Getting started in loading ammunition can be an undertaking. We have been at it for about 30 years and have upgraded equipment along the way. Each upgrade has been a step up in efficiency or precision or both. These items are what we currently use on a daily basis and why.
It starts with case prep. New cases get a pass through the Giraud case trimmer. This unit trims the cases to the same length, and adds a perfect chamfer and de-burr to the case mouth at the same time. This simple step makes the bullet seating process smoother and more precise. After initial set up for a new case, we operate at about 1,000 cases per hour.
Giraud Case Trimmer. Trim, chamfer, de-burr in one precise step.
After prep, its priming. Most people agree, it's best to seat primers by hand to get the "feel" of when they are seated properly. We have tried a handful over the years, including the built in primers on each press. We have settled on Forster Bench Prime tools. We have several, all set to different case head diameters so we can quickly switch between cases sizes. These tools keep the feel of priming by hand, yet speed up the process to roughly 1,200 pcs per hour.
Forster Bench Prime
After priming, the primed cases go into blocks for loading. We have chosen MTM loading blocks for their simplicity. They stack nicely for storage between batches and have enough room to get our hands in there. They do the job.
One of the biggest advancements we made in precision was our Autotrickler powder systems. We have a pair of V3 systems and one V4 system. These are paired with lab grade balances to give a precision powder charge every time. Not only are these units ultra precise to within one kernel of powder, they are fast. Each unit provides a precise powder charge in about 10 seconds. With all three running, it's enough to keep an octopus busy.
Autotrickler V4 flanked by a pair of Autotrickler V3's with Forster Bench Prime in background.
Transferring the charge of powder to the case is done with an Area 419 powder funnel. We chose this tool because it is precisely machined from aluminum and has an interchangeable head for each case diameter. The aluminum also reduces any static that plastic might carry, which helps the powder flow through the funnel better.
MTM loading block with Area 419 funnel kit. Autotricklers in the background.
After charging, it's off to get the bullet seated. We use Redding dies for virtually all the rounds we sell. Redding is known for precision in the die making world. We prefer their competition seat die for better co-axial alignment and the micrometer dial on top. On top of their great products, Redding has great customer service and is a pleasure to work with.
Forster Co-Ax press with Redding competition seat die. 28 Nosler
The die is placed into our press to do the work. We chose the Forster Co-Ax press. Forster Co-Ax is known for its co-axial alignment in each round. The alignment attracted me to the press, but the simplicity and ease of use has kept me happy. Switching dies in and out literally takes 1 second. We also use a Redding Ultra Mag press for the really long rounds or for some specialty items. The opening is giant, and it has a lot of leverage.
Each round we produce is measured with Mitutoyo calipers. We use bullet comparators by Sinclair or Hornady to precisely measure the lengths of each round.
Mitutoyo calipers with Sinclair comparator. 300 RUM
After our ammunition is produced, it's off to the range. We do all our range testing out doors and track every shot with a Lab Radar. Lab Radar uses Doppler radar technology to track bullets on their way to the target. This tool has been indispensable for load development. It works in all weather and light conditions and gives a reliable, repeatable reading regardless of weather or light conditions.
At the range with LabRadar
There you have it. The tools we use every day. Check out our other blogs and let us know what topics you would like to see covered.