Jul 5, 2010

Reloading

I'm in the process of replenishing my stock of loaded ammo. After we moved last summer, I didn't do much loading at all - my bench and equipment were buried. I knocked out a few hundred rounds in early spring, but that's about gone.

With the Blogshoot coming up at the end of the month, I decided it was time to knock out some more .38. I opened the cabinets to see what I had ready to go.

Brass? A few hundred rounds of tumbled brass, lots of un-tumbled.
Primers? A couple thousand small pistol primers.
Powder? Half a jar of IMR Trail Boss.
Bullets? ... a bag and a handful of 158gr LRN. Hm.

I settled in with the sizing/decapping die and started prepping brass...

Three hundred and some pieces later, I'd emptied my bag of clean brass. I tossed 500 more in the tumbler for a few hours and then sorted them out of the media. That done, I finished the tray of primers so I had 400 primed cases ready to go. (Actually, 399, since a .357 case got mixed in with the .38s and set aside after priming.)

I pulled out my bags of bullets and jar of powder and started in with dropping powder and seating. Expander die, drop *mumblemumble* grains of Trail Boss, set in tray. Fifty at a time, put a bullet on top of each one. A hundred at a time, run them through the seating die and toss in a tub for crimping later.

I knocked out 200 like this over the past few days. It's easy to do in stages - a couple hundred brass prepped one day, then a hundred or two hundred powdered and seated the next, then I'll do one final big push and run several hundred through a crimp die.

Problem is, I was running out of bullets. I've got maybe 50-75 of the cast bullets left, and I'm not using my "good" bullets* for plinking loads.

I zipped online and did some quick checking. I've heard very good things about Oregon Trail but right now, $101.50/1000 is a touch on the high side for me.

I popped over to GrandMaster Bullets, which is where my last batch of .38s came from. Their site isn't so great, but bullet quality is impeccable, and the weights have been VERY consistent - within tenths of a grain of each other any time I've spot-checked a handful. $62/1000 for 158gr LRN - perfect! I ordered 2000 around 6am on the 2nd.

That evening, I got an email from the owner - he only had 1500 in stock, and was going out of town for the holiday weekend. If I was in a rush, he'd ship me the 1500 and work something out for the other 500, or if I could wait he'd have the full 2000 ready to ship on Wednesday the 7th, so I'd see them around the 9th or 10th.

I wrote back and let him know that was no problem at all.

It's a small shop, and I appreciate the personal touch. If you're in need of cast bullets, I'd *highly* recommend GrandMaster. (Jay, that's where yours came from as well.)

My mailman might not be so appreciative. Bullets are dense and fit nicely into USPS flat-rate boxes. It'll cost him $10 to ship about 50lb of bullets cross-country. (A flat-rate box is good for up to 70lb, which is almost exactly what two thousand 230gr bullets weighs.)

* "good" bullets: Hornady 158gr XTPs, or my single box of Venom Ballistics 137gr .358 cast-lead hollowpoints. They were a one-off test run, and I happened to get what may have been the last box (of 300). Flying ashtrays have nothing on these babies!

1 comment:

mhaithaca said...

It's that kind of (frankly surprising) personal touch on the customer service that keeps me buying from Community Coffee. Well, and of course it's great stuff. But they're really friendly and helpful by Twitter and e-mail, and that counts for a lot.