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I made the plunge into the world of reloading, come critique my list

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by scrappydoo, May 13, 2011.

  1. scrappydoo

    scrappydoo Federal Way Active Member

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    It's an exciting day for me. I've wanted to reload for a while and finally got off the fence. After countless hours of research here's what I ordered last night. Grand total with shipping was $387. (hopefully I'm not overpaying) I ordered most of it from Titanreloading, and what they didn't have in stock I got from Midway.

    Lee Classic Turret Press
    Pacesetter 3-Die Set .223
    .223 Crimp Die (I screwed up on this one, and didn't realize the 3-die has this already)
    Pro Auto Disk Powder Measure
    Double Disk Kit
    Micro Disk
    Auto Disk Riser
    Safety Prime Feed Large and Small
    Spare Safety Prime bracket
    Safety Scale
    Primer Pocket Cleaner
    Chamfer tool
    Zip Trim
    Case Trimmer with Ball Grip
    Case Trimmer Cutter and Locking stud
    Case length gauge

    Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller
    Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Collet #2
    Smith & Wesson Electronic Caliper
    The Complete Reloading Manual .223
    100rd ammo box (I figure this can double as a reloading tray for now)

    I'm trying to decide between the Lee Modern Reloading Manual and The ABC's Of Reloading. Anyone have an opinion on which is better for a beginner? Also, what's the most common powder & bullet combo used by beginners? I'll pick all this stuff up after I get the equipment, along with some lube.
     
  2. Mathmattx

    Mathmattx Ellensburg Active Member

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    This is great..I am sure you'll find more stuff you cant live without as you get into it. Unless your only reloading new brass I would recommend the Hornady sonic cleaner. I have both an "old school" walnut media tumbler and a Sonic....Sonic will get every last bit of residue, even out of the primer pockets. As far as books...two things, I found Hornady's book only useful if your reloading Hornady bullets. Most powder manufactures have free publications and the Hogdon and several others have digital reloading guides online. You enter your specific info (powder, bullet weight, etc) and it gives you a range of recipes using many of their powders. Lastly, if I had only one book on my reloading bench...it would be the Lyman 49th. It is the most universal and helpful book I own. I ALWAYS find myself going back to it. I load .223, .45 (both colt and acp), 9mm luger, 380, .357 magnum. If your even in Cle Elum, WA their is an amazing store called Three Forks Ammo and Reloading, the guys run it that are like the "yoda's" of reloading (John, Chris and Cullen). I was in the field once with a problem, called in and they diagnosed it over the phone! their prices can not be beat, even online, and they are very generous with their time and resources. Didn't see a powder funnel in your list? Maybe you have a different press style than what I am thinking you do.
     
  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A couple of notes:

    Since it appears that you are loading primarily .223 you will no doubt be encountering some Mil-Surp brass. The BEST addition to your collection will be a Dillon Super Swage 600. Sure, it will cost you just under $100 but it will also give you the ability to swage out the crimps on the primer pockets without damaging by excessive reaming or chamfering of the primer pocket. There are a dozen "tips" out there on how to do this without a swaging tool but it is still the best way. Reaming can give you enlarged primer pockets that won't hold a primer after a couple of loads. Cutting out the crimp with the tip of a drill bit or the chamfer tool you have on your list will give you too much unsupported area in the pocket and primers will all look "overpressure". If you don't intend on using any Mil-Surp then the tool is unnecessary but if so, it's invaluable.

    I have well over 10,000 pieces of Lake City Mil-Surp brass that I load and pick up as much as I can as I go along. The Dillon tool is the fastest swaging tool out there and leaves a perfectly formed primer pocket without removing any metal.

    The other tool you will need if you are shooting the .223 in an AR is a Case Gauge. Some call it a cartridge headspace gauge but essentially it is a cylinder of metal that emulates the chamber in your rifle. It allows you to check or "gauge" each finished round to determine that it will slide into the chamber with ease, not hanging up and jambing the action. Also checks the "headspace" as well as OAL of the finished case. Use one of these and those FTF"s will be a thing of the past.

    As for Powder, I use "tons" of Accurate AA2230 for loads I shoot in my AR's. It's a good, inexpensive, clean burning, powder that was developed for the .223/5.56 round. For Bullets I use 55 gr. FMJ-BT with cannelures from Montana Gold. A case of bullets makes 3500 rounds. Lasts me a couple of months. Another good bullet is the Winchester Bulk bullet of the same type. I pick those up at Kesselring's when I make an "expedition" up north to pick up some "goodies".

    I load for my AR's using a maximum load as published by Accurate Powder. This works well in my guns but lighter loads are preferred by some. If you choose this powder you might want to start in the area of 22.5 gr and creep up as you desire in .3gr increments. 25.4 is my max load and it duplicates NATO performance in this round for M-193 ammo (3015 fps from my 16" Barreled AR's).

    The manuals you mentioned are both great. They both have good information but each is unique. The LEE is OK for loading basics. Has more detail for the Lead Casters and also has a great database of min/max loads for a huge range of calibers and bullets. A good resource even for the old hands at reloading. The "ABC's" has good step by step instructions and might be better for someone getting started. Get both and have all bases covered. If only one is in you budget then make it the LEE, for the database alone.
     
  4. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  5. scrappydoo

    scrappydoo Federal Way Active Member

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    Thanks so much for the info everyone. I'm gonna head out to the store and see what I can find locally. Deadshot, I really appreciate the recipe. Do you also have one for heavier bullets? I'd like to put my 1:7 twist to use.
     
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I've loaded some 77gr Sierra Match Kings (SMK) using 22 gr of AA2230. Worked OK but from a short barrel the performance was nothing for any record books. The only "heavier" bullet I use now is the 62 gr SS-109. My load for that round is 25 gr. AA2230.

    If you're planning on using the 77gr remember that the bullet's longer and that causes a reduction in available space in the case for powder. If shooting from an AR, with the 2.260" limitation on OAL your best speed will be about 2800fps. Most "recipes" will require you use a compressed load to get to that speed.

    The heavier bullet is desired for better performance at the more extreme distances but with a carbine length barrel that is somewhat moot. Bolt actions with 24" bbls are another story.