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Thoughts on 60 years of Reloading Login/Join 


Picture of Sawfish
When I loaded my first cartridges almost sixty years ago, I started with a hammer powered Lee Loader. Loading for a war surplus M98 Mauser purchased from Montgomery Wards, I was able to fashion cartridges that were reasonably accurate (3" at 100 yds.. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse.) Had sufficient power to kill a deer, as evidenced by being able to shoot through a 2-3" pine sapling. No chronograph necessary. My entire reloading kit (including components) fit into a shoe box with room to spare. Cartridges were expensive back then costing anywhere from $3.50-$10.00 per box, depending on what you shot and where you shopped. I could manufacture a box of 20 deer loads for less that $1.50. The driving force for reloading was purely economic. Once I learned (or believed) that factory cartridges were not as accurate as expected, I concluded that I could make better and more accurate ammunition than the factories and cost be damned. Traveling down that slippery slope, the little shoe box has burgeoned into a massive loading bench packed with tools and components that takes up 1/3 of our garage, and the monster keeps growing. Sometimes, I miss that little shoe box.

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Posts: 3316 | Location: Peoples Republic of Kalifornia | Registered: March 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Magnum Mike
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Whew, I get the whole "Sometimes, I miss that little shoe box". Having compiled (or filled) an entire building with handloading "stuff", I sometimes feel overwhelmed myself!! The last several years I have tried to eliminate some cartridges, to pare things down a tad, but it seems I just find something else to replace the one I just got rid of! laugh

I've only been loading my own for 40+ years so I still have a lot to learn. Wink I also started loading my own for economy. In my case it was for the need of more ammo. I had started competing regularly and couldn't afford to do so on factory ammo. Loading my own also gave me the option of loading rounds to my gun which turned out to really improve accuracy.

Eventually handloading turned into a hobby all its own. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to spend hours at the bench coming up with exciting new combinations to try from the various handguns/rifles I owned. Whether for accuracy, a specific hunting need or just plinking, I had THE right load! Heck, I had more partial boxes of bullets than most gun shops had boxes of loaded ammo! laugh It all came full circle and handloading became a means to an end, the search for accuracy.

Today I load ammo differently than those early days but still with similar goals.


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Posts: 19249 | Location: western PA, USA! | Registered: October 30, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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I used to be amazed at some guys reloading benches years ago as a kid. I was 7-8 first time I reloaded anything. Pulled the handle on a PW shots shell reloader. That was and is a fantastic piece of equipment.
Now I am one of those old farts with to many projects and not enough time it seems. My last count a while back on die sets was 160 some paperbag Maybe a dozen sets of duplicates. The thing is I own or owned guns in all those calibers nuts Some I wish I had back, others I am glad they are gone.
Casting enabled me to shoot a lot of odd balls, at least that is my excuse.

Got another itch a while back, I was informed of the location of some 505 Gibbs brass, bullets and dies. I gotta out do my buddy with the 458 Lott. Been poking around for a rifle now lol.

G whiz, it's a Contender or a G2, never was G1!
Posts: 2826 | Location: Kansas U.S of A | Registered: November 01, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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Now you know you are into reloading when you buy everything to load a cartridge and THEN start looking for a gun. laugh

I started somewhere around 30 years ago and the two main goals were to save money and more accurate ammo. Well that room full of various odds and ends, powder, bullets and no telling what else kinda shot the saving money in the foot. Then I've always like to be different and you can't go the the box stores or even the local gun store and buy ammo for my 25 Creedmoor or 257 JDJ or even my 7mm TCU.

Posts: 950 | Location: Georgia | Registered: September 19, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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I too have so much stuff..
Here awhile back.. was digging around the old loading bench.. found stuff...I couldn't remember what it was for !!
Posts: 44 | Location: Missouri | Registered: June 02, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Duffy
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Originally posted by BruceP:
Now you know you are into reloading when you buy everything to load a cartridge and THEN start looking for a gun. laugh

HEY, I resemble that remark! laugh
Have pretty much always done it that way from the beginning. Find a caliber that I want, buy up the components and throw a few together before the gun arrives. Took up reloading mainly for cutting costs in the beginning. Closest place to buy ammo at a reasonable price was 80 miles away so started reloading. Was glad to have help from a neighbor that lived about 3 miles down the road who had been loading since the late 50's early 60's. Goes to show you how far a little help you give to a young reloader can go a long way.

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A body at rest stays at rest, until the wife shows up.
Posts: 4605 | Location: Odessa Wa. | Registered: September 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

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I also stated with the Lee hammer loader for 30-06 40 years ago. Loaded for a Mark X Viscount 98 Mauser action commercial rifle. Used IMR 4350 with Speer 150 BT soft point, CCI 200 with Military cases. I had saved a bunch of these cases from all the ammo that my cousin used to bring me a few years earlier for my first high power rifle which was a Remington 1903A3 Springfield that was UNISSUED NEW in 1970 and cost $40. A local K-Mart type store had shopping carts full of these rifles in boxes. My cousin was in the national guard and every month when he went to muster he brought me a 250 round can of ammo. Most was black tip AP ammo. That rifle beat the snot out of me as a 120 lb soaking wet high school kid bug I learned to really shoot that thing. Kept it for 4 years but traded it for a Marlin 336 30-30 Win because it handled better in the laurel thickets of the mountains of TN deer hunting. I moved to east NC and thought I needed something with a little more reach so I traded the 30-30 for the Mark X 30-06. This rifle shot pretty accurately with my handloads made with the Lee hammer set once I found enough cases that would fit the chamber of the Mark X. The Lee only neck sized the case so you really needed to use cases that had been fired in the rifle you were loading for. I really found out how accurate this rifle was when I got a real press and powder scale. 59 grs IMR 4350 with those Speer 150 BTs was a bug hole shooter and deer killer. I also started out loading 38 Special ammo with the Lee hammer set but found that I had trouble getting the shells to fit the cylinders with swapping them from one to the other until they fit. Was not long until I got a press and dies and powder scale and could load some really good ammo. I actually found the 38 Special Lee hammer set the other day digging through some of my stuff. I still use the de-priming tool for the old 30-06 set to de-prime military 7.62x51 that has crimped in primers when needed. I have a room full of loading stuff these days.
Posts: 1118 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of moe
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Started at 67. Actually started with a Rock Chucker (I think), RCBS for sure. Load more calibers now. Single shots were awesome, 10 or 20 at a time.
Posts: 1951 | Location: Sierra Vista, AZ | Registered: December 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post


Picture of IKE
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I started reloading 34 years ago on a lightly used Rock Chucker setup that I traded labor for while working evenings and weekends for a gunsmith buddy at the time.....I've never upgraded and still load them one at a time on the Rock Chucker, when I was competing in three IHMSA matches a month and our local military bolt rifle match twice a month plus plinking and hunting ammo sometimes it seemed like I was spending every evening after work reloading but I like reloading and never have considered it a chore.

For while I've been going to the range twice a week and shooting a minimum of 200 rounds of 45 ACP in my M1911's so I reload more 45 ACP than anything else now but being retired since 4-2015 I have plenty of time.

Now all I need to do is hire me a cute little honey to do all the bending over to pick up my fired brass and clean my guns for me. Smile

This message has been edited. Last edited by: IKE,

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Posts: 536 | Location: Central Okla. | Registered: December 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of tdoyka
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i guess i was 19 or 20 when i first started. i am 47, that makes it....27 or 28 years i have reloaded. i forgot what factory ammo costs. when the price went up(7.99 for 20 cartridges/30-30 went to 10.99) i said "thats it, its time to reload." i bought a lyman kit($300+/-) and i started to reload. i put the lyman turret away and i got the lee classic cast press.i have many powder measure scales, but i like hornady locknload auto charge. last year(i think, it could be 2) i was done buying dry media for tumbling cases. i use a harbor freight rock tumbler and ss pins. i use dawn dish soap and a jug of lemi shine. i also use 99% isopropyl alcohol and pure lanolin to lube up my cases. i have a can or two of hornady one shot spray, but i don't use them. i guess i'm a do it yourself guy laugh

i've gotten away from jacketed bullets(except the 20vt/32gr hp), i use cast boolits. along the way, i found dacron. i just luv dacron!!!!! a tuft of dacron over the powder charge, top it off with a cast boolit and waalaa, you are on your way to find a recoil-proof load.

i use/used 20 vartarg, 223, 22-50ai, 243, 25-06, 6.5 creedmoor, 270, 7-08, 7 mauser, 30-30, 30-40 krag, 308, '06, 35/30 win, 9.3x57, 44spl, 44 mag, 444 marlin, 45-70, 500 linebaugh and a few that i can't remember. the powders that i use/used are many, but alliant 2400 and unique are my first choice.

i also can resize cases(oh boy ohboy) . i use a 30-06 case to make a 270 case. i use it because i load for my little brother(270) with h4831 and mine with imr4350 with the same bullet. 30-30 to 35/30, 221 rem fireball to 20vt, 8x57 to 9.3x57.......its just sumthin to do.

there are times that it should 1 rifle and 1 factory load, but where's the fun in that!!!!

“All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.”
― Nikola Tesla
Posts: 1597 | Location: windber, pa | Registered: January 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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