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What reloading gear is most important

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Joshboyfutre, Apr 16, 2017.

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  1. Joshboyfutre

    Joshboyfutre Member

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    First off happy Easter everyone. I've been reloading for awhile now and have been concentrating on 308 recently(edited for clarity), I have all of the standard reloading equipment. I have a few of the more expensive things that I need to get to start tightening my groups up to though. I need a fl bushing die, a match seating die, a concentricity gauge, and a chronograph. I only have so much money so I obviously need to buy these otems one at a time over the summer. What order of importance would you guys list these as?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  2. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    The chronograph matched with QuickLoad is the cordless drill of reloading. It tells you what is likely *really* going on with any load, allows you to duplicate ballistics when you've found a load and are changing powder lots and/or brass, and lets you narrow down the options for best initial loads by choosing components/propellant weights/volumes/pressures/burn completion for likely best performance.

    Other than that, I have no strong opinion. :rofl:
     
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  3. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Happy Easter to you too

    I'm a fairly new reloaded who's on a budget too. So I have new clue. That said here is my QUESS on what I'd do.

    If you can get the Chrono get it first as it's the most expensive item you listed (unless I'm mistaken).

    You can then pick up the cheaper items as the budget allows in the order that they'll improve your groupings.
     
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  4. dgod

    dgod Contributing Member

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    The Chrono should be high on the to get list. Quickloads for me is Overkill, there are several free Ballistics programs available. With the Bullet Weight, the Ballistic Coefficient, the Velocity, you can determine the path of virtually any load. I personally use the Chrony III Software, coupled with a Ballistic App. After that your next purchase it is up to your preference. I would prolly go with the Lil Crow Sizer pretty quickly after that.

    Good Luck, it is a LOT of fun, and the more you learn and load, the more fun it becomes. I have been loading for nearly 40 years, and recently learned something right here on THR that has proven very useful.

    Dan
     
  5. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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  6. Reloadron

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    While I would never say adding tooling is not required I would suggest you try a wide range of loads to include bullets, primers and powders followed by brass before I would worry about dies. The ever popular chronograph is a nice to have. I still use an Oehler 35 P which was a gift from my wife during the early 90s. I was making accurate ammunition long before the chronograph came along into my loading life. :)

    Some rifles will shoot as well as they are ever going to shoot sans the more expensive loading equipment such as special purpose dies and assorted case gauges so try and choose your additions carefully based on your rifle and your individual needs.

    Ron
     
  7. wally

    wally Member

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    I'd rate quality of the bullets as the most important single factor, followed by the consistency of your powder measure (or precision of your scale if weighing every charge).

    I'll go against the flow and say the chrono is one of the least important tools to have until you start shooting targets at long distances where you need a ballistics calculator to adjust the point of aim from your default zero and you need the actual muzzle velocity of your load to get the best results from the calculator.

    All the other stuff IMHO is for bench rest or F-class shooters who need much better than premium factory ammo to compete.
     
  8. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    Vernier Calipers
     
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  9. Orcon

    Orcon Member

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    Buy the dies, pass on the other stuff. The concentricity guage will only tell you how well a round sits on your gauge and a chrony won't tell you anything more than what you can learn by shooting your reloads and doing a bit of math.

    Your money is better spent on components.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I feel that your most important reloading tool is actually FREE! It is your brain.:cool: That is the one tool that you can use to combine all the trial and error/load development that you do. The basic tools that you already have will produce excellent ammo and some small additions over time (you do not NEED to get all that stuff for the average shooter to ring out max accuracy until you have a GOOD grip on the basics IMHO) to improve how your loads perform. Many different QUALITY bullets and a bunch of different propellants to try, as well as batches of matching brass (by headstamp and then sorted by water weight) to try for load development as mentioned above are a good way to improve your accuracy with minimal expense. Of all the stuff you mentioned a crono is probably the best thing but not really necessary. When you finally get to the time where you NEED to get better groups at 600-800-1000 YDS because all your efforts are not helping any more then go and buy the specialty tools for sure. Then is when you drop a couple or five grand ( or 10X more) on a precision rifle/scope to shoot your "better" ammo as well. At that point you will have hard won experience to form opinions of what you need already rather than asking us if we have a magic tool that will bypass the trial and error of serious in depth load development. Not trying to put you down or anything but speaking from 30+ years of reloading experience with rifles and accuracy workups. It seems the more I learn about reloading, the more I realize I do not know about reloading yet. YMMV
     
  11. Joshboyfutre

    Joshboyfutre Member

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    I should have been a little more clear as I think my post gave the impression that I'm new to reloading LOL. I have a pretty good grasp on what's going on for my 308 I usually use 175 SMK with Nosler brass and can consistently shoot between .5" and 1.0" 5 or 6 shot groups. I feel like I've gotten to the point in reloading that these tools could help shrink my groups even more. I'm leaning towards the hornady concentricity gauge because you can actually fix run out with it from my understanding, could use a chrono because I want to start working out to further ranges. The dies are self explanatory but I cant use them with my other calibers. I appreciate all the input as it is all good advice!
     
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  12. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    A good manual, a good scale as one and two. Everything else comes next, after common sense.
     
  13. Axis II

    Axis II Member

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    what kind of scale do you use? I used to use a hornady $40 scale and that thing was crookeder than a 3 dollar bill. tossed it and got a nice lyman digital that is right on the money each time i use it. if i didn't have a good scale i would spend the money on that.

    as far as your dies and such go i will give my rookie experience. I started with 223rem and seen how reloading shrunk my groups a lot compared to factory ammo. im talking 5 shots i could cover with a half dollar. It made me greedy. I wanted more. I wanted to send each round through the first hole on the paper. I set out asking questions here, almost bought expensive dies, etc and with the advice of the awesome people on this site i decided to stick with my rcbs dies and learn to get tighter groups. now on a good day i can shoot one ragged hole i can stick my finger through with 5 shots, cheap rifle, normal dies, and crappy sandbags. I would stick with what you have. main thing that helped me shrink groups was setting the dies up per what guys on here said and not the way rcbs said.

    the only thing i would do all over again is buy a decent scale first, electric case prep center, and a hornady shoulder measuring gauge and maybe the headspace gauges. my coloring the bullet, using a bushing the measure the shoulder gets old real quick.

    oh and as mentioned above a couple good well known manuals. i started with lyman and it didn't tell me squat what i wanted to know about hornady bullets so i went with a hornady manual.
     
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  14. Joshboyfutre

    Joshboyfutre Member

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    For the record I have a good manual, have done plenty of load testing, have a decent Lyman digital scale complimented with Lee's idioticly designed beam scale, Honardy case comparator set, digital calibers, and a reasonable amoutn of experience including plenty of bullet, brass and powder testing. Lol. I've basically gotten to the point that my Rifle is shooting as good as it is going to with out better equipment and experience with said equipment. I altered my original post to explain thst I'm an relatively experienced reloader. I'm just trying to decide what gear to get next. Thanks for the advice anyways, all of it good!
     
  15. Joshboyfutre

    Joshboyfutre Member

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    Funny I had the EXACT same experience with a Hornady scale. Granted it was the cheapest one they make but it couldn't even hold zero unless I shimmed it to make it set level. Got tired of weighing everything twice and bought a Lyman digital scale and mine is dead on too
     
  16. Reloadron

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Then, all things considered you may want to look at some of the match loading dies out there in assorted flavors with assorted features. Precision bullet seaters or bullet hold collets and the list goes on. I really don't see much magic in scales, if you have a good scale and powder throw that should be fine.

    Ron
     
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  17. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Practice, practice, practice is the best way to reduce your group size. I believe there is a thread on hand loading for precision long distance shooting. It has tips on how to tweak your loads to get the most out of them.

    The crony would be the last on the list. It has no influence on how the round shoots. Of the other listed the concentric gauge would be my choice. I use the Redding S bushing die without the internal expander, and competition bullet seating die. I also anneal the brass as part as my brass prep. This way they will have the same neck tension on every firing. A good bullet seating die will make the concentric tool collect dust. They will make the bullet seat straight every time.
     
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  18. Joshboyfutre

    Joshboyfutre Member

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    Yeah I would like to get the dyes first but I really think I should get the concentricity gauge. At this point the Chrono would just be to satisfy the Curiosity of the speed of my rounds until I start shooting longer distances
     
  19. Orcon

    Orcon Member

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    Why pay for a diagnostic tool when you can just eliminate the problem by having proper dies? Besides being pretty expensive, the concentricity gauge doesn't tell you if your round is concentric to the bore when chambered. Big waste of time if your lugs, boltface and bore are all out of square.
     
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  20. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    No.
    The Chronograph + QuickLoad is the most valuable diagnostic toolset you will ever likely own.
     
  21. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Dies.
     
  22. Reloadron

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Entirely up to you but on that note consider this. How square is your bolt face? Have you lapped it? Unless you know for a fact your bolt face is absolutely perpendicular to your chamber and your chamber is perfectly true how much will a concentricity gauge actually do for you? Not only the bolt face but how about the bolt lugs and contact surface bearing? I am not suggesting that a contricity gauge is not a great tool but without several other features in the rifle being as they need to be I doubt you will see any real gain on the target. Sort of a diminishing returns thing.

    Ron
     
  23. MRH

    MRH Member

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    Since you are already getting excellent accuracy, see if you can find this article: Guns Magazine, May 2016, article by Glen Zediker, Squeeze More Accuracy. Although he leans toward .223 more than others, the tips he suggests apply to most rounds.
     
  24. Joshboyfutre

    Joshboyfutre Member

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    Sounds pretty unanimous on the dies at this point so I think that's probably what I'll go ahead and do you think about the bolt face and all that being Square guess it doesn't really matter if I have a perfect round in an imperfect rifle LOL.

    Mrh- I'm going to take a look at that article appreciate you tipping me off to it. I have to admit I don't think I'm getting excellent accuracy but I think I'm getting pretty decent accuracy... finally. It took me a long time to get there but I just recently started getting consistent for a long time I would get good groups and then terrible groups then good and terrible LOL.
     
  25. Reloadron

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Here is a link, good article.
    Squeeze More Accuracy by Glen Zediker.

    Ron


     
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