View Full Version : Who here reloads?
03-24-2009, 04:49 PM
So it has recently become impossible to get match grade ammunition, especially of the same brand from week to week, which I can shoot through my .308. I am looking to do some sniper competitions this summer, and need to practice, but at this point my only two options are to shoot crappy ammo, or to reload my self.
What equipment do I need to get to reload match grade .308? I know basically nothing about reloading, so I have no idea what brands, what equipment, what supplies, etc. Only thing I DO know is that all the best ammo I've shot has used Sierra Match King bullets, past that I haven't a clue.
03-24-2009, 09:00 PM
RCBS makes very fine quality reloading tools. There is a lot to reloading. While you can enjoy loading right from the start, there is a learning curve to loading match grade cartridges. For starters, you must work up a load that groups well with your rifle. You have a good start since you know what bullet performs best from your rifle. Next, you will need to find the powder/weight combination that consistently produces your best groups. Once that is done you will need to find the correct bullet seating depth to perform with the throat on your rifle. The throat, or free bore, is the distance the bullet travels before engaging the lands and groves. There needs to be some free bore, but not excessive. All of these specifications are worked up incrementally. For example, with a powder, you will start from the starting powder weight specified in your reloading manual and work up in tenth grain charge increments. You'll load five rounds at each charge weight and test them, keeping records, at your range. Once you have determined the best performance with one variable, you'll move on to the next, such as bullet seating depth. Once this is done you will want to weigh every powder charge to the tenth grain to maintain consistency. Try lurking over at accuratereloading.com. You can find books, tools and supplies here; http://midwayusa.com/
03-24-2009, 09:45 PM
There are "Formula" loads for match shooting the M1A. I'd start with trying those. See which one shoots the best and work from there.
One of the competitive rifle shooting specific vendors:
The process of reloading is rather simple, but the devil is in the details. I hope you've kept all of that nice Lake City Match brass....
03-25-2009, 01:45 AM
Have you considered buying Federal match ammo, multiple cases at a time? I have had pretty good results when I've bought Winchester or Federal match ammo that way.
That said, I have looked into reloading quite a bit as well. If I bought a reloader, I'd by a Dillon.http://www.dillonprecision.com/ and probably start my experimenting with sierra matchking bullets.
03-25-2009, 02:30 AM
I wouldn't buy an turret loader if you want extreme accuracy. I would stick with a single stage RCBS and hand measure every charge. Weigh every empty brass case, every bullet, neck all the case and so on. I did a fair bit of reloading in college and enjoyed it a bunch. Grab an ice cold beer and slowly work out a load, great stuff.
03-25-2009, 02:38 AM
Sorry. I don't mean to be the forum safety officer here, but I would refrain from eating or drinking anything while reloading. You're working with chemical and lead components. Set up your reloading bench in a well ventilated area also.
03-25-2009, 09:50 AM
Hey, thanks for the advice! I just got back from a 12hr SAR under NVG's, so I am too tired to check out the links right now, but I will do that when I get up. Thanks!
03-25-2009, 12:36 PM
I use a RCBS Rock Chucker or whatever it's called. Single Stage. Slower, but I am in no hurry. Buy a good set of Redding Comp dies. They are pricey, but I love mine. There are quite a few other tools you'll need, calipers, chamfer tool, case trimmer, I use a Lee hand primer which if very handy, 505 scale, I have a old but nice redding powder measure. Unless you are doing benchrest shooting, don't bother with a bunch of geewhiz tools. You can go overboard with run-out gauges, neck turners, etc. You can get to a point where you spend more time loading and prepping than actually shooting. I had a custom tube put on my 308 so it doesn't care much for factory ammo, hence the reason I handload. I like having the round just off the grooves. I picked up a wealth of knowledge over at snipercountry.com There's a great group of longrange guys over there, at least there used to be. It's been several years since I was over there. Mostly LEO and Ex Military guys.
It kills me to see the prices of components anymore. A box of 175gr matchkings is like 30 bucks or something ridiculous. Lapua brass is near 50. I wish I had bought more when it was half that just a few years ago.
03-25-2009, 12:38 PM
You picked a bad time to start hand loading. Components and loading equipment are in short supply (especially primers). NRA has a hand loading class you could take or get with some other shooters for pointers. The most accurate rifles shoot hand loads that are tailor made for that specific rifle. Once you get the perfect load, you won't go back to store bought. Consistency is everything. Loading match grade ammunition is time consuming.
Read the information on this site for pointer:http://www.snipercountry.com/Ammunition/HandloadAccuracy.asp
04-06-2009, 07:28 PM
Dillon - accept no substitute.
04-06-2009, 08:13 PM
I agree! Dillon! I know the guys over there and they will point you in the right direction!
04-06-2009, 08:36 PM
Sorry. I don't mean to be the forum safety officer here . . . .
And whatever you do, don't dump a full box of primers into the shag carpet and decide it'll be easier to use the vacuum cleaner to pick them up!
04-12-2009, 05:02 PM
I have some experience (since early '70s) reloading. My experience with progressive reloaders has been Dillon and Hornady metallic and MEC, Pacific (now Hornady) and Ponsness Warren in shotshell.
The problem with progressive reloaders on bottleneck cartridges is they tend to stretch making it necessary to trim the OAL (over all length) after as few as one firing. This means you must take each one out of the press, trim it to length and deburr/chamfer it. To me this makes the biggest advantage to an expensive progressive reloader which is you don't have to touch the case through the entire process is pretty much lost IMO.
I personally like progressives for straight case cartridges (ie, .45, 9mm, .38/.357 etc.), but turret presses for all bottle neck cartridges I have reloaded (ie, some are .22 Hornet, .222, .223, .243, .257 Roberts, .25-06, 30-06, .300 Mag, etc. you get the picture). I also believe everyone should have a good quality single stage press for any heavy or special situations.
Don't plan on saving money for a long time if ever when you reload. If you shoot a lot, ie maybe 1000 or more rounds a year you might eventually break even. I probably have spent $3,000 or more in reloading "stuff". It will never be paid for and I probably shoot between shotgun, rifle and pistol some 7-10,000 rounds a year.
But if you enjoy doing it (reloading) as I do, experimenting with new/different loads, etc then the by all means do it. It is a fun hobby!
Just my $.02 worth.:coffee:
04-19-2009, 02:59 PM
As was already stated, you will not save money reloading, unless you are reloading for some obscure cartridge. It's just another hobby, and a way to get very accurate rounds matched to your individual gun. I enjoy trying to come up with an accurate load as much as I do shooting them. If you are really thinking about it, go to your local gunshop (or you can order online) and pick up a reloading manual. They go through all of the steps involved in the reloading process and give you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. Get the manual for the brand of bullets you are shooting. If you are primarily going to be shooting Sierra bullets, pick up a Sierra manual first. You will need to pick up at least a couple more manuals along the way for different loads, cross referencing data, etc.
04-21-2009, 11:02 PM
Have you checked with any of the Gunny's on base? I'd bet a nickle one of'm has the reloading equipment required for .308, and probably would let you use it. (If you can get primers, powder, and match grade bullets...)
It's been a few years, 1982 to be exact, but I recall working with an Academy Cadet that came out to YBI (in the middle of the Bay Bridge in SF) for his introduction to the enlisted world. He was part of the Academy Rifle Team. I'd bet they still have a competitive program. They may be able to hook you up with quality ammo as well. Most teams load there own.
It's 84 degress here today! That'll tie a record for Prescott. The USFS is burning near Crown King, and the smoke is blowing into PV...
10-20-2009, 01:25 AM
Looks like this thread has been idle for a while...
Anybody seen ANY small pistol primers???? (not magnum small pistol)
Been heavily reloading mostly .45acp for the weekly pin shoot competitions my son and I help run and compete in.
Need to load some .40 and .357 and have everything but primers:(:yikes:
Been checking everything local and just checked Midway and they show EVERYTHING zero::ar15:
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