Archive for the ‘RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder Videos’ Category

AR-308 – RCBS Pro-2000 and 30 cal RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Now that we’ve covered the precision loading process for the AR-308 project, it’s time now to move on to progressive reloading. This will enable us to load ammunition very quickly. If we select the right equipment, and are careful and strategic to setup this equipment, we can also attain very high consistency for the ammo that we reload on this type of progressive equipment.

During the AR-MPR (AR-15 build and loading) project, I covered the 22 caliber version of the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder also on the RCBS Pro-2000 press. Here are some of the relevant posts:

The 30 caliber version of this bullet feeder is essentially the same, but with parts modified to work with .308″ diameter bullets instead of .224″ diameter bullets.

Some pictures of the RCBS Pro-2000 and RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder:

RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder (30 cal) and RCBS Pro-2000 - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

Die stations 1-nothing, 2-nothing, 3-powder measure, 4-bullet feed die, 5-Redding Competition Seating Die - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed 30 Cal Bullet Collator - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

One of the things that makes loading rifle ammunition on a progressive reloading press difficult is the force required for full length sizing. For this video, I used pre-sized brass. For this reason, I did not include a sizing die in this setup. This translated to the smoothest reloading of rifle ammo on a progressive press that I’ve experienced. Lubing, sizing, and cleaning/prepping prior to progressive loading (for rifle ammunition) is a great way to go.

And here’s a video showing the loading process with this setup:

Overall this setup worked well. Due to the excessive clearance in the drop tube I did have some bullets get stuck (Hornady A-Max with polymer tip and boat tail base). The Speer deep-curl flat base bullets worked perfect. I’ll be contacting RCBS to find out if they have a solution for the “wedged bullets” for the boat tail bullets. The uniflow powder measure does a great job with the Benchmark powder – very consistent results. (+/- 0.2 grains on 40 grains charge, that’s 0.5% variance). The Hornady concentricity tool also had good things to say about this setup. Overall bullet runout holding in the .001″ total variance range for most loaded cartridges.

Do you guys have progressive precision loading tips/experiences for rifle ammo you want to share? Please leave a comment!

Thanks,
Gavin

RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder on RCBS Pro-2000 – Some Notes

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

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:

  1. Don’t turn on the collator until you are ready to load (powder charge worked up)
  2. 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.

RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder - Die Stations as setup loading precision .223 on the RCBS Pro-2000 - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

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:

  1. RCBS TC-Series .223 Remington Sizer/Decapper (small base)
  2. Empty
  3. Powder Measure (with RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder actuator and bracket)
  4. RCBS 22 caliber Rifle Bullet Feed Die
  5. 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.

Checking bullet runout with the Hornady Concentricity Tool - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

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!

Thanks,
Gavin

AR-MPR – RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder on Pro-2000 Loading 223

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

If you have an AR-15, you know that they tend to chew through ammo very quickly. It’s a lot of fun, but it also gets expensive really quickly, especially if you are requiring match-grade ammunition. The solution is to load .223/5.56 on a progressive reloading press. If you really want to crank it up, you can also add a case feeder, a bullet feeder, or both.

In this video, I’ll cover reloading .223/5.56 ammunition on the RCBS Pro-2000 5-station progressive reloading press with the RCBS .22 cal rifle bullet feed kit.

Here’s a quick overview of the die stations utilized in this video:

  1. Sizing/De-priming
  2. Empty (die)/Priming
  3. Powder charge
  4. RCBS rifle bullet feed die
  5. Redding Competition Seating Die (.223)

The result is very efficient loading with excellent COL consistency and bullet concentricity.

More .223/5.56 progressive reloading action to come, so stay tuned!

AR-MPR- RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder Overview Part II

Friday, April 15th, 2011

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).

RCBS Pro-2000 Reloading Press with RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed Kit (.22 caliber) Installed - Image Coypright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

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:

  1. Base and two-piece adjustable column
  2. Collator (bowl and motor)
  3. Drop tube and shutoff assembly
  4. 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.

Closeup of Bullet Feed Die - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

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.

Bullet Collator Closeup - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

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!

Thanks,
Gavin

AR-MPR- RCBS Rifle Bullet Feeder Overview

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Phase III of the AR-MPR AR-15 rifle project is really all about “precision mass production” of the ammunition that we’re developing in Phase II (precision single stage loading). There are a couple key things that we’ll explore: first, we’ll look at progressive reloading of .223 / 5.56 ammunition. We’ll also extend our production rates by adding the RCBS rifle bullet feed kit. This is going to make for some very efficient reloading sessions! It will be interesting to compare the characteristics of the progressive loaded ammunition against the single stage loaded ammunition.

What's included with the RCBS Rifle Bullet Feed system (.22 cal shown) - Click for larger image - Images Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

So I thought it would be cool to show you all a sneak peek of the RCBS rifle bullet feed system that we’ll be using. I’m new to this piece of equipment, so I’m looking forward (as always) to setting it up, experimenting with it, and seeing how it works on progressive reloading presses. Should be a lot of fun!

Meanwhile, I’ll be posting range reports for Phase II (videos are done) that will track my progress towards “consistent 5-shot .5-.75 MOA” groups. The last couple trips to the range have been a bit challenging, and I just now discovered that I had some serious foaming bore solvent crud build-up on my muzzle crown (under the muzzle brake). Ah-ha! I’m hoping that will get me back to the kind of consistency that I was seeing at the first range trip (right before I used foaming bore solvent – not a good idea on gas guns- now I know why :) ).

So stay tuned here on Ultimate Reloader- we’re going to be exploring some cool equipment scenarios, and I have another upcoming project to share that will be a lot of fun as well!

Thanks,
Gavin