Posts Tagged ‘Reloading Videos’

RCBS Pro Chucker 5: Loading 40 S&W

Sunday, September 27th, 2015


It’s hard not to appreciate the 40 S&W cartridge. It’s compact, it’s powerful, and it’s very versatile at the range or for personal defense. Heck, if you reload your own ammo, you can practice with premium hollowpoints for near the same price as your “economy” reloads. Whether or not you carry your own reloaded ammo is a topic I won’t get into here (queue up the lawyers :) ).

Since getting my Glock 20, I’ve been eager to reload 40 S&W as it’s been a frequent go-to cartridge for me at the range. Since I’m working on the RCBS Pro Chucker 5/7 series, I thought this would be a great opportunity to pull out the RCBS pistol bullet feeder and show you this bullet feeder working together with the RCBS Pro Chucker 5!


As noted in the video below, I did encounter a bit of a surprise when mounting the bullet feeder, but the solution was quite simple and straightforward. In the RCBS Pro Chucker 5 loading 45 ACP post, I go over the basics of setting up dies in the “conventional/default” manner. Here, I’m using a variation of that setup, this time using the RCBS Bullet Feeder die in station 4, and a seating/crimping die setup in station 5:


Here’s what I’ve got going on here for die station utilization:

  1. Size/de-prime
  2. Expander
  3. Powder charge
  4. Bullet feeder
  5. Seat/crimp

This is just one of many different possibilities for die station utilization when using the RCBS bullet feeder on this press. With no dedicated powder check station, one MUST be committed to performing a visual powder level check for EVERY cartridge that goes through the press. Without this diligence, one is more vulnerable to squib loads (no charge) or double charges.

Here’s a video showing this setup in action, and using a case gage and barrel to check the cartridge dimensions:

I really like the combination of the basic press plus bullet feeder. It’s really nice to be able to keep one hand on the lever, and the other hand manipulating brass. The biggest win is to automate at least one of (bullet feed or case feed). Automating both is even better for throughput, but it comes at the cost of complexity and expense. Each reloader has to decide what’s best for them, and what they’ll get good “return on investment” for.

Stay tuned- more Pro Chucker content coming soon!


6.5mm Grendel: 308 Ballistics for the AR-15

Friday, September 4th, 2015


When Steve Lawrence from the 6.5 Guys asked if I’d like to shoot his AR-15 chambered in 6.5mm Grendel, I said: “Absolutely!”. We were up at the “Ultimate Reloader Outpost” working on another shooting project, and had some spare time. A great opportunity to try a new AR-15 chambering!

Prior to to this experience, I knew little about the 6.5mm Grendel cartridge, and had no idea why it was developed. Steve explained that this cartridge enables an AR shooter to achieve similar ballistics to 308 Winchester from a 6.5 mm cartridge that can be utilized by rifles built on the AR-15 platform. Since the AR-15 is more compact and lighter in weight, an AR-15 in 6.5mm Grendel is an interesting alternative to the AR-10/LR308 type platforms.

When I first picked up a 6.5mm Grendel cartridge, I thought- “Wow, that’s short and compact”. It’s actually derived from the 7.62x39mm cartridge, another popular chambering for the AR-15. By necking down the 7.62x39mm to 6.5mm, more velocity is attained from a similar powder charge.


Designed in 2003, he 6.5mm Grendel is a relatively new cartridge. The “short and compact” form factor is the result of the need for more powder capacity (compared with 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington) and to allow “room” for long slender high-BC bullet profiles. At the same time, the cartridge needs to fit into AR-15 length magazines. It’s a game of trade-offs, but the 6.5mm Grendel manages these trade-offs very well.

Here are the dimensions for the 6.5mm Grendel cartridge, from the cartridge diagrams page on


And here you can see the ballistically-similar 308 Winchester cartridge along side the 6.5mm Grendel. Different designs, different proportions, different bullet diameters, but similar trajectory. You may also notice here how Steve’s Lapua brass looks much nicer than my 7.62x51mm military brass.


Steve’s rifle means serious business. It features a 26 inch barrel, a huge muzzle brake, a two-stage trigger, and a Bushell HDMR scope held in place by a LaRue SPR quick-attach scope mount.

Here I am holding Steve’s rifle:


It’s interesting to handle rifles, examine cartridges, and to study specifications and ballistics. But the real story unfolds when you pick up the rifle and see what it (and the shooter) can do. Steve had a bunch of loaded rounds that he needed to shoot as a part of his brass preparation process, so I got to empty several magazines through the rifle. This was enough shooting to get some good mirage through the scope from the air passing over the hot barrel.

Here’s a quick video that shows me shooting Steve’s awesome rifle:

I did have one flier (first shot), but I managed to put 4 successive rounds into about 1/2″ at 100 yards at a pace of 3-4 seconds between shots. Get rid of the flier, and I’d be really happy with that.


Steve has spent quite a bit of time perfecting his loads for this cartridge and rifle. The load we were shooting is as follows:

  • Bullet: Hornady 123 grain AMAX
  • Federal small rifle match primer
  • 27.9 grains IMR 8208 XBR (Hodgdon lists 28.5 grains as max)
  • Lapua 6.5mm Grendel brass

Note: This load data is for reference only. Always cross-reference with manufacturer’s load data. Ultimate Reloader is not responsible for errors or possible issues you may have when using this load data. Use at your own risk.

Steve noted that for some reason, IMR 8208 XBR is used pretty much across the board by competitive shooters shooting 6.5mm Grendel- it seems to be just the right formulation for this unique cartridge and the peculiarities of the AR-15 platform.

It was a lot of fun to experience the 6.5mm Grendel, and I’m really impressed with Steve’s rifle and loads. It’s not hard to see why people like this cartridge. If you want to read more, check out these resources:


Cleaning Brass with the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Brass prep is a critical part of the reloading process, but it can be a huge pain to deal with. I’ve traditionally been a dry tumbler, but I’ve been curious to try some new processes including ultrasonic case cleaning, and stainless media wet tumbling. In this article I’ll give you the low-down on my experience cleaning 7.62x51mm (military 308 Winchester) brass with the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner.

A while back, I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but was gunked up with lube and looking dingy. Time to try out the RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner!

Here’s the brass before ultrasonic cleaning:


In my ultrasonic die cleaning video, I showed the RCBS Weapons Cleaning Solution in action. This time I’ll use a totally different solution, the RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). It’s *very* important that you use the proper cleaning solution for your application- if you use case cleaning solution on guns or other parts, you’ll likely compromise or ruin certain finishes (like blueing). With that in mind, I mixed up a batch of ~2 liters of case cleaning solution at a 30 parts water to 1 part solution ratio.


Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Drain and clean ultrasonic cleaner (I saved the solution I cleaned dies in because it was still rather clean)
  • Fill the ultrasonic cleaner with solution (I just pour in water and solution and mix in the stainless tub)
  • Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner, activate the heater, wait for it to come up to temperature
  • Set the appropriate time interval for your cleaning (I used 30 minutes)
  • Activate the cleaning cycle
  • Wait until cleaning cycle is done
  • Lift out basket, lightly shake/tip to remove excess solution
  • Dry cases (I put them in a tub in the sun, you can also use your oven at low temp)

And here’s a video that walks you through the process from start to finish:

After cleaning, the solution looked pretty dirty, so I threw it out. This solution is biodegradable, which makes disposal much more convenient!


And here’s what the cleaned cases looked like all steamy after being lifted out of the murky solution:


But perhaps this picture tells the story best, before (left) and after (right). What you don’t see here is that the insides are cleaned better than when you dry tumble.


It’s great to have another way to clean cases. Each method has its pros and cons, so having multiple methods gives you great flexibility. Do you have a favorite way to clean cases? Have you home-brewed your own ultrasonic case cleaning solution? Please leave a comment!


Cleaning Reloading Dies with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Disgusting. That’s the word I use to describe my crusty jar of mineral spirits that I use to clean dies. It’s a mess to use, and when I blow dry the dies there’s a fine mist of mineral spirits that you can smell in the shop air. You may know the feeling: the excitement of unboxing dies, and the realization that you’ll need to spend 15-20 minutes cleaning them until they are “de-gunked” of the factory oil and ready to use in your press. I’ll admit, I’ve used dies without cleaning them, and while it may not cause many problems, at minimum they can coat your fingers with oil each time you touch them. It’s not satisfying to use dies that have gummed up factory oil on them: I don’t even like the look of oiled-up dies on my presses. For me, it’s time to turn the page- I’m hoping I’ve found a better way to keep my dies clean. We’ll see!


After getting a new RCBS ultrasonic cleaner, I thought I should give that a try instead of my old crusty jar. RCBS has both “Weapons Cleaning Solution” (intended for guns and gun parts) and “Case Cleaning Solution” (intended for brass). Since reloading dies are pretty much like gun parts, I thought I would give the Weapons Cleaning Solution a try. The RCBS Weapons Cleaning Solution comes in a 32 fluid oz. container that has a handy built-in measuring/dispensing chamber. The instructions state that you should use a minimum of 40 parts water to 1 part cleaning solution, up to a maximum of 14 parts water to 1 part cleaning solution. I chose a middle value of 30 parts water to 1 part solution when I mixed the batch used for this article and video.

RCBS Weapons Cleaner

Here’s the video, which shows the setup, cleaning cycle, and drying procedure that I used to clean some brand new RCBS 45 ACP dies:

Here’s how the parts came out of the cleaner (after some drying time):

RCBS Dies Drying

After the parts were completely dry, they felt clean, and according to RCBS they now have a protective film of corrosion protection. Thankfully, this film of protection is not something that’s apparent when you handle the parts. That would defeat the purpose of cleaning new dies wouldn’t it?

I think I’ll go and clean my first batch of brass with this Ultrasonic Cleaner!

Talk to you all soon,

RCBS Pro Chucker 5: Press Assembly Part 2

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

In this post, I’ll continue where we left of in my last post (see RCBS Pro Chucker 5 Press Assembly Part 1) by taking on the assembly of the new-and-improved RCBS Uniflow powder measure. This new version of the Uniflow that’s included with the Pro Chucker 5 features some great updates that include a quick-change metering insert system, and a “universal drum” that’s used for both rifle metering inserts and pistol metering inserts.

Here’s what the new Uniflow powder measure looks like installed on the press:

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 Powder Measure Assembled 500

In the video below, I’ll show the process of assembling the powder measure from the parts and sub-assemblies that come with the press as pictured here:

RCBS Pro Chucker 5 Powder Measure Parts 1200

You can watch here:

Now that we’ve unpacked, mounted, and assembled the press, I think it’s time to start cranking out some ammo! Stay tuned for the next post and video which will cover loading 45 ACP. Can’t wait!