Mike's Reloading Bench

Engineered Solutions
for today's reloader

  It's been a while since I have written anything about me and my shooting buddy Ron's adventures with our modest arsenal of long guns.  Seems both of us have been so busy taking care of life's little problems or family matters or medical stuff or business etc, etc there's just been no time to go to the range.  When we did have some time, it was either pouring rain, blowing like hell or just so damn hot you couldn't breath.  Well all that is going to change!  Neither of us is getting any younger so if we don't get moving now the train is going to leave the station and we'll be waving at the caboose as its little red light fades into the darkness.  So, on to new adventures and you're all invited to ride along.  We would certainly enjoy your company.
  The first thing I want to talk about is what I have learned about loading my .308 rounds.  To be honest, I tried just about everything in the way of dies all to varying degrees of success or failure.  More failure than success truth be known.  All I ever wanted was the ability to load twenty rounds with the lowest standard deviation I could attain.  My thinking is that if the SD is as low as I can get it (I'm talking single digits) I have done everything right.  Well I have finally arrived and it turns out that like most everything else in my life, SIMPLE IS BETTER! 
  My loading discipline includes sorting cases by weight and trickling every powder charge.  I also measure and sort my bullets.  Anything I can do within reason to improve uniformity I do.  There will be no weighing of primers.  That's a bridge to far for me.  I enjoy the act of reloading as much as I enjoy shooting so the time required to prep all the consumables is of no consequence.  If you're in a hurry, take up drag racing.
  The magic setup for me turned out to be the following;
1( De-prime with universal de-priming die.
2( Vibratory cleaning with walnut shell.
3( Anneal. Generally every third loading.
4( Size and bump shoulder back .002" from as-fired condition with Redding body die.
5( Size neck with Lee Collet Neck Die.  Polished mandrel gives me about .0015" neck tension and the best neck concentricity of any die I have used.  This die will also uniform neck wall thickness if you rotate the case a few times.  It's awesome!
6( Trim to 2.005" with Little Crow trimmer if required. Deburr and chamfer as required.
7( Wilson inline bullet seating die.  I use my drill press as an arbor press with this die.  Works great.
  Yep, I tried all the micrometer top stuff, all the bushing die stuff and all the adjustable shim pack stuff and couldn't get to where I wanted to be.  My frustration meter was getting close to blowing a primer so one day I chucked all the fancy stuff and got the simplest dies I could find and holy chichironies Batman, it all came together!  I think the proof of all this is that I was able to load eighty or so rounds using different powders, primers, case manufacturers and bullets with similar results.  The bottom line for me is that finally I believe that reloading equipment is a lot like fishing lures in that most fishing lures are designed to catch fishermen, not fish.
  Now, on to another adventure which I am sure will hold its own surprises and mysteries.  Turn the page and find out what it is.


Final effort for my .308 build

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