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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys, I have a problem. A BIG problem. Having recently started my reloading career, I'm finding that it takes just too little time to reload the amount of ammunition I have use for. I could reload all the ammo I need for a year in a few hours at the bench. This simply will not do. Now, I'm not saying I have all kinds of spare time or anything...between work and the farm, I'm often lucky to find myself with enough time to read more than a dozen pages of a book before hitting the sack. Just the same, I can reload this ammo faster than I have a need for it.

So what I'm wondering is this. Being very careful and precise in virtually everything I do, I really enjoy seeing the fruits of my efforts. I'm wondering what else I can do that will take LONGER for the reloading process (which I really enjoy), while maybe giving me slightly more accuracy yet?

Here's my basic reloading process right now (not all required for every firing, of course)

Polish the cases and clean the inside of the neck.
Deprime and size (neck sizing only, unless full body sizing is required).
Trim to length.
Chamfer and deburr neck.
Deburr flash holes.
Uniform/clean primer pockets.
Prime.
Weigh and trickle every charge and charge case.
Place and seat bullet.

I've been thinking about getting a concentricity gauge and also maybe turning necks, but I can't afford that just yet. Maybe in a couple months.

Any ideas?
 

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Sounds very similar to what I do. You could also weight every bullet and case for something to do. I too have been looking at getting a neck turning tool soon and a concentricity gauge. I'm doing it more for accuracy purposes more than something to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I suppose I could do that...I haven't been, just for the fact that I thought it wouldn't make a difference, seeing as I would use them regardless of how far out they are. But I guess then I could sort out the final product for long range varminting (the good, uniform units), and for punching paper (the less uniform ones). Which I know is slightly backwards compared to what most folks would do...but I buy guns to shoot critters, not paper, so I'm willing to have a loosey goosey group on paper if it means extending my gopher-killing range!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know, I know...there's that to it as well. But it's an awful lot harder to find enough free time during daylight hours to be able to pop out to the range and fire some rounds. And as I say, I buy guns to shoot critters (and clean, play with, and look at), and not to punch paper, so I don't get much of a kick out of the range anyway. At least, not as much as I do from hunting.

And of course, going for a hunt takes even longer than to set up at the range...
 

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Well, you could buy another gun in a different caliber, so as to have to start the supplies all over again, dies, case gage, bullets, powder, bullet mold, sizer die lube etc.
Been casting your bullets yet?

Oh wait, it's get the dies first by getting a good deal at a show, then buying supplies for that cabilber, brass, bullets etc........then you NEED another gun to shoot it........chicken or egg?
 

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Marsman,

I had the exact same thoughts, around about 1987, when I first learned to reload. It was so COOL to be able to take these fired cases and this pile of components and crank out a couple hundred rounds, in a day. I loved it! I devoured every reloading manual I could find, pouring over all of the cartridges, powders, bullets, and especially, techniques for reloading. And then, I had the same epiphany you're having: What do I do now?

Well, answering that question has a lot to do with WHY you reload? I was never much into making holes in paper, and when I did, it was with a .22, because the ammo was so cheap. Then, when I was faced with this dilemma, I came to realize that the challenge of a really tight 5-shot group at 100 yards was definitely not the same as going hunting, BUT, it was very cool, in its own right! Have you put 5 shots into 3/4", or less, with a big-game rifle? Have you put 5 shots into .5", or less, with your varmint rig?

There are at least 4 good reasons to reload: Cheaper ammo cuz you shoot a LOT, more accurate ammo cuz you want tiny groups, custom ammo cuz you have an old or wildcat cartridge, or finally, you just want the very best ammo for YOUR gun, regardless of any of the above. If the 4th reason is the only one that motivates you, then, sad to say, but you won't need to reload a LOT, you'll just need to do it well, when you do. If you truly enjoy reloading, as I do, then you'll need to work one, or more, of those other reasons into your shooting. Personally, I still don't shoot a lot, but the last three motivations demand enough time at the bench for me to be happy. :)
 

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Well, you could give each cartridge case a name and have a nice conversation with it before loading it...or just shoot a lot more.

Seriously, case prep is the most time consuming aspect of reloading, so you could get more intricate in your approach to it.
 

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Hard to relate. The exact opposite of my problem. But then again, I like to find time to burn powder so I need more ammo.
Here's a thought. If you don't have any kids, get going on it. Then your evenings will be taken up also.
 

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You can learn to cast your own bullets. It will open up a whole new world of molds, sizing dies, bullet lubes, alloys, top punches, lubrisizers.... and the list goes on and on and on.....
 

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Yep, you have to shoot more (like almost everyone said). Punching paper holes may not be fun, but there's one guarantee: each set of cartridges will shoot slightly different. That's where the fun comes in - trying to reach that one (or two) loads per bullet weight/type that shoot a nice, tight group, like Broom said. Then, once they're found, to reload them several times to ensure they shoot consistently and it wasn;t just you having a good day.

I reload in batches of five. My ammo carrier may have 40 rounds in it, but there's 8 different loads in there. Some of the sets may be different from another only by primer type, or by .010" in overall length, or by a different type of powder, etc.

Now, once a load, for a bullet type/weight, reaches the point where I know it's consistent and it's the best one I have, I mark it as a "Best Load" and I'm done witht that bullet. It's ready for hunting. I know, that if I choose to load 5 hunting rounds with that bullet, it is going to shoot 2.7" high and .3" left, into a sub .75" group (as an example). Why not zero the scope so it shoots dead center and 2.7" high? Because then the other bullet types will still be off. SO I zero my scope for a certain rifle to where it shoots closest to dead center for all bullet types, then annotate the slight variances of each "Best Load".

I hear you Marsms, but you just need to shoot more (:)D))

It's terrible sitting there at the bench thinking..."Now, what do I do. I wish I had some more stuff to reload".
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is there really an advantage to casting your own bullets? Besides cost, I guess?

My motivating factor in reloading is twofold, I guess. To get the fastest, most accurate load for my guns, and to be able to better match the bullets I use to my hunting situation.

Broom - I actually did manage a .295" 5 shot group a few days ago with my .223, which was the first load I tested to break the 3/4" barrier (and it did it in a big way!). Now I've got to try it again, and maybe play a bit with seating depths, though I'm already basically as long as my magazine can reliably handle.

I wonder if I could machine my own cases out of a solid brass block? :p
 

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Is there really an advantage to casting your own bullets? Besides cost, I guess?
I wonder if I could machine my own cases out of a solid brass block? :p
LOL, of course not, but then again you are the one that asked the question.
Casting is a whole 'nother world, just getting in to it myself.......you get to accumulate a lot more new gear, (yes Honey I really need this stuff) learn new things and generally enter another dimension.

Making brass your own would be intresting.............
 

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Not sure this would apply to your situation marsms. I will take cases with split necks and trim the split away to make cases that I can still use. 357 to 38 special for example.

I have also been known to reform brass that I have (but no firearm to use it in) to fit a firearm that I do have. As an example, I did a bunch of 30-06 and 270 Winchesters to 6mm Remington years ago. I had the tools and the cases, but little money.
There was a fair amount of work to that. They made dandy 6mm cases though. I still have and use them. Cheapskate by nature I guess.....

Cheezywan
 

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You can learn to cast your own bullets. It will open up a whole new world of molds, sizing dies, bullet lubes, alloys, top punches, lubrisizers.... and the list goes on and on and on.....

Now that's a time consuming job. Takes me a long time
to cast 500 45 bullets then have to size and lub them.
But it's worth it.
 

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Is there really an advantage to casting your own bullets? Besides cost, I guess?

My motivating factor in reloading is twofold, I guess. To get the fastest, most accurate load for my guns, and to be able to better match the bullets I use to my hunting situation.

Broom - I actually did manage a .295" 5 shot group a few days ago with my .223, which was the first load I tested to break the 3/4" barrier (and it did it in a big way!). Now I've got to try it again, and maybe play a bit with seating depths, though I'm already basically as long as my magazine can reliably handle.

I wonder if I could machine my own cases out of a solid brass block? :p
Well, casting your own bullets and getting the fastest load for your gun don't go hand in hand, at least not with modern, center-fire rifle cartridges. Then again, sometimes "fastest" can be replaced in the equation with the load that makes you more self-reliant or costs the least amount of money, so you can shoot more often, with less cost.

Question: What level of accomplishment did you feel with that .295" group? I remember the first time I shot a group under 1" I wanted to run up and down the range, showing everybody! I still get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from anything I handload that shoots under one inch. The two basic reasons for this are; most people can't shoot that well and fewer people still can build ammo that will consistently do so. To me, I feel like I am part of a select group of shooters to whom half an inch really matters.

I hunted with quite a few guys this year who are die-hard hunters, but haven't shot a group less than an inch in their entire life, and don't care to. They shoot 2-3" groups and they are perfectly happy with that because here in Indiana, guns can't shoot more than maybe 200 yards anyway (due to restrictions) so a 4-6" group is plenty good enough for them. When I talk about consistently hitting a 50-cent piece at 200 yards, they look at me like I'm pulling their leg and say there's no way they could ever do that. Heck, when my daughter pulled out her .22 and was hitting a spinner the size of a quarter at 100 feet, over and over, they were really impressed!

So, there are a lot of different reasons to shoot and if you really get into making little tiny groups, it can be incredibly rewarding. If nothing else, you can put yourself into a category of shooting that few others ever get to (present company excluded, of course! :D ).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
How do cast bullets compare to jacketed in terms of accuracy? I know they tend to be slower for modern applications, but...if they are less accurate as well, then I wouldn't think it would be worth it for me to save some money. It would be fun though... I really like taking things from as "start to finish" as possible.

I have a woodlot, a truck and trailer, a sawmill, all of the obligatory woodworking equipment and a small fortune in various types of finish. This way I get to do everything hands on, right from planting the trees to setting my plate on my new dining room table, and I love these sorts of things. It really makes me proud to know that I not only had a hand in these things I'm using, but that I was THE hand.


Is there really anything else in the way of case prep I could be doing, besides the things I mentioned and maybe checking cases for volume?
 
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