This could be about Cam Edwards and his radio-show but its not. It’s about the non-moving gizmo on the Whirligig-of-Doom that moves the wheel on primer-feeding “transfer-bar” contraption as it rises and falls, and on the up-stroke seats a fresh one in the brass case that was just de-primed on the earlier rotation’s down-stroke. And it’s supposed to have a specific bend in it, besides a small circlip that has a tendency to fly into orbit and hide in the carpet.
After a few weeks (OK, a month) of waiting patiently by the mailbox, I called RCBS again (3rd time) to inquire about the status of my “order.” Their call-center is open from Monday thru Thursday from 6:00AM for the East Coast guys until it shuts down at 4:00PM out West here. The needed parts I lacked were on-file and awaiting to be filled – some time in May when they get time to run-off some bearing-bushings, a part I had briefly complained about (since the operation of the Whirligig is anything but smooth) but didn’t exactly require. What I really need(ed) and explained to the nice but harried lady, was (#16) the Cam-Wire. I have one but it’s the wrong one – it’s about 7-1/2″ long and is for another Press-product, the now discontinued AmmoMaster. It’s too long, but it does-has “the bend.”
Finally today the Cam Wire arrived, notched precisely for the ever-disappearing circlip, but straight as an arrow.
I think I can get my High-Master shootin’ buddy Google-machinist to give me a hand and impart the proper angular coefficient to the dead-straight rod, but the label prominently marked with ATK on the package from RCBS reminded me of what Louis Awerbuck warned in Pistol I and II class, when he said much of the ammo (the ammo you CAN’T GET) that has been coming out from a certain cartridge-company umbrella-ownership group (= ATK) has been lacking a certain Q.C. je ne sais quoi – the stuff is bad. Bullets that are not at all crimped tie-up guns (this I have seen), OAL is sloppy, upsidown primers have been noted, backwards bullets too.
Judging from my earlier telephonic conversations with the very friendly, super-knowledgeable and more polite than they need-to-be RCBS staff, I think the people trying to do business there are amazingly overworked and stressed. Perhaps it is the dumbrella Über-company corporate-ownership that is spinning lazily like the angry man in Zapruder’s film, or an ineffective overhead ceiling-fan on a hot day that is providing the source of conflict and anxiety. I hope things improve for them and that some time this year I get this thing ammo-construction device operational, before I have some kind of cardiac event.
Need to get the “cam wire” figured out, but I managed to figure out how to set the shoulder back on a case using this infernal whirling contraption, and measure it with my headspace comparator gauge-thing!
Sorta. That is I cheated and compared it to an actual round, and then made adjustments screwing the die-down until it matched, which is a way of overcoming my near complete math illiteracy.
So now it goes up and down and around and around – albeit somewhat jerkily as any Steampunk device ought-to, and Piggyback is an appropriate name, but you could call it Hunchback too, from the condition I’ll develop, bending over and fiddling with it…
It’s bit of a kludge, like RCBS never threw anything away, they just rearranged the configurations. It’s one presssitting on top of another, the rams are joined by a link that fits like a male-female case-holder.
UPDATE: Hold on, let me reorient this:
Here’s the new superstructure mounted atop the old RS-3 press. It’s semi-manual, so you pop-in a case and then another and then another and it rotates and goes up and down and when one comes around finallly for a bullet you place the bullet on top and press it up, meanwhile another case is being de-primed and another is being primed, and one is loaded with powder, etc.
The Upside is the shell-plates are the same as the Pro200 and now I have a bunch.
Downside is the arbor height and ram-stroke only accommodates cartridges 2.260″ tall so .30-06/.308 etc. is out – it’s .223 and pistols for me with this baby (and the v.3 is a shorty also). :
And this is the bottom half.
And it’s held together and operated by this ram connector.
Fully functional and a good idea, engineeringwise…but it’s definitely not super-smooth in operation though that effect can’t be attributed to this link, it’s just an overall design issue.
The term Steampunk fits I think? There should be a whistle attached somewhere and a bevel-drive gizmo-something running off the side, and sections wrapped in crocodile skin.
The top die-head is shared with the earlier RCBS progressive press, the “Ammomaster”, and it is changeable but not that easily – it would be a bit like removing your tires to change the transmission, or visa versa…
I don’t have a powder measure rigged-up and have to buy one, so I don’t know if it throws everything onto the floor…
Meanwhile I’m looking for primer tubes and a powder measure…
The Dictionary definition of contraption should be accompanied by a picture of this. I picked up the Piggyback II after meeting with my “Buddy” from the shootin’ club and blasting away at some innocent pieces of square paper just north of the Airport. I say “Buddy” in quotes, because after unpacking this infernal agglomeration of tiny doohickies, little thingamajigs, midget widgets, sproingy-springs and miniature clevis pins, two bent Johnson-rods – and just bits and pieces including a damnable rolling ball – I’m not sure whether a friendly title such as “buddy” is appropriate. Anything that comes with its own set of sub-miniature screwdrivers is to be feared. And the top bit rotates around 360-degrees willy nilly, so that will have to be figured out as Order is applied to Chaos. You gotta get a load of this thing…
The RCBS “Trim Mate” case-prep thing puts five turning tools into one small place, but it doesn’t trim-to-length. I’ve removed the primer-hole uniformer-cutter (a Lyman hand tool that happens to thread right in) and laid it in the top tray.
The #1 rotating station has a standard-thread long .22cal bore brush. #2 has the military crimp remover/cutter, #3 has the outside chamfer, #4 has the inside chamfer tool, and #5 has the primer pocket reamer/uniformer. You can move them around to wherever you want for your own ergonomic convenience.
For me the biggest time-spender has been trimming. One thing I really like about the RCBS tool though is that pressure is applied downward and (IMO) can be more evenly applied.
With the Wilson trimmer I have to work it sideways, inserting the cutting head attached to a cordless drill and it feels awkward, not to mention the added set-up time with the Wilson; screwing it down to the bench and then setting the length – and as a “lateral” tool it takes up more space just to operate it sideways because you just need more elbow room. I don’t really need a 36-inch wide bench but trimming like this kinda demands it.
Here’s a guy who figured-out another way to do it that I think I might test, and his bench isn’t even nearly as deep as mine!
All I need is to do is fix up the Lee tool and cutter to do the length trimming. Awesome!
In a previous post blogger Conservative Scalawag mentioned he’d like to start reloading but for the lack of room in his cramped apartment – with which I fully sympathize.
However, far from having a huge Gunnytastic Reloading Shackzilla, I have a 36″-by-17″ kitchen cart-thing from Target, and most of my junk is stored in a 2-drawer file cabinet in the closet – so fear not those of you with space constraints!
The bathroom vanity cabinet mounted on the wall holds measuring tools and small things, the wide drawer holds dies and things to bang on the press. And the double-doors hide empty brass, powders, bullets, and cleaning media. My small Dillon brass tumbler hides in the clothes-closet where behind a closed door its sound-signature is muted.
It’s the first rainy day since back in May, more drizzly than anything, but still three dry months have passed. My wife had to go into work, Closing didn’t go well and there are beans to count and funds to transfer.
I thought I’d reload some .223 – and these are the first steps involved. First use brass that’s clean, I had a bunch of 1-x fired Nosler brass in the Dillon vibrator that was clean. I separated it in the rolling hopper-basket thingy.
Sort your clean brass by headstamp – different cases have different internal volumes and create different pressure curves.
The Black Hills remanufactured ammo was good and ran flawlessly, but it wasn’t entirely Lake City brass…
A couple Winchester cases found there way into the mix.
The range pickup Lake City brass shows a more clearly defined headstamp. It’s fresh and hadn’t been run through a cleaning cycle, and the red ring of sealant shows it’s milsurp stuff that has the mil-crimp and has only been fired once.
I’ll be able to tell the two apart after cleaning by the red circle, unless I just decide to make life easier and clean them separately.
Meanwhile I have a bunch of clean brass to prime. Since I’m switching from Large to to Small rifle primers I need to change-out the shell-holder, primer-feed, and primer-rod.
The little bench-rest primers have a cute little “B” stamped into them!
Then it’s just loading the tray, shaking them to roll turtle, and squeezing them into the brass.
I like to rotate the brass a couple times and give it a couple squeezes, hoping to ensure some kind of uniformity to the depth. You need to also inspect each one to be sure it’s seated below the depth of the brass. Squeeze, rotate, squeeze, etc.
…Squeeze…that felt weird, what have we here…WTF! Jeebus it’s in SIDEWAYS!
Do I try to decap a live primer? I guess so.
No problem, but first I have to set up the newly purchased .223 decapping-die…Yeh ok. It worked-out.
Squeeze, turn, squeeze – only 88 more to go…
After filling one shell-box ass-end up, showing the primers, I start to fill the loading tray, necks up, ready to receive the powder. I finish with 99 done, and one left without a primer.
Inspired by the post of poor, ill, Phlegmfatale (go wish her well), this is yet another derivative-posting.
What DO we have here? It’s a miniature rocket-ship sans payload! It’s the pimple-faced Teenage Rocketeer next to the hulking Sgt. Rock of the ThuttyAwghtSix Infantry Division. It’s .223 vs. .30-06 brass and 53 flat-based copper-clad grains against 155 boat-tailed ones.
And it’s also what those small holes in the red-plastic tray are used for. I’ve fallen desperately behind in things, with still a half-hundred-plus ’06 loads to load, and here already arrived are more of these tiny chaps. It’s a slump and a conflict.
The only thing saving me from jumping-in and deep-sixing myself in total organizational meltdown is that I have no .223 shell-holder. I just need to get the Garand loads done and out of the way. I hate being scattered and disorganized – it eats at my brain. But I also need to go outside and walk around in the sun because it’s a fine Summer day with gentle breezes and a huge waste to spend it indoors.
So in the end, to preserve and guard me from Chaos remains the the duty I started, have to finish those stalwart loads. 46-grains of H4895 must be first dispensed into the primed Nosler brass that’s been sitting patiently for months before I proceed to duplicate that process in miniature. I need to keep my eyes on the front sight.
On another note, the Reno thing has gone iffy and fuzzy – timing is not shaping up. But it’s since it just fuzzy, maybe things will clarify and resolve in the interval.
UPDATE: So, wha’d I do? (Isn’t that what the dude, caught red-handed with the crack or hiding in the bushes, on an episode of COPS always says??)
I went and bought an RCBS #10 shellholder for .223 Remington…Nobody try to stop me!
“Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch…”
Pressing home CCI-200 primers by hand in fresh Nosler 30-06 brass, I am preparing for this weekend’s Match. I will top it off with a Sierra 155-grain HPBT called the Palma Match over 46-grains of H-4895 to compare and contrast with the performance of the Hornady 150-grain FMJBT’s, and see how well they glides downstream towards the targets. The weather forecast is for more of the same so bring sun-screen.
Guess how many?
In the Slough of Despond, the Lost Time Between Worlds, during the dog-days between Christmas and New Years Resolutions, I came across a nice little, used, .20-gauge Wingmaster that gave me considerable pause to think.
I wanted it in one single flash of recognition – and it came with a slug-barrel, besides I have a box of AA .20ga target loads that I accidentally bought in haste, now they could be used…
The voices in my head grew loud while the Christmas Money in my pocket jangled like a Salvation Army bell-ringer on crack. I was like a trout on a Mepps. I needed a time-out, so I emailed a buddy back in the Frozen Upper Midwest who knows a bit about shotguns, quite a bit.
Awaiting his reply I took a deep breath and went to a few other places where smallbore scatterguns exist. I had to think strategy, not gimmee. At one Emporium-of-Exotica-and-Militaria there were some fine samples; a Browning A-5, in 20-gauge with a fitted box-case for $750, or a fine old Ithaca M37 in 16-gauge for half-that, or a Winchester Model 12 in 20…. I wrote down sizes and numbers in a little notebook.
What to do? I’ve never hunted and don’t even know any hunters. Yeh my cousin duck-hunts with some buddies off the levees up north, but he’s an hour and a half across the Bay through the worst Liberal BMW and Lexus traffic you can imagine. Haven’t seen him in a couple years. Hell, I don’t even see my brother very much and he’s up there too.
Then came the Pushback. It was Newish-New and all my stuff is old. I’m not sure what to do with a slug-barrel. I have little space for more guns – so with the space it takes-up I have to be sure that The Gun is Happy as much as I’m Happy, it has to see use. We’re at the point where if/when something new comes in, something old or useless has to go out, and we determine that in an instant at this time of year when we clean-out before New Year’s. My friend’s e-mail reply came, and in it he asked me if I was at-one with the Garand? He thought it sounded-so. I thought, but-sorta – I want to be better.
My wife spoke up amid all this deliberation and said, “You want to get-up to the next level, right? Won’t this new gun distract from your concentration? Look, I’ve seen you taking all that time carefully weighing-out the brass and separating all the different measurements, why not spend the same money on components that are already weighed and spec’d and ready to load?” And a light went-on in my tiny cranium. “Just One Thing”
So there’s no little .20-gauge in my closet, but an order from Midway is headed this way instead. On-sale I found premium brass from Nosler and Hornady bullets. There’s still a compositional element involved, bullet and charge weights. But the chubby ladies of Lake City ’66 will have to wait for another damn brass-weighing contest. Not for a while anyhow.