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New to hand loading ammo? Here's a shopping list for newbies.

This is a discussion on New to hand loading ammo? Here's a shopping list for newbies. within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Originally Posted by NYCSTRIPES Welcome to the sport. I'd suggest picking up another reloading manual like the Sierra 5th Edition. Its also good to have ...


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Old July 24th, 2013, 04:12 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by NYCSTRIPES View Post
Welcome to the sport. I'd suggest picking up another reloading manual like the Sierra 5th Edition. Its also good to have another source of data and the Sierra also gives recommended accuracy loads.
For your needs, you can do well with shooting 150gr ball and 168gr bullets. I suggest keeping an eye on Wideners for bulk Privi bullets when they're available. Cheaper than top shelf Sierra or other brands but more than acceptable for your needs for both accuracy and cost.

With the M1a platform, you'll find lots of information from the fellow shooters here given that its an M1a site. I'd suggest IMR4895 as the top powder but given the market, you may have to settle for other powders because of the component shortages.

You can also use AA2520 as well. My M1a has only seen a steady diet of 168gr Match bullets and either AA2520 or IMR4895 powder. Couldn't be happier.

What you'll need to sway away from are the slower powders, you can find yourself having pressure issues and bending the op rod or causing other damage to the rifle.
Awesome, that's what I was looking for. Got Sierra 5th Edition ordered, and the powders and bullet weights you recommended written down for when I stop by my gun shop again.

I spent about 8 hours studying how to field strip and properly grease it, and was really successful with that. If I can find some ammo or components to reload with I am really looking forward to getting out to the range with it. Bought it in January and still haven't fired it - A shame. It is a thing of beauty.

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Old July 24th, 2013, 06:08 PM   #47
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Any opinion on the Dillon auto trim set up?

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Old July 24th, 2013, 07:12 PM   #48
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Dillon makes great stuff.

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Old July 25th, 2013, 09:30 AM   #49
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Dillon makes great stuff.
Thanks! I have 2 of their presses. I was concerned because most all I have read (here and other places) discuss individualized equipment more suited to single stage presses. Mine are progressive- a 550 and a 650. I guess that is more necessary for those who do competition and want completely uniform rounds. The Dillon set up goes right on top of the press and uses a specalized resizing die. I am thinking it should be OK for my purposes. I am thinking to do primer pocket cleaning and flash hole cleaning after cleaning the brass but before resizing and trimming in the Dillon set up. Then go thf=rough charging and bullet seating.

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Old December 15th, 2013, 12:43 PM   #50
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My List:

1) Make friends with a very experienced bench rest shooter / reloader.

2) Find out what type of powder & boolitz he uses in his custom 20 Vartarg's and other super shootzen poopers with giant astronomy sized telescope sights.

3) Bring over a bunch of his favorite ammo & powder ( plus Your giant lot of LC brass and Mil powder ), tell his You found this amo and pow he likes in a 'yard sale'

4) Show him your new M1A , watch is eyes glow with warmth as he flashes back to a time when all genetic males used the 'mens room' in school lol, note the tone in his voice as he fondles it and goes thru the battery of arms like it was his old friend and as he starts telling You stories of boot camp and range work with his M14 'back in the day' .

4) Pay attention as he show You ( he make Your ammo for you ) how to use his awesome looking electronic super exacto micro powder scale while he pulls down perfect measurements on his beautiful precision powder measure, and check each of 'your' new rounds with calipers and cartridge gauge etc.... ( 500 custom rounds make so far this year )

5) Make sure You put him in your 'dear best friends list ' complete with all the membership upgrades like cutting his fire wood for him, bleeding his brakes, climbing ih the roof to install that ham radio antenna etc....

6) Learn to pay close attention and roll your own because this is too good to be true

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Old January 16th, 2014, 06:22 PM   #51
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Always have had difficulty with learning a mechanical process by book. Is there a good reloading DVD or even old VCR tape, that would be useful for a beginner to track down. Local ranges don't have any classes.

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Old January 16th, 2014, 08:48 PM   #52
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Always have had difficulty with learning a mechanical process by book. Is there a good reloading DVD or even old VCR tape, that would be useful for a beginner to track down. Local ranges don't have any classes.
Watch this video.

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Old January 20th, 2014, 03:52 PM   #53
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Great comprehensive overview, with good suggestions for starting out. Don't overlook Craigslist for good quality single stage presses and accessories coming up for sale for a fraction of msrp.

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Old February 14th, 2014, 09:55 AM   #54
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Started loading .45 and 9mm a few years ago, and have gotten that down pretty pat. I started buying up .223 reloading supplied late 2012, but never actually put any together, as I had a large stash of factory 5.56 and never ran into the need (I know have a ton of 5.56 brass sitting around, need to start loading that, too). Now that I've got the M1, I really need to get back into reloading, since it's got a really expensive appetite.

Thanks for all the info here!

Mike

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Old September 9th, 2014, 01:21 PM   #55
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Some tricks that I learned. All the secrets are in case sizing. Make sure you're right at or below 2.005" for the M1A/M14 and no more than 2.800" OAL (overall length) or it'll be snug in the magazine.

Also, Some recommend crimping the case to the bullet because when fired the rounds may contact the front of the magazine and compress. Never had the issue and crimping wasn't mandatory from a Socom 16 with a 25 round magazine.

My M1A Socom 16 ate 168 GR Hornady A-Max and 168 GR Sierra Match King rounds powered by 143 to 144 GR of IMR4064, IMR4895 or when lucky enough Hodgdon H4895.

Most important, read the books! There's a great online resource too here too:
http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/

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Old September 9th, 2014, 01:23 PM   #56
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The M1A can be very picky about the cases too. It's VERY hard on brass, so by reloading for your rifle, you significantly reduce the amount of times you can use the brass. For instance a bolt action rifle may get 9 to 12 or so reloads out of a single case. The M1A shortens that life to a recommended 4 or 5 reloads, just be sure you keep inspecting the cases.

If the case is sized wrong for the headspace it won't extract and sometimes won't seat the bolt, etc. Just be sure you follow the book, 2.005" case length is pretty much across the board recommended.

"You won't save any money reloading, but you'll shoot a lot more for the same amount."

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Old September 9th, 2014, 01:40 PM   #57
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Well done stripes. Thanks for the effort to put this together.

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Old December 31st, 2014, 03:01 PM   #58
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I too am new to reloading. I got a whole box full of stuff on Craig's List for $400.. it came with a RCBS rockchucker press, 10 sets of dies, case lube kit, valence beam powder scale, powder trickler, set of calipers, a powder charge thrower (not sure of its real name, turn crank and it drops a charge)., hand primer, Lyman deburring kit, & 5 shell holders.

I have a couple of dies that I am confused about. 1 is a set of RCBS dies marked: F L die set 7.62x39 - .308/311 (it looks like it was a 3 die set but only 2 dies are in the case now.
The other is marked: Lee .308 Winchester, but inside it looks nothing like a gular die set. It had s a powder measure, priming rod, recalled,developing chamber, & priming chamber.. with just 1big die. It looks like it is me t to reload without a press, just a hammer where you tap out primer, tap add powder, research another bullet all by tapping it on the bench. Is there an ny practical use for this or should I follow my instincts and get rid of it?

I am getting the stuff together and am almost there, ready to start reloading.

I have some more stuff but I will save that for next time. By the way...I love these forums
I knew a little about M1A1's comming into this, theres a ton of good info I didn't know.

Hope to c ya at the range!

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Old December 31st, 2014, 04:59 PM   #59
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The other is marked: Lee .308 Winchester, but inside it looks nothing like a gular die set. It had s a powder measure, priming rod, recalled,developing chamber, & priming chamber.. with just 1big die. It looks like it is me t to reload without a press, just a hammer where you tap out primer, tap add powder, research another bullet all by tapping it on the bench. Is there an ny practical use for this or should I follow my instincts and get rid of it?
That is a Lee Classic Loader. It only sizes the neck so not good in an semiauto or pump rifle. If you have a bolt gun, keep it. They make good ammo and the price is right. They go for $25 or so on eBay. I have a few of these in various calibers and have made "custom" calibers from others. I sure wouldn't just pitch it in the trash. I hope you hang on to it or give it to another reloader who is just starting out. If you are going to pitch it, please send me a PM and we'll work something out.

BTW, if you do fool around with it, remember to gently seat the primer. You are not driving a 16d nail!

Did your kit come with a reloading manual? If not, it's a good idea to get at least one. The more the merrier. ABCs of Reloading, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, Speer (RCBS) Sierra, etc.



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Old January 24th, 2015, 08:48 PM   #60
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I looked through this post briefly and did not see a headspace gauge mentioned. I have a Wilson LE Headspace Gauge. I think a headspace gauge is a must for reloading the M1A.

I use a Dillon 550B press, Dillon 308 dies, Wilson LE HS Gauge, RCBS electronic scales, RCBS Trickler, Frankfort Arsenal micrometer. I have loaded both in progressive mode and single stage mode. For real accuracy I would recommend single stage and trickle each load or at least hand measure each charge. I have found the powders for the M1A do not measure out accurately in progressive mode.

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Last edited by SteedGun; January 24th, 2015 at 09:30 PM.
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