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Author Topic: Reloading for rifles is tedious  (Read 2172 times)


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Reloading for rifles is tedious
« on: October 09, 2013, 06:46:28 pm »
So I have been reloading for my 9mm pistols for 3 years now, awesome, never looked back.  Finally, with .223 prices and availability being what they are, I broke down and got everything together I needed.  Box from midway arrived and 4 hours later, I had my first 50 rd box of homebrew .223.  This was a week ago and just now got to go to the range and try them out.  Zero'd my scope on my SPR with them at 100 yds and my best group of the day was 3 rounds just under 7/8ths of an inch with the norm being 1.25"  They fed and cycled just fine in my two different ARs locking the bolt back as expected.  I am very happy with them and my shooting, but lament the fact that reloading for rifles takes so much more work.  I am using Lee shell holder/case gage to trim them and it is just ridiculously tedious.  Oh well, maybe some day, I can get some of them super duper machines that trims, deburrs, and chamfers all in one motorized step. 
Ohio-Geoff the Combat Mechanic

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    Re: Reloading for rifles is tedious
    « Reply #1 on: October 09, 2013, 07:25:04 pm »
    I feel your pain.  (Pardon my politically incorrect reference to one of my most despised politicians).  But, I've been rifle reloading for decades, and certain parts of the process can be frustrating. 

    Much of that case prep you are doing is a one time thing:  Attention to decrimping (if using gov't cases), primer pocket uniforming, flash hole deburring, and such is a one time and forget it thing.  Yes, you need to check case length, but you don't have to trim every time you reload unless you are really into benchrest type accuracy.  Just check with a gauge, micrometer or dial calipers to make sure you're not above maximum spec and keep rolling.  You may get 3-4 or more reloads without having to trim.  If you don't have to retrim, you also don't have to chamfer the case mouth.

    You can also chuck most hand held type case trimmers or decrimpers in an electric drill and speed up the process. You can even adapt a drill press for case trimming if you have a lot (hundreds to thousands) of cases to trim at one time, if you have one and don't want to spend more money on dedicated motorized case prep stations or gismos.

    Mississippi"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe"  Words of Jesus, Luke 11:21 (ESV).


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    Re: Reloading for rifles is tedious
    « Reply #2 on: October 09, 2013, 07:32:09 pm »
    It can be tedious.  It all depends on your mindset. 

    Also, you can play with various powder/bullet combinations to find just what your rifles like, rather than have to rely on off-the-shelf ammo that works just pretty well (when it can be found).

    I tend to run my brass in steps.  Since we're discussing .223, that means I first sort the commercial from the military.  Next I size/deprime, then clean off the case lube (usually by running them in the tumbler).  Then, check for length, and toss any that need trimming in another bucket for another time.  Those that are still available go in a different bucket for when I get around to the next step.  If I'm doing pistol/revolver ammo, I start with size/deprime and bypass cleaning the case lube and sorting for length trimming.   Next, rifle or handgun, priming using a hand-priming tool.  I can blow through several hundred in just a few minutes.  Half hour each night, and in a few days I've got a thousand.  Finally, when I feel like sitting down and loading, I'll set up the powder measure and the press and load for a while.  Pretty soon, I've got a nice stash of whatever caliber I've been working on.

    A few years ago, I started in early December, just working a little at a time, and by the end of January I had loaded over 2700 rounds of various handgun ammo.  On a single stage press.  That's over 10,000 pulls on the press handle.  And it wasn't tedious at all.  I still have some of that ammo, but may need to plan on repeating that process again this winter to build my stock back up.



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    Re: Reloading for rifles is tedious
    « Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 10:03:19 pm »
    It's tedious even with all the fancy gear. For precision rifle ammo, I use my friend's gear. He has the RCBS case-prep station and a Hornydaddy lathe for trimming. Still took about 4 hours to load 50 rds.

    For bulk .223, I do it at home. I tumble, and load into the XL650 with my "case prep" toolhead. That is just a universal deprimer right now, but I plan on putting the trimmer on there eventually. Then tumble again. Run each through the Dillon Super-Swage. Then lube and load into the XL650 again, this time with the loading toolhead. Resize, prime, charge, powder-check, seat bullet, crimp bullet.

    For handgun ammo, it's tumble, load into casefeeder, and resize/deprime, prime, charge, seat bullet, crimp bullet. I can take 100pcs of brass from the cleaner to the ammo box in about 20 min.

    I take my coffee my rifles.

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    Re: Reloading for rifles is tedious
    « Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 12:13:07 pm »
    If you break down the steps and do them over time it doesn't seem like it takes as long as it does.  I process my brass (deprime, trim, resize, tumble) and then some time later I use a RCBS APS hand priming tool and prime the brass and then store them in ammo cans.  Depending on how much brass you have and how many different headstamps you can separate the brass either by ziplock bags in a single can or if you have enough brass to separate them in different ammo cans.  When I'm ready to load I just open up a can and fill the loading block.  When I load rifle rounds I use a balance beam scale as I tend to be more accurate/consistent with it so it takes me a little longer than when using an electronic dispenser.  This method it takes me about 1 hour to load a full block (50 rounds) which is easier for me as it gets painful to do everything in one shot (process brass, prime & load).
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    Re: Reloading for rifles is tedious
    « Reply #5 on: October 28, 2013, 12:31:17 am »
    Having just spent the past couple hours resizng/depriming and then trimming about 400 .223 cases I feel this threads pain. Next will be dealing with crimped primer pockets in about 2/3 of it.  :banghead


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    Re: Reloading for rifles is tedious
    « Reply #6 on: November 06, 2013, 05:46:44 pm »
    Loading for rifle is a chore no matter what gear you have.
    My .223 is usually range brass picked up from a LEO range and so most of it is crimped.

    I start out tumbling and then size, de-prime, toss back into tumbler for 1 hour to
    get rid of sizing lube, then run through Dillon de-crimp tool. I then check over all
    length and trim debur. It's then on to the Lee hand primer and reloading on my
    Lee 4 turret press. I inspect each case at each station along the way. I have an LED
    mounted on my press so I can look in each case after the powder drop to see if things
    look normal before seating bullet.
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