As so many, I am new to this (aside from helping my dad as a kid and inevitably smashing my finger in the press!). I absolutely love it thus far though. I inherited a RCBS JR3(?), a RCBS uniflow, and other various reloading equipment...not to mention a ton of .38 special brass and wad cutters! It's all as old as I am, and seems to be in great condition. Things were meant to last back then! Well, it kinda seems like RCBS is still making good solid equipment. Lots of USA made stuff in the reloading industry...it's refreshing!!! I have loaded about 80 .308 bullets so far, and shot 40. I have learned a lot form this forum, but there is a lot of information out there. Enough to make your head spin! I ventured into reloading to make shooting .308 a little more affordable. What I used was Sierra STBT bullets, IMR 3031, and CCI 200 primers. Based on what I read in the (old) RCBS manual, and other mfgr websites, and mfgr references on the web it seemed like a good safe starting point. I have found that the 3031 doesn't exactly flow that great through the old crank uniflow. I didn't measure each load individually, but weighed my fair share of what the uniflow dumped until I was satisfied that it would be safe and relatively uniform. Then gun didn't blow up, and everything cycled perfectly- with no indication of over pressure. I guess I'm off to a good start! A little levity...sorry...Believe me though, I researched and cross referenced information for safe loads with genuine OCD until I was certain I was making safe rounds!
My intent is to continue reloading .308 and to start .223 eventually. I still need to get the dies for .223, and have learned from this forum it might be a little more tricky to reload than other rounds. Eventually I will tackle it though. I have a Remington 700 varmint .308, and a bushmaster AR15 (bushmaster lower and government surplus upper- if I'm not mistaken). It was a kit my dad got about 20 years ago. Anyway, what I'm after is simplicity, safety, repeatability, and affordability. I don't need a tack driving recipe at this point. I just need something I can repeat easily and grow with. I haven't sat on the 500 yd line (USMC) in a lot of years, so I can use as much trigger time as possible developing my own skills again. Once I get back in form, I can start working on more accurate loads. Baby steps...
My specific questions are:
1) Is there a powder that will work relatively well for both .308, and .223 that will meter accurately through my old crank Uniflow? Simplicity, and repeatability. I want to use what I have for the time being rather than buying new equipment. Affordability. Does IMR 8208 XBR sound like a good powder for this? I read it was the shortest extruded powder (may meter better in uniflow), worked in .223 and .308, and was consistent in differing temperatures. What is a moderately accurate/ versatile bullet (could work for hunting deer sized game or target shooting) that would work in conjunction with any suggested powder? I'm not shooting any farther than 100 yds right now, but would like the ability to stretch it out as I progress...and as I find the venues to shoot farther.
2) What is a good comprehensive reloading manual to invest in? They all seem to be produced by manufacturers that obviously have some vested interest in their own brand. Thats okay. I'm sure everybody has an opinion too, also fine by me. As a newbie, I just want to make sure any powder/ bullet/ primer configurations suggested in the previous question would be covered in the manual suggested. With my experience and knowledge at this point I want something that will be easy to understand and give me a solid jumping off point. Obviously, the easier to comprehend the better. I ain't dumb
, but there is a lot to absorb, and I don't want to make any mistakes. Seems to me like that would make for a bad day!!!
3) While at the range the other day I got some once fired .223. After starting to pick it up I noticed there was a ding in the body of nearly all of the brass. My first instinct was that it probably wasn't good so I stopped picking it up. Is it a no-no to reload brass with such anomalies? Is it just the nature of the beast when running through an AR? Or, is it a defect in the rifle cycling, or the rifle/ bullet combo? I haven't looked into it yet...but figured I might as well ask while here. To this point my only experience with spent brass was the unpleasant end to a day at the rifle range- the inevitable police call! Maybe I blocked it out, haha. I know I never really paid attention to it. Back then it was troublesome....now I see it as opportunity!
Thank you in advance for your insightful responses!