Sunday, December 5, 2010


I'm blue.  Not from emotion, but because of an acquisition.  I'm not sorry about the purchase, actually I'm quite happy about it.  This is something that I have had a interest in and a desire for for quite some time now.

A good friend of mine introduced me to reloading my own ammunition nearly ten years ago.  My interest in shooting and guns predates my beginner reloading by 20 + years, and though I have had many shooting friends to recommend me getting into the art and practice of loading my own ammo, I somehow managed to avoid reloading.  I have always had an aversion to things that required a slow progression of gathering the needed equipment to start something.  I credit my dad with this problem.  Let me try to explain.

Dad has always had to work hard and earn everything that he has.  He always felt that if you can buy something and make it work with the bare minimum of investment in time, money and material, then you would be better off for it and have a little extra money in your pocket to boot.  I have seen dad struggle with something that actually used up more of his time and effort than if he would have spent a few extra dollars and bought the thing he was working with in good working and usable condition.  It wouldn't be because he didn't have the few extra dollars, but simply because he just felt he could do as good with less.  I have noticed that as he has gotten older, this mind-set of his has began to change some, yet ever so slightly.  As an example, he has always wanted a 3/4 ton 4X4 diesel truck to use on the farm and for when he needs some extra towing power.  So he decided to find a good used one about two months ago.  After he looked around and priced every make and model with a diesel engine and felt they were terribly overpriced, he settled on a mid 90's model chevy with a small block gas engine.  It had about a zillion miles on it, but the body and drive train seemed to be in fair shape.  After working on and fixing up all the "little" problems it had, he decided to use it to haul off some calves to the sale barn.  When I asked him later how the truck did pulling the trailer, he said, "aw the damn thing don't have enough ass or guts to pull a hat off yer head."  Which is what I figured, but I can never get date to buy what he needs, only what he thinks is a bargain and might work.
So, with that type of stinginess entwined  in my DNA, I started my reloading experience.  Now, my friend is the opposite of my dad, he has always bought what was required to get the job done, regardless of cost.  A good example of his thinking goes like this:  I went bu his house one day and he said, "hey, lets go out to the barn, I want to show you what I bought last week."  We walk out to his barn and there sits a new Kubota RTV just like this one.  When I asked him why he bought it he said, "I went to the dealer to buy a chainsaw, and when I saw the Kubota, I thought that would make it easier for us to go out and change/paint our targets after a round of shooting."  I then asked him if he bought a chainsaw too, and he said, "hell no, they were to expensive!"

So, my friend didn't start me out reloading on some cheap, pieced together reloading set.  He told me to get a complete RCBS Rock Chucker kits and don't look at anything else.  At the time he and I were shooting long range rifles, and we needed to load some rifle loads with a hot charge and some Hornaday A-Max bullets.  The RCBS worked great for what we and I needed at the time.  As hot summer days tend to ruin good groups at long range, my friend and I would spend the hotter parts of the day shooting pistols.  This led me to need to load many pistol rounds in .38, .357. .45 ACP, and whatever else we happened to have laying around.  I can tell you that loading a couple of hundred pistol rounds on a single stage press is not fast and efficient, but it can be done fairly quickly if you have a good rhythm going and your loading bench is laid out well.  My friend and I haven't shot long range for a couple of years now, but pistol shooting is still done in intervals between work and other annoying obligations.  If you haven't sat down to a single stage press with about 2000 fired and polished 9mm, .40, or .45ACP brass ready to be processed and loaded, well, you better not have anything important to do for several hours and a good dose of alieve in the medicine cabinet to take care of your sore elbow and shoulder from all the sizing/depriming, case mouth expanding/priming, and powder loading/bullet seating.  

All that alone should make me blue, but it actually has a soothing effect in that it tends to take my mind off of things for a while.  But, this is the real reason that I'm blue ... I found 
a lightly used Dillion RL550B reloader and some accesories on a local classified site a couple of days ago.  I haven't had a chance to get it set up due to a wonderful chronic sinus infection that makes my head feel like its filled with mud and the mud is trying to be squeezed out through my eye sockets.  The Dillion is already set up for .45ACP and all I need to do is get it mounted to my bench, read the instructions, and get used to the sublime experience of progressive reloading.  I guess Santa came to my house a little early this year, and sure beats a new pair of socks!!!
Blue Steel


  1. I was going to be splitting the cost of a reloading kit with a friend here not too long ago, and then we both had financial snafus. We're on hold probably until March. Have fun with it.

  2. So, how's the reloading going?

    Like you, I started with the RockChucker single, then discovered Dillon. Except in my case it was a generous friend letting me use his setup.

    I'll get my own when I clean out the garage enough to put a bench in the corner.

    In the meantime, let me know how you're enjoying yours.