Reloading to get the most out of your ammo.

So, TLP asked me in a pm about me running a 243win out to 1200yds, essentially asking because he didnt think it would do it. Most of the hunting ammo out there for a 243, yeah, youre not hitting 1200 yards with any accuracy or consistency. But, I reload, and use some amazing BC bullets. As I was telling TLP, my load is a weak load, that goes trans sonic around 1100-1200 yards based on the weather and other atmospheric conditions I was shooting in the other day. Its actually a very slow load that a max load 308 185gr Berger Juggernaut load could beat in drops and windage, but it beats the 168gr bullets most shoot. Kick it up to my max load that eats my barrel, and I am smoking it, and have a lot less drop, and depending on weather, can make it to 1500 yards before going trans sonic. But, like I said, it eats a barrel up, so I keep it slow since my purpose is fulfilled at the much lower velocity.

The point of all this? How many of you reload for your rifles? I reload for rifle and pistol, pistol mostly because of the amount I shoot (I ran 500 rounds the other day out of one pistol to finish my day at the range and can shoot up to 200 rounds in some of the competitions). I reload my rifle rounds for accuracy. My two 243 loads are bug hole shooters if I do my part, that is they all hit the same hole at 100yds. It took a lot of load development to get to that, and to get my velocity spread down to low double, high single digit spreads, as in my bullets all have a muzzle velocity within 14fps of each other.

All that and Im not a spectacular shot, and not the best reloader, but I share because its a valuable skill to have for many reasons.

So, we will start here: How many of you reload, or at least are interested in serious reloading?


  • I actually am hoping to start reloading pistol ammo. One of the reasons I moved to Jersey was to get an apartment big enough for a reloading bench.
    I shoot .44 and .38, and buying them retail is not realistic.

    I just hope I don't blow a tube full of primers through the roof!

  • If you blow primers like that, you did something seriously wrong! I'm not a tube fan to begin with, but some of the better presses use the tube, so....
  • I used to load pistol, rifle and shotgun. It's been so long now I would probably fumble through it a few times. Shouldn't take long to get back on my game. Still have all three presses somewhere at my old mans house, along with enough supplies to last a while.

  • The Old Timer Rolls Royce Mechanic across the street from My shop has A Bunch of Reloading Equipment that he is looking to "Leave To" some of his Relatives. So Far, I have been the only one of his "Heirs" to Show Any Interest in the Hobby...

    I Hope He Remembers Me in his Final "Papers"...

    Other Than That... I Pay Retail... :D

  • Got a re loader and reload.


    Sometimes it is worth it. Sit back have a cool drink and crank out a few hundred rounds. But I look back and sometimes wonder if it is worth it after investing in the reloader dies tumbler and all the little parts and pieces.
  • edited August 3

    I've picked my setup like Johnny Cash sang about..... ONE PIECE AT A TIME.
    I have three older LEE single-stage presses, one LEE hand press, a RCBS powder thrower that I earmark for Rifle powder and a LEE for Pistol, and the rest is a similar hodgepodge .
    I bought my stuff years ago at yard sales for pennies on the dollar from Old Timers who were getting out of reloading and were very happy to help out a young fellow just getting started.
    I also was given an older LEE Furnace with some lead and cast bullets from a older fellow that I was doing Hospice care for.
    Another old retired gunsmith dropped off a big box of bullet molds as a thank you for me helping him out after his wife passed that my wife and I had been taking care of.
    I sold off the ones that I didn't need and kept the ones that I did.

    A few years ago when we were moving I got rid of a lot of die sets that I had picked up over the years and sold them on EBAY along with other reloading stuff that was just triples of what I already had.
    I now only have the following:
    .45 acp
    .30 carbine
    .300 win mag

    Looking to pick up some more bullet molds and handles, just haven't found what I want at the prices that I'm willing to pay.
    I have about a dozen molds for modern rounds and then four BP ones in .32, .44, .50 Round Ball and Mini Balls.
    But this winter I am looking forward to finally getting off my ass and get my 5-thousand 9mm and about 3-thousand .45acp brass all loaded up with cast bullets, boy do I envy you guys with progressive presses !

  • I've been considering getting set up to reload. I love to shoot and have several thousand rounds of spent brass. I mainly shoot .223/5.56, 9m and .45 ACP. and on occasion some .35 Rem and .308. I am thinking of a progressive press but can't decide which one to get.
  • What do you plan on doing on the progressive, everything?
  • I will eventually. I'll just start with .223/5.56 and 9mm.
  • If you want one and done, get a Dillon if you want a quality do it all progressive. If you want more than one press and want to save money short term, get a Lee Loadmaster. I have a Lee Pro1000 which isn’t as robust as the load master and it can do 308, but I don’t do them on there often because my 308 and 308based rounds are all precision’s loads. Knowing what I know now, I would get a Dillon 650 for my “bulk” ammo loads and a Forster CoAx for my precision and be done if I was just starting out. They cost more, but serve their purposes better than most any other press out there.

    But again, if you’re not concerned with top quality, just get it done reliably, Lee is the way to go. Cheap but quality, and reliable.
  • I just looked at the Dillon 650, NICE! But way too rich for my pocketbook. I'l have to stick with a manual progressive press. I did like the price of the Dillon 550C though. I have been eyeballing the Hornaday AP progressive they are about the same price.
  • I have the Dillion 650. I sold off the 550 to pay for it.

    Solid machine. But I like the 550 better.

    But honestly Single stage is just as fun. Much more like reallly reloading something special or hand crafted.
  • Single stage pistol loading SUCKS when you puts 2-500rds down range 2-4 times a month plus steel matches.

    If you’re medium volume, the 550 would be a great way to go. If you’re low volume overall but would load a LOT at one sitting, Lee may just be the way to go if you’re 308win or smaller and you want to save money.

    If you really just want to buy one and done, hold out for the 650, it will do a lot more and/or more easily than any other we discussed so far, the 550 would be the next best, Lee Loadmaster, Lee Pro1000, best to worst IMHO.
  • Just picked up a tumbler, media,sifter and manual. Still trying to decide which press, so far the 650 appears to be the way to go. two more weeks and it will be order the press time.
  • Ive been reloading since 2004, primarily .45, .223, and 308 although Im setup for 9mm, 6.8 SPC, and .300 blk. I still have the original RCBS Partner press I bought for .45s back when I shot a lot on Ft Hood, still use it for crimping (lightly with a Lee crimp die) rifle brass on loads with a cannelure. My main press for rifle rounds is a RCBS Rock Chucker, and I have a mix of RCBS, Lee, and Dillon die sets. I use a hand priming tool for priming, RCBS Chargemaster scale/powder dump, and a Giraud trimmer that paid for itself in convenience the first time I knocked out a gallon ice cream tub of .223 brass in 15 minutes. Been eyeballing a Dillon 650XL for about a decade, but over the last couple years Ive gotten pretty lazy and bought a ton of factory ammo instead. Component wise I have more than Ill probably ever need, someday Ill get caught up with it all.
  • edited December 9
    I'm going to order the Dillon 650 next week. You guys that already reload , How tall is your bench? What I need now is to build a loading bench. I'm thinking 6ft long by 2ft deep top, but how tall do I make the bench, meaning desk top or counter top?
  • I suggest “bar” height. You can stand comfortably or use a barstool. Mine is a touch lower than that but adjustable stools make it work.
  • I would go with bar height and probably regular counter top width. I have mine mounted like that.

    Makes it nice sitting on a barstool
  • I have a couple of the Gladiator benches from Sears, kinda pricey but theyre solid. I drilled and secured my presses directly to the table, also have a 4" vise on one corner for installing muzzle devices and torquing barrels and receiver extensions.
  • edited 12:20AM
    Tanks for the ideas , I will wait until the press arrives and experiment with different rent heights.
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