Any of you guys reload / load your own ammo? If you do, post up some pics of your set ups. I'm getting into the hobby now and I need to see some good ideas as to how to set it up. Thanks for any and all replies.
While it has been many years since i reloaded rifle cartridges and hunted big gamme, I did a lot of it at the time, Mostly .270 and 7MM, seeking maximum accuracy for general big game hunting. I found a pretty big difference in different brands of bullets, and finally settled on Speer for my reloading. I have no idea if they are still around, but i suggest you try different brands of bullets and see which work best for you. I did not bother to reload for my .257 as that was for small game from antelope down, and store cartridges worked fine for that. I also did not reload for my Weather .300 magnum as that recoiled so much it i only shot it when i meant business and not just for fun. Three of my guns were Weatherby's, all very good guns, but the 7MM was a custom barrel, Mauser action, and i stocked it. It was the most accurate, with the reloads, but the Mauser action felt so sloppy compared to the Weatherby's that I did not use it as much. Not much in life is as thrilling as making an accurate shot on a big animal with cartridges you have loaded yourself.
I don't want to post photos of my "Area" but I will give you some advice, Good chair or stool, anti static floor mats and counter surfaces. Smokeless powder likes to stick to staticy surfaces. Do not have any appliances or light switches in your "Area". As slim of a chance of something happening, I have before spilled large quantities of powder so be careful. Get a system that is build-able/expandable for the calibers you want to use and stick with that brand. Make damn sure your "measures" are correct. Hot loads can make a gun explode in your hand. I've seen it happen many times. Load specifically for what you want to HUNT or Target shoot DO NOT EXPERIMENT outside of tolerances. As mentioned above there are a bazillion types of bullets and cases available today. Stay away from Once fired brass or Range brass that isn't yours. Buy new clean brand name casings or loaded ammo and a die that will stamp how many loads they have on them as you go along. High power rifle and handgun I won't load more than 3 times max. Do your research on powder types for the type of load you want to Create. There are tons of recipes so to speak for every caliber.
I like to work in a corner as you can have more of what you need around you without having to move from station to station. Remember it's your life on the line with reloads so make very very sure you are well versed in procedures before starting!!!!
Another option is to Join a Shooting club or hunting club if you have one nearby. My hunting club buys ammo by the pallet cheaply a few times a year which is where I get most of my brass from. Watch out for Range Ninnies who think they are experts on everything. Never load ammo without seeing the specs on paper. There is always one "GUY" at the range that will shoot outside of tolerances and think nothing will ever happen. 2 years ago we mopped up a guys head because of that! .308 bolt right through the eye socket.
Have Fun, It's a bit tedious in the beginning but after awhile it's a good stress reliever!!!
That's great advice! Thanks for sharing and replying.
You did get me on this: "and a die that will stamp how many loads they have on them as you go along". I did not know this was an option. I am going to buy only new brass to start with. I will then collect my brass as I shoot so I can re-use them again.
If you don't mind, give me more details on the load counter. You are the only person I know who has mentioned it. I was wondering how many rounds I will be able to reload before I dispose of the casings and this would be perfect for the system.
I am a mfg. engineer / tool and die maker by trade so I understand the dangers o-so well for hot loads.
I plan on having only the strictest quality control system and batch management processes set up prior to loading my first round. I do have a mentor who is going to guid me along the way. He has been reloading for years. We both have the same cal. uppers so he is experienced in finding the right combination load for my specific gun for accuracy. I would never experiment with more powder than needed for a round just because it doesn't buy you anything for my caliber. I'm like Ranchman and am only interested in accuracy.
I have what is called a neck die stamper. It's sort of like an arbor press that grabs the neck of the cartridge and stamps a small dot in the rim. The one I have is very old and it has inserts for different size calibers. This is an old school technique to marking brass and I am sure someone still makes something similar. I will admit I have not seen many of them recently so I am not sure where you would get one. Might have to search it out. I will check with the smithy I got mine from to find out who makes it.
Most people these days use different colored sharpie's to mark their brass after firing. Just remember to keep a list to know which # is which color and separate the brass b4 polishing into correct batches. Try not to mix reload batches in the same mag to make it easier to keep track of. Brass catchers work great for this purpose, then dump them into a ziplock bag and mark them.
You said you have uppers, I am assuming this means you have AR's? if so what cal? if 5.56 you are good for 2-3 reloads, if using .223 I wouldn't bother reloading as the brass is too thin and the case can hard seat in the receiver or possibly crack. Even though the case may look ok it will be thinned just from the pressures of firing. This causes jamming and will affect greatly affect accuracy. Accuracy will fade with each subsequent reload so if you want extreme accuracy then stick with single load or twice loaded brass. You can keep the twice shot brass for doing up some target loads with lower powder velocities for plinking if you wish but toss it after 3 loads. If using different calibers the reloading rules are pretty much the same. If you want very accurate don't plan on the brass being used more than 2-3 times. Some very large caliber rifles with very thick cases can be used many times but eventually they will experience the same issues, thinning and stretching of the brass.
Some AR's have a tendency to collapse the shoulder of the casing during ejection. Make sure to look over each casing closely to make sure none are bent.
Having a Mentor assist you will be extremely helpful. I learned from a guy who was 79 years old who was a smithy for over 50 years.
Yes, it is an AR .300blk. I am going to purchase a .223 / .556 upper, purchase new rounds for plinking, shoot once, collect, trim them down to the .300blk round for hog dirt nap pills. All subsonic loads. I really don't need supersonic loads until I get my stamp for the cans.
It's all new to me and I still have so much to learn. It all will not happen overnight by any means. I can not find any H110 or Lillgun powder around here so it's going to take some time. I would have loaded up on it before the powder shortage but I didn't need it at the time. But, hindsight 40 40 know and I know what I want. I'm waiting on back orders to be filled from on line and who knows when that will be done. There is a global shortage on powder right now because everyone is angry.. lol. Anyway, I'm open to all wisdom from the sages if anyone wants to contribute.