For a while I have been wondering about the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder – and now that I’ve setup and used the 22 caliber kit on the RCBS Pro-2000, I know a lot more about how this tool works, and what it is capable of. Setting up the unit is fairly straightforward, with a requirement for attention to detail (as is always the case with any progressive reloading equipment). The setup of the mounting system and collator (bowl where bullets are fed from) is straightforward, and very similar to the RCBS Pistol Bullet Feeder.
Setting up the bullet feed die requires that you replace a bracket on the powder measure, and that you place the bullet feed die in the station directly following (after) the powder measure. This is the case because the powder measure has a plastic actuator which in turn activates the bullet drop linkage on the bullet feed die. One of the lessons I learned while setting this unit up is that every time the powder measure is case activated, a bullet will drop into the placement collet (inside the bullet feed die). I didn’t realize this, and ended up feeding multiple bullets without placing any of them while I was working up a powder charge. The problem was that I had filled up the collator and drop tube and didn’t realize that this would create the multiple feed condition. When I attempted to feed a bullet, this caused the bullets inside the rifle bullet feed die to jam, which in turn damaged the seater plug.
I could have avoided this by taking one or both of two precautions:
- Don’t turn on the collator until you are ready to load (powder charge worked up)
- Pay close attention to the force while raising the ram, and stopping to “check what’s going on” rather than forcing the ram up
So- if you follow proper procedure, you shouldn’t have this type of problem.
Another issue I worked through is getting the proper bullet run-out for the type of loading I’m doing for the AR-MPR project. Since I’m loading match-grade ammunition, bullet run-out is to be kept to a minimum. For progressively loaded ammunition, my run-out goal is +/- .001″ as measured on the Hornady Conentricity Tool. This lead to using a two-stage bullet seating arrangement.
As you can see in the picture above, I’ve got all of the stations utilized except one (station #2).
Here’s a breakdown of the die stations:
- RCBS TC-Series .223 Remington Sizer/Decapper (small base)
- Powder Measure (with RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder actuator and bracket)
- RCBS 22 caliber Rifle Bullet Feed Die
- Redding Competition Seater – .223 Remington
For this setup, I adjusted the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed Die so that it would seat the bullet only deep enough to keep it from falling off while the cartridge was indexed between stations 4 and 5. The Redding Competition Seater was then adjusted to seat the bullet to the optimized depth (magazine length in this case).
The resultant concentricity for ammunition loaded with this setup was quite impressive! Most cartridges met the +/- .001″ run-out goal. I did not feel the need to check every cartridge for this setup, but did check a sampling of 10 or so to validate the setup.
I loaded up quite a few cartridges for myself and a friend with this setup, and was quite happy with the way it performed, especially with Speer 52 grain Varmint Hollowpoint bullets. The APS priming system performed very well, and I enjoyed not having to fill any primer tubes or trays!
The RCBS Pro-2000 equipped with the RCBS Rifle Bullet feeder is a great setup for loading .223/5.56 ammunition.
Next, let’s see how it does on the Hornady Lock-N-Load with a case feeder as well!