Caribou Gear

Is Hand Loading My Answer?

Don Fischer

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
2,068
I started with a Lee kit and it's still in use over 35 yrs later. Your bigger problem is going to be finding the components at a reasonable price.
I am assuming you mean the Lee kit that uses a hammer. I started with that and with the addition of a scale and trimmer could probably still use it today. I think if someone had the patience required he could reload with the kit and save a few bucks provided he didn't start shooting a lot more. I started shooting more! Actually I doubt you'd even need the scale! Kit comes with a dipper and directions on which powder to use and there is another kit with all the different dippers in it. But where the failure to save money may come in is getting the ammo inexpensive enough to really up the shooting you do!
 

Gunner46

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2003
Messages
3,157
Location
Frigid Ohio
It was the Lee2001 kit. It came with a press guaranteed to last until the year 2001, dies, trimmer, powder measure.
 

bucdoego

Active member
Joined
Jan 27, 2022
Messages
109
Location
Upper Midwest
Something about that first 50-75 rounds. They generally only exist in the work of a true handloader snob, my being one. I know darn good and well in my rifles I can pick a powder and bullet and more than likely get decent hunting accuracy. But as a reloader that doesn't work. I look for a min 1" group at 100yds then once I find that look for something better. My elk rifle is a very old Paul Jaeger 1903 in 30-06. barrel is wasted in it. Guy I got it from shot a lot of old military primer's in it and wasted the barrel. Funny thing though is the load I use in it get's me 1 1/4", more then good enough for the ranges I'm willing to shoot. Also have killed four elk with four shots with that worn out old rifle! My Mod 70 Featherweight in 6.5x55 does about the same but I don't look for more n it either! Beautiful rifle but have only ever bedded rifles with round actions and no real desire to get away from that at this point in my life. Plenty accurate enough for any shot at game I would take. But being a handloader with my other rifles, round action's, they are all bedded actions and floated barrels, I can count on 3/4" from every one of then and a few will make right at 1/2". I actually don't need that accuracy but I am a reloader and worse would be an embarrassment should someone else see it!

I think the average hunter buys a box of ammo a week before the season opens and sights in his rifle and has enough left over for hunting! If that's what you do, your just kidding yourself getting into reloading to save money, ain't even gonna come close! But if you take a lot of pride in the groups you shoot, and can afford it, reloading is the way to go. I've been reloading about 50 yrs and all my starter tools were used tools I found, no inexpensive kit's I knew of back them! When my son started I got him a Lee Anniversary kit, around $100. Since then he has added on upgrades in every new tool that comes out! He'll never come close to breaking even! Come to think of it, I doubt I will either. One major problem along the way is keeping trace of all the tools you up grade and all the different bullet's you try looking for the one that trips your trigger. It's out there, you just have to find it! I kept track of all the rounds of ammo I ever shot for years, lost the ledger in a house fire! Now I pretty much only keep track of the loads I like! Not a clue how much I've spent on different equipment over the years but, a lot! haven't bought much new in years. Replaced what I had and called it good!

I have found reloading to be an exercise in itself. You either enjoy it or you don't. Would be pretty easy to get along with just one or two CF rifles but God forbid! I only have six right now and something I did learn reloading is any one of them is capable of doing anything I would want to do. So, another cost of reloading is all the extra rifles you go through. There is a reason I believe this happens. Even those of us that won't admit it are looking for the perfect rifle load. Another thing about us is that we have any number of good rifles capable of doing what ever we want but still never satisfied. Think of the guy that has a 7mm mag, 30-06, 300mag ect but is going brown bear hunting and knows what he needs is aa 338mag or something even bigger! I'm guilty! But truth is every cartridge I mentioned has taken more brown bears cleanly than I'll ever see.

Reloading is fun and I'd start over today knowing the BS reasons for it. Probably also end up as broke as I am, go for it!
Don, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can certainly see the "risk" of creating another fun, but obsessive hobby.
 

Roughwater

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
220
Buckdoego,

Lots of great info has been posted for your benefit. I will just add a few thoughts. I think very few folks that get past first base with reloading turned back but probably not so much due to cost savings but to the other benefits.

1. Larger bullet selection
2. Building a round tailored to what your gun seems to like
3. Custom made ammo - you are not just reloading, you are custom making your own ammo
4. Being able to select your own velocity - You can make light loads, heavy loads, subsonic, whatever you want
5. Satisfaction - It's quite satisfying to be able to make an accurate load
6. Loading rounds not generally available in loaded form - There are bullet selections not generally available loaded. I love Hammer copper bullets but to the best of my knowledge you won't see them for sale in your neighborhood gun store loaded

There are other positives to reloading but there are negatives as well and this is not the best time to get into the hobby. Reloading components are more difficult to find right now and no one knows if they will get any easier to find. The tools for reloading are available but you often need to get on a list to find the most ideal powders, bullets and brass. Also because they are harder to find many reloaders will buy in larger quantities which in effect compounds the problem of finding what you need.

There are some avenues around the component problem I won't get into here but there is definitely a problem.
 

Redmt

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
621
Location
San Antonio Valley California
Adding to the pros of reloading is the knowledge that is readily available. I've been doing this for a while, off and on maybe 40 years. Anytime I run into a quandary there's always someone else that can help you out. Old guys and young guys all are willing to share their knowledge.
 

manitou1

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
394
Location
Wyoming
I don't think it is a question of economics. It is more of a question of future factory ammo availabilty, and accuracy/repeatability.
Once you find loads for all your pea-shooters, you can stock up on components to last you and your heirs for years, if not generations.
 

Don Fischer

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
2,068
Ya know, I have to say something assuming you go for it. On another site some guy was complaining about some technique he was using. Seem's he just got into it and skipped learning to make good ammo and went right for the brass ring. If you go for it, get one manual on reloading. Anyone you want as they all have the same information written in different ways! Use that one manual until making good ammo becomes second nature and then start improving! Very difficult to make better ammo when you don't know how to make good ammo to begin with. Just a thought!
 

338BearHunter

Active member
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Messages
131
Location
New Hampshire
Ok, so all you folks that reload. Don't you worry about rather dangerous screw-ups? I guess that's what would keep me up if I were to reload. Right now, I have little interest as a hobby or for financial reasons. But as my favorite bear rifle is a .338 Federal, I think you can imagine I may be forced into it at some point (or go back to my .308).

In every cartridge I shoot (which isn't many), I can find several factory loads that are quite accurate (hunting, not 1,000 yard target) and seem to deliver good on-game performance. Maybe I'd feel differently if I lived out west, but in the Northeast, shots over 50 yards on game are uncommon.
 

Don Fischer

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
2,068
I don't worry about blowing myself up and you are right, there's enough factory ammo out there you can shoot nothing but factory and just about never run out of ammo or have really inferior ammo. There's no need for cars either. You can still get horse's and wagons!
 

JLS

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
15,516
Location
Almost Arkansas…..
Don't you worry about rather dangerous screw-ups?
Absolutely. And, I’ve had a couple of instances over the years that were spooky.

Fortunately, if you’re not an idiot and color between the lines, there is some forgiveness involved. That is, what bless you don’t heed the danger signs like a sticky bolt and a primer falling out. Crossing the road is dangerous for some folks.
 

338BearHunter

Active member
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Messages
131
Location
New Hampshire
I don't worry about blowing myself up and you are right, there's enough factory ammo out there you can shoot nothing but factory and just about never run out of ammo or have really inferior ammo. There's no need for cars either. You can still get horse's and wagons!
I'm a little confused. You seem to compare factory ammo to "horses and wagons" in a land of cars, but then suggest one could use nothing but factory ammo and not have really inferior ammo?

Are you saying that you consider factory ammo to be inferior to handloads or not? Specifically in regard to .338 Federal, I've read that reloaders struggle to get the speeds to match the Federal factory loads, so unless I was trying to improve accuracy or use a particular bullet not available in factory loads, it wouldn't make much sense.

Double Tap had a 185-grain, I think it was a Barnes TTSX that sounded tempting. Federal discontinued their last 185-grain factory load. (The Fusions they had seemed to be marketed for MSRs. I know of one person, by repute only, who has a .338 Fed MSR.)

Right now, I think they're only making the Vital-Shoks, although the other three are not listed as "discontinued".
 
Top