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Old 04-11-2011, 12:14 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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I don't shoot a lot and only have a few rifles but I received a gift certificate from work for a project that I was a member. I decided that I would buy a low price kit to try it. I ended up buying the Lee Challenger kit since it seems like a ton of people liked it and some hated it. Anyway for $100 and some change it can't hurt right.

I already have the dies for one of the rifles I will be reloading for. I bought them after I bought the gun (7mm STW) since no one around here sells the ammo.

Anyway I gave the dies to a friend to reload for me. I bought the supplies and gave it all to him. I decided I would like to try and learn so I don't have to wait on anyone.

My biggest question is what manual/book is out there that will get me started in the right direction. I would like to read and learn as much as I can before I give it a go. I also will have to build me a bench before I can start anyway. So with my time inbetween I will read and learn.

Any suggestions.

Last edited by Wheatley; 04-11-2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:56 PM
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You could ask your buddy to come over and help you set up your first set of dies so you don't destroy cases from mistakes that could have been avoided and he watch you load and point out any mistakes. The resizing die is the biggest pain to set right without messing up the decapper or crushing cases.

Like R.R. said read the manuals, but they don't tell you when your screwing up until it's to late. Your playing with a "controlled explosion" and shouldn't be done halfway or you can end up paying for the consequences.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:18 PM
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I didn't read the instructions on the dies but I am pretty sure there was some in there. Are they good enough to read and be able to set them up? I bought RCBS dies from Midway if that helps.

RR - I could see the misses look after clamping it to the kitchen table. I may not live to shoot any of the work that I would be able to perform before I died. I enjoy woodworking so it will give me another project as well.

The biggest reason I decided to buy this is because my fiends lives about 45 miles away and it's hard for us to find a time that works for both of us. I will make sure he is there when I set them up the first time. Thanks for the tips. I will look up some information online and see what I can come up with.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:22 PM
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I got the kit in the mail the other day and had some spare time this afternoon. I read through some stuff on the internet and through the RCBS die instructions. Once I got started it was much simpler than what I thought it would be.

I set up a little book shelf and clamped it on there to practice setting up the dies. After doing that I figured I would try a case and step through the process. I now have the first ever bullet made by me (without the powder). I was able to set the dies up so when I am ready to start manufacturing they will be ready.

After that I played around with the powder dispenser and scale. I think I see what most people have a digital scale.

How close do the powder measurements have to be? I was getting about a .3 gr difference from each dump.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheatley View Post
I got the kit in the mail the other day and had some spare time this afternoon. I read through some stuff on the internet and through the RCBS die instructions. Once I got started it was much simpler than what I thought it would be.

I set up a little book shelf and clamped it on there to practice setting up the dies. After doing that I figured I would try a case and step through the process. I now have the first ever bullet made by me (without the powder). I was able to set the dies up so when I am ready to start manufacturing they will be ready.

After that I played around with the powder dispenser and scale. I think I see what most people have a digital scale.

How close do the powder measurements have to be? I was getting about a .3 gr difference from each dump.
... +/- .3 gr. is a good bit of variation from your targeted charge weight. You need to be much closer than that. The problem with using a powder dispenser is just what you have experienced. Some powders such as flake or ball powders may meter correctly through a dispenser, while the coarser stick powders usually will not, and can give the variation(s) you describe. You can generally get by using a powder thrower (dispenser) for handgun loads, but for serious load development and consistency, with consistency being what you need to strive for, most rifle reloaders use a scale and weigh each charge individually. Once you get the hang of it and become comfortable and more proficient with your loading, it goes a lot quicker. Your powder charge weight is one of the most important things that you can control in the operation, and it needs to be as exact as you can keep it.
.... Don't get discouraged about this stuff.. it's too bad you don't have an experienced coach to be there with you and guide you a bit, but that's what we're here for, and we'll be more than happy to help you along. Sounds like you've got your dies set up OK, and that is a big step also. Keep at it........
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:00 AM
  #6  
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The directions with RCBS dies are very thorough for setting up the dies. Speer has an excellent (probably the industry standard) book, my copy is a few years old. I would check to make sure your round is in it.
Safety tips: When you sit down to load, absolutly no distractions! No TV, etc. Complete the routine you are doing. Allways wear eye protection.
NEVER load a round outside of the manuals recommendations, and be very leary of an unlisted round that is recommended to you.
A digital scale greatly speeds up loading. I hand weigh all rifle rounds to ensure the greatest consistency of powder weights.
Be sure to check all sized case length.
In 30 years of reloading, I have never had a misfire or accident, but breaking from the routines and guidelines almost guarantees an accident or misfire.
Speer has excellent phone technical support if needed.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:48 AM
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I like the Lyman #49 manual.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by pnut View Post
I like the Lyman #49 manual.

..... Me too.. Excellent choice..
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:54 PM
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Alright, I am back for more questions. The loads my buddy loaded up per the manual were too hot. This stuff was from the Barnes reloading data.

Anyway the minimum load started out at 78gr and maximum was 83gr. I shot one at 79gr and the case was a little tight coming out. So I went back and loaded one up at 76gr of 7828 ssc. Went back and it had a flat primer and a slight mark on the case but it didn't stick the bolt.

Some of my questions:
What effect do primers (difference in primers) have on the burn rate and pressure generated or do they not change anything?

I think I will go down to 74 grains and see what I can get out of that. I am thinking about trying some H1000 and Retumbo as well just for fun.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:58 AM
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.... "Other suggestions?".... Yeah. How far off the lands are you? Have you checked that? What bullet? Does the friend who's loading for you have your gun? Seems there are a lot of unknowns here...
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