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Thread: Reloading, Why?

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    I was sitting, or rather laying in bed and was thinking about a friend that called me this afternoon about contemplating reloading. As with most people I've discussed this topic with, and I've discussed it with a good many as I have taught reloading classes over the years off and on, it always seems the primary inspiration to engage in this activity is related to economics and in most cases the sole reason. Even in today's increasing cost of components the economic advantage ishard to over look.Now there is mush to be said about the economic advantages of loading your own and shouldn't be over looked as one of the benefits, but all to often it has set the stage for some considerable issues including dangerous results. I've engage din numerous discussions with avid longtime reloaders over the years and can't help but notice that the topic is most often focused on reducing their costs by purchasing the fastest burning powders, cheapest bullets which are often the SWC or other non jacketed bullets, and that is just regrading the components not the overall process involved. Many don't even consider monitoring the condition of their brass or trimming it if so observed of its necessity to do so. I'll be the first to admit that loading only jacketed bullets and using slow burning powders will increase the cost of producing ammo expedentially but all the while reducing the cost to shoot factory by at least 50% or more. But now some of you might ask what does that have to do with safety right? I mean if it goes bang than everything must be doing what it is supposed to do so where is the problem. I'm getting to that right now. First of all, most econo loaders won't weight their charges but will instead use scoops or other volumetric methods of measuring their powder charges. That process probably wouldn't be as much of an issues if some precautions were taken to prevent mishaps that are sure to happen as I've personally seen happen on many occasions. First of all using the slow powders though they require 2 to 3 times as much product per load are much safer to use with volumetric measuring devices for reason being most are tolerant to greater variationswithout any serious results and some will even perform better when compressed. Also of note is that nearly all top performing loads are charged with slow burning powders due to their consistent burn characteristics and lower pressures. Second is the fact that the slow burning powders will eliminate the possibility of accidental double or even triple powder charges because they take up most of the case capacity which means if you accidentally double charge with them you will have a huge powder spill that is not going to go unnoticed, not the case with faster burning powders.In most of the reloading accidents I've observed were caused by accidental double or triple charged cases. Also just as hazardous is the case that doesn't get a powder charge and isn't noticed because it contains the charge at the bottom of the case making it much easier to miss. now you have to worry about a primed only round lodging a projectile in the barrel unnoticed and them firing the next round with charge into that stuck bullet which of course is likely to damage the gun or worse yet injuring the shooter. And from performance stand point the slower burn rate powders will always deliver higher velocity, better accuracy, and dependable self defense capability that can not be argues by anyone.

    Whenseconds count, the police are only minutes away!




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    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    I can barely stand to read your post.

    First thing: Formatting. You have no paragraphs. The reader is forced to stumble through the maze that is your wall of text.

    Several times while reading your post, I was forced to stop reading and backtrack to make sure I hadn't missed an entire line of text.

    Please make paragraphs. They are much more reader friendly.

    Second: You display a misguided distaste for SWC bullets and lead bullets, as evidenced by statements made in your post.

    The SWC has proven itself to be a very target friendly nose design, as it cuts a clean hole in the target which is easier to see in many instances. I have found that accuracy in handguns is usually quite acceptable and even stellar with the right loads.

    The SWC also is a decent hunting profile.

    And the plain base lead bullet when used properly is a fine bullet. Though proper alloy must be used as well as a host of other concerns.

    The type of reloader of which you speak will be quickly turned away from the use of lead bullets after they've shot a few of their reloads. Barrel leading can be quite frustrating.

    But the lead bullet is not merely an economy bullet, as I have had great success with my own cast bullets. Better even then their "condom" cousins. In both the accuracy and hunting effectiveness department.

    Third: You speak in absolutes. Example, Slower powders are always better. Not something you said verbatim but quite close.

    Each gun will display a certain "preference" for a certain load combination, such as powder type, primer type, bullet weight etc.

    I have had great success with my 45-70 using Unique, a more medium burning powder, but quite fast in comparison to most magnum and rifle powders. The success is defined as 1" 5 shot groups shooting offhand with a levergun. This speaks against your idea that slower burning powders will always perform better.

    Fourth: It appears you are after max velocity and max accuracy.

    In my experience, accuracy and high velocity don't pal around much.

    Now, There is one point on which I would like to agree.

    Safe practices should ALWAYS be used when handling ANY aspect of the use of firearms.

    Quite honestly, I understand some points you made, but was left wondering ezactly what you were getting at.

    So, I will assume safety was the main topic of your post.

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    thx is right. If you want folks to read your post, edit it and add some whitespace.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Cost has little to do with my motivation. I reload because:

    1) it is fun. I enjoy doing it myself.

    2) The American in me, that little voice in the back of my head, keeps telling me that being self reliant is a good thing and brings satisfaction.It is very similar to the satisfaction I get from growingmy own vegetables in my garden.


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    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    Speaking of which, it's just about time to start my tomatoes.

    The peas are started already and I need to put in a few cucumbers.

    Woulda startred the tomatoes earlier, but we got a few good frosts the last two weeks.

    Thundar, your reasoning is why I reload, as well as why I cast.

    Also the reason I am familiar with the making of black powder.

    Maybe I just go a little further than most. But dang it's fun.

    Thinking about Ham radio next.

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    Thundar wrote:
    Cost has little to do with my motivation. I reload because:

    1) it is fun. I enjoy doing it myself.

    2) The American in me, that little voice in the back of my head, keeps telling me that being self reliant is a good thing and brings satisfaction.It is very similar to the satisfaction I get from growingmy own vegetables in my garden.

    These reasons AND the fact that you can fine tune your ammo to suit your weapon(s).

    Which reminds me... anybody know a good reloading kit that would come with everything needed? Or, where there is a thread about it? Trying to get started!:celebrate

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    I reload because its fun, it can save money over time, and I can better match a load to my particular gun. I am with the other guys who have posted, breaking it up into some paragraphs will make it easier to read. As for the double loading powder, that is something that can be easily avoided by being organized and by not trying to mass load rounds. I load 1 round at a time. It may take a little longer to load but it ensures consistency with my loads.

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    Why do I reload?

    a few different reasons, first and foremost is from already being injured and having a custom-rifle destroyed by a factory load (I will not mention the manufacturer, but if you think "Green & Gold" and you may get an idea where it came from)

    I can no longertrust rounds that come of an unsupervised piece of machinery spitting out thousands of rounds per hour, that are made with a powder that requires the lightest weightload to get the correct pressures (meaning a triple charge or more will still fit in the case and cause all sorts of injures)

    next reason?
    I canproduce customloads to make my firearm the most accurate, andmost dependable that it can be, and be able to use projectiles that arenot typically available in factory-made rounds for special situations.
    In my bolt-action rifles, I get better accuracy from fire-formed brass than I can with full length sizing, and I can set my OAL to fit the unique characteristics of my rifle.
    factory ammo is only a compromise so it will feed and work in all guns of the same chambering. I can make ammo to fit my gun perfectly, and get the best operation out of it.

    Cost? I may be saving a few cents per round, but I doubt it, I just know for sure that my rounds are correct!! and I will not be part of another catastrophic failure of a firearm that embedded shrapnel into my face, arms, and hand, and alsocaused powder burns and scarring to my eyes, and even slightly injured the guy sitting next to me at the range where this happened. I am lucky the chamber blew out in a downwards direction and the bolt stayed in place otherwise I would be missing half my jaw and probably my vision wen this thing came apart. Yes I was wearing shooting glasses, but hot gasses still bounced up under them and got my eyes burned and pieces of brass in them.

    Volume versus weight for powder measure;
    Ya know, If weight was the only way for absolute perfection to measure powder, then why do all the top benchrest shooters measure by volume instead of weight?

    I use a scale to verify my volumetricpowder measure is throwing thecorrect charges for every load if I am on the higher end of pressures.
    But when I am dealing with something down in the lower numbers, I just make sure to weigh every 4th or 5th load. I have seen zero discrepancies from my volumetric measuring system, not even by 1/10th of a grain. So if you are following proper procedures, and using the correct powder for the load you are building, I think it just comes down to personal preference with no one way being superior.

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    Mr.FiredUp wrote:
    Thundar wrote:
    Cost has little to do with my motivation. I reload because:

    1) it is fun. I enjoy doing it myself.

    2) The American in me, that little voice in the back of my head, keeps telling me that being self reliant is a good thing and brings satisfaction.It is very similar to the satisfaction I get from growingmy own vegetables in my garden.

    These reasons AND the fact that you can fine tune your ammo to suit your weapon(s).

    Which reminds me... anybody know a good reloading kit that would come with everything needed? Or, where there is a thread about it? Trying to get started!:celebrate
    I started out with the Lee Anniversary Kit:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=423081

    You just need to add a shell holder and case length gauges for the caliber you're loading.
    You also need a good reloading manual or 3, and read it/them carefully.


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    Regular Member tcmech's Avatar
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    I reload because I enjoy it.

    I like being able to match my gun to the ammo that performs the best in it.

    I also take a lot more satisfaction in killing deer with bullets that I loaded myself.


    If Obama is the answer; how stupid was the question?

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    RCBS offers a nice starter kit with one of their finest single stage presses, the Rock Chucker. I rely on RCBS for most of my equipment because quality is excellent and they will stand behind their product. They have a no questions asked policy in dealing with anything that breaks, wears out, or just doesn't do what you want it to do. They will even custom ream your dies to suit the characteristics of your chamber.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

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    I really do need to work on my postings so they can be easily read and understood and much appreciate every ones criticism. I'll try harder in the future.

    But back to the reasons. I can't agree more with those who have stated the primary reasons for loading being, tuning loads to the weapon, sometimes saving a few cents, and avoiding bad experiences with factory ammunition.

    That last reason is one I've personally experienced some deadly incidents and it was with ammunition that was considered to be some of the best available factory on the market. I used to buy factory so toacquire the brass, but now I just buy once shot brass as I've found problems with new brass being way out of safe specification. It seems that once shot will be closer to head space and easier to start tuning with than new is.

    Is this post a little more readable or do I need to still work on some things?

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    Thanks for the criticism. I need to work on my writing. I also thought you were about as nice as could be about pointing out the so obvious as were some of the others who commented.

    But back to the subject at hand. I'm not anti SWC I just don't find it compatiblewith whyI load. If a guy takes the necessary safety steps he should be using loading SWC with fast burning powders will never present a problem. The point I'm trying to make is most of the mis haps I've seen were due to someone doubling charging with a fast burning powder. And powder measuring devices can be quite useful if the loader is checking his charge every few cases for consistency.

    And yes, most of my post was focused on safety and how to avoid dangerous results. But more so for the guy who has just started and is focused on economics and little else. Its that guy who will skip necessary steps and will soon find him or her self in imminent danger as I'm sure you have probably seen some of happen. I'm assuming by your post that you have a good handle on the process and know what I'm talking about. Organization, zero distractions, double checking the data, and making sure to not deviate from such data in any way, shape, or form.

    I'm more of the bench rest shooter type who enjoys tuning the highest velocity load possible while staying within a safe pressure range. I also don't like cleaning lead out of my expensive handguns. But I've also come to accept that I am in fact the minority, rather than the majority in the reloading arena. I'm often reminded of that by thosewho shoot SWC stuff and I'm OK with that. I only want those loading like that to take all the steps needed to prevent damaged guns and personal injury. You can imagine how much flack I got when I was teaching reloading classes due to my one sided view.

    I recently read a post on a site about a guy who had just bought a .50 cal. BMG and was loading for it without using any of the prescribed steps for doing so. Bottom line, he had seated his bullets at so many different depths, apparently by visual standards, that they wouldn't chamber into his rifle. He then was using a hammer to get the action closed at which time one eventually discharged prior to the bolt being closed. He blew fingers off and suffered other disfiguring injuries and then blamed the gun manufacturer, as though they built a defective rifle?

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    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!gamestalker wrote:
    Thanks for the criticism. I need to work on my writing. I also thought you were about as nice as could be about pointing out the so obvious as were some of the others who commented.

    But back to the subject at hand. I'm not anti SWC I just don't find it compatiblewith whyI load. If a guy takes the necessary safety steps he should be using loading SWC with fast burning powders will never present a problem. The point I'm trying to make is most of the mis haps I've seen were due to someone doubling charging with a fast burning powder. And powder measuring devices can be quite useful if the loader is checking his charge every few cases for consistency.

    And yes, most of my post was focused on safety and how to avoid dangerous results. But more so for the guy who has just started and is focused on economics and little else. Its that guy who will skip necessary steps and will soon find him or her self in imminent danger as I'm sure you have probably seen some of happen. I'm assuming by your post that you have a good handle on the process and know what I'm talking about. Organization, zero distractions, double checking the data, and making sure to not deviate from such data in any way, shape, or form.

    I'm more of the bench rest shooter type who enjoys tuning the highest velocity load possible while staying within a safe pressure range. I also don't like cleaning lead out of my expensive handguns. But I've also come to accept that I am in fact the minority, rather than the majority in the reloading arena. I'm often reminded of that by thosewho shoot SWC stuff and I'm OK with that. I only want those loading like that to take all the steps needed to prevent damaged guns and personal injury. You can imagine how much flack I got when I was teaching reloading classes due to my one sided view.

    I recently read a post on a site about a guy who had just bought a .50 cal. BMG and was loading for it without using any of the prescribed steps for doing so. Bottom line, he had seated his bullets at so many different depths, apparently by visual standards, that they wouldn't chamber into his rifle. He then was using a hammer to get the action closed at which time one eventually discharged prior to the bolt being closed. He blew fingers off and suffered other disfiguring injuries and then blamed the gun manufacturer, as though they built a defective rifle?

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    Regular Member Phoenix David's Avatar
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    My reasons are I can shoot more with the same amount of money and I am not subject to the ebb and flow of the ammunition tide.


    Freedom is a bit like sex, when your getting it you take it for granted, when you're not you want it bad, other people get mad at you for having it and others want to take it away from you so only they have it.

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    That is a definite fact! We are a part of the shooting society that is very unlimited to supply and demand. I can always find a source for powder, primers, and bullets when I have to have them. And I always have a nice large stash of loaded ammo. on hand for what ever might be its need.

    Oh, I was also talking about my slow burning powderloads I like to load and like to experiment with it. Recently I loaded a 100 grain H.P. for my 7mm rem. mag. that chronograph's at nearly 3700 fps. This load punched a clean hole through and through a 1/2" piece of solid plate steel. I did the same thing with 130 grain pointed soft point boat tail even though it only chronograph's at 3400 fps. Fun stuff. I did this at 158 yds. with both bullets. 100 grain bullet loaded with 69.1 grains of RL22 and 73 grains of RL22 for the 130 grain bullet. No high pressure signs to speak of other than some rather flattened primers, slightly cratered. Shot a coyote at 419 yds. with the 100 grain bullet and it completely exploded. I'm talking about fur and blood being about all that was remaining, cool stuff. Hydra shock was extreme and definitely not a load for deer hunting unless you like your deer already boned, and probably cooked too.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!


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    For sure, and thanks for the honesty buddy. I enjoy writing and needto knowwhen I'm drifting away from good grammar,and readable text.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

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    Try Midway for the RCBS Rock Chucker kit.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

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    I really like Lee dies and some of the other accessoriesbut prefer RCBS for a press. I'm sure Lee makes a good press but most of the lower cost ones I've looked at are not the O-ring design that is legendary with RCBS.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

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    Regular Member Phoenix David's Avatar
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    gamestalker wrote:
    ...snip....

    Oh, I was also talking about my slow burning powderloads I like to load and like to experiment with it. Recently I loaded a 100 grain H.P. for my 7mm rem. mag. that chronograph's at nearly 3700 fps. This load punched a clean hole through and through a 1/2" piece of solid plate steel....snip...
    Just as a FYI steel has a rating saying a round when through some plate steel is like saying that paint is green. There are a lot of shades or green and a lot of steel hardness ratings. For me personally I will not use anything less than AR500
    Freedom is a bit like sex, when your getting it you take it for granted, when you're not you want it bad, other people get mad at you for having it and others want to take it away from you so only they have it.

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    I'm completely aware of that. All I'm referring to is standard run of the mill steel plate. This isn't case hardened or anything out of the ordinary, just steel my Nephew brought home from welding class. It doesn't dent from a 2000 fps .357 round, and a hammer doesn't phase it or chip it, so just regular standard hardness type, what ever that means. I have another piece I've done the same thingwith that was a tank cover from an old under ground gas tank, the lid. That piece was 5/8". I have shot super hard types such as brake rotors and others, like grade 8 steel, if mydescription is correct, I don't know much about metal properties.They shattered into a bunch of pieces. A FMJ 5.56 round @ 3000 fps (and some change) won't go through, 130 grain SpeerPSP BT .270 round @ 3150 fps makes it through, but leaves a long exit crown. I just thought it was kind of cool is all. Cast iron just breaks up too for some reason, probably harder than the kind I'm breaching with a neat clean hole.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

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