*Reloading for the Precision Rifle*
To get the most out of reloads for your precision rifle a few extra steps should be taken during the process. First thing is to get the idea of progressive presses, electric case trimmers, automatic primer seaters and the though of sitting down on Friday night to load a hundred or so rounds to shoot on Saturday morning out of your mind.
To load ammo that will get the most out of your rifle requires time and patience. The following is the sequence that I have used for many years and seems to work well. This is after you have decided the bullet, primer, and powder type and charge weight for the selected load.
1. Cleaning the brass. Run it for about 30 minutes to an hour in your cleaner. For really dirty brass I then use Lyman liquid brass cleaner and OOO steel wool for any really tough spots.
2. Size and deprime the brass. Take note of any brass that seems to easy to size, examine it and make sure it is still in good condition.
3. Trim the brass to the required length. I use an RCBS case trimmer and check each piece of brass with a dial caliper to make sure it is the exact length I want. I like the hand powered trimmer as this lets you get a feel for the brass. The cutting edge of the trimmer will catch on any split case necks.
4. Use a de-burring tool to remove any rough edges on the inside and outside of the case neck. This also allows you to feel and look for any cracks in the brass.
5. Back to the polisher for what ever time it takes to make the brass look like new.
6. Use a primer pocket cleaner to scrape any powder residue or cleaning media out of the primer pocket. Take a minute to see that the flash holes in the brass are all about the same size.
7. Seat new primers. I use a hand priming tool as it allows me to get a feel for any primer pockets that may be enlarged or too small.
8. With your dial caliper measure the thickness of the brass at the case opening, measure the thickness of the case rim and measure the diameter or the case just above the rim on the straight part of the case itself. I don't separate my brass by manufacturer but I do separate it based upon these measurements, trying to keep brass of very similar dimensions in the same group.
9. Charge the case with your selected powder. I use a good quality RCBS powder dump to drop a charge of slightly less then my final desired amount of powder onto the scale. I then use a powder trickler to get the exact weight charge I want. Use a funnel to place the powder into the case. I "drop" the powder from a couple of inches above the top of the funnel to make sure it settles into the case.
10. Seat the bullet. Make sure that your seating die is screwed down securely against the press. I use a large wrench to do this to make sure that the die is not likely to back out a small amount.
There should be no reason to crimp most rifle rounds. Make sure that the bullet is seated to the correct depth and when you remove the completed round from the press check it with your dial caliper. Check the case neck to make sure you have no splits or damaged brass.
Try and keep your loaded rounds in a secure container and use some type of padding to keep them from vibrating in the box. Over time the vibration caused by being hauled around in the back of a vehicle will cause the powder to start to come apart in the case. This will not really hurt the round as far as it firing but it can change the pressure in the case which will change the point of impact of the bullet. I have found that the large plastic cartridge boxes work well, take a small piece of cotton and place in each hole, and then after the box is full lay a thin sheet of foam over the top of the cartridges as you close the lid. This keeps them from vibrating.
I have found over the years that while I get pretty good accuracy using "conventional" loading methods, using the same components and powder charge I will always get slightly better consistancy and accuracy using this method.
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