Learning to reload .. first post


January 3, 2005, 07:56 PM

I just started with reloading, and wow, is it fun.. :evil: loaded 50 .308 rounds for my new Tikka T3 (yes, yes, it's the non-exploding kind :rolleyes: ) . I'm using a Lee Dipper since i'm loading for consistency and practice rounds for now - it is just so simple to use, a Lee turret 4-station press (neck sizer -> charger -> bullet seater -> crimp die). 38.46 gr of H4895. Sierra 168gr MK bullets, Black Hills cases from my first (and hopefully only :evil: ) 3 boxes of factory ammo.

I'd like to thank all the contributors on this forum, for all the very interesting info I was able to pull up while lurking.. great stuff, I learnt lots..!

I do have a question.. here's what i figured is the fastest and safest way for me to reload - comments, suggestions welcome on how i can improve on this

1) I setup 3 bins for the bullets. first bin is only for dirty used brass.
2) I de-prime, neck-size, do a quick check to make sure neck is tight enough - so no loose bullets. I had a few in my first batch.
3) Then I clean the primer pocket, fix brass to zip-trim: then trim, chamfer, clean inside of neck, then polish with some scotch brite.. (love those shiny bullets ) Put brass in second bin.
4) I do this for all brass. Now I can put away the dirty brass bin.
5) On a clean benchtop, I hand prime all cleaned sized brass with the Lee hand prime. It goes pretty quick, and lets me focus on just priming, so i can count the primers in the tray, no powder or fouling or brass chips lying around. All primed shells now go in third bin.
6) After putting primers away, I charge each shell with the dipper, letting the powder flow into the cavity, then use a business card to cut it. Then I seat the bullet, crimp, and put each finished cartridge away in the shell box. I do weigh the charges every so often, just to make sure I'm not too far off the mark.

I figure this way, I get the hard work (cleaning, sizing) done in one batch over a few days if need be. I dont have to worry about primers/powders etc.. Priming by hand just feels safer to me, and I do it without any powder present. Then charging and bullet seating just seemed to be one natural activity.. besides, the lee turret (originally bought for my .357) doesn't auto-index well with the long .308 case.. go figure!

So how am I doing so far in my procedures..? :) I figure there's folks on this board reloading since before I was born, so this is nothing new to most.

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January 3, 2005, 08:14 PM
Welcome to THR.
First off you sound like you have a pretty good system set up.

#3 There is no need to trim on each loading. I trim for my Garands every 4 loadings. Also you will find that a vibrator cleaner is a lot easier,especially when you have 200-300 rds to clean. A

#6 A powder measure is a real time saver. I dump a slightly light charge and put on the scale, use a trickler to bring it up. I shoot Highpower so this may not be right for you.

Livin in Texas

January 3, 2005, 08:24 PM
I do have a powder measure, and will probably land up getting a trickler - particulalry when i start working up the loads. Just haven't used it yet. No plans on getting into Highpower, not yet anyways.. but with all the money I'm saving on ammo - who knows - a new rifle might be in order to fill competition needs :evil:

January 3, 2005, 08:51 PM
You do have a powder scale right? The dippers are good to get you close, but really really need a scale.

If you have a scale, disregard this.

January 3, 2005, 08:52 PM
i concur. sounds like a good plan. i still do much the same thing when i load 308. i like to prep all my brass in a batch, and sometimes i will put the primers in as a batch. but i always seat a bullet immediately after putting powder in a case, as opposed to putting powder in all cases, then going back to seat all the bullets.

i also agree with oneshooter that a combination of dipper and trickler would serve you well. dip a half-grain less or so and then trickle the rest in. tricklers are cheap, and will get you a very accurate weight.

January 3, 2005, 09:00 PM
Fun, isn't it?

Welcome to our world. :)

January 3, 2005, 09:04 PM
taliv.. I think i just understand why you said (dipper + trickler.. ) doh! :banghead: I was wondering how to bridge the gap between what the dipper measures and getting up by a grain or so of weight.

Having said that.. what brand trickler comes recommended.. ?

January 3, 2005, 10:21 PM
Spend some money on a trickler, get an RCBS made of METAL or a Redding. Any other older METAL trickler works good. The newer and/or cheaper ones made of plastic suck. They are very easy to tip over, even from just turning the handle. They can be made to work good by putting a handfull of lead shot in the bottom cavity or some cast bullets and then smearing silicone in to keep them in place. I have a Hornady that I did this to and it works fine, but before I weighted the bottom it was a disaster looking for a place to happen. I still prefer my RCBS though.

Jim Watson
January 3, 2005, 11:07 PM
A teaspoon or a small dipper will get you started on the measure, then trickle system.
Or you could get some Ball or ball-type powder and load ammo. That stuff will measure so close as to make no difference.

January 3, 2005, 11:34 PM
i've been using the aforementioned plastic hornady trickler for a couple years. it doesn't exactly exude quality, but it gets the job done. i've never accidentally tipped it over.

even so, it's about the simplest, bottom-of-the-line design you could have, so i imagine just about any other trickler would be preferrable.

January 4, 2005, 12:03 AM
Fun ways to get more out of the Hobby:

digital scales are worth the money, as they save a lot of time.

Buy a copy of Pet Loads by Ken Waters, read it cover to cover even if you never load 99% of the calibers listed; the wisdom there is priceless, especially his thoughts on reading pressures.

Get a chronograph. It is a valuable and fun tool that will make fellow shooters envy and admire you at the range :evil:

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