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RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder w/ Power Check

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Tom488, Feb 4, 2013.

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  1. Tom488

    Tom488 Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    New Jersey
    For some reason, I found myself loading a lot more .223 rounds lately, and decided to upgrade to RCBS's rifle bullet feeder. However, the need to give up my powder check station didn't sit well with me. For those that don't know, the RCBS rifle bullet feeder is designed to use the powder measure to activate the bullet drop on the feed-and-seat die, meaning that the two stations needs to be adjacent to each other.

    Since I sit at my press, it's very difficult to get a view down into the case to visually inspect the powder charge. Therefore, I made a new activation bracket for the powder measure that allows the powder measure to sit in station 2, and the bullet feeder in station 4 - leaving station 3 open for a powder check die.

    Here's a view of the modified bracket:


    The new arm is made from a 1/2" galvanized split ring pipe hanger the clamps to the bottom of the Uniflow, immediately below the factory upper bracket. From here, a 3/8"-16 bolt is threaded into the hanger, and secured with a jamb nut, after having it's head cut off and bent to a 45 degree angle by heating with a torch. Finally, the outer edge of the bolt is ground flat and deburred where it will contact the pluger mechanism of the bullet feed die.

    Here's what it looks like when a case activates the powder measure:


    The only catch here is that a bullet will drop every time the powder measure is activated, which means on startup, when you only have cases in stations 1 and 2, you'll still drop a bullet. Then, when the leading case rotates to station 3, you'll drop another bullet. This will jam the bullet feeder.

    So, when starting out, you must disable the bullet feed. To do this, I simply rotate the powder measure out of the way (the bottom clamp is snug, but not so tight that it won't allow the assembly to spin on the die):


    Once the first case rotates to station 3, I swing the powder measure back so that it activates the bullet feed. From here on in, everything progresses as intended: each time the press cycles, a bullet is dropped into the feed tube.

    In the pictures, you can see the black powder check die in station 3. In station 1, I have a decapping/resizing die, adjusted up a little bit so that only the neck is resized (I use this station to knock any media out of the flash hole, and knock off any burrs left on the case mouth from a Dillon trimmer). In station 5, I have the RCBS AR-series taper-crimp die.

    And for those wondering, yes, that's a Hornady lower powder die supporting an RCBS Uniflow with the case-activated linkage. I recently bought several of these dies from Hornady, and equipped each of my die plates with them. This way, each lower die stays in the die plate, stays adjusted, and (for pistol) keeps it's dedicated RCBS powder expander (to expand the case and powder-charge in one station). I did this because Hornady offers them as a normal, orderable part number. RCBS still does not - you have to call them, wait on hold for CS (which is a bit busy these days), and describe what you're looking for. At the end of the day, the cost is about the same (around $25 each). Hornady won out with Amazon one-click.

    Changing calibers is now even easier (as if it wasn't already easy enough on the Pro2000): Pop the spring off the lower powder die (the spring stays with the powder measure), loosen the thumb screw (I notched the linkage so I only have to loosen the thumb screw, not remove it), and pull the powder measure off. Swap die plates, and put the powder measure on the new lower die. Takes all of about 10 seconds. The hardest part of caliber changes now is the shellplate, which takes me about 30 seconds :)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  2. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Great idea Tom! Having a powder cop is important IMO. Now that you got that figured out, see if you can convert a Gold Medal Seater to work inplace of the seater that comes with the feeder.:D

    I don't have a rifle feeder.....Since I bought Hornady's pistol feeder for my Pro 2000, I was kind of waiting to see if they would make good on their promise to have a rifle conversion kit. They didn't, so an RCBS rifle feeder is on my short list.

    Your conversion idea will come in handy! Thanks for Posting!
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