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Christmas Gift Ideas for the Reloading Enthusiast

December 10th, 2014

Has your wife, girlfriend, mom, or grandma been asking you “What do you want for Christmas”? Well here’s some ideas to make your list easier to write!

Reloading Components

OK, it’s a bit obvious, but who can’t use more powder, primers, or bullets? If you take 5 minutes to look over your inventory, I’m sure you can find some components that you’d like to stock up on. Have a local store that sells powder and primers? That may be easier for your loved ones compared with ordering online (what mom want’s to pay for “Hazardous Materials” fees? :) )

Primers, one of the vital ingredients for reloading

Primers, you can’t get too many of them!

Reloading Dies, Accessory Dies

Do you have “holes” in your reloading die collection? Would you love to have that awesome micrometer precision seating die? Now’s the time to ask for them! It’s also nice to have spare die sets for frequently loaded cartridges that you may want to load using multiple presses. Struggling with proper crimp? Perhaps a Lee Factory Crimp Die is in order…

 

Lee rifle dies from small (.223, outer) to xtra-large (50 BMG, inner)

Special Tools

My Dad used to say “You’ve got to use the right tool for the job”. I agree, and some times that means having a collection of special tools. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than efficiency, effectiveness, and precision.

Here are some of my most fequently used “reloading special tools”:

  • COL gage (case sizing, bullet seating depth)
  • Case neck thickness gage
  • Bullet concentricity gage
  • Vibratory primer filling tool

 

Redding Case Neck Gage – A tool used to profile brass for utmost accuracy

Brass

Perhaps you’ve had the goal to reload a new class of cartridge, and you even have the dies, but you don’t have the brass. Perhaps you have brass that’s “been around the block” too many times. There’s no bad time to stock up on brass. For pistol brass, Starline Brass is always a good option, and they have a great selection of brass spanning popular to rare cartridges.

 

A beautiful sight: cartridges loaded with brand new brass

Other Ideas

There is no shortage of “reloading things” to ask for, here are some additional ideas:

  • Extra 6″ digital calipers
  • Industrial ziplock plastic bags (for brass storage)
  • Tumbling media (pet stores have ground walnut shells)
  • Reloading manuals
  • Ammo boxes (bulk styrofoam with cardboard boxes are great)
  • Digital scale (jeweler’s scales from ebay or Amazon will work)

There’s some ideas for you. Get your “wish lists” sent off while there’s still time for your presents to get ordered and shipped!

What Reloading loot are you all asking for? Please leave a comment!

-Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
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Poll: What Reloading Components Can’t You Find?

November 13th, 2014

Seasoned ammunition reloaders are used to shortages, but every shortage looks a bit different. Reloading component shortages are influenced by f political climate, tragedies, military and government component buys, and many other factors. So I’m wondering- what are you all having trouble finding at this time?

Reloading Components: What are you having trouble finding?

View Results

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Hoping you all can find what you need to load what you want to shoot!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?

Ultimate Reloader turns 5,000,000 on YouTube

October 22nd, 2014

It’s been a lot of fun shooting videos and blogging about reloading since I started on YouTube in 2007. This past week the Ultimate Reloader YouTube Channel hit another milestone with over 16,000 subscribers and 5,000,000 total video views.

Ultimate-Reloader-5,000,000-stats-600

I want to personally thank all of the loyal readers and viewers that have made it possible to bring all of this content to you all. What’s the video with the most views you ask? It’s not one of the newer more polished videos, it’s a Lee Loadmaster video from 2009!

Ultimate-Reloader-5,000,000-loadmaster-600

I hope you all will stick around for the next 5,000,000 views on the YouTube channel, and please let me know what you are interested in seeing- there’s still so much to talk about!

UR-Bench-Wide-crop

Above: some of the equipment I’ve published videos covering, from left: Lee Classic Cast Iron Turret Press, Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic, Redding T-7, Lee Loadmaster, Dillon XL-650, RCBS Pro-2000, Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, Redding Big Boss II.

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?

Hornady Rifle Bullet Feeder Part 3: Loading .223 on the Lock-N-Load AP

October 19th, 2014

In recent posts, I’ve given an overview of the new Hornady Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder, and shown high-level setup details for this new piece of machinery. In this post we’ll get down-to-business and load some .223/5.56 rounds on the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-station progressive reloading press. Be sure to check out the video below showing full progressive operation!

The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP setup with the Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP setup with the Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Here we can see the Lock-N-Load AP setup with the following station utilization:

  1. Size/de-prime
  2. Powder charge
  3. empty (great place for powder check)
  4. Bullet feed/seat/crimp
  5. Empty

And here’s a closeup shellplate view of the action while loading:

Loading .223 with the Lock-N-Load Rife Bullet Feeder - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Loading .223 with the Lock-N-Load Rife Bullet Feeder – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Let’s see the process of progressive reloading with this setup:

If you care about accuracy, you need to care about bullet concentricity. When evaluating a rifle reloading setup, I always use my concentricity gage to check bullet concentricity for the press/dies that are being utilized.

Checking bullet concentricity - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Checking bullet concentricity – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

For the cartridges loaded in this session, I saw an average of less than +/- 0.001″ which is really good for a combination bullet feed and seat/crimp die setup. If more precise concentricity was needed, I still have an extra station (#5) which could be used with a traditional sliding collar seating die (Hornady rifle bullet seat die or Redding Competition Seating Die).

Overall, this bullet feed system worked great, and makes the rifle reloading process faster and more convenient. Stay tuned here because I’ve got a lot more planned with this system including showing the conversion kit for 30 caliber, and showing more reloading setups on more presses. Have something you want to see? Please leave a comment!

Thanks,
Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?

Hornady Rifle Bullet Feeder Part 2: Setup and Configuration

October 3rd, 2014

In this post I’ll cover the high-level details outlining the setup process for the Hornady Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder (.22 caliber in this case). Be sure to check out the video at the end of this post and the overview post if you haven’t already.

The Hornady Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder setup on a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP progressive press - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

The Hornady Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder setup on a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP progressive press – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Fortunately, Hornady supplies an excellent owner’s manual with this rifle bullet feeder which guides you through the fine points of the setup procedure. To summarize, the following steps are involved:

  1. Unboxing
  2. Installing the support tube (brackets) – I have a single bolt which attaches the unit to my custom aluminum baseplate (two bolts are supplied). A positive side-benefit of the single bolt install is that you can “swing” the entire assembly which fine-tunes the drop tube spring “sag” – essential to get proper drop feeding
  3. Hopper installation (feed bowl)
  4. Hopper adjustment (feed plate height, bullet wipers)
  5. Feed tube and switch connection
  6. Installing and configuring the bullet feed die: (pivot block selection, bullet drop, bullet seat and bullet crimp)
Internals of the bullet feed die - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Internals of the bullet feed die – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

In the above picture you can see all of the major components of the bullet feed die. There are three primary adjustments for the die:

  1. Bullet seat depth
  2. Crimp level (crimp is optional and does not take place if screw is backed out sufficiently)
  3. Die height: bullet drop

Another key part of the setup procedure will depend on the specific bullets being used (length, profile, etc). This step involves adjustments in the case feed bowl.

Case feed bowl - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Case feed bowl – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

In the above picture you can see the primary adjustments that are made for each bullet type used: the feed wipers (top, springs and wingnuts), and the feed plate height (central knob and nut). It’s worth taking your time to ensure that these adjustments are made properly so that you don’t feed bullets upside-down.

Here’s a video that I put together that illustrates the setup process at a high-level:

Next, we’ll load some 5.56/.223 Remington, so stay tuned!

-Gavin

Posted in the Ultimate Reloader reloading blog, your place to read about reloading supplies, reloading data, and find your reloading press!
Looking for reloading supplies?