Getting Started Reloading, Need Help!!!
I've finally decided that its time for me to get into reloading. What I know about reloading isn't much, so I'll be asking alot of questions... and hopefully not too many dumb ones.
First, looking for suggestions on a good video and reference manuals on how to get started. For lack of a better phrase, I'm a reloading moron. So instructional videos need to be geared for beginners.
I've decided to purchase the Rock Chucker Master Supreme Kit. I've heard that the scale leaves something to be desired and I'll also need a trimmer. Any suggestions on replacements/upgrades? Besides brass, powder, primers and bullets, what else will I need to get started? I'll be loading 300 RUMs, so suggestions on powders and the like are appreciated.
Thanks in advance for helping get started.
F2T, There are many videos and books on reloading out there, but I recommend to pick up a copy of a gun rag call Handloader, I think it's a guns & ammo publication. They speak of all kinds of powders and what not. Do learn the art of handloading - head down to the local gun club or find a dealer that knows some real reloading fanatics and contact them to see if they will get you started. Most real serious reloaders are nice people that really want to help out and apply their knowledge to keep the sport going. If you can sit with a reloader that has been there, done that, you will get years of experience and knowledge that self help videos and manuals just can't share. the up side is you make a new friend and get into the network of local handloaders. Handloading is a great way to go because you can get exactly what you want out of what you shoot. There's also a pride in shooting your own bullets because you made them. 300 REM Ultra MAG is a great cartridge to load. It's a 404 Jefferys case launching a 308 bullet. What can beat an Elephant charge pushing one of the best caliber bullets made? You can get sabots to fire .223 55gr bullets to push way over the 4,000fps mark, or cast big heavy bullets to stop a charging big heavy anything!
Back to the Rock Chucker kit real good choice - RCBS has great products and you can add to your rig as you go. check out www.midway.com for reloading stuff They will send you a catalog that will give you all the specs you need and it's free. They have good prices, will ship to AK, and just about every thing reloading you can shake a stick at.
Good luck and good shooting!
I have only been reloading a few years but find it a blast. Its fun to try out different loads and bullets and see how they shoot. Reloading a bullet is so simple (primer, power, bullet) and saves tons of money particularly if you have an expensive caliber like you do. You can stress and pour unlimited amounts of time and money obtaining the greatest accuracy possible if you want to also. I have the same setup you are buying and all the equipment works fine for getting started. I really love the press. Yeah the scale is not the most accurate, but it works. The trimmer was the first thing I replaced. It was cumbersome and a top of the line Wilson was reasonable. The good thing about reloading is it makes it easy for people to think of gifts for you in the future. Have fun. (You may find a reloading video at the library for free)
The first items to purchase are reloading manuals, and don't get anything else until you've read them. I say plural because you will want to get one from every bullet manufacter you plan to use, as the data is not trasferable from bullet maker to bullet maker even for the same chambering and weight of bullet.
I've always found the Speer manual to be a good basic manual even though I haven't often used their bullets. Read and re-read the manual and you'll have a good grasp on the basics of what's needed. If you plan to use Barnes, or Nosler, or Hornady bullets, get their manuals as well.
The RCBS kit is a good basic kit. Personally I prefer the forster co-ax press and a Redding BR powder thrower, and an RCBS primer seater vs the package deal. As far as trimmers, I use a small lathe so can't recomend from first hand experience on the units out there. Lee's zip trim is pretty popular and reasonably priced. You'll also want a tool to de-burr the cases after you trim them.
In addition to what you listed you'll need reloading dies. IMHO, Redding makes the by far the best of the std type dies, and I've tried them all. You could go with one of the micrometer based seating dies if you really want to dial in seating depth, or just use the std seating stem. I've found the std seating stems work fine for me, most have a 20 thread per inch pitch, so one rotation of the screw changes the seating depth 0.050", 1/2 rotation 0.025" and so on. Pretty easy to get within a few thousands of where you want to be.
I prefer to full length size my cases, and have never had a problem getting excellent accuracy with fl sizing. To me a hunting rifle should reliably feed in the field, and thus I don't want to have a neck sized case I'm fighting to chamber. Also if you hunt with someone else that has a 300, having ammo that will chamber in your partners gun as well might save a hunt for him should he part ways with his ammo.
I'd recomend getting a bullet puller, everyone puts together a combo they have to disasemble at some point. I like the collet pullers, faster and safer than the kinetic ones. One common oopse when setting up your seating die is running a bullet in too deep, and the puller saves the day. Just remember you have to resize after pulling the bullet, and don't forget to remove the depriming pin when sizing a primed case.
I consider a chronograph an essential tool for reloading, but not to see how fast you can go. It's use is to make sure your gun behaves like the manuals say. When you reach the top velocity they list, after correcting for barrel length (add subrtract 30 fps per inch of barrel difference) then your done adding powder, even if a grain or two under their listed max. You may find your some 50 fps slower when loaded to their max, but to me that is also a stopping point.
I find success right of the bat is a good way to get one excited about reloading, so I'd look in the manuals for their listed accurate loads with the bullets you're trying. If I were starting out with a 300 ultra, I'd likely get a 190 gr match bullet and some Reloader 25, and Federal 215 primers. I'd venture to say if the gun liked the bullets, within a range session or two I'd have found a combo that put 3 shots under 1" at 100yds. The first thing I do is work up powder charges to see how the gun behaves velocity wise compared to the published data, and to see at what point the groups start tightening up.
Then I fiddle around with seating depth to find where the bullet likes to be seated, if it isn't already shooting well. I generally start about 0.025" off the lands, if the magazine allows the bullet to be seated that far out, if not I'll try and get 0.050" off.