Moving on up to that next step...


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Corner Pocket
January 9, 2009, 07:50 AM
This month marks my first anniversary at the reloading bench. When I first started (using a friend's equipment at his house), I would never have imagined the fun and enjoyment that I've experienced in loading 7,200 rounds during this past year. The more I learn about handloading, the more I enjoy it! :D

A question for you who have been at it a while. Once you have gathered source data and studied it, experimented with minimum loads and then worked your way up to a load that you like the looks of, where do you go from there?

For each of the calibers that I load for (9mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and.45 ACP) I've developed loads that I'm pretty happy with. But as there may be a better performing load for me out there somewhere (using the same components), do I experiment more with the powder charge, the OAL, different primers, or what? Any insights/suggestions are welcomed. Thanks!

Corner Pocket

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Galil5.56
January 9, 2009, 08:20 AM
Once you have gathered source data and studied it, experimented with minimum loads and then worked your way up to a load that you like the looks of, where do you go from there?


Stop, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I'm as bad a load developer/tinkerer as there is, but there is something satisfying about being able to grab an old familiar powder, bullet, case and primer that has worked for decades, and whip up some ammo that I know will work well. I have at last count 20 or so different propellants under my bench, but I bet I use 5 of them 90% of the time. Same goes for the myriad of bullets I have as well.

Almost 100% of the time when I see a new propellant introduced I think "a solution in search of a need", and guess they have to keep new product in the pipeline to peak interest. I have seen a lot of powders come and go, while the old reliable standbys just get better with age IMO.

Walkalong
January 9, 2009, 09:13 AM
Once you have gathered source data and studied it, experimented with minimum loads and then worked your way up to a load that you like the looks of, where do you go from there?
Another caliber. :D

Experiment with different bullets or powders. The combinations are endless. :)

I'm as bad a load developer/tinkerer as there is, but there is something satisfying about being able to grab an old familiar powder, bullet, case and primer that has worked for decades, and whip up some ammo that I know will work well. I have at last count 20 or so different propellants under my bench, but I bet I use 5 of them 90% of the time.Pretty much.

rcmodel
January 9, 2009, 11:18 AM
You have to stop tinkering sometime, and go shooting to get your brass empty again.

Seriously, it seems there are two types of reloaders.

The first, like me, works up a good load for a gun, and it then becomes the "standard" load for that gun. That ends the experminting phase for me.

My buddy is the other type, a tinkerer.
He has to try every new powder on the market, and is constantly tinkering with new bullets, and primers, and powders. And that keeps him perpetually broke, what with all the new stuff coming out all the time.

None of which work any better then the one he started out with.

He does have a massive collection of partial containers of different powders & bullets though! So if I want to tinker, I don't have to buy anything.

rcmodel

Jim Watson
January 9, 2009, 11:29 AM
Some people treat reloading as a hobby of its own. I know one guy who buys a rifle and varies the loads until he has gotten what appears to be the best accuracy possible without major gunsmithing. Then he sells it and starts over with another gun. Buy from him and you will get a rifle with a known accurate load and a lot of barrel life left.

I reload in order to go shooting. I experiment as required to get good accuracy (and reliable function if a repeater), then I go shooting. I will redevelop loads every once in a while when improvements seem reasonably possible, but it is not a routine thing.

PecosRiverM
January 9, 2009, 12:20 PM
I'm with Walkalong.

Get another weapon maybe same caliber(different make) and start again.

That's what I'm doing with my 2nd .270:D

dagger dog
January 9, 2009, 01:03 PM
I'm in the process of filling every possible safe, cabinet, drawer, in the house with a firearm, and that spins off into reloading for those guns, which again takes another course of finding the most accurate load for each. Then if you hunt you can reload one rifle for several duties, as in 110 gr. for a plinker, 125gr ballistic tip, light skinned game, 185 gr Woodleigh partition for moose, just in .308 cal.

You can go on and on, how about .38 Special 148gr wadcutter and up to 125gr semi jacketed +P+ for home defense.

I know from the pistol calibers you're shooting you have to have a good imagination, you could cook up enough loads to take you well into 2050.

Bush Pilot
January 9, 2009, 09:21 PM
Once I've got a proven load for a certain cartridge it rarely gets changed. I'd rather go shooting than screw around trying to shrink the groups by a 1/16th of an inch.

Corner Pocket
January 10, 2009, 07:46 AM
I appreciate the replies, fellas. I think since the loads that I'm currently using are pretty much "right on" for the specific guns that I currently have, I'll do as Galil5.56 has mentioned. Enjoying the fruits of my labor sounds good to me, though I might still do some minor tweaking now and then just for kicks.

I was really fortunate to happen into a deal where I bought a large quantity of powder from someone who was getting out of the reloading scene. It was my good fortune that this included a bunch of Unique and HS-6. Actually it was of such proportion that it was a "deal of a lifetime." :D The calibers that I load for are such that I have at least one good load using one or both of these two powders. Thanks again for your input. See ya at the range!

CP

RugerBob
January 10, 2009, 07:50 AM
Maybe you should get into casting your own ....

Ben Shepherd
January 10, 2009, 07:53 AM
I usually work up a light, medium and heavy bullet load for each caliber. Once they're worked up, they become a standard load.

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