One of the positive aspects of the recent and ongoing scarcity of factory ammunition is the fact that more and more shooters are becoming reloaders. They begin reloading to have access to ammunition, and soon start adding more equipment to enable them to shoot more and produce better ammunition — quicker. There’s a virtual supermarket out there when it comes to reloading equipment. Dies and a good press may be basic, but they are only the beginning. Here are a few extras to help us in our handloading chores.
The only way to tell exactly what any load is doing is by personally chronographing them in your firearms. I’ve used a lot of chronographs over the past 35 years — today’s are easier to use, more compact and less expensive. Currently I am using this CED Millennium. It’s not only easy to set up, but is also easy to read, as the chronograph itself looks much like — and also sets up like — a laptop computer. Each shot is recorded and one push of the button gives the average for the series. I showed the box since mine was still at the range!
After a morning’s shooting, it’s convenient to simply clean those few hundred cases you may have shot-up. Enter the Lyman 1200 Turbo with Auto Flow. After shooting, I simply dump the cases in with a sufficient amount of tumbling media, clamp down the lid and run it for a few hours. Once the cases are clean, removing a rubber stopper on the side allows the media to flow out into a plastic basin as the Turbo keeps running and you stir the cases to get the last out. It’s fast and works great.
With the coming of smokeless powder, plastic hoppers for measures became available. These made it very simple to see the powder level, but certain powders affected the plastic until it was so clouded that it was impossible to see the powder. The RCBS Uniflow powder measure is fitted with a plastic hopper, which stays as clear as the proverbial bell. It’s unaffected by powder and older measures can be retrofitted with the new non-clouding hopper.
Now life is much easier if you’d like to make your own hollowpoint lead bullets. Hollow Point Service can convert single- or double-cavity molds, even four-cavity, to a hollowpoint design working exactly the same as regular molds. No pins to push or pulling is involved, and the only extra time required is to tap the mold handles to release the bullets from the hollowpoint pin.
I find gas checks absolutely essential for full-house loads in such cartridges as .32-20, .32 Magnum, .327 Federal and .357 Magnum. Gator Checks offers a full line of gas checks and even offers different sizes to fit different manufacturers bases on their molds. These are high quality and very easy to apply using either a typical Lyman or RCBS Lubri-sizer or the Star Lubricater.
The vast majority of handgun cases should be maintained at a uniform length for load consistency. Now RDZ Products offers a case trimmer kit consisting of a case trimmer, case cutter, arbor, nine different pilots and two wrenches. This “case trimmer” is actually set up on a drill press, and once everything is set correctly, cases can be trimmed quickly
and virtually perfectly.
By John Taffin
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index and click on the company name.