Handloading /Reloading


I been thinking about writing some about hand loading /reloading. It’s been requested several times over the years and I’ve always been hesitant. I rarely share my handloads because you never know what some moron will do then blame me for it. So for now let’s take a general look and see how that goes.

The press I use is the single stage RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme. I upgraded from the standard Rock Chucker about 18 years ago. The difference being the surpreme is a bit bigger to accommodate the new rifle rounds coming out around the time like the 300 Remington ultra mag etc. These longer rounds were a bit awkward with the rock chucker. If you are not going to load something like that, then the standard rock chucker is fine.

You might be looking at some of the little presses that various companies make thinking it will save you money. It won’t you will hit a point soon in your handloading where you are gonna have to get a bigger stronger press to continue.

It’s best to mount the press to a steel plate on the bench. Some cases take some muscle to resize or neck down. This gets rid of any flex in the wood.

The press comes with a small widget to let you prime cases. Take it off and throw it away. It’s too much leverage to prime a case using the press. There are better options.

The hand priming tool is what I prefer. It’s fast and you can feel in your hand if the primer pocket has become too loose and you need ot toss the case. This happens after multiple reloadings of the case.

My Dad preferred this priming tool and I had bought it for him to use. It’s OK but not one I am crazy about.

The powder dumper is a must have. It does not come with the stand but trust me, you will want that stand.

Resizing fired cases will make them stretch and the case mouth uneven. YOU need to trim them back to proper length or some major problems can develop in semi autos. or a loss of accuracy from different neck tension in bolt actions. If you let them get really long then you are going to have big problems no matter what it’s used in. Luckily they make a little trimmer to trim the case mouth and even it up.

The thing to the left is a motorized station for cleaning primer pickets and taking the burrs off the trimmed case mouth. It’s not needed because there are hand tools that do it as fast and a lot cheaper. I have this because it was given to me by the widow of a good friend who died in 2018.

With the powder dumper, you need a scale. You need a way to set the dumper and to check to make sure you aren’t going to blow yourself up.

If you use military brass you are going to have to open those crimped primer pockets back up. You can’t beat this Dillion tool for that.

Some times people ( not me) screw up. Sometimes after loading a few hundred rounds. Thankfully handloading isn’t the US Government so you can fix it without losing a lot of money or ending up dead. RCBS makes this bullet puller that is very simple to use and you don’t ruin your shoulder socket doing it. Companies make a “bullet puller” that looks like a hammer that you put a loaded round in then beat it against something like it owes you money. I was never crazy about that and it often doesnt work and if it does, it damages the bullet. This puller goes in the press like a die and does not harm the bullet and takes little effort.

That’s it for now. If you want more, let me know in the comments.


  1. More please!

    Got a good chuckle out of your descriptive writing and there is just something about reloading that is comforting and enjoyable.

    Maybe its the joy of being deliberate and precise in ones actions or the pride of feeling a step closer to an understanding and hopeful mastery of marksmanship. Who knows! Anyway please include weighted measures at some point so I know how much of the unburnt powder I scavenged from the range floor to use.

    • Two Dillon Square Deals for pistol calibres here (9mm, .38 Special and .357 Mag) and a Rock Chucker for .22 Hornet, .204 Ruger and 6.5×55 Swede.

      I also have a Hornady electronic charge thrower for highly accurate automatic charge throwing for the rifle calibres. Just type the number of grains into the control panel and off you go. Expensive but worth it.

      Thanks Shawn. I enjoy reading how other people do this, and would like to read more.

  2. Nice,this was a great primer while (hopefully)not leaving you in a position to be sued!

    I personally use a old(real old)red Lee single stage,does what I ask it to do,for me good enough,I do like the hand squeeze primer loaders,do make life easy.

    I will say also have a all in one hand loader(you add mallet)for LC.45,will at some point try me hand at casting bullets for that one.

  3. Good stuff there. I have the adapters for electric drill that hold the case mouth deburring tools (it’s best to have two so you’re not switching back and forth between inside and outside) and clamp the drill into a bench vice and have at it. Same with primer pocket cleaning tool. Much quicker than doing those chores by hand.

    But as a practical matter, mostly I’ve found deburring the outside of the case mouth to be unnecessary, even with gas guns.

    If you shoot a high volume of rifle cartridges, a Girard power trimmer is a pretty nice piece of kit and will save you lots of time. The cutters deburr as they trim, even better.

    Finally, I also use a Rock Chucker for rifle, but switch to an old RCBS JR press for pistol and seating rifle bullets.. The smaller JR makes loading the smaller cartridges a lot easier. I don’t think the JR is made anymore but everybody makes something like it. I have a 550 Dillon but haven’t warmed up to it for rifle cartridges, and mostly load pistol cartridges with it. Probably should have got Dillon’s Square Deal pistol press instead.


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