Some assembly required

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…

Working Small

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!

How Big is Small?

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.

Rainy Day Reloading Post

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.

Say ‘Ello to my Leetle Frien’

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!

Ex-squeeze me I’m busy here

“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.

All That Glitters

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.

Shoulder Comparator

The question is, how much does shoulder dimension affect accuracy?

I’m running the decapped brass through a Stony Point Comparator and separating them based on a wide variety of readings, from 2.043 to 2.051 – with many so-far at 2.047-8 and another group at .045 — and boy is it tedious.
Maybe I should just separate them by weight.
Man, I have the most boring hobby sometimes…


Ok here’s the deal, according to my abusive dial-measuring technique: in the blue box on the left they’re all 2.045 (quite a few) and in the blue box on the right they’re all 2.043 (second spike on the curve) and the ones in rows on the loading blocks are each a line different starting at 2.040 at the top and going to 2.050 at the bottom of the picture. A few are off-the-chart like the one in the comparator in the center at 2.036 that’s the same as the other one off the block at the top of the pic. Also there’s another grouping in the row at 2.046 and a larger group at 2.047 – it’s just weird I guess, the way they’re spread across a curve with two “plateau” points.
I’m going with the plateaus when I load.

Yes, that’s an apron, a shop-apron.

It takes up 41-inches wide by 19-inches deep. The guest-bed/couch got shoved over and my bookcase which had stood in that place moved to the other wall. The blue Dillon sifter on the floor gets kicked back and forth in an eternal battle for footspace. In the slot between the bench and the wall I slid my light-table that I used for drawing and cartooning, and the hand-vac sits on top of that. I have a hundred cases to deprime before I fix dinner. After that they get trimmed down to a length of 2.494″ and the primer-pocket cleaned and uniformed. Then comes the turkey-stuffing.

Forty-Six Point Three ‘Aitch Forty-Eight Ninety-Five

I went up point-three grains on the load. Why? I dunno, because that was the listed load in the Sierra Manual for H-4895? 46-grains works fine, it doesn’t have to push the speed envelope. I just thought I’d make a small change.
It’s partially overcast and cool today. Some weather is pushing in from the Pacific and South from Alaska. In the morning you can feel that Fall is in the air. Damn, I want to go to my happy-place where the fishies and turtles play.