidgator,

    Thanks for reminding me as to why I only reload pistol rounds.

    I found that, due to the amount of powder required, and the cost of the quality of bullets that rifles deserve, that the dollar savings weren't significant.
    Worse was that my reloads weren't any more accurate than factory, at best.
    It was fun and a good hobby, but not productive.
    Not in the way that reloading for pistol has always been.
    But it will keep you at home and out of trouble.
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    only1asterisk

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 11:39:07 pm »
    I found that, due to the amount of powder required, and the cost of the quality of bullets that rifles deserve, that the dollar savings weren't significant.
    Worse was that my reloads weren't any more accurate than factory, at best.
    It was fun and a good hobby, but not productive.
    Not in the way that reloading for pistol has always been.
    But it will keep you at home and out of trouble.

    I save more on rifle ammo than anything else.  With current ammo prices I don't see how you could avoid saving money.

    Example: 7mm Rem. Mag

    Cheapest Factory Ammo $20/Box

    Primer $.03
    Powder .12
    Case .12 (Assuming 5 loads)
    Bullet .24

    For the cash outlay of 1 round of factory stuff you get 2 shots loading your own.

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 12:00:11 am »
    For semi-autos, if it's practice ammo, I'll usually run batches of 1,000.  Two passes through the Dillon 650.  One for sizing, then it's trim time.  Then a second pass through to load.  Takes about 3-4 hours if I stay after it and work at a nice steady pace.

    For the bolt guns where I'm going after MOA or better?  EASILY 15 minutes per round invested with all the double checking, hand weighing, etc.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    RandySBreth

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 08:21:20 am »
    Yeah, it depends on what type of rifle ammo you're talking about. Plinking ammo is easy, precision hunting ammo is something else. I don't do tons of rifle plinking, so my rifle ammo is prepared very carefully, and I don't let the time involved be a negative. I use the batch method for volume, maybe some day I'll pony up the cash and get a progressive press.
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    M1911a1lvr

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 01:12:11 pm »
    When ever i am reloading my ammo. I usually just concentrate on 1 caliber per session. Currently that is 5.56N, I will usually do about 200+ rounds in a sitting(@2hrs) I don't reload for longer then that because of the fatigue that can set in for such a repetitive activity, Plus it keeps my CTS in check. When i get my new Progressive press in the next month or so, I will be more productive during that 2 hrs time frame.
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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #7 on: January 26, 2010, 05:02:34 pm »
    Only1asterisk,

    2:1 savings is what I experienced, too, for rifle rounds reloading.
    That ratio doesn't leave much room for mistakes, though.
    But loading for pistols is more like 4:1.
    Lots more, even, for some pistol calibers, like .44 mag and such.
    Depending on the amount of time that can be devoted to reloading, pistol ammo reloading seems to make more sense for saving money.
    And a whole lot easier, to boot.
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    xsquidgator

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 08:18:54 pm »
    I got into casting a year or two ago, and cast for all my handguns and most of the rifles.  I don't cast for 308/30-06/223 though, those are purchased jacketed-bullets.

    For pistol reloading with home-cast boolits, I'm paying pretty much just for powder and primer, maybe 4.5 to 5 cents per round.
    For rifle and jacketed bullets, depends but the components are still significantly cheaper than bought ammunition.
    223/55FMJ runs maybe 25 cents per round (say 10 cents for the bullet, 4 cents for the primer, and about 10 cents for the powder).
    308 with some less expensive 165JSPs, maybe 40 cents per round (15 cents powder, 4 cents primer, 20 cents for bullet)

    I need to batch-process some rifle brass in large lots ahead of time, I think.  That'll help with it not being so much all at one time.

    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 11:20:26 pm »
    Quote
    I need to batch-process some rifle brass in large lots ahead of time, I think.  That'll help with it not being so much all at one time.
      Bingo.  Size 1,000.  Set aside.  Trim another day when you have an hour or so to kill.  Prime with a hand primer while watching a favorite movie again, then load at your next convenience.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    slugcatcher

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 01:04:29 pm »
    I use a coax press. Every few months I'll do rifle brass prep of ~200 or so and them put them away. That way when I want to try a new load or load up some I'm low on all I have to do is prime, powder, seat, and crimp. It's just as much work. It just seems easier when I have a bunch of brass on hand that is already prepped. I use the little Lee case trimmers and a cordless drill for trimming. I have the older Lyman case trimmer with the drill attachment but the find the Lee system to be much faster and consistent for me. I also de-burr the flash holes but that only needs to be done once.
    Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    xsquidgator

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #11 on: February 05, 2010, 08:14:30 am »
    Yep, I think you guys have it right, batch process and work towards having a bag of prepared brass on hand for each caliber. 

    The Lee wooden handled case trimmer accessory was a darned good buy, and makes case trimming much less strenuous on my hands and fingers.  With the old one, I'd put bandaids or tape on my fingertips to avoid rubbing a blister from the knurling on the trimmer.  It's much easier to grab onto the wood ball handle instead.

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #12 on: May 05, 2010, 09:51:50 pm »
    1,000 rounds per reloading week,I will prep brass 1 night,trim,debur,prime the next,reload the next.At 14cents a round for 223,no way you can buy for that.I think what is causing you sooo much greif is the triming.Might look into power trimmer when funds permit.
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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 10:26:29 pm »
    I'm just starting out, so I'm pretty slow.
    Today, I had a mixed batch of deprimed/resized and spent .223 casings in the tumbler, so I deprimed and sized whatever wasn't yet, sorted the military brass out, and had about 65 cases. I primed and charged them all, then seated the bullet in another step. Took me an hour and a half or two hours.

    I lubed about 10 at a time with Dillon Case Lube (the only case lube anyone in town had in stock), resized and primed, checked case length with calibers, just making sure it fell somewhere in the range, and put it in the loading block.

    I weighed about every fifth charge from the Lee Auto Disk (I need to tweak that- they're coming out about a grain light. Better light than heavy though, right?).

    Like I said, about 2 hours, and I'm still below a total of 100rds (but over 120 primers :banghead )
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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #14 on: May 06, 2010, 12:47:29 am »
    Quote
    (I need to tweak that- they're coming out about a grain light. Better light than heavy though, right?).

    Right.  From a safety standpoint, the only time that isn't the case is if you are loading super-light cowboy action loads.  Go below those minimums, you could stick a bullet in the barrel.  With what you're up to, you may lose 25-100 fps depending on powder type and charge weight. 
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    JesseL

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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #15 on: May 06, 2010, 12:59:52 am »
    You can get some weird high pressure situations light loads of slow powders and light weight bullets, but I gather it's rather unusual.

    Info here:
    http://www.shootingsoftware.com/barrel.htm
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    Re: How many rifle rounds do you load up at one time?
    « Reply #16 on: May 06, 2010, 02:08:40 pm »
    you can get some pressure issues, but the load reductions before this becomes an issue are 20-30%.  Not likely to be an issue for a 1 grain drop.

    As others have said, depends on the gun the ammo is for.  If it is going to a hungry auto-loader like my Garands, less time making sure each charge is accurate to the 10th of a grain, more volume.  I usually wait until I have 300-500 rounds, then process them all in three evenings.  Size and trim the first evening, clean and prime the second.  Charge, seat crimp the third.

    For my Remington 700 PSS 300 Win Mag, 50 rounds is a BIG session.  More generally I am loading 20 rounds for a specific range session, or to try a specific load variation.

    For cost controls, I have started casting for my Garands.  I currently am very happy with the performance of a Lee 200 grain gas check, lubed with Felix lube, over 42 grains of H4831 + 1/4 sheet TP for fill.  I seat to the crimp groove and get 1" at 50 yards.  Going to compare this to HXP at 100 yards this Saturday.

    Only gripe with the above load is still the cost.  ¢18-¢21 each depending on powder price.  I know, gotta be pretty tight to gripe about $200/1000 for 30-06 ammo.  I am going to have my mold altered to a plain base, and then experiment with Reloader 15 in pursuit of a sub ¢10 load with similar accuracy and function.
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