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Reloading/Handloading Page

    This is a page of information about reloading/handloading your own ammunition. As a disclaimer, the information presented here is not meant to be a bible of handloading. Always stick to manufacturers' recommendations if there is any question about a load. This is stuff that works for me, with my rifle. It may not work for you.

     My brother and I recently got into reloading, and since we were having so much fun doing it, I figured I would put a section up on my webpage about the topic to share with others. In this page, I'll talk about why I reload, what equipment I reload with, what cartridges I load, and my results thus far.


    -Why I Reload:
            I started reloading mostly to save money. After working out the math, I figured that I could reload my .303 British brass for about 32 cents a shot, as opposed to buying factory ammo for $1 a shot. In the end I have realized that I haven't saved as much money as I thought. I still spend about the same (ok, a little less) amount per month on ammunition as I did before: The difference is that I shoot three times as much!

    -Should you Reload?:
            Well, that depends on what you shoot. Some centerfire cartridges simply aren't worth reloading. Take the 7.62x39 for example. You can go out and buy a 500 round can for 50 bucks. That's 10 cents a shot. You'd be lucky to reload for that. Then again, if you shoot a 30-30, 30-06, 308, 303, 300 Whby Mag, 375 H&H, 45-70 Gov't, etc..., then reloading is a viable option for you to get more economical ammuntion that is custom tailored to you needs (ie. you can load bullet weights and styles you can't buy in factory form).

    -What I Reload with:
            This is a list of equipment that I have for reloading. My brother had an RCBS J.R. Press(new) given to him by a friend, and that got us started on reloading. We also got a Lee Anniversary Reloading Kit (new) that came with a set of .303 British dies off of Ebay for some extra stuff that isn't essential but makes the process of reloading easier. To date we have:

                    -RCBS J.R. O-Frame Press
                    -LEE Challenger O-Frame Press
                    -LEE Powder Scale (2)
                    -LEE Perfect Powder Measure
                    -LEE Auto Prime (super handy)
                    -LEE Case Lube
                    -LEE Chamfer, Primer Pocket, and Case Cutter tools
                    -Shell Holders
                    -RCBS 30-30 Win. dies
                    -LEE .303 British dies with collet crimper
                    -Speer and Sierra Reloading Manuals
                    -Calipers to measure case length

    -What you Need to Reload:
            This is a list of the bare essentials to reload a few boxes of ammo. Be advised that if you want to continue to reload, you should probably get some other stuff (ie. case trimmer, powder measure, etc.) but this equipment will allow you to get your feet wet and try reloading.
                    -O-Frame Press (RCBS, LEE, Redding, etc.)
                    -Powder Scale (calibrated in grains)
                    -Case Lube
                    -Reloading Manual (SPEER, Hornady, Sierra, etc..)
                    -Dies and shell holder for your cartridge

Alternatively, you could get a LEE Loader for your caliber, which combines the functions of the above into a small kit. However, if you want to increase your production or expand the calibers that you reload for, you're out of luck. More about the LEE Loader later.

Cartridges I Load

    -.303 British Loads

            Varmints and Target Shooting:
                For varmints (coyote and smaller), I use a  .303(.311) 125gr. Sierra ProHunter SP, #2035, loaded into a neck sized case with 42gr. of IMR-4064 behind it. This load is straight out of the Sierra loading manual, and has an approx. velocity of 2600fps. At these speeds this bullet, designed for the 7.63x39, deforms and expands rapidly, producing quick humane kills on smaller game. However, because of this, penetration is quite low, and on larger game (such as deer) this bullet will expand and disintegrate before reaching the vital organs and could create a superficial wound (note: this is not a problem with a 7.62x39 because the velocities are low enough not to tear the bullet apart on impact). Thus, this load should not be used on deer and other medium game. Also, the core of this Sierra bullet (at least the ones I have) seems to separate from the jacket upon expansion. Not a problem with varmints and target shooting, but not good for weight retention in larger game. Recoil is light, so sustained bench shooting is quite comfortable.  Picture of Round

               Deer and other Medium Game:
                I'll fill this in as I collect more data.

                I'll fill this in as I collect more data.

                I'll fill this in as I collect more data.

    -30-30 Winchester Loads

            Varmints and Plinking:
                For shooting varmints and various kinds of produce, my brother loads a .30 (.308) 110gr Speer Varminter® HP, #----, into full length resized 30-30 cases. 35gr of IMR-4064 is used for propellent. This load is out of the SPEER reloading manual. The explosive expansion of this bullet at almost any velocity makes it a good choice for shooting varmints and produces spectacular results on cans of soda and old fruit. Unfortunately, this expansion imbeds lead fragments all through its unlucky target, so it is not recomended for shooting any type of animal for food. It is also not suitable for taking larger game, such as deer, due to insufficient penetration and the possibilty of a superficial wound.


©2003 Stephen Phillips, Stib Inc.
Disclaimer: All content
is the opinion of the owner.