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Old June 19, 2007, 03:28 PM   #1
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Do you prefer loading for rifle or handgun?

As I get ready to start loading for a rifle (.30-06) for the first time I'm wondering how it will compare with the handgun rounds I load for (9mm, 38spl, 40sw, 45acp and 45colt). For those that reload both rifle and handguns do you have a preference for which kind you load for?
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Old June 19, 2007, 04:01 PM   #2
Tim R
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I started out loading 30-06 after the wife suggested $12.50 was too much to spend on a box of 20 for Winchester 150 gr. soft points.

25 years later not only do I load for the '06 but also 223, 308, 30-30, 300 H&H, 9mm, 38 super, 38/357, 40, and 45 ACP.

Not as long of list as many others on this board but keeps me busy enough.

I reload mostly 223, 308 and '06 as I shoot high power with service rifles. The 223 is a real pain in the back side as I seem to wait until the night before a match to get it loaded. Much more brass prep is needed to give me good ammo for the match shooting.

I almost like to load pistol as it's something different once in awhile.
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Old June 19, 2007, 04:06 PM   #3
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I mostly load .38 Specials and .45 ACPs for Bullseye competition and for that I have two Star Machine Works reloaders that pretty much do all the work, so it doesn't require a lot of thought on what I'm doing.

For my .308 M1 and other rifles, I just use an old RCBS press. There's a lot more to loading rifle rounds; i.e. trimming, more precise sizing, checking primer pocket flash holes, etc. It certainly gives a sense of accomplishment when you have the finished product in front of you and it ends up grouping at less than an inch at 100 yards.

Just some idle thoughts for what it's worth.
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Old June 19, 2007, 04:10 PM   #4
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Rifle or Handgun reloading?

I've been reloading 45 acp for the last 6 weeks or so. On a single stage press. I'm darn tired of the 4 steps and dies it takes to make up a batch. I think I like rifle reloading better, only 2 dies !!!! I seem to shoot a lot more handgun ammo but I still reload for both rifle and handguns. Can't afford to move to a progressive press as I'm medically rertired. I have a lot of time to reload.
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Old June 19, 2007, 04:11 PM   #5
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Having only a single stage press I primarily load .44 mag, .38/.357mag, 45-70 and 30-06.

Factoring in time it's cheaper for me to buy 9mm, .45, 5.56 and 7.62 given the volume I shoot them.
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Old June 19, 2007, 05:07 PM   #6
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I started loading pistol first. I like pistol better because I don't have the case prep with it like I do with rifle. I still enjoy loading rifle, it is just a little more involved.
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Old June 19, 2007, 07:17 PM   #7
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I started loading 38/357 for myself first, though a neighbor showed me how to when I was around ten years old[ a looong time ago]. I prefer to load rifle ammo, as I no longer own any handguns any way. The satisfaction of your first 1/2 inch group never fades, and none of my handguns could keep up with a rifle, at least at distances over 50 yds. Today I try to keep up with two kids that like to shoot also, so the elder RCBS equipment stays dusted off. I own equipment of just about every mfg. color, and it all functions just fine, as long as I don't try to do nonstandard things with it. Pistol ammo uses much less powder, but one usually shoots a lot more of it, so the price of bullets is a major consideration. EVERYTHING is getting more expensive, so one has to be a diligent shopper to get the best deal on components. Years ago I got the brainstorm of casting my own bullets and another space on my loading bench became necessary, along with just that much more storage capacity. Some 30 or so moulds later, I still can't stop looking for one I don't have yet. HELP!
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Old June 19, 2007, 08:47 PM   #8
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I have a Dillon 4 stage progressive RL 550 B. Pistol loads are a breeze. Rifle is just fine, but I don't use it as a progressive. I lube, de-prime & prime with the resizing die (Redding) for all cases in one session. After a quick wipedown, I load powder and seat the bullets in another session. Of course, there's the added step of cheking case length. Just about as easy, just different. Reloading is a must with Win 270 short magnum - price them sometime if you can find 'em.
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Old June 19, 2007, 09:14 PM   #9
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I'd have to say rifle. It's easier to handle. My hands get to hurtin' after a while loading for 9mm and other pistol cartridges due to tendonitis and carpel tunnel...

I also like to spend the time on rifle cartridges such as measuring powder more often, brass prepping, checking bullet weights, etc. Whatever it takes for accuracy...

Whether it's pistol or rifle, I still load single stage style. Just my preference on quality control...
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Old June 19, 2007, 09:31 PM   #10
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I enjoy both...load pistol ammo mostly on Dillon SDB, and get the job done. Recently loaded some 44 mag on a single stage press (A Forester/Bonanza C0-Ax, THE best ssp, by the way), and had forgotten how labor intensive it is to load one at a time.

Rifle is rewarding, but can be finiky, with the shoulder on bottleneck cases always subject to be set back to far, or the brass needing trimming.

I couldnt afford to shoot if I didnt reload though.

Reloading for me, now, is as much fun as shooting. I sometimes load 12 gage on my MEC sizemaster, even though I've got a bunch already loaded!!

With the rise of ammo, you can expext components to go up also. One store recently wanted almost $35.00 for a 25# bag o'shot.
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Old June 23, 2007, 12:55 AM   #11
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I prefer to load handgun rounds because I can have things fully progressive on my Lee Classic Turret press. I shoot my 995 and 4095 Hi-Points alot and ammo is easy and cheap to load for them. I want to get my H&R chambered in .357 Maximum.

I enjoy Bottleneck rifle cases now that I have discovered the benefits of spray lubricant. I also neck size when possible to avoid the whole lube thing. Trimming is still a PITA.
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Old June 23, 2007, 01:48 AM   #12
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Rifle far and away.

I take satisfaction in knowing all that work put a 1/2" group down range.

I'm sure the groundhogs would highly disagree.
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Old June 23, 2007, 06:48 AM   #13
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Rifle and pistol reloading are very different for me. With pistol ammo, quantity is everything, as I shoot IPSC, IDPA and plates.

With rifle ammo, quality is important. I obsess over details such as flash hole size and neck concentricity, as I used to shoot benchrest.

When I started reloading ~30 years ago, I individually deprimed every case, cleaned every primer pocket and polished the brass until it was mirror-shiny.
Over the years, I slowly relaxed my standards when I realized that the guns don't care how the ammo looks.
So, I now load pistol ammo progressively, without any regard to ammo appearance afterwards. It only has to work.
Rifle brass - I still clean the primer pockets, tumble it until shiny.

Big labor savers:
. Progressive press. Read elsewhere about the brands, it's a daily topic which one is better.
. Ultrasonic cleaner - worth every penny. Gets the grease and other chemical contaminants off the brass.

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Old June 23, 2007, 02:59 PM   #14
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I like both, but load more handgun myself
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Old June 24, 2007, 06:27 PM   #15
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Rifle by far. It is what I cut my teeth on. Simpler and more forgiving then pistol. Less steps and you don't have to be so absolutely flawless with powder charges. I try to be precise when loading for rifles, but that is for accuracy. When loading for handguns, I am concerned with safety more than accuracy, due to the small charges and cases.
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Old June 24, 2007, 08:16 PM   #16
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Well, I prefer to load my .44 Magnums etc on a progressive press. What I spend MOST of my time doing is loading rifle on a single stage...

Like Tim R, I shoot Highpower, so a huge chunk of reloading time is dedicated to loading .223 for my AR-15. I've got a big bucket of many-times fired Lake City sitting behind me, on its second loading of the season. It's been resized, tumbled and primed and simply awaits my final decision on what to load. No, I did not trim, chamfer or otherwise obsess over this batch. I long ago decided that the trigger jerk is more influential on that 9 than how much time I spend on ammo, *within reason*. If I can drop, shoot a 97-100 with some and have a rounded group, I'm not going any further.

That said, I much prefer plinking with .22s or anything I can load on carbide dies lately!
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