Reloading at the Range: Step By Step

When you reload precision ammunition, it’s an iterative process. Fire forming brass, working up loads, testing function, honing in on that “prefect load”. And the iterative nature can cause the process to take a LONG time! Going to the range every week can be a stretch for some people, and if you need to check velocity before the next reloading phase for a load, that can mean “another week delay”.

There are two ideal solutions to this problem: bring the range to you (build a range in your yard), or  bring your reloading setup to the range. For most people, the latter is the only option. Let’s see what it takes to load ammunition at the range!

What to Bring

Think of your portable reloading kit like you would the contents of your backpack on a camping trip. You only want to bring what you need, but you better not forget anything. This collection of gear and supplies should be all you’ll need, but it’s best to take inventory a couple times, and to write it down as a list you can check each time you pack up for a range trip.

Here’s what’s on my list:

  1. BPM Hand Reloading Press with Lock-N-Load option
  2. Case for BPM Hand Reloading Press
  3. L.E. Wilson Full-Length Bushing-Type Sizer die (.243 Winchester), Hornady Unique case lube (behind die)
  4. iGaging Origincal 0-6″ Digital Caliper
  5. LEE Hand Priming Tool and #2 special shellholder
  6. Lyman Brass Smith precision funnel with 6mm insert
  7. Hornady GS-350 scale, Hornady trickler
  8. Hodgdon Varget powder
  9. Powder measure stand clamp
  10. Hornady Lock-N-Load bench powder measure
  11. CCI BR2 large rifle primers
  12. Frankford Arsenal loading block
  13. L.E. Wilson Case Gauge (.243 Winchester)
  14. L.E. Wilson deburring tool
  15. [not pictured] Duffel bag

How is Field Reloading Different?

Compared to loading at your bench, there are few differences when it comes to field loading. The biggest difference is the press itself. You can bring a single-stage press mounted to a plate to the range and use it how you would at the bench, but  a portable hand press is MUCH more portable.  The other difference is that you can’t just walk across the room to grab a tool, instrument, consumable, or other supply like you can at home. That’s where the lists and critical thinking come into play.

The other main difference is the focus- typically when you’re loading at the range it’s because you are actively developing a load. And here are a few typical scenarios where loading at the range is a great capability:

  1. Experimenting with different powders
  2. Experimenting with different primers
  3. Experimenting with different bullets
  4. Adjusting powder charge
  5. Adjusting bullet seating depth
  6. Running through a load development test sequence

Yes, there are plenty more scenarios you can work on at the range with your reloading equipment, but these would be the most common. If you haven’t already tried it, I would recommend you think about how “range loading” could help your rifle shooting. It’s more fun than you may think!

If you are looking for a great portable top-shelf quality portable reloading press, check out the Buchanan Precision Machine hand reloading press!

Do you reload at the range? Please share your setup and your experience by leaving a comment!

Thanks,
Gavin

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2 thoughts on “Reloading at the Range: Step By Step”

  1. Gavin: Video is well done as usual. Would have liked to see more of the press in action but really all it is doing in this case is sizing the cases and seating the bullets. A small bar clamp for the press is a good thing. I like to clamp the press down for all of the operations after Full Length Sizing. It is much easier to operate that way. With the Lee Collet Sizer you can have the press clamped down for that operation as well as there is no pressure required to remove the case from the die..
    Clamping the press to the table alleviates any possibility of dropping it or knocking it off the table.

    A few other comments. You don’t need a powder measure, you are checking with a scale. For precision shooting you are ALWAYS going to weigh every charge. I use a Lee Powder Dipper to dump the initial charge and then trickle it to dead on. The PM is just extra baggage IMHO.
    I use a Lee Collet Sizing Die It requires no lube so there is nothing to clean up. Once again personal preference.

    Your kit will grow or contract depending on what you require in the field. Also it should be noted that if you are Reloading at a Match which is away from home this is the way to do it. In a Camper or RV or even in a tent you can make ammo that is second to none. This can be extended to people who live in small apartments or don’t have a bunch of free space to set up a Dedicated Reloading Bench. The BPM Hand Press is the key to all of this. It will produce match quality ammo anywhere.

    It’s the best there is.

    Good Luck
    Randy

    1. I usually work on two to three different cartridges/ rifles so while one is cooling I can work on another. My setup includes a RCBS Chargemaster that’s ran on a battery, older Lyman turret press with shell holder assortment, and sized, primed brass for each rifle. My Lab Radar gives me velocity while I shoot for groups at 100 or 200 yards. I usually take an assortment of bullets and powders depending on whether I’m looking solely for accuracy or velocity/energy for hunting purposes. You’ll also need the appropriate seating dies. But the one thing I didn’t see in the pics is a covered firing point to load in. Sun shining on powder containers and cases can raise the temperature and pressures if not kept in the shade. That’s just how my setup has evolved thus far.

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