If you are like me, you’ve been waiting for the highly-anticipated Hornady Rifle Bullet Feed system to arrive on the market. A big fan of the Hornady pistol bullet feed system (especially the all-metal collet die system), I can’t wait to get going with the rifle version of this system. And I won’t have to wait long, because the equipment (setup for .22 cal and 30 cal) has arrived!
Hornady Rifle Bullet Feed Dies in .22 and 30 caliber – click to enlarge – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
I’m planning to show both .223/556 and .308 Winchester reloading with this system, starting on the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP 5-station progressive reloading press. If you have other configurations you’d like to see, please leave a comment! Stay tuned for more updates shortly.
If you are serious about reloading ammunition, you need a good chronograph. Without one, you won’t be able to measure the consistency and performance of your loads. Furthermore, with a chronograph you can evaluate loads and load data for each particular firearm in your collection. Want to know if you’ve achieved 4000+ fps with that 22-250 rifle? No problem! Want to keep your loads in the high-but-subsonic range for that suppressed rifle? No problem!
I recently got a CED M2 Chronograph from Competitive Edge Dynamics, and will be using it for a variety of articles here on Ultimate Reloader. We’ll start in this article with an overview of the features of the system, talk through setup, and demonstrate shooting with rifle and pistol. In future articles, we’ll dig into cartridge-specifics, check out accessories for the CED M2, and link the CED M2 to a PC in order to transfer data. It’s going to be fun!
Overview of the CED M2 Kit
For about $200. you can get a complete CED M2 chronograph kit. This kit comes with everything you need to get started chrono’ing your loads *and* to connect the CED M2 to your PC (including the USB cable!). Let’s take a look at box contents:
CED M2 Chronograph: What’s in the box – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
In the box you’ll find, starting with the back row in the above picture, left to right:
Main unit (brain with display and keypad)
Sun screen support arms (4)
And in the foreground, left to right:
User’s guide DVD
Sun screens (2)
After unpacking the unit, I watched the entire DVD to get acquainted with the CED M2 chronograph system. This is definitely a good place to start as you’ll learn how to setup the unit, how the unit works, how to attain optimal results, and see the unit in action. This unit is a *BIG STEP UP* from the chronograph that I had previously purchased. The display is massive, and gives you a lot of information while shooting at the range.
CED M2 Main Unit – Image Copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
The large keypad supports many functions (many of the keys have two functions based on “shifted state”). You can easily store and delete/edit strings, calculate power factor, view average string velocity, and use the unit as a calculator to name a few functions. The unit is powered by a single 9V battery which is simple to install.
When I first setup the chronograph, I was surprised at how simple and quick the process was. There are no rods to deal wtih (bonus!), and the entire setup was designed with simplicity and portability in mind. It’s no wonder that this is the chronograph of choice for many competitive shooting organizations.
Here’s the steps required to setup the unit:
Unfold the bar/base and attach to tripod or other mount (1/4″ x 20 TPI hole in base fits standard camera tripods)
Slide on each sensor and tighten knob to secure onto bar/base
Assemble sun screens and supports, slide into sensor slots
Plug sensor cables (start and stop) into main unit
The entire process takes about 2 minutes at a casual pace. In the video below I’ll show the process, and shoot some 44 special, 44 Magnum, 45 ACP, and 5.56 NATO rounds:
All in all I’m very impressed with the CED M2 so far. Stick around because we’re just getting started with chronograph content!
Have chronograph experiences/thoughts you’d like to share? Please leave a comment!
One of the things I like best about running this blog is the opportunity to make industry connections. It’s great to make new relationships and to learn more about how reloading components and equipment and developed and manufactured. Recently, I had the opportunity to have a couple different conversations with Chris Hodgdon of Hodgdon Powder Company, and I’ll be sharing these converstaions with you all in a two-part video series.
In this first installment, you’ll meet Chris Hodgdon, and learn about the history of the Hodgdon Powder Company. I learned a lot by talking with Chris, and I think you will too. It’s fascinating to learn about the people, families, personalities, and history related to many of the large and small companies that us reloaders are familiar with.
Here’s a selfie taken by Chris Hodgdon, as you can see here he’s not a stuffy guy:
Here are some things I learned about Chris during our conversation:
Chris works in media and sales at Hodgdon
Chris’ favorite hunting rifle: Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in 270 Short Mag
Things that are important to Chris: family, hunting, church, volunteering
Here’s a picture of Chris’ family:
Chris Hodgdon’s family, from left: Adele, Chris, Joel, and Pierce
About Hodgdon Powder Company
The history of Hodgdon Powder Company is an interesting one. Hodgdon as a company was started by Bruce Hodgdon in 1947. That year, Bruce negotiated with the US government to purchase some 50,000 pounds of 4895 surplus powder that was left over from WWII. Soon Bruce would sell this “Hodgdon” powder to reloaders to the tune of $30.00 + freight for 150lb of powder! I know we all wish those prices were still a reality today, but times have changed. Interestingly, H-4895 is still a very popular powder, and it’s formulation hasn’t changed much. Bruce didn’t start the business alone- he had help from his grade-school aged kids J.B. and Bob. I can relate as my occupational roots started by helping my Dad around the shop at our printing store (including running printing presses). Here’s a recent picture of J.B. and Bob:
J.B. Hodgdon (left) with Robert Hodgdon (right)
Bruce Hodgdon originally incorporated his business in 1952, and split off Hodgdon Powder Company in 1966. Since these early days, Hodgdon Powder Company has expanded it’s product portfolio to include many different pistol, rifle, and shotshell powders which remain some of the most popular choices with reloaders.
Hodgdon office front in Shanee, Kansas
It’s pretty amazing to have a company remain true to its roots, and to stay within the family for nearly 70 years! If you want to hear more, you can listen to my conversation with Chris here (Part I):
Be sure to catch “Part II” to this story which will be posted here on Ultimate Reloader shortly!
So you want to start loading rifle ammunition! Soon you’ll be realizing more accurate ammunition, complete control over cartridge characteristics, and also save a bunch of money. But first, there’s a bunch of information to absorb, and a bunch of things to buy. But what things to buy? That’s the reason for this article! There are certain things you’ll need, and certain things you’ll want. In this article I’ll introduce a list of the essentials and the “optionals”.
A good baseline equipment and components package for reloading rifle ammunition – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
The above picture gives you an idea of the equipment and supplies that will be needed to start loading rifle ammunition, but there are some things that just didn’t fit into the picture. You’ll also need media and machinery to clean cases for instance. For reference, here’s a “complete list” of the items that you’ll need to put on your shopping list or wish list:
Single stage, turret, or progressive reloading press
1 per cartridge (some shared)
Shellplate (if press is a progressive), Shellholder (if press is a turret or single stage)
1 per cartridge
Brass, previously fired or new
Brass tumbler and media
5lb+ per application
1000+ per application
Precision scale, digital or mechanical
1-20 per caliber
Ammo boxes (can reuse factory ammo boxes and trays)
Digital Caliper (0-6″)
1 per case size
Hand priming tool
Universal Reloading block
Chamfering and deburring tool
Bullet puller (impact type is most simple and cost effective)
Case lube and brush (required if your dies are not carbide or Titanium Nitride)
Case tumbling media (ground walnut shells, dried corncob)
Case tumbler (Vibratory cleaner or similar)
1 per primer size
Primer pocket reamer or swaging tool (if reloading crimped military brass such as 5.56x45mm or 7.62x51mm NATO)
It sounds like a lot of things to track down and buy, but most manufacturers make rifle loading kits that come with most of what you’ll need for a bare-bones reloading setup. Examples would be the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master reloading kit and the Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic reloading kit. In the next post in this series, I’ll give you a video walk-through of these components and systems. Stay tuned!
Do you see anything missing from the list above? Please leave a comment!
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