For Phase II of the AR-MPR we will be focused on precision handloading techniques and load development. For this phase of the project, I decided to showcase some of the popular Redding Reloading products that have an outstanding quality reputation. Here, we’ll talk briefly about each of these products.
The Big Boss
At the heart of the loading process is the reloading press. The Redding Big Boss II is a solid precision American-made product that is ideally suited for this project. It is constructed of cast iron (base), and steel (ram, linkage, lever arm, etc). It also features a “thru-the-ram” spent primer collection system which utilizes a tube to either collect the spent primers, or directs them into a trash can or other container.
For this project, we’re going to leverage two important add-ons: the first is the Redding Slide-Bar priming system. I’ve used the slide-bar system on the Redding T-7 turret press, and really like the way it works. The second add-on we’re going to use is the Hornady Lock-N-Load bushing conversion kit. This will allow us to quickly swap out dies, and also enables some “free-float” action for the die, which can help with alignment for seating and sizing.
The Competition Seating Die
If precision is important, consistent bullet seating depth and bullet runout are critical. One way to help with consistency of seating depth and concentricity is to use a bullet seating die that employs a sliding collar which keeps the case and bullet in perfect alignment while the ram is raised to its topmost position. The Redding Competition Seating Die is a device that employs this type of mechanical action. Furthermore, it also provides a micrometer for seating depth adjustment. This die is machined to tight tolerances and has a very high quality look and feel (white lettering is perfect, black bluing has good finish).
When you examine the components that make up this die assembly, you can easily see how it works:
At top here, we have the lock ring and die body. At bottom, we have (from left to right) the sliding internal body, the seating plug, the compression spring, and the micrometer adjustment screw.
As the ram of the press is raised, the case comes into contact with the inner body. The bullet contacts the seating plug, and the entire assembly moves upwards- compressing the spring. Near the top of the stroke, the seating plug bottoms out against the micrometer adjustment screw, and for the remaining upward motion the bullet is seated. At the top of the stroke, the ram stops, and the bullet seating is finished. With its sliding collar, this die works well even on progressive presses where the shell plate rotates (bullet is pre-aligned as the bullet and case enters the bullet seating die).
Since we’ll be loading single-stage-style in Phase II, we’re going to need a high-quality off-press bench mounted powder measure. The Redding 3-BR is an extremely high quality unit that has all of the features that we’ll need to throw consistent charges for the .223 Remington ammunition that we’ll be loading.
Here’s a few things that are notable about this powder measure:
- Solid cast-iron construction
- Powder baffle is included
- Zero backlash micrometer metering inserts make load adjustment quick and repeatable
- See-thru drop tube allows you to see powder charge (and know when drop is complete)
- Quick release nut allows measure to be dumped quickly
For some of the test loads that I’ve put together, I’ve noted that powder drops (with Varget) vary by +/- about .1 grain! That’s outstanding metering consistency! That doesn’t always happen with every powder (especially large stick powders) – but in this case, that will make life easier.
With Redding equipment you know you’re getting top-quality competition proven gear that’s made from USA steel in the USA. Not everyone can say that!
Coming up, we’ll be seeing how this equipment is used in detail, so stay tuned!