Starting Out

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Alistair, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Alistair

    Alistair AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 25, 2018
    Messages:
    104
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    154
    Location:
    Burton-on-Trent, UK
    Member of:
    BASC
    Hunted:
    Scotland, Ireland & England
    Hey Guys,

    I've just picked up my very own reloading stuff! It's an RCBS rock chucker supreme kit and I'm quite excited about the whole thing.

    I was taught the basics and used to borrow the kit of a friend whilst I was at uni, but now I've moved away for a job it's a 4hour round trip to visit, so it's not exactly convenient to nip over to make up 50 rounds for a comp anymore... hence the purchase.

    My reloading aims for the short term are as follows:

    1 - develop and make a cost effective plinking round in my .270 for running boar comps, practice and short range sporting rifle shoots. I think I have a load that I can run with using a book min load of N160 (51.5gr from memory), a sierra 130 softpoint (gameking I think?), a Federal gold match primer and my large collection of 1x fired ex factory brass (Remington and federal primarily, with maybe 160 of hornady).

    This doesn't need to be blisteringly fast, and I'd be very happy with 1MOA or so, so I was wondering whether it'd be ok to run with mixed brass for these? I can keep everything seperate if required, but it'd be easier to just chuck all the old 1x fired factory in a bag and crack on.

    I would also welcome peoples thoughts on throwing, but not weighing rifle loads? I have done this for .44mag lever action stuff before with cast bullets, but never with N160 and never with a rifle cartridge. Again, it's not a requirement, but I tend to make 100 of these at a time and shoot 200 odd a month, so weighing them out takes a long time. If it's acceptable or wise from a safety point of view to throw and maybe weigh every 5th load, it'd make the whole thing less tedious.

    Ditto here on tumbling the brass. Is this a necessity in peoples view, or purely aesthetic? I have a tumbler on order, but nothing yet, and it'd be nice to make up a batch this week for my next shoot.

    2 - Develop a really good .270 hunting load. Generally happy with the procedure here and planning to run with a 140gr accubond, but I would welcome peoples thoughts on other decent bullets to try. These will be for hill stalking Reds in Scotland and for 'long range' sporting rifle comps, so something good out to 300yds with decent bc values for wind and range estimation would be nice. I was toying with the idea of trying the 145gr ELD-X as well, but not sure what real world advantage it offers. Also have limited experience of the terminal effects, and really don't need shoddy penetration or massive overexpansion, which I hear can be an issue with some of the 'long range hunting' bullets if velocities are high or ranges shorter.

    3 - .44mag lever action competition loads. Nothing new here, so no major questions. Going for .44spl type loadings with a cast semi-wadcutter as before.

    4 - .44mag lever action hunting load. A tricky one. I'd like to work up some deer loads for my 20" barrel marlin, but in the UK we require 1700ft/lb for the larger species (basically anthing bigger than Roe). This is to my knowledge a pretty hot load for this cartridge, but a leverevolution or similar makes it possible in theory. Anyone got any data on these, both in terms of accuracy/velocity, or effect on game?

    5 - Future plans! I currently relaod nothing bigger than .270win. However, in the future I will probably be picking up a 45-120 for black powder precision at the range. A 9.3x74r is also on the agenda, and one day I will pick up a 470NE express double as well. What are peoples experiences with the rockchucker press for these long rounds? Can it handle them, or would I need to pick up a dedicated press a la 50BMG?

    So lots of questions!

    As you can probably tell, I'm fairly new to all this, so advice is welcomed.

    Cheers,
    Al.
     
    CAustin likes this.

  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    8,526
    Video/Photo:
    53
    Likes Received:
    6,269
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    Welcome to reloading!

    1. Be careful mixing brass. Develop your loads for the same brass type. Different brands of brass will really have different volumes and thus maximum loads vary from brand to brand. If your loads are well below maximum, it's probably not a big deal......but better to be safe than sorry.

    2. 140gr Accubonds I think is a good choice. The Accubonds as well as their similar looking Ballistic Tips I have found very easy to develop loads for.

    I can really comment on your 44mag questions, not a caliber I have any experience with.
     
    Alistair likes this.

  3. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,318
    Video/Photo:
    38
    Likes Received:
    3,108
    Location:
    Ontario
    Member of:
    OFAH, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Canada, USA
    The Lee manual has the option to use a dipper rather than weighing. I have never used the dippers but it seems to be along the lines of what you are saying. Otherwise, I would get the RCBS automatic powder thingy (name is escaping me just now and the couch will not release its grip on me to go and look - chargemaster perhaps?). You can set it to throw a specified weight automatically so it becomes very fluid. It is a game changer. Cleaning is not necessary but I like it. The other time saver is the Wilson case trimmer. It speeds up that process a lot and is very accurate. Case trimming is a safety thing as you probably know. Have fun!!
     
    Alistair likes this.

  4. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    13,107
    Video/Photo:
    215
    Likes Received:
    9,362
    Member of:
    Courtney Hunting Club, NRA Life Member, SCI Kansas City Chapter
    Hunted:
    South Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Kalahari, Northwest, Limpopo, Gauteng, APNR Kruger Area. USA Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas
    Just beginning the reloading journey myself! I have the same press!
     

  5. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    96
    Location:
    Louisiana / Zimbabwe
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, Louisiana, Mississippi
    1 - On a single stage press, you'll come to find that sorting the brass by headstamp is not going to slow you down much. For a high powered rifle like a 270, just do it. It won't be as important for pistol loads or high volume 223 loads.
    See how well your powder thrower "throws." Measure 20 throws in a row, and see if what happens is acceptable. I have a little plastic Lee Safety Powder Thrower that throws some powders crazy precise. I still weigh each throw on a Hornady beam balance scale for my hunting loads.

    2- The Accubond (and probably the Accubond LR) is a wonderful, all purpose bullet. An interesting thing to note is that one can often (at least over here in the US) find thecheaper (and not as good for game animals) Nosler Ballistic Tip on sale for significantly less money, and the Accubond and Ballistic tip have similar POI at close to medium range in many rifles. This may make for a good plinking load/hunting load combination.

    3,4 -Don't know

    5- Your Rockchucker is going to be fine
     
    Alistair likes this.

  6. Opposite Pole

    Opposite Pole AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    575
    Video/Photo:
    62
    Likes Received:
    578
    Location:
    Warsaw & Sydney
    Member of:
    SSAA; PZŁ, KŁ Sęp
    Hunted:
    Australia, Poland
    You can even find significant differences in case capacity between different lots from the same maker so be careful there.
     

  7. Alistair

    Alistair AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 25, 2018
    Messages:
    104
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    154
    Location:
    Burton-on-Trent, UK
    Member of:
    BASC
    Hunted:
    Scotland, Ireland & England
    Thanks all for the input, good to know.

    I'll keep the brass seperated by manufacturer then. It might be interesting to see wha sort of differnce there actually is between manufacturers and batches. Maybe I'll find out when I've got a quiet minute.

    I'll have a go at throwing the rifle charges and see what the repeatability is with my kit. I'd expect +/-0.3gr or so should be doable and that'd be fine for the plinking loads and safe enough when these loads are 3.5gr off pressure signs in my rifle. Weighing every 5th one should be a decent QC step for that. The longer ramge/ hunting ones I'll weigh every one as per usual.

    A couple more questions for you all as well.

    Crimping. An aid to consistency or just to stop bullets getting pushed in during recoil? I usually give pretty much everything a bit of crimp if it isn't going to be single loaded into the chamber by hand. This is mostly for peace of mind, but I have found that for low end loads with low case fills (thinking .44spl loadings in 44mag cases with lil gun and the like), that a reasonably firm crimp actually improves velocity consistency by as much as 40fps. Is this something others have found, and does it also apply to high power bottleneck cartridges?

    Secondly, FL vs neck resizing. In the past I've tended to FL resize pretty much everything, but I now have a load of cases which are 1x fired in my rifle exclusively. I know that neck sizing theoretically improves case life, but what's the accuracy impact for normal hunting loads? All the competitive F type people at the range neck size pretty much to a man, so it presumably is in some way 'better', but how relevant is this for a hunting load which realistically is say .75-.5MOA and only used out to 300? I'm toying with the idea of picking up a neck sizing die for interest, but I'd appreciate your thoughts.

    Cheers!
    Al.
     

  8. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    96
    Location:
    Louisiana / Zimbabwe
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, Louisiana, Mississippi
    Procure thyself a Lee Factory Crimp die: they don't hurt anything. Crimping is controversial. A Lee Factory Crimp die doesn't really over crimp. Its cheap, get one.

    Ditto a neck sizer die. I have one for every bolt action chambering I own. In the grand scheme of things they're cheap so why not get one and try it?
     

  9. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    4,384
    Video/Photo:
    22
    Likes Received:
    3,438
    Location:
    Grosse Ile, Michigan
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Limpopo Province South Africa
    Al, you have received a lot of good advice so far. As a new comer to the reloading scene I'd strongly suggest you purchase a copy of Nathan Foster's book "The Practical Guide To Reloading." It is available from his website: https://www.ballisticstudies.com/ I've been reloading for 35 years, this book is by far the best step by step explanation of reloading ever written.
     

  10. 8x68

    8x68 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    636
    Video/Photo:
    11
    Likes Received:
    439
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Member of:
    OFAH, CCFR
    Hunted:
    Canada, USA
    I would also strongly suggest getting a stuck case remover and a bullet pullet either kinetic or collet style. Even after 35+yrs of reloading I still have a brain fart once in a while. Only one powder on the bench when reloading :E Horrified:
     
    Opposite Pole and Jeffrey like this.

  11. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    96
    Location:
    Louisiana / Zimbabwe
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, Louisiana, Mississippi
    What 8X68 said. Stuck case removal kit and bullet puller. I sit the powder I’m working with touching the thrower that it’s in.
     

  12. Alistair

    Alistair AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 25, 2018
    Messages:
    104
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    154
    Location:
    Burton-on-Trent, UK
    Member of:
    BASC
    Hunted:
    Scotland, Ireland & England
    A good point. Yeah, familiar with the one powder rule and have managed to avoid that cock up thus far. Closest 'near miss' I've had was loading light 44mag loads. Final look in all the cases with a torch after filling the powder and noticed one looked suspiciously full, tipped the powder and weighed it, yup, double charge. There's a reason for double checking!

    Least you can't managed that one with rifle cartridges.
     

  13. Bren7X64

    Bren7X64 AH Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    15
    Member of:
    SSAA, Australian Deer Association
    Al, I'm going to throw a hand-grenade into the henhouse here and tell you what my family used to do.

    Back in RSA in the 70's we were having difficulty getting cases, and my Dad wanted to reload his .30-06, so every time we went to the range, we would scour the firing line for cases. Eventually he ended up with about 50 boxer primed cases, no two alike. Even the same make had headstamps differing in size, information, etc.

    Anyway he loaded these up and ran them like that for many years Until they came apart, basically. He gave me the .30-06 and his ammo and I just shot everything out and threw the cases away (that was in the 90s.

    I have never seen a more messed up set of cases, there were case separation cracks, longitudinal cracks - the only thing they didn't have was spiral cracks like a barbers pole.

    Bu anyway, the moral of the story is that he loaded these with a middle-of-the-road load and they would group quite acceptably - within 1.5" at 100 from a very makeshift bench.

    So for (1) where you wish to run a starting load and it doesn't have to be too accurate, I'd say let the cases mix, maybe they breed ...

    For (2) where you want the best results, I'd say do the right thing, get a set of brass specifically for hunting - and look after them. Do teh separation thing, keeping track of numbers of reloads, maybe even annealing and so on.

    Regarding your question about dropping loads from a dispenser (Lil Dandy type thing) as opposed to weighing each one - I worked part time in a gun shop, who was licenced to "remanufacture" ammo for customers.

    We had a pair of altered Lee Disk powder measures and we would have a ledger with what weights specific disk holes or combinations (for rifle) would throw for the most popular powders. When getting a new order, we would clean up their cases, getting them ready for charging and then set up the Lee - throw a load and weigh it and go from there.

    We would turn out about 500 rounds most Saturdays for the shooters to collect during the week. No comebacks AT ALL. In fact one old 'roo shooter (i was in Australia by this time) used to swear our ammo was the best you could get. And this was with mixed cases and simply picking the start load out of the manual.

    Hope this gives you an alternate viewpoint.
     
    Alistair likes this.

  14. Alistair

    Alistair AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 25, 2018
    Messages:
    104
    Video/Photo:
    1
    Likes Received:
    154
    Location:
    Burton-on-Trent, UK
    Member of:
    BASC
    Hunted:
    Scotland, Ireland & England
    So a quick update on this for you all. I've now made and tested items 1 and 2 with my new kit. All very exciting!

    Item 1, I'm very happy with. Worked up my first ever 50 rounds last weekend and shot them all yesterday. 51.5gr N160, 130gr GameKing seated 20 thou off the lands in 1x fired Federal (resized to bump the shoulder 2 thou). Ended up running at a pedestrian 2833fps out of my 22" barrel, but extremely consistent. ES across the 10 rounds chronoed was 26fps, which I am extremely happy with. Also shoots a smidge under 1.25MOA off a bench (10 round group). Spent the other 40 practising my sitting position shooting. Still work to be done on that, but I can hardly blame the ammo and if I do my job right it rings 5" steels out to 300 with some regularity. BC for the Gamekings doesn't seem a million miles off the manufacturers claim either, which is a refreshing change.

    Item 2, still a work in progress. Decided to have a go with some 145gr ELD-x instead of the 140gr accubonds as I couldn't get any sourced for a fortnight. Gotta love the UK for that. Also went with Reloder 22 due to a dearth of reloading data for heavier .270 rounds with N160. Worked up from 54.5gr towards 59gr using new Norma brass and federal GM primers. 5 shot groups were consistently below 1.25" at all tested loads, but there seems to be a sweet spot in both group and ES around 55.5-56.5gr where I will explore further. ES in all 3 of these loads well under 20fps and the middle 56gr load shows 13fps ES. Not bad for new brass with no resizing. Velocity tops at at 3046fps with 57.5gr, which exhibited some very mild extractor marks, so I think I'll keep below 3000fps on this round. 'Sweet spot' for ES is around 2920fps.

    Still, well over what the book says is achievable, even considering I'm no where near book max and using a shorter barrel.

    Thoughts and opinions welcome, and if people are mildly interested I might do some periodic updates on the .270 load work up as things progress.
     

Share This Page

 
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice