Centerfire Rifle Cartridge Reloading Equipment:
When first starting out to reload your own empty rifle cartridge cases, reloading kits are a very good place to start when selecting reloading equipment. Lee offers probably one of the most economical approaches to reloading with a good solid O-frame press in their kit. There are convenient loading tools offered by other manufacturers as well, all are high quality.
Rifle Cartridge Reloading Data:
Once you have selected a reloading kit (more individual parts, below) you will need a source of reliable reloading data. Bullet manufacturers offer some of the best data as they use a multitude of powder, cartridge casings, and primer combinations for their test results.
Rifle Cartridge Reloading:
The first step is to clean and inspect the cases, then lube the inside of the cartridge case neck with the case neck brush, and then lube the cases on the exterior with the lube pad.
RCBS Case Lube Kit
The linked RCBS Case Lube Kit is the best and simplest way to properly clean and lube cases. Included is the case lube pad, a 2-oz. bottle of Case Lube, and an accessory handle with interchangeable Case Neck Brushes for .22 through .30 calibers. Will not harm primers.
The “O” frame press by design is one of the strongest. This is by far the most popular style press. The larger than average opening is angled at 30 degrees for maximum hand clearance. The spent primer catcher is effective and the easiest to empty.
In this step you resize and de-prime the cases by threading your resizing die into the press and attaching the shell holder on the ram of your press.
Lee Pacesetter Dies
The Lee Pacesetter Dies include the exclusive Lee Factory Crimp Die, resizing and de-priming die, conventional bullet seater & roll crimper die, shell holder, powder dipper, load data and storage box.
In this step you check the case length and will need a stainless dial caliper.
Stainless Steel 6″ Dial Caliper
The one linked will deliver unfailing .001″ accuracy for checking cartridge case length, takes inside, outside, and depth measurements. It also includes a protective storage case.
In this step, when necessary, you trim the cases chamfer and deburr.
The Lee Cutter and Lock Stud with Chamfer, linked above, works for all calibers. Trim cases by hand or electrically.
A combination set must be ordered for each specific caliber you plan to reload.
In this step you clean the primer pocket of the case.
Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
The double ended design on the above tool cleans both large and small primer pockets. Primers can be fully seated for better accuracy and safety. (This is included in the above kit with the lock stud and chamfer).
In this step you prime the case with a new primer.
Lee Auto Prime and Shell holder Set
The Lee Auto Prime and Shell Holder Set is the fastest, most accurate priming tool made. You never touch the primers from the box to the shell. It automatically feeds and installs just as fast as you can place shells in the holder. Both large and small trays and 11 of the most popular shell holders.
We’ve found this to be the most sensitive and safest of all powder scales. The Lee Powder Funnel is also helpful. Using the lee perfect powder measure you throw a charge of powder within a few tenths of a grain and add it to the scale pan then using the powder trickler (below) over the scale pan you finish the charge, then use the powder funnel to add powder to case.
is the easiest way to feed powder to your scale. Turn the small knob and powder trickles into the pan one kernel at a time. Large-capacity reservoir, extra-wide base for stability, and a perfect height for all powder scales.
In this last step you seat the bullet into the case.
Now you remove your resizing die from the press and thread into the press your bullet seating die and seat the bullet into the cartridge case.
Centerfire Rifle Cartridge Reloading Primer Selection:
The centerfire rifle cartridge is aptly named because the cartridge ignition source is a primer located in the center of the cartridge casings web. The type of primer used in American manufactured ammuntion is boxer, which have an internal anvil and small explosive charge that when struck by a firing pin ignites, the flame travels through the flash hole in the cartridge case web and enters the case body where the main powder charge is then ignited.
The two standard primer sizes for metallic centerfire rifle cartridges are small rifle which are .175″ diameter and large rifle which are .210″ diameter.
Small Rifle Primers (.175″ Diameter):
Small Rifle: Is used for most rifle cartridges requiring a small rifle primer.
Small Rifle Magnum: Is generally used for heavy loads and ball propellants.
Large Rifle Primers (.210″ Diameter):
Large Rifle: Is used for most rifle cartridges requiring a large rifle primer.
Large Rifle Magnum: Is generally used for large case capacity rifle cartridges, or when using ball propellants.
Rifle Cartridge Primer Reloading:
Primers directly affect accuracy more than most people or reloaders realize. The primer is the only component in a cartridge that sets off a chain reaction of events. The first thing that the primer does is start the bullet moving out of the cartridge case and at the same time it ignites the powder charge which in turn pushes the bullet out of the barrel.
Some of the things that can dictate a certain primer usage are extremely hard or soft bullets, bullet seating depth, powder selection by burn rate and or amounts of powder used in the case.
Rifle primers are not the same by any means, there is a difference in the length of time which primers burn. Primers can be selected by heat or pressure range of which there are three fairly distinct and can vary between individual lots produced. Always keep in mind that between primers there can be a hi-lo pressure difference of approximately 12%, when changing primers on a load always start at the start load and work up again.
Just remember when it comes to custom handloading of rifle cartridges there is nothing cast in stone, it is all a matter of trial and error for each individual rifle.