Recently, I gave a quick overview of the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed System. In that post, I gave an overview of what’s included in the kit. In this post, we’ll take a look at what this system looks like installed on a 5-Station reloading press (The RCBS Pro-2000 in this case).
As you can see from this picture, the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder adds quite a bit of overall height to the progressive reloader. This is the case with all bullet feeders that use a collator (some add more than others). In the “Reloading Lab” – this is somewhat of an issue due to the fact that I have a low ceiling. Managing the tradeoffs between mounting the press high enough and leaving enough room for the collator can involve taking careful measurements and planning properly. With this setup, I have just enough headroom to fill the collator with bullets and to make adjustments, so I consider this ideal. One of the reasons that these units are tall is to allow for a sufficient “buffer” of dropped bullets so that the collator can keep up with fluctuations in loading speed and to allow enough “stack weight” on the column of bullets so that they drop/feed correctly.
The main components for this bullet feeder system are as follows:
- Base and two-piece adjustable column
- Collator (bowl and motor)
- Drop tube and shutoff assembly
- Bullet feed die assembly
The base is basically a foot that you bolt down behind your bench. I have my press setup on a solid hardwood plywood sub-plate, and have designed the plate system so that the bullet feeder can bolt in place directly behind the press. The two piece adjustable column has the nice feature of allowing the height of the collator (and corresponding drop tube extension) to be adjusted easily.
Next, let’s look at the bullet feed die assembly.
Here, we can see the included bracket that mounts to the powder measure. This component has the job of actuating the bullet drop system that is a part of the bullet feed die assembly. When the powder measure goes up (by case activation) a plastic lever rides against the bullet feed actuator – causing it to move horizontally. Inside the bullet feed die, this causes the bullet feed rods to drop a bullet down the chute, past the seating plug, and onto the collet. The collet holds the bullet above the cartridge, and keeps it positioned until it is seated. I’ll go into more detail with regard to how this system works in future posts.
Before the bullets are placed and seated, they need to be collated and stacked in the drop tube in the correct orientation. That’s the job of the bullet collator. This is a bowl, feed plate, motor, and corresponding wiper/tube system.
This view shows the collator full of .22 caliber 52 grain Speer Varmint HP bullets. The drop tube is full, and the unit has been shut off by the micro-switch in the drop tube assembly and will continue collating when the level of bullets drops sufficiently.
I bet you’re wondering how well it works, and you might even want to see this piece of machinery in motion… Well, we’ll have plenty more information, and HD videos to demonstrate this product in action. I’m looking forward to it!