Only 21 Days!


Yep 21 days till the first shots get fired in the national’s week, and… well… we are not organised in the slightest! Vic’s rifle is away getting re-barrelled (now returned since writing this post – more on this later!) so we have to squeeze in both running it in, and also getting some load-development done. This also means we can’t load Vic’s rounds as we don’t know what will work. However she is busy trimming and De-burring all her brass. Vic now has blisters – Hot tip – don’t trim and deburr outside in New Zealand sun… Burnt fingers!

Because everyone loves photos of Vic, here are some photos of Vic!

Vic’s unconventional case trimming style…

vic trimming

The case trimmer in action


Trimmed and untrimmed cases side-by-side (trimmed is on the right)

trimmed2 trimmed

Getting rid of those nasty burrs after trimming – It isn’t as fun as Vic makes it look!

vic deburr deburr

My own set up is a little better. I have about 150 cases that need to be full sized and then all my brass will be only going through a neck sizing die. However, we don’t actually have a neck sizing die, so today’s mission is finding one (found!). The dies I always want are the Redding dies just because they have such a great reputation as a brand but someone has pointed me in the direction of a Lee. I have always been skeptical of the Lee brand as it always seems cheap and reloading is not something I want to skimp on. The biggest advantage to the Lee collet dye is you don’t need to use lube as the die squeezes the neck rather than forcing it into a die. This will make the reloading quicker and cleaner. As a result I will be getting one on its way today.

531039lee die

So all I have to do is load all 500 cases and then I won’t have to load until after the belt week, but we still have to get more components as we probably only have about 1.5 kg of powder, 300 primers, and 600 projectiles. Remember we have two of us shooting and we are going to shoot the 300m at the beginning of the week, making over 800 rounds between myself and Vic.

So here I am loading. First off, I’m full length sizing the brass as I don’t know if it has been through Vic’s old barrel or mine. We use Dubbin as the lube as it is cheap.

A bit of lubrication before going through the die.


Next I clean off the lube and check for any defects and check how fouled the primer pocket is. When they get too dirty I will clean them all in the ultrasonic cleaner.

Next is priming. We use the press – it is a bit slower than hand loading but it has good feel and the seating depth is very consistent. Also the hand loader we have has no tray and puts a dent in the primer – this makes it a bit frightening to use.

priming primer2

Next is the powder from the thrower and onto the beam scales. I run a 45.9 grain load as this gives me the most consistent speed at target and a respectable group. I can still tune the group by changing the jump length. Here I am measuring powder.

weighing2 weighing3

And funneling it into the primed case


Next is our lovely HBC projectile – it is put through the old school Redding seating die which on loan to us. I have found with the HBC’s I can run a very long jump, I’m currently running a 0.9mm. This may seem huge but after playing with different jumps this seems to have the best group, and because of the chambering of my rifle I have ended up with an overall length of 71.6 mm

squashing1squashing squashed

And presenting one completed round, now I just have to repeat the process another 499 times.

Lotsa bullets!

box o bullets

And to finish, another photo of Vic because everyone loves photos of Vic.

Ladylike as always…

tough girl

Keep your eyes on the blog for more updates on our prep and planning for the Nationals 😉

1 Comment

  1. Eben

    2 more benefits of the lee collets dies:

    Works the case necks a lot less than expander ball style dies – so you brass will last longer
    Good reputation for minimal runout compared to other style dies

    Use some 1000 or 2000 grit sandpaper to give the cone of the collet a once-over, and apply a tiny amount of grease (I use white lithium spray)


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