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RCBS Grand Shotshell Loader Part II: Mounting and Overview

April 19th, 2014

In my last RCBS Grand post I performed an unboxing of the RCBS Grand shotshell reloading press. In this post I’ll give an overview of the RCBS grand press. I’ll also talk a bit about the bench system at Ultimate Reloader, and how I mounted the RCBS Grand on a compatible sub-plate. This system has been invaluable and gives me the ability to quickly store a press, mount it to the bench, and move it around all just by tightening/loosening 2-4 knobs (depending on the press or accessory) and sliding the mounting bolts in or out of the t-tracks.

RCBS Grand shotshell reloading press mounted on bench - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand shotshell reloading press mounted on bench – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Mounting the RCBS Grand was for the most part like mounting any other press. One notable exception is the provisions one must think about for the rear discharge chute. The completed shells are kicked out of the back of the press, and you either need to provide a hole in your bench to drop them through, or raise up the press so that you can put a bin behind the press. I opted for the latter approach and ended up using a 1.5″ riser box made of aluminum in order to provide enough clearance for the bin under the chute.

Sub-plate mount including RCBS universal mounting plate and box aluminum stand-off - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Sub-plate mount including RCBS universal mounting plate and box aluminum stand-off – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

The sub-plate for the press was constructed of two 3/4″ pices of hardwood plywood glued and screwed together. In combination with the RCBS mounting plate and aluminum stand-off, this setup seems plenty rigid for this press, but I won’t know fore sure until I actually start loading shells with it since the force is much greater when sizing cases and operating all of the stations together. Let’s take a quick look at the stations on the RCBS Grand:

RCBS Grand stations - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand stations – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Here’s the station-by-station breakdown:

  1. Sizing and de-priming
  2. Priming
  3. Charging
  4. Wad insertion
  5. Shot drop
  6. Crimp start
  7. Crimp
  8. Final crimp

Yes, there’s a lot to keep track of, but we’ll take the loading process step by step in future posts. One of the other notable features on this press is the shot and powder measure assembly that you see in the image below.

RCBS Grand charge bar for powder and shot - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand charge bar for powder and shot – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

This system uses a shared charge bar (the black bar) that is cycled back and forth by a linkage system when the press is cycled. These measures can also be drained quickly and easily by attaching a hose to the drain port next to each measure and then rotating the measure on it’s pivot bolt. When the measure is done draining you just rotate it back into “loading” position and optionally drain the other measure. I’m looking forward to trying out that feature!

RCBS Grand priming station - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand priming station – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

In the above picture you can see the spring-loaded clips that hold shells in each of the stations. An intricate assembly that makes working with shells at each station much easier (I’ll find out just how much when I start loading!). The primer tray also has a linkage system that helps primers make their way into the drop tube. Lots of nice touches like this on this high-quality piece of gear.

RCBS Grand primer tray - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand primer tray – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

Another part of the assembly that caught my attention is the swing-out wad guide. With the wad guide facing you it’s easy to drop in a wad. When the ram goes up, the wad guide pivots into position over station #4 just in time for the wad ram to push the wad down into the shell. All this happening very smoothly…

RCBS Grand wad guide - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand wad guide – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

So that pretty much wraps up the press prep/mounting and press overview part of this project. I’m going to have to load up this press and get it working in order to show more of its functionality – and I’m looking forward very much to these next steps! I also put together a video to give you an in-person walk-through of  the press, and some details about the mounting system:

Stay tuned for more RCBS Grand Shotshell loading action coming soon!

Thanks,
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: How much .22 LR is Enough?

April 8th, 2014

From the suggestion box! Fellow Ultimate Reloader reader John from New Baltimore, MI writes:

.22LR - it looks like gold, and some are hoarding it as if it were! Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

.22LR – it looks like gold, and some are hoarding it as if it were! Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

I start to wonder about people who are hoarding. Is a mindset in America today or has it been here since the GREAT DEPRESSION? Did we learn through our parents and Grand parents? You see on TV like American pickers, and I think there is a show call Hoarders it I am not mistaken. I did see someone sell about 30,000 round 22lr at Gun-broker.com. I didn’t see how much it when for. I think it was over 10 grand. I thought how much did that person really have on hand. I will to bet over 100,000 rounds just in 22lr. So finally, my question to you and maybe a great POLL question. When do think to much is to much. When do you think a survival exceeds and start to become a hoarder.

I love the show American Pickers, and my .22LR stock is down to the bare minimum, so this email got my attention! So here’s the poll, how much .22LR is too much? Want to explain your answer? Please leave a comment!

How much .22LR is enough? (and not hoarding)

View Results

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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?

Hodgdon Overhauls Reloading Data Center

March 18th, 2014

It goes without saying that reloading data is one of the most important aspects of reloading for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. I spend a lot of time finding and keeping track of load data- it’s an imperative part of how I manage my workflow and cartridge knowledge base. In case you haven’t seen it yet, Hodgdon has recently completed a major overhaul of their load data web interface, and I’ll have to say that it’s both super-clean, and easy to use.

Hodgdon-load-data-pistol-rifle-shotgun

Hodgdon load data is available for pistol, rifle, and shotgun, all in one place!

**Note: be sure that you have read and understood Hodgdon’s warnings and terms of use before you enter the guide or reference load data shown in this article. You can read it the first time you access any of the pages, here for example.

Here’s a screenshot of the new load data center with 45 ACP selected as viewed on my PC :

Hodgdon Load Data Center - 45 ACP options

Hodgdon Load Data Center – 45 ACP options

When you select the bullet weight, powder brand, and specific powder, you’ll be presented with load data as seen here:

Example load data for 45 ACP for 230 grain bullets with Hodgdon HP-38 powder selected

Example load data for 45 ACP for 230 grain bullets with Hodgdon HP-38 powder selected

From this view you can also easily print or email load data – a nice feature so that you can save data for future reference or share with friends. If you are looking for load data, check out this new “modern” load data center from Hodgdon!

Hodgdon Load Data Center

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?

Keep your AR-15 Running Smoothly: BCG Maintenance

February 27th, 2014

If you own an AR-15 you may have had a similar thought process: “Hmmmmmmm…. why is my AR-15 jamming/malfunctioning all of a sudden?”. I recently had an AR-15 start misfiring (light strikes) and after considering the primers I had loaded with and other factors I decided to disassemble, clean and lubricate the Bolt Carrier Group (BCG). Well, after that my AR-15 was running perfectly. The point is: before you start blaming your AR-15 or ammunition for reliability issues, give your gun a good cleaning!

Recently on the Accurate Shooter Daily Bulletin, Paul’s team published a great BCG maintenance overview with a ton of links to great info on the topic from the Top Quark Blog.

AR-15 BCG components - Image from accurateshooter.com

AR-15 BCG components – Image from accurateshooter.com

If you are needing a refresher (or first time guide) on how to work on your BCG, you should check out this great blog post. I’ve also posted some tech info on the assembly and disassembly of the standard AR-15 BCG during the AR-MPR rifle build project right here on Ultimate Reloader. Here’s a link to that post, and the corresponding video:

This will be one of my projects coming up this weekend- another BCG maintenance session. Should be fun!

Safe shooting, and keep those AR-15′s tuned up!

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?

RCBS Grand Shotshell Loader Part I: Unboxing

January 28th, 2014

Today I’m excited to launch another series of content: reloading shotshell with the RCBS Grand progressive shotshell reloading press. In this series I’ll take you through the entire process with this press including unboxing (this post), setup, and progressive reloading of 12 gauge shotshells. It’s going to be fun, and it’s always awesome to learn a new piece of equipment. I hope you’ll follow along in this series to see how this press works. If you have an RCBS grand be sure to share your tips/tricks and experiences with the press via post comments. Let’s get to it!

RCBS Grand press parts after unboxing and before assembly - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand press parts after unboxing and before assembly – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

The RCBS Grand comes in a cardboard box with internal cardboard packing which keeps the contents safe during shipping and delivery. In the above picture you can see the press assembly/body and bin at rear. In the foreground you see (from left) the included  VHS tape and DVD, the reloading guide and instruction book, primer tray, ejection chute, drain tube, small parts bag, bin bracket, powder hopper, spent primer collector, and shot hopper. Let’s take an up-close look at the press next!

RCBS Grand press body - Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Grand press body – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader

My first impression: this is one solid press that appears to be very well built. I love the crackle green finish (same as on my RCBS Pro-2000), and this thing is just massive and built like a tank. For a reloading press, this thing seems like heavy equipment, and I like heavy equipment.

Here’s a video showing the unboxing process, you see my reaction the first time I see the parts and press come out of the box!

There you have it- the RCBS Grand is unboxed and ready for assembly. The first thing I’ll be doing is putting together a sub-plate for the press that’s compatible with my reloading bench system. That way I can have it mounted solidly for assembly, and can quickly secure it to the bench and release it from the bench for storage.

This is going to be fun, so stay tuned!

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?