It’s been a lot of fun shooting videos and blogging about reloading since I started on YouTube in 2007. This past week the Ultimate Reloader YouTube Channel hit another milestone with over 16,000 subscribers and 5,000,000 total video views.
I want to personally thank all of the loyal readers and viewers that have made it possible to bring all of this content to you all. What’s the video with the most views you ask? It’s not one of the newer more polished videos, it’s a Lee Loadmaster video from 2009!
I hope you all will stick around for the next 5,000,000 views on the YouTube channel, and please let me know what you are interested in seeing- there’s still so much to talk about!
Above: some of the equipment I’ve published videos covering, from left: Lee Classic Cast Iron Turret Press, Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic, Redding T-7, Lee Loadmaster, Dillon XL-650, RCBS Pro-2000, Hornady Lock-N-Load AP, Redding Big Boss II.
The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP setup with the Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
Here we can see the Lock-N-Load AP setup with the following station utilization:
empty (great place for powder check)
And here’s a closeup shellplate view of the action while loading:
Loading .223 with the Lock-N-Load Rife Bullet Feeder – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
Let’s see the process of progressive reloading with this setup:
If you care about accuracy, you need to care about bullet concentricity. When evaluating a rifle reloading setup, I always use my concentricity gage to check bullet concentricity for the press/dies that are being utilized.
For the cartridges loaded in this session, I saw an average of less than +/- 0.001″ which is really good for a combination bullet feed and seat/crimp die setup. If more precise concentricity was needed, I still have an extra station (#5) which could be used with a traditional sliding collar seating die (Hornady rifle bullet seat die or Redding Competition Seating Die).
Overall, this bullet feed system worked great, and makes the rifle reloading process faster and more convenient. Stay tuned here because I’ve got a lot more planned with this system including showing the conversion kit for 30 caliber, and showing more reloading setups on more presses. Have something you want to see? Please leave a comment!
In this post I’ll cover the high-level details outlining the setup process for the Hornady Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder (.22 caliber in this case). Be sure to check out the video at the end of this post and the overview post if you haven’t already.
The Hornady Lock-N-Load Rifle Bullet Feeder setup on a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP progressive press – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
Fortunately, Hornady supplies an excellent owner’s manual with this rifle bullet feeder which guides you through the fine points of the setup procedure. To summarize, the following steps are involved:
Installing the support tube (brackets) – I have a single bolt which attaches the unit to my custom aluminum baseplate (two bolts are supplied). A positive side-benefit of the single bolt install is that you can “swing” the entire assembly which fine-tunes the drop tube spring “sag” – essential to get proper drop feeding
Installing and configuring the bullet feed die: (pivot block selection, bullet drop, bullet seat and bullet crimp)
Internals of the bullet feed die – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
In the above picture you can see all of the major components of the bullet feed die. There are three primary adjustments for the die:
Bullet seat depth
Crimp level (crimp is optional and does not take place if screw is backed out sufficiently)
Die height: bullet drop
Another key part of the setup procedure will depend on the specific bullets being used (length, profile, etc). This step involves adjustments in the case feed bowl.
Case feed bowl – Image copyright 2014 Ultimate Reloader
In the above picture you can see the primary adjustments that are made for each bullet type used: the feed wipers (top, springs and wingnuts), and the feed plate height (central knob and nut). It’s worth taking your time to ensure that these adjustments are made properly so that you don’t feed bullets upside-down.
Here’s a video that I put together that illustrates the setup process at a high-level:
Next, we’ll load some 5.56/.223 Remington, so stay tuned!
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!
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