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Thread: Noob to reloading looking to pick it up as a hobby for my Tikka T3 30.06 need help

  1. #1
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    Default Noob to reloading looking to pick it up as a hobby for my Tikka T3 30.06 need help

    I am considering taking up handloading as a hobby as well as I think it will make taking a animal a little more special if I took it with a load I made. I have never hand loaded and my previous choice of round has always been the winchester XP3 165gr rounds. They hold a group like nothing I have shot before and both bears I dropped were clean in/out kills with minimal meat damage due to hydroshock. So my question is what would one suggest for a 1st time hand loader for equipment and what do those of you with a Tikka find the best for accuracy and stopping power.


    Thanks

    Ryan

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    the new lefty

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    You may be able to find used equipment on the Alaska List. Rockchucker press, dies, scale, case trimmer, powder trickler, and the list goes on. A good reloading book, Nosler, Speer, Hornaday. A mentor to get you started. A cronograph helps in load development. I don't own a Tikka but check to see if those 165 grain bullets you like are available and use those to reload.

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    I just started about a year ago. What I did, based on advice here, was buy the book first. I have several now, but I think I started with the Lee manual. Once I read it and understood the process I started window shopping and getting touchy feely with the equipment in stores so I could visualize what I had read. I picked up and still use a single stage press and I'm loading for 3 rifles and 2 handguns.

    One of the rifles I load for is a Tikka T3 in .30-06. I has liked everything I've conjured up so far. I have 150, 165, 180 and 190gr loads and they've all performed well at the range. As a result I find I'm shooting that rifle a lot more than I ever did back when I was buying factory cartridges.

    I work on post. If you're back I'd be willing to sit down and chat with you anytime.

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    Ryan sounds good I am not back yet but will be shortly. I am also going to be working with Alaskan matt who does all his own hand loads and is a good friend of mine to try and develop some loads

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    IMO Nosler makes the best loading manual, they're due to come out with a new printing very soon - You won't be able to find the XP3 bullets for loading (yet anyway) but Accubonds should be pretty close in performance and for practice, Ballistic Tips will give you a good representative of accuracy and velocities potential - 30.06 components of good quality are available all over, Nosler makes great brass as does Lapua but alot of people that have been loading for longer than I use W/W, Remington and military - I've had great luck with Federal 210M primers, H4350, RL-17, IMR4350 and Varget (for starters anyway)

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    Look around for an RCBS kit or buy one at a local Sportsman's Whse. Buy a couple reloading manuals, a couple boxes of different primers and a few pounds of different powders.

    Read the manuals, load and shoot.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    Default 10 Advices for the Novice Handloader

    Welcome to reloading and thanks for asking our advice. Thank you for serving our country as well.

    Anyone who can follow a recipe in the kitchen or change a tire can handload safely. It just takes care and a bit of humility. Handloading is not rocket science, but it does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast, so care is to be taken.

    I have thought of a few things I think are useful for handloaders to know or to consider which seem to be almost universal, so I put together this list.

    So much is a matter of personal taste and circumstance, though. So, all advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".

    So you can better evaluate my words, here is the focus of my experience. I load for handguns (44 Mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 454 Casull, 9mm, 357 Mag, 480 Ruger) a couple hundred per sitting and go through 100 to 400 centerfire rounds per month. I don't cast....yet.

    When I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought, at the same time, a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly. I did not use a loading bench at all. I just mounted my press on a 2 x 6 plank long enough to wedge into the drawer of an end table.

    I still believe in a minimalist approach and and try to keep my inventory of tools low. I do not keep my loading gear set up when not in use, either, but pack them away in small toolboxes until the next loading session.

    Now, here are my Ten Advices.

    Advice #1 Use Reliable Reference Sources Wisely - Books, Videos, Web Sites, etc.

    Study up in loading manuals until you understand the process well, before spending a lot of money on equipment.

    I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Short on loading data but full of knowledge and understanding of the process. Check out offerings in your local library. Dated, perhaps but the basics are pretty unchanging. I am told the older editions are better than the newer ones, so the library is looking even better.

    Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps found in their early chapters. The reason you want more than one or two manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well so give better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others.

    As far as load data in older manuals, the powder manufacturers and bullet manufacturers may have better information and their web sites are probably more up to date. But pay attention to what the ammunition was test-fired from. (regular firearm vs a sealed-breech pressure test barrel, for example)

    The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy.

    There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started.

    Richard Lee's book "Modern Reloading" has a lot of food for thought, and does discuss the reasoning behind his opinions (unlike many manuals, and postings). Whether right or wrong, the issues merit thought, which that book initiates. It is not a simple book, though and you will find it provocative reading for many years.

    Only after you know the steps can you look at the contents of of a dealer's shelves, a mail-order catalog or a reloading kit and know what equipment you want to buy. If you are considering a loading kit, you will be in a better position to know what parts you don't need and what parts the kits lack.

    Advice #2 All equipment is good. But is it good FOR YOU?

    Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Better equipment costs more generally. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive but not so abrasion resistant as cast iron. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Aluminum generally takes more cleaning and lubrication to last forever. Lee makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker, though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes. Just think about what you buy. Ask around. Testimonials are nice. But if you think Ford/Chevy owners have brand loyalty, you have not met handloaders. Testimonials with reasoning behind them are better. RCBS equipment is almost all green, Dillon, blue, Lee red. Almost no manufacturers cross color lines and many handloaders simply identify themselves as "Blue" or whatever. Make your own choices.

    On Kits: Almost every manufacturer makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is decent way to get started. Eventually most people wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops, but you will have gotten started, at least.

    On Kits: Almost every manufacturer (and most major retailer) assembles a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is a decent way to get started without too much prior experience. Eventually most reloaders wind up replacing many of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops (negating the savings you thought the kit gave you), but you will have gotten started, at least.

    On building your own kit: The thought processes you give to assembling your own kit increases your knowledge about reloading. You may get started a couple weeks later than if you started with a kit, but you will be far ahead in knowledge.

    Advice #3 While Learning, don't get fancy Progressive or Single Stage? Experimental loads? Pushing performance envelopes?

    While you are learning, load mid-range at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the mechanical steps of loading right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, bullet seating depth, primer seating force, all that). Use a "fluffy" powder that is, one that will overflow your cartridge case if you mistakenly put two powder charges in it.

    Learn on a single stage press or a turret press. While you can learn on a progressive press, in my opinion too many things happen at the same time, thus are hard to keep track of (unless you load singly at first). Mistakes DO happen and you want to watch for them ONE AT A TIME. Until handloading becomes second nature to you.

    Note: A turret press is essentially a single stage press with a moveable head which can mount several dies at the same time. What makes it like a single stage rather than a progressive is that you are still using only one die at a time, not three or four dies simultaneously at each stroke.

    On the Turret vs Single stage the decision is simpler. You can do everything on a Turret EXACTLY the same way as you do on a single stage (just leave the turret stationary). That is, a Turret IS a single stage if you don't rotate the head.

    Learning on a progressive can be done successfully, but it is easier to learn to walk in shoes than on roller skates.

    Also, a good, strong, single stage press is in the stable of alost every reloader I know, no matter how many progressives they have. They always keep at least one.

    Advice #4 Find a mentor.

    There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers; 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")

    I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.

    After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.

    Advice #5 Design your loading space for safety, efficiency, cleanliness

    When I started reloading, I did not use a loading bench at all. I just mounted the press on a 2" x 6" plank long enough to wedge into the drawer of an end table My loading gear all fit in a footlocker and spread out on the coffeetable and the lid of the footlocker. Good leverage meant the table did not lift or rock. I still use the same plank, but now it is mounted in a Black & Decker folding workbench. A loading bench "bolted to the center of the earth" (as some describe their setups) would be more stable, but I do not feel deprived without it.

    You will probably spill powder or drop a primer eventually, so consider what you have for a floor covering when you pick your reloading room/workspace. I would not try to vacuum up spilt gunpowder unless using a Rainbow vacuum which uses water as the filter medium. A dropcloth is practically infallible. Use cloth, not plastic. Less static, quieter and has less tendency to let dropped primers roll away.

    Advice #6 Keep Current on loading technology

    Always use a CURRENT loading manual. Powder chemistry has changed over the years. They make some powders differently than they used to and even some powder names may have changed. However, if you are using 10 year old powder, you may want to check a 10 year old manual for the recipe. Then double check with a modern manual and then triple check with the powder maker.

    Read previous threads on reloading, here are a couple that serve as introducion:
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=658971
    http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
    http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...fbd5ae1f754eec


    Advice #7 You never regret buying the best (but once)

    When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy too cheaply it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying. "The delicious flavor of low price fades fast. The wretched aftertaste of poor quality lingers long.

    Advice #8 Tungsten Carbide dies (or Titanium Nitride)

    T-C dies instead of regular tool steel (which require lubrication for sizing your brass) for your straight-walled cartridge cases. T-C dies do not require lubrication, which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.

    Advice #9 Safety Always Safety All Ways.

    Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers. Gloves are good, too, especially if using the Lee "Hammer" Tools. Children (unless they are good helpers, not just playing around) are at risk and are a risk. Pets, too unless they have been vetted (no, not that kind of vetting). Any distractions that might induce you to forget charging a case (no charge or a double charge, equally disturbing). Imagine everything that CAN go wrong. Then imagine everything that you CAN'T imagine. I could go on, but it's your eyes, your fingers, your house, your children (present or future - lead is a hazard, too. Wash after loading and don't eat at your bench). Enough said?

    Advice #10 Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and often hit "7" instead of "4" because the are next to each other on the keypad.

    Good luck.

    Lost Sheep
    Last edited by Lost Sheep; 09-06-2012 at 22:40. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
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    I love it but have spent more than I have saved... Lost Sheep has a ton of good advice. I personally learned a ton watching videos on youtube.com which along with reading books on the subject was all I could do for quite a while since I was in Iraq. I knew I would like it so went all in and dedicated a room to reloading and guns in general. I like having "my space" and no one goes in there.

    The most tedious thing for me is case prep. Specifically case trimming (I really don't mind the rest of it)... I do some calibers far more than others (namely 6.8SPC) and just broke down and purchased a Worlds Finest Trimmer for that cartrige. I can size 200 cases in about 15-20 minutes with it and they are all perfect. The rest I do on a Forster trimmer that I power with a cheap lithium screwdriver. It is more time consuming and less accurate but cheaper by a large margine. I also purchased a few cheap adapters to screw primer pocket brushes into so they can be powered with the screwdriver as well and that makes things move along better.

    One thing that I really like that I haven't seen others do is to mount a flat vice to my bench then mount a bunch of my tools to 2x4 blocks. I can swap between my powder measures, primer seating tool, long trimmer and standard trimmer all by just clamping the different tools into the vice by the block. This way I can use the same space for numerous different tasks. The vice was maybe $25 and the 2x4 was about $3 and I have around 6' of it left over!

    Another cheap trick, I took a little jar (some sort of face cream the wife used up) and filled it with 7.5 or 8 shot then dumped a couple packs of RCBS mica neck lube in it. Now to lube necks I shake the bottle up before starting and then just jam each case neck gently down into the shot and give it a twist which leaves the neck with a light coating. Oil lube can contaminate primers and powder but the mica requires no clean-up. I may get some of the redding graphite and add it to the mica to see if it slicks the process up any more.

    I like the above but honestly a single tin of Imperial sizing wax will do all of your case lube for a very long time. I wouldn't waste time or money or slimy hands on the RCBS or any other lube oil and pad process again. A thin coat of Imperial Sizing Wax applied with your finger to each case keeps things moving smooth. Taking a very thin coating on your finger and dragging every third case mouth across it to get a small amount inside the lip will keep your dies expander ball lubed as well which negates the need for the mica/graphite mentioned above. I still use the dry lube on the pretense that the sizing wax could effect the powder/primer but have no scientific evidence and have never had a problem with a case sized either way.

    Hardest thing for me to accept with reloading is that something which needs to be so precise can have so many "right" ways to do things!

  10. #10
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    Fox, there is also a ton of good info in the handloading section of the forums as well.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sniper3083006 View Post
    Fox, there is also a ton of good info in the handloading section of the forums as well.
    good point, I just moved this thread to the handloading forum.

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    Good Advise Lujon and Sheep.

    Fox, I am in the valley and if you ever want to come out and do some reloading your more than welcome to. I load for the Tikka 30-06 and have great results. One big thing I noticed was that it has a tight chamber, other words it doesn't chamber longer COAL bullets. I can't use the same rounds as my wifes rounds. I have heard others with the same rifle finding this also.

    I started out with a Lee single stage and worked up to the RCBS (rock chucker bullet swedge). The biggest convience purchase I did was the RCBS powder dispencer/scale. Speeds things up a lot.
    I hate case prep so I do it in steps. I don't clean, size, trim and load at the same time. I prep cases during one session and store those cases in the "Ready" box. When I am ready to load I just have to prime, throw powder and bullet. Takes some of the monotonous out of it.
    Read a lot of different books. Sportsmans sell caliber specific load data books. I can't remember the publisher but I have one for every caliber I load. As you get experiance and want to play around with a combination that you don't se published you can even contact the ballisticion from for the manufacter and see what they say. This has worked for me in the past.
    I agree with keeping it simple at first. Start slow and go from there. If you use a scale, leard hot to use it before you load powder. Years ago I goofed on my scale and load a bunch of .40S&W rounds. My first shot sounded weird so I looked at the pistol and the bullet was just poking out the barrel. Not cool. If I had goofed on the other side of the spektrum and over loaded it I could of destroyed the pistol and/or myself. Learn your powder scale.

    I ama huge Hornady die fan. One big reason is the floating alignment sleeve. This is more important with smaller calibers like the .22's. I also has amazing customer service with them. I had a stuck case and decided to take matters in my own hands with a die set I purchased years ago. I goofed up the spindle and expander. I called them up for a replacement and they sent me the new upgraded one at no cost.

    Don't get wrapped up into hype when buying bullets and cases. Start simple. Sierra makes some great bullet that are very affordable that shoot great. Save the hunting loads for when you feel comfortable with what your doing. This will save you money and possible dissapointment.

    Now my safety tip:
    Do not drink a cold one and kick back with your buddys and load away. Alcohol and loading doesn't mix but it's easy to do since your just kicking back in the garage. Keep your focus and be maticulas.


    Back to the question of what my Tikka likes to shoot:

    Mine loves 168grain Barnes TSX bullets with Hodgen 4350 powder. Dropped animals two years in a row with one shot. One at a distance and one up closer. Have yet to recover a bullet from the Tikka but I did recover a 168gr tsx of my wifes that went through the vitals a little low and stuck in the skin behind the fractured leg bone on the other side. It was only missing a part of one of the pedals. I was impressed what it did through such a big bone.
    It also loves the 168grain combined technology ballistic silver tip with Varget powder. This is my plinking round. This bullet and powder combo works great in my 22-250 too.
    I choose the 168 grain due in part because it is a match grade bullet. The other part is that the barnes bullet retains so much weight that it performs like a 180grin bullet with more velocity. Plus it just shoot good. I have always had minimal meat damage with this round.

    Once again, just PM me if ya ever want to come out and I can show you what I have learned works for me.

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    Welcome to the new hobby! It can save money but in the long run I found that I actually shoot more frequently so maybe I break even. I doubt it though because the wife shoots more frequently also!

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    Ah man handloading sounds like it would be a blast... I have been picking up 22 LR brass for a coupel of years now saving it for the day I save up money to start handloading. I will save a ton of money loading 22 L.R ammo

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    Ah man handloading sounds like it would be a blast... I have been picking up 22 LR brass for a coupel of years now saving it for the day I save up money to start handloading. I will save a ton of money loading 22 L.R ammo
    Pretty Good there 323,
    how did you get all that Reputation anyway,...????

    Oh, Entertainment Value,..I get it
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Pretty Good there 323,
    how did you get all that Reputation anyway,...????

    Oh, Entertainment Value,..I get it
    Jealousy gets you no where... besides envy is a sin you shoudl KNOW that!

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Hey, just recieve a compliment when you get one,...

    (okay, I was poking at ya a little bit,...sorry,...!!?) thought you might enjoy the idea of being a successful entertainer

    yeah Sin,...that is a tough one, I suppose exasperation is one also.....I'm not sure ??

    Back To Handloading,.....
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Hey, just recieve a compliment when you get one,...

    (okay, I was poking at ya a little bit,...sorry,...!!?) thought you might enjoy the idea of being a successful entertainer

    yeah Sin,...that is a tough one, I suppose exasperation is one also.....I'm not sure ??

    Back To Handloading,.....
    Well you made me cry...

  19. #19

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    Not sure what your budget is; and that will determine your equipment level to start with. If you can find someone near you with equipment all you might need to purchase is a set of dies for their press and some components, for your chosen caliber. Then a few lessons at the bench and you can roll-your-owm ammo.

    Contrary to popular belief you don't have to spend a million bucks to reload. I started reloading at 14 because the GCA 68 said I couldn't buy ammo any longer. I purchased a 30-30 LEE-LOADER and the components, grabbed one of dad's hammers and a wooden 4x4 and became a reloader; total investment like 40 bucks for 100 rounds of 30-30 ammo. This ammo allowed my brother and I to put a lot of venison on the table. Still have the 30-30 LEE-Loader just don't hunt with a 30-30 anymore.

    CAUTION; RELOADING is addictive !!!
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    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

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