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Reloading with a little disability

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jamesicus, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    I am in extended recuperation from a botched abdominal surgery that resulted in a massive infection from a punctured intestine. In consequence, I am at present tethered to a wound vac machine with very limited mobility. At least I got to celebrate my eighty-first birthday with a hospital room party!

    Needless to say my reloading and shooting activities have been somewhat curtailed during my convalesence. Although I have a well-equipped reloading room, I am now producing "home brew" cartridges for my CZ 550 American 30/06 caliber bolt action rifle (eventually other rifles/calibers also) while seated at a comfortable patio table - the most relaxing and enjoyable reloading I have experienced in some sixty years. I am presently producing reloads using the following equipment, components and methodology:


    Lee hand press

    RCBS 30/06 neck sizer/bullet seater die set

    RCBS #3 Shell Holders

    Lyman large rifle primer pocket uniformer

    RCBS chamfer/deburring tool

    Nylon bristle bore brush (inside neck cleaning/lubricating)

    Lee cartridge case lube (for inside neck lubrication)

    RCBS hand priming tool

    Dial Caliper

    Lee powder dipper (15 grains)

    RCBS powder funnel

    000 steel wool

    Small flashlight

    CZ 550 American 30/06 caliber bolt action rifle with firing pin mechanism removed


    Winchester brass

    CCI 200 large rifle primers

    Hodgdon IMR "Trail Boss" powder

    Hornady .30 cal 150 gr FMJ/BT bullets

    Methodology (twenty reloads per session):

    1. Inspect cases for flaws

    2. Clean cases using 000 steel wool

    3. Clean and lube inside case neck (nylon bore brush/Lee case lube)

    4. Size and de-cap using RCBS Neck Sizer die (Lee Hand Press)

    5. Clean primer pocket using Lyman uniformer

    6. Check case length (Dial caliper)

    7. Deburr/chamfer case mouth - inside and outside

    8. Check chambering/bolt closure using rifle (without firing pin mechanism)

    9. Seat primers using RCBS hand tool

    10. Check chambering/bolt closure using rifle (without firing pin mechanism)

    11. Charge (15 grains) cases with Trail Boss powder using Lee dipper

    12. Check each case charge using flashlight

    13. Seat bullets using RCBS seater die (Lee Hand Press)

    14. Check chambering/bolt closure using rifle (without firing pin mechanism)

    15. Inspect each cartridge - finish using 000 steel wool - Wipe off using rag/lighter fluid

    I am an old-time competitive high power rifle (mostly 30/06) shooter who loves to shoot accurate bolt action rifles. Now that I am in my eighties I really enjoy comfortable paper target shooting from the bench. I doubt I will ever hunt animals again, but I do love shooting! Diminished eyesight and trigger finger tremor dictate that I use optical sights and rifle rests. Shooting full power 30/06 (and more powerful) loads is uncomfortable for me now - the recoil and muzzle blast really bothers me - but I derive great pleasure shooting at the range. As for reloading, brass seems to last forever using the reduced Trail Boss loads thereby reducing expense significantly. Shooting from the bench is now a joy (even during lengthy range sessions) and the accuracy I am obtaining is most satisfying.

  2. bds

    bds Active Member


    Maybe the hand press will provide some physical rehab therapy? :D

    I use a portable castered reloading bench - perhaps you can mount a press that can be operated from your seated position?

  3. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    Thank you for the suggestion, bds. Actually I really enjoy reloading seated at the patio table: the ambience is delightful and I find neck sizing 30/06 cartridges using the Lee hand press very easy.

  4. bds

    bds Active Member

    James, once I built my first portable bench and sized some brass while watching the sunset in the cool patio and sipping iced tea ... I rarely use my garage bench anymore. :D

    I bought a comfortable office chair and move both wherever in the house I want to size/reload now.
  5. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

    That sounds like a delightful way to spend your time and I wish you a speedy recovery.
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Active Member

    It sounds like a great way to convalesce and spend your time. I spend a lot of time on my back porch and never thought of moving my reloading efforts out there. I just might have to give it a try...

    Get well soon.
  7. Eagle103

    Eagle103 New Member

    What a great story! I can only hope to have your passion 40 years from now! Godspeed your recovery!
  8. loadedround

    loadedround New Member

    I can't offer you any suggestions since you seem to have the reloading procedure down pat. However I would like to offer you my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery and that you're back out in the field or range very soon. God bless! :)
  9. moxie

    moxie New Member

    Jamesicus, You're an inspiration! God bless you and I pray for a speedy recovery.
  10. Kernel

    Kernel New Member

    JP, do you find that a crimp is unnecessary, when shooting light recoiling Trail Boss loads? Some say a firm crimp helps with uniforming the powder burn, and therefore creating better accuracy, with light loads. What has been your experience with crimps, light loads, and Trail Boss? How about low recoiling .30-06 loads with other powders? What kind of groups are you getting with your Trail Boss loads?
  11. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    Kernel wrote:
    My experience with Trail Boss reduced loads is that crimping is really not necessary and does not appear to me to effect accuracy, Kernel. I only use Trail Boss for reduced loads. Here are a few recent target groupings I have shot using Trail Boss reduced loads:






    All were shot at a 50 yard covered rifle range from a bench using a Caldwell rifle rest. The first four targets were shot using my CZ 550 American caliber 30/06 bolt action rifle equipped with a 3-9x variable power scope - cartridge loading was as I describe in this thread. The last target was shot using my CZ 550 American caliber .458 Lott bolt action rifle equipped with a Nikon 1x scope - 500 grain Hornady solid bullets and 20 grains of Trail Boss.

  12. Kernel

    Kernel New Member

    JP, those groups look great. You say you may never hunt again, but with those loads, it looks to me, like you would have a very effective load for small game and nuance animals - rabbits, squirrels, crows, grackles, pigeons, and such.
  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    Thank you - Shimtop, ArchAngelCD, Eagle03, loadedround, Moxie - for your kind words and well wishes. I will post photos of my reloading set-up later today.

  14. 420Stainless

    420Stainless New Member

    Good to hear you're enjoying the hand press. I actually do most of my loading with a hand press as well just to avoid the temperature extremes in the garage.

    I'm glad your able to reload during your recovery and wish you a full recovery.

    I had bypass surgery 4 weeks ago and now have all the time in the world to reload, but was told by the doctor to avoid pushing or pulling hard or repetitively on anything for a couple months:(. By the time I get cleared to use a press I'll be back to work and won't have the time. Great to be alive and headed toward recovery though.

    Thanks for your inspiring words.
  15. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    420Stainless wrote:
    Thank you, 420Stainless - I wish you a speedy and complete recovery. Actually the only hard pushing/pulling I have experienced was when I was attempting to fully seat Remington 9 1/2 primers using my RCBS hand priming tool - I simply don't have the hand strength to do that without a real struggle. A switch to CCI primers solved that problem though. I found that neck resizing 30/06 cartridges using the Lee hand press required very little effort on my part.

  16. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    Earlier, I wrote:

    All equipment (except rifle) fits in easily transportable plastic storage bin

    Rifle with firing pin mechanism removed - for checking chambering and bolt closure

    Pretty much all equipment and components (dial caliper missing) laid out on table top

    Case (brass) prep equipment (including RCBS collet bullet puller - just in case)

    RCBS 30/06 Neck Sizer die set with virgin cartridge case and test dummies

    Lee hand press set up for neck re-sizing and (primer) de-capping

    Set-up for Trail Boss powder charging using Lee dipper

    Lee hand press set up for bullet seating

    I actually set-up this reloading operation at various locations around the house (Kitchen table, in my den, etc.) although my primary location is on the front patio table.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Way to hang in there and stay positive jamesicus.

    As to your Sig line, my 85 year old mom tells me exactly the same thing all the time. "This growing old ain't for sissies you know". Since she is getting "forgetful", I hear it often. :)

    Great pics by the way. Here's to a speedy recovery. AC
  18. jamesicus

    jamesicus New Member

    Thank you for the kind words and thoughts, Walkalong - and please give my regards to your young at heart mother!

  19. bds

    bds Active Member

    jamesicus, when I grow up in my 80s, I hope to be shooting and reloading - nice clean setup and pictures. Get well soon!

    That yellow Tupperware container sure brings back memories of taking stew for lunch at school. :D
  20. Blackrock

    Blackrock New Member

    I was 57 when I had Prostate Cancer surgery. Went home with a catheter for three weeks.
    Got bored by the 3rd day and went out to the shop and started prepping some brass. I had my pee bag hung on a nail down low on the bench. My wife came looking for me and told me I sure didn't need any more special treatment if I could reload out in the shop.
    So hang in there James and enjoy all ya can as long as ya can.

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