Question about reloading rifle ammo
Ive been reloading pistol ammo for quite awhile for uspsa and idpa. Since I shoot volumes of ammo I don't worry about making them pretty. I just tumble my brass, clean off the media, spray a little dry lube and load on my square deal. Reloading for pistol is easy and simple. That being said I think im going to pick up a dillon 650 and start reloading 300blackout and maybe 223.
So im curious about what extra steps are required for rifle ammo?
Ive heard the case stretches and has to be trimmed, is this every time I reload it or only on hot rounds?
Or am I wrong and I can just load like ive been loading pistol?
Any input is appreciated.
With bottle neck cartridges, there are more than a few steps that are required, that one doesn't have to perform when loading pistol carts.
Best to get a manual and read the 'rifle' part.
You 'might' not have to trim after every cycle, but you'll want to buy a trimmer, if you start loading, because at some point, you will have to trim your cases.
Lubing cases before sizing is another task, as is proper headspacing during the sizing process.
You need to read up on it. The 650 is a great press, so you're fine on that front. I use the 550b and it suits my needs perfectly.
Garret has it right.
At the very least, get a caliper
to measure the case length. There are lots of threads here saying "My cases get stuck in the chamber and the bolt won't go into battery" yada yada. Most of these can be prevented by case length trimming.
There is also a bullet case gauge
you can get. Put the case into the gauge; if the base of the bullet protrudes from the gauge, it must be trimmed. This gauge will also help you in properly resizing the case, because the shoulder of the bullet must be properly resized. I've never used one though. I just go with the caliper.
Some people will go ballistic over this: I set up my Dillon to reload my .223 ammo, and leave the resizing die a little loose. I run one bullet through at a time, then check to see that it chambers properly. The first 2-3 rounds or so are usually a little tight, but eventually I get to where the bullets will seat properly. Then, I lock down the sizing die and go into production.
Other than the trimming, I find reloading bottleneck cartridges easier than pistol cartridges. Maybe it's because I started out reloading for rifle first. One big difference is you must lube the cases so they don't get stuck in dies, however you don't have to flare case mouths and crimping is an optional step. Another difference is the types of powder used nearly fill the cartridge, so there's less worries of double charging cases.
Thanks guys, how many times do you normally get out of a case? rough average.
I just remembered I would have to watch out for crimped primers also.
Up in Tutorials, there is a 4 part "how to reload 223" that will answer your questions.
You do not need to lube your cases if you neck size. Neck sizing makes the brass last longer, but should only be done for a bolt action or single shot rifle. I neck size my 7.62x54r loads and am probably on my 10th loading with them. I full length size my 223 brass and am probably on my 6th loading with them.
Compared with pistol cartridges, reloading rifle rounds is a PITA.
With pistol, I can zip through reloading many hundreds of rounds.
Pistol rounds lend themselves to easy, high volume reloading.
Bottle neck cartridges require lubrication inside the neck, and at the shoulder,
prior to sizing. IMO, this lubrication should be removed at some time before
chambering to round to be fired. This adds two steps to the reloading process.
Also, case length will grow with resizing with bottle neck cartridges.
Trim your cartridges to minimum length the 1st time you reload them.
Keep you cartridges in a batch, and periodically check the length to see if
you need to trim again each time you reload.
You can extend you case life, and reduce the need to trim, if you don't over do the
resizing. Just push the shoulder back a few thousandths of an inch each time.
If you push the shoulder back more, you will have a more reliable "combat" round,
but you will harden your brass and shorten the life span of your case.
If the primer in the brass has been crimped, you will have to buy a swage to
remove the crimp. You only have to remove the crimp the 1st time you reload
The bad news is, when you pick up brass on the range, if you get any uncrimped brass
in your batch, the will jam the priming station of your reloading press and require
disassembly of the press to clear the problem.
Loading military rifle rounds sucks compared with reloading pistol rounds.