*Starting Down The Reloading Trail*
Get Smart, Reload
By: Helimech
09 February 2009

I finally got the time to LEARN reloading from my neighbor and have found it interesting and relaxing. My neighbor that taught me has been reloading ammo since before I was born and knows his stuff. So far, I have only loaded 38 rounds of .308 Winchester and it took us about 5 hours. That is a long time, but the reason was he showed me everything BY THE BOOK along with the what, why, how and when of every step. He also showed me some tips to reduce time, some ways to increase accuracy and what are the more important items.

In his words, "Reloading should be a repeatable, mechanical procedure under a controlled environment."

Now for the equipment I used. I bought the Lee Anniversary Kit and have got some FNV on it. The Challenger Press is good to go, no problems at all and it works with all standard 7/8 dies. The powder measure is hard to adjust but serviceable, I have talked to some other people about it and the consensus is it will wear out fairly quickly being plastic. This is not a major problem as I planned on replacing it with the metal RCBS version. The hand held case trimmer is ok, but my neighbor has two Lyman crank style trimmers and has loaned me one long term, the deburring tool is absolute garbage compared to the RCBS or Hornady unit, luckily they are cheap. The biggest problem is the Lee Scale; it is absolute junk. I could not get it to hold a repeatable zero for anything. We ended up using my neighbors RCBS 1010. Recently while at Cabela's I found a Dillon Precision Eliminator Scale for 40 bux. I am the new owner of it.

A little bit about cost savings. I reloaded with IMR 4895 powder, CCI 250 Magnum primers and Nosler Custom Competition 168 gr HPBT bullets. I know these are target bullets, but I want to ring the max accuracy out of my M1A while I have the chance. I figured up the price per round by dividing the powder up by price per grain and individual primer cost. The rounds cost me 0.40 cents a piece to reload. By comparison, Federal Gold Medal Match (the most accurate factory load) cost $1.86 a round. I determined that with my savings per round I will pay for the Lee reloader, 1000 primers, 1 lb of powder and all the neat accessories I have bought after only loading 97 pieces.

I did have to buy the RCBS case lube pad separate and I still need my own case trimmer and a brass tumbler/polisher, although I am currently trying to make one to keep cost down.

So for those that have read this far, I can only say; if you aren't reloading, why not. I should have done this eons ago. Now to stock up on bullets, brass and primers. It is refreshing to go to the store and buy 100 9mm JHP bullets for the less than the price of 25 loaded bullets. Of course, I can only imagine what it was like before November 4th.

I always thought of reloading as a "dark art" used by serious rifle shooters for maximum accuracy. Boy was I wrong; it is for the shooter that wants to save money, period.

Get smart, reload.

All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright 1996 - 2009 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.