Taking reloading to the next step
Hi folks, I do a fair bit of browsing forums and now focus on reloading techniques and technology. With that in mind I want to start a conversation on reloading for quality ammunition.
I do not have any qualifications other than a love of precision and some background in science (Civil Engineer NDSU 1987).
I was introduced to reloading in the early 80's by a family friend that invited me and my dad to hunt jackrabbits (Varying Hare) near my home in Northern Minnesota. He had a Savage (if i recall) .222 rem that he loaned me and showed me how to load for it. The recipe involved IMR3031 and a “C” type press but I forget the details. I happily followed his instructions and used his equipment to produce quite a few rounds without really understanding the “why” of what I was doing.
Building on that and while in High School, I loaded for my new Ruger 77 25-06 (for jackrabbits and deer) and .357 mag (Ruger Security Six which I still have). My level of loading was basic – load to factory specs, and follow recipes. I read articles on case trimming and bought a Forster trimmer and used a factory once fired case to set the trim depth. I didn't have any measuring tools aside from a RCBS 10-10 scale and did not consider my reloads to be more accurate than factory loaded ammunition. I seated bullet to the cannelure and did not do any load development aside from shooting and comparing group sizes. My best group was 1.75 inches at 200 yards with factory Federal 75 gr hollow points with my Ruger 77 25-06, completely stock with leupold 2-7 varix II that I got at a gun show.
At about the same time I read an article by Elmer Keith describing his loading for the .357 mag using the Lyman 358-156 hollow point gas check in .38 spec. cases and ordered that mold. I saved and bought a Lee production pot and (on the sly with my bike and sieve), mined the local gun club's backstop for lead and cast and loaded a lot of .357 ammunition.
I went to college and did not reload at all for several years. I got a job in California and bought a Springfield Armory 1911 and joined a local indoor shooting range. I bought a set of RCBS .45acp dies and using my old pacific 07 press and Duo-Measure started loading for .45 Auto (circa 1990).
About 5 years later, I accepted a job back in the midwest (North Dakota). I started Trap shooting and loading for 12ga with a Hornady progressive (I even won the class C doubles and runner up handicap at ND state shoot in 1996).
This pretty much brings me up to a few years ago when I traded a Rem stainless .223 for a Tikka T3 30-06 hunter in anticipation of a possible elk hunt, which never developed. A couple years later I stumbled on the absolutely first rate website http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com/ by Germain Salizar. He has a way of presenting information that I dream of emulating. He inspired my re-interest in reloading for accuracy and precision.
It wasn't long before I discovered this site and many others that taught me so much about what I didn't know about reloading.
Now I look for new insights into developing top quality hand loaded ammunition and developing the best loads for each of my rifles. My most recent rifle I am trying to “perfect” loads for is a Tikka T3 Sporter in .223 with a heavy 24″ 1:8 barrel that I bought at Sodak Sports in Aberdeen SD.
This Winter I will be loading a lot of carefully crafted ammunition with the goal of making this Sporter perform as well as it can!
I will be posting what equipment I bought and components used and what worked for me or not and I hope it helps some of you find solutions I had to find by trial and error.
I make no claims of special understanding or insight but present the information as a reflection of my search for quality ammuntion.
I look forward to your comments and criticisms.
And, as required in this day and age, nothing I post here is meant to be advice or endorsement of any technique or recipe and is for entertainment purposes only. ::)
First post will be on Reloading Presses.
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